By the time summer came into full swing, Johnny, Lemon, and I were settling in nicely in our new home…the Landgraab Estate. Johnny resumed his career in stand up and I was able to get my job back at Queenie’s favorite restaurant. Even amidst our busy schedules, we still made plenty of time for each other and Lemon. Honestly, our relationship had never been better…we were even discussing the possibility of having another child in the near future. Things were finally looking up.
On a particularly nice day, we hosted a cookout and invited our friends and family. I was running myself ragged making sure that everyone had refreshments when I heard my mom mention the word “wedding.” I stopped next to her and placed the bowl of chips I’d been carrying down on the table. “Wait a minute…you and Geoffrey are getting married?” I asked with my jaw hanging open. “Yes! This fall!” My mom smiled back at me excitedly. “Why am I always the last to know these things?” I teased her with a smirk. “Well, I was planning to announce it during dessert but you know me, I’m horrible at keeping secrets.” She laughed. “But now that I have your attention, I have something important to ask you…will you be my matron of honor?” She looked up at me shyly. “I’d love to!” I squealed then hugged her neck. “I’m so happy for you!”
I straightened up and cleared my throat. “Now don’t get too full! I’m making Italian meatballs for dinner!” I loudly reminded everyone while they munched away happily on chips and dip. “Oooh, that sounds yummy!” Eva exclaimed. “Yeah, Val is turning out to be quite the chef.” My mom beamed at me with pride. “She made spaghetti for us the other night and I think she may have put something special in it because it was the best I ever had.” Johnny joined in with the compliments. “You’ll have to show me how to make these meatballs of yours. I bet they’re going to be delicious.”
“It’s an old family recipe.” I murmured as I thought of Queenie. From the corner of my eye, I could see Nancy in her wheelchair. She was pretty harmless but I was always on high alert whenever she was around. My mom was still going on about the damn meatballs when Nancy turned her head in my direction. I held my breath as her empty gaze rested on my face. I had the horrible feeling that one day she was just going to snap out of it. Silly, I know. I narrowed my eyes at her then sighed and shook my head. I was getting myself worked up for nothing again. Feeling confident once more, I focused my attention back on the rest of my guests. “I make everything with love.” I told them with a sly smile. “But the real secret…is in the sauce.”