Chapter 5 - Moonlight Serenade

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Throughout the next week, Jonathon's nerves were in a constant turmoil. Every morning when he went to school, he waited for Helen to say something about the dance, but she never did. Then every afternoon, he dreaded his mother angrily reporting she'd received a reply from Helen saying she wasn't coming.

It was now the Friday before the dance, the last possible day for Helen to refuse the invitation, and she'd still remained silent on the subject. Riding home in the back of the car, his stomach was in knots. Had she waited until the last moment to send his mother a note? That would surely make Mother angry.

He sighed as they drove through the open gate. No matter what excuse Helen had given, he'd come up with some sort of explanation that would soothe Mother's ruffled feathers. He could sense Helen was softening her stance towards him. Every day she seemed more comfortable, laughing at his jokes, and chatting easily with him. He couldn't let anything get between them now that he was so close.

When James pulled up to the house and stopped the car, Jonathon was surprised to see a moving truck parked by the front entrance and the front door wide open.

"Awe, jeez," Billy said, rolling his eyes. "What now?"

"Mother must be moving furniture out for the dance."

"Why does she have to make such a big deal out of everything?" Billy said, his eyes filled with desperation. "I didn't want a big party!"

"You know Mother. She never does anything half way," Jonathon said as James opened the door for them.

When they walked in the grand parlor, two middle aged men in denim overalls were in front of the fireplace at the far side of the room, rolling up the large Oriental rug. The sofas and chairs had been moved to edges of the room and all the small tables had already been taken out.

"Oh, good. You're home," Mother said, going to them.

"You didn't have to take out all the furniture," Billy said, his voice more measured than it had been in the car. "We don't need the whole floor for dancing."

"Don't be silly, darling. There wouldn't be room for the band."

"You hired a band?" he said with a pained expression.

"Well, of course!" she said as if she couldn't believe this was news to him. "You didn't think we'd have everyone dance to the Victrola, did you?"

"I was thinking the radio," he said faintly.

"That would never work," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "No one would hear it on the other side of the room." Billy dropped his head with defeat. "I need both of you go to your bedrooms. I've taken your suits out of moth balls and laid them out. I want you to put them on and come down here. A seamstress is arriving in a few minutes to make sure they fit."

"Alright, Mother," Jonathon said.

Billy didn't say anything when he headed for the stairs, but once his back was turned, his expression was thunderous. Following behind him, Jonathon was glad he hadn't let Mother see how angry he was. Father would surely hear of it, and then Billy would suffer the consequences.

In his room with the door closed, it occurred to him that his mother hadn't mentioned getting a reply from Helen. There was no way Mother would have forgotten to tell him Helen had refused the invitation, and his hopes rose. Was it possible she was coming after all?

Perhaps her aunt and uncle had decided to buy a dress for her. After all, Mr. Moore's bank was the only one his family used as well as being the main bank for Blackwell Iron and Mining. He wished he could know for sure, but if it wasn't the case, if she didn't show up, he could tell his mother it was a last minute illness. Mother couldn't hold that against Helen.

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