Gareth and Melanie’s thoughts and activities were now focused on Scarlett. Gareth had his job to go to of course so Melanie was the one most involved in her care. Olivia was right there, though, should her services be needed. And Gareth did always find some time every day to be with her—like changing her when Melanie was doing something else or giving her a bath in the sink.
He still couldn’t believe he was a father and that this fragile, tiny life had been given to him and Melanie to care for. It occurred to him what a huge responsibility it was; not just the day to day physical care of Scarlett, but the long term care to make sure she grew to be a happy, honest, well-adjusted person who cared for other people and not just for herself. He had neglected it for a long time; but after some thought Gareth now began to read his bible again and to think and pray about why he was here and where he was going.
For many years a friendly penguin had been invading the Flynn home on a regular basis. They’d even given him a nickname, “Tuxedo Junction” or “Tux”. No one had ascertained why he loved their place so much; he even waddled upstairs to check things out, but they no longer thought about it anymore. His favorite rooms seemed to be the library/den downstairs and the pool room upstairs. Gareth found this fascinating and the next time the fat little penguin appeared unannounced, he froze in place, kept as still and silent as a statue and watched the bird’s movements. After doing this he was pretty sure he knew what was going on. Tux would stand and look up at the wall sometimes jumping up and down like he wished he could fly.
“He is trying to get to your mounted fish, sir,” he told Errol, “Evidently he believes his eyes over his nose. The fish isn’t fresh, of course, and is filled with chemical preservatives, so it shouldn’t appear to him as food like a live fish would. I’d like to try a little experiment; if you have no objection.”
Gareth always used a completely different tone with Errol, respectful—and mindful of his grammar.
“Certainly, my boy. I’m ashamed I didn’t come to the same conclusion myself years ago.”
It wasn’t more than a week before the little bird showed up. How his chubby little body got up the grand staircase was a puzzlement, but he didn’t seem to have any problem. Gareth quietly sneaked quickly down to the refrigerator to get one of the always available fresh fish from Errol’s daily fishing trips to the pond.
While the penguin vainly tried to fly while hopping hopelessly, Gareth moved the fish out by the pool table, set it on the floor gently and sat quietly in his living room with the door open. As he watched, Tux seemed to have given up his quest for the wall mounted fish for the day. Turning around to head for the stairs the penguin almost tripped over the fragrant fish. (Would Olivia ever forgive him for leaving it on her immaculate carpet?) The penguin almost backed up in surprise, then gave the fish his careful attention.
Evidently thinking it was just luck that caused one of the fish to fall off the wall when he wasn’t looking the penguin rubbed his little flippers together in anticipation. Gareth muttered to himself with a grin,
“That’s right, little guy, that’s for you.”
He wanted a closer look so as the penguin cuddled his prize, Gareth tried to walk through the room toward the pinball machine as if he didn’t even see what was going on.
When the bird suddenly threw the fish up into the air, catching it in his mouth on the way down and swallowing it in one gulp, Gareth couldn’t help it. He cocked his fingers gun-style and said,
“You da man, Tux.”
With that the penguin rubbed his stomach with contentment and looked at Gareth for one split second. Then he went down the stairs and out the front door, contentedly cooing now and then.
Just a few days after Scarlett was born, Melanie’s sisters came over for a visit. Simone was in school and had an after-hours activity to go to with the Girl Scouts as well so she was absent.
They gathered upstairs where the games were. Lalique was still pregnant at this time and she was anxious to see and hold Scarlett, who was napping at the moment. While Melanie and Yvette duked it out over the pool table, Lalique had another heart to heart with her mother. Although she’d always been the wayward middle child she revered her parents, and especially her mother, so Olivia's good opinion of Lalique was important.
“You always have my love, dear, always, even if we have disagreed at times. You don’t need my approval. I’m just another flawed human being like everyone else. As for those differences of opinion we’ve had and might still have from time to time; that’s perfectly natural. After all, we are from another generation entirely. Your father always said that if we didn’t lock horns with you children once in a while we must not be doing our job properly. Of course, he always said that while going out the door to leave me to handle the actual disciplinary action; no matter what it was. He has to be everybody’s favorite friend, or make that favorite scoundrel, and I had to be the “bad guy”, as they say. Only on certain issues would he stand right next to me in unison; like when it came time for you girls to date. Oh, my goodness, he was a terror; he believed every young man must be just as wild as he was. Well, for once he was probably right.”
Gareth had Mark come into Melanie’s newly renovated living room and they played SSX3. He hadn’t known his new brother-in-law long, but he liked him. Mark was easy to know, really, what you saw was what you got. And he seemed to have no preconceived ideas on Gareth, who knew he frequently gave people a wrong impression of himself. They were careful friends right now, time would give them more ease with each other.
The baby woke up from her nap and Yvette got to cuddle her first. Olivia had every day all day long to fuss over her granddaughter so she left it to her daughters to spoil Scarlett today.
Lalique got up from where she’d been deep in conversation with her mother and went over to talk and play with the baby. Then Melanie took the baby as Yvette checked out Lalique’s round belly. At last, with a big smile, Melanie handed Scarlett over to Lalique, who was only filled with joy for her sister. She knew had she not been expecting her own child she still would have been happy for Melanie, but also conflicted with jealousy and bitterness hovering at her elbow. Now she was at peace, though.
Olivia headed downstairs to make supper for the group. Family dinners were a tradition of the Flynn family; always filled with lively discussion and laughter.
Often the talk was of the days when the girls were small, or even when Errol and Olivia were young and making movies. Errol didn’t like his career discussed by most people, but with his immediate family it was different.
He had hoped for sons, but now in his old age he had two son-in-laws that he liked and respected immensely. Gareth was so young and without a father that Errol felt quite paternal toward him. Olivia had noted that he was becoming markedly attached to his new son-in-law. Mark was only about 15 years younger than Errol and seemed more like a kid brother than a son. He and Mark didn’t have much in common in their every day life, but Errol knew him to be an honorable man and that was enough.
“Besides,” Errol told Olivia later that night, “Any man who gives me Simone as a grandchild has won my heart forever.”
Next update: The Errol Flynn Family Ch. 6 Pt. 7 Youngest Daughter