Monday, May 14, 2012
A Fresh Start for Nathaniel
A Fresh Start for Nathaniel
Amanda woke up feeling a bit sore from her ordeal with Nathaniel the day before. In her mind she was reliving the afternoon and could still feel Nathaniel's gun being pressed into her ribs. She couldn't imagine what had attracted her to Nathaniel in the first place although she knew she was under the impression that Luigi was involved with someone else. She had loved him since they were children and her dreams were shattered the day she saw him with a beautiful blond. Luigi was merely opening the door for his friend and neighbor's wife.
Amanda promised Sheriff Mendenhall that she would be at the jailhouse first thing this morning to give her statement regarding the happenings yesterday. She wasn't looking forward to seeing Nathaniel again. She wanted to put the incident out of her mind and concentrate on Luigi and his confession of love for her.
“Amanda dear,” her mother called as she tapped on her door. “There is a gentleman here to see you. He says his name is Nathaniel Lancaster and he's Nathaniel's grandfather.”
“I'll be down as soon as I can Mama.”
Amanda jumped out of bed and splashed water on her face to wake herself up. She had never met Nathaniel's grandfather. She had heard of him, of course. He was a very powerful man in New York. She had heard the stories of how he had built a fortune from practically nothing and had influence throughout the state. Whenever Nathaniel spoke of his grandfather he actually trembled. Amanda wasn't intimidated easily. She dressed quickly and walked down the stairs to greet her visitor.
The older gentleman took her hand and apologized for the ordeal his grandson had put her through. Unable to locate Nathaniel's parents, Sheriff Mendenhall had notified the elder Mr. Lancaster of his grandson's troubles.
“Miss Mackenzie, I realize my grandson put you in an enormous amount of danger with his antics yesterday. I'm not making excuses for him but I'd like you to know the difficult life he has lead. I am what they call a self made man. My father was a preacher in a small town similar to Camden Corners. My mother gave birth to twelve children. I was the oldest of the clan. There was love in my house but not much money. I found myself being envious of the folks who lived on the other side of the tracks and at a young age decided I would do anything to become rich. I won't go into the details of how I started out making money but suffice it to say, I'm not terribly proud of the way I did it. I married a woman I did not love only because her father was wealthy. She gave birth to my only child, Nathaniel's father. I didn't have time for Nathaniel, Jr. I was too busy making more money than I would ever be able to spend. His mother had always been a very spoiled woman who craved any luxury money could buy and she raised our son to be the same way. He married a woman just like his mother and Nathaniel was their only child.
I have had little to do with my son or grandson since little Nate was a toddler. For the first few years of our estrangement, I'm ashamed to say I didn't notice they were not in my life. Nathaniel only came to see me when he was in need of money. Being indifferent had become my way of life I made sure the family had all the money they needed to live their empty shallow lives.
The sheriff contacted my office last evening when he could not locate Nathaniel's parents. My first inclination was to send money to you in the form of a bribe. I am a very influential man and if I want information in the wee hours of the morning I don't have any trouble hiring people to find that information.
“Miss Mackenzie, you and your family and even your hometown have turned out to be a breath of fresh air. My grandson was very fortunate to have you in his life and was stupid enough to let you slip away. I'm going to ask you to drop the charges against him. I'm afraid his father is a lost cause but I do believe I can make a difference in young Nate's life. I'd like to believe it's never too late to change and I'd like the opportunity to transform myself into a grandfather worthy of the title.”
Amanda sat back in her chair. She understood why this man had made millions. He certainly was a genius when it came to the power of persuasion. She knew Nathaniel hadn't intentionally put her in danger. He wasn't an evil person, just a misguided one. She had met his parents and knew them to be cold and unfeeling. She began to feel sorry for Nathaniel. Maybe his grandfather could make him a different person.
“Mr. Lancaster, I do hope you are being sincere with me. I will consider what you have told me and let you know my decision. First, I shall have my breakfast and then visit Nathaniel in the jailhouse. Won't you please share breakfast with my family this morning? My mother is a wonderful cook and I do believe I smell her blueberry muffins baking in the oven.”
Nathaniel, Sr. hadn't had a blueberry muffin since he was a lad and found himself accepting the invitation. As he was sitting at the table of this happy and loving family, he was discovering his investigators were worth the money he was paying them. He also found himself wondering if maybe there was hope for the relationship between his grandson and this lovely young girl. His question was answered when there was a knock on the door and he was introduced to Luigi Rossi. There was no mistaking the look of love on the faces of Amanda and Luigi as they greeted each other.
The younger Nathaniel was awakening with a terrible headache. Slowly the memory of yesterday was coming back to him. He had behaved poorly in his life but yesterday takes the cake. He was so ashamed. He realized he was sitting in a jail cell and would be there for many years to come. He had held a gun on Amanda and kidnapped her. He could have killed her. He deserved everything that was about to happen to him. Just then he looked up and saw Amanda on the other side of the bars.
