-- by Heather Doughty --
"You are Cordially invited
a formal evening
at the home of
A gathering of close friends and family
for a very special announcement.
Sunday Evening at 8:30"
Brooksie was just finishing reading the invitation
that she had received when her phone rang, startling her out of her thoughts. She picked
up the phone, and snapped....
"This is Brooksie......oh yes, hello
Mother.......yes, yes, I received one too....." Her face shows her annoyance and
concern over the invitation and the interruption of her mother calling, but starts to
change as she listens to her mother babbling incessantly on the other side of the
"Do you really think so, Mother? I
mean......well, yes, you could be right"
A victorious smile crosses her face...." In fact,
I think you are right. Not exactly the way I planned it, but......what other special
announcement can he be planning to make that he would invite you along? Sunday
night.......Sunday night and all of my plans will have finally come full circle......I've
got to run, Mother....I have to buy a new outfit, make some calls.......you know how
trying life can be for brides to be."
Brooksie slams down the receiver, and rubs her hands
together, much like a greedy panhandler who has struck it big. She thinks for a moment,
then picks up the phone again, dialing quickly.
"Hello? Hedda? I've got the most glorious
"I'm sure you do dear.......do you know anything
about this invitation I received by messenger today from Cary? Or is that what you're
"You did receive one..... wonderful! I have it on
highest authority that Sunday night will be one to remember. I just wanted to be assured
that you won't miss it. I'm sure it will be worth your while to attend, for the 'special announcement' is the one we've been waiting for. Very
The women share a laugh....
Randolph Scott stares incredulously at the two people
sitting across from him in the drawing room. Cary's face, so earnest and hopeful, and
Maggie's, dear Maggie's, alive with mischief and merriment.
"You see, Randy, we really need your help to pull
this off, old Chap." Cary pleads.
"And I just know that you can pull it off
marvelously, Mr. Scott. " Maggie adds.
"And no one knows more than I, how much you'd
love to see Brooksie, her mother, and especially Hedda Hopper eat humble pie," Cary
Randolph looks at them a moment longer, and then
bursts into laughter. "You're absolutely right....and I think this might do the
trick. Maggie, darling, you're a genius, and if this works.....with the help, of course,
of your friend, Terry, is it?" Maggie nods. "Yes, if this works, I'll expect the
first dance at yours and Cary's wedding." He winks at Maggie, which draws a quick
frown from Cary.
"Just kidding, old pal........but truly, I can't
wait to see the sparks fly."
"Then you'll do it?" Maggie asks earnestly.
"Of course, I'll do it.......anything to help a
friend, impress a woman, and stick it to a bunch of old meddlers and gossip mongers. It'll
be a dream come true. Count me in!"
The three of them laugh and joke, as they
continue making their plans for Sunday night.
-- by Debbie Dunlap --
Brooksie and Mrs. Parker pull up to Cary's home
fashionably late on Sunday evening. Expensive cars and long, sleek limousines line the
driveway. Brooksie shivers with delight, anticipating all the deliciously important people
she'll be mingling with tonight.
"This is just the beginning of my glamorous new
"Now, Brooke, you don't know for certain that Mr.
Grant is going to announce your engagement tonight," Mrs. Parker warns.
"Mother, darling, don't be absurd. Of course he
is. Why else would he have stated on the invitation that it was a "very special
"But Brooke, Mr. Grant didn't seem all that
pleased with your little surprise at the restaurant the other day. You never REALLY got
his response. He left so suddenly after that awful little waitress spilled the pitcher of
tea on him."
"Nonsense, Mother. You're worried over nothing.
This is my big night, don't ruin it with your pessimism. Happy thoughts, dear!"
Brooksie checks her hair and makeup one more time in
the rearview mirror. Perfect. She'd spent the whole afternoon at the most expensive
hairdresser in town, the entire day Saturday looking for just the right dress. The result
is sheer perfection.
Brooksie smiles at herself. Even, brilliant white
teeth, peaches and cream complexion, and bright blue eyes stare beautifully back at her.
Her dark hair is feminine and flattering, it's gentle waves caress her bare shoulders. The
salmon-colored dress accentuates her full bust and wasp-like waist. She knows that when
she walks, the shimmering dress will emphasize her best asset.
