Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Welcome To Camden Hill
Chapter Forty Five
Welcome to Camden Hills
Renovating the ski lodge was a full time job for the new owners. Katie and Jenna hadn't anticipated how much work would have to be done if they wanted it to resemble the drawings made by Alex Kelly. Alex donated his time and persuaded his crew to give up part of their weekends to help with the renovation. Most of them were local men and were as anxious as the rest of the town to have a new and improved place for winter sports.
The expanded runs for skiing and snowboarding were certain to be popular. The plans called for sledding hills for all ages and skill levels. An ice rink with fire pits and benches. Walkways into the woods where lovers could rest in cozy shelters along the way.
Although Eddie Hammond worked all week at The Merryweather as a handyman, he couldn't wait to drive up the mountain with Donna Grant to put in several more hours each weekend. He and Donna were becoming quite an item. They spent most evenings together as well as the weekend days in the mountains. It was obvious to everyone that the two seniors were well suited to each other and were a perfect match. Donna was afraid to make a commitment until she was sure Eddie had put his life with Emmaline in the past. She didn't expect him to forget about his wife of many years, she just needed assurance that he was ready to move on.
Eddie understood it was difficult for Donna to trust him. Her heart had been broken years ago by her beau who eloped with her best friend. That betrayal made a lasting impact on her. Eddie was willing to wait for awhile, but he had plans to ask Donna to marry him before the first snowfall of the season. He hoped she would say yes. Their cats, Mr. Penelope and Audrey Hepburn, had become the best of friends. Eddie didn't think Donna would have the heart to turn him down causing her beloved cat to be separated from his true love.
Katie and Max had become inseparable too. Katie and Jenna were sharing expenses in an apartment above the music store. There was barely enough room for the two friends, let alone Max, who was a frequent visitor. Jenna thought three was a crowd and moved back to her parent's home until the renovations on the lodge were completed. Tracy and Jack were happy to have their daughter back home even though they seldom saw her.
“I do like Max,” said Holly one afternoon. “I hope he and Katie are planning a wedding soon. I know I'm being old fashioned, but I would prefer she was married to the man she is living with.”
“Yes, Holly, you are being old fashioned,” said Tracy. “I don't blame you though. The longer our children wait to get married, the longer we have to wait for grandchildren. At least Katie is on the right track. I don't think marriage is in the foreseeable future, if ever, for Jenna.”
“It seems to me, she and Danny make a nice couple. Are you sure there isn't anything going on between them?”
“How I wish,” sighed Tracy. “Jenna insists they are just friends. She even introduced him to Libby Holmes. Libby is determined to find herself a husband before her twenty fifth birthday. Jenna didn't have any qualms when I told her that and proceeded to set the two of them up. I saw them in the dining room just the other evening. Libby wasn't hiding her feelings from him. She wasn't hiding much of anything else from him either. I had to stop myself from grabbing a dinner napkin and covering her up a bit.”
“Nobody ever accused Libby of being modest,” laughed Holly.
Danny and Max were putting the finishing touches on one of the cabins when Max asked, “how was your date with Libby Holmes the other night? She was asking Katie where you were yesterday.”
“I was hiding from her,” Danny replied. “I'm going to have to talk to Jenna about putting me on the spot like she did. I had no intention of taking that girl to dinner, but Jenna put words in my mouth. Libby is just a little too obvious for my taste.”
“You never minded obvious girls before you met Jenna. Are you sure she isn't the reason you aren't interested in Libby, or any other girl for that matter?”
“A lot of good it does me. Jenna has no feelings for me except as her buddy. I thought that would be enough for me, but now I know it isn't. I'm going back to New York as soon as the project is over. I did a stupid thing and fell for the girl,” said Danny.
“I thought maybe that was the case. Does Jenna know how you feel about her?” asked Max.
“Not on your life, and don't say anything to Katie either. I committed to this project and I will see it through to the end but, after that, I'll be on my way. I can't sit around like a sap waiting for her to fall for me. It's obvious she never will.”
Max pitied Danny but didn't further the conversation. Max was lucky, it didn't take him long to fall in love with Katie and was happy when he learned she felt the same way. They'd talked about marriage. Maybe after the lodge was up and running. Max knew Holly wasn't comfortable with her daughter's living arrangements. He didn't think his folks were happy about it either. Their generation believed in cohabitation only after a wedding ceremony. He could understand their feelings, but he liked his lifestyle just the way it was.
Jenna was working inside the lodge when she heard someone call her name. “Hi, Libby,” she said. “What have you there?”
