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2nd chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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Red Rose, Growing

Chapter 2  

 

 

Mildred woke early with her cat meowing for attention.  It was an hour too early for her to get up but when Ruffles called, you better take action.  She got out of bed put on her kimono and slippers and

Headed out to see what his fuss was all about.

 

“Good morning Ruffles, what on earth is the matter with you”.  When the sleep had left her eyes she noticed that he was looking a little wet.  “You didn’t !”  She raced to her fish tank and found that Hubert was missing and Walter was floating upside down.

 

“You bad cat you”  she placed Walter in a plastic bag for burying later and put the cat in his outside enclosure.  “May as well get showered and head for work early”  she sighed to herself.  She fed Penelope and decided that Ruffles had had enough to eat, Hubert had not been a small fish by any means and the meal Ruffles had out of him would do him for the rest of the day.

 

The fish had been a gift from Tinkles for her birthday 3 years ago.  She would have to email him and let him know, as he was as fond of the fish as she had been.

 

Not bothering to make lunch for the day, as she was lunching with Errol today, she put on her favourite green and white shirt, and navy colored slacks.  They were going to have lunch at the Libraries café As Errol had indicated he wanted to see some of Tinkles handy work.  She headed off on her bike thinking of the tasks she had ahead of her during the day.  First she wanted to get a start on the design of the new letterheads for the library.  She had toyed with several ideas, but wanted to have them drawn up on her computer to get a good idea of what her ideas looked like.

 

She was earlier than normal, so she thought of going to the art section of the library and getting some books to read and maybe find inspiration for her designs.  The art section of the new library was on the floor below hers in the Red tower, “ Oh !” she reminded herself she would have to get use to calling the towers by their new names.  Hers now being  The ‘William S Murtle Building’.  It had a rather dignified name to it now she thought.  William Murtle had been her great great grandfather, on her mothers side,  He had lived to a ripe old age of 115, and Mother had a photo of herself sitting on his knee at his 112th birthday when she had been 6 months old. 

 

The Murtle family was very well known in Wattle Grange, but Mildred preferred to keep that to herself.  Mildred was a fairly shy person, until she got to know people she was very wary of what she let on about herself.  Several people had tried to convince her to wear makeup telling her she would look so much prettier than she did.  But I suppose you could say that Mildred was a typical Librarian, glasses hair always tied into a bun and very quietly spoken.  Even as a child she had always been told she looked like a Librarian.  I suppose it was because people saw her as serious, and the only person she felt comfortable with being herself was Errol and Tinkles.

 

With her books selected from the shelves and a quick hello to the people behind the information counter who she knew she headed to her office to start on her designing of the new letter heads.

 

It was not til Tiffany popped her head in the office 4 hours later that she realised the time.  It was Tiffanies late night so she always started at 11.30, which worked out well for Tiffany as she had a chance to catch up on sleep she did not get on the weekend, and also to get some shopping done.  Saturdays was too hectic so it was a chore she did on the Tuesday morning.

 

“Did you see ‘Olivia’s promise’ last night”  Tiffany asked. 

 

“Yes, and I balled like a baby yet again.  No matter how many times I see it, the part where she is told she is dying and when she dies I always sob”

 

Tiffany nodded in agreement, she was the same with that movie, they both shared a common liking of movies and so forth. 

 

“How are the kids” Mildred asked

 

“They are doing really well”  Replied Tiffany, “their schooling has improved and they seem more settled.”  Tiffany was feeling a little unsettled, It had only been 8 months since her Husband had been killed in a railway accident.  The train he was driving had failed to take a bend and he was killed instantly.  They had not planned on such an incident, so it had left Tiffany and the kids not very well cared for.  That is why she had to work extra jobs to make thing meet.  Ralf had been a bit of a gambler too, so they did not save any money for a rainy day, as her grand mother had often told them to.

 

“What time are you having lunch with your friend Mildred”  Enquired Tiffany.

 

“Errol is coming here to collect me when he finishes his tutorial.”  She was happy that Tiffany had reminded her, she had been so absorbed in her work that she almost forgot the time.  “thanks for reminding me.  Ill just clear up her and show you what needs doing Professor Hills is coming in for those books and theses today.  Ill show you where they are and which ones he can and cant copy.”

