A FEW AFTERNOONS LATER IN
THE LIVING ROOM OF THE CALLISON HOME
"I almost think you're more excited about this
engagement party than I am." Jillian
laughed as she looked warmly at the woman who would soon become her
sipped her coffee and leafed through yet another book of invitations in
hopes of finding just the right pattern.
"Actually, I think I am. Jillian, you know,
this is the first wedding we've had in the family since..." she
paused to think. "Well, since Charles
and I got married! We didn't have a big to-do party for our
engagement. Things were much simpler back then."
"Well, Mrs. Callison, you just plan away!"
Jillian was so happy to be marrying into such a wonderful family.
She had always felt so at ease in the Callison home.
"Besides, the more you take care of, the less I have to do!"
"Jillian, I'm glad this is something we can do
together." Francis reached over and put a kind hand on
Jillian's. "But there is one thing you've got to do."
"Stop calling me 'Mrs. Callison'! You're
going to be family and none of my children refer to me as 'Mrs.
Callison'. Call me 'Mother' or 'Mom' or 'Francis'....anything but
'Mrs. Callison'." Jillian's heart began to swell.
Francis had always treated her like a daughter. Even early in her
Reginald, Jillian knew that there was a special connection between
"Alright, Mrs....I mean, Mother."
Francis put her arms around Jillian and hugged her tightly as if to seal
the new family. The warm moment between future in-laws was quickly
disrupted when Maggie
bolted in the door from school.
"Jillian!" Maggie called out as she rushed
into the room and flopped herself down on the sofa next to her and began
to thumb through the stacks of brochures and magazines. "Are
you two working on the party?"
"Yes, dear." Francis replied as she cast
a disapproving eye towards her daughter and the pile of discarded text
books. Maggie ignored her mother's subtle hints.
"So, Jillian, have you decided what dress you're
gonna wear yet? I told Mother that I wanted her to get me that
light blue dress they've got down at Lerner's Department Store.
It's absolutely gorgeous! Oh, I can't wait!" Maggie
barely took a breath as she continued on with her excitement.
"Mother, you will let me stay for the whole party, won't
you? At the New Year's party you sent me home to bed at 10 o'clock!
Who goes to bed at 10 o'clock on New Year's Eve? I was so
embarrassed! You always have to treat me like a kid!"
"Maggie..." Francis tried to maneuver into the
conversation when her daughter finally took a breath. "We can
talk about all of that later. Right now, Jillian and I are very
busy working on plans for the party. If you don't let us finish,
there won't be a party for you to worry about staying up for."
"Oh, Mom!" Maggie sulked a little before
grabbing her books. "Alright. I can take a hint.
I'm going." After she left the room, Francis and Jillian
burst out into laughter.
"I don't remember ever being that much of a
character when I was that age." Jillian smiled as she
thought back to her childhood in Manhattan. "Kids today are
"Well, that's my daughter." Francis
again reached out for Jillian's hand and held it close to her heart.
"Soon, I'll have two."
Jillian couldn't wait to officially be part of this
wonderful family. However, thoughts of Dane
suddenly invaded her happiness. She tried to push her concerns to
the back of her mind, but they proved to be too stubborn. She
couldn't let him disrupt her wedding to Reginald. It had become
more than about her own happiness. Now, through her, Dane was
threatening to destroy the happiness and plans of the entire Callison