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The phone rang, making me jump as I finished reading new curriculum guidelines that would be in effect for the 2002-2003 school year at the high school where I taught English. I was really tired, and didn't want to even answer it, it was probably my aunt (again), asking me to come over for coffee. I couldn't help it that since her husband left her just a few months ago, she was very lonely...but she was family, and she was actually pretty cool. I checked the caller id screen on the cordless phone next to me, and it read "Private Name, Private Number". Thinking it was a telemarketer with a wonderful deal on siding, I let the machine get it.

"Hello, you've reached the Smithson residence. No one can take your call right now, yada yada yada, you know the drill. Thanks!"


A familiar voice started, "Hey Ree, it's Isaac. I know, I haven't called--"

I picked up. "ISAAC!" I screamed. He was right, we hadn't talked on the phone in just over a year, right after my semi-boyfriend Jamie was killed in a car accident. It was good to hear his voice. "How are you? What's up? When's the next frickin' album coming out?" I teased.

"I'm fine, I have a lot to tell you, and early next year. Anyway, what I'm calling about is what are you doing next week?"

"Next week? When? 'Next week' is a pretty big span of time."

"Well, um, there's a family trip coming up next week, and everyone gets to bring someone, and the first person I thought of was you."

Me? Why me? Even though we were very good friends, we hadn't seen each other in person since a concert in St. Louis in spring of last year. "Well, thanks, Isaac. Where's this trip, and why such short notice?" I questioned.

Isaac continued quickly. "We're going to Georgia, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. It's gonna be really roman--" He stopped himself, realizing what he was giving away. "I mean, it's going to be really nice."

"Romantic? Were you going to say 'romantic'? What's up, Clarke Isaac? You can't hide it from me."

He let out a loud breath. "Alright, I slipped, but you cannot tell anyone why you're going where you're going. Okay?"

"Yes, now what's going on? My curiosity is piqued!"

"'Piqued'? Does anyone actually use that word except English teachers?" he teased.

"C'mon, Isaac, tell me what's going on NOW."

"Alright...Taylor's getting married," Isaac said with barely-containable excitement in his voice.

"Aah!" I screamed. "Incredible! Is it, oh what's her name, Natalie?"

"Yup," he replied casually. "About time, huh?"

"Yeah, they've been together for what seems like forever. Why so sudden on this?"

"Well...um...they kinda NEED to get married," Isaac said slowly.

"Ah...oh!" I said, realizing what he meant. "Really?! Okay..."

"Anyway, now you see why you need to keep it a secret? If anyone asks, this is just a 'family trip'. If any of your students get ahold of this--"

"I know, I know," I interrupted. "School just got out anyway, I only see them at the mall and the grocery store. But let me check the calendar." I took the cordless phone and walked from the living room to the kitchen where my Beatles calendar was hanging on the fridge. "I'm free, but I'll have to check the funds for airfare, I can't promise anything. I had to do a transmission overhaul last month, and Scabbers just got declawed and--"

"Don't worry about it," Isaac said casually. "I'll take care of it. I want you there...at any cost."

His words, and the urgentness of his tone, caught me off guard. "Uh, sure, I'll be there, just let me know where & when."

"Great, I'll buy your plane ticket and send you the e-ticket in your email. I'll try to get you out on Thursday morning, you should be home Sunday, I think."

"Cool!" I said. After 6 years of college and two English degrees, all I could sometimes come up with was 'cool'. "And Isaac..."


"Thanks for thinking of me...I've missed you," I said softly.

He paused. "You're welcome, and you know I've missed you, too." Another pause. "Anyway, I'd love to talk, but I've got to go, lots of plans to take care of."

"Hey Isaac, um, what should I wear? Formal, informal, afternoon, evening, indoor, outdoor..."

"Huh?" Guys can be so dense sometimes. After he processed all my questions, he replied, "Oh, um, yeah, formal, I guess, um, afternoon, and the ceremony'll be indoor, but the reception's outdoor, but there'll be a tent in case of rain. But you can go shopping with my mom Thursday afternoon, I know she'd love to have girl time with you."

After we hung up, I logged on to find out about Callaway Gardens. It was beautiful, and he was right, it looked just absolutely romantic.

On to Chapter Two
Back to Prologue

Copyright ©1999-2006 Winona Patterson.