Chapter 3 - It Looks Like Rain in Cherry Blossom Lane

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Jonathon knocked on his parent's bedroom door.

"Who is it?"

"It's me, Mother."

"Come in." She was seated at her dressing table brushing her hair, but she set the brush down, watching him approach in the mirror.

"You look lovely this morning," he said, kissing her cheek.

"Don't try to flatter me, young man," she scolded, turning to face him on her stool. "You know I'm angry with you."

He sat on the settee at the end of her bed and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "That's why I came to talk to you," he said, trying to put as much seriousness into his words as he could.

Knowing his mother was going to bring up Annie being invited to the bonfire, Jonathon had decided to confront it head on. But he'd waited until his father had gone downstairs for breakfast. His chances of smoothing things over with her were much better if Father wasn't involved in the discussion.

"Why did you invite that Montgomery girl to your party, Jonathon? You promised me you would only invite–"

"I didn't set out to invite her," he said, wanting to interrupt her before she got too wound up. It was important to take control of a difficult conversation with Mother early on. It made reasoning with much her easier. "She's friends with Helen Anderson. You remember meeting her, don't you?"

"The blonde girl?"

"That's right. Helen's a swell girl, but she's shy. I knew it would be hard to convince her to come to the bonfire by herself. That's why I invited Annie." It wasn't entirely true, but embellishing the truth always made the parts that weren't exactly true appear more believable. "The fact is, Mother. I've been noticing Helen for a while now."

"I can understand why. She's quite pretty," Mother said with a disapproving frown.

"She's more than that," Jonathon said, speaking up right away. Mother was suspicious of pretty girls, especially ones who might be interested in him. He had to act quickly to make sure his mother had the right impression of Helen. "She's a nice girl, sweet, and she's kind too."

"Perhaps she's too kind for her own good. One can't be too careful about the friends one chooses."

"I agree, but it was probably hard for her when she came here, the new girl in school and being so shy. Annie is sweet in her own way, but she's not the brightest when it comes to things like that."

"I could see that," Mother said, pursing her lips.

"I'm sure she was only trying to help Helen feel more comfortable. Once Helen's used to visiting us here, I won't have to include Annie anymore." Mother opened her mouth, but he took her hand in his, not wanting to be interrupted. "The thing is, Mother, I like Helen."

Mother appeared startled. "You do?"

"I've liked her for a while."

"But do you know what sort of people she comes from?"

"Yes, I do," he lied. "They're bankers, like Mr. Moore."

He'd anticipated Mother's concerns about Helen's family, but with little information from Helen, and none of it anything Mother would approve of, he'd decided to make up a story. It was the only option if he was going to get her on his side.

Later, when Helen had become a more permanent part of his life, he was certain he could convince her to play along. And with her folks living so far away, it would be easy to keep the truth from his parents.

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