Andi hurried out of the buggy and headed into the house. School was out next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, and she was already planning ways to spend the time.
As she entered the house, she saw Chad and Mitch sitting in the parlor. Curious as to why they would be in the house in the late afternoon, she walked over to where they were sitting.
Chad stood up and turned toward her. “Andi, how was school? looking forward to the time off?”
Andi grinned. “Defiantly! But what's going on? Why are you in the house?”
“We live here too, little sis!” Mitch joked as he also stood up.
“I know, but what I mean is--”
“We know what you mean. “ Chad interrupted. “Mother got a letter from Aunt Rebecca. It seems we have been invited there for Thanksgiving.”
Andi's jaw dropped open. It couldn't be. Aunt Rebecca's house? But, but, Chad, Aunt Rebecca's house do I have. . .”
Chad interrupted. “Yes, Andi, Aunt Rebecca's house and yes, Aunt Rebecca would be highly offended if you didn't attend. So you will be going.”
Andi sighed, “Okay, when are we leaving?”
This time Mitch replied. ”In two days.”
Andi sighed, “I guess I better go get packed.” Andi looked down at her school dress I better get used to it. she thought as she walked up the stairs. It was going to be hard for Andi to stay patient with Aunt Rebecca for that long when she would have to be wearing a dress every single day.
The stagecoach rattled over the uneven ground. Every moment getting further from home. . .and closer to Aunt Rebecca’s house.
Andi sighed as she leaned her head out the window. Justin, who was sitting next to her, slipped an arm around her waist. “It’s okay, honey. A couple days isn’t so bad.”
“Oh Justin! Aunt Rebecca expects me to be just like Melinda, a perfect lady!”
Justin grinned. “Well, it shouldn’t be too hard to act for a few days, right?”
Before Andi could answer, the stagecoach driver yelled out “San Francisco ahead!”
Aunt Rebecca came out to greet them when they arrived at her house. Andi subconsciously smoothed out her dress, which was wrinkled and dusty from sitting in a stagecoach all day.
Aunt Rebecca didn’t seem to notice. “Come in everyone!” She said as she greeted mother with a hug. “I have some extra guests here I want you to meet. I didn’t tell you in my letter because I wanted it to be a surprise!”
She ushered them inside and led the way to the parlor. Because her brothers were in front of her, she couldn’t see in at first. But she did hear the introductions.
“This is Johnny Wilson, he’s been boarding at my house while he’s in Military school. And this is Ms. Felicity Livingston and her father. They happened to be in town so I invited them over.”
Andi couldn’t believe her ears. Justin, Chad and Mitch all glanced back at her. Finally they walked into the room and Andi had a clear view of their “guests”.
Her eyes widened, and for once in her life, she didn’t know what to say.
Johnny stood right next to Aunt Rebecca with an expressionless look on his face and didn't say a word. Andi shrank back behind Mother who put an arm around Andi.
“Well, come on in,” said Aunt Rebecca, ”you all know where you normally stay.”
Andi walked up the stairs to the room that she was to share with Melinda. On her way up the stairs Johnny stopped her from behind. “Well, aren’t you going to even say hi?”
Andi looked at him. He didn't look even the slightest bit mean or goofy. “Hi, Johnny, funny to run into you here.”
Johnny replied, ”You too.”
Then Melinda called for Andi to hurry up.
When Andi walked into the room Melinda had all her stuff thrown on the side of the bed by the window. That was the side Andi loved, right where she could imagine. But Andi didn't say anything. Might as well let one thing go. Not much can get worse than seeing Johnny.
“Hey Andi, you know that boy, right? Wasn’t he the one that used to torment you?”
Andi sighed and turned toward Melinda who was glancing at her with an inquisitive look on her face.
“Yes, he was the one who ‘kidnapped’ me when that whole court case was going on with the Wilsons. After that his parents sent him off to military school. I didn’t know exactly where it was, but it obviously must have been here in San Francisco.”
Melinda nodded. “It’ll be interesting to see how everything works out with him staying here. And wasn’t Felicity the girl you had trouble with that time you ran away?”
Andi grimaced as She quickly grabbed a dress out of her bag and changed. Melinda, who had finished dressing, picked up the dress Andi had thrown down and smoothed it out.
“Yes, this is going to be one of the very worst thanksgivings! Not only do we have to be here at Aunt Rebecca's, but Felicity and Johnny are here!”
Melinda gave her a sympathetic look as she walked toward the door. She paused with her hand on the door handle. “Here’s something to think about. It’s thanksgiving, let’s both try hard to be thankful for what we do have and not complain about what we don’t like. We have many things to be thankful for.”
She stepped out into the hall and closed the door quietly behind her. Andi heard her footsteps retreating down the hall as she stood up and walked over to the window. Melinda was right. Besides, she wouldn’t help or fix anything by complaining.
She took a deep breath and walked toward the door. It was going to be a long holiday.