Corky and Elle
Corky and Elle had planned ahead. While they were still at University they were looking for a house back in Pleasantview and saving a few pennies wherever they could. When they graduated Elle moved back with her folks for a few days and Corky did the same, but almost immediately he found what he considered to be their dream house. It was light and bright and modern inside; just what they both wanted. There was a room in the back that Corky thought could be made into a studio for Elle; she already had a job working as an assistant to a well-known artist. Upstairs was a second bedroom that, for the time being, he called “the music room”. He was sure he could fit his guitar, bass, drums and synthesizer in there. Corky was so excited about it he called Elle at work and as soon as she could she came over to see the house.
All the Lomax kids each had a small inheritance from their maternal grandfather, and now that Larry Max was doing so well he offered to loan Corky money for the down payment. Corky got a job in medical research and once they’d signed the papers he had the existing windows removed and very large windows installed in the studio.
Corky's Music Room
The first day Corky moved in three neighbors showed up for lunch; Heather Ferguson, Dylan Ottomas—the owner Club Dante—and his kid sister, Bridget Ottomas. All three were friendly, educated and fun to talk to as far as Corky was concerned. Corky's cooking skills were dubious so he fixed salami and cheese sandwiches.
Corky and Elle wanted no fancy wedding, they just wanted to be married as soon as possible. They took off for Vegas and did the deed. Elle Broke was now Elle Lomax. She was ensconced in her own home at last. Corky loved his “music room” and Elle spent a lot of time in her well-lighted studio painting portraits of herself and of Corky.
Holly Ferguson was their first family visitor when she came over around lunch time. Holly loved their place and only hoped she and Corky's brother Andy could find one as nice.
“You know how we got it for such a low price, don’t you?” Corky asked Holly.
“It’s supposed to be haunted,” he grinned.
“Really? By who…er, whom?” Holly asked.
“This was the Dreamer house, you know--Darren and Ivy Dreamer?,” Elle explained, “ Mr. Dreamer died in a fire some time ago; then his son Dirk left for college and—they say—things were not all that good between Mr. Dreamer and his wife. Ivy was his second wife anyway and there was some question as to how quickly she had called the fire department. Supposedly Darren Dream haunts this place and that’s why Ivy fled; so eager to get rid of it that she put it on the market for a song. Which was good luck for us.”
“Well, I can’t guess? Is it haunted? Have you seen poor Mr. Dreamer?”
Corky and Elaine looked at each other and paused, smiling, the better to drag out the suspense.
“Well, if there was a ghost, Ivy Dreamer took it with her. We’ve seen and heard nothing. We just wanted to make you a little nervous for a minute there,” Corky admitted with a laugh.
Holly wrinkled her pretty nose,
“How gruesome—can you imagine if you had a vengeful ghost husband following you about the countryside? And what about the son, Dirk?”
Elle shrugged, “Nobody knows. At least nobody we’ve talked to; he was at the University, graduated, and disappeared. Sad that this family just kind of disintegrated.”
After their lunch, the girls played Ea Sports and Corky worked on his blog.
One night Elle came home sick from work and went to bed almost immediately. The next day she still sounded awful, and went to Corky's doctor who said it was a summer flu; 'get plenty of rest.' So she climbed into bed gratefully. In the morning she was a little better, but weak, so Corky called work for her and said maybe another day or two before should could come back, meanwhile, he had the day off. He practiced playing drums. Elle wasn’t sleeping, she was reading by this time, but she definitely could have lived without the noise so she hinted sweetly to Corky that it was such a nice day he should get outdoors. He’d been doing a little gardening since the house came with a small greenhouse, but he’d finished weeding earlier that morning. He'd dragged home a derelict car earlier in the week to tinker with just for fun. As Corky worked on it he realized how much he’d missed being an amateur mechanic. He had not worked on a car, in fact, since before college. His sister, Chelsea called and asked to come by and see the house and he worked on the car until she showed up. She was now married to Trey Lassiter and all smiles about it. They had a small house on Professional Row.
With Corky’s cooking skills were improving so he made macaroni and cheese and Chelsea stayed to eat with him. Elle really wanted to see her friend but did not want to give her the flu.
“Come on down, honey,” Chelsea assured her, standing at the bottom of the steps while Elle stood at the landing, “I never catch the flu. Hardly sick a day in my life.”
“She’s right, Elle. All three of us boys and Dad would get sick when we were kids, but never Chels and never my mother.”
So Elle crept down the stairs—she was hungry, too—and joined them for the meal.
Chelsea was right, she stayed healthy. Unfortunately, Corky caught the flu while Elle was still sick.