“Good morning Nathaniel.”
“Amanda, I am so sorry. Are you alright, I hope I didn't hurt you. I'm so sorry.”
“No, I'm not hurt. How is your head this morning?”
“Not good but it's keeping me from remembering what a darn fool I made of myself.”
“I can't disagree with that. Nathaniel, your grandfather came to see me. He would like me to drop the charges against you. How do you feel about that?”
“My grandfather is here? I haven't seen him in years. I can't believe that old man wants you to drop the charges. He must be worried about his flesh and blood ending up in jail. Amanda, you have every right to press charges against me. I put your life in danger and I deserve to be punished for that. If anything had happened to you I would never have forgiven myself. Tell the old goat to go back to his mansion and forget about me. I will plead guilty and any publicity will be short lived.”
“Nathaniel, your grandfather seems to think he can make a difference in your life. He has been estranged from your family for many years. I can't imagine what it was like for you growing up without family around. There were times when I was a young girl when I fantasized about being an only child. There were always so many of us and we were usually surrounded by Burkes too. I think that is the reason I escaped to New York City. It's a long story Nathaniel but I have to admit I took advantage of you. I loved a boy for as long as I could remember but thought he was lost to me. That was just before you came into my life and I convinced myself I wanted the life you could give me. I did not treat you kindly and I'm sorry about that. What you did yesterday was wrong. I know you are aware of that and I'm sure the whiskey had as much to do with it as anything. You haven't asked for my opinion but you know I will give it to you anyway. I think you should give your grandfather a chance. Unless he has me completely fooled, I do believe he is being sincere. I could see the love in his eyes as he spoke of you. I will not be pressing charges against you. I will tell Sheriff Mendenhall that it was all a misunderstanding because I believe you have learned a lesson. Shall I ask your grandfather to step in while I go to speak with the sheriff?”
Nathaniel and his grandfather embraced as the older gentleman entered the cell.
“Grandfather, I made a spectacle of myself and endangered someone who didn't deserve that treatment. I am sorry for the embarrassment I caused you.”
“I can't disagree with you son. What you did was foolish. You are not the only one to blame for your behavior though. It started many years ago with me and my indifference to your father and then you. I had the foolish idea that money was the only way to happiness but looking back I realize I haven't been a happy man since before I started gazing across the railroad tracks when I was 12 years old. I would like you to indulge an old man and come to live with me and help run my business.”
Sheriff Mendenhall rounded the corner.
“You are free to go young man. I hope you realize how fortunate you are to have a friend like Amanda Mackenzie. You could have been locked up for a number of years.”
The two Lancasters walked out of the jailhouse into the fresh crisp autumn afternoon. Amanda and Luigi were waiting on the steps. The men shook hands and Amanda hugged them.
“I want to hear from you. I have a good feeling that you have begun a relationship that will bring happiness to you both.”
“Thank you for the second chance Amanda.” said Nathaniel. “I won't make a mess of it, I promise.”
“And I'll see to it that he doesn't” The senior Nathaniel replied with a wink.
Through the years Amanda did hear from both gentleman. Nathaniel started in the mail room of Lancaster Industries the very next morning. He was determined to make his grandfather proud and he did. He worked in almost every department in the company getting to know people from all walks of life. He met Betty Turner in the purchasing department and fell truly in love for the first time in his life. Betty reminded Grandfather of Amanda and he thoroughly approved. Betty and Nate, as he was known after that fateful day, made Nathaniel a great grandfather five times over and named their oldest daughter Amanda. There was never a lack of attention for the children in the Lancaster household. Nate's mother and father tolerated his new life but couldn't imagine why a son of theirs would want to work for a living. Nate never allowed his work to interfere with his family life. It was difficult for his grandfather to learn to relax and enjoy his great grandchildren but he did get the hang of it and they all loved him.
Luigi and Amanda announced their intentions to marry before Thanksgiving. Luigi would be returning to Wilmington but hoped it wouldn't be long before he would be back in Camden Corners permanently. Everyone was happy about the upcoming marriage and that Luigi and Amanda would be living in Camden Corners.
Mr. Weston was pleased that his favorite employee had found happiness with his longtime sweetheart. He knew Luigi was lonely for his family and his home. For some time he intended to open a branch of his camera business in another location and the small community of Camden Corners would do just fine. He purchased a parcel of land just east of Camden Corners and construction began on the new facility. Luigi and Amanda were married one week before Thanksgiving. With the Rossi, Mackenzie and Burke clans all together plus practically everyone in town attending, there was standing room only in the small chapel of the hills.