She smoothes a delicately arched eyebrow back into
place, winks at herself, opens the car door and announces to Mrs. Parker, "It's show
Every light in the house is lit. An aura of festivity
radiates from within. Laughter and the hum of conversation spill from the open windows.
Classical music plays softly in the background.
The door opens even before Brooksie knocks. She thanks
the doorman, and asks him not to announce them.
Mrs. Parker spots a familiar face at the sofa. She
excuses herself to go and chat. Her daughter kisses her on the cheek.
Brooksie spies Cary across the room, one hand casually
tucked into his pants pocket, politely listening to James Stewart. What a sight he is in
his tux. What a catch. Brooksie takes a moment to relish this moment of victory. Soon, I
will be Mrs. Cary Grant.
Looking around the large room, even Brooksie is a
smidgen intimidated by the star power: Frank Sinatra and his wife, the Gregory Pecks,
Howard Hawke, Bob & Doris Hope, Rita Hayward, Fred Astaire, George
Cukor, Mr. &
Mrs. Hitchcock, Humphrey Bogart, Olivia deHavilland, Stanley Donen, the Fonda's, Spencer
Tracy & his wife. Everywhere she looks, she is surrounded by Hollywood's
Brooksie grins, deeply satisfied. "I'm in!"
she whispers to herself.
Hedda Hopper catches her eye from across the room. A
conspiratory wink passes between the two.
"Well, hello there gorgeous!" Randy Scott
comes to stand beside Brooksie. "You look good enough to eat tonight."
"Why thank you, Randy. A girl does the best with
what she has!" Brooksie replies casually.
"Most girls don't have quite so much to work
with, love," Randy leers. "Seriously, Brooke, Cary is a lucky man."
Brooksie eats up the compliment. Honestly, if she felt
any better, she'd actually glow!
Randy leans close to Brooksie's ear, "Are you
terribly excited about tonight?"
Batting her long eyelashes, "Well of course! I'm
always excited to be with Cary."
"No, love. You know. The big announcement."
"Randy! Do you know what the special announcement
is going to be?!" Brooksie asks in wide-eyed wonder.
"I thought you knew. I thought he'd told
you." Randy whispers seriously.
"No! Told me what, Randy?" Brooksie feigns
"Oh. Never mind. If he hasn't told you, I'm sure
he means it as a surprise. The old chap may have my hide for spoiling things for him.
Forget I mentioned it." Randy begins to move from Brooksie's side.
Brooksie reaches for him, "Oh no you don't! You
can't just leave a woman with a choice tidbit like that and then slink away. What's the
Randy hangs his head in mock regret, "Come on
now. Since he's made it a point not to tell you, Cary will be furious with me if I spill
the beans. "
He again bends over and whispers in Brooksie's ear,
"I CAN tell you this, I know it's just what a gorgeous woman like you deserves!"
Randy gives Brooksie a quick squeeze and then moves
A moment later Cary appears at Brooksie side,
"Darling! You're late. I was just beginning to worry." He kisses her quickly on
"Oh, it was nothing really, darling," gushes
Brooksie. "Just took a little extra time pulling myself together. I wanted to look
just right for you this evening."
"You are breathtaking, my darling. Worth every
minute of the wait," Cary seems to drink in her beauty. "I've just been so a
anxious for this evening. So impatient to tell everyone our good news."
"Cary, you haven't told ME our good news
yet." Brooksie purrs.
"Yes, I know darling, but it's ever so much MORE
wonderful than ever I'd imagined. I actually have TWO special announcements to make this
evening. We're going to be so happy." He kisses her again. This time lingering just a
The mood is broken when Cary is interrupted by William
Randolph Hearst. Throughout the evening, Cary and Brooksie are occupied with their guests.
Cocktails and dessert are served. It's been a magnificent night.
Randy manages to stay close at hand throughout the
party; never far from Brooksie's elbow, and always with an encouraging comment concerning
the TWO announcements. The result is that Brooksie is about to jump out of her skin with
There is no doubt in her mind as to the topic of at
least one of the announcements. She also knows that the other announcement concerns her as
About 10:00 Cary taps his wine glass to quiet the
Everyone gathers about Cary. Randy is at Brooksie's
side to Cary's left.
