Thursday, December 6, 2012
Love is All Around
Love is all Around
Melanie smiled as she watched Julianna and Rick go off hand in hand. It was hard to believe they just met. They seemed to be made for each other. She and Greg fell in love just that quickly. They had only known each other for two weeks when they eloped. She never regretted the marriage or her unexpected pregnancy a few months later. Their time together had been so short. She was beginning to forget Greg's face. She had pictures, but it wasn't the same as looking into his eyes and hearing his voice. She still missed him but wondered if maybe it was time for her to move on. She knew Greg would want her to. Samantha loved playing with other children and would be a wonderful big sister.
Just then, Kevin Abbott walked in. “Melanie, I'm so happy to see you here. You won't believe this but I am in love. Her name is Rhonda. She is secretary to the bank president in some little town near here. He invited her to the gala the other night but his wife decided, at the last minute, to attend. It was awkward, but Rhonda made the best of it and pretended she had come alone. I'm so happy she did. Look, Melanie.” He took out a small box and opened. It was a diamond ring as big as anything she'd ever seen. “I'm going to ask her to be my wife. Isn't it wonderful? I'm getting married.”
“Kevin, are you sure? You have only known the girl for two days.”
“Of course I'm sure. If I remember correctly you only knew Greg for two weeks before you two were married. Rhonda is leaving in the morning to go back to her home and her job at the bank. I want to whisk her away to Las Vegas where we will be married. I wanted you to be the first to know. I hope you are happy for me. You know you had many chances with me and turned me down.”
“I'm happy if you're happy Kevin. I guess I'll see you back in LA. Congratulations.”
He gave her a kiss on the cheek and walked out the door.
“You poor sap,” she said quietly thinking no one was around.
“I'm glad you think so too. I didn't mean to eavesdrop but I was sitting here and Kevin's voice was a little loud.”
“Do you know Kevin?”
“No, I think I've seen him in movies. He plays opposite a much younger, lovelier actress. I believe her name is Melanie Fairchild.”
Melanie laughed. “I'm not sure Kevin would like that comparison. He really is a nice man in his own way. Stardom is very important to him and he is insecure about his acting ability. Maybe I just said too much, I hope you aren't a gossip columnist.”
No, I'm a local bloke. My sister and her family are staying here for a few days and I said I'd come over and watch the kids while they have a nice quiet afternoon alone.
“I noticed you earlier but you seemed lost in thought and I didn't want to disturb you. Since our boy Kevin did just that, I thought I'd say hello. My name is Joe Mackenzie.”
“I'm happy to meet you Joe. You know I'm Melanie and that little girl is my daughter, Samantha. She and your niece seem to have hit it off.”
“Is there a Mr. Fairchild?”
“There never was a Mr. Fairchild. In fact there isn't a Melanie Fairchild. I'm Melanie Spencer. My husband was Greg Spencer. He was killed in a skiing accident over three years ago.”
“I'm sorry to hear that, it can't be easy raising a child on your own.”
“It's easier for me than it is for most mothers. By some fluke, I happened to become a success in movies. I have enough money to support myself and my child and hire the best nanny I could find. Unfortunately, many woman are not as lucky as I am.”
“You are not only beautiful, you are compassionate too. By the way, I think you are a very good actress.”
“Who talked you into seeing my films? There must be a special woman in your life. Most men would rather see an action flick unless their wives or girlfriends convince them otherwise.”
“My movie dates are with a very special lady. We go to the movies as often we can. She has been in my life for as long as I can remember but she doesn't mind if I step out with someone else occasionally. Would you care to have dinner with me this evening? Samantha is invited also.”
Melanie was surprised that she felt disappointment that he was married. She was also dismayed that he would blatantly ask her out when he had a wife at home.
“I think you'd better check with your wife first,” she said sarcastically.
