Sunday, July 27, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypy's Curse Chapter 11 continued

Another week, another excerpt of our serial story, The Gypsy's Curse. If you are joining us for the first time, this is a weekly post of my work in progress, a rough draft of my work, unedited. Its a chance for you to peek into the writer's mind and to follow along in a serialized novel, just like in the old days. And yes, I do try to end on a cliffhanger each week so that you feel the urge to come back.  

Last week, Zara was taken to Huntingdon Abbey by Stephan St. John. He found her injured in the woods, and not realizing she was the very girl who hid in his attics and stole a kiss from late one evening, the girl he believes is a ghost, he swept her up in his capable arms and brought her back to the very place she has been trying to escape. The doctor has been called, and has just set her broken bone. There's something fishy about the doctor, Stephan believes, as his wolf senses kick into overdrive as he worries over his charge.



Copyright Lily Silver, 2013


Stephan swore and lunged for the door. “Good God, Mulleins, what are you trying to do, skin the girl alive!”
Miss Jennings lay white and pale on the sheets, her face strained with agony. The two women stood on either side of the bed, each holding a hand, while the doctor was busy bracing her foot.
“Had to set the bone.” Mulleins replied, unruffled by Stephan’s violent entrance. “Gave her Laudanum, but I should have waited a little longer for it to set in.”
“That is an understatement if ever I heard one.” Stephan snarled, feeling oddly protective of the wilted girl he’d taken into his home. “I advise you to be more careful in the future, doctor.”
The old man nodded and finished closing the last buckle on the brace. The contraption went nearly up to the young woman’s knee. Her legs were shapely, indeed.  
The realization struck Stephan that he was in a young lady’s bedchamber, gawking at her bare leg—most improper according to the dictates of society. She was not his wife, his sister or even his fiancĂ©e. She was little more than a stranger to him. He released his breath in a short huff of impatience at society’s tight strictures and promptly dismissed them. They weren’t in London. His servants were the only ones had witnessed the faux pas—and the doctor. Annie and Maggie wouldn’t wag their tongues, not out here in the wilderness, as it were. The doctor, he hoped, had more important things to do with his time then gossip to the locals about Lord St. John’s social blunders. He should, at any rate.
Stephan crossed his arms about his chest and turned to gaze out the window so as not to be seen gawking at the poor girl. He could hardly be suspected of ruining the young lady when he’d brought her to his home and sent for the doctor to deal with her injuries.  “The ankle is broken, I assume.” He directed his question to the doctor.
“Yes, sir. She’ll need to remain in bed for at least a couple of weeks, not move that foot or ankle so the bone begins to mend proper. After that, we’ll see how it goes as far as walking, with crutches. That brace will need to be on for six weeks, two months is better.”
“No . . . I can’t stay . . . in bed. Must go . . .” Miss Jennings muttered, making Stephan turn about to face the bed again.
“Shhh, Miss.” Annie soothed. “Just rest, darlin’.  Don’t worry about a thing.” The housekeeper caressed the girl’s cheek as she spoke, as if comforting a small child.
“Yes, you needn’t worry, Miss Jennings. You will be well cared for here until you’ve recovered completely.” Stephan put in, advancing slowly toward the bed. Looking at the pale creature made that odd prickling of protectiveness return. “You’ll be safe here, Miss Jennings.”
The girl gazed at him with cloudy eyes. The opiates were taking over her perceptions.
“What of her head, did you check that yet? She had a gash near her temple.” Stephan directed the doctor with impatience. Never in his life had he felt such irritation with the old family physician. He didn’t understand his reaction, or why he felt such a churning of anxiety in his abdomen.