“Sorry, Doc, I’m guilty of sleeping with your patient,” Corky confided to his doctor and friend, Mick O'Casey, with a smart aleck grin.
“Ha ha, aren't you a riot, Courtney old boy? Now you can suffer the consequences. Have some Tamiflu.” Doctor Broke handed him a prescription.
Corky wasn’t too pro on Tamiflu--he was prone to side effects--so he thought he’d leave it up to over the counter medicines and bed rest. He and Elle had to keep getting up to fix something to eat and it was tiring. It was hard to keep Corky off his feet anyway, too restless. Each of them were too sick to care for the other as they would have liked. Finally Elle was well and fixed chicken noodle soup for Corky. That did the trick and he recovered fully. Elle decided she would make plenty of soup up ahead and freeze it for any future colds or flu.
Elle invited her family over on a Sunday and was really excited about the visit. She was especially pleased to see her kid brother, Christopher. Her parents barely knew Corky because he and Elle had not become serious until she was in college and away from home. The next thing Bobbi Jo and Julien knew Elle and a guy named Corky Lomax had moved in together and who was this man, anyway? So admittedly they were somewhat apprehensive about the meeting. The wedding had been so quick and so secret, did that mean anything? What if they couldn’t stand him? What if he didn’t treat Elle right?
Elle greeted Christopher with a big hug as he came up the walk. When Christopher came in the house Corky said hi and then, “There’s a synthesizer upstairs if you want to play around with it, I can show you.” As far as Christopher was concerned, Corky was aces with him already.
Showing her mother the art studio Elle took time to paint a few strokes on her current canvas. Bobbi Jo had to admit she was somewhat jealous of Elle’s studio; it was even nicer than the one they used to have at their old house. The one Bobbi Jo had now was very small, but Julien hoped to move things around now that Elle was married and had her own home. Perhaps he could make the studio larger or place it upstairs.
Elle served hamburgers for supper and afterward she and her mother sat at the kitchen table and gabbed about this and that. The men retired to the living room to play video games. Christopher soon joined them.
Later in the evening Elle asked Corky to play the piano (she loved to show him off) and the Cookes were a very enthusiastic audience. By the end of the evening after watching Elle and Corky together, Bobbi Jo and Julien were very relieved and happy. It was no effort to like Corky. He was a little quiet, but once you got to know him he was funny, erudite and best of all, in love with Elle. She was so outgoing that it balanced Corky's reserve. They always spoke with obvious affection and concern for each other. Bobbi Jo had hoped Elle would be as happy with Corky as she was with Julien and it appeared that was exactly the case. Now Bobbi Jo couldn’t help but wonder when she might become a grandmother. None of her older sons appeared the least interested in marriage and kids so far. She’d had high hopes for Jody, but so far he went from woman to woman, charming all but deciding on none. Elle and Corky seemed happy with the status quo, but you never knew!
After the Cookes left for home Corky and Elle made time for a little romance. There might be babies ahead, but as far as they were concerned, not for a while. They were happy with just each other for now.
Andy and Holly
It was a beautiful but very warm summer day as the Lomax family and the Ferguson family gathered to watch Andy and Holly get married. The crowd was spread out over the yard and everyone seemed determined to wander around looking everywhere except at the wedding bower. When no one could get them to congregate after a good while Andy shrugged and said, “Let the wedding proceed, if they aren’t paying attention, that’s their problem. I’ve got a beautiful bride waiting for me.”
The ceremony itself went beautifully followed by a deep romantic kiss between the newlyweds. After came the cake-cutting.
Unfortunately, right after that, the heat and sun were proving too much for everyone. They were in serious danger of heatstroke. Several went into the house to drink some ice-cold lemonade or ice water, but most decided to hop in the nearby pool; including the bride and groom.
So the wedding became a pool party and which was much more casual. The Lomax pool was quite large but with so many people in it, things got a bit crowded. One of the guests got slapped for taking liberties when he'd merely been trying to stay afloat. Still they were all cooled off quickly and that was the idea when they jumped in so the pool party section of the day was a success.
As the sun went down and it became a little cooler everyone climbed out of the pool. Unfortunately, they did this en masse; which caused quite a traffic jam at the two available pool ladders. They looked like lemmings. Once everyone was out and finished yelling and screaming at each other, the toasts began. Some thought they were more like roasts than toasts, but for the most part all was done with good cheer.
As you may (or may not) remember, at Mike and Lucy’s wedding Larry Max attracted undue attention at from his son’s future mother-in-law, Katharine Burb. He had not even noticed at the time, although Mike did. Later Mike told him what happened, how she flitted back and forth, her eyes only on Larry Max. He was very surprised and puzzled by this.