“I'm sorry Melanie. I shouldn't have mislead you. The special woman in my life is my mother. She had a stroke a few years ago and has been in a nursing home ever since. She is paralyzed on one side of her body but is able to watch and understand your movies. I try to make sure we see something uplifting and you never disappoint. I'm not married.”
“You had me there. How have you escaped marriage all these years?”
“I'm younger than I look,” he laughed.
An older woman must have spotted him from the hallway. She came into the room in a tizzy. “Dr. Joe, they told me I could find you here. Will you look at my finger? I think I may have broken it.”
“Now Agnes, I'm sure it isn't broken. Looks like you strained it. I've told you before, you have got to stop shaking that finger at old Elmer. You have finally worn it out. Why not go home and soak it in warm water while you wash the dishes in your sink.”
“Thank you Dr. Joe. I'll see you tomorrow at 9:00 so you can check on it.”
“Why don't you make it around 10:15. I have a nice long evening planned and may not make it into the office until a little later tomorrow.”
“If your evening will be spent with this young lady, I approve.” Agnes walked out of the room holding her injured middle finger straight up in the air. She couldn't understand what people were laughing about as she passed by them.
“You're a doctor? Are all of your patients like Agnes?”
“There's only one Agnes in the world. She is a lonely old woman. Her husband Elmer sits in his chair and watches television all day. He is hard of hearing and I don't think he has spoken a word to her in years. I've seen her shake that finger at him quite often. I have never been to her house when she doesn't have a sink full of dishes so I often prescribe soaking her hands in dishwater as a remedy for what ails her. She'll come into the office and my nurse will listen to her talk for awhile. By the time I get into the room she will be tired out and tell me I'm taking up too much of her time. If it weren't so sad, it would be comical.”
“Don't tell me you make house calls. I haven't heard of a doctor doing that in years.”
“I don't make many, but this is a small town. It doesn't take much out of my day to drop by some of my patient's homes. They are generally the old folks who don't get out too much and don't have family close by. In some ways it's easier to care for someone like Agnes who has one ailment or another on a regular basis than it is to oversee the ones who ignore their aches and pains. I had one fellow just the other day who had fallen and broken his wrist. He wrapped a bandage around it and bragged at the VFW meeting how he didn't need a doctor to fix him up, he had done it himself. By the time his chums brought him into emergency, the wrist was swollen to twice it's size. The bandage was wrapped so tightly it was cutting off his circulation. I'm sure he was in severe pain but he wouldn't admit to it. That's enough about my patients, how about that dinner? I know a little place just outside of town. It's a place that children like and they serve good food.”
“That would be very nice, Joe. Samantha and I will be ready whenever you say. Since she may be out past her bedtime, maybe we had both better take a nap this afternoon.”
“I should get the children back to their parents. I'll pick my two dates up at 6:30 if that's not too early.”
“We'll be ready.”
Melanie was dozing peacefully when she heard the door open. She could hear Julianna singing softly in her room.
“Your afternoon must have gone smoothly.”
“Hi Melanie, oh dear, were you napping? I hope I didn't wake you up.”
“I was just dozing. I didn't want to sleep too long anyway or I won't be able to sleep tonight.”
“Melanie, I'm in love. I have only known Rick for a few hours but I feel as though I've known him forever. He won't be moving to California for two months or more. It will be the longest two months of my life. I'm being silly, aren't I?”
“No, you aren't silly at all. Love can be like that. Sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks. Sometimes it just makes you think you might like to stay in Camden Corners for a little while longer. I met someone myself this afternoon. He's a doctor here in town. Julianna, I didn't think I could ever have feelings for another man after Greg died. Now, I'm beginning to wonder, just before I dozed off, I called downstairs and changed our reservations. We will be staying right here in Camden Corners until school starts back home. What do you think of that?”
“Oh, that will be wonderful. Now, I want to hear all about your doctor. Are you seeing him tonight? What about Samantha? I could change my plans to stay with her if you need me to.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I am seeing him tonight. He has invited Samantha and me to dinner. I can't tell you much about him except that he is very nice and quite good looking.”
