“Do run away, Kit,” urged his aunt. “I should think you’d be ashamed to come to a party where you’re not invited.”
“Perhaps I shall be invited if I wait long enough,” and Kit threw a meaning glance at Beatrice. “If your guests don’t come, auntie, you’ll be glad to have me to help eat up your goodies.”
“Not come! Of course they’ll come!” cried Mrs. Homer, and Marie turned pale with dismay.
“Well, it seems to me,” went on Kit, “that it would be a jolly good April Fool joke on you all, if they didn’t come. And”—he rolled his eyes toward the ceiling,—“something tells me that they won’t.”
“What!” And Marie jumped up, her eyes blazing. Kit’s roguish chuckle and Bee’s elfin grin made Marie suddenly realise there was something in the air.
But before Kit could reply, Patty rose, and said directly to him, “How strange! I wonder what it is that tells you the luncheon guests won’t come. How do you know?”—and she smiled straight at him. “Something tells me that they will come!”
Then Patty herself stepped into the hall, threw open the door, and in came eight merry, laughing girls!
Patty had arranged that Elise should stay downstairs and receive each guest, and keep them there until all had arrived. Then they were to come upstairs, and wait outside the Homers’ door, until the dramatic moment.
Although not in favour of practical jokes, Patty couldn’t help enjoying Kit’s absolutely paralysed face. He looked crestfallen,— but more than that, he looked so bewildered and utterly taken back, that Patty burst into laughter.
Mrs. Homer and Marie were greeting the newcomers, and as yet had hardly realised the whole situation, but quick-witted Beatrice took it all in.
“You Patty!” she cried, “oh, you Patty Fairfield!”
Patty’s beaming face left no doubts as to who it was that had circumvented their plan and carried off the honours of the day.
“I’m so sorry you can’t stay to luncheon,” she said, turning to Kit; “must you really go now?”
“You little rascal!” he cried, “but I’ll get even with you for this!”
“Please don’t,” and Patty spoke seriously. “Truly, Kit, I don’t like these things. I’m awfully glad I could save Mrs. Homer and Marie the mortification and annoyance you and Bee had planned for them. But I haven’t any right to talk to you like a Dutch aunt. If this is your notion of fun, I’ve no right even to criticise it; but I will tell you that if you ‘get even with me,’ as you call it, by playing one of your jokes on me, we’ll not be friends any more.”
“Patty!” and Kit took both her hands with a mock tragic gesture, “Anything but that! To lose your friendship, Poppycheek, would be to lose all that makes life worth living! Now, if I promise to get even with you, by never trying to get even with you,—how’s that?”