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The Sixty-Second Annual Highbury Easter Egg Hunt

March 31, 2018 02:12PM
Blurb: The sixty-second annual Highbury Public Library Easter Egg Hunt takes a turn for the romantic thanks to a local account. (Takes place in the same universe as Something to be Thankful For and A Sensible New Year's Resolution.)

The annual Highbury Public Library Easter Egg Hunt was a tradition in Highbury, Michigan. It had taken place in Eliot Park on the day before Easter rain or shine every year since 1954.

Henry Woodhouse, the mayor of Highbury, ostensibly hosted the 2016 Easter Egg Hunt; however as Henry was a notorious hypochondriac, his daughter Emma Woodhouse would be performing all the duties of hostess while her father sat in the park gazebo and contemplated his potentially imminent demise. Her long-time best friend and local accountant, George Knightley, assisted Emma in her hosting duties. George was willing to run around with the kids and had no qualms about getting grass stains on his jeans. In fact, it was his willingness to play with the kids that let Emma to allow him to wear jeans. “You look better in khakis than you do in jeans,” she had told him prior to the 2011 Easter Egg Hunt. “You look amazing in khakis.”

“But khakis will get grass stains on them, and then you’ll complain about that,” George protested. “Do you remember last year?”

Emma did remember the 2010 Easter Egg Hunt and the grass stains on George’s khakis. “Those stains were beastly. It took me hours to get them out of your pants,” She sighed.
“Okay, fine, wear jeans. Your derriere looks pretty great in jeans if I’m being honest.”

“You’ve been looking?” he asked.

“You’ve been working out,” she replied casually. “And I’ve been appreciating the benefits.”

Five years later, Emma wore a dove gray sundress with a pale purple sweater and lilac ballet flats while George wore light purple button-down with blue jeans. “So, do you two match each other on purpose or should we all believe that this is an accident?” Nora Dashwood, the children’s librarian at the Highbury Public Library, teased them when they arrived at the park.

“Maybe?” Emma said. “We thought it would look good in the newspaper.”

Nora rolled her eyes. “Oh, please, Em, you’re married. You’re having a baby. You’re allowed to match each other if you want.”

“How do you know that I’m pregnant?”

That just elicited another eye roll. “Seriously? You are so obvious. You haven’t had coffee in weeks. You changed your order at the KW, and you’ve literally never done that before. Everyone knows.”

George looked at the petite brunette. “Not everyone? Please tell me that Henry doesn’t know.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. Henry doesn’t know, and he probably wouldn’t know even if you hired a skywriter to tell him. But Ed and I know, and obviously Annie and Elsa both know, which means that THEIR husbands know.” She paused. “Oh, and Alice definitely knows, which means that Oliver knows. But Katy doesn’t know.”

“So basically the whole town knows,” Emma said flatly.

“Katy doesn’t know,” Nora repeated firmly. “But you guys are really bad at being subtle. Ed and I agree that you’re not as sneaky as you think you are.”

“How is Ed anyway?” George asked, bluntly changing the subject after noticing Nora’s blush at the mention of her boyfriend’s name.

Nora shrugged as she looked up into George’s steady blue eyes. “He’s great.”

“When’s the wedding?” Emma queried.

“Oh please, we just had three weddings in a little more than a year.”

“Our wedding was in October. It’s been almost a year since Erik and Annie’s wedding,” Emma persisted. “And Will and Elsa have a kid now for crying out loud. We need another wedding in this town.”

“So why does that mean that Ed and I have to get married?” Nora retorted as her boyfriend walked towards them.

After the formalities (a boring and mildly confusing speech from Mayor Woodhouse and another more interesting one from Emma), the children were released to search for the 2016 eggs that Nora, Ed, Annie, Erik, Emma, and George had hidden through the park the day before. Nora kept a map in her purse that told her exactly where all the eggs were so that she and her crew could find them if the children didn’t. Her predecessor hadn’t made such a map, which resulted in a few different disasters revolving around the 2008 Easter Egg Hunt.

While the children hunted for the brightly colored plastic eggs filled with chocolate, the adults stood around the perimeter the park and watched them. Ed wrapped an arm around his girlfriend’s shoulders. “It’s quite the event you put together.”

She shrugged. “It isn’t that hard. The event is over sixty years old. The hardest part is buying new eggs and chocolates and putting the chocolates in the eggs, and I had a great boyfriend helping me with that. And then I had to hide the eggs, which I do with the help of my incredible team.”

“Nora, give yourself some credit. You organized this whole thing, and that takes work.”

She shrugged. “Sure, I worked hard, but it’s just my job. I was only doing my job.”

“I’ve known you for more than twelve years, but you really haven’t changed that much since college,” he said with a smile.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’re still the same person you were when I met you ten years ago. You’re humble and sweet. You’re good, Nora. You’re too good.”

She snorted. “I’m not too good. I’m cranky and crabby and tired. And when I’m done here, I want a nap and a drink, and not necessarily in that order.”

Ed laughed. “You know that I will help you clean up after the kids are gone and then help you out with the drink and the nap. But I also need you to help me with something.”

She looked up at him suspiciously. “What could I help you with?”

