Errol had a new interest; restoring an old derelict car he'd picked up recently. Gareth worked on it with him, too, when he had time. It would be a labor of love for Errol.
Meanwhile, Olivia was working on a new novel; her first in a few years. It would be a story of lifelong, unrequited love and she hoped it would come across as poignant rather than maudlin. The theme had suddenly and mysteriously popped into her mind months ago. Writing was therapeutic for her and remained fascinating. Although Errol had swaggered in and out of her life for a few years in Hollywood before he was ready to settle down, she'd always known that her love for him was reciprocated. His first marriage had been a disaster and left him bruised and more prone to excesses in alcohol, drugs and continually carousing with women. Olivia had refused to consider him seriously until he realized his lifestyle was going to cause him to have an early death. He came to her and asked if she would be willing to give up her career so they could marry and get away from Hollywood. He had always loved her, he'd just feared marriage because, until then, he had not wanted his life to change. She said yes and they moved to Carmel and then, eventually to Pleasantview. So really, her life had not much bearing on this new storyline. Sometimes Olivia herself did not know from where her characters or plots came and she felt it was best to just go with the flow when an idea came out of nowhere like that.
When Scarlett's birthday arrived they decided to have the celebration confined to the family living there. At the last minute Errol whispered to Olivia,
"We should have asked Glenn to come over; she's the baby's other grandmother!"
"It's all right, dear. She couldn't come; she's in Three Lakes for a few days. Gareth said she loves it there and is thinking of purchasing a cabin."
Scarlett learned to talk very quickly; she'd been quite articulate as a baby, in fact. Often Olivia would bathe and feed her in the evening and put her to bed so that Melanie and Gareth could have a little time together just the two of them.
Lately there seemed to be a shadow over their relationship; at least occasionally. No irritation, no arguing, just a slight feeling of tension, a frisson of emotion. Sometimes Melanie thought she might be imagining it. Or maybe this was normal after you had children. He seemed irritated sometimes but when she'd ask him what was wrong he'd say nothing. And oftentimes it seemed as though Gareth's mind was elsewhere. But then he would come back to her as if he'd traveled a long distance, affectionate as always, eager to be with her and Scarlett. But whatever was bothering him it seemed to be getting worse.
Every day now was an adventure to Scarlett and she loved being outdoors, whether riding her little bouncing pony or playing in the kiddie pool. Her laughter made the mansion a much warmer place.
Gareth had advanced in his job again, which was now more administrative than teaching. He missed working with kids very much, but he didn't tell Melanie that; she was so proud of how he'd come up through the ranks. He didn't have to go into work so early, but he had to wear a suit and a tie and he'd always detested suits.
"Suck it up, Caswell," he muttered as he grabbed a quick instant breakfast. He'd have to change clothes right away because it was almost time to leave, but he stood looking out the kitchen window at Scarlett playing in the yard for a moment. She and Melanie were his life. So why, he asked himself, did he feel so restless at times, so dissatisfied? The job situation was probably the reason, he told himself, and he'd have to do something about it. On one hand, living in the mansion with his in-laws made him sensitive; he did not want to feel he was sponging off them. He made quite good money right now and that helped. He just hated working in an office, pushing papers around.
He went out to see Scarlett before he went upstairs. Melanie and Olivia were sitting on the patio keeping an eye on her. Gareth scooped her up off her pony and talked quietly to her a minute and then, hugging her, he set her down on the blanket spread out with her toys. It was time to dress and head to his office; whether he wanted to do so or not.
"Quit whining, dude," he mentally thunked himself on the head for an attitude adjustment, "Grow up."
Melanie had always been close to her mother, but she found that after having Scarlett she could relate to Olivia even more. But Melanie did not tell her mother of the worries she had from time to time regarding Gareth. Partly she felt that he had been generous in agreeing to live here with her parents. She knew he valued independence and privacy, but he knew how much she wanted to stay there especially now that her parents were aging. Therefore she felt she owed him her allegiance and discretion. Talking to Olivia about the very private matters of their marriage was not fair to Gareth. And besides, she did not even want to voice them to herself, let alone anyone else. So on this day she kept to other subjects.
Errol was still very simpatico with his oldest grandchild, Simone. Even though she was now a teenager they talked on the phone often when she couldn't be over at her grandparents home. He fished every day, missing Simone next to him, but looked forward to the day Scarlett might join him. He hoped she wouldn't sneer at the outdoors as her Aunt Yvette had done, loving pretty clothes and indoor pursuits and screaming at the sight of a bug or a worm. Still, he consoled himself, look at Yvette now, growing better vegetables and fruit than he ever could and living happily in jeans and tee shirts. And Simone was the same way.
Meanwhile Melanie told no one of the things Lalique had divulged to her recently. She wanted to talk to Gareth about it, but felt that it was not her secret to tell. Any day, though, Lalique would have to let her parents know that she and the twins were leaving Pleasantview and who knew for how long.
Life was getting so complicated...
Next blog update: Keeping Track of the Errol Flynn Family