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Sixteen Candles Times 2.5
VIRTUAL SEASON SEVEN
Act I - Maddie's Bedroom, 7:00AM, Tuesday Morning
Maddie is jerked awake by the phone ringing a second time. With a sleep filled voice, she answers: "Yeah - Hello!"
"Happy Birthday, Sweetheart." Alex Hayes' voice booms through the receiver.
"Hi Daddy." Maddie is less than thrilled by the phone call. It is not that she does not want to talk to her father, but it is the reason for the call that she wants to ignore, and wishes that everyone else would ignore it too. Miss Me jumps on the bed with her throw toy in her mouth. Maddie pulls it away and tosses it across the room to Miss Me's delight. The dog doesn't care that today was Maddie's 40th birthday.
"I can't believe it was 40 years ago today that I was wishing you a good morning for the first time. Boy, it makes me feel old."
"Yep." Trying not to engage in the conversation, tossing the toy for Miss Me is of more interest.
"Do you have BIG plans for the day?"
"No just another day at the salt mines."
"David taking you out for a romantic dinner?"
"I am sure we will do something."
"Still not a birthday girl, eh?"
"It is amazing how much you and your mother are alike. She's trying to forget too."
"I didn't forget ... I mean what's the big deal - today is no different from yesterday."
"My girls - two peas in a pod - don't you know that you become more beautiful with every passing year?"
"You're sweet, Daddy. I just don't see any reason to make a big deal about `another passing year.'"
"Well I've convinced your Mom to let me take her to the Pump Room tonight to celebrate - wish you could be there."
"Me too, but you two have a wonderful time."
"Your Mom wants to say `Hello.'"
Maddie waits as the phone is passed off to her Mom. The music comes up and we can no longer hear what is being said. They speak briefly and Maddie smiles happily as she listens to her Mom.
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?
Eventually she hangs up, pulls herself from bed and retreats to the bathroom. Miss Me and the toy following hard on her heels.
Letting the days go by; let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by; water flowing underground
Into the blue again; after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime; water flowing underground.
Maddie exits the bathroom freshly showered and dressed in a robe. She takes her position at the vanity to "do" her hair and her make up - a routine she has perfected over the last several years.
And you may ask yourself: How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself: Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself: This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself: This is not my beautiful wife!
Her photographs on the wall distract Maddie. Sitting in the chair, brush in one hand, she studies each one individually and only occasionally looks back into the mirror as if she were surveying the change that has taken place over the past 20 or so years.
Letting the days go by; let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by; water flowing underground
Into the blue again; after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime; water flowing underground.
Seeing that time is getting away from her and that she will be late for work, she finishes her regimen -- the pictures of another time forgotten. Putting the final touches on her hair - brush - spray - fluff - spray; something stops her; and she takes a long lingering look in the mirror surveying not just herself but the whole picture reflected there - as if it were a window to her life.
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
My God - she has not changed in the past 7 years: her hair, her make-up, and her clothes.
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Looking past herself she realizes that the room has not changed either.
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Maddie shakes her head in disgust. Then as if a brilliant idea has occurred to her - her eyes light up. She heads for the phone by the bed.
Call #1: (A message left at the office) "Agnes? It's Miss Hayes. I will be in late probably not before noon. Please tell Mr. Addison."
Call #2: (A number easily marked in her organizer): "Good Morning This is Madolyn Hayes I would like to make an appointment with Vincent this morning if that is possible 9:30 will be perfect. Thank you." As she hangs up she smiles to herself - she loves having clout even if it is only at some Beverly Hills Hair Salon.
Call #3: (A number she knows by heart): "Good Morning Sydney Did I get you before your first cup of coffee? So I was thinking about your suggestion. Yeah, refinancing you still think this is a good idea? How much equity do I have? I was thinking about redecorating. What no third floor?" She laughs. "No you know, carpet, drapes, furniture, couple coats of paint. I can what's my budget? Well start pushing some pencils and let me know. Thanks Syd you're the best. Can we meet for lunch? My treat? I am sure I can afford it, but I will check with my Accountant." She laughs. " Tomorrow good for you? OK I'll see you at Spago's at noon. Thanks, bye."
Call #4: (A card that she needed to dig out of a section of her desk - another message) "This is Madolyn Hayes calling for Milo Florsheim. Please tell Milo that I am ready - finally. He will know what I mean and he can call me at the office today after one o'clock. 213-203-2020."
Call #5: (Another number in her organizer): "Carroll Phillips please Maddie Hayes Good morning, Carroll. I'm great, how are you? Yes, yes I am. I knew that would make you happy. Nothing wild, now ... nothing crazy I still have to work for a living. Professional, tasteful, classy. Nothing PASTEL. I am so done with that. Yes of course money is an object I have an appointment with Vincent at 9:30 so you know I will be there at least until noon Why should he have changed?" Maddie laughs. "Sure you can come by the Salon - I can certainly meet you at your shop though. Ok I'll see you then. Thanks."
Maddie hangs up the phone and takes a last look at herself in the mirror. She gives herself a little salute and a wave; then saunters out of the room with Miss Me a step behind.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Act II - Blue Moon Outer Office - Shortly after 1 PM
Maddie enters. The staff is returning from lunch and is still a little distracted - chatting, checking messages, etc. Maddie stops by the desk to pick up the mail and any messages.
"MISS HAYES? Is that really you?" Agnes is shocked. The staff looks up from their respective distractions. There is an audible gasp. The men drop their jaws and the women smile a knowing but a little confused smile.
In the past 4 hours, Maddie has undergone a complete transformation. Her hair is styled completely differently. It is shorter, straighter and feathered around her face. The flip-itty-do curls are gone as is the bottle of Aqua Net needed to keep them in place. Now her locks flow nicely as she turns her head. The color is slightly darker over all but has a lot of gold blonde highlights, which just give it more depth. The new cut frames her face to accent her eyes and her cheekbones. It generally makes her look more professional yet more casual. The new DO was just the beginning. Her make up is toned down a bit - no more pink and rose colors - it is more blush and peach tones and overall, a lot less severe. Finally her attire. She is wearing a DKNY black suit, with a tailored jacket, a skirt that hugs her thighs and is cut to the knees with a slit in the back. Barely visible under the jacket is a black camisole. She looks like she just got off the runway for MODERN WOMAN.
Maddie notices the staff checking her out and is very pleased with the reaction she is getting.
"It is me what do you think?" She does a familiar model turn for them.
Herburt Viola lets out a wolf whistle that goes on just a little too long and the rest of the guys need to sit down.
"Thank you - Mr. Viola. I thought it was time to embrace the nineties." She smiles at the room as they mumble their agreement that her transformation certain was a change. "Is Mr. Addison in?"
"No, Ma'am. He is still out to lunch."
"You could say that about him when he is standing in the same room Miss DiPesto." Maddie smiles. She is feeling great. "Let me know when he returns will you?"
Maddie goes into her office as the office staff watches her every move. Agnes is the only one who understands. She is the only one to remember that today is Maddie's birthday and that it is a decade turner.