"My dear friends and esteemed associates. I've
gathered you here to share a very special time of my life. I have two wonderful bits of
news to tell you."
A collective murmur runs through the group.
Cary raises his arms, "Now be patient and you'll
know all about it.
First of all, sad news. My cousin Archie passed away
two weeks ago. He and his wife, Beatrice, were traveling in upstate New York. On their way
home there was a terrible accident. They were both killed instantly."
A sympathetic murmur now courses through the guests.
Many audible comments of condolence reach Cary's ears.
"I thank you for your kind words," he nods
his head and continues.
"Archie and Beatrice left behind a darling child,
Margaret Elizabeth. She's quite distraught and left all alone in this world."
Cary takes a deep breath and continues.
"Most of you know how I've longed for a child of
my own, but have never been blessed in my previous marriages."
The suspense and anticipation are tangible in the room
"My friends, I have decided to adopt my cousin's
child, Mary Margaret, and make her my very own daughter."
An astounded response flows through the guests.
Mrs. Parker's mouth drops open.
Brooksie feels like a lead balloon has just landed in
the pit of her stomach.
"She's been with me this past week and already
I've grown to love her deeply. I can't wait for you to meet her, but before you do, I must
tell you: Mary Margaret is a sensitive, shy child who's just suffered a great loss. I'll
ask you all to be especially charitable toward her tonight. I ask you to help her feel a
welcome addition to my circle of friends."
Cary nods toward a servant. Soon a timid girl enters
Approving utterances, sympathetic sounds, kind words
ripple through the group.
Brooksie looks at the child as through a microscope.
Margaret Elizabeth's shoulders are hunched over and
her bespectacled eyes are downcast, evidence of her discomfort at being the center of
She looks to be about eleven. Clearly at that awkward
stage, no longer a child, but no where near being an adult.
Her hands are large and work nervously at the bottom
button of her red & navy cardigan.
Brooksie can find no fault with her attire: white
blouse, red skirt, the cardigan, white anklets and navy saddle shoes.
The girl's hair is very neatly parted down the center
and braided into two, long pig-tails; a bright red bow tying off the end of each one. One
is flung across her shoulder, and the other hangs half-way down her back. Margaret
Elizabeth self- consciously flicks the errant braid off her shoulder and onto her back.
It suddenly hits Brooksie. The child is all red. It
wasn't the red bow that caught her attention, it was her hair! The child's hair is a
glaring, carrot red. Hideous carrot red, with red bows ornamenting it.
Brooksie is completely undone when the child looks up.
Coke bottle glasses make the child's green eyes distorted and enormous. And when has
anyone ever possessed more freckles than this child boasts. Bright RED freckles.
Cary gathers Margaret Elizabeth into his arms, hugs
her close and says, "My little swan."
"Ugly duckling is more like it." Brooksie
Randy overhears and smiles.
The best is yet to come, though. When Cary utters the
endearment to the homely little girl, the child's face lights up with youthful gratitude
and adoration. What a smile she radiates. Every large, uneven, bucked tooth shines, as
well as her red gums.
Brooksie feels nauseous. Cary has TWO
"special" announcements to make tonight. She's sure the second is going to be
the one she's been hoping for...to be honest, the one she's been scheming for since the
day Cary Grant first asked for her phone number months ago.
Brooksie feels certain that she is going to be
violently ill. The second announcement will result in making Brooksie this creature's
NO! Even the prestige of being Mrs. Cary Grant can't
compensate for having to raise this ugly brat. Imagine sitting down to breakfast every
morning with the little beast. Cornflakes and swollen red gums. Brooksie feels her stomach
And how can her career possibly be enhanced if
everywhere she goes this little troll is at her side. No photographer in his right mind
will purposely commit this ghastly child's image to film for all of eternity. Brooksie's
career will be ruined the moment she says, "I do."
Brooksie clutches Randy's arm.
"Randy, I think I've eaten something that's
disagreed with me."
