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Dinner Party

Chapter One: Arrivals

Every year on Halloween, the Smith family had a large, extravagant party, only this year, they decided to only invite a select few. Everyone in the town had wanted an invitation, but only three people received an invite to this party.

On the night of the party, everyone arrived at the times indicated in their invitations. Toni Cain was the first to arrive. She is the starter of the feminist movement in Virginia in 1972. She was only 12 years old when she knew that she wasn’t going to let men define her life. She has many secrets to her success, but she only ever tells one person. Who is this person, you ask? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait to find out.

When she arrives, she is greeted by Jane Smith, “Toni! Welcome. I am so glad that you could make it, and on time.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. And of course, you know I am one to arrive on time. Your letter said 6:33, which is an odd time to arrive, but I wasn’t going to be a second late,” Toni explained.

“Well, I am happy you are here. Please, please, come in. I don’t want you standing out here with all the crazy people on this fine Halloween night.”

As Toni walked in, she got this weird feeling cross her body, but she didn’t want to say anything, risking her invitation being taken away last minute. As she was walked to the Living Room for drinks, she couldn’t see Gregg, Jane’s husband, anywhere.

“So Jane, where is Gregg? He is usually the one to answer the door,” she asked trying not to make a hostile environment between them.

“Oh, he is in the backyard with the butler,” she replied snappily in a nervous way.

“Well, that sounds lovely,” Toni uttered confused.

“Here is the Living Room. Please help yourself to drinks. I invited you earlier because I know you like to get a few drinks in before anyone shows up,” Jane said so bluntly.

“Um, thank you? I guess,” Toni felt a little insulted and confused, especially because that was one of her biggest secrets she only ever told to one person that was certainly not Jane.

Toni tried to say something else, but the doorbell rang. “Well there is the next guest, you better get to drinking, Toni,” Jane blurted out.

Toni was shocked at what Jane had said to her, but she didn’t want it to ruin her whole night, since she was one of the select few, so she started drinking just as Jane had said.

Jane opened the door, only to see that Steven Kessler was at the door. Steven is the head of communications at the courthouse. If there is anything wrong with anyone in the town, Steven knows. He was the biggest blackmailer in the history of anyone who ever blackmailed. He has dirt on everyone, and no one knew how he got his information. That was one of the main reasons he kept getting re-elected every year.

Was the reason he got an invitation because of blackmail?

“Ah, Steven, right on time,” Jane exclaimed as she opened the door.

“Of course, Jane. I would never arrive late to one of your mixers.”

“I am so glad that you could make it. Please come in. Toni Cain is in the Living Room at the moment,” when she said that she made the drinking hand motion.

“Oh, I see, you invited a drunkard to a ‘small’ get together.”

“What exactly is that supposed to mean?”

“I’m just saying when someone is drunk it seems that 10 more people have arrived.”

“Oh, I guess I never thought about it that way.”

“I know you never did, Jane. You weren’t born with the smarts, your brother was.”

“Hush, Steven! We don’t need to bring up who my brother is.”

“Well, if something happens at dinner, a little secret will slip.”

“Ok, I promise nothing will happen,” Jane said nervously looking around hoping no one heard her.

Pushing past Jane, Steven said, “You better be right about that.”

What Steven just said started to make Jane nervous, but she knew that if she hadn’t invited him, her secret about her brother was going to be out. If that happened, her life would be completely over.

What exactly is her secret, though? I guess you’ll just have to wait to find out.

Steven and Jane walked into the library only to see Toni drowning herself in a bottle of whiskey. When she saw them, she stopped dead in her tracks and just looked at the both of them. Her secret was out, even though the both of them already knew about her drinking problem.

“I—uh—I thought this was a bottle of apple juice. Clearly, it's not,” she said anxiously, hoping they would believe her made-up story.

“Oh, darling, you know good and well that that was not a bottle of apple juice. But don’t worry, your secret is safe with me, I promise,” Jane said with an evil smirk on her face, “Well, I don’t think either of you knows each other, so I’ll leave you two to get acquainted.”

“Thank you, Jane, but I already know all about Mrs. Cain here,” Steven said.

“Actually, it's just Ms. I dropped the Mrs. after my husband died,” Toni explained. As she said the doorbell rang again and Jane walked out of the room with an even bigger smile on her face.

“So, Ms. Cain, I bet you know me,” Steven smirked.

“Sadly, yes I do. You are the head of communications, just like my late husband once was before you came to town,” Toni remarked.

“Ah, I remember that. Your husband was the absolute worst at his job. He couldn’t help his own family, so why was he qualified to help other people. I mean having a drunkard wife must’ve been really hard on him, wasn’t it Ms. Cain?”

“Don’t you dare talk about my husband like that ever again. I am not a drunkard, nor have I ever been. I only started drinking when my husband died—”

“Are you sure that your husband wasn’t murdered, by you perhaps?”

“How dare you! I loved my husband! I would never hurt him!”

“Really? Because in a statement that you made in 1982, you were never going to let any man define who you were, and any man that stood in your way would face terrible circumstances.”

“Ok, so I said that, but that doesn’t mean that I killed my husband.”

Toni and Steven continued their back and forth conversation, while Jane welcomed the next guest, Evelyn Jones. Evelyn wrote for the gossip column in the local newspaper. She's known all around town to have all the information about anyone. She would do anything in order to get juicy information about people. “Evelyn! What a pleasure to have you!” Jane said as she greeted her.

“Jane, it’s good to see you. I’m glad I got invited to the party this year. You know my invitation for last year’s party must’ve gotten lost in the mail, because I never got one,” Evelyn answered with a posh attitude.

“Oh my! The postal services in this town are absolutely horr—,” Jane was cut off by Jonathan Patricks, the head of the postal service in town.

“What about the postal service, Jane? We are horr? I’m not sure I have ever heard of that. Good to see you, Evelyn. I’ll just show myself to the Living Room,” Jonathan stated as he pushed pass Evelyn and Jane.

“I’m sorry, Jane. You didn’t hear this from me, but I hear that Jonathan visits a brothel every Saturday,” Evelyn covered her mouth saying this to show that she really didn’t mean to say that.

“His wife told me he had to work late every Saturday, that’s why he was never home,” Jane said very shocked.

“Oh, Jane, his wife is the one who organizes the brothels. Let’s just keep this between us, ok?”

“Of course, Evelyn. Please come in. I will show you to the Living Room.”

Jane and Evelyn enter the Living Room. Jane closes the door behind her causing everyone to look at her.

“I am so happy that all of you could make it to our dinner party tonight. Gregg and I are so pleased that you all showed. Now we still have fifteen minutes until dinner, so drink and congregate with everyone. I am going to go and check on dinner,” Jane said and she left the room.

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