“I was going to check that next.” Old Dr. Mulleins said in a dry tone, almost as an afterthought. He stared at Stephan, his lips twitched upward in amusement. “If you care to wait for me in your study, I’ll give you my report there.”
“Oh, just get on with it.” Stephan replied, resenting the old man’s condescending tone. “There’s no need for such formality here. The girl is wounded, tend her, damn it.”
Thick, iron gray brows rose in surprise as Mulleins regarded Stephan with unconcealed curiosity before returning his attention back to his patient. “Hmmm.” He grumbled, as if he’d hit upon something of significance. He took the edge of Miss Jennings’ night rail in his hand and pulled the material over her exposed legs, tucking the covers over her to her waist. Annie and Maggie moved back to allow the physician close to the patient.
The old man seemed to move at a snail’s pace. Stephan couldn’t help wondering what good the physician would be if someone were actually in mortal danger. He watched as the doctor lifted his patient’s wrist, held it, and then looked at his pocket watch for several moments. He examined the wound on the girl’s left temple, touched it lightly with his fingertips, and his face became somber. Mulleins bent over her face and lifted a closed lid on his unconscious patient, peered into her eye for a time, and then he stood upright again. “Hmmm.”
“Well.” Stephan prompted. “What is it?”
“Did she seem disorientated when you found her?”
“I heard crying in the woods, that’s how I found her.” He thought about it a little. “No. She was able to tell me her name and where she was from. Will she be all right?”
“Yes.” Mulleins shrugged, as if it were obvious to any and all but Stephan that she was.
“What of her head injury?”  Stephan rounded on the man.
“I’m afraid I cannot assess the extent of the injury until she’s awake, my lord.”
It was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. “Well, then, why did you give her the opiates to begin with?” He said, with hands on hips, feeling a rush of anger. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep her awake so you could determine if her sensibilities have been compromised?”
“Perhaps.” The doctor drew himself up straighter, assuming a defensive pose. “My main concern was dulling the agony that comes with setting a broken bone.”
“Yet, you did not wait for the medicine to take full effect.” Stephen wanted to throttle the man. Was he getting soft in his old age? Or careless. Stephen never recalled the doctor being this inept with Julia. Why did the man give her medicine purportedly for pain, and then set her bone before she was sufficiently under its power?  He didn’t like this situation. He had not encountered the doctor for close to three years. Much could change in that time, much indeed.
“I did not give her a strong dose to make her sleep. She’s exhausted from her experience and rightly so. The medicine has merely hastened what nature intended all along, that she rest after her ordeal in the woods. I do not perceive that she is seriously injured, sir, if that is your concern. She can tell us her name and knows who she is. Beyond that, we shall have to wait until the morrow to determine her situation.”
Stephan bit his lip to stymie a terse response. He nodded to the doctor and removed himself from the room. He was being discourteous, he was well aware of that fact. He wanted to make sure Miss Jennings had the best medical care available. Head injuries could be a very risky business. He had a friend who was a physician, an old school chum. He’d not seen the man since they left school. Perhaps he might write to Jarrod and ask his opinion in the matter, just to be sure. Dr. Mulleins served the St. John family since Stephan was a boy. Loyalty aside, as a business man accustomed to keeping up on new developments and inventions in the world of finance, Stephan couldn’t ignore the fact that the man was quite old and his practice limited to an isolated area of the country.
Who knew how much the fellow kept upon on recent medical discoveries?
                                                            __________________

