|Grandma to the Rescue
Author: somethingborrowed3 PM
STARSTRUCK My name is Deborah Washington. This is the moment of romance between my granddaughter and one of my favorite students through my eyes. Jessica Olson/Christopher WildeRated: Fiction K - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Grandma & Jessica O. - Words: 4,020 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 4 - Published: 02-14-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5745838
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
My name is Deborah Washington. Now retired, I used to work as a fourth grade teacher at Almond Elementary School in the San Francisco Bay Area. That was where I grew up, and where I raised my daughter, Barbara. One day, I realized, as every parent does eventually, that their child had grown up, flown off to college, and returned with a fiance. He was a wonderful man – Dean Olson was his name. They moved off to Kalamazoo, Michigan and gave me two granddaughters – Sara and Jessica. They are wonderful children. I love them very much.
After my husband died in a boating accident, I decided to move down south to Hollywood. Silicon Valley was simply too busy for me. First came the dot-com boom. Construction workers and entrepreneurs and garage businessmen all came out of nowhere and destroyed the beautiful forests I used to play in as a child. They built huge corporate buildings, set up huge utilities systems, and continued building until my entire hometown became a sea of concrete. They turned the beaches into salt ponds and brought in big, large cities.
My quiet little suburbia had been transformed into an urban nightmare. And with my husband gone, I decided it was time to move. A small, peaceful little house next to the beach in Southern California had seemed perfect at the time. I quit my teaching job at Almond School and bought it. I lived there for the next two years without any incident.
I befriended my neighbor, Howard, and he later moved in. What a wonderful person Howard was. So considerate, helpful, and kind. Whenever I needed help, he was always there for me. God knows I wouldn't have been able to continue living by myself if it weren't for him.
My first little surprise came after Howard had moved his television into our living room. I had never bothered with those things before – they did nothing but turn our brains to mush with lies and slander – all in the name of money. But Howard loved football and insisted on watching it every weekend.
In any case, I was bored on morning and Howard was jogging down at the beach. Bless him; I was far too weak to do that kind of stuff anymore. Perhaps I should have exercised more when I was young – maybe joined the Track team. Anyway, I picked up the remote control. It was completely alien to me. I found a large red button at the top and clicked it. The television set sparked to life!
There was a lady on the screen talking in a very arrogant manner. This was one of those channels I've heard about that purposely messed with other people's privacy just in order to make money. Before I could work out how to change the channel, however, a familiar face I hadn't seen in many years flashed onto the screen.
Christopher Wilde! My heavens, I knew he had moved to Los Angeles when he was a seventh grader – but I didn't know it was because he became a famous singer. Why, good for him! He was such a wonderful little boy back when I was still a teacher.
He and his friend – Stubby, were simply inseparable. I actually witnessed the very event where they became close friends. It was rather cliché actually. Stubby was being bullied by a few of the sixth graders because of his skin color. Christopher came over and helped him out. They both received a rather bad pair of purple eyes after the incident, but they became very close friends. Needless to say, those two sixth graders were expelled.
I sat there in the living room, watching with growing anger as the media continued to tell obvious lies about Christopher Wilde. "Violent," they had claimed. "Dancing drunk at a party." Had Christopher Wilde really changed that much in the five years I had seem him? I really hoped not.
Fast forward another year and I was up on a ladder, cleaning the gutters after a massive rainstorm slammed into Los Angeles the other night. My darling daughter and her family were coming to visit today! I was extremely excited.
Barbara made such a fuss about me. She was understandably worried about my state of health and ability to take care of myself. I introduced them to Howard, and reassured Barbara that he would help me through old age.
I saw Jessica running over to me and giving me a big hug.
"Grandma! I missed you so much!"
"Ditto," I replied, smiling widely. I remembered Barbara calling and asking me if it was okay if Sara used my car. "Hey Sara! Give her a run if you want to!"
"Just give 'em a tune up! She runs great," Howard continued.
I laughed. Sara looked far from pleased. That old pink car. I paid some guy to drive it all the way down here from San Francisco. It was the car that my husband and I drove to Lake Tahoe to spend our honeymoon. I wouldn't lose it for anything – even though deep down I knew it was time to get rid of it.
That night, I heard Barbara and Sara arguing about attending some birthday party that Christopher Wilde was singing at. She relented after Sara agreed to get Jessica to tag along. I smiled. So my granddaughter was interested in Christopher! Funny how these things happen, eh?