 

Mildred dashed off to the ladies room to freshen up for Errol, and then quickly explained things to Tiffany.  Professor hill was a handsome 40 year old, 6feet 11 inches, muscles on muscles, he looked more like a profession sports star than an academic. He specialised in Modern Architecture and also had a liking for Tiffany.  Mildred had not failed to notice the blush that had come to Tiffanies cheeks when Professor Hills was mentioned.  She had an inkling that Tiffany had a liking for him too.  So this was a perfect opportunity to leave the two alone.  “Its time Tif had some fun back in her life”, she thought to herself. Four moths ago Mildred had found out about Tiffanies other jobs, but kept it to herself as she knew that Tiffany was a proud person who did not want sympathy. 

 

“Hi girls”, Called Errol as he walked into the office.  “Ready for Lunch Mil”.

 

“Sure am, Errol this is Tiffany my colleague and friend, Tif this is Errol, my best friend from childhood days”  Errol and Tiffany exchanged pleasantries and when she thought Errol was not looking she gave a look of “Oh Brother!!!! 

 

“He is gay”  Mouthed Mildred as she left.  And saw the disappointment in Tiffanies eyes.  Tiffany had hoped that Mildred had at last found a nice boyfriend.

 

They headed for the Staff canteen where Marge and Hilda were busy with their other staff serving, staff that came in for early lunch.  “What will it be today Mildred”  Asked Marge. 

 

 

They looked at the board with the meals listed… “Oh it all is so delicious, what is the special today”

Asked Errol.  Every University café had a special of the day. And it was usually pretty good.

 

“The roast Pork and apple pie, It was a favourite of General Hamington.” Replied Hilda

 

“We’ll take that then thanks”  Said Mildred, she had had the pork and apple pie before, and it was

heavenly.  Roasted pork and sliced apples with Green Vegies in a crisp pastry.  One of the ladies specialties that they had invented themselves.  They took their pies and a selection of salads, some coffee and Cake and headed out to the island in the middle of the lake.

 

“This sure is a real master piece”, commented Errol, “Tinkles has done himself proud.”

 

“Yes, he even came and asked the staff in each of the libraries what was efficient, what could be improved and what they would like”.  She took a bite of her pie, and it just melted in her mouth. Errol could see the satisfaction in the smile and shine of her eyes.

 

“Now that’s strange for an Architect, they never bother to ask anyone anything.  But then Tinkles was always one for being different”  Noted Errol as he savoured his pie.  “Hey these pies are great”

 

“hmmmmm”  was all Mildred could say as her mouth was full.  “so how is Josh?” she asked when finished her mouthful.

 

“Oh he is just fine” Replied Errol,” He was so excited when I told him I had bumped into you that he insisted we have a little get together in a few weeks.  Do you think you could get hold of Tinkles.  Josh is dying to see both of you gain”. 

 

“Hey that would be great, but Rupert is away until the end of Next month on business, so maybe we could make it then.”  She quickly wrote down Ruperts email address and gave it to Errol “here is his email, drop him a line and let him know, any time is fine with me, but Ruperts schedule is rather crazy sometimes.  So its best to contact him direct the you and Josh can work around your schedule and Ruperts.”

 

“Great! Ill email him later this week.”  Errol stuffed another piece of the delicious pie into his mouth.

 

After finishing their lunch, Mildred took Errol on the grand tour, Commenting on the different layouts each of the 4 buildings had.  One was specifically designed as an administration, research facility, so on each floor there was either a Seminar facility, or Office space for the various heads of each Library Department.  Proper training facility, and on 3 floors of one of the two taller buildings they had dedicated Private Study space for the Research assistance, and Post Graduates.  Most of study facilities were just in the finishing stages of getting their computer hook up and other electronic resources for each set of 6 study rooms.  Plus the tea rooms were having their dishwashers and hot water systems installed early next week.  the room had already been booked up by the future residences.  Each room was equipped to handle 2- 3 clients.  And there were special facilities in 12 rooms for people with various disabilities.

 

Each of the User Education Specialists ( otherwise called UES) took one day a week to oversee the area, so that the clients had access to assistance at all times.  There was always at least 3 UES staff on hand during library opening hours.

