The Bridegrooms

Free The Bridegrooms by Allison K. Pittman

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Authors: Allison K. Pittman
    “Very well.” He leaned forward again to give his customary kiss goodbye to her cheek, and she hoped she imagined the hint of relief behind the gesture.
    She continued alone the few steps until her house came into view, checking over her shoulder, just once, to see if Garrison was there for a final wave, but he’d already disappeared around the corner. She should have asked him if he loved her. He did, of course. He’d told her so dozens of times, but to hear it once more might have set her shoulders straighter.
    Oh, how she dreaded that first step through the front door. Her father’s face—questioning where she’d spent the afternoon. Wondering why Hazel was in such a state.
    What if she’d already blurted out the whole story? Certainly Hazel could be sly and secretive when it suited her purpose, but as upset as she was when they left the restaurant—
    Oh, Hazel, please, please let me tell Doc. Let me take care of everything
    Just as Vada began to formulate exactly what to say when she walked through the front door, the door itself flew open, and there was Lisette flying out of it, her caramel-colored curls bouncing behind her.
    “Vada!” She tore down the sidewalk without the least glance to the left or right. “Vada! Thank goodness you’re home! Oh, it’s the most terrible thing ever! Or most wonderful—I can’t tell…”
    Once she closed the gap between them, Lisette grabbed Vada’s sleeve and tried to tug her along behind.
    “Lissy!” Vada wrenched her arm away. “What in the world—”
    “Shhh!” She held a finger to her lips. “It’s supposed to be a secret.”
supposed to be a secret?” Vada planted her feet. “I’m not moving one more step until you tell me.”
    Lisette glanced over her shoulder with a mischievous grin. “Then you’ll never know. But trust me; you’ll want to see this.”

    Vada could hear the commotion before her foot even touched the bottom step. Lisette had left the front door wide open, and from it emitted a low, rumbling sound punctuated by the fearful voice of an irritated Molly Keegan.
    “Get out! Out o’ my way ’fore I toss the lot of you to the street!”
    Vada followed her bounding sister up the front steps but stopped short at the Allenhouse threshold. In truth, she had no choice but to stop, as the narrow entryway was packed full of men—all different shapes and sizes—dressed in varying shades of white and gray. They wore short pants with dark socks, and it would be several seconds before the shock of the scene wore off and left Vada with a clear, if unexplained, definition of the scenario in her home.
    “Why is there a baseball team in our house?”
    “Isn’t it wonderful?” Lisette was still clutching Vada’s sleeve, and now she pulled her close. “It’s not a whole team, of course. But honestly, sis, there’s more than enough to go around.”
    “Don’t tell me they followed you here?”
    “You are so silly.” Immediately Lisette’s attention was drawn to a tall, thin man stationed at the doorway leading into the front parlor. She smiled her widest smile, the one that brought her shoulders up to her ears. He, in response, twirled the corner of his overgrown mustache.
    “Well,” Lisette lifted her hand in a delicate, finger-wagging wave, “maybe one or two…”
    “Then what—”
    “Ah, now here you are, missy hoit-n-toit finally decidin’ to come home.” Molly Keegan thumped down the final step and made her way through the crowd, dispersing the men like so many nine pins. “And haven’t I told you more’n a dozen times that the noon dinner finds its way to the table at precisely noon? But I suppose after a fancy outin’ downtown, you’re just like your sister, expectin’ me to keep it waitin’ for ya on the off chance you’ll make an appearance.”
    “Molly, what is going on?”
    “Well, ya might know if ya’d been here at noon like you’re supposed to, now wouldn’t ya? But

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