Jerry’s head snaps back. “Jeez, honey, you think I drugged you? My own wife?” I see shock and hurt in his face. My mom and dad have their heads close together whispering to each other and then my mom is holding my dad’s arm and shaking her head slightly.
“Well, then, how exactly did I wake up in the backseat of a limo, all by myself, in this sundress and these? “ I look down and hold my foot out, momentarily distracted by the sparkly, strappy sandals. They are rather gorgeous. But no, I won’t be pacified by a little bling. I punch his arm again and he cringes dramatically. “You are SO not funny,” I hiss.
“Yeah, Jer,” pipes up his brother, Jack, “how’d she get here without waking up and changed into that dress? Sounds like something crazy happened.” He’s smiling cheerfully, happy to throw fuel on the fire.
The maître d’ is trying to get our attention and speaks to Jerry in a low murmur. Obviously they’d like us to move out of their entryway and into the little room in the back before everyone in the entire restaurant is staring at us. Or maybe our table is just ready. Jerry motions everyone to follow the maître d’ and still holding onto my hand he propels me forward with his other hand on my lower back. I stiffen instinctively so that he’s barely touching me.
“We are so not through talking about this,” I say. But I’m slightly mollified that there could be a reason for what happened, even if it means my husband is the biggest doofus ever. Or the most devious. As we walk toward the beautifully decorated room in the back, I can see that he’s put a lot of thought and effort into this day. There had better be a seriously sparkling gift involved, too. In a very elegant light blue box.
We take our seats and there are carafes of lovely red wine at each table. Jerry generously fills our glasses and proposes a toast to me and my 40th birthday — and many, many more. Everyone raises their glasses and the waiters begin bringing in plates of appetizers — mussels swimming in garlicky sauce, the restaurant’s famous bruschetta and baskets of warm crusty bread. I realize I’m starving and reach for a piece of bread to nibble on. Dinner is really lovely, all of my favorite dishes served family style, the platters and carafes of wine replenished often. I walk around to hug and thank all of our family and friends for coming and my sister whispers in my ear that she helped Jerry get me changed into the dress and sandals and into the limo. “You were so sound asleep that I was almost afraid you had overdosed on that sleeping pill, but Jerry said you’d be fine,” she laughs. “And you look great!” I smile at her and nod my thanks. Finally everyone has eaten their fill and the cake is cut and served. I stand and thank everyone for coming and get a big laugh when I tell them how truly surprised I was.
As we walk out through the now busy restaurant, everyone seems to be ignoring us and has gone back to their own dinners. Jerry leans down to whisper in my ear, “You really don’t remember taking that sleeping pill on the plane so that you could rest on the way home?” I do vaguely remember drinking something on the plane and maybe, but no, I just can’t really remember for sure. As we wait for the valet to bring the car around, Jerry puts his arms around me and pulls me into his embrace. His hands slides slowly from my waist up my back and he rubs between my shoulder blades. “Relax, baby,” he whispers. “Dinner was fun and I have one more surprise waiting at home.” His hand is now rubbing the back of my neck and his thumb unerringly finds the tiny little bump that is barely sore anymore. His thumb makes slow circles over the spot and I jerk my eyes to his. He smiles blandly at me. “Let’s just enjoy tonight, okay?”