Friday, January 11, 2013

The Fate of the Merryweather

Chapter Forty Seven
The Fate of The Merryweather

Mr. Douglas, you know very well Tracy and I never indicated we were interested in your offer. We had not spoken to the staff or the town about the possibility of selling The Merryweather. You have put us in a very awkward position.”
Explaining the newest development to Tracy, Holly said “Someone apparently reported the sale of our hotel. It is on the news. The staff is understandably upset.”
Mr. Douglas, what on earth were you thinking?” said Tracy as she read her computer screen.
Ladies, I have no idea how this happened. My boss ordered me to meet with you again. I know he is anxious to buy your property, but I find it hard to believe he would prematurely announce the purchase.”

Ashley Douglas unpacked the couple's suitcase, putting everything in the dresser drawers. She couldn't wait for Scott to return before she investigated the gallery further. She grabbed her room key and walked down the stairs to the first floor. The lobby was filled with people milling around. Some were in tears. She noticed the television was on and was afraid another, all too frequent, tragedy may have occurred somewhere in the country.
What's going on?” she asked a man who looked like he worked at the hotel.
The Merryweather has been sold. We were never told about the sale. Tracy and Holly have betrayed us. They sold out to Pierce Enterprises.”
Ashley couldn't believe her ears. Was that the reason for the trip here? Why was Scott keeping secrets from her? Who was this man she married? She had known he was ambitious, but hoped he would realize happiness wasn't measured in how much money he made.
Just then, she saw him walk out of the executive offices. His face had lost all its color. “Scott,” she called out.
Ashley, I have to make some calls. I'm sorry our anniversary has been ruined. Please repack our suitcases, I am sure we will be asked to leave. Wait for me in the suite.”
Scott!” she called out. He kept walking away without so much as a glance toward her.

She stayed where she was when she saw Tracy and Holly walk into the lobby. Everyone gathered around demanding to know why this was happening.
How could you do this to the town?”
I met my husband here at The Merryweather, you can't let them destroy it along with our memories.”
The Merryweather is a landmark, the town will never be the same.”
Everyone was talking at once.
Please, everyone. Please quiet down,” said Tracy.
The crowd was silent, waiting for an explanation.
It's true, Pierce Enterprises has offered to purchase The Merryweather. However, we have not made a decision to sell. Mr. Pierce's representative, Mr. Douglas, assures us he and Pierce Enterprises had nothing to do with notifying the press prematurely.
Two days ago, Mr. Douglas met with us. He indicated Arthur Pierce was interested in purchasing The Merryweather. This offer came as a complete surprise to Holly and me. We told Mr. Douglas we had no intention of selling, now or in the future.
Mr. Douglas left with our promise we would give the offer some consideration. We both had a restless night thinking about the people we have met since the day we opened the doors of our resort. The people right here in Camden Corners who married their sweethearts here, those who sang carols around the Christmas tree each year, welcomed in the New Year or just simply had dinner with friends in our restaurant. We have been through the trauma of a kidnapping, a near drowning, the fear a suicidal, lonely old gentleman would follow through with his plan. Plus the happier times, Both Holly and I were married here and I met Jack here so many years ago. So many of the children of Camden Corners had their first swimming lessons in the pool, celebrated their birthday on the lawn, danced at their prom, celebrated graduations and were married themselves, beginning the pattern all over again.
Holly and I never dreamed we would step away from The Merryweather. We hoped one day, our daughters, Jenna and Katie would take our places, but we didn't think that would happen for a number of years.
We hadn't told anyone of the offer, including our own children. We wanted to let the information sink in. If it were up to Holly and me, we would turn down the offer. However, there are many others to think of. The benefits of having a hotel of the caliber Mr. Pierce would build on the premises may outweigh the sentimental value of The Merryweather.
Along the many businesses throughout town, The Merryweather has been a success. However, we are small potatoes. Think about how much business would be brought in if a five star hotel was built here.
No matter what you hear, there will be no decision made without careful consideration. Please go back to what you were doing.”

Ashley walked slowly up the stairs to the suite where she had planned to let Scott know he was about to become a father. She walked to the closet to get the suitcase that she had unpacked less than thirty minutes ago. As she was walking by the table, the book she purchased earlier fell to the floor. It opened to an entry by Nettie Crowley dated August 31, 1906.

