Wednesday, December 5, 2012
“Good Morning you two sleepy heads. I was just about to leave to explore Camden Corners. I want to get as many shots as I can before the sun rises too far,” said Julianna as she strapped her camera case on her hip.
“Aren't you going to have any breakfast, Julianna? I heard last night that the breakfast chef is excellent,” said Melanie.
“Mama said I could have pancakes. Come with us Julianna.”
“No, darlin', not this morning. You and your mama will have fun together while I take lots of pictures.”
Again, Samantha had a worried look on her face. “Julianna, I wish you would stay with us. I'm afraid the rocks will hurt you.”
“I promise you Samantha, I won't be climbing any rocks.” Julianna looked at Melanie and they both were puzzled by Samantha's seeming fear of rocks all of a sudden.
After she left, Melanie questioned Samantha. “What makes you think Julianna will be hurt by rocks, dear? I'm sure she will be very careful.”
“Iris told me the rocks would hurt her. I don't want Julianna to be hurt, Mama.”
“You know Iris lived a long time ago, don't you? Maybe you had a dream about her. Sometimes our dreams seem real, but they aren't. They are just dreams. Now, let's go down to the restaurant and order you some pancakes.”
“May I have chocolate milk too?”
They walked by the gallery on the way to the dining room. “Hello Iris,” said Samantha.
Melanie was astonished at the resemblance the girl in the photo had to her daughter. She wondered how that could be. It was true Samantha had some Taylor traits but according to the story, Iris was not a Taylor by birth. The whole thing was crazy, thought Melanie. She decided to put it out of her mind until they ate their breakfast. It was difficult to think straight when her stomach was growling.
They sat down at a table near the window. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. She had intended to look more closely at the display cases and journals in the lobby but wondered if maybe she and Samantha should walk through the town instead. She didn't want to risk causing her daughter more anxiety if she were to dwell too much on those photos.
“Look, Mama. There is Mr. Kevin. May I go over and say hello to him?”
Sure enough, Kevin was sitting at a table with a red haired beauty. He had a wide grin on his face.
“Maybe we'd better not disturb Mr. Kevin. He looks like he is busy with a young lady at the moment.” Melanie was glad Kevin didn't have to spend the night all by himself in his suite. She was equally glad she hadn't been the one to keep him company.
After a filling breakfast, Melanie and Samantha toured Main Street. They walked past the old firehouse that had been transformed into a restaurant. There was a bronze statue with an old fashioned fire truck and a large dog perched in the passenger seat. “Look, Mama, a dalmatian.”
“It most certainly is, Samantha. Your great great great uncle drove a truck like that and I'll bet he had a dog just like that one to help him put out fires.”
They walked by the bakery that belonged to Diana Taylor years ago. It was obvious it had been enlarged but the building was still charming. The sweets in the window looked very tempting. “Shall we buy some cookies to take back to the hotel for later? What kind would you like?”
“I like the ones that look like daisies, I think Julianna would like them too.”
They entered the store and both salesgirls stopped in their tracks. “Miss Fairchild! How lovely you decided to stop in our shop. This must be your daughter. What a darling little girl. Hello sweetheart.”
“You have a charming shop here. I imagine it looked quite the same back when Diana Taylor was the proprietor. Diana is one of my ancestors. She may have been an aunt by marriage. I'm not really sure but I intend to study some of the journals back at the hotel.”
“Oh yes, everyone in town is excited about the journals. Many of us are connected directly to the folks who wrote them. Mary Lu and I are distant cousins of Diana. We think we inherited our love of baking from her. What a thrill to have a real life movie star in our little shop.”
“A movie star who has a sweet tooth. I just say words someone else has written. You two ladies are the talented ones to be able to make so many beautiful cakes and cookies.”
Melanie and Samantha left the shop with Samantha holding the sack of cookies. They left two giggling ladies behind who vowed to see every one of Melanie Fairchild's movies again. After all, she was kin.
“How about you and I go back to the hotel and put on our bathing suits. I think it's warm enough to go in the pool.”
“Yes, Mama. I can show you how fast I can swim now. Julianna doesn't know how to swim. Maybe I can teach her.”