“If Danny Stevens won't return my calls, I'm just going to have to track him down. I've brought a picnic lunch for the two of us. Where can I find him, Jenna?”
“I think he's working on the cabins,” she told the girl who was wearing a revealing tank top and the shortest shorts Jenna had ever seen.
Jenna watched as Libby walked to the cabins. She wondered why she was feeling that twinge of jealousy again. Danny wanted only friendship from her, she had accepted that. She knew he had been working almost non stop. He needed to relax. Libby would be good for his ego, but not so good for hers.
If Libby hadn't been on the prowl for Danny, Jenna may have thought it was funny that all the men stopped in the middle of what they were doing to ogle Libby as she walked by.
“Danny,” she called in a high pitched voice. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Danny's heart sank. “It can't be,” he said.
“I'm afraid it is, Buddy. You are stuck, there's no place to hide.”
“Hi Libby, what brings you up here?” Danny was trying not to grit his teeth.
“I thought you would like to have a picnic, silly. Let's go into the woods back there. You will protect me from the bears, won't you?” she laughed.
“It's nice of you, Libby, but I'm not hungry. I have a lot of work to do.”
He turned to Howie Lindstrom, one of the younger fellows who was staring at Libby. “Howie, are you hungry?Libby has a nice picnic lunch here. Wouldn't you like to share it with her?”
Howie's face turned a bright red. Libby looked up and decided she liked what she saw. “Danny, you had your chance.” She turned and walked toward Howie. “Aren't you the cutest thing I've ever seen. Are you hungry, Howie?”
“Yes ma'am. I'm very hungry.” He glanced in Danny's direction.
“Go ahead, Howie, take a break,” said Danny.
Howie didn't wait to be asked twice, he and Libby were on their way into the woods. “I should have warned him there is poison ivy in there,” said Danny.
“What happened to Libby?” Jenna asked innocently. She had seen Howie carrying the picnic basket Libby brought with her.
“Don't laugh, Jenna, and don't ever hook me up again,” Danny said with more anger than he meant to show.
“I'm sorry, Danny. Libby was always a shy young girl, she has changed since I left town.”
“Jenna, just leave me alone. I don't interfere in your love life and I don't want you interfering in mine.”
Max gave Jenna a sympathetic look. The girl had no idea that Danny was crazy about her. She must be blind, he thought. Everyone else can see it.
The summer and work on the ski resort were progressing with only a few delays. Howie Lindstrom had been in contact with poison ivy on his numerous escapades in the woods with Libby Holmes. His reaction had become so severe, he was unable to work for over a week. Libby was more than happy to nurse him back to health.
“The poor kid,” said Max, “I probably should have warned him to look out for that poison ivy. I guess we will have to get rid of those plants. You know the teenagers will find their way into the woods in the springtime. You may want to mention it to Jenna.”
“Nice try, Max. You know I don't speak to Jenna any more than I have to. She hasn't even noticed I am avoiding her. I'm thinking of moving out of the cabin at her mother's hotel. I can get a room in Greensboro. It will a longer drive from there, but it's better than running into her all the time.”
“Danny, why don't you just tell the girl how you feel about her?” asked Max.
“Another six weeks and we should be able to wrap up this project. I'm not going to kid myself. Jenna doesn't care about me. I will forget about her when I move back to New York.”
“I can't believe Danny is still upset with me,” said Jenna. “It's been weeks since I set him up with Libby. She has moved on with Howie Lindstrom and doesn't pay any attention to Danny anymore. You don't suppose he is upset because Libby stopped throwing her self at him? Maybe he did like her after all.”
“Jenna, I don't think Libby is the problem. You can't see it, can you?” said her best friend, Katie.
“Jenna! Danny Stevens is crazy about you. I'm not suppose to tell you this, but he is planning to move back to the city when this project is done. He told Max he can't be around you anymore.”
“Why would he move back to New York? He said he loves it here. Danny is not crazy about me. We are just friends. We used to be very good friends, but he does his best to stay out of my way these days. I know he was miffed when I set him up with Libby, but he's the one who blew the relationship by playing hard to get. Libby is not a patient woman.”
“Jenna, for an otherwise intelligent person, you sure are dumb when it comes to love.” Katie walked away shaking her head.
“Max, the girl is going to drive me crazy,” said Katie when they were alone. “She can't see her problem with Danny is that he is in love with her. I think she loves him too, she just won't open up her heart to the relationship.”
