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8th Chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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Chapter 8

 

At the precise moment that Mildred and Errol discovered their relationship. Captain Yates and his team were about to commence the operation to free Tiffany from her hostage state.  The electric company was more than happy to lend them one of their vans and some uniforms for this purpose. 

 

“Ok Now everything is in ready ness, you all know the drill and have your assignments.  I don’t want any shots fired unless there is no other way to avoid it.”  The Captain instructed.  “are there any questions before we begin.”  He looked around and no one spoke.  His team was highly trained in hostage situations and were all very capable people.

 

T.J. had requested that he stay to add support to Mitchell Hills, someone to lean on.  He had taken Mitchell to his cottage, where they would bring Tiffany once she was released.  An ambulance had arrived and was on stand by.

At exactly 4pm two of the officers in the Electricity Plus uniforms headed down the driveway towards Walters house.  They parked the van, collected tool boxes from the back of the van and headed for the door.

 

They knocked, inside Walter ordered Tiffany to stay upstairs and locked her in the bedroom.  He ran down stairs to opened the front door. 

 

“Good afternoon Mr Milling We are from Electricity Plus we believe you have a power problem.”  Said the guy with the name Mike on the shirt.

 

“Yes” responded Walter, “thank you for coming so promptly.” 

 

“Now where is your fuse box we will need to check that out first.”  Stated the taller of the two who had Fred written on his shirt.

 

Walter took them to the fuse box outside, while he was doing this, Fred seized the opportunity to grab him and bundle him away from the house.  He placed handcuffs on him so fast that Walter did not know what was going on.

 

At the same time Mike ran into the house calling for Tiffany.

 

“Mrs Hills,  Mrs Hills Its Senior Constable Bens its safe to come out now, we have Walter in custody.”  Mike called as he checked each room.  He went upstairs and heard a pounding on one of the doors at the end of the hall.

 

“Stand back Mrs Hills Im going to have to break the door down”.

 

Tiffany did as she was told and stood away from the door, Mike took a running charge at the door and it gave way instantly. Some of the wood was rotting so it was easily broken.  Gingerly came out of the room she was in, and fell sobbing into the arms of Mike.  Mike Picked her up and carried her out to an ambulance that had just pulled up to be checked over by a doctor to make sure she was ok.  Physically she was fine, but the shock would take a long time to get over.  They took her over to T.J.s’ place where everyone was waiting for her.  Mitchell rushed out to her and hugged her.  They cried together.

 

“I thought I would never see you again.”  Mitchell sobbed “Thank God your alive and Ok.  He didn’t hurt you did he.?’

 

“No” was all she was able to sob.

 

The took her to the hospital for a few days of observation and consultation with a trauma counsellor.  The children were told that their mother would be returning from her holiday in a few days time.  They planned a little welcome home party for her.  The twins drew a big banner with lots of flowers and animals on them.

 

**

 

Mildred and Errol were astounded.  For years they had always felt a very special bond between them. As they both been an only child, they sort of had adopted each other as a stand in brother and sister.  Now all of a sudden it was like a fairy tale.  They really were brother and sister and their grand father was a famous author and scholar.  For years they had both loved reading his books and watching the T.V. documentaries that he had produced.  When he had come into the library and spoken to Mildred in relation to library business, she had always had a sense of what a nice man he was.  She had never known here adoptive grandparents, as both her parents mothers and fathers had died early in their lives.  Both Mildred’s Grand fathers had fort in Second World War.  Both had been killed in separate incidences.  Mildred’s maternal grandmother had died of cancer 5 years before Mildred was born, and her paternal grandmother had suffered from psychological problems and was permanently in a psychiatric hostel.  Her parents thought it was best that they not subject Mildred at such a young age to seeing her grandmother in that state.

 

“Well I never would have known” Joelle said with astonishment in her voice.  “Brother and sister!  Good grief.”

 

“You can say that again” replied Mildred

 

It took Mildred some time to recover her composure.  Errol also was some what shocked, as you would expect. 