Moments later David bursts through the door to the outer office of Blue Moon: shades donned, coat draped over one shoulder, sleeves rolled up and holding a wad of one dollar bills in his fist.
"Now that is what I call a POWER LUNCH. Took the guys from the eighth floor for their milk money for the next three weeks. Little lesson for you boys - never bet against David "SNAKE EYES" Addison at craps. Crap is my middle name." He stuffs the money into his breast pocket. He looks confused; "Isn't that supposed to be Maddie's line?"
"Miss Hayes is in her office." Agnes told him.
He checks his watch. "FIVE hours??? She better have a note from her mother."
"How `bout one from Vidal Sassoon?" Burt cracks from behind a file. David takes heed of his remark.
"So ... today was beauty day, eh? A rinse and set on the mane, buff and polish on the claws and gossip with the other lionesses about who is doing who and who will be sleeping alone in the tall grass tonight. Hardly a good reason for SHEBA - Queen of the jungle to miss the morning."
"Yes sir." Burt said. "I re-alphabetized your record collection, found those nuts you like, picked up your dry cleaning and dropped your shoes off at the cobbler."
"Good man, Burt. Now that is what I call -- productive."
"She asked for you Mr. Addison."
"I'll just bet she did." He makes a smirk to the boys and grins. "`Scuse me while I see what Ms. Hookey has to say for herself. Might need to send her to detention."
Cut to Inside Maddie's Office
Maddie is in the bathroom checking herself out in the mirror. The door is nearly closed - but open enough to hear David come in.
"Hey Partner don't remember signing your permission slip for your outing this AM." David says as he takes her chair behind her desk. With his feet up he starts to recount the cash he won at lunch.
From the bathroom - "You missed me. How sweet."
"I missed you last night."
"Yeah - right - needed someone to refill the pretzel bowl?"
"I don't know why you don't love basketball 10 men in shorts running around thought you would be all over it."
His back is to the bathroom door. She frames herself in the doorway to get the maximum reaction.
"I like my men one at a time." Her voice is sultry and seductive. He turns and is shocked by her transformation. He pulls his glasses off to get a better look.
"Whoa - OW!" He likes her new look. "Hey Baby Have we met?" She advances toward him and he gets up to greet her.
"Oh yes --- we have more than met." She leans in and kisses him lightly on the lips. He is still a little too flabbergasted to react. but twirls her around to get the 360-degree view.
"Now that is what I call `Doing the Do.' I'll need to send a thank you note to Mr. Paul."
"It was Vincent and Carroll actually."
"I hope you tipped them well."
She smiles and moves towards the desk, trying to play it down. "So you like?"
"Honey you could show up in a burlap bag, sweat socks and a hair that looks like rats sucked on it and you will still be the best looking broad this side of the Mississippi - or on THAT side."
Maddie smirks. "You sure know how to pour on the charm."
Still eying her and taking stock of her transformation. "So new man in your life?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Isn't that why woman usually do the MAKE OVER thing? With or without OPRAH ---."
"What are you talking about?"
"You know when women meet a new man they get an overhaul or when ---- considering a trip to the dump, Ms. Hayes?"
"Don't be ridiculous, David."
"Come on Maddie - I know I haven't been around much, but. the basketball season is almost over."
"Please David --- ONE has nothing to do with THE OTHER."
"REALLY -- I was feeling in a rut. Needed a change."
"A RUT? Short of having a new episode every week - I don't think your life could get any more interesting."
"A fashion rut. You are talking to a woman who used to try something new ever year - well it has been 6 - no 7 years it was time for a change."
"Uh Huh - wanna try that once more with feeling ---. You know that I --."
"Put your ego in park, Addison." The phone rings and Maddie picks it up. "Yes Miss DiPesto? Thank you Please show him into David's office we will be right there." Maddie hangs up. "Not everything women do - they do for men. And pretty close to nothing I do - I do because of you."
Shrinks back as if he has been shot. "Jeez Maddie - don't sugar coat it --- tell me how you really feel."
"Nothing as superficial as hair, makeup and clothes at any rate."
"Oh nice save, Hayes. The Lakers could have used you last night."
"Are we done? We have a client."
"So you're saying that you don't care if I like how you look?"
"Of course I care - do you?"
"Well I wouldn't kick you out of bed."
Maddie is exasperated. "We have a client waiting." She heads toward the door.
"Hey, Fashion Queen." David calls to her and she stops by the door. "For the record what ever you do to your "look" just gilding a lily."
"Thank you." She smiles a soft smile to let him know that she is not annoyed with him anymore.
"- but you already knew that." David grins - always needs the last word. "So what you got on under that suit?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?"
"I know I'd like to find out --- nice and slow." He leers. "How `bout we take that new do and those FINE threads out for a spin --- say tonight - say Il Cielo - say 8 o'clock."
"Say sounds nice. Sure the boys won't need you tonight?"
"It is an off day."
"My lucky night."
"Oh it's a pretty safe bet that you'll get lucky tonight."
"The client?" She opens the door and walks out. He watches her from behind and likes what he sees better.
"Mmm Mmm Mmm. Oh baby." He follows her licking his lips, humming I'm a girl watcher
Cut to Inside David's Office
A man is standing in the middle of the office. He is older - early 50's. He is very professionally dressed and is quite handsome. Maddie enters the office first and he turns to greet her and is immediately captivated by her beauty.
Maddie reaches out her hand to this man and he takes it very gingerly. "Hello - I am Maddie Hayes and this " She turns to wait for David to enter the office. "Is my partner David Addison."
David of course notices the way this man is eying Maddie. For the first time David can recall, he is bothered by the way another man is looking at her. He shakes the man's hand, mostly to get him to let go of hers.
"I am Algeron Carmichael. Al." He sits down on the couch but can barely take his eyes off Maddie.
"How can we help you Mr. Carmichael?"
"Please Al." Maddie smiles but she clearly does not like this guy. David does not see that; all he sees is AL "liking" her. Al continues; "I need you to find my car."
"Can't remember where you parked it? I've had more than my share of nights like that."
Ignoring him Maddie says; "Isn't that sort of thing normally handled by the police?"
"Normally but this is a different circumstance. The car was not stolen - at least not literally. It was sold." Al paused. He is not thinking about the car, he is undressing Maddie with his eyes. At least that is what David thinks; and he is not too far off base.
"Mr. Carmichael?" Maddie is uncomfortable under this man's scrutiny. "It was sold?"
"About three years ago I went through a divorce - a rather ugly, messy, downright carnivorous divorce. Have you ever been divorced Maddie - may I call you Maddie?"
"No." She said almost too meanly. "I mean no, I have never been divorced. Please continue, Mr. Carmichael.
"Well I was married - more like sentenced to 27 years to a mean vindictive spiteful nasty relentless She-beast."
"27 years? Sounds like a LIFE sentence." David commented.
"There must have been some good times."
"If there were I can't remember them. I mean of course there were - I loved my wife until I discovered who and what she really was."