The pool was refreshing and not too crowded. Most of the VIPs had already left the hotel or were waiting for limos and taxis to take them to the airport in Greensboro. Melanie was going to make the most of her short stay in Camden Corners. She was enjoying the easy pace of living.
She was grateful she had been lucky enough to catch the attention of one of the top producers in Hollywood. When she started out in the business she never thought she would be making as many movies as she had. Granted, they were mostly light romantic comedies, but she had made enough money doing them that she and Samantha would never have to worry about finances. After her last picture with Kevin Abbott, she wouldn't be surprised if their appeal as a couple was waning. She would be turning thirty before too long. Although Kevin held his age well, she wondered how much longer he could play the carefree young playboy who falls for the chaste ingenue.
Julianna was in her glory. She was capturing the beautiful scenery of the east. She loved photographing California, but was happy to have an entirely different landscape before her. She was determined to get just the right angle as the sun was baking the vineyards to the west. She was happy to find a pier and walked out almost to the end to capture the photo. She moved just a little closer to the edge. Julianna had never learned how to swim and because of that had fear of water that was deeper than her waist. She was focusing the camera when she took a step back and lost her balance. The camera flew out of her hand and landed on the dock as she felt herself falling past the rocks on the side of the pier.
Samantha was happily playing in the water when suddenly she let out a blood curdling scream. “Julianna! Don't go near the rocks! Julianna.”
She climbed out of the pool and started running toward the lake, her little legs moving as fast as she could make them go. She called Julianna's name all the way to the shore.
Melanie ran after her. “Samantha, come back.” When she finally caught up with her daughter she looked in horror as she saw Julianna fall from the edge of the pier.
Rick Marino was enjoying a quiet Saturday morning in his new Bayliner cabin cruiser. He was passing the no wake area and cut the engine. He wanted to get a good look at The Merryweather. Rick had lived in Camden Corners his entire life. He was amazed at the transformation of the old mansion. He'd stopped by for the grand opening the night before and wanted to get a better look at it from the lake. He heard a young girl's voice although he had a difficult time understand what she was saying. He looked up and saw a woman pointing toward the end of the pier. That was when he noticed someone was in trouble. She was thrashing around frantically. He slowly started the motor to get closer to her and then put it in neutral as he grabbed the life preserver. He backed the boat close to her and called to her to catch the preserver. She was slipping under water. Rick jumped over the side holding the life preserver and dove underwater catching her legs and pushing her to the surface. She was still panicking and fighting him but he managed to get her to the boat. Luckily she was just a little bit of thing and he was able to push her head first into the boat. He climbed in after her as she coughed and choked on the water she swallowed.
Through tears of relief, she looked at him pleadingly. “My camera is on the pier.”
Rick began to laugh. “You were about thirty seconds away from death and all you are worried about is a little Instamatic camera?”
“Please!” she was shaking almost uncontrollably.
Rick lifted the seat and brought out a blanket covering her shivering body. He turned the cruiser toward the pier and spotted the camera. He recognized right away that it was a very expensive piece of equipment. “Are you a professional photographer? My family has a history with cameras and I can tell this is a very good one.”
Julianna didn't answer him. She was staring at the rocks that surrounded the pier. “Samantha told me to stay away from the rocks. She knew this was going to happen to me.” She noticed Samantha and her mother standing on the shore. She stood up and waved to them.
“What are you doing lady? Are you determined to kill yourself today? If so, please don't take me with you. Now sit down until I get this boat docked and you safely on shore.”
Samantha was jumping up and down when the boat pulled into the dock. Holly and Tracy had heard the commotion and they, along with several other people, greeted a very wet Julianna.
“Rick, what happened?” Holly asked. “Julianna, are you alright? Let's get you inside and into some dry clothes.”
“Wait,” said Julianna, “Samantha was right about the rocks. She told me to stay away from rocks. I didn't realize until this man went back to the pier to get my camera, that it is surrounded by rocks. I suppose it could be a coincidence but it does make you wonder.”
“I'm not so sure it was a coincidence,” said Melinda. “Samantha had no idea you were on that pier but she started to scream your name and ran to the shore looking in your direction.”