 

“My sister, I have a sister, oh, Mil. I could never had asked for a better sister.”  They hugged to what seemed the millionth time.  “I better call Mother Hattie, and tell her.”  He called straight away and Hattie was so thrilled that she had the opportunity to meet her daughter after all these years.  She arrived half an hour later, it was just the most wonderful sight to see Mother and children reunited after all this time. 

 

“I understand you probably hate me for abandoning you, but…” Hattie said.

 

“Now don’t even think of it, Errol told me all about your reasons for doing it, and we understand totally.” Mildred reassured her.  “I’ve even met grandfather, your dad”.

 

“You know him, “  Hattie questioned “How!”

 

“Well I work in the University Library in the special collections section.  He came in quite regularly for research and then to donate some of his books and manuscripts.  Then when he passed away recently we were given a large collection of art and books from his home.”  Mildred explained.

 

“Oh I’m so glad that you got the chance to meet him.  Did you like him.” Hattie asked. “Im sure he would have love both you and Errol.”

 

The chattered on for over two hours, finally it was time for them all to leave so that Mildred could get some sleep.  She had had quite a trying few weeks with the death and burial of her mother and then the sorting out of the house of all her parents’ things.  Now to find out she was actually adopted and that Errol was her brother, it was a little too much.

 

She only had a small dinner as they had been eating all afternoon.

 

**

 

Joelles date with Denver Anvers went well, he had collected her from her home at the appointed time.  They had gone to the Departmental function and found it all very interesting.  Joelle had caught up with a friend of hers who worked in the faculty office with Denver.  He had been shocked to see her there with him.

 

“Hi Joelle, what are you doing here.”  Asked her friend Henry

 

“Hi Henry, Well Dr Anvers asked me to come, and I’ve always found him to be rather cute.  So I said yes.”

 

“Oh !”  Henry replied,  “Hey are you and Mildred free for a night at the movies next week.”

 

Joelle said she was and that she would have to check with Mildred.  She went on to tell them the news about the discovery of Errol and Mildred being related.  And also that they were related to a famous artist and author.

 

“Boy that’s some major news to spread, how did they take it?”  He asked.

 

“Very well, they have always been close, and now it just makes their friendship even better.”  Joelle chuckled “You should have seen the look on their faces when Mildred found the documents indicating she had been adopted too.  Boy was that a classic.”

 

“Would love to have seen it.”  Henry went off to catch up with some friends he had seen walking into the foyer Joelle headed over to where Denver was in the midst of a very in-depth discussion with one of the other academics from the department.

 

“Oh sorry Bill I must leave our conversation and take this young lady home.”  He lied.  “Sorry bout that Ive been trying to get away from the old windbag for ages.”

 

“Lets go down to Imengos.’ She suggested  “I hear they have great entertainment at this time of night and they serve some of the most delicious cake.

 

Denver readily agreed so they headed out to the new restaurant in town.  It had only been open a few weeks and by all accounts it was doing very well.  The drive was a pleasant one, the night was cool but not cold.  They found themselves a table near one of the side walls and ordered cappuccino and some of the cheese cake for Joelle and chocolate cake for Denver.  It was nearly 2am in the morning before they headed home.  Imengos was open 24 hours a day, which was good for the Students around the area who were up studying late at night.  Also the staff at the hospital which was over the road were keen customers.

 

**

 

Mildred returned to work, 5 months after her mothers death.  She thought it was good to get back into the swing of things.  Dickson and Mildred had a 2 hour meeting with the other staff to catch Mildred up on what was happing with the collections and what was new in the last few months. 

 

“Its good to have you back”  Said Dickson.  “Things were rather crazy after Tiffany was kidnapped by that loony Walter Milling.”

 

“Excuse me!”  Mildred asked with great astonishment

 

“Oh!” Dickson thought for a moment. “Didn’t anyone tell you, maybe they wanted to spare you the trouble since you had to deal with the loss of your mother so close to the loss of your father.”

 

He filled her in on what had happened.  Tiffany was due back at work the following week.