"That is a story for a marriage counselor anyway it was obviously over long before the papers were filed Mad - Miss Hayes. What I wouldn't give to find the right woman to share my life with. Someone who is soft and tender and "
"The car?" David jumps in feeling like he is not even in the room.
"Car? Oh yes -- I was not in the country I have been working in Egypt for the past 7 years - paroled is more like it. So I had my lawyer handle all the particulars. That was before I knew that my lawyer and my that alley cat were more than friends. Anyway - I have - had - a `53 Vette."
David immediately forgets his dislike for Al and is all over him about the car. "A `53 - 1953? Corvette? The first year they were made?"
Al now looks at David like he is surprised to see him in the room. "It was the thirty second one produced.
"Out of 300. 300? Right?"
"Right." Al turns his attention back to Maddie. "It is perhaps one of the finest condition first series Corvette in existence and has been NCRS Top Flight certified at Cypress Gardens, Florida. It's Convertible, Blue Flame Six power glide, Polo White paint with Red interior and Black soft-top. Optioned with Wonderbar radio, e-brake warning flasher, windshield washers, courtesy lights, heater, first design hubcaps, and 6.70x15" wide white tires. With most all factory direct components including the spare, jack, jack tools, side windows, side window bag, shielding, washer system, #066 head, and spiral shocks. I have documented the services policy and history back to 1953, show photos at NCRS/Cypress Gardens... all neatly organized." He produces a thick 3 ring binder from his brief case. "Also, Zora Arkus Duntov - developer, designer, and acknowledged Father of the Corvette - signed the underside of the hood."
David takes the binder and starts drooling over the pictures. "OH WOW You said MINT condition?"
"Better than mint -- Looks, runs and drives like it rolled off the assembly line yesterday."
"Where did you get it?" David flips though the book like he is looking at a Playboy Magazine.
"This car was donated to the CALIFORNIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE which received twenty six of these cars as a gift from businessman and philanthropist, John Stonebridge - the founder of West Coast Paints. My father was a researcher at the institute. I bought the car from him with less than a hundred miles on it." He laughs "I wasn't even old enough to drive."
"It must be worth a fortune now."
"It's valued at $150,000 and that bitch I married sold it for five grand.
Maddie interrupts the boy talk. "Excuse me, Mr. Carmichael?"
"Al." Turning his full, lusty, slimy attention back to Maddie.
"Mr. Carmichael - you want us to find this car? Can't you just obtain the bill of sale from DMV?"
"It has changed hands many times - and since I was not listed as the owner - I cannot get that information."
David interjects. "Not the owner?"
"In a fit of blind, stupid, passion - I signed the car over to my wife on our fifteenth wedding anniversary - to prove that I loved her more than the car.
David gave him a look like - "so who's the fool?"
"Yeah - I know."
"So you want us to find this car?" Maddie says again.
"It is more than a car Maddie." David is shocked by her lack of enthusiasm "It's a '53 Corvette. It is a piece of American Automotive History."
"It is more than that Miss Hayes - it is a piece of my life. Like I said I have had that car since I was 15. I took my drivers test in that car, asked my wife to marry me in the backseat, and I went without food or heat in the lean years in order to keep the insurance current and the maintenance up. In college I slept on the floor of my friend's apartment because the money I had for rent went to pay for garage space. I spent every weekend working on it, polishing it, maintaining the integrity of the original factory options. I met my best friend through the Corvette Club of Southern California. That car is more important to me well than just about anything."
"David may I speak with you for a moment outside." Maddie interrupted.
David smiles at Al and nods an affirming nod. "Excuse us."
Maddie and David step out.
Cut to Outside David's Office
The position is not the standard Addison-Hayes debate position, it is rather a minor discussion position.
"What is the problem, Maddie?"
"I don't like him."
"He likes you." David quickly adds in a Brooklyn accent. "Maybe too much, eh Doll-face? Want me and the boys to fit him for some cement overshoes? Just say the word, he'll be sleeping with the fishes." He turns to the guys and gestures for them to stay in their seats until Maddie has given the high sign. They of course are oblivious to the entire exchange.
"I don't want to take this case." A little exasperated.
The cocky David is back. "Why not? He's not trying to fake his own death. He didn't kill his wife, although that should've been the first thing he did. He's not lying, cheating or stealing he just wants his car back. This is definitely prime time Sunday night reading material."
"It's a stupid case."
"To anyone - It is a stupid case about a stupid car."
"It's a case. It is easy to do and it seems like we should be paid well for it."
"Fine. If you want to take it by all means let's take it. God knows we could use a little easy money."
"What's the problem?"
"That man is going to pay us find something that he should have given up years ago."
"He spent every weekend working on that damn CAR - it is no wonder his marriage didn't last."
"It's none of our business what he does with his weekends."
Agnes interrupts them. "Excuse me Miss Hayes. Milo Florsheim is the phone for you."
Maddie turns to Agnes and gestures that she will take the call in her office in a minute. She then turns back to David. "So Fine let's help the man David if you want to - but I think that there are better things to do and better ways to spend money than to hang on to some stupid symbol of a long forgotten youth."
"Says the woman who just spent a cool 5 bills to look like she's ready to step onto the cover of VOGUE --- again."
Maddie glares briefly. "Take the case, Addison. I am taking this call." She strides into her office with a quick slam of the door to finish their conversation. David follows her with his eyes. God, she looks so good - tight black is definitely her color.
David's door opens and Mr. Carmichael notices the definitive door slam.
"Is there a problem?" He asks.
"No problem at all Mr. Carmichael. Blue Moon is on the case. You'll be waxing that baby in no time." They shake hands.
Al Carmichael makes an almost too rude comment about Maddie. "I'll bet you love your job. Working with so much woman as that I envy you, Mr. Addison. Like to try my hand at taming that wild cat."
David glares back at him. "We'll be in touch, Mr. Carmichael."
Carmichael leaves and David gestures to the males in the office to join him in his. They get up and scurry in there like boys with a new copy of National Geographic.
Cut to Inside David's Office Later
The Blue Moon Males exit David's office like they are coming back from half time to take the Lakers to a championship. They each grab a phone and start making calls. The Blue Moon Females are a little confused. Agnes enters through the still open door.
David drops into his desk chair and pauses momentarily before re-opening the book that Al Carmichael had left.
"Mr. Addison? Sure lit a fire under those boys."
"Doesn't take much. Miss Hayes?"
"Miss Hayes just left. She said that she would be back in an hour or two."
"I just don't get it."
"Maddie new hair, new clothes, same ol' whacked out attitude. I don't get it."
"If you showed up at story meetings once in a while you might."
"You forgot didn't you?"
"Today is Miss Hayes' birthday."
"No it's not that is not `til the next episode."
"No it's today."
"No Diane was going to handle that next time in March - the tenth, I think.
"Lizzie took it. She begged for it."
"Begged for it? Really? And they gave it to her?"
"Yep. What color script are you working from?"
David pulls some pages out of his coat pocket and shows them to Agnes. "Yellow."
"Yellow? That was at least three scripts ago we're on salmon now.
