Monday, December 24, 2012
Chapter Twenty Nine
“Hello Samantha, I understand you are the one who called for help when you came upon the fellow in an overturned car. He's lucky you were there to stop the bleeding. He's going to be fine. Maybe a headache for a few days, but no permanent injury. He's been asking to see you. He seems to know you. Are you holding something back from your mom and me?” Joe Mackenzie said with a wink at his daughter.
“No, Dad. I ran into him at the cabin this afternoon. Do you know who he is?”
“Bradley Clifford? Should I know him?”
“You may know him by his pen name, Cooper Dillon.”
“No kidding! And my daughter saved his life. I'm impressed. Who is this young fellow?” Joe asked looking at a nervous Josh.
“This is Josh Grayson, he was there when the accident happened. Josh is Margie and Ken Grayson's son.”
“Hi Josh, your folks must be in town. It will be good to see them again. I think I treated you for a broken ankle a few years ago.”
“No, that was my brother. Everything cool always happens to him.”
“You were cool today, Josh. He held a rope that was wrapped around me so I could rescue Brad's manuscripts and typewriter.”
“I don't think I want to hear the rest of that story, it sounds dangerous, Samantha. You know your mother won't be happy about that.”
“I'm fine, thanks to Josh. Is it alright if Josh goes in the room too? He wants to make sure Brad is okay.”
“Sure, he's making noises about leaving anyway. I'd like him to stay for a day, but I can see I'm not going to win that argument. I'll see you at home later, Aggie is fixing a light supper before the show tonight.”
“See you, Dad.”
Samantha poked her head around the curtain where Brad was. “Feel like visitors?”
“Hello Samantha, I understand you saved me from bleeding to death this afternoon. I guess I owe you, how about dinner?”
“Oh yes, I'd love to share your beef broth and lime gelatin,” she laughed.
“No, I mean a real dinner. What's a good restaurant in town?”
“Brad, I'd like you to meet Josh Grayson. He has something he'd like to say to you.”
Josh's face flushed. He fought the urge to cry. After all he wasn't a baby. “Mr. Clifford, I'm really sorry I made you drive your car off the road. I was on my brother's motorcycle and I didn't see you.”
“Josh, it wasn't your fault. I wasn't watching where I was going. You see, I was looking in the rear view mirror. There was a beautiful girl in a Jeep following me. I didn't notice the bend in the road until it was too late.”
“Thanks Mr. Clifford, that makes me feel better.”
“Josh,” said Samantha, “would you mind getting that package I left in the waiting room?”
“Sure, I'll be right back.”
“That was nice of you, Brad. Josh was scared to death. He thought he had killed you.”
“No sense having the kid be consumed with guilt just because he was being a kid. Besides, I really was looking behind me. I couldn't take my eyes off of you. I enjoyed our visit today. Thinking of that helps take my mind off the fact that two months of work has gone up in flames. The sheriff told me the car caught fire and there is nothing left.”
Josh opened the door carrying a box. “Samantha saved your typewriter and your novels, Mr. Clifford. I held the rope wrapped around her while she pulled them out of your car.”
“You did this for me? Samantha, I owe you much more than a dinner. How about a Rolls Royce?”
“Wouldn't I look dandy tooling around town in a Rolls? This is Camden Corners, Brad, not the Hamptons. Besides, I like my little Jeep.”
“You don't know how much work you saved me. If I tried recreating these manuscripts, it would have taken me another three months. You are an angel.”
They could hear voices in the hall.
“That's my Dad. I'm gonna get it now,” said Josh.
“I'll go with you while Mr. Clifford puts some clothes on. Maybe the nurses can find you a shirt without bloodstains in lost and found, I'll check.”
“Margie, Ken, so good to see you,” said Samantha as she hugged her old friends.
“Where's my bike, you punk?”
“I'm sorry I took it Jake. It's okay. Samantha tied it to a tree. She wouldn't let me ride it back down here.”