 

“Oh my gosh, I had no Idea, no one told me.”  Mildred was shocked “Poor thing, she must have been devastated.

And poor Mitchell must have been beside himself.”  Mildred sat for a while to let the news sink in.  “Oh I wish I had been there for them.

 

“Everything has worked out for the best, so don’t worry.” Dickson assured her.

 

“And that left you all on your own.  “I’m so sorry for leaving you in the lurch like that.”

 

“Hey it was not your fault, and I had the casuals and students to help, you and Tiffany had them trained so well that there was little to show them.”  He reassured her.  “Mary Emmerson was on hand too, as she had worked her for some time, and popped in every few days to see that there was enough staffing to help out.  She even took two half days a week to fill in to help me out.  She said she enjoyed getting back in the firing line again.  Oh that reminds me she said could you pop up to see her at 3pm as she wants to check in with you as to how things are.”

 

“Oh thanks, you’re a real asset to this area Dickson, they could not have hired a better person for the job.”

 

They went about their daily business and sorted out a few more bits and pieces.  Several people phoned or stopped in to see Mildred during the day to catch up with her and to offer the thoughts and condolences on the loss of her mother and father at such a sort space of time.  Mildred told a few of her close friends of the great news about finding out she and Errol were brother and sister.  But as new goes around libraries, practically 80% of the staff had already found this out.  Joelle had mentioned it to Bobby and then like a wild fire the Library grapevine had spread the news quicker than any newscast could.  Bad news travels fast, but good news travels at three times the speed of light in this place.

 

At 3pm Mildred went up to Mary’s office, she was in with someone at he time so she sat at the secretaries desk and chattered with her for a while Until Mary was free.

 

“Mildred, sorry to keep you waiting, do come in.  Amy could you please get us some coffee and cake.” Mary said

 

“Already ordered from Hilda Mrs Emmerson, it should be here in a few moments”  Amy replied.  Just a few moments later the coffee and some of Hilda and Marges fabulous coffee cake and cappuccinos had arrived and Amy knocked on the door and took them in.

 

“Well Mildred, how are you feeling now.” Mary asked once Amy had left.  “I heard from Joelle about your interesting news on finding out your relationship with Dr Finshin from the Agriculture Farm management Department.”

 

“Im much better now thank Mary, after all that has happened with the loss of Dad and then Mum after that dreadful accident on my birthday.”  She sat thoughtfully for a while.  “Yes both Errol and I were quite shocked, he had always known he was adopted but I never was told.  In the papers I found Mum had written me a letter explaining why she had not told me when I was younger.  She apologised, but Dad did not want me thinking I was not his real daughter, he felt that it would spoil the relationship.  He was a little old fashioned and to him I was his daughter and there were no questions about it.”

 

“Now Mildred, I’m not sure if you have heard yet but I shall be retiring at the beginning of next month.  They have not yet advertised the position but I am truly hoping that you will apply for the job.  You have all the qualifications, and all the same experience that I have had.  I spoke to Joelle, and she declined the opportunity.  She said she was much happier where she was, and that the librarian in her area was bout to retire in a year, and she was wanting that job.”

 

“Oh, yes you had mentioned it to me earlier, but I never really thought about it.  Ill give it some thought.”  Mildred looked a little sad at the thought of losing such a good friend as Mary.  “You know we will miss you when you go, and don’t be a stranger.  Do come and visit us occasionally.”

 

They continued their meeting for around half an hour, then Mildred went back to her office and finished off the days work.  “Me take over from Mary?” She questioned herself. She shook her head to clear the thoughts that were filling her head.  “Could I really take over, I like it so much here, would I really want an executive position.”  She spoke about it over the next few days with some of her friends.  They all encouraged her to take the opportunity.

 

“We think you will be great in the Job.” Said one friend

 

“Go for it” exclaimed another

“Could not think of anyone better suited to the Job.” Several people said.

 

She went home that night feeling a little more content about the situation and decided that when they did ask for applications that she would put hers in.

