Time Frame: April 2000
Archive: With the other ABC stories at this archive, anyone else, please email me first.
Feedback: In order for me to grow as a writer, I need to know what people think of my work. So, please give me positive and constructive feedback.
Author's Notes: I wanted to do something different for the alphabet challenge. This took me longer than I anticipated, but I got it done before the two-week deadline. A big thanks to Jess, Ashley, and Lorna for betaing this for me. I really appreciate it.
The hotel ballroom was filled with crowds of people, all wearing formal attire. Diplomats, agents, and normal, everyday folk, people who normally wouldn't have spent time with each other, came together for a common cause: Billy and Jeannie Melrose's 35th wedding anniversary party.
A worried and nervous Billy Melrose, wearing a black tuxedo, stood near the ballroom doors. "What is taking them so long?" he asked Lee and Amanda Stetson as he looked at his watch. "They should have been here ten minutes ago!"
"Calm down, Billy," Lee said in an attempt to assure his friend. "I'm sure they'll be here any minute now. Francine is keeping watch for them."
"I guess I should calm down. I just want this to be perfect. Jeannie has put up with so much during the past 35 years, and I want to start making it up to her."
"You have the rest of your life to make it up to her. I know she's going to love your present," Amanda said with emotion. After taking a moment to compose herself, she continued, "We'll miss you at the Agency, but we understand why." Lee nodded his head in agreement.
Francine rushed into the ballroom and announced, "They're here."
"Everybody be ready to say surprise," Billy directed as the guests rushed to their seats.
The room was so quiet that the conversation at the door could be heard.
"Tina, are you sure we're supposed to meet your father here?" Jeannie asked.
"I'm positive. We should have been here ten minutes ago. I hope Dad isn't getting too worried," Tina answered.
"I'll get the doors," Denise said.
As the doors opened, everyone stood up. Jeannie entered, wearing a beautiful blue ball gown that complimented her tall, thin figure. She was followed by Tina and Denise, dressed in similar black evening dresses. After they entered everyone yelled, "Surprise!"
Billy walked to where his stunned wife stood. He kissed her and said, "Happy Anniversary!"
"I can't believe this," a flabbergasted Jeannie said with tears of astonishment running down face. The hotel ballroom was decorated with coral and white balloons and a big banner that said "Happy 35th Anniversary". There were tons of small tables with centerpieces made with white roses and real coral. In the center of the ballroom was a podium with tables that had two seats on each side. A dance floor was set up in another part of the ballroom.
"This is the first of many surprises tonight," Billy said with a huge smile on his face as he led Jeannie and their daughters to the tables surrounding the podium.
"Denise, Tina, were you in on this?" Jeannie asked her daughters.
"It was our assignment to get you here," a proud Tina said excitedly.
"It's time for us to give our speech," Denise told her sister. They went to the podium. "Friends and family, we are here to celebrate our parents 35th anniversary. My sister and I are thrilled to be here. . . ."
Billy watched his wife as their daughter gave a moving speech. Still stunned from the surprise anniversary party, she looked as beautiful as she did on their wedding day. He could only imagine how thrilled she was going to be after he was done with his speech.
". . . . Now my father would like to say a few words." Denise and Tina went back to the table as Billy made his way to the podium.
Billy grabbed the microphone and said, "I'm glad all of you were able to join us tonight. Exactly 35 years ago, Jeannie made me the luckiest man in the world. Throughout our marriage, Jeannie had to be ready for any change in plans due to my career. She always accepted the change and made plans for another time. Not many women could do that day after day, but she did. Jeannie, you've spent 35 years putting up with me and the demands of my job demands. Tonight is the beginning of our new lives. I'm officially announcing my retirement. In less than a week, we will be able to see more of each other. I only hope she doesn't get sick of me."
Everyone laughed. Jeannie rushed to her husband with tears of joy running down her face and kissed him. Tina and Denise went up to them.
"Remember the cruise you two always talked about taking?" Denise asked. Billy and Jeannie nodded. "As our gift to you, Tina and I are sending you on a two-week cruise in the Caribbean."
"My goodness," Jeannie said, trying hard not to cry again. She hugged both of her daughters. "I can't believe this is happening."
"It is happening, my love," Billy said with his arm around her waist. "You and I are going to spend the rest of our lives in total rest and relaxation."
"I couldn't think of a better way to spend time with you," Jeannie gushed. She kissed her husband, and together they started their new life.