Melanie changed her dress five times before choosing the one she would wear for her first date in over ten years.
“You look terrific in any one of those dresses, Melanie. I've never seen you so nervous. Not even the night you were a presenter at the awards show last year.”
“That was a piece of cake compared to this. I don't know what possessed me to accept an invitation with a stranger. I don't know what I'm exposing my daughter to. Maybe I should call and cancel.”
“Don't you dare! Samantha would be very disappointed, wouldn't you Samantha? Tell your mama she is being silly.”
“Mama, you are being silly,” Samantha giggled. “I like Dr. Joe, he's funny.”
“Alright you two. I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be,” Melinda said as she glanced in the direction of Greg's picture on her nightstand.
“He would approve,” said Julianna smiling as she gently pushed her friend out the door.
Joe was walking in the front door when he saw the Spencer girls coming down the stairs toward him. He was nervous. Melanie was a movie star for Pete's sake. What ever possessed him to ask her out? He hadn't dated much since deciding to go to medical school. He spent his time studying and working odd jobs to help pay for his education.
His cousin, Holly was watching with delight when she realized he was here to see Melanie Fairchild. She nudged Tracy. “Look who is coming in the door and who is walking directly toward him. I can't believe Joe has finally succumbed to a woman's charms.”
“It only took a famous movie star to attract his attention. There will be many broken hearts in Camden Corners tonight. I wonder if Joe had anything to do with Melanie extending her stay here.”
Samantha ran up to the desk. “Hi Tracy, Hi Holly. Mama and I have a date with Dr. Joe tonight. Doesn't Mama look pretty?”
“Yes, Miss Samantha and you look very pretty yourself. We hope you have a perfectly delightful evening.”
“We will, Mama is afraid. She told Julianna she didn't know what to do if Dr. Joe tried to kiss her and Julianna told her to kiss him back. Isn't that funny?”
“Is Samantha telling all the family secrets?” Melanie walked over to the desk.
“Not all of them, I'm sure we will hear more tomorrow. I see you are stepping out with my cousin. Joe, you'd better behave yourself, Samantha will be watching you,” teased Tracy looking directly at Joe.
“I'm always on my best behavior. The joys of living in a small town with nosy cousins. Shall we go ladies?”
The dinner was wonderful. Real down home cooking that Melanie loved and didn't have too often.
Any nervousness she felt had long disappeared. Joe wanted to know all about her life. What it was like to be recognized wherever she went.
Samantha was having a wonderful time. She was hoping Mama liked Dr. Joe as much as she did. Maybe they would get married and give her a baby sister to play with.
They drove back to town and stopped in the town square where a carnival was taking place. Joe took Samantha on her first roller coaster ride. She squealed with delight as the train came down the steep hill. Melanie declined the coaster ride but agreed to a turn on the Ferris wheel.
Samantha fell asleep in the car on the ride back to the hotel. Joe carried her to the suite and waited for Melanie to settle her daughter into bed.
“Joe, I don't remember when I've ever had such a wonderful time. I know Samantha had fun. I can't believe she agreed to ride on that roller coaster and wanted to do it again.”
“After the fourth ride, I was sorry I'd eaten so much at dinner. I had a good time too, Melanie. I'd like to see you again. When do you go back to California?”
“We've decided to extend our stay. Julianna has met someone and would like to get to know him better. We won't be leaving until after Labor Day.”
“I'm glad you will be staying. Julianna is lucky to have such an accommodating employer. I hope there is another reason you won't be leaving.”
“There just might be. If this was a movie, it would be the time the leading man takes the leading lady in his arms and kisses her while the music reaches a crescendo in the background.”
“I've always wanted to kiss an actress,” said Joe as he took her in his arms and kissed her.
“Who's acting?” said Melanie breathlessly.