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10th chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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Chapter 10

 

The months rolled by and the appointment for the replacement of Anthony Bigell was made.  They had chosen a Highly qualified person form New Zealand.  Xavier Tahala started work at the Wattle Grange University on a bright and sunny winter day.  It was not nearly as cold as Christchurch where he had been Associate Librarian for 10 years.  John Amerson had decided not to apply after all, he was thinking of applying for the now vacated position in the Christchurch University, which would mean there would be another round of interviews and appointments for his vacated position if he got the job.

 

John showed Xavier around the library, introducing him to the staff at all levels. 

 

“He seemed very pleasant”  Joelle commented to Bobby.

 

“Yes, he did. I think he will be a huge improvement on Bigell.  I was really glad to see the back of him.”

 

“Lets just see how long the nice guy image will last.  Ill get some information on him from Mildred when I see her for dinner tonight.”  Mildred headed off for an information training seminar with some new Post Graduate students who had just started at the University. 

 

Bobby returned to his task of showing some new student casuals how the system worked in their section of the library.  They were quite a keen lot.  One of them was a mature aged man who had several children.  He had decided to return to Study to get a Degree in Education.  The others were either first or second year students who were connected to various departments.  Some of them were very quick at picking up the various duties they would need to know for working the various shifts.  Others were a little lazy and Bobby knew they would have to have a very close eye kept on them.

 

**

Xavier and his family moved into a home provided for them by the University. His wife Tasha, their 4 children, Zack, aged 9, Bobbett aged 13, Gus aged 14 and Joann aged 17.  Joann was not too happy about leaving in her final years of education, neither was Gus, he had expected to continue his education right through to graduation at the same school.  This was the 5th Change of school Joann had in her life and she was getting sick of it.  Just start to make friends and boyfriends but then her dad or mum would get a transfer to another library or office and they would have to pack things up and leave again.  She was rather sick of the whole thing.  Zack and Bobbett thought it was great, getting to see so many new things.

 

The children were enrolled into their respective schools and Tasha had found a job at the local branch of her Stock Broking firm. 

 

“I don’t see why I could not have stayed back home and finished with my education there.  Im going to Uni. Next year anyway, so would have left home all the same. Aunty Minny said I could stay with her.”

 

“Now Jo you know very well that would not have worked out.  She is such a fly by the night, you would never see her and Goodness knows what would have happened when she went on one of her no notice trips.” 

 

“I could have coped on my own”  whined Joann

 

“You may have been able to cope, but it is not safe and you know it.  End of discussion, now get ready for school”

 

“Ohhhh” Joann stormed off and got her bag and jacket.

“I’m ready Mum”  Zack said with a cheerful grin on his face.

 

“Me too”  Echoed Bobbett

 

“Yeah!  I know, I know get a move on “ said Gus sarcastically.

 

**

 

Tiffany was heading into work for the last day.  It was 3 months until the babies were due, but as they were twins, and she was getting a lot rounder, it was more and more difficult for her to continue in her normal duties. 

 

Everyone held her a baby shower the week before she left.  It was such an exciting time.  Tiffany was going to miss coming into work, but she and Mitch had discussed that for the first 4 years of the babies lives she would stay at home and look after them herself.  The older children also agreed that they would like that too, as she had been there for them in their early years.  It may have seemed old fashioned to everyone, but she thought it was the best she could do for them.  And she did not want to miss out on the many firsts that children go through.

 

Eight weeks after the Baby shower, Tiffany was taken in to hospital and delivered the twins safely, a boy and a girl.  That kept everyone happy,   the boys got the brother they wanted and the girls got the sister they wanted.  Mitchell was happy no matter what.  He was walking on cloud nine for days after.  Tiffany could not have been happier with her family the way it was.

 

There had been no complications, but due to the babies being a few weeks premature they were kept in hospital for 3 weeks, as the little boy who they named Joshua.  His little sister who was 2 minutes younger they had named Charlotte.