The young couple is facing some difficult times ahead if she doesn't
confront him with her concerns. Her husband did what he thought
was best for their future. She is finding it difficult to understand why
he wouldn't be honest with her. Maybe he just needs her reassurance
that she is on his side, no matter what. I do believe, in time, he will
realize he has all the riches he needs because he has a wife who
loves him and a child on the way.

Ashley's jaw dropped, she read a little further only to discover the writer was talking about a couple who lived over one hundred years ago. Her heart skipped a beat as the door opened.
Scott, please don't try to protect me. I need to know what is happening and what you have done. No matter what, I love you and I want to understand why you are keeping things from me.”
I'm sorry, Ashley. I never told you the real reason we came to The Merryweather, I guess I was thinking the owners would take the offer Mr. Pierce made without question. I didn't realize how cynical I have become. Tracy Crowley and Holly Burke have taught me the lesson that money isn't the only route to happiness. I was blinded by my fellow students at the university who grew up wealthy. I thought I didn't fit in with them because I was there through scholarships. I never felt I quite measured up and I was determined my children would never feel inferior to anyone.
I'm sure I am no longer employed by Pierce Enterprises. I just got off the phone with the great Arthur Pierce. I told him how I felt about his underhanded tricks and I would not be a party to the coercion being used against two very kind ladies.
I love you Ashley. I wanted to provide you with the best of everything.”
I love you too and I do have the best of everything because I have your love. Now, help me pack so we can go home to celebrate our anniversary properly.”
The telephone in the suite rang.
Scott, this is Tracy.”
Hello Tracy, don't worry, Ashley and I will be out of the room in less than ten minutes.”
Why are you leaving? Is there something wrong with the accommodations?”
After what occurred today, I assumed we wouldn't be welcome.”
Scott, in its almost forty years of existence, no one has ever been asked to leave The Merryweather and we aren't about to start now. I just wanted to thank you. I know you spoke with Arthur Pierce. He called to say he is issuing a retraction about the sale of the hotel. He said he had spoken to you and you made him realize there were some things worth preserving. He reiterated his offer, but said there would be no hard feelings if we turned him down. Not only that, he made a reservation for two for next weekend for his wife and himself. He said some wise young fellow told him he needed to chill out.”
Thank you for letting me know, Tracy. I'm sure Ashley and I will enjoy our stay very much.”
The next call was on his cell phone.
Douglas, Pierce here. I just had my assistant call and extend your stay in Camden Corners for a few more days. Take the week off, son. You deserve it. I hope you will decide to stay with Pierce Enterprises. You are right, I can be a tyrant. I'm going to take your words to heart. I hope you will give me an opportunity to change. You are a good man and I don't want to lose you to another company.”
I can't believe it,” Scott said as the call ended. “I still have my job and we are staying here through the week thanks to Arthur Pierce.”
This has turned out to be a good day after all,” said Ashley as she glanced at the last line on the page of the book.

I think this is just the beginning of happily ever after.

Thank you, Nettie, I think you may be right.”
Who are you talking to, Ashley?” said Scott.
No one. Sit down Scott, I have a secret of my own to tell you.”

Holly, sit down and put your feet up,” said Steve. “You and Tracy have had a rough day. Would you like me to fix you a hot fudge sundae?”
Thanks, dear,” she replied. “I don't feel the need for sweets tonight. Tracy and I feel the same way and have made our wishes clear. We don't want The Merryweather to be sold. The rest is up to the town and the city council. Whatever decision they make, we will comply with. I feel nothing but relief that the decision is out of our hands.”
Good for you. I've made a decision too. I'm not going to fight progress anymore. I hired a young man today that will revolutionize the Camden Corners Chronicle. We will function as a print newspaper and an on-line newspaper until further notice. This fellow convinced me there is a market for both. I feel good about that decision too.”
The phone rang. “Holly, I just heard from the mayor. The town council has called an emergency meeting regarding the sale of The Merryweather. Do you want to meet there?”
I'd rather relax with my husband, but I guess we need to be there.”