"That explains a few things." Agnes shrugs. "Well I had big plans - well I am sure that Diane had me having BIG plans ." David looks directly into the face of the writer - with a sparkle and smirk enough to melt her heart. "Hey Lizzie! you better be able to pull this off, babe. I would never forget Maddie's birthday - not after all this time."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Act III - Maddie's Office - Shortly after 6 PM
She left after that meeting to meet Milo Florsheim at the house. He is her decorator and they were discussing what changes she wanted to make. Most of the changes were superficial: new paint, furniture and décor in the bedroom as well as the living room. She wanted to do something with the foyer, but they each felt that unless she were planning on doing a total remodeling job on the house, it was best to leave it as it was. He was going to check into replacing spiral staircase with an open one with wrought iron railing very in "in" the early 90's. It would not be overly expensive and would fit with the Mediterranean theme already there. Maddie likes Milo. He is the one that helped her the last time. He was grateful to be called upon again.
Before Milo got there, Maddie made the decision to remove her cover shots ... the ones that made her famous. It was not that she wanted to forget her past modeling life, but the past several years have been about looking to the future and her future was not in front of a camera. She put them all carefully in a box and deposited them in the guest room. She would pack them up later. Milo asked about them, but her rebuff was so final he did not press the point. To be honest he was thrilled that they were gone.
Maddie arrives back at the office just after 5PM to learn that David has also left - "to run a few errands." Burt, McGillicuddy, O'Neal and Simmons all crowd into Maddie's office - without really being asked - to give her the information that they found on Al Carmichael's car. They are too excited to wait for David. An hour later they are excused with a very high compliment from their boss.
"Gentlemen this is some really, really fine work. Maybe we should refocus on Vintage Vehicle Recoveries instead of murder, blackmail and industrial espionage."
Maddie is sitting at her desk, looking through the file of information that has been collected as well as the book that Carmichael left. She flips back and forth between pages, making notes.
1953 - gifted to Algeron Carmichael (SR?)
1975 - transferred to Alice Stonebridge-Carmichael-Smith (Wife? Daughter?)
1980 - Sold to Lex Smith by A. Carmichael (Alice? Algeron?)
1991 - Reported stolen by Jack Southerland (Jack = John?)
Maddie is becoming very interested in this case and totally confused. She tries to remember exactly what Al Carmichael has told them. She really wasn't paying that much attention, but she is thinking that the information in front of her does not add up with what Carmichael said. There is a soft knock on the door and Agnes lets herself in.
"Miss Hayes? Mr. Addison should have been back by now."
"I'm sure he'll be along." Maddie is not really worried.
"Good night, Miss Hayes." Agnes has something that she wants to say but doesn't quite know how to say it. "Miss Hayes? Can I just say that this new look of yours is wonderful - not that the old look was bad - but this one -."
"Thank you, Miss DiPesto." Agnes nods and is about to leave. Maddie stops her with a question. "May I ask you something? - Woman to Woman."
"We got a pretty good start - I think we are both women."
"Are men really as superficial as they seem?"
"By MEN are you referring to Mr. Addison?"
"Well, Last time I looked --- not that I LOOK - well I mean - he IS a man."
"It is my experience that MOST men about MOST things are very superficial. But it is also my experience that once you get past the HELLO, the YOUR PLACE OR MINE and all the rest of that mating ritual stuff - men are just like everyone else. Does that answer your question?"
"I don't know. I guess only time will tell."
"Well then I'll let you get back to work."
"Thanks again, Miss DiPesto."
"Miss Hayes?" Agnes tentatively approaches Maddie's desk and gently places a small beautifully wrapped box with a card attached. "I know how you feel about days like this --- but . Many Happy Returns, from the staff." She turns to leave but is stopped again.
"Thank you, Agnes." Maddie smiled. "You're one in a million."
"You are too." Agnes leaves.
Maddie opens the box which contains a crystal paper weight. It is a moon - a full moon with a blue hue - like the real moon. It rests on a delicate bronze hand. It is stunning and must have put Agnes and the staff back a few lunches. Maddie studies it for a long time and puts it in a place of honor on the center of her desk. She slips the card out of the envelope and reads:
Another year older, and that ain't too bad,
Another year wiser, you should be so glad.
We've lived through rough times, without too much money.
Laughed in the high times, side splittingly funny.
From the creative Pilot, To V.S. Seven,
You shine like a star, in virtual heaven.
You brighten the office, and light Dave's fire.
We're happy to know you, You're one we admire.
We wish you happiness, Joy that never ends.
A wonderful birthday, Miss Hayes- from your friends.
Maddie is sincerely touched. She rereads the card and is about to get up and go thank the crew, when David bursts through her doors, singing at the top of his lungs.
"When I get older losing my hair Many years from now."
"Excuse me?" Maddie asks. "Losing whose hair?
"Will you still be sending me a valentine?"
David pulls from behind his back a Hallmark bear holding a BIG red heart that says "BE MINE."
With his other hand he presents her with a small box from Gelson's bakery. She opens the box to see a slightly smashed chocolate cake. Inscribed on the cake is: "Congratulations, Marddie!" The first "d" had been altered from a "k" and the "die" was crammed in on the side. Clearly the cake was meant for someone other than Maddie.
"Bottle of wine?"
From under his arm he pulls a bottle of good champagne. Maddie smiles, he is so charming when he wants to be.
"If I'd been out `til quarter to three, Would you lock the door?"
"Change the locks."
"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four?"
David finishes his song and waits for the applause which she gives reluctantly.
"Don't quit your day job."
"Thought I forgot, didn't you?" He opens the bottle of champagne and pours two glasses.
"Hope springs eternal --."
"A toast! - to Madolyn Hayes - years ago (no need to count how many) you came into the world kicking and screaming - and never stopped - I am the luckiest man in the world to have you around to keep me on my toes by day and curl `em by night. On this memorable day --- let's give credit where credit is due --- Good Job, God!" He drinks and she does too - reluctantly.
"Thank you I think."
"I was planning an evening where you could wear your birthday suit --- but then this dinner thing came up so I'm flexible."
"So you've said."
"Are you ready for your present?"
"Present - David you didn't have to-."
"Well it's actually more for me."
"David! Nothing with lace or without a cro---"
"Why Miss Hayes would I be so crass, so crude, so socially unacceptable on such a momentous occasion as this?" He grins.
"In a heart beat."
"Oh you know me too well."
David hands her a gift bag from Fredrick's of Hollywood. She sneaks a peek inside the bag and her eyes widen. She is speechless.
"Finally found a way to shut you up." He jokes and kisses her. "Wanna try it on?"
"Is there any more to it?"
"Oh come on Maddie. Leaves plenty to the imagination."
"For a man with a one track mind."
"I'm sure it's your size - even if isn't it is adjustable " He grins. "Happy Birthday, Maddie."
"Thank you David." Maddie is more than relieved that he is not making a big deal about this milestone in her life.
"Let's go. We have dinner plans to get through."
"Gotta get you home in time to take your Geratol." He leads her out of the office singing "Birthday Gal" by the Replacements.