“Are you certain it was the gypsy girl?”  Lord Graham asked Dr. Mulleins for at least the fifth time. 
“I am reasonably certain, my lord. She fits the description, and was found lost in the woods over in Westmoorland.” Dr. Mulleins replied. He didn’t take to being treated as if he were a country bumpkin, and yet, both St. John and this low ranking lord seemed to question his reasoning faculties. “If it is her, she’s traveled far, over twenty miles on foot--unless someone gave her a ride into the next shire.”
“It’s been close to a month since the murders. If it is her, she’s been hiding well.” Lord Graham pondered Dr. Mullein’s report. The magistrate steepled his hands together as he sat at his desk, and stared profoundly at the deer head on the wall opposite him. “How far is Huntington Abbey?”
“Fifteen miles from here, my lord.”  Dr. Mulleins sniffed slightly, trying to tamp down his outrage. The weathered post in the village square clearly said there was a reward for any news leading to arrest and capture of the girl. Yet, this well fed pontificating lummox who outranked him merely through an accident of birth had not said anything about a reward during this meandering conversation. “I’ve served the St. John Family for several decades, sir.”
He hoped the reminder of expected loyalty would be adequate as a reminder of the risk involved to him, and the need for monetary compensation.
“Yes, yes. You’ll be rewarded, if this is the girl.” The magistrate brushed aside his point with irritation. “Comstock! Comstock ....” The lord bellowed.
A jowly fellow entered at the magistrate’s command. “Aye sir?”
“We must set off for Huntington Abbey in Westmoorland immediately. Rouse the constable. Dr. Mulleins, will you be accompanying us?”
“Ah . . .” Dr. Mulleins ground his teeth as he hesitated. St. John was angry with him as it was. He’d given the girl a generous dose of Laudanum, enough to make her sleep for most of the day. And, he’d not waited until the drug numbed her senses before setting the bone. He’d been in a hurry. Once he realized the girl might be the missing gypsy suspected of killing the widow Kendall and mutilating her nephew, he’d hurried through the procedure so he could collect the reward. He didn’t intend to return to the abbey with the constable and the magistrate.
“I see, betrayal is best when one doesn’t have to face their benefactor, is that the way the wind is blowing, Doctor?” The magistrate’s words were terse, meant to cut deeply, cause shame.
The cut was there, but not the shame the great oaf hoped to inspire. Mulleins was not ashamed. He knew his prospects were lowering. Younger competitors, fresh faced youths out of the Royal Academy preferred the Lake District regions, and the number of physicians in the area had increased in recent years. During his prime, alas, for the past forty years, he’d been the only true physician in the region. Oh, there had been a few midwives, and a few barber surgeons, true. They were fine if one had a bad tooth. He took pride in knowing he was trained at the Royal Academy and his reputation as a physician to the wealthy in the area had been his livelihood for too long. Now, he was shunned, as people of wealth preferred the young bucks over a seasoned man with decades of experience. And rich patrons, such as St. John, had taken to openly questioning his methods. It rankled. He was retiring, not out of desire, but need, as his hands shook too much these days and his eyesight was not as sure as it had once been.
Still, the nerve of St. John, implying he was inept! Well, then, he’d take his reward for turning in the gypsy vagabond and be gone from this remote region. He’d hie away to Brighton or Bath. He had funds set aside. Yes, at Bath, he could take the waters in the spring.
“Well, then, here you go.”  The magistrate plunked a small leather pouch in front of him on the desk, bringing Mulleins out of his musings. “Take it, and be off with you. If she’s our girl, then you’ll have another ten pounds coming to you. I’ll send word when I return.” 
copyright Lily Silver 2013
 



