Morning, Noon and Night

Chapter 19



Julia Stanford enjoyed having Sally as a roommate. She was always upbeat and fun and @heerful. She had had a bad marriage and had sworn never to get involved with a man again. Julia wasn't sure what Sally's definition of never was, because she seemed to be out with a different man every week. ' men are the best,' Sally philosophized. ' feel guilty, so they're always buying you presents. With a single man, you have to-ask yourself, why is he still singlet She said to Julia, ' aren't dating anyone, are YOUT '.' Julia thought of the men who had wanted to take her out. ' don't want to go out just for the sake of going out, Sally. I have to be with someone I really care about.", have I got a man for you!' Sally'said. ''re going to love him! His name is Tony Vinetti. I told him all about you, and he's dying to meet you." really don't think -"'ll pick you up tomorrow night at eight o'clock.' 231 Tony Vinetti was tall, very tall, in an appealing, ungainly way. His hair was thick and dark, and his smile exploded disarmingly as he looked at Julia. ' wasn't exaggerating. You're a knockout!" you,' Julia said. She felt a little shiver of pleasure. ' you ever been to Houston'st – It was one of the finest restaurants in Kansas City. '.' The truth was that she could not afford to eat at Houston's. Not even with the raise she had been given.

"Well, that's where we have a reservation.' At dinner, Tony talked mostly about himself, but Julia did not mind. He was entertaining and charming. ''s drop-dead gorgeous,' Sally had said. And he was. The dinner was delicious. For dessert, Julia had ordered chocolate souffl6and Tony had ice cream. As they were Imigering over coffee, Julia thought, Is he going to ask me to his apartment, and if he does, will I go? No. I can't do that. Not on the first date. He'll think rm cheap.

When we go out the next time … The check arrived. ' scanned it and said, ' looks right.' He ticked off the items on the check. ' had the pfm and the lobster.. 6yes.9 ' you had the French fries and salad, and the souft rightt She looked at him, puzzled. ''s right …' 232 '.' He did some quick addition. ' share of the bill is fifty dollars and forty cents.' Julia sat there in shock. ' beg your pardont Tony grinned.'I know how independent you women are today.

You won't let guys do anything for you, will you? There,'he said magnanimously, ''ll take care of your share of the tip."'m sorry it didn't work out,' Sally

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''s really a honey. Are you going to see him again?, ' can't afford him,' Julia said bitterly. ', I have someone else for you. You'll love '. Sally, I really don't want …" me.' Ted Riddle was a man in his late thirties and, Juba had to admit, quite attractive. He took her to Jennie's Restaurant on Historic Strawberry Hill, famous for its authentic Croatian food. ' really did me a favor,' Riddle said. ''re very lovely." you."

"Did Sally tell you I have an advertising agency?". She didn't."

"Oh, yes. I have one of the biggest firms in Kansas City. Everybody knows me."'s nice. I ' handle some of the biggest clients in the country.' 233 ' do? I'm not '. yes. We handle celebrities, banks, big businesses, chain stores ', I -' ,… supermarkets. You name it, we represent them all." – ' me tell you how I got started.' He never stopped talking during dinner, and the only subject was Ted Riddle. ' was, probably just nervous,' Sally apologized.

"Well, I can tell you, he made me nervous. If there's anything you want to know about the life of Ted Riddle since the day he was born, just ask me!" Mckinley.""att ' Mckinley. I just remembered. He used to date a girlfriend of mine. She was absolutely crazy about him?

"Thanks, Sally, but no.."'m going to call him.' "Me following night, Jerry Mckinley appeared. He was nice-looking, and he had a sweet and engaging personality. When he walked in the door and looked at Julia he said,'I know blind dates are always difficult. I'm rather shy myself, so I know. how you must feel, Julia.' 234 She liked him immediately. They went to the Evergreen Chinese Restaurant on State Avenue for dinner.

"You work for an architectural firm. That must be exciting. I don't think people realize how important architects are.' He's sensitive, Julia thought happily. She smiled. ' couldn't agree with you more.' The evening was delightful, and the more they talked, the more Julia liked him. She decided to be bold. ' you like to come back to the apartment for a nightcapt she asked. '. Let's go back to my placd."

"Your placer He leaned forward and squeezed her hand. ''s where I keep the whips and chains.' Henry Wesson owned an accounting firm in the building where Peters, Eastman & Tolkin was quartered. Two or three mornings a week, Julia would find herself in the elevator with him.. He seemed. a pleasant enough man. He was in his thirties, quietly intelligentlooking, sandy-haired, and he wore black-rimmed glasses. The acquaintance began with polite nods, then, ' morning,' then, ''re looking very well today,' and after a few months, ' wonder if you'd like to have dinner with me some evenine.' He was 235 watching her eagerly, waiting for an answer. Julia smiled. ' right.' It was -instant love on Henry's part. On their first date, he took Julia to EBT, one of the top restaurants in Kansas City. He was obviously thrilled to be out with her. He told her a little about himself. ' was born right here in good old KC. My father was born here, too. The acorn doesn't fall far from the oak. You know what I meant Julia knew what he meant. ' always knew I wanted to be an accountant. When I got out of school, I went to work for the Bigelow & Benson Financial Corporation.