 

**

 

The Amerson Family had settled into their new life in Australia quite nicely.  The Younger of the children settled in a little quicker than the older two, but it was not long before Joann and Gus has found a new group of friends.  Joann had fallen in love with one of boy down the street who was at University and 3 years older than she.  Gus had found a number of friends who were into the same activities he was interested in.  The usual things that everyone was into, Skateboarding, Surfing, and they were just getting into the stage where they were noticing girls.  There were a number of girls that would hang out with Gus and his crowd, most weekends meeting down the park to either ride their bikes, go hiking in the hills or just go to the movies and have pizzas.

 

Bobbett had resumed her dance classes and was enjoying the different teaching styles of her new teacher, the one from New Zealand everyone in the class referred to as the “Dragon”.  The teacher she now had everyone referred to as the “Dream boat”.  It did not dampen their spirits that he was gay, it was still fun in his class and he always made the classes challenging and fun to attend.  Bobbett had always shown great promise with her dancing, she had always been encouraged right from a young age, by her Maternal Grandmother who had been a professional dancer with the Royal London Ballet.  In a few years time when she reached the age of 17 she was herself going to apply to the Royal London Academy of Dance to train there as her Grandmother had.

 

Joann was hoping to get good enough grades to take up Medicine or Veterinary science at the University, she was hoping that she would get Medicine more than Vet Science.  Joann was hoping to get into the research field, and discover some great new cure for some horrid disease.  It would be Decided at the end of next year if she would go onto University, due to the fact that she was going to have to repeat her final year of High School due to the different education systems in New Zealand and Australia.  But her marks were good and it would give her a chance to get higher grades there by giving her an extra chance at attending Medical School.  She was planning on going back to New Zealand to attend the University of Auckland, as a number of her friends were planning on studying there as well, either a medical related course or one of the other many courses offered.  Time would tell if she would make it.

 

**

 

Rupert Mansaw had been away for almost a year, he returned to Visit Mildred and was very shocked that at the news that her parents were now deceased.  He was equally shocked to find out that she was not actually related to him other than through the adoption.

 

“You must be joking!”  Rupert said as Mildred filled him in on what had happened in his absence.

 

“You and Errol Brother and Sister……  and twins no less.”  His head went quite dizzy with all the news that he was getting.  “I am dreadfully sorry I was not here for the Funerals.  I dearly would love to have been hear, but

the internet service in Bhutan is not that great.”

 

Rupert had been in Bhutan designing a new palace for the royal family.  They had heard of his designs and had contacted him.  He saw it as a challenge and had been away for most of the time since the official opening of the Library.

 

“You will never guess what else has happened.”  Mildred said.  “Tiffany and Mitchell have twins, and she was kidnapped by Walter, you remember the guy who use to work here a number of years ago and then ended up being put away in the mental hospital…”  She continued filling him in on all that had been going on.

 

“Whew!”  Rupert sighed, “I am exhausted even thinking about all that.  I’m so pleased that they were able to

get Tiffany away from that crazy guy.  Poor Mitch must have been in a real state.”

 

“He sure was, its very lucky that T.J. took notice of the van at the time he saw it too.”  Mildred commented as she passed Rupert a plate of cakes.  “So how long are you going to be here this time?”

 

“Well I have a major project for the city council so it could be at least the next 12 months.  It will be good to be able to stay in one place for a while.  I really am getting sick of moving around so much.”

 

“That will be good to have you around for a while, will you be moving back into you own house, or are you going to leave your tenants there?”

 

Ill leave the tenants there, they are really good and the rent money is handy.” 

 

“Say why don’t you move in here with me, I have loads of space.” Mildred offered.

 

“If your sure!” He said hesitantly.

 

“Of course I am, I would love the company.”

