A Birthday Night
“Life and its surprises…”
Life is always full of unexpected things. Everybody dream about becoming rich and live well, with a family or not. But sometimes, we find ourselves at the antipodes or our dreams…
Take Terrence Grandchester, a successful actor, Oscar winner and of lots of other trophies. He was living a part of his dream only, because what he had in mind when he was younger, it was to marry his girlfriend from school, after realizing his dream. But life and it’s unexpectedness … An accident at the studio, during a film shooting, cost a leg to his colleague, Susanna Marlowe, who was already in love with him, saved his life. His life was turned upside down… Susanna’s father, Cameron Marlowe, was a big Hollywood producer. Her mother also had a lot of influence in the business. So they put pressure on him to take care of their daughter, avoiding publicity… The Marlowes had enough influence to cover the story up. The Medias never found out about it.
Terrence was suffering. He had to break up with his fiancée, Candice White Andrew, adoptive daughter of a billionaire, William Albert Andrew. That break up had worn him out. He didn’t feel like doing anything anymore. He disappeared for weeks… Susanna, very understanding she was, had told him to go do what he had to do and that she will be there when he comes back, ready to fulfill his duty…
He left… He did what he had to do to and came back to marry the woman he owed his life to. When you don’t have what you want, you content yourself with what you have… He took what life had thrown at him… He got married, fulfilled his duty and he had had a son… All that, without the media learning about it. Susanna Marlowe, had put on prosthesis and continued her career, like there was nothing to it, keeping her handicap a secret. She was neglecting her son, who spent all his time with his father. The divorce was inevitable; Terry got custody of his son without any problem. Susanna didn’t care about her son; she was glad that his father was taking care of his education. The young Terrence Grandchester Junior was living in England. He was going to school at St. Paul Royal College, where his father had studied back in the days. On the weekends, he would go at his grandfather’s. The latter was spoiling his grandson, whom he was proud of. His wife would talk and complain, he wouldn’t listen to her. Le young Terrence also spent some of his vacations in Hollywood at his grandmother’s Eleonor Baker, far away from the Medias. His father would come when he could. He would come to London and he was in Hollywood when his son would go see his grandmother.
It was the end of the summer and Terry was with his son in his mother’s villa. He would rather have his son live there, far away from the glamorous life and the women who were parading in his house night and day. He didn’t want to give his 15 year old son the bad example.
It was the morning; they were sitting at a table on a terrace, having breakfast. Eleonor was also there.
- Junior, said Terry, I have to talk to you…
- Oh oh…, said his son
- Junior, said Terry, I have to shoot a movie…
- Really? Said Junior, where?
- In Australia…
- Oh… that’s far… I’m going to miss you…
- It’s far indeed… would you like to go live with your mother?
- No… doesn’t care about me dad… I’d rather go to grandpa’s in England or stay here with grandma…
- I still can’t believe you go to my father’s of your own will!!! You can stand Mrs. Grandchester?
- My grandpa is protecting me, dad, that’s what you didn’t have…
- That old coot is protecting his grandson…, said Terry
- That’s also why you became what you are, Terry, said his mother.
- Yes, but I was a child…, said Terry, it got me tough very early…
- How long is your movie shoot going to last? Asked Junior
- I don’t know yet, 6 months, maybe a year…
- Oh… You’ll come to see me…?
- During the shoot, it’s going to be difficult for me to come here to see you or go to Europe…
- Oh, said Junior sadly
Terry looked at his son. He seemed so sad.
- There’s another solutions, he told him
- Which one?
- You can come with me…
- Come with you? What about school?
- You know, you’re a special kind of kid, to think about school when you hear you’re going on a trip to Australia…
- You could have a tutor, said Eleonor.
- Yes, while I wait until school starts over there. The school year starts in January, it’s their fall…
You’re serious dad? Asked Junior.
- Yes, that way I could easily come to see you, or you can come over the weekend at the studio if you wish.
- Great! Said Junior, Australia is great!!! So I’m not going back to St. Paul College in London?
- No, you’re going to go to St. Paul College in Sydney… in January, said Terry.
- All right! Said junior smiling.
Terry looked at his son who was his spitting image. He had nothing of his mother’s. They got along great and they were doing a lot of stuff together.
Father and son took the plane to Australia where Terry had to do a big movie with the producer Robert Hathaway. He had learned that Susanna had tried in vain to get a role in Terry’s great movie. Terry was glad she didn’t succeed. He still didn’t understand the way she was indifferent to her own son! But he was taking care of his son, and he loved him that a lot and he was doing his schedule according to his son’s school schedule.