“Danny is determined not to pine away for her,” replied Max. “If he goes back to New York, I think he will end up marrying the first girl to come along.” I dislike interfering, but if we don't, they will never get together.”
“I have an idea,” said Katie. “Remember last week when the elevator was acting up?”
“Sure, I was the one who was stuck in there for thirty minutes. I remember very well. They did work out the bugs though,” said Max.
“Is there a way to safely stop the elevator from the outside so the people inside are forced to talk to each other?” said Katie with a smile on her face.
“Woman, has anyone told you what a conniver you are? We just have to figure out a way to get them in the elevator at the same time.”
“I'll make sure she is on there if you can think of a reason to get him to use the elevator instead of the stairs. Let's synchronize our watches. At exactly 12:32 pm, the elevator will stop between floors. Can you make it between the third and fourth floor? The view is so lovely from that vantage point.”
Katie and Max both stood in the shadows on the first floor looking up at the glass enclosed elevator. They were equipped with walkie talkies with their watches set exactly the same.
“Jenna is on the second floor walking toward the elevator now,” said Katie
Max called Danny on his pager. “Danny, I'm having some trouble with this elevator call button on the fourth floor, will you meet me up here right away. Don't take the stairs, I want to make sure the other buttons are working correctly.”
“I'm on my way,” replied Danny.
He pushed the button on the first floor just seconds before Jenna pushed the button on the second floor. The elevator opened and he got on.
“No problem so far, Max. Looks like we are stopping on the second floor, guess that one is in working order too.”
The doors opened and there stood Jenna. She was tempted to turn around and walk away but thought better of it. After all, Danny was not the enemy.
Jenna pushed the button to the third floor wishing she had taken the service elevator instead, but had wanted to look at the view from the glass enclosure.
The elevator passed by the third floor and came abruptly to a stop in the middle of the third and fourth floors.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I don't know,” said Danny as he pushed the emergency button. He called into his phone. “Max, the elevator stopped. Get us some help, buddy.”
“I'll get right on it. Why don't you and Jenna sit back and relax.”
“Max, this isn't funny. Get us out of here.”
“All in good time, buddy. All in good time.”
Danny was fit to be tied. “I'm going to kill that guy,”
“Is it really that horrible being stuck on an elevator with me? We used to be good friends, Danny. What happened to us?”
“There is no us, Jenna. There never has been and there never will be.”
“What are you saying? Are you trying to tell me I'm falling in love with you and you want no part of it?” She put her hand over her mouth. “I don't know where that came from.”
“Would that be so bad? Falling in love with me, I mean,” said Danny.
“I don't know, I never thought of it. At least I don't think I ever thought of it. Is that why you have been ignoring me and why you are moving back to New York?”
“Jenna! How blind can you be? I'm in love with you. I have been since before we came to Camden Corners. I didn't want to admit it before and it's obvious you don't feel the same way I do.”
“I'm not so sure about that. Maybe I have been blind. I have had one thing on my mind for months now and it has been this place. In my imagination, you were always a part of it. When I heard you would be leaving, I felt my dreams shattering. Danny, I don't want you to go. I didn't know you felt anything more than friendship for me. You never kissed me or even tried to kiss me. Last Christmas, you avoided the mistletoe I purposely hung in the middle of the room. I saw you looking at it, but you never took the hint.”
“That was mistletoe? I wondered why you had some weeds with a ribbon tied around them hanging from the ceiling. The only mistletoe I've ever seen is plastic and it sure didn't look like that stuff.”
“You didn't know it was mistletoe?” she said feeling giddy all of a sudden.
“Heck, no. If I'd known, I would have made sure you were under it.”
“What would you have done then?”
“I'd have done this.” He took her in his arms and kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
They heard clapping, whistling and shouting. They looked down onto the pavement on the ground level. The crew was watching them and applauding.
“Danny, I thought you only wanted friendship from me. If that is all I could have, I was willing to settle for it. I do love you.”
“I love you too. We have wasted so much time. I don't mind an audience, if you don't,” he said as he kissed her again.
Jenna and Danny were married before the week was out. She didn't want a big wedding if it meant she and Danny would have to wait. Danny was in agreement.
“Being friends is a nice way to start a marriage, don't you think, Donna?” said Eddie. He had decided he didn't want to wait any longer. “I had planned to ask you this when we watched the first snow fall together but I think it is time. He held out a diamond ring and said the words Donna had been waiting to hear. “Will you marry me?”
“I thought you'd never ask,” answered Donna.
Donna and Eddie were married three weeks later. Just one week before Katie and Max said 'I do'.