by DiVoran Lites
Chapter Twenty Eight
“Lia requests the pleasure of your company in her suite.” Ellie told Molly at the door to her bedroom.
“Suite is it?” Molly placed her hands on her hips and stood staring at Ellie as if she were a stranger.
“Please. She wants to be friends. After all it’s your birthday.” Ellie tented her hands under her chin in a pleading gesture.
“Humph, it’ll be the first time that besom ever thought about anybody but herself.” Molly stalked off down the hallway leaving Ellie five paces behind.
“Look what we bought you in Denver,” Lia stood by her bed with her outstretched hand presenting a display of garments.
“My stars, and garters,” Molly said. “Is all that for me? But why?”
“Will you try them on?” Lia invited, lifting the dress and holding it against herself. “Isn’t this pretty? It’s the right color for your redheaded complexion.”
“I ain’t been a redhead in a long time,” Molly said taking the dress and holding it at arm’s length as if she were looking into a mirror. “My, it is fine and soft.” It was a periwinkle voile that had green leaved violets embroidered on its white pique collar. When Lia moved behind the housekeeper and pulled loose one of her apron strings, Molly dropped the dress on the bed, grabbed her apron, and hung on. “You two go in the other room. I’ve never had anyone watch me dress and I’m not starting now.”
On the way through to the next room, Lia paused to put a large black record on the Victrola. She wound the machine and a lively ragtime piece started to play.
“Do you think Molly has ever worn rayon stockings?” Lia said, doing the one-step across her sitting room floor. “We’ll have to check whether she got the seams straight up the back of her legs or not.”
“I wonder if she has ever worn a silk chemise before,” Ellie said dancing too. Just think, this is only the first stage of the surprises we and Aldon have planned for her.
They heard a lady-like cough and looked up to see Molly standing in the doorway chin up and shoulders back looking like a queen on the front page of The Denver Post.
“You look beautiful,” Ellie said. “Do you like your present?”
“Oh, yes. I’ll wear this outfit for Sunday-go-to-meetings for the rest of my life.” Molly said. Lia took her to the cheval mirror in the corner.
“Why I’m just a regular Miss Got-Rocks, ain’t I?” Molly turned her head one way and then another admiring herself. Why did you do all this for me, anyhow?”
“Happy birthday, dear Molly,” said Lia giving her a careful hug.
“How did you know?” Molly turned to Ellie
“A little birdie told us,” she said.
“Most likely Aldon,” Molly nodded. “Well ain’t that just like him. I’m going to get out of this garb and back into my housedress so I can get supper going.”
“Lets’ go down and wait for the men to come in so they can see the new Molly first,” said Lia.
It took some persuasion, but Molly consented to being shown off with the stipulation that she could, “get comfortable” as soon as she had been adequately admired by the fellows. Ellie and Lia escorted her to the parlor, then went back upstairs to change into their new dresses from which a light shaking had removed the Tuileries dust.
When they went back into the parlor, Molly was wearing a clean apron and wiping the mantle with a rag. Suspicious, she set her head at an angle and stared at them. “Why are you dressed up?” she said. Right then, Aldon and the Signor Solano entered the room
“Bella, bella,” the Signor said, when he came in with Aldon.
“Molly, you look so fine,” Aldon said. “Wait until…”
“Where is my grandson?” Signor Solano interrupted.
“Let’s go for a ride,” said Aldon. “He’s probably going to meet up with us later.”
Aldon asked Ellie to drive the touring car with the Solano family and a bemused Molly in it, and he joined Kate and Seraphina in a Ford truck the ranch had recently bought.
When Colleen met them at the door of the hotel, Molly became self-conscious of her new outfit. A waitress led them into the small, private dining room with a large round table. Two women rose from their seats and came to Molly who swayed slightly when she saw them.
“Nancy!” she said, hugging the tall, willowy one. She then turned to the other, “Trudy!
Aldon took Ellie over to the small group and introduced her, first to his mother, Nancy, then to his aunt, Gertrude.
“How do you do?” said Nancy. “I have heard about you coming all the way from Chicago to work on the ranch. How are you liking it?”
“It’s the prettiest place I’ve ever seen,” said Ellie, noticing the resemblance between the tall, thin Aldon and his mother.
“Aunt Gertrude,” said Aldon, this is Ellie, our hired hand.” Gertrude who was shorter and rounder grabbed Ellie in a hug and almost suffocated her.
Colleen gave suggestions for seating as Kenny came in. The room sounded to Ellie like an aviary, where the birds were all chirping as they looked forward to being fed.
“This is your birthday celebration, Aunt Molly. We wanted to surprise you.” Aldon said.
“Faith and begorra,” said Molly. I never thought anything like this would happen to me, and me having done nothing to deserve it.”