IRISH BLUE - BOOK 1 THE CHAPEL A novel by Sheila Willar Copyright 2016 Sheila Willar ISBN 978-0-9867101-4-8
CHAPTER 10 ………………………. THE SNOW GLOBE
Erin had a lot of explaining to do and felt miserable as she walked down the hallway towards Maggy’s apartment. She wanted to get it over with but when she tried to open the door it wouldn’t budge because there was something in the way.
“Just a minute,” called Maggy as she moved a pot of flowers from the entrance. “Come in, but you’ll have to watch your step.”
Erin squeezed around the partially open door and gasped at the ocean of flowers. They were everywhere. The living room sofa and chairs were like islands in a sea of lavender blue.
“We’re hoping that you can help us out,” said Maggy as she explained the situation.
“I don’t understand,” exclaimed Erin as she looked at the invoice. “I gave this to Ms. Statton and she said that she would take care of it. Someone crossed out my handwriting and changed the order from ‘stone’ to ‘flowers’. It’s been tampered with.”
“But why did ‘we’ get the flowers?” asked Kelly.
Erin looked it over again and noticed the name of the florist. “Arthur Blooms? Oh no! I thought he was the head of Stoneworks and so I asked him to send it here.”
“It’s a very expensive mistake,” added Maggy’s mother.
Erin swallowed when she saw the charge of $11,000 at the bottom of the invoice and it made her head spin. “There’s been a terrible error and I’m afraid I may have caused it, at least part of it. It will take years for me to pay this off.”
“It’ll be O.K.” said Maggy. “Now that we know what’s happened we can have them deliver it to the right place.”
“But that’s just it,” exclaimed Erin. “There is no right place! I didn’t order flowers and this is just half of them. The rest were sent to Mrs. Mancinni’s in the country.”
“Then no one owns the flowers?” asked Maggy.
Erin rubbed her hands together. “No. And that’s not all. I have more bad news. I called your wedding planner and your flowers haven’t been ordered. And to make matters worse, she was so mad at me for calling that she quit. I’m so sorry. Really I am. I meant to call her earlier but I got caught up in work and forgot.”
Erin thought that Maggy would never forgive her for ruining the wedding. Her spirits sank to a new low in anticipation of a scolding, but instead of harsh words she heard a snicker. She wasn’t quite sure what the sound was a first but when she looked up there was no mistake about it. Maggy was laughing.
“I’m sorry,” said Maggy. “I’m not laughing at you. Really I’m not.”
Erin looked around the room and they were all laughing.
“I’m not doing this again,” yelled Kelly as she buried her face in a pillow.
“It’ll all work out,” assured Maggy while wiping tears from her eyes. She called her fiancé Peter and together they came up with a plan. She and Peter would buy some of the flowers for work and the rest they would buy with the wedding budget and try to resell them later.
Within the hour Peter and his friends arrived and removed the wayward plants. He made fun of the situation and said that he would have a good story to tell at the reception.
The next day at work Lila said that the stone was a non-issue, because they could acquire what they needed by that afternoon and have it delivered to the chapel. “I’ll make arrangements for a car for tomorrow morning and we can visit the chapel and see if the stones have bonded enough for the ceremony,” she explained.
There was just one thing left to take care of as Erin headed off to visit Ms. Statton to get to the bottom of the mixup.
When she arrive on the 42nd floor there was a man sitting at the reception desk.
“May I help you?” he asked.
“My name is Erin McBride and I’m looking for Ms. Statton,” stated Erin, half hoping that the angry woman wouldn’t be there.
“I am sorry but Ms. Statton is no longer employed here. I have a forwarding phone number if you would like?”
“No thank you.”
Erin walked home slowly and stopped several times at food vendors along the way. She had a chat with the lady who sold hot chocolate and an even longer one with the guy who sold pretzels. She sat at a bench and tried to wish away the last few days but the remorse wouldn’t go away so easily. She had come to New York to get away from misery and formalities but somehow she had become seated in the thick of it.
Back at the apartment Erin put her key in the lock and remembered how hard the door had been to open just a few hours earlier. This time it opened smoothly but it was dark and all the lights were off.
“Surprise!” yelled Kelly. “Happy Birthday!”
Erin froze in place as people with silly hats on waved streamers in the air.
“I don’t know what to say,” stammered Erin.
“Your mother called to wish you a happy birthday,” said Kelly clapping her hands together.
“Any reason for a party,” said one of Maggy’s aunts who raised a glass to the ceiling.
“You shouldn’t have,” apologized Erin. “I’ve caused such a mess.”
“Let’s eat!” demanded Maggy’s mother who served up steaming plates of lasagna. They sat around the table and reminisced about the unusual events.
Peter said, “You should have seen the priest’s eyes when we delivered sixty pots of flowers to the cathedral.”
“It looks like it’s in permanent wedding mode,” he added.
After the meal Kelly lit the birthday candles on the cake and Erin made a solemn wish. “Please God let Maggy have a beautiful wedding and let the stone in Mrs. A’s chapel stay strong.” She blew out all the candles with one long breath which brought claps and cheers from the rest of the table, and Kelly handed Erin a beautiful gift box wrapped in lavender ribbon.
“It’s from all of us,” lied Kelly. Erin opened it and carefully lifted out the most beautiful snow globe that she had ever seen. She and Kelly had admired it one day while they were window shopping.
“I can’t believe you bought this for me!” gushed Erin. “Thank you so much.”
It was a Christmas snow globe of Central Park. When she shook it and wound the mechanism, a tiny lantern lit up, carollers sang, and skaters slid across a miniature pond under flecks of silvery snow.
The party ended early because everyone was exhausted. They were eager to close the curtain on a stressful series of events. That night everyone slept well but Maggy’s mother and her sisters were up at 6 am snacking on toast and cake.
“They should return the flowers.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“You’d think he’d know the importance of money.”
“Mrs. Mancinni’s the one who should pay for them.”
“It was Erin’s mistake.”
“Poor thing doesn’t have a lick of sense.”
“Or a penny to her name.”
“Maybe she can talk the priest into buying them.”
“Do you think?”
“No! Don’t be daft.”
While the sisters sipped tea, Erin got ready for work and slipped away as quickly as possible. She only wished that Kelly could have come with her.
At work, Lila was already standing outside the building waiting for the limousine to arrive.
“Thank you for rescuing me, Lila,” she said as rivers of people flowed past them in and out of the building. Erin had heard about angels her whole life and she was sure that Lila must be one of them.