The council meeting was called to order with standing room only. Some folks were outside with their placards. Most were in favor of preserving The Merryweather. The mayor was one of those opposed. He was anxious to have the revenue a Pierce Hotel would bring to the town. Enhancing his stature among the mayors of the surrounding towns was also a consideration.
The mayor asked for input from the residents. One by one the townsfolk stood before the members.
Sally Cummings walked to the microphone. “I'm speaking in favor of preserving The Merryweather. Just before Christmas several years ago, our family home was destroyed by fire and my husband, Ted, was seriously injured. Thanks to the generosity of Tracy, Holly and the whole town, we were given a place to stay and the children were able to celebrate Christmas that year. Somehow I can't imagine such a thing would happen in a large high rise hotel.”
Next, Nick Jordan stood. “The Merryweather is where I met my daughter, Molly for the first time. I will never forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I discovered I had a child. The reason I would like to see The Merryweather saved is strictly personal and sentimental, but I also feel it is an asset to the community.”
Richard Butler talked about how his niece and his wife, Bonnie's niece concocted a plan to get the two of them together. “Bonnie and I and our five children owe our happiness to those two girls and the cooperation of Tracy and Holly who agreed to their matchmaking plan.”
People stood in line waiting to talk. One lady commented that her grandmother was one of the original nurses who was given a room in Millicent Merryweather Stout Harvey's home. That room is now named the Robinson suite. Another was the great granddaughter of Callie Wilson who, along with her brothers and sisters, lived at the mansion while their adoptive parents' house was being built. People from all walks of life who had been guests of the hotel or simply had memories of happy times stood up and told their story.
After so many happy stories, even the mayor changed his mind. “Ladies and Gentlemen, are we ready to vote?”
Tracy and Holly have agreed to comply with the decision of the council in regard to sale of the property now known as The Merryweather.
All those in favor of the sale.” The room was totally silent.
All those opposed.” The room echoed with “Nay.”
I'm sorry, audience, only the council may vote in this matter.”
All those opposed.”
The walls were vibrating with the sound of applause. The crowd outside was cheering. Firecrackers were being exploded on The Merryweather front lawn.
Tracy and Holly hugged each other and everyone else around.

One week later, things were back to normal at The Merryweather.
Well, my friend, we could be sailing on a cruise ship to Bermuda, but instead we are sitting in this office chatting about the day ahead. Are you sorry at all about not selling this old place, Holly?”
Not at all. Before long we will have to start planning our fortieth anniversary party. Wouldn't it be fun to invite the same people who came to our opening gala? Unfortunately, not all of them are still around. I wonder how many celebrities we should invite, how about politicians, maybe even heads of state,” she laughed?
Remember the gala, we invited everyone we could think of with the idea that maybe, just maybe, one would show up,” laughed Tracy. “We were so nervous when they accepted our invitations. We were both star struck when Melanie Fairchild arrived. It's hard to believe she has been one of our dearest friends all these years.”
Don't you wonder what the next forty years will bring? Who will be passing through the front door. How many more people will share their first kiss or fall in love within these walls. How many more times, those photos hanging on the wall will come to life and guide us through our troubles.”

Yes, dear friend, shall we take a walk through the lobby? Maybe our next guest will be as memorable as so many of the others have been through the years.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for visiting Camden Corners. We hope your stay at The Merryweather was a pleasant one.
Holly and I have enjoyed sharing the stories of the people of our town.
You may be interested in spending some time in Bristol Falls with our young friends, Jennifer Mitchell and Angie Carlson. The two are living in the nation's capitol when their careers take a sudden turn and they both find themselves unemployed. They have memories of summer vacations spent in the mountains of their home town in a place called Camp Bristol. The abandoned camp is listed for sale and the friends decide to take a chance on renovating it and restoring it to the way they remembered it.
I think you will like these two young women. Although they are much younger than Holly and me, the bond between them is just as strong.
In the meantime, we will be greeting new folks and welcoming old friends back to The Merryweather.
We hope to see you again, when we have more stories and happy endings to share.

Until we meet again,

Tracy Crowley

That's all she wrote....for now....Please remember, you can purchase Camden Corners, The Village of Camden Corners and Camden Corners The Merryweather through or  All three books are available in print or eBook.   Hope you enjoyed the stories and will keep this blog in mind.   Jane O'Brien 

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