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FAN FICTION
"Warbride's Screwball Comedy"
Chapters 10 thru 12


Chapters
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Chapter Ten
-- by Heather Doughty --

"You are Cordially invited to attend
a formal evening
at the home of
Cary Grant
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 receiver.

"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 news...."

"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 calling about?"

"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 newsworthy....."

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 grins.

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.


Chapter Eleven
-- 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 life, Mother."

"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 announcement?"

"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 time!"

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 "in" crowd.

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 ignorance.

"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 surprise?"

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 away.

A moment later Cary appears at Brooksie side, "Darling! You're late. I was just beginning to worry." He kisses her quickly on the lips.

"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 moment.

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 excitement.

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 well.

About 10:00 Cary taps his wine glass to quiet the assembly.

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 now.

"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 the room.

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 attention.

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 mutters.

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 mother!

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 churn violently.

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!"

Brooksie swoons.

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 Brooksie's side.

"Darling!" he cries. "Darling, what is it?"

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 announcement. Br..."

"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."


Chapter Twelve
-- 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 girl.

"Susan you were marvelous," Terry says, for it is her niece "and that makeup really worked wonders with the costume and wig."

"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 Randy.

A fresh bout of laughter, until Maggie realizes the time.

"Terry, Susan we really must be going," she says.

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 your help."

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 womanhood..

"My dear Maggie, when shall I see you again?" a smiling Cary says, disturbing her vision.

A slight frown creases her forehead before she recovers.

"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 excitement."

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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