 

“Now this would have been a treat, when we were studying” commented Errol

 

“It sure would have been, I think Rupert had that in mind after his experiences” replied Mildred.  “Say I have been meaning to ask you.  Did you ever find out about your birth mother.”

 

“Not yet, I’ve got some contact numbers to chase up, but with the new job and the move, I’ve not had time to do anything.  Its going to be a priority in the next few weeks once I get more settled.”  Errol looked very thoughtful for a moment.

 

“Well if you need a hand, im more than happy to assist in any way I can.” Offered Mildred

 

The two friends headed off on the rest of the tour, by the time they had finished it had taken a good hour and a half to complete the more interesting aspects of Cousin Ruperts master piece.

 

“I must say he has out done himself.”  Errol had been most impressed with the color scheme in all the buildings and the functionality of it all.  “He surely has thought of everything”

They bid good bye to each other and headed off in their own direction to return to the days grind.  Errol had a 1st year class to teach and Mildred had a meeting with Mr “this is Urgent” Anthony Bigell’s.  They were going to discuss the thoughts on the new letter heads and the possibility of extra staff for the Special collection area since it had trebled in size from the small dusty and cobweb ridden hole she had been kept in for the last 3 years, since taking on the current role.

 

Mr Bigell walked into Mildreds office with his usual swagger and leer at Tiffany who was in the middle of dealing with Professor Hills.  Its amazing how helpless Professor Hills became when Tiffany was around and just had to have that little bit of extra assistance.  She hoped that he would ask Tiffany out and get it over with, the suspense was killing her.

 

“Mr Bigell nice of you to take time to help me with this.”  Sang Mildred in false happiness.  She realy could use no help from him as he always managed to get things more in a mess than anything else.

 

“Mildred nice of you to take this on, I always find your designing skills so much more interesting and creative than the others, and you always seem to know how to put a personal touch to things.  I realy do find that by getting a professional company to do it, it loses something in the presentation”.  Rattled on ‘Mr Urgent’

 

“blah blah blah.. “ thought Mildred to herself while maintaining a ‘oh I do agree’ look on her face.  “what you really mean is its cheaper”  she added silently in her thoughts

 

“Now let me see what you have come up with” Bigell sat silently poring over her labours.  “Most impressive.  I certainly like the way you have incorporated the 4 colors, and the representation of the four buildings is excellent.  But then this one here with the floral emblems is also superb.  Ill take it to the executive meeting next week and see what they think.”  With that he waltzed out the room waving to the Professor and Tiffany as he left.

 

“Whew!!”  Was all Mildred could say.. 

 

Tiffany caught the look of relief and exasperation on Mildred’s face and returned a friendly smile acknowledging that she would feel the same if it were her in there instead.

 

 

Tiffany finished off with the Professor and started clearing the tables of the items so that Angus could shelve them when he started his shift at 7pm.  She was going to be there until 10 pm herself but Angus was an excellent worker very diligent and reliable, so she did not mind leaving this task to him.  If it were one of the others she would be very reluctant to let them handle the rare and valuable stuff that Prof. Hills had just finished with.

 

The Professor was on his way out and then hesitated… “Um…err… ahh  Tiffany” Stammered the Professor.

 

“Yes Professor” 

 

“I do wish you would call me by my first name, Mitchell”.  Said Mitchell with a slight blush to the cheeks.  “I was wondering if you might like to have lunch with me tomorrow”.

 

“Oh!”   Tiffany was a little shocked, she had hoped he would ask her one day,.. but this was a little unexpected.  “Why yes thank you professor, I mean Mitchell”

 

Mildred gave a silent cheer of joy on hearing this from the door way to her office as she locked up.  To leave for the afternoon.  “I sure hope they get together, they would be so good for each other”  thought Mildred to herself.

 

“would Friday at 12.30 be ok, I know you finish then so have the afternoon free, as do I”  Mitchell rattled off.  “If that’s not convenient then you name the time.

 

“This Friday,”  she thought for a moment and caught the nod of approval from Mildred “Why, yes thankyou Mitchell, that would be nice”.

 

“Great!” the look of great excitement came to his face.  “ Ill drop by here and collect you shall I, there is a new restaurant that opened last week in the middle of town, My brother and his wife own it and they are both excellent cooks.”

