Chapter 20 - People Will Say We're in Love

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May 1942

Annie was pouring coffee for Jonathon while Helen spooned jello with canned pineapple into bowls for him and Billy.

"Is everything set for dinner with the Moores tomorrow?" Jonathon asked Annie.

"Yes, I'm making a standing rib roast. There was a problem with the dessert though."

"Oh?" Jonathon said, raising an eyebrow.

"When I went to the grocer's, all the sugar had been taken off the shelves. There wasn't a bit of it left."

"Why would they do that?" Billy asked.

"Mr. Paulson told me sugar is going to be rationed now. He was told to remove all of it."

"Did you tell him who you were buying it for?" Jonathon demanded. "Surely he could sell it to us!"

"I tried! But he said he'd get in trouble if all his stock wasn't accounted for."

Jonathon let out an exasperated sigh. "Well, that's just perfect!"

"Don't worry about dessert," Annie said quickly. "I had a can of cherry pie filling in the pantry so we'll have pie instead of cake."

"I suppose that will have to do," Jonathon muttered.

"I had the jello and pineapple I used for tonight in the pantry too, but... I don't know if I'll be able to make desserts from now on."

"Yes, I understand," he said, dismissing Annie with a wave of his hand.

"Tires, gas, and now sugar," Billy said, contemplating his bowl of jello sadly. "I wonder what'll be rationed next."

"It'll be hard to do without," Helen said. "But the soldiers need it more than we do."

"Billy makes a good point," Jonathon said. "Have Annie stock up on non-perishables when she goes to the grocer's from now on."

Helen took in a breath, then closed her mouth while she picked up her spoon. "Alright," she said quietly.

"When the Moores are here tomorrow," Jonathon said to Billy. "I'd like you to be careful what you say around them. Obviously, they don't know – and we need to keep it that way."

"I won't say anything," Billy said. "But I need to talk about Kitty, with both of you."

"What about her?" Jonathon said, surprised he'd brought her up.

Billy leaned back in his seat and fidgeted with his spoon. "I haven't told her about why you got married, but – she's asked me questions, and I feel guilty about keeping things from her. I'm going to marry her.  She's practically a member of the family already, and I'd rather she know the truth now than find out later I lied to her. She won't ever tell anyone. I promise she won't," he said earnestly.

Jonathon looked at Helen, not knowing what to say. Billy was waiting for him to make the decision, but was that really his right?

"Of course, you should tell her," Helen said, leaning forward. "I'm sorry, Billy. I didn't think about what kind of position I was putting you in."

"Thanks, Helen," Billy said, his face lightening. "I better go upstairs. I've got a book report to write."

After he was gone, Jonathon noticed Helen wasn't eating. "Are you really alright with Kitty knowing the truth?"

"Yes. Billy's right. She's going to be a part of the family, and if he trusts her, we should too."

"I know, but he could've waited to tell her," he muttered.

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