Saturday, December 8, 2012
“Mama, I miss Julianna. I wish she didn't have to go back to California. Why couldn't she stay here in Camden Corners?”
“I miss her too, Samantha. Maybe we can call her later this morning. I'm sure she misses us too. She wouldn't be living with us anyway now that she is a married lady.”
The phone rang in the suite.
“Hi Melanie, it's Julianna.”
“We were just talking about you and how much we miss you. How is married life?”
“I'm delirious, I didn't think I could ever be this happy but I do miss the two of you. How's my little pumpkin?”
“She's jumping up and down wanting to talk with you. I'll put her on but don't hang up, I want to know all about your new life.”
“Julianna, guess what? Dr. Joe took Mama and me out in the lake in Rick's boat and I caught a fish. Dr. Joe showed me how to put some ham on the end of a hook. He said it works better with a worm but I didn't want to hurt the worm so we used some of my sandwich. I wanted to keep the fish but Dr. Joe said he would miss his mama if we didn't send him back to her in the lake. But it was fun.”
They talked for several minutes. Julianna could feel the tears welling in her eyes. She loved her life with Rick, but she did miss her best friends. She said goodbye to Samantha and handed the phone to Rick.
“Hi Melanie, Julianna had to wipe her eyes. I feel like a heel taking her away from the two of you. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, especially since we are living in your beautiful home. Why don't you and Samantha move into my house on the lake. Mrs. Jennings is by herself there and feeling very lonely. I just got off the phone with her and she is anxious to have you and Samantha to look after. She's a great cook and loves children. She would be able to help you with Samantha. My brother, Matt and his family live right next door. He has six kids and I'm sure there are one or two that would be good playmates for Samantha. You'll love his wife, Susie. What do you say?”
“Rick, that's so kind of you. I hadn't thought of moving out of the Merryweather but it might be nice for Samantha to live in a house again and have some children to play with. Let me talk with Tracy and Holly, I did reserve the suite through Labor Day.”
“Just let me know and I'll call Mrs. Jennings. Oh, by the way, did I mention Joe Mackenzie lives on the other side. It's always handy to have a doctor in the neighborhood.”
“Oh yes, I totally agree,” laughed Melanie.
Tracy assured Melanie that they would be able to rent out the suite. “It will be so nice for Samantha to have friends to play with and Mrs. Jennings is a peach. She is retired from her secretarial job at Camden High. She often helped out the drama teacher. She will love having a movie star to talk to.
“Speaking of which, you will be leaving soon for California. I can't tell you how much we have enjoyed your visit here. You know you will always have a home here if you ever decide to give up all that stardom.”
“Thank you Tracy, I really do feel at home here.”
Samantha said goodbye to all her friends at The Merryweather. From the housekeepers to the front desk clerks, they were all going to miss the friendly little girl they had come to know in the last two months.
Rick's house was cozy and warm. Mrs. Jennings welcomed Melanie and Samantha with open arms and a plateful of chocolate chip cookies. Before the suitcases were deposited in their rooms, the doorbell rang. Three little girls were standing on the front porch asking if Samantha could play.
After the bags were unpacked and the clothes all put in the dressers, Melanie sat on the back porch looking out over the lake. Mrs. Jennings brought out a pitcher of fresh brewed iced tea.
“Mrs. Jennings, please sit here with me where I can keep an eye on Samantha. She seems to be having so much fun with the other girls.”
“I'd like that, Miss Fairchild. Two of the girls are Susie and Matt Marino's daughters. The other little girl is their cousin, Maddie Rossi. The three of them are inseparable. I have never seen them squabble which is quite unusual.”
“Please, call me Melanie.”
“I'm Agatha although most people call me Aggie. It's not nearly as pretty sounding as Melanie. Tell me is that the name you were born with or a stage name?”
“I was born Melanie but the Fairchild is an invention. My husband's name was Spencer. He passed away three years ago. My maiden name was Taylor and I do believe some of my ancestors lived in Camden Corners.”
“Oh dear, Melanie. I'm so sorry about your husband. I lost my dear Ralph 35 years ago and I still miss him to this day. Of course, I know the Taylors. I'm sure you have heard about them and seen their pictures on the walls of The Merryweather. Those girls have done such a wonderful job with that old eyesore. It's hard to believe less than a year ago it was about to be demolished. The town all thought they were way over their heads when they bought it but then they found those journals and everyone changed their minds. We are all very proud of them.”
“It is truly a beautiful hotel. We were very happy living there but when Rick suggested we move in here it seemed such a good change for Samantha. I hope we aren't too much for you Aggie.”
“Too much? Oh, dear, I am so happy to have company. Even when Rick was living in Camden Corners, I didn't see much of him. He works too hard. His new wife is such a lovely girl. I understand she is a good friend of yours.”
“Yes, she is and I miss her although I know she is happy and that is what is important.”
“And you dear? Are you happy living in California?”
“That's funny, nobody ever asked me that before. I can't say I'm unhappy, but I like it much better here.”
“That's good, because you will be staying. People will tell you I have a sixth sense about things and I sense you and Samantha are going to be making your home right here in Camden Corners.”
“Aggie, you are a wonder. I think you may have something there. I was going to hold off on my decision until Labor Day. When I first came to town, people recognized me and treated me like I was off limits. After just a week or two, everyone accepted me and became my friends. I have fans, but not many friends and I can tell you I much prefer the friends. I hope you don't mind the company because Samantha and I are staying right here in Camden Corners.”
“Of course you are. I know one handsome doctor who will be happy to hear your news. He will be here in just a few minutes.”
“I don't expect Joe this morning. He was going to be tied up at the clinic for most of the day.”