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse Chapter 10 and 11


Another Week, Another episode in Zara's saga. When last we left her, she'd been taken back to the manse by the very man she was trying to flee from. Zara's injury may be serious indeed, and St. John has sent for the physician from a nearby village. Zara is terrified the physician may recognize her. She has just been told by the housekeeper that the doctor has been sent for.


Copyright Lily Silver, 2013


“Oh, no.” Zara clutched the old woman’s arm with alarm. “He mustn’t. I do not like doctors.” It was true. She’d heard horrifying tales about the Gadje physicians and their brutal ways. “They do more harm than good. Where I come from, the women tend the sick.”
“Oh, now, just settle yourself, Miss Jennings.” The old woman soothed. She placed a comforting hand on Zara’s and squeezed her palm with affection. “I don’t know how the doctors in the Indies go about things, but I assure you that Dr. Mulleins has served this family for three decades and he’s not given to excessive bleeding and leeching, if that’s what you fear.”
The red haired servant burst into the room at that moment, bearing an armload of goods from the mistress’ chamber. “I brought the pretty dressing gown, Annie and her slippers. I thought the young miss must be properly clothed before the doctor looked in on her.” The freckle faced girl smiled brightly at Zara, making her feel even more wretched in her deception.
“Ach, you’re a canny one, Maggie.” The older woman, Annie, chuckled. “I didn’t think that far ahead, meself.” Annie took the things from the girl and sent her to retrieve a pitcher of warm water so that ‘Miss Jennings’ could wash up proper. “And you have leaves in your hair.” The older woman commented, glancing about the room for Zara’s bag. Finding it, she rummaged through it in search of a hairbrush and comb, and then returned to the bed. “These are very fine.” The old woman commented. “Silver, rare indeed.”
“They were a gift, to my mother from my father.” Zara confessed. It was the truth. Her mother had kept them hidden all those years, and when she knew she was dying, she’d given them to Zara, along with her father’s crimson Hellfire Club Cloak.
The woman made small talk as she brushed out the tangles of Zara’s thick, dark hair.
“Such pretty hair, Miss Jennings.”
“Call me Sarah, please?” Zara begged, disliking the strict formality of the Gadjes already.
“As you like, Miss Sarah.” Annie sighed, and grimaced as she encountered an especially difficult tangle. Maggie removed Zara’s other boot and her stockings, and then attempted to remove the rest of Zara’s clothing. It was embarrassing to be undressed by another. Zara had not had anyone undress her so since she was a very little girl. When her arms were bared, and she remained in her chemise and petticoat, she crossed her arms, fearful they might notice the mark on her arm.
“Come now, Miss Sarah.” Annie coaxed. “I understand a girl being shy, but you’ve not got anything under that chemise I’ve not seen before. Off with it now, and this damp petticoat. You’ll be much more comfortable once you’ve been put in warm dry clothes.”
Zara ground her teeth. Tears stung her eyes, but she uncrossed her arms and allowed Maggie to lift the chemise over her head. If they saw her birthmark, neither woman remarked on it. She watched them carefully with averted eyes to see if any peculiar looks were exchanged, but both women seemed oblivious to the mark on her underarm as they stripped her and placed the fresh gown over her head and helped her find the arms.
During the next hour, Zara did her best to play the part of Sarah Jennings. Her mind was slowed by the pain, but she took great care to think before she spoke when answering their questions. Fortunately, the servants were more concerned with combing out the tangles in her hair and making her comfortable than in interrogating her concerning her identity or her past. She found herself slowly relaxing beneath their kindness concern. Maggie was sent out for warm water and towels by the older woman.
“How long have you been traveling, Miss Sarah?” Annie asked in a neutral tone.
“Months, it seems. I journeyed from the Indies, that took six weeks and when we arrived here it was so bleak and cold. I was told we must make another long journey by coach to my uncle’s home. They said it would take at least a week, if the roads were favorable, to reach Northumberland.”
“Poor dear. Yes, the weather has been quite damp and cold these past weeks, and you from the tropics and all. It must seem an unwelcoming place to be. If you’d come in June and not November, why, you’d have found England a delightful place indeed. If not for that broken ankle, I’d have you in a steaming bath soaking your worries away. Best not to fuss with moving you much until the doctor sees you.”    
There was a discrete knock, and Maggie returned bearing a pitcher of steaming water and a set of towels. “The doctor’s arrived.” She informed them. “Sir is bringing him up.”
“Oh, fustian!” Annie snapped, setting the brush on Zara’s lap. “We’ve not gone halfway to making the poor child presentable. Here, quick, give me that dressing gown. The wash water will have to wait.” Annie made a face as she gingerly touched Zara’s temple and then rubbed her finger on her apron. There was a smudge of red dirt on it, Zara noted.
The physician was allowed entrance. St. John merely poked his head inside the door to nod hello and then retreated. The physician was indeed great in age. She judged him to be at least seventy. He was bright eyed and very dignified. Zara endured the doctor’s poking inspection of her person, as she knew she must. Dr. Mulleins told her and the frowning Annie that he was trying to ascertain if there were any broken ribs as his stubby fingers poked into her side. Zara gasped at one point, to which the man made an odd grunting noise and then nodded knowingly. Cracked rib, he informed her and instructed the older woman to bind Zara’s ribs tightly with linens after he left.
The doctor was gentle and seemed sympathetic to her plight, just as the women had been. Zara was stunned by their compassion. She didn’t expect such treatment from the Gadje—er—English. Indeed, she’d learned from experience as a hated gypsy that they could be very cruel towards those they deemed outsiders. Their warmth and acceptance of her was overwhelming. Once again, she felt tears prickling behind her eyes.
After assessing her head wound and her torso, the doctor finally held her damaged ankle between his palms and looked positively repentant as he met her gaze. “I’m afraid it’s broken, my dear. And you won’t like me very much for what I must do to repair it.”


