Author's Note:One week since the show closed, and the post-show depression set it. We tore down the sets, and since I'm the only actor in my musical theatre class I learned that my director has a policy: if your character used it, you have to take it apart. So I didn't have to mess with the walls or anything, but I took apart my entire home (window, potted plants, piano/library desk, and repainted the rocking chairs) with a little help from our director. Me and the house manager reorganized all the costumes, and we may or may not have tried on some of the costumes haha. Anyways, keep reading if you will!
Meetings and Parties
Marian finally got to choose where the Del Sarte committee met, and it was no wonder that they met in the library. The ladies came in in an orderly fashion, one after another in a line, entering the library they used to shun due to its 'dirty books' that really weren't that dirty at all. Marian stood behind her desk, checking her catalogue book with the stamp ready for whoever came up to her desk. The ladies came up to her desk and she started stamping aimlessly. The ladies giggled. "Mrs. Hill, if we came at an inopportune time we can move our meeting elsewhere." Edna Squires said in a joking fashion, but it wasn't funny to Marian. There was nothing particularly funny about Edna Squires, but she always tried to tease. Most people just blew her off. (If she hadn't been so close to Cora Locke and married to a school board member, she probably wouldn't have been on the Del Sarte committee at all. Most of the ladies couldn't stand her, but it was too late to turn her out of the group.)
Putting down her stamp and closing her catalogue, Marian addressed the ladies. "My apologies, I have been so busy on my few days in the library…"
"Yes, Zaneeta told me." Eulalie smiled at Marian. "She says you've been working very hard while you're here, keeping your boys in line and running your library in an ordinarily fashion." Marian was flattered by the words of the mayor's wife. Eulalie didn't know everything going on, but she was quite proud of what the librarian had done now that she was 'an upstanding and moral woman'. "And Professor Hill says that you're going to play with his band at the next concert."
Marian knitted her eyebrows. "Did he now? That's the first I've heard of this." A part of her was flattered, and another part of her felt nothing but concern for their schedules and the ideas of working together in a solely professional manner and who would watch Joseph…
Before the ladies started in on the topic of the band (and the idea of 'Professor Harold Hill' not telling his wife things, which would've usually become the next topic), Ethel gestured to the table behind the library desk. "Why don't we all sit down? I'm sure we have plenty of things to talk about, considering we haven't had all of us here in ages." It was true: the ladies had all been out for one reason or another. Ethel had her two young sons to take care of, and could only come to a few meetings because of this. Maud just had her second child, a little girl named Daisy, and hadn't come to a single meeting since the birth of the little girl (not that anyone could blame her). Cora's children had been visiting and she didn't want to miss a moment with them. Eulalie had been struggling to relate to Zaneeta and Gracie, making sure that they weren't getting into trouble (which was becoming more difficult now that the two blonde girls were growing older). Marian was struggling to balance a full-time library job, her young son, the care of her mother and brother, and married life. Alma came back from a second honeymoon with Oliver and had only been back in town for a few days. No one had informed Edna Squires of recent meetings because, well, no one really wanted her there anyways. The ladies went to their seats, and Marian soon followed after. "So what's on the agenda for today's meeting, ladies?" Ethel asked with her voice softer than usual.
"What agenda?" Eulalie asked, laughing a little at the woman's bizarre question. The other ladies threw in a few giggles but didn't understand. "Oh, Ethel, we did away with agendas for meetings some time ago. We weren't getting anything done. And our routine is already thoroughly planned, and the Fourth of July sociable isn't for three months!" Marian's eyes widened as she thought of the date. It was April tenth, wasn't it? Joseph was going to be three in just one day… "Is something troubling you, Mrs. Hill?"
Marian regained her composure. "Joseph's birthday is tomorrow, and I haven't even started planning a party…"
Maud reached for Marian's arm, smiling sincerely. She was so happy, the happiest Marian had ever seen Maud (other than right after Amaryllis was born and both women were much younger then). "Don't worry, Marian, we all know how to plan a party. We've all planned plenty of birthday parties." All except for Marian and Ethel, of course, but Marian had helped her mother plan parties for Winthrop when he was much younger. This was different: she used to help plan parties, not plan them on her own. And last year Harold decided to plan the party, and Marian didn't have much work to do at all. "So long as you don't mind the little ones coming along, we should go ahead and get to planning right now!" The twittering of the ladies ensued, so many conversations that Marian couldn't figure out whom to listen to. Maud and Ethel took Marian's arms and pulled her away from the table, leaving the older ladies to bicker. "Now Marian, I say we should leave now and give ourselves a head start." Maud advised. "I can get Amaryllis on our way out and have her watch Joseph. I've got Mother watching Daisy—" Maud's mother, Mrs. Reed, loved watching Amaryllis and no doubt loved Daisy as well. "—you know Amaryllis could watch all the boys; so Ethel, you can bring Harry and Freddie along too. Give the gentlemen some time to just hang out, I mean."