Wax is dripping from the frosting on the cake
Come on girl, buckle up, and don't hesitate
Take a deep breath and blow 'em all away.
We sang off key and all the dishes China-blue
Remember don't tell a soul, that wish, it won't come true
Hey sad face on your lucky day.
Birthday Gal, Did you wish yet?
Can you handle the turn? The candles are burnin' low
Birthday Gal, Did you wish that..
There weren't quite as many candles that you had to blow?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dissolve to Maddie's Bedroom
Maddie and David are wrapped up in each other's arms and the light of the new day streams into the room. They are sleeping soundly and look beyond happy together. The radio clicks on and David reaches over to hit the snooze. He stretches and pulls her very close.
"Was it Shakespeare who said: `You aren't getting older you're getting better'?"
"Again with the age platitudes?" Maddie snaps a little more than she wanted to and regrets it immediately. "Sorry."
"Why because I'm OF A CERTAIN AGE ?"
"Sleep deprivation. Even a twenty year old needs more than three hours.
She lets her irritation slip away and curls back into him. "I don't think I got that much."
"So what CERTAIN AGE are we this morning? Thirty-eight, thirty-nine?
"A lady never divulges her age."
"Crossed over into the FORTY zone, eh?"
"Thinking about trading me in on two twenty year olds?"
"Nah, some classics just can't be replaced by something shiny and new or TWO."
David barrels ahead without giving her any heed. Take that '53 Vette. There is no vehicle built in the last ten to fifteen years that can hold a candle to that ride.
"There you go again, pouring on the charm."
He smiles gleefully. "Charmed you pretty good last night - my sweet classic thing?" He nuzzles her neck.
"We got a case - partner."
"Whoa watch that first segue step it's a killer."
"And if my suspicions are right - Al Carmichael and that `classic ride' are not all they are cracked up to be."
"When did you take such and interest in this case? Or is it AL the Lion Tamer?"
"I saw how he was licking his chops over you. Bet he'd buy a brand new whip and chair just to do it right"
"It would take at least that for him to get close to me."
"Jeez - Maddie. Leaving a hole wide open - enough to drive a Mack Truck through."
"Thought you might want to convince me that you wouldn't trade me in either."
"I can't afford to trade you in. I have already invested too much - It'll take fifty years to recoup my investment." She smiled.
"A fellow graduate of the Addison Charm school."
"Correspondence School. Magna Cum Laude." She kisses him.
"Blew the final - my study partner was watching the Lakers do whatever it is they do."
The radio alarm kicks on again. They let it play - they're distracted with more PRESSING matters. Pan to the radio.
It looks like it is going to be another beautiful day in the Southland. Partly cloudy is that what those little white wisp things in the sky are? and upwards of 70 degrees. Chance of rain? A snowball in hell has better odds. Ho Hum. Don't you love living in paradise? And now here is Jake Jackson with the news.
Thanks Bob. And now for the news. At this hour the fire at the West Coast Paint factory in Irvine is still burning out of control. Fire departments from 5 surrounding cities have been called in. There is at least one person at this hour is confirmed dead and the authorities have called in the arson investigators. In other news
Maddie pulls away from David. "David, did you hear that?"
"That little thing you do with your - I have gotten used to that."
Pushing him further away. "The fire at West Coast Paints."
"West Coast Paints - the case - the car - Al Carmichael."
"Get up. I'll fill you in in the car." Maddie gets up and heads for the bathroom.
"Can't you fill me in here. I concentrate better HOROZONTIALLY."
She turns to look at him and smiles. "I know you do and no one does it better but this is about the case." She enters the bathroom.
"What about MY case?"
"Get up, Addison."
He says reluctantly dropping his feet to the floor. "These cases sure take a bite out of a good piece of-"
"Addison!" She calls from the bathroom. "Keep it clean." Miss Me is scratching at the door to the bedroom. "Feed the dog, would you?"
David exits the room playfully grumbling about not being appreciated, never having any fun, all work and no play, blah, blah, blah.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Act IV - West Coast Paints - Irvine
A little over two hours later, the fire at the West Coast Paint factory in Irvine is still raging out of control. Only the back three warehouses are affected. The office and the front two buildings are safe - for the moment. Three women, tall, dark, extremely beautiful, approximately the same age (Maddie's age) and who look very much alike are standing in front of the office having a very heated discussion as David and Maddie walk up.
"Of course it was Lex! ELECTRICAL - don't be ridiculous." Says the oldest.
"We can't be sure of that." Says the youngest.
"Oh grow up, Alissa. That man would sell his own mother for a buck." The middle one weighes in.
"He was always nice to me."
"HE STOLE a quarter of a million dollars from Mom - what's wrong with you?"
"We got it back - well most of it."
"You talk to her."
The middle one steps away and walks right into David who needs to put his hands out to prevent her from falling. She looks up into his face and is clearly attracted to him. Without removing herself from his hold she looks over at Maddie and is also taken with her beauty. She looks back at David and frees herself.
"Nice work, honey." She says to Maddie. "Nice to see women our age can still snag a catch like him. Keep him on a short leash."
"Oh my GOD!" The youngest one says from behind. "Do you know who that is?" She is referring to Maddie. "You have been an idol of mine ever since I can remember. I have all your covers and have the Blue Moon Shampoo commercials on tape. You haven't changed a bit."
David looks over at Maddie and thinks - "I barely recognize this gorgeous hunk of female flesh - with her clothes on at any rate - and they think she hasn't changed."
"Blue Moon? You're right, Alissa. She's Maddie Hayes."
Maddie smiles and it is David's turn to feel like he made a good catch.
"I am Alexia." Says the one who had run into David. "These are my sisters, Alana " (referring to the oldest) " and Alissa. Sad to say -- we are all STILL Carmichaels."
"Do you need to tell EVERYONE you meet, Alexia." Alana is irritated that the reference to them all being Carmichaels, sadly, proving that they were all UN-married women who have reached or about to reach the ripe old age of 40. And you know what they say about the chances of a woman getting married for the first time after the age of 40.
"The only one that bothers is you Alana."
"Talk to me again in two years LITTLE sister."
"Please forgive my sisters." Alissa is more than embarrassed.
"Did you say you were Carmichaels?" Maddie asked. They nodded. "I thought that West Coast Paints was owned and operated by Stonebridge, John Stonebridge.
"Grampa Stonebridge." Alana offered. "It skipped a generation - Mom never wanted a piece of it "
"But she took her share of the profits like she was canning the paint herself." Alexia was the one with a bone to pick - with everyone.
"She never took more than was due."
"Or that she needed to keep a creep like Lex Smith in the style that he would have LIKED to be come accustomed to."
"Wonder how he is liking bread and water and making license plates." Alana adds.
"Stop It. Stop It. Stop It." Alissa was the sensitive type and never liked bad things to be said about anyone. "So Miss Hayes you are a Private Detective now? That must be very exciting."
Alana is amazed with the amount of BS that Alissa stores in her head. "How do you know that?"