“I need to talk to you,” he said.

“About what?” she replied blandly. “You know how busy I am this weekend. I’m planning on going home and sleeping until it’s time to get up and go to church and brunch tomorrow. And I have to make a quiche somewhere in there.”

He laughed. “And you’ll get to do that. I’ll even help with the quiche. But I need to talk to you about something before church and brunch and all that.”

“Like I said, about what? We’re bringing quiche and the fixings for mimosas. You’re in charge of the mimosas; I’m in charge of the quiche.” She spoke with a look in her eye that clearly implied that she didn’t think Ed could handle making a quiche.

Ed shook his head. “You’re frustrating, you know.”

“I’ve heard that before from Marianne.”

“Oh, she’s worse.”

“Can you just talk to me about it now while we watch the kids?”

He sighed. “You’re impossible, Nora.”

“I take that as a compliment.”

Ed grinned. “You should. I like that about you. It’s one of many things that I love about you. You’re smart and kind and sweet and funny. You’re one of the most compassionate people I know.”

Nora looked up at Ed. “Honey, is this the lead up to a proposal?”

He laughed. “You would figure me out.”

She smiled. “Ed, you’ve been nervous all day; I knew something was up. And yes, I will marry you. Gladly.”

He shook his head. “I had this all planned out. I may have been nervous, but I was prepared. I was going to do it when we got back to your place, and the speech was going to be longer and more eloquent.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Ed, I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You don’t need to shower me with compliments.”

“But what if I want to?”

She leaned her head against his chest. “Do it later. Right now, I’m trying to run an Easter egg hunt.”

Ed wrapped a long arm around her shoulders. “You’re doing a wonderful job, and I promise you that I will not shower you with any more compliments until you’ve had at least two margaritas and a shower.”

“Real margaritas,” she replied. “I don’t want that fake crap you get at restaurants.”

He kissed the top of her head. “You have my word. I’ll make you one.”

Nora smiled up at her fiancé. “You’re the best. Do you promise that you’ll always take care of my stress release?”

“You have my word,” he replied seriously as Will and Elsa appeared with six-month-old Clara in her mother’s arms.

“How’d the little miss like her first Easter Egg Hunt?” Nora asked.

“We think that she liked it,” Elsa replied. “Sure, her daddy did most of the work, but I think she likes trying to grab brightly colored objects.”

Nora laughed. “She’ll probably have more fun next year when she can walk and run around.”

“Josie, Charlotte, and Madeleine Kingsleigh seemed to be having the time of her life running around looking for eggs,” Elsa said as she passed her daughter to Nora.

“That’s what I want to hear,” Nora replied as she settled her goddaughter on her hip.

As he toyed with his goddaughter’s dark curls, Ed noticed the way that Nora’s face lit up around their friends’ children. She had always loved children; that was why she was the children’s librarian at the Highbury Public Library. “The whole event seems to be a roaring success, my dear.”

Will Darcy shook the basket of plastic eggs in his hand. “I’m sure my wife will be roaring at me if I eat all of the candy in here.”

“I can help you with that, cuz,” Ed offered with a flash of his eyebrows.

“Dude night with beer and Easter candy?” his cousin queried.

“Sounds excellent to me.”


Ed shook his head. “I can’t. I have to help Nora make a quiche tonight.”

“You’re letting a quiche get between you and beer?” Elsa asked.

“It’s not just any quiche,” he said calmly. “It’s a quiche that I’m going to be making with my fiancée.”

“You can make a quiche with her anytime,” Will began. “Hold it. Your fiancée? You have a fiancée? You two got engaged? When?”

“Just now,” Nora answered calmly. “It was five, maybe ten minutes ago.”

“You asked her to marry you in the middle of the Easter Egg Hunt?”

“Well, I was planning on waiting until tonight and being romantic, but she started in on how tired she is and how she just wants to go home and go to bed and drink a margarita, so I thought that I’d be better off popping the question now and getting it over with before she gets any alcohol in her blood.”

“You are so unromantic,” his cousin sighed.

Ed shrugged. “You have no room to talk. You proposed to a girl in her pajamas on New Year’s Eve before settling in for a movie night in a blanket fort.”

“That sounds good to me,” Nora inserted. “I like blanket forts.”

“Remember that for your honeymoon, Edward,” Elsa teased. “All you need is a blanket fort.”

Ed wrapped his arm around his newly minted fiancée. “I think that at some point in my life Nora told me that she wanted to go to Prince Edward Island on her honeymoon.”

She smiled up at him. “I’d prefer PEI in the summer or the fall.”

“Shall we aim for a fall wedding?”

“That sounds lovely.”

The End...for now.

The Sixty-Second Annual Highbury Easter Egg Hunt

CeciliaMarch 31, 2018 02:12PM

Re: The Sixty-Second Annual Highbury Easter Egg Hunt

Linnea EileenApril 02, 2018 03:10PM

Re: The Sixty-Second Annual Highbury Easter Egg Hunt

Lucy J.April 01, 2018 05:53AM

Re: The Sixty-Second Annual Highbury Easter Egg Hunt

ShannaGMarch 31, 2018 08:03PM


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