“Son, why did you take it in the first place? We talked about this. You are not old enough for a license. What you did was illegal and someone was hurt because of your actions,” said Ken.
“Yeah Dad's gonna ground you til you're twenty one,” added Jake.
“Jake, be quiet. You aren't helping.”
Samantha spoke up. “Mr. Clifford doesn't blame Josh, he said he was distracted and that is the reason he went off the road.”
“Yeah, he was distracted because he was looking at Samantha. He really likes her, I can tell. Guess who he is. He's Cooper Dillon, the writer. He's really a neat guy. Samantha saved his life and his manuscripts.”
“Samantha, you have had a busy day. Thanks for taking care of Josh for us.” said Margie. “We'd better get you fellows back to The Merryweather. Will we see you at the play tonight?”
“I hope so, since our patient insists on leaving the hospital, I think I may have to watch over him. We don't want any setbacks.”
“Good, just what I wanted. A beautiful watchdog. If you can point the way to a barber shop, I think it's time I rejoined polite society and got rid of this beard. Maybe if I look presentable, you will allow me to escort you to opening night.”
Samantha introduced Brad to the Graysons. They were concerned for his health and suspected he was letting Josh off the hook.
“Josh, I hope you remember exactly where the bike is, we don't have much time Grandma wants to visit with some of her friends before the show.”
“I know just where it is, Dad. It is in a safe place.”
“It better be, punk. If you hurt my bike, I'll hurt you.”
“Jake, do you remember a couple of years ago when you went for a joy ride in your grandfather's golf cart? You totaled the thing. Did Grandpa hurt you back then?”
“Okay, now be quiet, his father said. “Josh, you are off the hook for this one, but if anything like it happens again, you will be thirty five before you drive anything with wheels.”
“Thanks, Dad,” said Josh as he gave his brother a look of satisfaction.
Samantha dropped Brad off at the barbershop. “I'll go to the drugstore and buy you a few toiletries while you are in there. There's a men's shop around the corner, that lumberjack shirt the nurse found isn't quite you.”
Brad walked out of the barber shop clean shaven with a fresh haircut. Samantha could feel her pulse beating a little faster. The picture on the back of his books didn't do him justice. It didn't take him long to purchase a few articles of clothing. He picked out a sport coat to wear to the play.
“I'm sorry I couldn't save your suitcase, Brad.”
“No big deal, there wasn't much in there. I have plenty of clothes in New York.”
Samantha felt sad thinking of him going back to New York. She was looking forward to spending time with him right here in Camden Corners.
“Are you sure your folks won't mind if you bring home a guest unannounced?”
“No, they'd mind more if I left you on your own. As I told you, Aggie, our neighbor and dear friend, is preparing supper tonight. She is our unofficial cook. You will like Aggie and Hap. They are getting on in years and tend to say exactly what is on their mind. Hap was my mother's agent during the time she was making films. When she told him she was giving up show business to marry my dad, he flew here to convince her not to abandon her career and ended up marrying Aggie and staying right here in Camden Corners himself.”
“Does anyone leave Camden Corners? There must be a magnet in the middle of town pulling people here. You sure the place isn't haunted?”
“More like magical. If you are looking for excitement, Camden Corners is not for you. However, if you enjoy the simple things in life, good friends and neighbors and a picturesque town complete with a gazebo in the village square, it's a nice place to be.
“Not that we don't have our battles and feuds, you should be here at election time or during the sailing and rowing regattas held on Labor Day weekend. Last year, Horace Smith bonked his brother Herbert on the head with an oar. His wound required twenty two stitches. Obviously, neither brother was declared the winner of the race. Herbert forgave Horace and they each vowed to beat the other in the race this year.”
“Are you on the payroll at the Chamber of Commerce? You love your town, it's in your voice when you speak of it. How about boyfriends?”
“What about them?”
“Do you have one?”
“No, there is no one special in my life. That saying 'Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,' that's me.”