 

**

 

Paolo Mertins had been working in the shipping area of the library for close to 47 years, and it was getting close to his retirement.  He and Mary Emmerson had always got on very well.  Mary had started working at the library 2 years after he had, and he had shown her the ropes.  Everyone knew and loved Paolo, he was efficient, polite, and always got things done.  Everyone affectionately called him ‘the Admiral’, This was due to him always telling everyone who was new, how things were done, and he expected them to maintain a tight ship.  If it had not been for a club foot he would have been in the Navy when he left school.  But due to his deformity, he was not able to even apply.  You could always rely on him to get the job done, or to make sure that the best possible person did it correctly.

 

Paolo was thinking of retiring early anyway, and he had things running smoothly.  Apart from the Shipping of books too and from the library, he was in charge of any maintenance, organising people to shelve, and general tidying of the library.  He had responsibility for a small team of cleaners as well.  His little empire was a happy and contented bunch of people.  They knew where they stood, they knew that if they had a problem they could approach ‘Admiral’ Paolo and would be dealt with fairly. 

 

It had always been a dream of his to invent things.  He was always coming up with some form of invention or another.  Paolo had a way of looking at things laterally, and being able to think outside the little square box that most people put their thoughts and working lives into.  He had designed a shelving trolley that was functional and safe to use.  Just by pulling a leaver or two the shelves would rotate to a position that was comfortable for each individual.  So it did not matter if the person was 6feet tall or 5 feet tall, if they were shelving books onto the top shelf or the bottom shelf.  They had managed to get the design patented and construction of the new Mertins style shelving trolleys was well under way. 

 

Manny Walsh was called into Paolo’s office one morning.  Manny had been with Paolo for a number of years.  He was a very tall muscularly built man in his Late 30’s.  His shoulder length sandy blond hair was always neatly tied back in a pony tail.  His baby blue eyes were enough to melt the hearts of many a woman who caught a glimpse of them.  When he smiled his eyes seemed to shine all the more.  His manner was gentle, but when the need arose he could be depended upon to deal with any unpleasant situation.

 

“Come in my boy sit down.”  Paolo greeted him when he knocked.  “Now, as you may be aware I’m going to retire soon.  I’ve been working here for far too many years and it is time I indulged myself and was able to do the things I want.”

 

“Yes,” replied Manny “we are really going to miss you.”

 

“You have been here 12 years, and your work is exemplary, I would like you to apply for my job when the advertisement comes up.”

 

“Do you really think I could?”  Manny asked a little unsure of himself.

 

“I don’t see why not, you have the skill, the knowledge and all the staff love you.  You have filled in for me on a number of occasions when I’ve been on holidays or ill.  I’ve already mentioned it to Mrs Emmerson and she agrees with me.  You know she is retiring also.”

 

“Yes I had heard of that.  If you sure and Mrs Emmerson is sure as well.”  Manny sat thoughtfully for a moment.  “I’ll do it, I’ve got some very big shoes to fill.”

 

The two men shook hands, Paolo had already handed in his retirement,  He had given the required 4 weeks notice.  At the same time Mary Emmerson had also handed in her 4 weeks notice, they had both discussed it and had decided that they would like a joint farewell.  Mary had already contacted Marge and Hilda to inform them that their services would be required for the 20th December, which was the date that both Mary and Paolo had decided was to be their last day of work.  Not a bad time to retire they thought, end the years of service just before the festive season.  That way there would be no interference with the class schedules as some of the academics would want to be there to farewell Mary.  Most of them also knew Paolo and would relish the opportunity to say good by to two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

 

**

 

Tiffany walked in to her office for the first time in months.  Since the incident with Walter, it had taken a lot out of her.  She had required counselling, Mitchell and the kids had been great, they were not about to let the kids know what had happened as they were too young to bear the trauma.  Mildred was already in her office.  Tiffany knocked and went in.

 

“Tiffany!”  Exclaimed Mildred. “I am so sorry for what happened.  No one told me, I only just found out what happened with Walter when I got back a few weeks ago.”