I took a quick shower and went to bed. I was extremely tired after cleaning the gutters all morning, and being so old, after all, I needed my rest. That night came my second little surprise.
I slipped out of bed, feeling unnaturally restless. I put on my slippers and casually walked down the stairs, looking for something to do. I thought about going through the boxes in the garage and looking for some old picture albums of my late husband.
I'm pretty sure you could picture my surprise when the garage door opened to reveal this shiny blue luxury car. What were Jessica and Sara doing last night? Stealing cars? My first thought was to march right upstairs and demand an explanation from my two granddaughters. But for some reason, I decided to do a little investigating myself.
I cautiously neared the car window and peered in. Somebody was sleeping in there! Oh dear, this could not be good. I pounded on the window, hoping the guy wasn't sleeping on top of one of my granddaughters. I pounded harder, and the boy sleeping inside woke with a start. We stared at each other for a few long moments before he mouthed, "Miss. Washington?"
I raised my eyebrows. "Christopher? What are you doing here?" I opened the car door and a high-pitched alarm went off. Christopher quickly kicked off his blankets and scrambled clumsily for the front seat. The alarm stopped.
He scratched the back of his head. "Umm, I assume that...umm," he wrinkled his eyebrows in concentration. "J-Jessica Olson is your granddaughter, then?"
I looked at him curiously. "Come on out, Mr. Wilde. Let's talk." I closed the garage door to keep the cool wind from blowing in. "Nice hat, by the way."
He quickly took it off. "S-sorry. Jessica said I could have it. I didn't mean to-"
I smiled. "No, its fine. You look good in it, anyway."
He laughed. "Like grandma like granddaughter, eh? She told me the exact same thing."
"Did she really? Funny."
He nodded. His face turned serious. "Umm, I think you'll be wanting an explanation for what I'm doing here." He scratched the back of his head again. "Well, the paparazzi was chasing me, and I needed somewhere to park my car without being seen."
I raised my eyebrows again. He sighed, "Okay, let me start at the beginning. First of all, I didn't mean to hurt your granddaughter when I accidentally slammed that door into her head."
Christopher raised his hands up defensively. "No, no, it was an accident. I took her to a hospital, afterward, you see." He continued his story. The paparazzi had followed him to the hospital, so they had escaped in a broken junker with its taillight sparking the asphalt beneath it. He took Jessica to his house, where he performed some new song of his called "Heroes" in front of a group of family friends. Jessica was hidden in the guest room, of course. Then, he took her back here and, with the paparazzi following him, he had no choice but to pay a grand sum of $5,000 to stay a night in "Hotel á la Grandma".
I laughed at that name. Jessica sure did have some sense of humor. Then Christopher went more in depth with things I wasn't entirely comfortable with. Jessica was my granddaughter, after all. He started describing their conversation in the garage. "I had never had a chance to be with someone like this. Someone whom I could act like myself around," he had said.
Wow. Christopher here is thinking that he's falling in love. I sure hope he's right. I don't want my Jessica to fall prey of some summer fling. I made sure the boy knew it. He promised me he did.
"All right," I smiled. Just be sure to get out of the house by sunrise. It wouldn't do to have my other granddaughter seeing you here.
"Sure," he nodded. I reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills. "Here."
"$5,000. The amount I promised Jessica. I thought it'd be more appropriate to give it to you, though, since..."
"No, no," I waved my hand. "You keep it. It wouldn't be right."
"A promise is a promise," Christopher replied. "Isn't that what you taught us?"
I nodded. "Yes, but...still..."
"Life will continually examine us, to see if we have understood and practiced those lessons we learned in that first year of school," Christopher Wilde said. "Quoting Robert Fulghum, of course. This is one of life's examinations. Take the money."
"Oh, all right," I replied, accepting the wad of bills. "Good night." Then I turned off the lights and left.
I hoped all would be well after that, but things never did turn out easily with Christopher Wilde around.
The next morning, I laughed as Jessica belatedly rushed out to prevent Sara from opening the garage door. Hopefully, Christopher had gotten out by sunrise, as he promised, or there would certainly be a lot of explaining to do. After a few minutes of waiting, it became clear that he had indeed kept his promise.