Randy looks down at Brooksie, a knowing look in his
eye, but honeyed compassion dripping from his mouth, "You are looking a bit green,
love. Perhaps you might like to lie down for a spell."
"No, I think I should leave immediately before I
embarrass myself." Brooksie truly is ill. All her carefully constructed plans have
been in vain. Months of molding and shaping her relationship with Cary, propelling him
toward this very moment, trapping him. Now it has become a snare for her!
"Surely if you just rest awhile, you'll be fine.
It's probably just the excitement. It's not every day that a woman gets to become Mrs.
Cary Grant AND a mother at the same time!"
As he catches the limp Brooksie, Randy thinks,
"I'll have to thank Maggie later. I wouldn't have missed this for the world."
A hush falls over the gathering. Cary rushes to
"Darling!" he cries. "Darling, what is
In a feeble voice Brooksie whispers, "Oh Cary,
darling, I just don't know how to tell you. I know how you've dreamed of this moment. How
excited you are. But..."
"Tell me what, darling?" Cary asks, all
concern. "Are you ill?"
"Yes. Terribly. Can you please postpone your good
news till another time. I must go home. I MUST."
"Oh, but darling, everyone is here, now. I'll
just announce it very quickly, then you can go home. That way it will be in the papers,
and we can begin to make definite plans."
Cary turns to speak to his guests. Brooksie grabs for
his lapel to stop him. Cary purposely misinterpreting her movement, intertwines his
fingers in hers and lovingly gazes down at Brooksie. Despite the panicked look on her
face, he declares, "My dear friends, now for my second and equally wonderful
"Noooo!!" Brooksie screams.
Now in full command of her senses, Brooksie pulls away
from Randy's supporting arm and yanks her hand from Cary's.
"Let go of me!" she seethes.
The guests stand in stunned silence.
At the moment completely and furiously focused on her
defeat, Brooksie delivers a scathing monologue oblivious to anyone but Cary standing in
front of her.
"If you THINK that I would ever consider marrying
you now, you're crazy. Did you presume that I'd be HAPPY to become this red, near-sighted
child's MOTHER just because YOU'RE part of the package? Did you think I'd ruin MY career
by hitching my star to this . . . this grotesque TROLL! MARRY you?! NEVER!! I never want
to SEE you again! You've ruined all my plans!"
Brooksie, herself now red with rage, turns on her
heel, shoves Randy out of the way and heads for the front door.
Cary looks sheepishly at his dumbstruck
guests, "I suppose there won't be a second announcement."
-- by Aileen Mackintosh
Several hours later and the last of the partygoers
have said their good-byes. In a room upstairs we hear much merriment. As the camera pans
in along the floor we see the blouse, skirt, cardigan shoes, socks etc. and a red wig
scattered on the floor in a heap - the camera moves up and we see an informal party going
on with Randy, Cary, Maggie, Teresa and facing the camera a short but pretty dark haired
"Susan you were marvelous," Terry says, for
it is her niece "and that makeup really worked wonders with the costume and
"D-D-Did you see Brooksie's face when I introduce
Susan as MY niece" Cary stutters, trying hard to keep a straight face.
"'You've ruined all my plans!'" mimics
A fresh bout of laughter, until Maggie realizes the
"Terry, Susan we really must be going," she
As they leave Cary looks at Maggie and is about to say
something, but is interrupted by Terry.
"Cary, thank you for a most wonderful party - I
wouldn't have missed it for the world!"
"THANK YOU - and the talented Susan - for all
The last one to climb into the waiting taxi, Maggie
sees Susan staring dreamily at Cary and wonders. I mean, if he has managed to get rid of
one hanger-on like that, and he is the most attractive man, and Susan IS on the brink of
"My dear Maggie, when shall I see you
again?" a smiling Cary says, disturbing her vision.
A slight frown creases her forehead before she
"Oh, some time I expect," she answers in a
distracted tone of voice.
"Are you OK?" he inquires.
"I do love him though," she thinks, before
pulling herself together and replying.
"Yes, just a little tired with all the
At this point the taxi draws away and
Cary is left in thought, why did she suddenly seem so distant - as there was really no
obstacle to them marrying and they certainly loved each other.
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