Zara gasped, knowing what his next words would be. She was no stranger to injuries or illness, as her grandmother Sapphira had been the healer among them. He must set the bone.
“Annie, m’dear,” The old doctor murmured, “Take Miss Jennings’ arm, if you will, and Maggie, girl, you get on the other side and do likewise. Now, Miss, I know this will be painful. I’ll give you a generous dose Laudanum before we precede, but it will still hurt some.”
He set her bruised and swollen foot on the pillow, and rummaged in his black satchel for something. A bottle of dark liquid emerged in his pudgy hand, and he measured out an amount in the small glass medicine flask he kept on the top of the short bottle neck. Zara took it as he instructed, with Annie rubbing her back in a supportive gesture as she sipped the noxious potion.
Dr. Mulleins pulled a strange wooden contraption from his large bag. It was shaped like a letter L, with leather tongs laced up the long shaft. It was very much like a boot, without the toe shield or the long leather shaft, rather like the skeleton of a boot, or a form for stretching leather to create a boot, she thought, as she watched him set it on the bed next to her.
“Whenever you’re ready, Miss Jennings.”

Stephan knew he should be downstairs, somewhere a fair distance away from his guest’s bedchamber. He couldn’t leave the hallway. He stood with his arms about his chest, leaning against the wall outside the room, straining to hear the conversation beyond the wall. He couldn’t make out their words but he could hear Mulleins talking to his patient in that low, calm tone he was famous for.
The girl was breath-taking. Mysterious. Her dark hair was as shiny as a raven’s wing, and those green pools—a man could lose himself staring into their bewitching depths. She had the lightly tanned complexion of one who had lived her life in the tropics, and if he wasn’t mistaken, she might even been a quadroon. That would explain her uneasiness around them, her distrust of those who only wished to do her a kindness.
He could well imagine the so called ‘uncle’ and his people, whom she’d said were ‘horrible’ to her. There were men who thought it was acceptable to prey upon a woman of unfortunate circumstances, a woman born of a slave and a white planter. Stephan and his family had long been members of the abolitionist society. He knew that men took advantage of such women in the tropics and sometimes a man would return from the West Indies with a little something extra to pad his bed, an unwilling mistress. Some men even sold girls of mixed blood to the brothels here. The thought of such a tender young girl as Miss Jennings falling prey to such men made his blood seethe and churn.
T’was obvious she was running away from something or someone. She’d kept to the woods instead of the road. Well, she’d run no more, not if he had anything to do with it. He could see that she was . . .
A bone chilling shriek brought him up short, and raised the hackles on his neck.
Stephan swore and lunged for the door. “Good God, Mulleins, what are you trying to do, skin the girl alive!” Copyright Lily Silver 2013

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Love: I Had The Time of My Life, Tribute to Dirty Dancing

 

 

 

                                                                      Oh, yes, that one!   

Of all the summer romance movies of all time, this one has to be on the top of the list. You can't resist Patrick Swayze as Johnny, the bad boy dance instructor who teaches Baby (Francis) how to dance, and so many other mysterious things about life . . . cough.   If you missed this love story, you're missing a swoon worthy classic.  It's another top shelf summer romance movie.  Why? Well, as with Grease, and with this story, each of us has had that high school crush, that first love, first brush of true romance that happened during our summer vacation.  

It could be a time share, a resort, a camp, or campground. A summer cottage or home.   Doesn't matter if your family is wealthy or not, the romance of the summer months and being on vacation is heady stuff for a seventeen year old girl.  It's wandering the camp or resort area at night, with just friends, no parents around. A giddy feeling of freedom and bliss, an endless round of summer days and nights devoted to fun as school is out for the season. I remember stolen kisses under the stars, near the lake, or around a campfire surrounded by other teens. 

Our timeless lovers this week: Baby and Johnny, endure in our hearts.  Baby (whom I will refer to as Frances from this point on), is seventeen. The story is set in the summer of 1963, before Kennedy was shot, as the grown up Frances tells us in an opening monologue that infers a time of innocence for her as well as for the nation. 

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Jennifer Grey plays Frances in the film. She is adorable, both innocent and yet has that hidden intellect behind melting brown eyes. She's the younger sister. Her older sister is college material, and as mom, dad, Frances and her sister Lisa go off to the resort for a summer vacation, there is the usual bickering in the back seat. Frances is treated like the baby by her family, including her bitchy older sister, and hence, they continue to call her Baby in her high school years. 


When she arrives at the resort, she is shy and slinks about in the background. She overhears the manager telling the staff to schmooze it up with the guest's daughters, dance with them dazzle them, give them what they want to make their stay here memorable, even if they are unattractive. After all, that's what the staff are being paid to do. Frances sees a cadre of young men dressed as waiters and tennis teachers, dance teachers and the like, all standing in a row like soldiers being give their orders by their general; go out and entertain the guests, but keep it clean!  No dirty, no nasty, just a few flirtations and chaste kisses. 