But problems arose one after another, you see. In a mistaken attempt to stop my two granddaughters from bickering, I told Sara that Christopher Wilde was on TV. Sara, being the Christopher fan she was, turned on the television set to that revolting channel that made money around its slander and lies.
"Alexis Bender arrived at her birthday party tonight, without her leading man." That woman was so arrogant.
"Although no one saw him arrive at the fabulous club, Under 21, witnesses confirm that Christopher Wilde did indeed make a secret appearance to sing for the packed house of well-wishers. Witnesses say that he left the party immediately following his performance only to magically reappear at his Beverly Hills mansion several hours later with a different girl. My sources tell me this mystery girl may be stealing the heart of our favorite pop star."
Jessica suddenly grabbed the remote from her sister and the two began fighting again. Oh dear, this certainly was getting bad.
"I know what. It's a beautiful day. Here, take the keys to my car and go to the beach."
"Really?" Sara squealed. "Thanks, grandma!" She took my keys and left. Grandma to the rescue, once again.
That afternoon everything seemed to go downhill. Howard had taken Barbara and Dean to tour Los Angeles. They left the car behind, in case I needed to go somewhere. Lucky they did.
I kept an eye on the television on day. I sighed heavily. Those damn people were having a field day. I was not accustomed to having my granddaughter chased around the city by these creepy people. But when I saw the picture of my darling granddaughter exiting a phone booth with tears in her eyes, I had just about enough.
I got into the car and drove for Beverly Hills. I don't care if Christopher Wilde was my favorite student back at Almond Elementary. He had a lot to answer for. I reached his house and was immediately swarmed by a crowd of photographers.
They peered inside and I felt a wave of privacy intrusion. It was sickening, what these people were doing. They soon dispersed, however. How much interest could an old lady offer, anyhow? I drove up to the gates and pushed a large red button next to the speaker.
"Hi, is this Christopher Wilde?" I called out.
"No, I'm sorry. We're not letting anyone in right now."
"I'm Jessica Olson's grandma. Let me in."
"No. I'm afraid I do not know who Jessica... wait. Miss. Washington? Is that you?"
I was startled. Who was this person?
"Yes, I'm Miss. Washington. Who is this?"
"It's Stubby! Remember me?"
Stubby! So they stayed friends even up until now. I smiled. That indeed is very touching.
"Come on in," Stubby said. The gates opened and I drove up the winding driveway. The mansion was huge. I stopped at the front doors and got out. Stubby came out to greet me.
"Hey, Miss. Washington. What's up?" He gave me a big hug.
I returned the hug. "Things could be better. Where is Christopher? I need to talk to him."
He shook his head. "He's not here right now. I dunno where he could be."
I sighed. "Can I wait here? You know, until he gets back? I really need to talk to him."
"No prob," Stubby said. "I'm sure he'd love to see you again." He led me inside.
There was a girl inside the living room. She was touching the couch. Sniffing the couch.
"This is Sara," Stubby began saying. The girl turned around.
"Sara?" I exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
Sara jumped. "Grandma? W-what are you doing here?"
"She's your grandma?" Stubby confusedly asked.
"Yep," Sara replied.
"Oh," Stubby said. "She was my fourth grade teacher. It sure is a small world, huh?"
"Yes," I took another deep breath. I was getting impatient, and that rarely ever happens to me. I sat down on the couch.
"Wait," Sara asked belatedly, as she put two and two together. "Grandma, do you know Christopher Wilde?"
I nodded absentmindedly. "He was in the same class as Stubby here."
Time seemed to wear on forever. I didn't know how long I sat on that couch, contemplating what to say when Mr. Wilde returned. I was conjuring up scenarios where Christopher did nothing wrong. Hoping beyond hope that Jessica was all right.
The phone rang. After a few seconds of silence, Stubby stuck his head around the corner. "Christopher's gonna be quite late tonight. He got hung up with the paparazzi."
I stood up quickly. "Can I talk to him?"
"Sorry, Miss. Washington. He hung up before I could say anything," Stubby said apologetically. "He probably won't be home for a long time. I think you should just go home. I'll leave him your address."
"Don't bother," I told him. "He knows it. Just tell him that Miss. Washington was here to see him."
"Where's Sara?" I asked.
Stubby shrugged. "I dunno, she was just here..."
I glanced at the clock. It was almost 6:30. Barbara is gonna be scared out of her wits by now. "Sara!" I yelled out.
