Episode 4: “Party, Interrupted"
Happiness still reigned supreme in Juan’s mind. He wasn’t too sure if he was smiling, but was sure he should be. The knots had gone, and he felt well physically, yet he was sure he was missing something. He trudged through the snow, taking the most scenic route to Virginia’s. He was so happy he had solved the knots and realized he was in love — with help from The Voice.
“I never wanted it to be love, especially now, but The Voice must know what It’s talking about, and it feels right.”
Before he knew it, he caught sight of the old Callahan place, named so after Crazy Carl Callahan who had helped forge Miller out of the countryside nearly 100 years ago.
Virginia’s grandfather acquired the old place when Crazy Carl, days after his 80th birthday, simply disappeared one night, never to be seen or heard from again.
The house was lit up and he could hear the happy partiers inside. He felt so different from them now. He was leaving and taking Virginia with him. He knew the townsfolk would be floored. Miller was a self-sufficient community, with a tradition of dedication to the town and the life it offered. Their ancestors had sought this isolation in a grand experiment of community.
Virginia and her family had lived here for half a century or more, few having been far from the town. If Mayor Page knew of his plans, he would surely try to stop them.
The Voice said Virginia would be easier to convince than he could imagine, so he would be completely blunt with her. At least he would try that first.
He stopped walking, sat down on an old tree stump and packed his pipe. Sitting and smoking through the remainder of the sunset, Juan derived a plan that would get he and Virginia out of Miller before anyone was the wiser. He hoped it would work. It had to work. It appeared to be the only way.
“Juan my good man, come in, come in. It’s so late, we thought you weren’t going to come.” Daddy said, calling Juan into the house and removing his overcoat in the same motion. “Why, you’re absolutely frigid my boy. You got lost, Hmm?”
The irony of the situation was almost too much for Juan to handle. ‘You got lost, Hmm?’ was too close to the truth.
Gratefully, the mechanical smile was still working, and Juan managed “beautiful night” from somewhere.
Daddy smiled, not completely understanding. “Grab yourself a toddy, it’ll warm you up good.”
“It sure will Mayor Page, but could you tell me where abouts is sweet Virginia? I have yet to spot her.”
“Check the kitchen, Juan. Virginia’s been acting odd all of the day. She hasn’t been moping, mind you, but she has appeared blue. Go talk to her. May do her some good.”
Juan bolted toward the kitchen door, purposely avoiding the eyes of the other partiers, fearing they knew his thoughts. Through the door he saw the most beautiful thing he had ever witnessed. It was Virginia, teary eyed and glowing. Joy and relief were everywhere. Juan’s ecstasy peaked as Virginia turned to him and parted her sweet lips.
“Oh, Juan, you’re finally here.”
Immediately they were intertwined, hugging closer than they ever had.
“I love you, Juan”
“I love you, Virginia”
A magical kiss followed.
“Virginia, we have to talk. I’ve been thinking about the future, and....”
“Oh, hello you two love birds,” said Quimby as he entered with the worst timing possible, “I would love to be able to document that Juan Sebastian and Virginia Page declared their marriage at a party in my honor. I love to be in my own history log. Just love it.”
Horrified and on the spot, Juan lied, “Marriage? Mr. Quimby you’re too eager to get in your own history books. Us? Married?”
“Don’t be coy with me you two, I heard whispers of love in here. And it’s not like anyone would be upset. The town has been wondering for months when you both would realize what we already knew. Besides, Virginia, your Daddy confided to me that it would happen tonight. He said he saw the look of love in your eyes earlier today.”
Virginia knew she hadn’t really fooled her Daddy in his den, and was struck with embarrassment that the entire town knew of their love.
Making matters worse, Virginia’s family began filtering into the kitchen. Everyone of them were smiling, cooing and ooing.
Varied cries of “You are going to be so happy,” “I thought you never would figure it out,” and “What a joyous day,” sprang-up throughout the now packed kitchen. Virginia and Juan felt trapped, and worst of all, Juan felt his master plan slipping away before it began.
Grinning, Daddy put one of his big arms around Juan and said, “We might need to have a talk Hmm?"
Juan was stressed to the gills. Exhibiting behavior quite unlike himself, he mildly screamed, “Privacy. What we wanted, both Virginia and I, was to be alone. Is that possible?”
The kitchen audience was caught aghast. Mr. Quimby began scribbling in his “Portable Record” (a note pad), Mrs. Page and her friends chirped all the way out of the room and Daddy looked sternly at Juan.
“Juan, you had better make an honest woman out of my beautiful daughter. By no means are you starting off on the right foot, but I know you have been going over a lot lately. Come see me, Hmm? We need to talk and soon.”
Finally alone, Juan and Virginia stared blankly at one another. Neither of them knew what to say. They had voiced their love for each other only a minute before, and everyone had made such a fuss — they had no idea how to proceed.
After what seemed like an eternity of staring and silence, Virginia grabbed Juan by the hand as they scurried out the kitchen door and into the cold.
He followed her contentedly blind. As she ran, so did he. It wasn’t until the light of the Callahan place disappeared behind the forest that Juan slowed Virginia down.
“Wait, where are we going. What are we doing?”
Virginia turned and looked at Juan. He exploded with pleasure as he smiled a real smile for the first time in weeks. Virginia returned him a true one.
“We are going to your house, Juan. We need to talk — alone. We wouldn’t get a moment of peace back at the party and this cannot wait.”
“But this isn’t the way to my house.”
“Yes it is. It’s a secret way that only I know.”
“A way that only you know to my house?”
“You forget this is my territory. I grew up in these woods. There are ways though this forest only a child could find.”
Juan said nothing further as Virginia led him through the cold and dark woods. And sure enough, in 10 minutes they were inside the house, huddling by the fire and drinking what was left of the wine. They had not spoken and had become almost afraid to see the other's eyes.
“Juan, what did you want to tell me?”
His answer came slowly because he was afraid. He was afraid to tell Virginia he was leaving Miller and taking her with him, unsure of all he had been thinking now that everyone knew about the love he and Virginia shared. A giggle appeared on his lips after the thought of not knowing the right words to say to the woman he loved amused him. As he turned to Virginia, his feelings spilled.
“Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts. My stomach has been aching, my heart pounding and it’s all because of you.”
“And, I’ve realized that I love you, Virginia.”
“Oh, I love you too Juan.”
They then hugged. Hugging evolved to kissing. Kissing evolved to stroking and stroking evolved to....
“Virginia, I never knew you were this kind of girl.”
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