A decision had been made about the fur coat.

                                                     Chapter 84

The guests filed into the Martin’s living room, Carol and Hank, Cass and Pete. The last one to come was Jo, sporting a new hairdo and glamorous outfit. Jim and Jenny were instructed simply to bring their friends together for an unspecified reason. Emma and Mike would explain later. It had been a hand written invitation and they sat around making idle conversation with an air of expectation, for what, remained a mystery, even to the Martins.

“Where’s Trish?” Was the first question on everyone’s minds.

Jenny laughed. “Strange, but she and Moonie are at the Orpheum, for a traveling production of’ ‘Oklahoma.’ The tickets were a gift from Mike and Mother, the lucky ducks. I’ve heard it’s very good. Rodgers and Hammerstein can’t be beat. I’m envious And, by the way, we are calling him Ron now.”

Ted and his wife had just gotten out of a taxi. “Hi sis,” he kissed Jenny’s cheek. “I’d like all of you to meet my wife, Barbara.” He walked her to the center of the room and twirled the tall, shapely, brunette in front of them. She laughed, self-consciously.

“I guess we all know the reason for the gathering.,” he boasted “It must be the coat, though I can’t imagine the reason for the …crowd. Jenny could have simplified the whole matter some time ago.” He stole a meaningful look at Barbara, who sucked in her breath and smoothed her hair. He added, “Just hope it will be worth the trip from the city.”

Jo Cavalieri said, “Ï can’t imagine why all of us have been asked to come. It’s almost like the reading of a will.”  She shivered, remembering a time not long ago.

“I heard a car door,” Jenny jumped to her feet and opened the door. “Here are the newlyweds now.”

Emma’s hair was styled and softly tinted. She was radiant as she held onto Mike’s arm.

Ted stood up to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. “Mom you’ve been holding out on me.” He nodded to Mike and shook his hand.

“Look who is talking.” Emma stood, staring at Barbara. They both laughed and hugged. The doorbell rang again.

Hank answered and ushered in a young man. Another, followed with an assortment of boxes. He looked around, uncertain where to stack them and decided the only space was in the hall.

The older man greeted them and proceeded to select a box from the pile.

“See, I told you, just like a will.” Jo chuckled.

“The gifts will be presented in no particular order. But they are to be opened simultaneously, please.” He presented a box to Jo, and to each couple, including Mike and Emma.

“Now, everyone, open your gift”

Tissue paper was cast aside and shrieks of surprise filled the house. Jenny lifted a small sable stole from the box and buried her head in it and cried.

When the shock of each couple receiving similar fur stoles, Mike stepped up to say a few words. “Emma and I realized no one was going to be able to wear a full-length fur coat. It just wasn’t in the cards, so we had the furrier divide the spoils, so to speak.”

The women were wrapping themselves in fur and wiping their eyes.

Ted was the first to speak, “Oh, my God, Barbara. They cut it up. They cut it up?” He sat back weakly as Emma patted his hand. ”Take my word for it. Better this way than it was before, thanks to Mike.”

“We have so much to celebrate,” Jim held Jenny’s hand. What a wonderful way to thank everyone who helped bring Trish home.” He raised his glass to Mike.

The End