“The guys in this town must be blind. Either that or you are holding out for someone more worldly,” Brad smiled at her.
“Yes, I'm holding out for someone who looks like a bear and drives off cliffs,” said Samantha as she pulled into the driveway of a big old friendly looking house with a wrap around porch.
“I happen to know someone who fits that description.” He reached over pulling her close to him. Samantha gasped in surprise as he kissed her. She looked at him and when he pressed his lips against hers again, she kissed him back.
“I've been wanting to do that since I saw you standing in the cabin trying not to notice that I was only wearing a towel,” Brad said, in a husky voice.
“Samantha Mackenzie, who are you kissin' out there? It's about time you brought home a beau. Who are you, young fella?”
“Let me guess, that's Aggie,” said Brad.
“That's Aggie all right. We won't hear the end of it tonight. Just ignore her when she starts talking about weddings.”
“No, I think I'll listen to what she has to say. You never know when information like that will come in handy.”
Samantha was falling more in love with every word he spoke. She knew she was opening herself up for heartbreak, but she didn't care. She wanted to enjoy every moment she could with Bradley Clifford until the day he left Camden Corners to go back to his real life.
“Samantha, dear. You have outdone yourself with this one,” Aggie said as she took his hand. “Young fellow, I'm Aggie Hazzard. I hope you know you are breaking the heart of every single man in Camden Corners.”
“I guess they'll have to find their own girl, Aggie. Samantha is taken. At least, I hope she is,” he looked at her with his eyes shining.
“Aggie, you stop that talk. You are embarrassing Brad, he doesn't know you like I do.”
“I'm not embarrassed. I like the idea of knocking off all the competition,” Brad said laughing.
Samantha didn't know what to think. Brad was a writer and could come up with all the right words. She had to keep in mind that fiction was his line of work.
“Let's go in the house, I'll introduce you to the rest of the family. I'm sure they will mind their manners,” she pretended to scowl at Aggie. She loved the old woman so much she could never be upset with her even though her face was red with embarrassment.
“Brad, come on in.” Joe Mackenzie called out. “How are you feeling? Any headache, nausea?”
“No sir. I'm doing great. Your daughter is taking very good care of me.”
Samantha introduced him to her mother. He couldn't help but feel a little star struck. It had been twenty years since Melanie Fairchild was on screen, but she looked just as lovely as she had all those years ago.
“I'm looking forward to the play tonight. Samantha said she could probably get another ticket for me.”
“We'd love to have you Brad. I hope you enjoy the show. We are just an amateur group, but what we lack in experience, we make up for in enthusiasm.”
“Mom, I told Brad to plan to stay here tonight. That way, if he has any problems because of his injury, Dad and I will be here to help him.”
“That's a good idea. Brad you are more than welcome. The guest room has its own bath, I'm sure you will be comfortable there.”
“Mrs. Mackenzie, I don't want to impose. I'm sure I'll be just fine. I thought I'd check into The Merryweather for the night.”
“I know for a fact that they are booked solid tonight. Plan on staying here. We won't take no for an answer,” said Melanie.
Brad couldn't remember when he had a more enjoyable time. Samantha's family made him feel as though he belonged. Her brother, Robbie mentioned that he had written a few articles for the school paper. Brad offered to look them over. “You'd be surprised, Robbie how many authors started just that way.”
Luke talked nonstop about baseball. His twin sister, Staci talked nonstop about Grady Carter who was on Luke's baseball team.
After dinner, as Samantha was clearing the table, Aggie shooed her away. “Samantha, go take a walk on the beach with your young man. Your brothers and sisters will help with the dishes tonight.”
They wrinkled their noses but didn't complain. They liked Brad and thought going for a walk was a good idea.
“We'll be back in plenty of time to change clothes and be at the theater early.” They walked hand in hand down the path to the beach. If they'd turned and looked back they would have seen seven pairs of eyes following them until they were past the curve and out of sight.