"People Magazine." Alissa is proud of her wealth of gossip knowledge. "This is David Addison, he just became partner in the firm. I must say Mr. Addison I refuse to believe that thing they wrote about you in STAR. I mean really limboing in the office? where would they come up with something so absurd."
"Hard to say." Maddie smiles at him.
Maddie and David are dizzy talking to these woman. They talked so quickly and leaped from subject to subject without any warning it was like talking with three Agneses after they had had six pots of coffee. To their relief, the captain of the Irvine Fire department pulls the women away to discuss the fire - which has since been contained. It was still burning and would continue to burn for a while, but the rest of the complex was safe.
The three women walk back to where Maddie and David are watching the activity. Alexia speaks first.
"So you are detectives right?" David nods. "Can we hire you to prove what happened here was Lex Smith's doing."
"We won't manufacture evidence." Maddie is very firm.
"You won't have to." Alexia is disgusted. She retreats into the office.
"The police are saying that this could take MONTHS and lots of police-type double talk. We need to get that man back behind bars before someone else gets hurt." Alana adds.
"The night watchman died in the fire. He had been with us since He was a very old and dear family friend." Alana is pretty broken up and also escapes to the office.
"Will you help us?" Alissa stands in front of them with a very innocent look.
"Tell us what you know."
The three follow Alexia and Alana into the office.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Cut to - Inside the BMW
"Did you get any of that?" David is driving mainly because he needs to feel like he is doing something.
"David, if you take a left on - ."
"I know where I'm going, Maddie." He pulls a U-Turn in the street and heads up one block and takes a right.
"You should have been paying attention to more than their legs or their cleavage ---."
"Come on Maddie --- do you know how hard it is to concentrate on anything when you are in the room?"
"Except when you're horizontal."
He grinned. "But to have FOUR of you beauties in the same room at the same time it was like dying and going to heaven.
"Grow up Addison."
"So I gather that the guy that came by yesterday - Mr. Lion Tamer is not Algeron Carmichael." Maddie shakes her head "no." "I suppose that means the check he left us is no good either." Maddie shrugs.
"If we can assume that this picture that they gave us of Lex is in anyway a good likeness - I would say that OUR Al Carmichael is none other than Lex Smith."
"This is one hell of a tight case Maddie."
"I've got plenty of time."
"Lizzie she's got deadlines to meet."
He looks confused. "So Lex was married to Algeron?"
"From the top -- John Stonebridge founded West Coast Paints. He married and had a daughter, Alice. Alice married Algeron Carmichael, a scientist at CRI. They had three daughters; Alana, Alexia and Alissa."
"AL-geron, AL-ice, AL-ana, AL-exia and AL-issa bet they get a group rate on monogrammed towels."
"Stonebridge --- a very wealthy business man - gifted these cars the '53 Vettes to CRI - supporting his son-in-laws institute. Algeron dies of a heart attack in 19 " Maddie checks her notes. " 1975. Three years later Stonebridge dies leaving the company to his grand daughters - fresh out of college. Two years after that Alice-."
"The mother. Meets, falls in love with and marries Lex Smith - whirlwind romance - took less than five months."
"Fast -- My kind of woman."
"Lex is a man that showed up out of nowhere, at least according to the girls, but they found out later that he had dealings with Algeron long before his death.'
"'DEALINGS?' Sounds like AS THE PAINT CAN TURNS so far --- go on."
"The girls - well Alexia and Alana, discover some discrepancies in their mother's finances after a couple years of `wedded bliss'. It turns out that Lex... the HUSBAND has been siphoning off money - as well as sleeping with every woman on the planet under the age of twenty five.
"Well jeez the Mom had to be - what 10 - 15 years older than Lex? Lex the guy we just met yesterday?"
"Can't see a younger man falling in love with and older woman and staying faithful - can you?"
"OH - I could do it - I'm just saying that I understand why he may not --- forget it. The hole is too big to dig myself out of. So - go on with the case."
"There is nothing else I have at the moment."
"That is it? What the heck are we supposed to investigate? And how does the car play into all of this? Why would this Lex guy pose as his dead wife's dead first husband and hire use to find a car one day and set a string of warehouses on fire the next?"
"Well David if we had all the answers on page 20 who would keep reading?"
The sound of a car beeping wildly breaks through. A car zips up to them and the driver - Alissa - motions for them to pull over. They do.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Cut to - Parking Lot of Seven-Eleven
Maddie and David are speaking with a frantic Alissa outside. Maddie is trying to calm her down.
"Alissa what is it?"
"There is something that they didn't tell you."
"Didn't tell us?"
"It is about the formula? The BIG family secret."
David looks at Maddie and gestures - you or I? Maddie ignores him.
"This is really complicated - I am not sure I understand it myself."
"My father Algeron, was working on the side for my grandfather. This all happened before I was born or right after. Anyway Daddy created an additive to paint that makes it fire resistant, chip resistant, you know like a bulletproof vest. It made the car - specifically cars made of FIBERGLASS -- indestructible."
"That's ridiculous." David says firmly. "I have never heard of anything like that well not since an episode of Remington Steele." He looks at a confused Maddie. "There was this material that was light "
Maddie rolls her eyes. "Please continue Miss Carmichael."
"Grampa made Daddy destroy the formula."
"Why? If it were patented they could have been rich."
"But Grampa always said that the only way to make money in the paint business was by repeat customers. So that the paint had to be good and do what you said it was going to do - but if people never needed to paint again there would be no repeat business."
"How many people really repaint their cars?"
"OH NO you misunderstand. It works in all kinds of paint - house paint, wall paint. The biggest deal was what they discovered it did for cosmetics. It was good for the skin and the makeup did not rub or wear off. You literally needed to take it off with this cleanser. I don't know any of this as FACT it is like the family fiction."
"So what happened to the fomula?"
"Mom always said that it was in Daddy's car but we never paid much attention."
"Hence the reason that Lex wants the car." David confirms.
"Miss Hayes - I don't think Lex is a bad man. I don't think he set the fires. I think that Alexia and Alana are wrong about him."
"He stole from your mother, didn't he?"
"Well --- that is the way the judge saw it."
"But you don't think so."
"I think he loved my mother and I think she loved him. Lex was very different from my father. He was much more into living the good life. It is true that close to $250,000 was taken over time from the family account to an account under Lex's name, but I think that my mother knew about it and it was her idea."
"I don't understand."
"Alana and Alexia are totally into THE FAMILY BUSINESS and money is watched very carefully - this started with Grampa. We all draw just enough salary to have `walking around money' and the rest of our expenses - mortgage, insurance etc - are all paid through WCP. Alexia is in charge of that. She doesn't refuse to pay for anything - new cars, clothes, trips to Europe - but she likes to be IN CONTROL. I think my mother just wanted her OWN money. I think she wanted to be free. She had been living like that since she was a little girl."
"So you think Lex Smith was her ticket out and when Alana and Alexia got wind of it they took him down."
"Something like that. My mother died rather suddenly - it was an accident. That's when Alexia found the second account. She manipulated -- well that may be too harsh - she SPUN the information and convinced the judge that Lex stole the money."
