Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Lacy's Broken Heart
Chapter Thirty One
Lacey's Broken Heart
After getting directions from her weeping daughter, Julianna hung up the telephone.
“Mom, what's wrong? Is it Dad?” a frightened Erin said.
“No, it was Lacey. She must have slipped out of the house. I thought she was in her room sleeping. Erin, she rode her bicycle to that boy's apartment. It's in a terrible neighborhood. She wants me to come get her. Erin, she was crying her heart out.”
“I'm going with you.”
“No, I don't want you going to that neighborhood at this time of night.”
“Mom, I'm not letting you go alone.”
“Okay, get dressed quickly. I should have checked on her but she was in such a snit, I thought it best to let her be until morning.”
“Don't blame yourself, Mom. If Lacey wanted to see Ross, she would have found a way. I'm surprised she didn't take the car. I guess she didn't want you to hear her and follow her.”
“It may have been better, she would have been safer driving home than on that bicycle.”
Mr. Claussen, the proprietor of the Claussen Drug Store began to lock the front door when he noticed a young girl standing by the telephone booth. He opened the door.
“Young lady, what are you doing there?” he asked. “This is not a safe place for you.”
“I'm alright, my mother is coming to pick me up,” she said between sobs.
“Berta, come quickly, there is a young lady here who is very distraught.”
“What is wrong, my child, are you hurt?” Mrs. Claussen asked.
“I'm fine, thank you,” Lacey answered trying to stop the flow of tears.
“You say your mama is coming for you. Come inside to wait for her. This is not a safe place for a young girl to be. Helmut, go get the young lady a cup of tea, I suspect she may be suffering from a broken heart and tea will soothe her.”
Lacey followed the older woman into the store. “I don't want to be any trouble.”
“Nonsense, you are no trouble at all. Would you like to tell Berta why you are crying?”
Berta Claussen reminded Lacey of the people who lived in Camden Corners. The place she said she hated just a few hours ago. She found her voice and through her tears she told Mrs. Claussen she had made a fool of herself.
“I have disappointed my mother and my sister. I was such a fool to think Ross McCoy could love me. I was mean to my sister and I was rude to my mother. I don't know if they will ever forgive me.”
Mr. Claussen brought the tea. “I'll keep an eye out for your mother. We don't want her to worry when she doesn't see you standing by the phone booth,” he said.
“My dear child, you aren't the first girl to fall for the charms of a young man who is not worthy of you. The same thing happened to our daughter, Hilda when she was only sixteen. She ran away from our home to be with a hoodlum. She, too, felt great love for the boy. As it turned out, he was just toying with her affections. She came home brokenhearted. Of course, we forgave her. She is now married to a wonderful man and they have given Helmut and me five grandchildren to love. I know you don't believe it now, but you will fall in love with a young man one of these days. He will be welcomed into your home and you won't have to slip away in the night to be with him.”
Helmut Claussen poked his head in the door. “I see an automobile headed this way. Yes, it must be the girl's mother.” He waved her down. “Your girl is safe inside with Berta,” he said as the car pulled to the curb.
Julianna and Erin rushed from the car. “Lacey, are you all right? Are you hurt? Let me look at you. Thank you so much for taking care of my daughter. I was so worried when I realized she was out and alone this time of night.”
“Please come in, we have plenty of tea. You are shaking, I think you'd better calm down before you attempt to drive home. Your daughter is a dear girl. She has had a disappointment this evening, but I can tell she has a loving mother and sister to help her through her sadness. Helmut will put her bicycle in the back of your automobile while we sit and chat for a moment.”
Mrs. Claussen told her their experience with their daughter. “Right now, Lacey's dreams of living happily ever after have been crushed. In time, she will forget about this boy, our Hilda did.”
“Hilda has five children, Mom. She met someone who loved her back. I guess I was just being a fool. Ross never cared about me at all.”
Julianna hugged her daughter. “I should have listened to you. I know you don't want to go to Camden Corners. Maybe we will be able to work something out so you can stay here in California.”
“Stay in California? Why would I want to do that? I would miss you and Dad and Erin way too much. You know, I don't think I will miss Ross as much as I thought I would. I didn't like that awful place we used to go. It was stinky and all he did was play pool and drink beer. I can't wait to climb the hills of Camden Corners and go swimming in the lake. It seems so long since we have seen our cousins. Erin, I can't wait to see Samantha's new boyfriend. He's the mystery writer, Cooper Dillon.”
“I know,” said Erin. “He's a dreamboat. A little old for us but just right for Samantha.”
“Lacey is going to be just fine,” said Berta. “You have two very special girls there.”
Julianna thanked the Claussens again and hugged them for taking such good care of her daughter. She drove home with the girls chattering away. She knew, in time, Lacey would fill her in on the details of what happened tonight. For the moment she was happy to have her daughters together and laughing again.
Rick's assignment was completed. He was unemployed and ready to start a new life in his home town. On the long trip from California to Camden Corners, the family stopped in places the girls had only read about. Rick enjoyed the scenery found along the route. He had been out of the country for extended periods of time for the last twenty years. He had missed so many milestones in his daughters' lives and was determined to make up for it now. No more traveling except with the entire family.