Holly spoke up, “After everyone calms down and Julianna dries off, I want to show you one of the entries in Nettie Crowley's journal. This is not the first time something like this has happened.”
Julianna realized suddenly that she hadn't even thanked her rescuer. “Oh my, I am so sorry sir. How can I ever thank you for saving my life today?”
“Anytime ma'am,” laughed Rick. “If you would like to thank me, I'd be interested in hearing more about this little girl's premonition. Those journals are fascinating.”
Holly introduced Rick to the ladies. “Rick is a columnist and photographer for the Camden Corners Chronicle. Unfortunately, he may be leaving us soon to move to Los Angeles for a job with the Los Angeles Times.”
“You are moving to LA? I go to school there. I'm studying journalism myself.”
Samantha was smiling as she whispered a little too loudly, “Are Rick and Julianna going to get married, Mama?”
Everyone laughed. “Is that another premonition, little one?” Rick asked.
“I don't know what that word means but I think, yes, it is.”
Julianna didn't think she'd mind if Samantha was right on that one.
Melanie, Samantha and Julianna excused themselves to change out of their wet clothes. Julianna took one look at herself in the mirror and realized what a disheveled mess she was. Rick would not be impressed with this sight.
“I don't think Rick noticed the seaweed in your hair. He was having a hard time taking his eyes off you today.”
“That's because he saved my life. I have never felt such terror before. The first thing I'm going to do when we get home is sign up for swimming lessons.”
“Yes, you'll have to learn how to swim if you will be riding around in a cabin cruiser.”
“That thought never entered my mind,” laughed Julianna.
Rick was filled with questions. He hadn't recognized Melanie with her hair pulled back and wearing no makeup. She was still a beautiful woman but looked different than she did on screen. He asked what Holly knew about Julianna.
“Julianna is Samantha's nanny. I believe she and Melanie are friends as well as employer and employee. It's obvious Julianna loves Samantha and she loves her too. Melanie told me Julianna has no family. She is putting herself through school. Being a nanny gives her a place to stay and helps with her tuition. She seems to be a very nice young lady, Rick. You may want to look her up when you move to LA.”
“I plan to do that. I wonder if she is on duty this evening. I know a nice quiet little restaurant she might enjoy.”
“I'm not on duty tonight and I would be delighted to dine with you Mr. Marino.”
“Wow! You clean up well Julianna. I must say though, you look mighty fine with seaweed in your hair.”
Tracy took Samantha to the playroom off the lobby. A family had checked in that afternoon and a little girl her age was playing there. Holly pulled out Nettie's journal and read it aloud.
It was the strangest thing. Ethel Fulbright was compelled to buy an old crystal ball. We all had a reaction to it. Bright lights would glow from it, it almost seemed to be warning us something bad was going to happen. Then at the Founder's Day picnic, little Iris Taylor was struck by a bolt of lightning. Just minutes before, I asked Cody Hill to fetch her. He was very close to her when she was hit. Without any training or even knowing what he was doing, he pounded on her little chest and breathed into her mouth. Her parents, fearing Cody was hurting their daughter, found they could not move their feet. Iris woke up and told her adoptive mother that her mother, Mavis told her she loved her. We all agreed something supernatural had happened and none of us spoke a word about the incident again. The crystal ball seemed to lose its brightness after that day. It was in pieces at the bottom of our trash barrel and had become nothing more than a pile of broken glass.
“That could have been a coincidence too,” said Melanie. “The strange thing is, I just took another look at Iris' photograph. She has long dark hair and she is the same age as Samantha but that is where the resemblance ends. They are both pretty little girls but don't look a thing alike.”
“Whether there was any hocus pocus going on today or not, I'm glad I heard Samantha's cries for help. Otherwise I wouldn't have met you,” Rick said as he smiled at Julianna.
“And I'd have been at the bottom of the lake,” said Julianna with a shiver.
“Let me show you ladies around Camden Corners. We can grab some lunch while we're out.”
“You two go ahead. I'll relieve Tracy from her child watching duty. Samantha has met a new friend and I'm happy to say this one is a real girl. I have some reading to catch up on and I can do that while the girls play. Go have fun.”
“Thanks Melanie. We'll be back in a few hours.”