"Lex just got out of jail about two weeks ago and I know that he and Alexia had a conversation and a huge fight over something - but I don't know what it was."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Act V - Run Down Neighborhood in Costa Mesa
"Curious-er and Curious-er."
"Where are we going?" Maddie asks.
"Is that that new steak house in Playa del Rey?"
"We were hired to locate a car."
"We're back to the car?"
"Where do you look for something that you've lost, Maddie?"
"Usually at your apartment."
"You look in the last place you knew where it was. Jack Southerland."
"What about the arson investigation?"
"I think we might find that answer when we find the car."
David pulls into a apartment complex in Costa Mesa. He looks around suspiciously.
"What's the matter?"
"Why would a man who could afford a car like that live here?"
"Maybe he couldn't afford to live anywhere else after he bought the car."
"Well it is no wonder it was stolen."
They climb the stairs to a second floor apartment and knock.
"Who is it?" A gruff voice calls from deep inside.
"Ed MacMahon you may already be a winner." David calls back.
Footsteps are heard walking to the door. He smiles at Maddie. "Works every time."
The door opens and before them is standing Al Carmichael or Lex Smith. He is not surprised to see them.
"Mr. Southerland I presume?"
"Or is it Lex Smith?"
"I like Algeron Carmichael the best."
"Where have you been. I expected you hours ago. I have been calling your office."
"Would have been here sooner - but we had to go to a fire."
They step into the apartment.
"What is going on whoever you are? We got better things to do than to ---."
"Look, I'm sorry. This has gotten way out of control. No one was supposed to get hurt. I can't believe that --- George was not supposed - damn."
"Go on what is your name?"
"My real name is Lex Smith. My stage name - I'm an actor -- is Jack Southerland."
"OK Lex tell us the truth."
"It was Alissa's idea. She wanted to do something for Maddie's birthday."
"WHAT?" Maddie is disgusted.
"Please sit down. This may take a little time."
"Alissa is a huge I MEAN HUGE fan of Maddie's sorry -- Miss Hayes. Yesterday was your birthday right?" Maddie nods. "Well Alissa thought that it would be a fun little case to have you look for this car. It wouldn't have been hard to find and she would have gotten a chance to meet you. It seemed harmless enough and what the heck I needed the money too."
"How are you involved with the Carmichaels?"
"I have known the Carmichael family most of my life. I forget now how we met exactly. I think my father worked for Algeron or at WCP --- anyway I worked for them in summers to put myself through school, picked up some easy money. I did a lot of stuff for Alice - driving etc. Alice Carmichael was the sweetest most wonderful woman I have ever met in my life. She deserved so much more than what she got. A father who was condescending and controlling, a husband who could barely tear himself away from the lab long enough for dinner much less anything else, and three daughters who were - well let's just say they were never any comfort to her."
"You and Alice had an affair?"
"Alice and I were in love. Algeron knew all about it and really didn't care. We were discrete and kept it from the daughters and particularly John Stonebridge. He would have flipped - hell he would have cut her off. Algeron was the son he never had. Never knew what he saw in that guy. Anyway once Algeron and Stonebridge were out of the picture --- so to speak, Alice and I felt that there was no reason to hide our feelings for each other. We forgot how much STONEBRIDGE was in the girls. Alana and Alexia turned on their mother like rabid dogs. They pulled the purse strings so tight she could barely afford a cup of coffee and were downright cruel about us. They were pretty nasty to me - the jail thing was the worst - but it hurt me more to see how miserable Alice was. She did love her daughters, but was never able to make them understand."
"Did you embezzle money from Alice?"
"NO - don't be ridiculous. We were trying to build up a little nest egg so that we could get out from under them. We were going to escape to Mexico or Fiji or some island that no one ever heard of - but she died before we could go."
"Alice died suddenly?"
"I know what you are thinking Miss Hayes - but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes drunk drivers cross three lanes of traffic to kill an innocent person."
"I have had seven years to get used to it. Not much else to do and Danbury Minimum Security - well there's the golf and the bridge "
"Get back to the car and Alissa."
"Alice sold me the car back in `80. It was more like a wedding present - she sold it to me for $1. So techinally speaking the car belongs to me. However ---."
"However when you were found guilty of embezzlement they took the car back."
"Exactly. Alissa concocted this idea. Alissa was always nice to me when the other two weren't around. She sent me letters and stuff in prison and was able to secure this apartment when I got out. I am not sure if she is playing with a full deck. I think she has a little too much time on her hands. Anyway, like I said it seemed harmless so I went along."
"You reported the car stolen?"
"That was part of the trail you were supposed to follow. I had a friend who was going to be here to meet you but after last night "
"Tell us about last night."
"Alissa and I were having dinner. She wanted to know every detail of what took place at your office. She was like a crazy woman. Then she started talking about this FORMULA that her father had invented. Said that it was on the car. I didn't believe her. I mean I heard the stories too - but I just figured it was bull. She claimed it was REAL and in order to prove it, we went down to the warehouse where the car was. At first she hit it with a bat - nothing, then she tried to scratch with a key - still nothing. Then she kicked it up a notch and tried to set it on fire. Talk about NOT A FULL DECK. I didn't understand what she was doing until it was too late. The place went up like a fireball. We got out - but I guess George - the night watchman - didn't see us. He must have gone in after Alissa."
"So what are you going to do now?"
"I of course was going to go to the police right away - but I know how Alexia and Alana are. Thought I might stand a better chance if you went with me and maybe get Alissa to tell the truth. That is not really her forte."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Cut to - Maddie's House
Maddie and David enter looking wiped out. It is late in the evening.
"That Alissa is a real piece of work."
"I hope she gets some help."
David pulls a check out of his pocket and looks at it again.
"Well the sisters are good at taking care of things - being paid for discretion is very lucrative."
"Do you think she will have to go to jail?"
"Nah - but I think she will be weaving baskets for a while."
"It was an accident."
David notices a box of samples and drawings and designer boards on the couch.
"Maddie --- what is all this?"
Maddie looks over and is immediately excited. She rushes over and starts pulling the items out of the box and holding them up. She lays them out next to each other on the floor.
"Milo - he's the best. I can't believe he got them done so quickly."
"What is he the best at?"
"I am redecorating my house."
"Well not the whole house - just the living room and the bed room."
"Going for a whole new look?"
"I think it's time."
"I don't see the mirrors on the ceiling in any of these."
"And you won't." She kisses him on the cheek. "There is another box of these upstairs in the guest room." She drops into a sweet southern belle accent. "Would you be a dear and run and get those for little old me?"
"Yessum, Miss Maddie. You be wantin' somethin' from the kitchen, Miss Maddie."
She loves when he plays with her. "There's champagne."
"What are we celebrating now?" David wraps her up in his arms and gets his face very close to her.
"You name it." They kiss. "The box first? Then I'm all yours."
"Baby - you are all mine right now." He kisses her again and then bolts up the stairs.
David finds the box that Maddie was referring. He is about to pick it up when he notices the box of her cover shots on dresser. He carefully takes a couple out and looks at them and smiles. A puzzled look comes across his face as he glances back and forth between the box of designer samples and her pictures.