"Maud, it's sweet that you offered to help plan a party, and Ethel too, but it really isn't necessary." Marian politely declined. The two ladies didn't seem offended, just concerned. Her hands started to twist in front of her as she listed excuses. "Harold's finally spending a day off work and I don't want him to lose any time with Joseph. I finished up work at the library this morning so that I could head home after the meeting and cook dinner… my house is a mess and I need to clean before I have any form of company—"
"No matter how many excuses you make we're going to help you plan and execute that party." Ethel remained steadfast but saw Marian's eyes hit the floor. "Marian, what's wrong? You know you can tell us anything."
Marian knew it was true. She was one of the first people to know about Ethel's and Marcellus' wedding, and when they were expecting their twins, and she was told that Maud was having Daisy about as soon as Maud herself found out. The three ladies were thick as thieves, and they related to each other more than any of them could have with any of the older ladies. "Nothing's wrong." She said absently, and she was telling the truth. Nothing was wrong, no no, but her words were incredibly cryptic…
"Marian…" Maud said cautiously, seeing the little librarian slip back into her old self. Marian's smile fell and she looked at her shoes. "I know you want to talk, so talk… actually we can talk on the way to your house. We can stop by Mother's and get some tea and sandwiches, pick up Daisy, and get to planning that party."
Marian rolled her eyes. Maud was a very determined person and there was no way to change her mind once it was made up. She took Marian's arm and dragged her towards the Hill house. Harold was out on the porch, sitting on the porch with Joseph in his lap with Marcellus. Marian was hoping the two jolly men were having a good conversation. Marcellus stood up as the three ladies approached. "Hodado, Mrs. Dunlop, Marian… baby!" Marcellus squeezed Ethel close and spun her around. Even though he wasn't very strong he could lift up his wife. Ethel giggled as he set her back down on the ground. Maud smiled and looked at Harold before Marcellus came up and greeted her more formally. "And how're you today, Marian? Feeling better, I hope, Harold said you weren't feeling too great."
"Marian, were you sick?" Maud asked, stepping towards the blonde librarian. Maud wanted to get an honest answer out of Marian, and there was no other way for her to get that unless she held her still and the two blondes locked eyes. Maud's reddish hair was turning blonder as the winter weather went to summer.
Harold called from up on the porch. "Why don't you ladies come in and make yourself at home? Marian, Mama brought over some jelly a couple hours ago. Maybe Maud and Ethel would be interested in some?" Harold was good at avoiding a subject, and Marian was so grateful for that.
Marcellus, however, saw right through Harold's plan of changing the subject. "What're you two up to, Greg? Haven't heard you talk that fast in a good long while, not since you started in on that pool table." Harold and Marian looked at each other, then back at Marcellus and Ethel. Before either of them could say anything Joseph let out a shrill cry for his mother. Both parents ran up and Marian scooped up the little boy, taking him to the congregation in front of the Hill house. "Oh I see. Ignore the man that—accidentally, sure—set you two up, go get your boy." Harold didn't laugh at Marcellus' obvious joke. Instead of telling everyone what's on his mind, he whispered in Marcellus' ear. However Marcellus couldn't keep his mouth shut. "Another baby! By gum, you'll have your own band if you keep it up!" Harold and Marian looked over Joseph's head at each other, smiling happily.
Maud and Ethel swept Marian up into the house with Joseph still in her arms. "Now come on, Marian, we still have that party to plan." Maud commented, grinning at the newfound information. "And, by the way, we also have a lot to talk about." Maud and Ethel had not lost their gossipy nature in leaving the other ladies behind. Marian knew by the end of the day that everyone in town would know that Joseph soon wouldn't be an only child, and that his third birthday had to be something truly special.
Author's Note: This chapter was mentioned by Maud and Marcellus, Marcellus who was my Sir Harry from Once Upon A Mattress and Maud who was my co-wife from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat… our crazy theatre family, I swear, we are always trying to weasel secrets out of each other. But yeah, they liked the idea of this. Thanks for reading, please review!