One lovely Saturday afternoon, Errol and Olivia invited Jim and Bonnie Candeloro, two of their closest friends, to come over and stay to dinner. Olivia had remarked to Errol earlier,
“It’s a shame we don’t see each other more often when they live so close, but time just gets away from you. I’m going to call them right now.”
Jim was one of the few people who could best Errol in pool. It infuriated Errol and Olivia thought that was hilarious.
When the Candeloros arrived, as usual, Errol wanted to play pool and see if he could beat Jim. Olivia and Bonnie sat at the other end of the room talking (and laughing at the men). Melanie had time on her hands this Saturday because her plans with Holly had fallen through when Holly caught a summer cold and just didn’t feel like doing anything. So it was that Melanie stayed home and mostly played games.
It was when the two couples were at supper and Melanie came down to eat that it happened. The adults were talking a mile a minute and Melanie ate thinking it was useless to try to get a word in edgewise. Then she heard the name “Ottomas” and it immediately got her attention. She practically quivered like a tuning fork.
Her parents, who knew nothing about the “Brian Ottomas thingy”, as Melanie referred to it in her mind, were listening calmly as Bonnie Candeloro said,
“Well, we’ve known Pete and Samantha for years.”
Obviously Melanie had missed something. But, what? After listening carefully Melanie pieced together what they were talking about. Mr. and Mrs. Ottomas had sold their mansion and moved out of town for a while, but many of their children still lived here so they were hoping to move back. Asking for more dessert even though she was full, Melanie played with the chocolate cake on her plate.
“Oh, yes, the twins hung around with Belinda in middle school, but not so much in high school,” Bonnie was saying, “I thought Sharla Ottomas was about the same age as your Yvette, was she not?”
“Oh, wait a minute,” Olivia searched her memory, “Sharla…Sharla, yes that name sounds familiar to me…a real towhead? Little Princess Leia hairdo?”
“Well, then I’ve met the mother, I’m sure. And Lalique must know some of the children, too. I guess the same ones that Belinda knew…did you say they had twins?”
Melanie knew her hair would have been standing on end if it hadn’t been so tightly wrapped in a knot.
“Yes, a boy and a girl; Brian and Bridget. Bridget has a townhouse over on Professional Row, I think the boy lives out of state or is in the military or something, I can’t remember which, but he doesn’t live here and has been gone for some time. A couple of the other kids do, though—Dylan is married, Sharla lives with her grandmother, I think Tommy lives in Colorado or California or something and their youngest son, Damon, is still at home. I’m really hoping they’ll find a place they like nearby, she used to give art classes; I’m surprised you didn’t know of her because of that, Olivia. I used to get help from her with my sewing, too, she did not work, but was very accomplished and gave lessons on sewing and art right in her home. Hey, speaking of home lessons, did you hear the latest about Jenny Lomax and…”
Melanie knew that Mrs. Lomax was the talk of the town and she hated it for Chelsea. Meanwhile Olivia, who detested gossip, maneuvered the conversation so that it veered away in another direction. The next subject seemed to be headline news and Melanie lost interest at this point. Excusing herself she hurried to her bedroom to give Lori a call to fill her in on this latest bit of information. Unfortunately Lori was not home at the moment, having gone with her mom to a movie, according to Trey. So Melanie lounged around in her room, playing a game on her computer and practicing being alluring in her mirror. It was a boring evening for her.
The very next day she relayed the information, such as it was, to Lori. She was starving for news about Brian, although Melanie admitted that she was not mentioning him much at all since he left. What she told Lori didn't include anything, really, that they didn't already know, except that if his parents moved back to Pleasantview, possibly he would visit them from time to time. Or not. Still, Melanie wished there was some way to get more news from Mrs. Candeloro, but couldn't think of a plausible excuse. She certainly could not ask her mother to pump her, she didn't want to alert her parents to the fact that she or Lori were trying to gather facts on Brian. Oh, that would not be good at all, Melanie thought with a shudder.