 

“I look forward to it” Tiffany blushed as she waved him goodbye.

 

 

 

The following day Mildred had the day off.  So she thought she would take the time to get some gardening done.  She loved her little garden, It was not very big, but then she did not need anything too large.  It was just her and the pets.  She thought she would start by cleaning out Ruffles out door enclosure.  It did not take long, she added a few logs and rearranged some of his cat furniture.  Took out some of the old toys and washed them, replacing them with some new toys she had bought the other day. 

 

It was such a nice day that she bought Penelope outside and put her under the tree so she could get some fresh air and see something different from the inside of her cage and house.  “I must get around to having an outdoor gage for your Pen dear”  she said to the bird as she placed the cage on the hook hanging from the branch of the Peach tree in the back yard. 

 

“Now where to start!”

 

On surveying the yard, she decided it was time to weed the rose bed, the roses were just starting to bloom.  She had 10 different roses her pinks, reds, whites and yellows.  Her favourites were Pink Seduction, Exotica, and Grand Gala.  They filled her garden with a lovely sent, the bees that visited in the spring were a bit of a bother at times, but Mr Henley from down the road had bee hives in this and he always made sure she had a jar or 2 of his wonderful honey every few months.  Dear Mr Henley his wife died 3 years ago, they had been very friendly, and it was such a shock to see Mrs Henley pass away.  She had been such a dear lady, not that old only 67, but Breast cancer had taken her from her family.  Every now and then when Mildred baked, she would make a special honey cake for Mr Henley and drop it down to him and spend the day chatting.  Sometimes they would go for a walk in the park over the road.  It had a magnificent display of flowers each year.

 

After working on the weeding for about an hour, she heard the phone, so she brushed off the dirt and raced in to catch it before it stopped.  It was Rupert, calling from his latest job.

 

“Hi Cousin, Its me your favourite person” joked Rupert.

 

“Hi Rupert, hey you will never guess who is now working at the Uni. “ she teased

 

“Errol!” came the reply  “I had an email from him first thing this morning, he said he and Josh were organising a get together at the end of next month when Im back.  How is the old duffer”

 

“He is doing well, did he tell you about the job he now has here?.”  Mildred queried.

 

Rupert replied that he had all the details from Errol and that Errol had commented on his liking of the design of the new library which he had designed.

 

They chattered on for a while, catching up on what had been going on since they last met.

 

“Oh, Walter and Hubert are dead, Im afraid the cat got to them”. Mildred informed Rupert.

 

“Oh no, that blasted cat!” Said Rupert.  “I knew that would happen”.

 

They finished their conversation and Mildred decided to make a spot of lunch before resuming her gardening.  She made a sandwich and a coffee and took them outside to her patio area.  Penelope was chirping away, and Ruffles was lounging in the sun on one of the logs in his enclosure.

 

After finishing lunch, Mildred got back into the gardening and finally finished around 4pm.  She surveyed her work and was quite pleased.  Even having the roses sprayed with white oil to keep those pesky aphids at bay.  She thought a nice soak in the bath would be the order of the day now, and then curl up with a good book and a nice CD to listen to.  She bought the bird and cat inside and fed them, then ran her bath, adding a rose scented bubble bath  and sunk into it

 

 

 

Several months had passed pretty much the same as every other week.  There had been no word from Mr Biggel as to the letter head designs she had worked so hard on, with very little help from him.  Mildred was heading in to work on a lovely spring day and bumped into Joelle as usual out side at the staff bike lockups.  “How are things in your neck of the woods Joelle” She enquired,

 

“Ive only got 1 week and then 4 weeks holiday.” Joelle said with relief in her face and voice.  Since this move to the new building it has been chaotic.   “Then I will be sunning myself on the shores of Samoa, Fiji and  Hawaii

 

“Oh yes that’s right, your heading of on that 3 week cruise of the Pacific, Oh how I envy you.”  Replied Mildred with envy in her voice.  “Don’t for get to send me a few postcards and tell me all the wonderful things your doing.  You know ill be eternally jealous of you.”

 

“Ill do that” Joelle was very excited and Mildred could hear the excitement in her voice. 