 

So it was settled, Rupert was to move in with Mildred at the end of the week, after he had given notice

to the Hotel where he was staying.  Mildred was going to organise the smaller spare room down the back into an office for him, so he could work from home if he felt like getting away from the office.  They both felt rather content about the situation, and was looking forward to spending time with her.  It had been quite a shock discovering that they were really not related, but they had always got on so well.  And he did like all her friends, so he could now feel they were more his friends now too.  He could get the opportunity to form friendships with people, where in previous years, he had been on the move so often that he had not had the opportunity to make proper relationships.  And then there was the added bonus of seeing Joelle occasionally too, when she came to visit Mildred.

 

**

 

The following week at work after Rupert had moved in, Mildred had invited several of her friends from the library to a little welcome party for him.  Everyone was looking forward to getting to know Rupert better, he seemed like such an interesting character.  Several of them had managed to get to speak to him during the official opening of the “Super Library”.  They had been sorry to hear that he was leaving.

 

Mildred had a meeting with the new Librarian of the Special collection.  T.J. and Joelle had been filling in on a temporary basis, but both were passed up when it came to the final selection. 

 

Peter Bent had been selected, he had been working at the Education section of the library.  He had worked at the University Library some 20 years but , had been away on sabbatical for over a year and had been shocked to see the new changes to the library..

 

“Hello Peter, come on in and have a seat, would you like a coffee or tea.”  Mildred greeted Peter, when Amy showed him in.

 

“Mildred!” he exclaimed “I had heard that you had been appointed in this job, congratulations.  And a Tea would be lovely, black with a slice of lemon if possible.” 

 

Amy nodded her acknowledgement of his request, she went off to make the tea for Peter and a Hot chocolate for Mildred. 

 

“So how have you been?” Mildred enquired.  “Its been years since we saw you last.”

 

“Yes it has been some time, I must say it is good to be back, I was rather shocked to hear about Bigell” He took a seat on the sofa near the window that overlooked the courtyard,

 

Mildred sat in the lounge chair in front of him.  “Yes I think everyone was rather shocked at that, his wife is better off without him.  I never could like him, there was just something about him that did not fit.” 

 

They chatted on about the latest developments when Amy bought in the drinks and a plate of her home made chocolate cake.  “Thanks Amy, can you hold all my calls until we are finished.

 

“Sure thing.” Amy replied with a smile

 

Mildred filled Peter in on the new developments for the Special collections that had been taking place over the last few months.  She gave him back ground on the staff he would be supervising and updated him on the next project that they were planning to start in a few months.

 

“Sounds like things have changed here quite a lot, what with this new building, I believe your cousin designed it.”  Peter commented.

 

“Yes he did, Rupert has just moved back here for a year long project with the city council.  He is quite pleased with this, he calls it his greatest achievement” Mildred took a sip of her chocolate, and a nibble of the cake.  “When we are finished here, ill give you the grand tour.”

 

**

 

Dickson and Tiffany were in the middle of trying to locate some documents that seemed to have gone missing.  One of the Professors was coming in to collect it for his research. 

 

“I’m sure I put it here.”  Dickson exclaimed with frustration.

 

“Yes I saw you put it down when you answered the phone not more than half an hour ago.”  She sighed, and then thought that it could not have gone far so it had to be somewhere near by.

 

Just then, Margaret, one of the part time assistants came by and asked what the problem was.  “Oh I’m sorry, I thought they were for re-shelving.  They were on the trolley of shelving things.  Ill go and get them” She scurried off and found the documents that Professor Jones  was after.  Five minutes later he walked in. 

 

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  “Whew, that was close, it took ages to find that stuff.”  Tiffany commented.

Mildred walked in with Peter and introduced them all to him.  She then asked Dickson to give him a tour of the collections first thing in the morning.  As they headed out Dickson commented to Tiffany that he thought it could be very interesting working with Peter if the stories he had heard from his friends who had worked with him were true.

 

“He has quite a reputation for being a stickler for protocol, but he sure knows how to stand up for his staff.  I heard he has a rather warped sense of humour, and was always pulling practical jokes on some of his staff at his lost job.”  Dickson informed Tiffany as they went about sorting out a few more boxes from the last batch of items delivered for the near complete Wallford-Millington collection.  The collection was going to hold special meaning for Mildred now, now that she knew he was her grandfather.