Johnny Castle is there. He's hot, who wouldn't fall for this Adonis clad in black?  Patrick Swayze is delicious in the role of bad boy Johnny from the wrong side of the tracks.  He first brushes Frances off as just another rich kid.  But then, when trouble comes and Francis bravely steps in to help, he notices she's more than just a wealthy doctor's spoiled but innocent little girl. He starts to see her as a strong, determined woman instead of a child.  This is an important moment for Frances, as no one has thought of her in those terms before. She grows up a little bit more, realizing she is so much more than Baby, the youngest daughter of Doctor Houseman.

To briefly bring you up to speed, in the story, set in 1963, there is a certain level of prudishness that still exists among the upper class. The free sex and free love thing isn't in vogue as yet, as it's the early 1960's. That comes in the latter years of the 1960's with Woodstock and the Summer of Love. In this time, girls are still supposed to bevirgins til they marry, or they are considered bad girls. And boys who get girls pregnant are the bad boys.  Johnny's dance partner, Penny, has gotten pregnant by another member of the staff. She tries to get the guy to take responsibility, he blows her off, calling her a whore. Johnny tries to help Penny through this, as a true friend would. He's trying to come up with the money for her to get an abortion, but can't. Francis gives him the money for it. Now Penny can have her abortion, but there is another dilemma. Johnny and Penny are scheduled to perform at another resort, the Shelldrake, at the end of the week, but she can't do it if she has this surgery. Frances steps in and says she'll do it for Penny. She'll learn the dance steps and perform with Johhny at the Shelldrake. This is the point where the storyline just sizzles! 

 Johnny spends the next week teaching Francis the steps, and it is pure magic, pure romance. They spend hours together, in each others arms as Frances learns the steps of the exotic and sensual dance, and you guessed it, they fall in love, or at least she does. The dance scenes in this movie are so hot, so sensual, you will literally melt with delight, and sigh and swoon. You may even wish you were Frances for a moment or two, being swept away in Johnny's arms. They do this in secret. Frances sneaks off away from her parents and meets Johnny in his dance studio each afternoon. They have a blast together and hearts collide.

We know Johnny likes her a lot but he still considers her a kid as he is about twenty by now, a working man trying to earn a living by teaching rich people dance steps. But, he does have a particular fondness for Frances and admires her for helping him and his wrong side of the tracks friends. He's in love, really, but just doesn't know it yet.  

They successfully perform at the Shelldrake Resort, but when they return from their triumph, they find Penny has taken a turn for the worst. Her abortion was a back alley sort, and she is very sick and in pain. Everyone is frightened among the staff, uncertain of what to do. If they reveal to the boss the reason for Penny's illness, she'll b fired. So, once more, Frances, the 17 year old girl everyone discounted as just a kid, step in to save the day. She goes to her father (its the middle of the night), and askes him to come with her to help a friend who is ill.

Once on the scene with the ailing Penny, Francis's father, Dr. Houseman, askes the staff gathered, "Who is responsible for this young lady?" A question that back in 1963 meant, who is her lover, her fiancee, her husband--who will take care of her. It's a sexist question, to be sure, but we're a few years before the women's movement, so yeah, women were still considered SOMEBODY'S (A male somebody) responsibility. 

Good old Johnny, with his heart of gold, steps up and says. "Me!" He's being gallant, and you just can't not love him for it. Frances does. And so do we. But, his answer sets in motion a set of misconceptions:  now Dr. Houseman thinks that Johnny is the father of the child, (he isn't) and this puts Johnny on daddy's bad list. This comes back to haunt Francis and Johnny later, when daddy refuses to give his blessing for their love. 

  Now Daddy Houseman is very upset, because he doesn't want his daughter hanging out with this group of racy young people. He saves Penny, but forbides Frances from hanging out with any of the group from now on, including Johnny. Especially Johnny as Dad thinks the guy is the one who knocked up Penny and then paid for an abortion for her instead of marrying her.

Well, as parents, or as teens ourselves, we all know how that usually turns out . . . . 

Frances continues to see Johnny on the sly. It's a story as old as time. They make love, become lovers, and daddy finds out. 