It seemed like it was only a few months ago that baby Simone was born.
But she'd just celebrated her birthday and now she was a growing toddler; into everything and so funny to be around.
Yvette called her mother and said
“Why don’t all of you come for dinner on Sunday? You won’t believe how much Simone has grown.”
When they got there, the baby was nowhere in sight and Olivia asked,
“She’s taking her nap right now, Mom, but she’ll be up soon. Don’t be too shocked, but I cut her hair. I wash it every day and she still got food in it and who knows what else. She hated having it brushed, so I just cut it short in a little pixie and it’s so much easier. She loves it!”
When they heard the toddler stirring upstairs Olivia went up with Yvette. Simone was standing up in the crib.
"There's Nana's sweet girl!" Olivia exclaimed.Yvette smiled indulgently and leaned against the door jamb as "Nana" changed Simone's diapers dressed her all the while talking jibber-jabber to her. Then Yvette carried the child downstairs to everyone.
Now it was Errol’s turn to fuss over Simone. That baby girl could do no wrong with him. She loved to be tossed around and he did it over and over when she cried “Again, Papa!” Even when she oopsied on him, he just shrugged and cleaned her up. Olivia said it was amazing; he certainly hadn’t been that easy going with his own girls when it came to them spitting up.
"Dad, were you mean to us when we burped on you?" Yvette laughed and Errol shrugged and grinned,
"I just handed you to your mother for her to clean you up--well, I was rather young then, you know."
It was always great to eat at Simone's, she was the culinary queen in their family. It was the first time that day Yvette sat down for more than five minutes. She was always running to wash or fold baby clothes or towels, get drinks for everyone or picking up toys that got scattered. Melanie relayed the news that she had heard at Holly's; Nicky Ferguson was back and had bought a house in town. The twins were really excited to find out their older brother would be around.
When Simone was finished with her supper long before the adults were done, Melanie said, “I’ll get her!” and scooped Simone up for some one on one time. She played with her and cuddled her, whispering “I’m your favorite aunt, aren’t I, Simone?” Simone's only reply was a smile and the word, "Melly?" Melanie had been named after one of her mother's favorite roles and the nickname for that character had been Melly, so she had to smile, even though she thought it sounded like "Smelly". At last, Simone squirmed to get down and gad about. She had recently learned to walk and there was just no holding her back when she wanted to explore.
Melanie fooled around at the old upright piano while her parents and Mark played "Don't Wake the Llama". Simone toddled around them looking curious and then went to her play station to play with her blocks. Yvette had insisted on doing the dishes herself but she said she would join the game right after.
One thing was sure to Errol and Olivia, their oldest daughter was happier than they had ever seen her. Evidently she’d made the right choice when she married Mark. It was so satisfying to her parents for them to know Yvette was so loved and loving. Mark was a devoted husband and father, that was obvious. All their fears for her had evaporated.
Now that Lalique had moved back to Pleasantview, they hoped she might find similar peace of mind. They didn’t know if Devon Brecht would ever be in her future, but if not, perhaps another man might come along. Even if she did not meet someone they knew she was very fulfilled when it came to her career in teaching. For Errol, this was enough, he’d rather Lalique remain single than enter into a marriage with “some blithering idiot”, as he put it. Olivia, who had known a successful show business career, realized, though, that this was only one aspect of life. She’d been happy as an actress, but so much more as a wife and mother.
As far as Melanie was concerned, the trick right now was to keep her studying between her social activities and her gaming. This was her senior year and then the university loomed large. She wanted to have a big party with all her friends some time before she left for college, so this was one thing for her to look forward to, as well. Then there was her senior trip and other school activities.
“One last fledgling still in the nest, sweet,” Errol joked.
“But not for much longer,” Olivia replied in a soft voice, sounding a little sad. Only one more year…
Next update: The Shep Ferguson Family Ch. 4 Family First Part 1
Next Errol Flynn Family update: Ch. 4 Lalique's Back Pt. 1