Now it was happening again at Andy’s wedding; Madeleine Ferguson, who never flirted with another man since she’d been married many years ago to Shep, kept ogling and sighing over Larry Max. Madeleine was a senior, too, although one of the prettiest (if unusual-looking) seniors in town. This time Larry Max could not miss her attention. He was amused and flattered, but confounded by it. Here she was with her husband and half of her children around her yet acting like a love-starved teenager. Larry Max and Jenny were very young when they'd married and he’d scarcely looked at another woman all those years. Now he wondered if women had been looking at him and he’d just been too obtuse to notice or if he had suddenly acquired some new ability to attract women. Buy why was it always women who were unavailable as in “married” or ones who were related to him by marriage? In fact, this wedding seemed to launch a whole group of people who seemed to be swooning over each other. Fortunately, three couples who couldn’t keep their eyes off each other were newly married couples; Mike and Lucy, Corky and Elle, and Andy and Holly and that was just fine. Harvey Ferguson did catch Lori taking a second glance at Corky—they hadn’t seen Corky and Elle since their junior year—but it didn’t really worry him. Harvey knew who she really loved. Besides, she wasn’t really flirting, he told himself, just looking. True blue Shep Ferguson couldn’t seem to get the unaware Lucy Lomax off his mind, either and one had to wonder if aging possibly turned perfectly sensible men into randy old goats and women into whatever the female version of that wasa.
Little Debbie Ferguson, the only non-adult there, made a lovely toast to Andy, but forgot to mention her sister, the bride. It was perfectly acceptable in her case that she had a secret crush on the young groom,who also happened to be her brand new brother-in-law.
Andy and Holly embraced one more time in their damp swimsuits while everyone went “Awwwww" and then Lucy immediately began clearing away the plates, cake and other mess along with Madeleine. Their help was welcome with no mother of the groom there. Andy had asked his mother to come, but she knew how Chelsea felt about her so Jenny thought it best she stay away. She had personal problems in her life right now that made it difficult for her to show up anyway, but she did not mention this to Andy. He was much closer to Larry Max than to Jenny, but he’d wanted her to come and so had Holly. Jenny promised she would take them out to dinner soon and visit with them.
At last the festivities were over and things were quieting down in the Lomax house. Mike and Lucy were still saving for a home of their own, so they retired to their upstairs bedroom at the other end of the long hall from Holly and Andy. Larry Max was in his downstairs bedroom having a nightmare. He was imprisoned in some sort of oversized parrot cage as he watched Madeleine Ferguson and Katharine Burb hunch over a small table. They both giggled evilly as they cut cards for his favors.
Andy sent Holly up to use his large and luxurious bathroom while he managed in the downstairs one. Of course the sink blew a gasket and began spraying water out for 4 feet. He didn’t have much experience yet with recalcitrant plumbing but he gave it his best shot. Holly was curled up in his bed waiting for him when she heard him let loose with a string of uncharacteristic profanity. He seemed to be alternately using the wrench to tighten things on the sink and then to simply bang helplessly on the faucet. She considered going down to calm him since she was pretty sure he’d wakened everyone, but thought better of it. They never argued but it had been a long day and everyone was tired and their nerves were a bit shredded. It suddenly grew quiet as the sink stopped shooting up like a fountain. Andy had got it fixed. Holly heard him coming up the stairs and she rearranged herself into as becoming and yet enticing a position as she could. Andy looked sheepish as he came in,
“Just a little trouble with the pipes,” he grinned and Holly had to smile right back. Soon they were cuddling and whispering, filled with desire, but very aware of the household around them. Even though it was so kind of Larry Max to invite them to live here while they saved for a house, they hoped they would not have to live here as long as Mike and Lucy already had, they could see how it would inhibit one’s love life. They still managed to have an extremely romantic wedding night anyway, because they just couldn’t help themselves. They needn’t have worried because Larry Max, at least, had taken the precaution of wearing ear plugs to bed.
Outgoing and upbeat Holly quickly fit into the routine at the Big House. Being in show business her working hours were much later than everyone else, but she always got up to eat breakfast with Andy anyway.
The men in the family really liked having two women there. When Holly left for work, Lucy presided over supper. She couldn’t help but think how lucky to have two handsome brothers hanging on her every word.
Andy did not have a job at first and spent his days gaming, especially with his father, who also had later hours; usually going to work around 3 pm. Every morning Andy spent looking for work in his chosen field of natural science. Larry Max had finally reached the pinnacle of his career as a chef and was making the best money of his life. And thinking of making some major changes in that life.