Now I have my own firm."'s nice,' Julia said. ''s about all there is to tell about me. Tell me about you.' Julia was silent for a moment. rm the illegitimate daughter of one o I , the richest men in the world. You ve probably heard of him. Hejust drowned. I'm an heiress to his estate. She looked around the elegant room. I could buy this restaurant, if I wanted to. I couldprobably buy this whole town, if I wanted to. Henry was staring at her. '?"! I … I'm sorry. I was born in Milwaukee. My . my father died when I was young. My mother and I traveled around the country a great deal. When she 236 passed away, I decided to stay here and get a job.' I hope my nose isn't growing- Henry Wesson put a hand over hers. ' you've never had a man to take care of you.' He leaned forward and said earnestly, ' would like to take care of YOU for the rest of your life.' Julia looked at him in surprise. ' don't mean to sound like Doris Day, but we hardly know each other." want to change that.' When Julia got home, Sally was waiting for her.'Well?' she asked. ' did your date got Julia said, thoughtfully, ''s very sweet, and .. ''s crazy about you!' Julia smiled. ' think he proposed.' Sally's, eyes widened. ' think he proposed? My God! Don't you know if the man proposed or not?", he said he wanted to take care of me for the rest of my life."'s a proposal!' Sally exclaimed. ''s a proposal! Marry him! Quick! M arry him before he changes his mind!' Julia laughed. ''s the hurry?"

"Listen to me. Invite him over here for dinner. I'll cook it,, and you tell him you made it.' Julia laughed. ' you. No. When I find the man I want to marry, we may be. eating Chinese food out 237 of cartons, but believe me, the dinner table will be beautifully set with flowers and candlelight.' On their next date, Henry said, ' know, Kansas City is a great place to bring up kids.", it is.' Julia's only problem was that she wasn't sure that she wanted to bring up his children. He was reliable, sober, decent, but.. She discussed it with Sally. ' keeps asking me to marry him,' Julia said. ''s he liket She thought for a moment, trying to think of the most romantic and exciting things she could say about Henry Wesson. ''s reliable, sober, decent … " Sally looked at her a moment. ' other words, he's dull.' Julia said defensively, ' isn't exactly dull.' Sally nodded, knowingly. ''s dull. Marry him." ' him. Good dull husbands are hard to find.' Getting from one payday to the next was a financial minefield.

There were paycheck deductions, and rent, and automobile expenses, and groceries, and clothes to buy. Julia owned a Toyota Tercel, and it seemed to her that she spent more on it than she did on herself. She was constantly borrowing money from Sally. 238 One evening, when Julia was getting dressed, Sally said, ''s another big Henry night, huh? Where's he taking you tonigliff ''re going to Symphony Hall. Cleo Laine is performing." old Henry proposed against Julia hesitated. The truth was that Henry proposed every time they were together. She felt pressured, but she could not bring herself to say i6s. ''t lose him," Sally warned. Sally is Probably right, Julia thought. Henry Wesson would make, a good husband He's … She hesitated. Be's sober, reliable, decent … Is that enough? As Julia was going out the door, Sally called, Can I borrow your black shoest '.' And Julia was gone. Sally went into Julia's bedroom and opened the closet door- The pair of shoes she wanted was on the top shelf As she reached for them, a cardboard box that was sitting precariously on the shelf fell down, and its contents spilled out all over the floor. '!' Sally bent down to, gather up the papers.

They consisted of dozens of newspaper clippings, photographs, and articles, and they were all about the Harry Stanford family. There seemed to be hundreds of them. Suddenly, Julia came hurrying back into the room. ' forgot my -' She stopped as she saw the papers on the floor. ' are you doing?'

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sorry,' Sally apologized. ' box fell down.' 239 Blushing, Julia bent down and started putting the papers back in the box. ' had no idea you were so interested in the rich and famous,' Sally said. Silently, Julia kept shoving the papers into the box. As she gathered a handful of photographs, she came across a small gold heart-shaped locket ; her mother had given her before she died. Julia put the locket aside. Sally was studying-her, puzzled.

"Juliat '." are you so interested in Harry Stanfordt ''m not. I … This was my mother's.' Sally shrugged. '.' She reached for a paper. It was from a scandal magazine, and the headline caught her eye: Tycoon GETS cmldrm's GOVERNESS PREGNANT – BABY BORN OUT-017-WEDLOCK – MOTHER AND BABY DISAPPEAR! Sally was staring at Julia, openmouthed. ' God! You're Harry Stanford's daughted' Julia's mouth tightened. She shook her head and contmued putung the papers back. ''t yout Julia stopped. ', I'd rather not talk about it, if you don't mind." Sallyjumped to her feet. ''d rather not talk about it? You're the daughter of one of the richest men in the world, and you'd rather not talk about it? Are you insane?' 240 '.. sm you know how much he was worth? Billions.' That has nothing to do with me." you're his daughter, it has everything to do with you. You're an heiress! All you have to do is tell the aim y who you are, and .$No.' "No … whaff ' don't understand.' Julia rose and then sank down on the bed. ' Stanford was an awful man. He abandoned my mother. She hated him, and I hate ' don't hate anyone with that much money. You understand them." Julia shook her head." don't want any part of them.", heiresses don't live in crunnny apartments and buy clothes at flea markets, and borrow to pay the rent. Your family would hate knowing you live like this. They'd be humiliated." don't even know I'm alive."

"Then you've got to tell them.". " the subject.' Sally looked at her for a long time. '. By the way, you couldn't loan me a million or two till payday, could you …


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