Julianna listened to her daughter when she told of going to Ross McCoy's apartment, finding him half undressed with his arms around a woman and the humiliation she felt when his friend all but propositioned her. Julianna held her daughter close. She wished she could have saved her from that ordeal. In the back of her mind, she wondered if Ross had simply done the right thing and staged the scene Lacey walked into.
After the long trip, they finally saw the sign 'Welcome to Camden Corners'. They were all glad to be home. Rick drove directly to Aggie and Hap's home. Aggie insisted the family stay with them until they were settled into a place of their own.
“This was your house many years ago, back when I was your housekeeper. Rick was always neat as a pin, Julianna. I never could understand why he needed a housekeeper. He rarely raised a speck of dust,” said Aggie.
“The girls will make up for that Aggie.” The whole family loved Aggie and Hap. They were getting on in years but still going strong. Hap's heart condition was well under control thanks to Aggie's watchful eye.
Melanie and Joe came through the door without knocking. “Welcome home! It is so good to have you here permanently. Samantha wanted to be here to greet you but she is at the hospital. She should be home soon,” said Melanie.
“We can't wait to meet her boyfriend. Is he as cute in person as he is on the cover of his books?” asked Erin.
“Much better looking than that,” came a strange voice. Erin looked up and into the eyes of Cooper Dillon. Her face burned as the color rose in her cheeks.
Everyone laughed as Melanie introduced Brad to the Marino family. “Samantha was such a precious little girl, I'll have to embarrass her sometime and tell you all about her escapades,” said Julianna.
“I'd like that, she can be the heroine of my next novel.”
“Oh no she can't,” came Samantha's voice from the porch. “Looks like I got here just in time to greet my nanny.” Samantha hugged each and everyone of the newcomers.
“He's dreamy,” whispered Lacey.
“I think so too,” answered Samantha.
“Let's go out on the porch,” said Aggie. “Hap is in there fixing drinks. I'd better watch him before he splashes a little extra vodka in his orange juice. I can't trust that man for a minute.”
“Poor Hap, he can't get away with anything with Aggie around.”
“Oh, he loves the way she fusses over him. He was alone for so many years, he is enjoying all the attention. Tracy and Holly have planned a welcome home party for all of you. I hope it isn't too much on your first day here,” said Melanie.
“No, we'd love it. It will be so good to see everyone, I can hardly wait to get involved with the theater. How did Holly do in her staring role.”
“She did a wonderful job. She said she was scared to death but you would never know it. I'll let her tell you who got her through that difficult first night.”
“I'll bet it was one of the folks in the portraits on the wall. I will never forget how that photo of Iris seemed to come alive. I have her to thank for being alive myself,” said Julianna.
“Are you still talking about the ghosts of Camden Corners past?” said Rick.
“Yes, and you believe it too. You told me that one night.”
“I never said I believed in ghosts, I was distracted by a real live person that looked especially sexy standing in front of me. I'd have agreed to anything.”
“Dad!” Erin said in disgust. “Lacey, lets get out of here before the conversation gets too gross. Let's walk over to the pool at the Merryweather, maybe we will run into some of our cousins.”
“Hey, if your mother hadn't been so sexy, you two would never have been born. I was a confirmed bachelor before I scooped her out of the lake.”
“What beautiful young girls,” said Aggie. “I can't believe they are grown up and ready to start college. Time is going by so fast. I'll bet they left many broken hearts back in California.”
“No, they both had friends, not real boyfriends in school. Lacey had an unfortunate crush on an older fellow. It was touch and go there for awhile but it seems she escaped from that situation without harm to anything but her ego.”
“Sam's boyfriend is really cute, don't you think Lacey? I hope they get married. I'll bet they'd have beautiful children.”
“I think they probably will. Did you see the way Brad looked at her? That man has fallen hard. Wouldn't you like to be in love? I thought I was but you see how that turned out.”
“I don't want to be in love yet. It doesn't fit into my plan for another ten years.”
“Erin, I can't believe we are twins. You are so practical. You never do anything that you haven't planned out a year before. I can't wait to fall in love. I don't think romance is anything you plan for.”
“Well, I'm planning for it. Look, there are a bunch of kids in the pool. Let's go over and see if we know any of them.”
Jake Grayson was playing catch with his brother Josh. He had forgiven him for the motorcycle incident. Josh threw the ball and it splashed in the water and bounced out of the pool. Jake climbed out after it. The ball landed at Erin's feet. She looked into the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. Jake looked up and smiled. “Sorry, I hope I didn't get your clothes wet.”
“No, they aren't wet at all,” said Erin. Lacey looked over and saw her shirt and shorts were soaked.
“Are you staying at the Merryweather?” Jake asked.
“No, we just moved here.” Erin said as she took a deep breath. What was wrong with her, she had never reacted to a boy like this before.
Lacey knew she had to help her sister out. She was acting like a zombie. “Hi, I'm Lacey Marino and this is my sister, Erin. Our father was born in Camden Corners and he have moved back here to go to the university. Are you from around here?”