 Frances is now on her parent's bad girl list. No, she's not knocked up, but they are disappointed in her for her behavior in seeing Johnny behind their backs, and her dad won't even speak to her. I think he took it pretty hard to learn his innocent little girl has been sleeping with the dance instructor, no longer a virgin--a big deal in 1963.  Oh, well. In the end, the lovers triumph. They dance at the end of the season party for the audience, and steal the show.  

 There are other subplots throughout the movie, but the romance is front and center. One subplot/dilemma is that the resort owner realizes his days are numbered, kids don't want to come to camp anymore with their parents. Kids are bored with the camp routines. He's at his wits end trying to find a new and fresh idea to appeal to parents with teens to bring them to the resort.  In the background, Johnny has had some great ideas about dancing classes, but his boss keeps telling him to shut up and just do what he's told. Johnny would love to teach modern dance steps, like the kids want. He can't, he has to stay traditional to keep his job.  Well, at the end of the movie, when Frances and Johnny, along with the other dancers, give a send off that is modern and popular with the young and old alike, the resort owner now realizes he has a gem in Johnny, and Johnny's dance moves may save the guy's business. Nice twist. 

  Only problem with the movie is this for me. We don't really know if Johnny and Frances had their happily ever after. The movie ends, and did they get togeher forever or was it just a summer fling?  That is the only thing I would change in this movie.  It has great songs, and a soundtrack that rocks. You'll recall that old song that sticks in everyone's head, "I had the time of my life"  it comes from this movie.  Also, Hungry Eyes, Love is Strange, Big Girls Don't Cry, and many others. You can order the soundtrack on amazon or iTunes.

If you love dance movies, you'll love this one. The dance scenes are plentiful and awesome. If you love romance, this is it, girls--a timeless classic that will make your heart soar again and again.

Sadly, Patrick Swayze died of cancer in 2009.  He was a brilliant star, a great actor and dancer. His movies included Ghost, another one which I discuss in length in another timeless loverss post Haunted Romance   back in October of 2013. 

 

 

 He starred in several movies and miniseries, including my favorite, North and South, as Orry Main, a southern plantation owner's son during the civil war era made back in the 1980's that might be worth your time if you like miniseries with historical themes. He has a tragic love story in it as well and plays a strong lead as a civil war soldier and a plantation owner.

 Enjoy your summer, timeless lovers fans, and don't forget to make your own romantic memories. Take time to fall in love or renew an old love.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse

Another week, another installment.  

As Zara, now going by Sarah Jennings, tries to flee the manse and the frightening man who owns it, she is injured in the woods, and is found by the very man she is trying to escape . . . and she's still wanted for that murder in a nearby village . . 


His grimace eased into a petulant smile. “Miss Jennings. I’m pleased I could be of some service to you. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get you out of these woods before the sun sets. Even to someone who knows the paths, they can be treacherous.”





Moments later, Zara was seated before him on his horse. She wondered that he didn’t have her sit behind him, but reasoned that he must fear she might fall if left to cling to him with her own strength. Ah, and speaking of strength—she was nestled in his arms, literally sitting on his lap with one firm arm about her waist and the other in front of her, guiding the horse. The sun was gone from the horizon by the time they left the ravine. The sky was taking on an eerie pink cast as it surrendered slowly to the deep velvet night.
“Were you the only person in the coach?” He asked, as they emerged quickly from the woods and onto a road.
She released a long breath, uncertain once more of how to answer. She could say her uncle was with her, but would they find the dead man and his servant at the wreck several miles back and determine she was a liar. She must be careful in what she said. “No . . . I was travelling to . . .”  She let her voice drift. Let him think she was a little disoriented. At least for now, until she could decide what to tell him. It was one thing to lie to a stranger at an Inn or in a coach but lying to her rescuer, well, she wasn’t too certain it was good to dig the hole too deep.
“Don’t worry, Miss Jennings.” His deep, masculine voice rumbled down her spine, warming her and making her shiver all at once. “We’ll sort it all out later. You need get warm and we need to get that leg looked at right away.”
She nodded, grateful for the stay of execution. “I should not like to trespass on your hospitality long, sir. I would like to be on my way as soon as possible.”
“And where are you headed?” There it was again, that lush, rich voice against her temple.
“I-I was going to the harbor, I left my uncle’s family. They were terrible people. I wish only to find passage so I might return home, to Martinique.”  Here I go. One step closer to the ledge.   “I am not familiar with England and the coach I was traveling on was a hired one.”
“Ahhhhh.” He sighed. “Now I understand. I couldn’t place your strange accent before. You’re from the West Indies.”
“Yes, I am.” She said firmly, hoping it would seep down into her bones and become truth. People fled England all the time to go to America or to Europe to start a new life. Why couldn’t she seem to be fleeing England, too?
“It must seem dreadfully cold here for you, then.” He commented.
“Yes, very much so. My uncle’s family lent me this old cloak, but it does not seem thick enough by half to keep out the damp, cold air.”
   “We’ll have you beside a warm fire in no time.” He said, as the horse trotted up to the front courtyard of Huntington Abbey. 