 

**

 

Mildred and Peter finished the tour of the library facilities, and were heading out for lunch at the staff café.  They bumped into Errol who was on his way to see her.  Mildred introduced Peter to Errol, they stood chatting for a while.

 

“Josh was wanting to know if you and Rupert would like to come to dinner on Saturday.”  Errol asked Mildred.

 

Ill check with Rupert and see what his plans are and then ill email you.”  She replied.

 

“I have an appointment with Joelle in the Post grad research facility,  for some research assistance so ill ask her as well if she would like to join us.  She has been cutting herself off for a while and its about time she got back into the swing of things.”

 

Mildred and Ted headed off and had lunch, Errol went to his appointment with Joelle.  He knocked and walked in.

 

“Hi Errol, nice to see you just take a seat and ill be with you in a moment.”  Joelle greeted him.  She stepped out the office and discussed the next project with one of her casual staff and then went back into see Errol.

 

“Now how can I help you today?” she asked.

 

“Well firstly, Josh and I  would like to know if you would like to come round for dinner on Saturday, Mildred and Rupert will be there.”

 

“Oh is Rupert back.  I had no idea.” Replied Joelle,  she sat and thought for a moment then checked her diary. ”Yes I am free on Saturday, would love to come.  I have been cutting my self off from my friends since the incident with Denver.”  She could not bring herself to talk about it any further.  “It would be good to catch up with Rupert, I have not seen him since the official opening. Thanks I would love to come.  Now what is this project your getting started on.”

 

Errol explained his research needs and they sat for the next 2 hours planning what was needed and where they were going to start.  Errol had 4 PhD students that were working on some new developments they had discovered in the growing of Corn and Wheat, which seemed to some how tie in with each other.  If what they surmised was correct then it would revolutionise the Agricultural industry.

 

**

 

Everyone had gathered at Josh and Errol’s house for a BBQ on the Saturday afternoon.  Errol and Mildred’s Birth mother Hattie and her husband were there also.  Mildred introduced Rupert to her Mother Hattie, both Rupert and Hattie seemed to get on like a house on fire, both being the artistic type of people.  Rupert told Hattie about his latest project, and Hattie said she would show him her latest art work she was in the middle of doing.

 

“You know,” commented Rupert,  “ that would be much appreciated, I’m always looking for new inspirations”

“Yes I know what you mean, some days when I am about to start a new commission, it is hard to find where to start.”  Hattie knew all too well the trauma that creative people went through.  She liked Rupert very much, and was happy to hear all his news on what Mildred was like as a child, and how nice her adoptive parents were.

 

Joelle arrived a little after 12.30 with a bowl of her much sort after Salada ala Joelle.  Everyone loved the dressing she used but she would never give up the concoction as she said it was a secret family recipe.

 

Rupert was rather happy the Joelle was there, he had been dieing to talk to her for ages, but never seemed to get the nerve to approach her.  Now that he was living with Mildred he hoped that it may help break the ice and would be easier for him to approach her.  He had often envisioned them sitting together on a sofa watching the flames in an open fire place, with 2 children crawling at their feet.  He was blissfully unaware of T.J. being his rival and having similar thoughts.  Joelle was equally blissfully unaware that these two men had a liking for her.  She was still a little gun shy after Denver, and the last thing that she wanted was to get mixed up with another man.

 

The day went off beautifully with everyone eating and chatting till their hearts were content. 

 

“So What is Xavier like?” Errol asked Mildred.

 

“Oh he seems as though he is a bit of a go getter and a real nice person.  I have met his wife and one of his children.  They seem nice.  Ill have to invite them around for dinner one day.  Certainly a huge improvement on Bigell.”

 

“That’s good to hear.  Say how is Tiffany and Mitch’s new  little family coming along.  I asked if they would like to join us, but apparently the kids have been unwell.”  Rupert enquired.