“No,” he said as he looked back and forth from Lacey to Erin.” We are from New York. We come here every year. I'm Jake Grayson.”
“Come on Jake, let's finish our game,” called his brother. Jake ignored him.
“There is a party tonight for your family right here at the Merryweather. You must be pretty special.”
“No, not special. My mom lived here for awhile with Melanie Mackenzie and her daughter Samantha. Erin, tell Jake how Dad saved Mom from drowning,” she prompted.
“Yeah, that's how our mom and dad met. They are married now.” Erin was mortified, she couldn't seem to focus. Her palms were sweaty and she felt like she was going to throw up. “We'd better go, Lacey.”
“It was very nice to meet you Erin,” Jake said slowly. He gave Lacey a look of sympathy and went back to his game.
“Erin, what in the world is wrong with you? I've never known you to freeze up like that around a boy or anyone for that matter.”
“Oh Lacey, I couldn't help myself. Isn't he the most gorgeous boy you have ever seen in your life. Oh no, I'm sure he thinks I'm a nut case. I'm so embarrassed.”
“Embarrassment is my department, let's get you back to Aggie's maybe you need some food or something.”
I'm going to have to find out what is wrong with Erin Marino, thought Jake. She certainly didn't act normal. Too bad, she is really good looking.
“I'm getting out, Josh. I'll see you in the cabin.” Jake showered and changed his clothes. The party tonight seemed lame earlier when he first heard about it. Now he found himself looking forward to seeing Erin again.
He walked to the lobby and spotted Tracy. “Hi Tracy, may I ask you what you know about Erin Marino? I understand the party is for her family tonight.”
Tracy smiled. “Have you met Erin already? She and her sister Lacey are great girls.”
“Is Erin different?” Josh asked.
“Different how? She and Lacey are fraternal twins if that's what you mean, I think they look quite a bit alike, but their personalities are very different.”
“Is Erin shy?”
“Shy? No, I never considered her shy. She was valedictorian of her class. I understand she gave a wonderful speech. I don't think a shy person would be able to do that. I'll be sure to introduce the two of you tonight.”
“We already met down by the pool. She acted kind of strange, that's all. Well, thanks Tracy, I'll see you tonight.”
“Oh Samantha,” said Erin when she got back to Aggie's. “I have made the biggest fool of myself. I don't know what got into me. I was telling Lacey how I don't want to fall in love for at least ten years. I have my whole future planned out and love doesn't enter that picture for years. There was a boy at the pool and when he came up to me, I froze. I couldn't speak. I know he thinks I'm not all there and I don't know what to do. He is so cute. I have ruined everything. I'll bet he falls for Lacey and I'll be miserable for the rest of my life.”
“Erin, this is great. You have always been so disciplined. Even as a little girl, you never played with a new toy until the one you had in your hand was put back in its proper place. You always waited your turn for a swing and never tried to sneak in front of someone else. Nothing was ever spontaneous with you. Now you have your life planned and you found out what it was like to have a whopper of a crush on a guy. If you want my advice, go for it. Don't worry about what tomorrow might bring, who knows, this boy may turn out to be a real drip.”
“Go for it, huh? If Jake Grayson doesn't run from me, I think I will do just that.”
The party had just started when Erin spotted Jake across the room. Erin turned to Lacey. “I'm going to go for it. I'll catch up with you later.”
She walked directly to Jake with her head held high. She took a deep breath. “Hi, Jake, I want to apologize for the way I acted earlier. I wasn't myself.”
Jake was surprised and pleased that the girl could speak coherently after all. “You aren't on drugs, are you?”
“No, nothing like that. Maybe someday we'll talk about it. Tell me, where do you go to school?”
“I'll be right here in Camden Corners. I decided to transfer here. They have a good reputation and I like to ski. It didn't take much to get my parents to agree. They like it here. They were married in this town. They were both running for the senate seat my grandfather held for years. Neither really wanted it but they had been talked into it. They were married and both quit the race. Your folks met here too, didn't they?”
“Yes, let me tell you the story of Iris Taylor and the magical spell she cast over Samantha Mackenzie.”
Jake and Erin were inseparable for the rest of the evening. They took a walk on the beach in the moonlight. Jake turned to her and asked what she was going on with her. “You know, I'm hoping to get into the medical field, I won't hold it against you if you have a problems with seizures or any other kind of episodes.”
“Seizures, episodes, what ever gave you that idea?” cried Erin. “Oh, it was the way I behaved earlier. It's just that I had my life all planned out and then something happened that made me rethink my timetable. Let's just say I met you when my plan was changing and it didn't set well with my psyche. Does that make sense?”
“No, to be honest it doesn't. I was hoping you were so mesmerized when you saw me that you were speechless.”
“What would you say if I told you there was some truth to that?”
“I'd say 'who needs to talk?'” He put his arms around her and pulled her close kissing her. They were both speechless as he kissed her again and again.
Lacey walked out on the balcony, looked down on Jake and Erin and thought to herself, 'I guess Erin got over her speech problem.' She smiled as she walked back inside the ballroom.