"I wonder." He says aloud to the empty room. He places the pictures back in the box, picks up the samples and leaves.
Maddie is comparing the samples. One set was done many years ago when she first moved in and reflects pretty much what the place looks like right now. The other are three options that Milo has put together. She is looking back and forth between them trying to make a decision. David enters from the kitchen with a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
"Milo is so funny. He must have put these together weeks ago when I first spoke to him about redecorating. It is sad when your decorator knows you better then you do yourself." She was not really talking to David, but he was listening.
David hands her a glass of champagne. They make eye contact, touch their glasses together and drink.
"Can I ask you something?" David says softly.
"Sure - which one do you like better? This one is a little too dark a little too medieval - but this one is too New England."
"Maddie ---." She turns to look at him. "I have made light of this whole birthday, turning forty thing because I thought it wasn't that big a deal."
"So --- is it a big a deal?"
"Is it to you?"
"This isn't about me."
"Since when is anything NOT about you." Maddie is trying to be glib and brush off the seriousness of the conversation.
"I'm asking Maddie."
"No - well yes I suppose it is. But not in the way you mean."
"What way do I mean and what way is it?"
"Do you really want to hear this?"
"Like I have said before - birthdays are times when I reflect over the past year and look to the year ahead. I suppose forty is some arbitrary number, but ---."
"It is nice and round and people often make a big deal about it."
"Hallmark makes a big deal about it and if the rest of the world wants to fine. I have led a pretty full life so far but it is far from over. I could say that this is close to the halfway mark - hopefully shy of the halfway mark. I guess I just want to make sure that the next forty are as full as the first were."
"So the new hair, new clothes, new digs "
"Just ways to say I'm not done. I am not an OLD DOG and I can learn new tricks."
"Never would have called you a dog - OLD or otherwise --- and yeah that trick you showed me last night was pretty good."
She smiles. "Pretty good?"
"Great but let's see what you can do tonight. You know what they say in this town. You are only as good as your next trick - project."
"Don't worry I got plenty of tricks up my sleeve."
"Don't remember you wearing sleeves."
"That was the first trick."
"So - you're happy? You like your job? Like your home? We're ok?"
"Very much --- and WE are more than OK - we are great."
"I have thought that on many occasions." He kisses her lightly on the cheek. "Regrets?"
"Always but not about anything I have in my life right now."
"So you are up for hang gliding, parachute jumping, deep sea diving?"
Maddie's eyes widen. "How `bout we stick to new carpet and drapes?"
"How `bout we take this discussion upstairs?"
"Isn't there a game on tonight?"
"Yeah - but tonight I think I can score without the Lakers."
"Don't be silly David. Go watch your game."
"Yes. I'm sure."
"Wanna watch it with me?" Maddie looks less than interested. "You said you wanted to try new things." He holds his hand out to her which she takes reluctantly.
"I can't guarantee that I will make this a habit."
"How `bout we watch it in bed. The best of all possible worlds." She nods. "Go get the pretzels and I'll go warm up the set."
David runs gleefully out of the room. Maddie looks happy but not like she is planning on enjoying the game. She takes a final look down at the designs that Milo sent. She pulls two away and nods to the last one. She has made up her mind.
"Come on Maddie the pre-game starts in 15 minutes." David calls to her from upstairs.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three days later David climbs the stairs to his apartment. It is Friday night and it has been one heck of a week. He's going home to shower and change and meet the guys for a drink and some pool, darts, bowling - you know Friday night guy stuff. Maddie left the office early that afternoon. She said she had errands to run - something about the redecorating.
David opens the door. Facing him at a three-quarter turn in the middle of the living room is a 1953 Corvette convertible, blue flame six power glide, polo white paint with red interior and black soft-top folded down. Maddie --- dressed in something red and provocative --- is doing her best CAR MODEL pose. Needless to say David is stunned.
"I'll bet the hairpin turn on the stairs was murder." He says.
"Corners like it's on rails." She smiles.
"I know parking is a bitch on this street but "
"It's a gift - well more like a concept gift."
"I like gifts and I like concepts - but what the hell is a $100,000 car doing in my living room?"
"Well --- that is just it. It is not really a $100,000 car. It is more like a chassis of a $100,000 car."
"It doesn't run. No engine, no transmission, no guts as it were."
"It's a gelding? And you though of me?"
"So I thought you could use a new piece of furniture."
"Well it definitely is not something you would see in everyone's living room.
"Come on .. slide in the seats are like butter."
David slides into the driver's seat without opening the door. Maddie slips into the passenger seat. The car looks for all intents and purposes like it's in mint condition. Slowly a smile comes to his face. He likes it - he never would have picked it out for himself - but he likes it.
"Hey --- it fits." He is pushing buttons and playing with the nobs.
"I suppose I could put a big screen TV over there and it would be like being at the drive-in."
"See I knew you'd love it."
"Where did this come from?."
"Alexia Carmichael called me yesterday. Alissa is going out of state to a place she can rest. Anyway she was very sorry about the whole thing. We started talking and she told me about this car. It evidently was the one that they pulled parts out of to keep the other one running."
"They had two?"
"Well one was Algeron's and one was Stonebridge's. Anyway it seems that Stonebridge never drove the car. So she gave to me to you as a bonus."
"You have a real issue with buying me cars don't you?"
"First you get me a car I wouldn't be caught dead in and now you get me a car that I would kill to be seen in and I can't get it out of the apartment."
"Third times the charm." She smiles happily at him. "The radio works."
David starts messing with the dials and Elvis Presley's voice comes booming out of the speakers.
Wise men say - Only fools rush in,
But I can't help falling in love with you.
"Thank you Maddie this is really sweet. Odd and sweet." He drapes his arm around her shoulders and pulls her to him slightly.
"I'm glad you like it."
"Wanna neck?" She leans in and kisses him.
Wise men say - Only fools rush in,
But I can't help falling in love with you.
Shall I stay - Would it be a sin,
If I can't help falling in love with you.
"One question, Maddie. What happened to my couch?"
"That old mildewed thing? Gave it to Goodwill."
"Not much of a back seat on this thing."
They kiss again.
Like a river flows, Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes, Some things are meant to be
Take my hand - Take my whole life too,
For I can't help falling in love with you.
FADE TO BLACK
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Hope you enjoyed the episode as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you. Thanks to Diane as always the ever supportive, encouraging and exceptional writer/editor-of-poems, idea-bouncer-offer and all round experienced Beta reader. D - you're the best. Thanks
I would like to dedicate this story to two heroes and gold medal champions in my heart: Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldridge. Their strength, dedication, determination, talent, artistry, and grace in defeat are elements of true Olympic class champions. I am sorry that this one particular goal has eluded the two of them, while not taking anything away from the other athletes; Michelle and Todd will forever be Gold Medal winners in my heart.
Thanks again, Lizzie
Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
When I'm Sixty-four - The Beatles
Birthday Gal - The Replacements
(I Can't Help) Falling In Love - covered by Elvis Presley