  Stephan dismounted, carried her in the front door, and started shouting for his meager staff to assist him with his burden. Annie came running from the kitchen with Maggie on her heels. Jasper appeared and within moments, they were rushing about at his orders to prepare a room for the young miss he’d rescued from the woods.
The waif was chilled from exposure to the elements and he was dead certain that her ankle was broken. A doctor would need to verify his assertion. As Stephan carried the young miss up to the guest bedroom, he felt a keen sense of purpose that had eluded him for longer than he could remember.

Chapter Eleven

It was infuriating. And it was wonderful.
Zara was propped on pillows in a cozy bed in a luxurious room where a roaring fire had been made just for her. When she protested being ensconced as a guest in St. John’s house, he rebuffed her with a recitation of the rules of hospitality in England. She was injured, alone and lost, therefore it was his responsibility as a gentleman to assist her in every way he could.
How odd. If he or anyone else in this land knew she was a gypsy, she’d be shunned, scorned and driven from their midst as if she were common vermin, a skunk or a rat invading their town. Yet, the Gadje in general, specifically this Gadje man, prided himself on the strict rules of hospitality regarding a ‘lost’ traveler, a lost female as if he were reciting ancient verse. Tradition, it was a strange thing. If a Gadje man or woman were lost in the woods and the gypsies came upon the unfortunate person, they would take them in and minister to them no matter their race or background, just due to human charity.  
Zara was amazed by his tenacity in the matter. She tried to talk him into simply dropping her at a nearby Inn where she could convalesce. She assured him she had coin. In truth not more than to see her through more than a month or two but she decided he didn’t need to be told that. St. John would not hear of ‘shipping her off’, as he put it, to strangers.
Was she not a stranger to him as well? She had argued, only to be reminded that he had found her in the ravine on his land and therefore it was his duty to care for her until she recovered. The last thing she wanted to do was become dependent upon his good will for any length of time. It meant she would be required to maintain her presumed identity for weeks on end with the man and his staff. She’d rather take her chances at an Inn where she was just another traveler and would not draw attention to herself or her situation.
St. John had been adamant that it was not proper for a young lady to reside indefinitely at an Inn, particularly a young lady without a chaperone.
Oh, she’d forgotten that trifling detail about Gadje women. They weren’t allowed to go anywhere without someone accompanying them. After a slight panic at her miscalculation in that regard, fearing her entire charade might come crashing down upon her head due to her ignorance of society’s rigid rules, she was relieved when St. John left the room so that the old woman could help her undress.
The gray haired woman sent the girl at her side down the hall to the mistress’ quarters to fetch a bed gown for their guest. Zara pursed her lips fretfully at the action. She knew that the woman whose belongings she’d plundered was dead, but she mustn’t let on that she knew that fact.
“Pardon, ma’am, but won’t the grand lady here resent lending her fine garments to another?”  She asked, endeavoring to sound sincere. “I do have a petticoat that will serve.”
“Ach, the Mrs. here has been dead for two years. She won’t miss her night rail.”  The old woman clucked and fussed over Zara in such way that she felt near tears again. “Tis a sorry state of affairs, Miss Jennings, you being stranded out in the woods at this time of year. Good thing he found you or you’d be singing hymns next to Mrs. St. John in the hereafter. Oh, dear, don’t cry, Miss, you’re safe at Huntington Abbey. The master will see that you’re put to rights. He sent for the doctor in the village.”