 

Being Joelle, she was assured of meeting many people and having a great time.  She had always been a People person that’s why she made such an excellent User Education Specialist.  Both girls finished locking up their bikes and headed in for some of Marge and Hildas wonderful cakes and fresh pot of coffee.  Joelle and Mildred arranged to have lunch later in the week, before Joelle headed off on her adventure. 

 

Mildred got to her office a little earlier than usual, and Tiffany had already sorted the mail and overnight requests from people who wanted information that was housed in the Rare collections.  The student workers were not able to retrieve things from here due to the fragile nature of most of the works.

 

“Morning Tiffany, how are things going with Professor Hills”  enquired Mildred

 

Tiffany had a dreamy look in her eyes and a happy smile on her face, “Very well thanks, he is such a nice guys, the kids love him and he makes such a fuss of them”  There was an extra something in the way Tiffany looked this morning.  But Mildred could not quite place her finger on the meaning behind it.  It had only been 4 weeks since the Professor and Tiffany had started seeing ach other, but Mildred had a good feeling about the hole thing.  They just seemed so perfect for each other. 

 

Mildred was very happy for Tiffany, and wished that she could know the same happiness.  Most of the guys Mildred had been involved with were less than honest and complete losers and users.  Well better to be single than in a bad relationship she thought.

 

She collected her pile of mail and information booklets that had arrived.  Most of it was pretty much the same things that came in each week, information on the latest electronic resourses.  Latest discoveries in the book world of rare and valuable books. Rare books that had come on the market for sale.  She read through the first few, and then came across a lovely floral envelope with her name written beautiful script writing ,

 

Mildred Mansaw is cordially  invited to the WEDDING

 

Of

 

MITCHELL HILTON HILLS

AND

TIFFANY ELESIA MANNING

 

Service to be held at 2.30pm  21st September 2004

At the All Saints church

 

332    Milford Ave

WATTLE GRANGE 

 

RSVP: BY EMAIL  TEM@UWG.EDU

Well you could have knocked Mildred over with a feather; she went flying out of the office.  Waving the invitation in her hand

 

“Tiffany”  She shouted with great excitement and  forgetting herself and where she was  “You never said a word you little sneak, when on earth did all this happen

 

“Well I know it is only a short time that we have been seeing each other, but it just feels so right, and the kids and Mitch get on so well.”  There was a deep blush on Tiffany’s cheeks and her face was just glowing with happiness.  “Would you be one of my brides’ maids”

 

“Of course I will!” they hugged and had a good cry to the amusement of some clients that had just walked through the door and burst out in a round of applause and congratulations.  Most of them were well ware of Tiffany as they had dealings with her for several years and knew of her circumstances either first hand or through the grape vine.

 

Tiffany showed Mildred and everyone the lovely emerald and diamond ring that the Professor had given her.  It was just simply exquisite a heart shaped emerald set with 3 diamonds on either side in a white gold band.  The green in the ring set of Tiffany’s eyes beautifully.

 

“I’m just so happy for you Tif. The professor is such a nice guy, and you deserve some happiness” Mildred cried.  In her mind Mildred was screaming “YES YES YES!!!”  she was so overjoyed at Tiffany’s happiness, she had started planning the Hens night already….

 

After the excitement died down they all went about their business. But it was a very happy and light hearted day for all of them.  The day seemed to just speed by as more and more of Tiffanies friend came down after receiving their invitations in the morning mail also.  And the phone did not stop ringing all morning.

 

The only dampener on the day was a call from Mr Biggels secretary asking Mildred to come and see him first thing in the morning at 9.30am.

 

September was only a few months away so there would be a lot of planning, Tiffany said that Mitchell insisted on paying for everything, and it had not been until a few days after he had popped the question that Tiffany suddenly realised she could hand her notice in at her other jobs and tell them where they could stick it.  She had never told Mitchell of her other jobs waitressing, she thought it would put him off.  But none of that mattered anyway, She quickly sent an email the her boss at the convention centre and informed them that they could find a new girl as of now..   Boy did that feel good.

 

*****

 

Mildred headed home with happy thoughts of helping to plan Tiffany and Professor Hills wedding.

 

“hmmm “  she sighed, “if only I could find someone as charming and kind”

 

 

 

© Colleen Hunter 2004

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