 

“I am truly sorry for taking so long to get back, I think it hit me worse than I thought .”  Tiffany blurted out.  “they said they were not going to tell you due to your recent loss. I really wish I could have been there for you at her funeral.”

 

“Don’t worry everything is ok now so there is no need for any of us to be upset.”  Mildred reassured her  “Dickson did a fine job keeping things going, and Mary had an eye on things as well.”

 

“Oh! I must make sure that I thank him, he has been such a gem to have working here.”

 

Just then Dickson walked in.  “Welcome back Tiffany, I hope your feeling better.”

 

“Thanks Dickson, I am.  Thanks so much for looking after the place during all this kafuffle.  Its such a shame that things work out the way they did.  But now at least we can get back to normal around here, Walter is in maximum security.  So there is no need to worry.”

 

All three sat down to catch Tiffany up on what had happened around the pace since she had gone missing.  There were a few more projects that had come in the week before.  With everything gearing up towards the end of the year.  During the tea break Mildred filled Tiffany in on the excitement of the discovery of the white box her mother had told her about and that she and Errol were Twins.  Tiffany was most excited about the whole thing.

 

“You mean to say that both Mary and Paolo are retiring at the same time.”  Tiffany was a little shocked. “I knew that they were getting close to retirement, this place wont be the same for any one. When they go.  Do you know if they have advertised for their positions.”

 

“Not yet, they have to wait til they leave, but apparently Paolo is encouraging Manny to apply for his, and Mary and everyone else is trying to get Mildred to apply for Mary’s.”  Dickson informed her

 

“Wow!  That would be a great opportunity for you Mil.”

 

“Yes, I know, I have given it a lot of thought, and have decided to give it a go and see what happens.”

 

The rest of the day was rather uneventful for them all, and after all the excitement that they had during the past few months they could do with some dullness.

 

**

 

The 20th December rolled around very quickly.  At 10.30 they were having a morning tea farewell for both Paolo and Mary.  Everyone had given a contribution for the parting gifts, and it had been Mildred who had bought Mary’s presents and Manny who had bought Paolo’s.  Marge and Hilda had everything decorated and prepared well ahead of schedule and they were now just putting the finishing touches to the two cakes that had been baked.

 

Everyone gathered in the Staff Café on schedule, with Paolo and Mary standing at the entrance to greet everyone as they entered. 

 

“Oh this is such a sad day, we are sorry to see you both go.”  Was a comment often heard from several staff members. 

 

“You must come back and visit us”

 

“Sorry to see you go, what are you planning on doing now.” 

 

The well wishes and sentiments were coming thick and fast.  It was getting a little overwhelming.  By 10.45 all those who were going to attend arrived.  They spent 15 minutes circulating then Mr Bigell called them both to the dais that had been arranged for the occasion. 

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention.”  Mr Bigell called into the microphone.  There were over 200 staff there, both current and former members.  Some of the old retired staff had wanted to come in to wish both of those leaving the best.  “Thank you,  Now today is a very sad day for this University Library.  We are here to say goodbye to two of the nicest people to work here.  …….”    Mr Bigell droned on and on about the careers of both Mary and Paolo. 

 

After he had finished his comments both Mary and Paolo took their turn to say farewell and thanks for the memories.  Both had some happy memories of working there, and some rather amusing tales to tell.  By 12noon they had finished.  Presents were presented, and then everyone said final goodbyes and returned to their, jobs while Mary and Paolo took a final look around the library and said goodbye to some people who did not make it down to the tea, as they had to staff the library for the users her came in.

 

It was a sad day for them, they had both been part of the system for a long time.  Mary had always wanted to get on the P.A. system and announce that there was a book sale on the 1st floor and everything was going out cheep.  But she thought better of it.  Paolo had always wanted to let Mr Bigell know exactly how he felt about him, but thought better of that too.