“He'll be here.”
Melanie heard Joe's car pull into the driveway next door. “Hi neighbor!” he called as he walked up the stairs to the porch.
“Aggie, you do have a sixth sense, don't you?”
“Maybe I do and maybe he called a little while ago to see if you and Samantha were up for company,” she laughed. “I'll leave you two alone. I think you have some news to tell him.”
“Hello you two. Is Aggie giving you a hard time Melanie? She has the look she gets when she puts one over on someone.”
“She was just telling me about her sixth sense, but she cheated.”
“Aggie's a gem. I was planning to steal her while Rick is in California, but since she will be helping you out, I'll have to live without her. Now, what news do you have to tell me? I hope it's something I will like.”
“I hope you do. I'm going to be staying right here in Camden Corners. I may have a problem with Hap and my contract, but that runs out in December and I don't think he will fight me for just a couple of months.”
“Melanie, are you sure? After all the glitz and glamor, you don't think you will be bored in our little town?”
“I thought you'd be happier to hear I was staying, Joe. Maybe you are having second thoughts about us.”
“No, darling, I love you more every day. I have been hoping you would decide to stay. It's just that you may change your mind down the road and resent me and Camden Corners for taking you away from your life of stardom.”
“I thought you knew me better than that. I'm just a small town girl at heart. The movie star me wasn't me at all. I have never seen Samantha happier. She is thriving here. Just the other day when we past by the school, she looked at it longingly and told me she wished it was in California so she could go there. Back home she is driven to a private school in a limo every day. Here she can walk with her friends. People are beginning to accept us being here and have started treating me like a neighbor and friend and not some superficial movie star. I like that feeling, Joe.”
Joe smiled broadly. He took Melanie's hand and brought her up from the chair and into his arms. “You have made one big decision today so I won't press you on making another right away but I hope you will marry me in time. I can't give you all the things you have become accustomed to but I can assure you that this country doctor will love you and Samantha with all my heart.”
“Look, Samantha,” shouted Maddie. “Your mama is kissing Dr. Joe. Is he going to be your new daddy?”
“Oh, they kiss a lot. Sometimes I sneak out of my bed at night and see them. I hope he is going to be my daddy and then we can stay in Camden Corners.”
“We'd like that too,” said her new friends.
“This is a cause for celebration.” Aggie came charging out the front door with a bottle of champagne in one hand and three glasses in another. “You two are made for each other. Now, when is the wedding?”
“Hold your horses, Aggie. Let's not rush Melanie.”
“Nonsense, you two aren't getting any younger and I think it's high time little Samantha had a brother or sister.”
“I agree,” said Melanie. “Doctor Joseph Mackenzie, will you do me the honor of becoming my husband? Don't you dare say no because your new daughter is standing on the stairs waiting for your answer.”
“What do you think, Samantha?” Joe said as he glanced down and saw four smiling faces looking back at him. “Should I say yes?”
“Yes!” The little girls all said in unison.
“Ms. Melanie Taylor Spencer Fairchild, I accept your proposal. Now, if you all will pardon the public display of affection, I will kiss my betrothed.”
Aggie hurried into the kitchen to get the calendar off the wall. “No sense in waiting. How about two weeks, will that give you enough time, Melanie?”
“Two weeks! Do we have to wait that long? I was thinking maybe Saturday.”
“This Saturday?” Melanie asked in surprise. “You folks don't believe in taking things slow, do you? Let me check my appointment book,” she said with a chuckle. “Looks like I'm free. Saturday it is.”
“Are you sure, sweetheart, you don't want a big wedding with a fancy dress and the people you know in California?”
“Joe, you have seen all of my movies, I've had my share of big fancy weddings. Granted, they weren't real, but I will be happy just being your wife. In fact, I would love it if we could be married on the beach. Of all the times I married Kevin Abbott, my favorite weddings were by the water.”
“I have some planning to do. I'll leave you two alone to discuss the honeymoon. We don't have much time.”
“I think I'd better call Hap and break the news.”
“He'll try to talk you out of staying, won't he?”
“Probably, but he'll come around. Eventually.”
Joe left her alone to make the call. He knew she was dreading it and thought she would like to have some privacy. He walked down the stairs to the beach where the little girls had gone back to their play. Melanie watched as Samantha hugged her new father. She looked into the heavens and thought of Greg. She knew he would approve of Joe.
She dialed her agent's phone number. “Hi Myrtle, it's Melanie, is Hap available?”
“Hello Melanie, I hope you are coming back soon. Hap has been a bear since you left. Did you know he arranged an audition for Rhonda Abbott? She isn't half bad. Not as good as you, of course.”
“She'll improve. If I remember correctly, my audition wasn't that great.”
“Melanie, sweetheart. I hope you are calling to tell me you loved the last script I sent you.”
“No, Hap. I have made my last movie. I'm getting married on Saturday and Samantha and I are beginning a new life here in Camden Corners. I hope you will be happy for us.”
“Married? Now I know you are having a mental breakdown. Melanie, you can't give up acting. You are at the top of your game. I won't let you do anything foolish. Listen, take a few more months off. I'm sure you will change your mind and come back to California where you belong.”
“No, Hap. My life is here now. I don't want you to be under the impression that I will change my mind. Wish me luck, dear friend. I will keep in touch but as Mrs. Melanie Mackenzie. Melanie Fairchild doesn't exist anymore.”
Reluctantly Hap hung up the phone. “Myrtle, book me on the next flight to Cramden Crossroads. I have to talk some sense into that girl.”
“I think you mean Camden Corners, boss.”
“Whatever, just get me on a plane to that hideous little town.”