 

“Oh they are doing well, the little ones are getting bigger and will soon be walking.  The older kids Edward and Barry are a great help with the younger twins, while Polly and Elisa think of them as a new set of dolls they can play with.”  Mildred informed him.

 

“Yes Joshua is going to be a real little terror I think when he grows up, he is already crawling all over the place and getting into anything and everything he possibly can.  Charlotte is a little angle, she has the sweetest smile.”  Errol chipped in.

 

The rest of the day passed  quickly and everyone went home.  Josh was his usual efficient host keeping everyone fed and well supplied with drink, Errol was the socialiser, keeping everyone entertained.  Hattie had thought herself very lucky to have found her twins again.  It was such a joy to see what nice kind people they had turned out.

 

**

 

The following Monday at work, Joelle found a bunch of flowers waiting for her when she arrived at her office.

She found a card that stated

 

To a beautiful lady

From your secret admirer.

 

She blushed, looking around to see who could have left them.  There was only Joe and Debra, who were engaged to each other.  She asked them if they knew who had left the flowers.

 

“Sorry Joelle, we only just came in 5 minutes ago and they were there then.”  Joe said.

 

“It’s a real mystery, the note is typed so there is no way of working out the hand writing.” Joelle thoughtfully sighed and said,  Oh well ill have to see if anyone contacts me again.

 

“They are lovely, who ever it is must think highly of you” Debra commented.

“It is a bit unsettling not knowing.  I hope its not another Walter.” Joelle stated to feel a little unsettled. 

 

“Do you think it could be that Denver, you were seeing earlier.” Joe suggested.

 

“Could be, but I hope not, I never want to see him again.”  Joelle went back to her office.  She emailed Mildred to tell her what had happened.  Then continued on with her work.

 

**

 

Marge and Hilda were in the middle of preparing the lunches for the customers, when Joelle walked in, closely followed by T.J.

 

“Morning Joelle” Marge called.

 

“Hi Marge, hi Hilda. Could we get a cup of coffee.”  Joelle replied, she and T.J. had come down to have a break from the research they were helping Errol with.  They both needed to clear their heads as they had both been so swamped with their research that they felt their brains would freeze.

 

They sat outside with their coffees, they both had decided that they would have some of Hilda’s wonderful Chocolate cake.

 

“So how are things going.” T.J. enquired.

 

“Oh so-so” Joelle replied.  “I had lunch on the weekend with Mildred, Josh and Errol plus a bunch of others.  Rupert, Mildred cousin, was there also.  He was the one who designed this library.”

 

“Wow, must be a creative soul.”

 

“Sure is and he is such a nice guy, Mil and I cant work out why he has never married.”  She thought that it would be best not to mention the flowers to him.

 

“I would love to meet him one day, I have always had an interest in architecture.”

 

“I’m sure that he will pop in every now and then to see Mildred, he is now working on a project for the City Council and he may need to de some research.  So you may yet meet him.”

 

They walked slowly back to the office to tackle the next part of the days work.  They had a meeting with Mildred and Xavier and other UES staff and librarians. 

 

**

 

Tiffany and the children went down to the park to get some fresh air, since the children had been unwell they had not got out much for a while.  It was a lovely Saturday afternoon, Mitchell was away at a conference and Mildred was meeting her down there.

 

The children always loved seeing their Aunty Mildred.

 

“Can we play on the swings first” asked Polly

 

“Yeah we want to play on the swings first”, agreed Elisa.

 

“We want to play in the sand pit” Barry chipped in.  “Can Joshua and Charlotte play in the sand pit too.”

 

“Yes they can, they are old enough now to start playing in the sand pits and swings and other things too.  Oh there is aunty Mildred.  Race over and say Hello to her.”  Tiffany encouraged.

 

As always Edward was the first there, closely followed by Barry and then Polly and Elisa.

 

They all went for a walk around the lake first as Mildred informed them she had seen a few new ducklings swimming on the other side of the lake.

 

 

 

 

©Colleen Hunter 2004

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