Hello, Hearties! Enjoying your weekend so far? I know I’m a day late again; I apologize profusely. But here I am, and here is Part Three of our tale of Crossing Wires. If you’ve missed Parts 1 and 2, go to the #FanFictionFriday posts from February 1st and 9th. Enjoy!
TWO DAYS LATER
Abigail Stanton stood in a corner of her office, barely able to contain her excitement. Her cheeks were as pink as her blouse, and her hands fidgeted with each other as she watched workmen from the telephone company install Hope Valley’s very first telephone. This day had been a long time coming! Abigail had checked and double checked, stretched and saved the town’s budget until the expense could be covered. Now it was finally happening, and she felt she was doing her job as the mayor to bring her town into the modern age.
When the four men exited, Abigail didn’t dare move. She was glad she hadn’t when they returned, straining to keep the switchboard balanced between them. Her eyes grew wide, and her breathing tensed. Goodness, that was big! How was one person to handle all that? Then they began to connect all the wires, and she felt full-blown panic set in. There were so many!
“Pardon me, gentlemen,” Abigail inquired, trying to remain composed, “what happens if the wires get crossed?”
“You end up with a mess of a tangle, ma’am,” the head man snickered, and the others laughed with him. Abigail joined in, albeit it was a little forced and reluctant. Sensing her genuine concern, he gave a serious explanation. “All joking aside, Madam Mayor, wires have to be crossed sometimes to complete a telephone call. The important things to remember are where the call originates, and to make the right connection.”
“Aha, I see,” she acknowledged, wishing she felt calmer about this entire ordeal. It was exciting, but a big responsibility! Then Abigail remembered something! She wouldn’t have to deal with the switchboard at all! What a burden off her shoulders! She was just starting to breathe normally again when something yanked all the air from her lungs.
“Abigail!” Rosemary said a little too loudly for standing at the open office door, mere feet away from Abigail’s ears. Even the workmen were startled. Luckily, they hadn’t been holding anything heavy.
“Oh, Rosemary! Oh, you gave me a fright!”
“I’m sorry. I just had to see this! I did knock, but you looked so preoccupied, I thought it better to just let myself in.
“Oh.” Of course you did, Abigail thought as she rolled her eyes; but she couldn’t help but smile. With Elizabeth in school this time of day, she was grateful to have a friend with whom to share this moment. Speaking of which…”Have you seen Bill? I thought he’d want to see this.”
“I passed him on my way here,” Rosemary explained. She then went into storytelling mode, deepening her voice to imitate Bill. “He called the installation of the telephone ‘a lot of fuss and bother’, and made up some excuse about having ‘a mountain of paperwork’. He’ll come over later.” Rosemary turned her attention to the workmen finishing their task of hooking up the telephone system, and clapped with excitement. “Isn’t this thrilling? A telephone in Hope Valley! Lee said he would have one installed in our home too!”
“Well, isn’t that wonderful!” Abigail replied. Just then, the lead workman planted the telephone in her hands, and tipped his hat.
“There you are, Mayor Stanton. You’re all set, and ready to go.” He walked out, and the others followed suit, tipping their hats in turn.
“Thank you,” Abigail called to them, a little unsure if she should move or not. The lead workman noticed her sudden stillness, came back up the steps, and added, “We made the wire extra long, so you can even carry it outside.”
Abigail sighed and smiled in relief. “Well, in that case, I’ll walk you out…part way, at least.”
Abigail and Rosemary walked to the edge of the staircase, and watched him descend, and get into the driver seat of the company automobile. The four of them gave a final wave as they drove away. Rosemary waved back, and Abigail gave a smiling nod, as her hands were a little full.
“Oh, Abigail! I keep meaning to ask you, who is going to run that giant switchboard? You can’t possibly do it all, not with everything you already have to do! I’d offer to do it myself, but…”
“Actually, Rosemary, that’s what I was thinking about when you came in. I was feeling overwhelmed about that very notion, then suddenly, I remembered! I hired a woman named Fiona Miller. She’s a telephone operator from Union City. With everything going on, I had honestly forgotten. But now, I can…”
Abigail was interrupted by an unfamiliar, shrill sound. She looked down, only to realize that the object sitting in her hands, the town’s telephone…was ringing.
That’s all for today. Tune in next week for the final chapter…of the short story. 😀 And remember to tell me if you’ll be in the area on Monday February 25th so you can come to the Season 6 premiere party, hosted by yours truly. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!