They had a big apartment in Sydney. While Terry was shooting his movie, his son was with his tutor who was helping him with the transition between the British program and the Australian program for back to school, which was going to be in January. But aside from that, Junior was spending his time at the beach, surfing and making friends and especially flirting with girls…
Father and son had a lot of fun together, even during the movie shoot, but time went by too fast; soon, it was time to go back to school. Junior arranged his stuff, a little sad.
- You’re going to be all right? Asked Terry
- Yes… a new school, it’s going to be a big change, I was finally used to British accent… but, I don’t think I could talk like them…
- In the long run, you’ll get used to it, said Terry, and you’re going to make friends in school
- Did you have a lot of friends in school, in your time?
- No, I was a loner… until I met this girl…
- A girl?
- Yes… she got me out of my shell and I had friends that summer in Scotland… It was fun
- A girl made it fun for you? Were you dating her?
- Yes… I dated her, said Terry smiling.
- Whatever happened to her?
Terry looked out the window. The view of Sydney. The memory of Candy had just taken over him. He remembered how much he was happy that summer and how he wanted to make sure that his happiness with Candy last forever… But, Susanna’s accident happened…
- We’ve lost touch, said Terry vaguely, ok, are you ready to go, buddy?
- I’m ready dad. I have a room all to myself?
- Since you don’t know anyone, I thought you’d rather be alone…
- You’re right, agreed Junior smiling, I'm going to miss you dad.
- I’m going to miss you too, my son… But you can come and see me every weekend…
- All right, said Junior smiling.
- I wished I had a normal job so I could be with you all the time…
- But you’d rather be an actor dad; it’s your passion…
“Especially since I had to give up the woman I love… I can at least leave my passion in my work, said Terry to himself”
- I’m going to take care of the family business dad, you bring the money and I'm going to manage it and make it grow…
- All right champ… Don’t forget you can do whatever you want in life…
- I know dad… thank you.
Father and son went to St. Paul College in Sydney. The boarding school was boiling with students. They were everywhere, girls, boys and their parents.
Terry walked his son to his room and he thought about the time when he was a student, he thought about Candy and his memory was so strong that his heart burst.
“Freckles, why am I thinking about you like that? Why do I feel you so strong here in Australia? He asked himself”
He stayed with his son for a little while and then he go up to leave.
- I have to go, buddy. I have to wake up at dawn tomorrow morning for the shooting, and we’re going in the desert, said Terry
- All right dad… be a good boy without me, don’t transform the apartment into a brothel.
- Hey! Careful! I’m still your father!
They burst out laughing. Junior walked his father to the school gate and they separated. Terry was wearing his sun glasses and a cap, so he wouldn’t be recognized. Junior went back to his room a little sad and he closed the door behind him. There were two beds in the room and he thought that was funny, since he was alone in the room. He took his laptop out and sat at the desk near the bed he had chosen to sleep on, near the window, He sent an email to his grand-father in London and one to his grand-mother in the United States. He also sent one to his mother, despite the fact that the later didn’t take care of him.
In the hallway, we could hear the other students working and talking, screaking, laughing. Junior went to the bathroom to take a shower. He washed his hair and then he got out with a towel around his waist. He went to get some shorts in his drawer, which he put on right away.
The door of the bedroom opened suddenly and a young man got in. He was still talking to someone in the hallway…
Junior was surprised and looked at the boy in question and he waited until he was done talking, to ask him what he was doing in his room…
The young man talked for a few more minutes and he finally closed the bedroom door and locked it. He turned around and he was startled to see Junior laying on his bed wearing a short and T-shirt
- Who the heck are you? Said the young boy looking at Junior with big eyes.
Junior stood up from the bed and approached him.
- I’m the one who should be asking you that question! You‘re the one who came in my room! Said Junior.
- That’s because, it’s my room! said the boy
- There must be a mistake, this is my room! Said Junior
The two boys were talking loud. The nuns were doing their round and to make sure everybody was in their room. They arrived at their door. They knocked and the boy went to open the door.
- What’s going on? Asked one of the nuns.
- I found this boy in my room, said the young boy
- It’s my room! Said Junior.
- No, it’s mine! Said the other boy.
They started arguing. The nuns didn’t understand what was going on. Sister Josephine, with the other nuns decided to intervene:
- That’s enough! She said.
But the two boys were still arguing.
- I said that’s enough now! TERRENCE!!! Yelled the nun.
- WHAT????!!! Said both boys at the same time.
It was total stupor in the room. Both boys looked at each other; the nuns looked at them… What the heck was going on?