 

They both strolled out the library doors, at 2pm after packing up the last of their belongings,  walked to the car park not looking back, but thinking of a brighter future.  Paolo would now have time for his Bridge club and volunteer work that he did in the community.  Mary was planning a 6 month trip around the world, to visit some of her friends she had made in other libraries at various library conferences. 

 

“It sure will be nice not to have to get up so early in the mornings now.”  Mary Said to Paolo

 

“You can say that again.”  He smiled and chuckled to himself as he said.  “No more meetings, No more Mr Bigell, No more broken trolleys. We are free.”

 

They bid each other a safe and happy and eventful retirement, they arranged to meet up for coffee occasionally after Mary returned from her overseas trip. 

 

**

 

Joelle Was working the night shift in the Post Graduate research centre with T.J. of all people.  She really disliked working with that man.  But she did respect him a little more after the valiant efforts he made in the rescue of Tiffany.  It was going to be 11.30 before she was able to get out of there and, Denver had promised to pick her up as he did not like her wandering around the campus late at night.  It was a 10 minute walk at least to the staff car park where she had her car. 

 

“You and Denver seem to be hitting it off rather well.”  Said T.J. with a hint of teasing in his voice.

“Yes we are getting on rather well.  He is a very nice person, is very considerate as well.”  Joelle replied.

 

“So when is the big day?” he asked.

 

“What do you mean.”  She knew very well what she meant.  She and Denver had no plans to marry as they had only just started a relationship.

 

11.30 rolled round fast, and Denver came to collect her.  “Thanks Denver, I appreciate this.”

 

“No worries my little Cherub.”  He said with a smile and a wink.

 

“Tomorrow night at 7pm for dinner Ok still.”  Joelle enquired.

 

“Sure is have been looking forward to it.”

 

Denver walked Joelle to her car which was just a few bays down from his. He watched as she drove off to ensure she got away safely.  His mobile rang.

 

“Hi Honey hows my girls?……….  Yes it was good to see you too……….  I’ll be home soon,… Yes just leaving now I miss you too.  Love you angel” 

 

He hung up and headed out the parking lot for his house.

 

**

 

Joelle arrived home 20minutes after leaving the parking lot.  She had the day off the following day, so would be able to sleep in.  Mildred also had the day off to do her Christmas Shopping.  The both of them would be heading out at 11am to the shops to try to get everything done on time.  After all it was only 2 days until Christmas day.  And Mildred was so excited about having to buy Hattie a gift aswell.  She would have very pleasant dreams of Denver, she thought to her self.  ‘He is such a nice guy, very genuine, honest and everything a girl could ask for.’.

 

She made herself a cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows and tucked herself into bed to read a few pages of the book she was reading.  She then curled up and fell asleep very quickly.

 

**

 

Hattie Marsden’s mind was all a flutter. 

 

“I’ll actually get to have a Christmas with my children.”  She said excitedly to her assistant.

 

Hattie had not been able to have anymore children after the twins were born due to contracting ovarian cancer.  She had married several years after the birth and adoption of the babies, and for several years had tried desperately to get pregnant but was unable to.  It was then that they discovered that she had the cancer.

 

“You must be so excited!” her assistant Zelman said with enthusiasm.

 

“I sure am.  I just cant wait.  Its taken 40 years, and I will have a family Christmas after all these years.  Jack is coming over from New York tonight, he is almost as excited about meeting the twins as I was.”

 

They were heading out to do their own shopping and then to pick up Jack, Hatties’ husband from the airport.

 

Jack Marsden was an American Bank executive.  He and Hattie had met at an art exhibition where Hattie as a struggling artist had placed her first showing of her works.  Jack had just started his career in the banking industry.  He was on assignment in a junior executive position to the New Zealand branch of The World Investment Banking Corporation at the time.  He had seen advertised the art show and thought he would pop along to see if there were any interesting pieced he could invest in.  His Managing director was an art lover as well and encouraged staff to look for interesting artworks to brighten up the office and foyer area of the buildings.  Little did Jack know when he went that he would meet and fall in love with, as he called her “The most exquisite creature on this earth.”

 

 

 

©Colleen Hunter 2004

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