I heard a squeal and a tumbling noise near the stairs. I rushed over to the stairs and found Sara lying on the ground, carrying several trinkets.
I sighed exasperatedly. "Put those back, Sara."
"No buts. Put those back."
After Sara returned the would-be souvenirs, I ushered her into the car.
"See ya, Sara, Miss. Washington!" Stubby yelled out, waving.
"Bye, Stubby," I replied. "It was great seeing you again."
"I'll miss you!" Sara cried out. I don't want to know what happened in there between Sara and Stubby.
As expected, Barbara, Dean, and Howard made a big fuss about where I was. I made up this mumbo jumbo about taking Sara sightseeing at the beach to watch the sunset.
My daughter and son-in-law seemed satisfied, but Howard knew me too well. Oh well, I couldn't have kept any secret from him anyway.
"Just make sure you leave a note next time," Howard jokingly said.
"Don't worry, I will. I've learned my lesson." I smiled. My smile faded when I saw Jessica sitting on the couch, staring blankly at the wall. I heart almost broke, watching my beautiful granddaughter sitting there, looking so defeated.
I walked over and sat down. "Is there something wrong?" She shook her head. At dinner, I tried to cheer her up, but she just played with her food and later dismissed herself. Sara was wolfing down her food unusually quickly. I could tell she was trying to stop herself from bursting out the fact that I was Christopher Wilde's teacher.
That night, we were huddled around the television set watching this wonderful movie called Titanic. Maybe it wasn't the best choice of movie, I could tell that Jessica was itching to leave, but didn't want to be rude.
During commercial break, Christopher Wilde suddenly appeared on-screen to advertise a brand of cologne. I heard Jessica cough and Sara squeal. Uh-oh.
"Grandma was Christopher Wilde's teacher in fourth grade, did you know that? I went to his house today. I didn't get to meet him, but it was so cool!" She continued by describing the exact scent of the couch. "Lavender and rosy, also with a scent of Gillette cologne. He was obviously lying in that commercial."
I wasn't really listening. I know it is rude to not listen to your granddaughter speak, even if it she is completely crazy. But I was more worried about my other granddaughter. While Sara was speaking, Jessica was staring at me, thinking deeply. A few minutes later, she stood up and asked me if I could speak with her.
"Is something wrong, dear?" Dean asked Jessica.
Jessica shook her head. "No, I just need to ask Grandma about something. Those pictures in the garage. I just remembered..." her voice trailed off.
"Of course I'll answer any questions you have! There are pictures of your granddad and me hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains! And Mount Diablo! The view of Silicon Valley was brilliant before they paved it over."
I led Jessica to the garage. She was obviously in no mood to ask about my childhood, and I knew it too.
"You know Christopher Wilde?"
I nodded. "Yes. Tell me what happened."
I rubbed my chin. "Some of it. Like Hotel á la Grandma." I smiled.
"You saw him?"
I nodded. "Yeah. We had a little talk. He's a nice boy. Tell me what happened."
She proceeded to describe her adventure with Christopher. They visited Venice Beach, and took a long (romantic) walk down the long beach line. They then went shopping at random flea markets; Christopher buying her an apple and a pair of sunglasses. They took a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, looking for Mr. Wilde's star. They posed at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, with Jessica fitting her petite hands over Arnold Schwarzenegger's print. From there, the pair toured Capitol Records, Sunset Boulevard, Universal Studios, and posed for pictures at the famed Hollywood Sign.
"Wow, what an adventure! Might I ask what happened to my car?"
She furrowed her brow and sighed. "We were being chased by the paparazzi and got stuck in quicksand."
Oh. Funny. Quicksand in Los Angeles. Pretty rare. "That was pretty unlucky."
"I'm sorry," Jessica said. "I know that car was important to you."
"Don't worry about it. I've been wanting to get rid of that car for a long time now, but couldn't do it. But now, your grandpa reclaimed it. It's what I wanted all along."
Jessica blinked. "Oh, okay."
"Tell me what happened," I urged her once again.
So she told me of the mud, and the lake. She exclaimed how they swam and splashed each other with water. How they sat under a large tree next to the wetland view, enjoying the sound of the crickets and the birds. She described how they returned to Malibu Beach; how they almost kissed, and what Christopher told her.
"Pshh, as if. He wasn't protecting anyone but himself."
I listened intently the whole time. I understood the paparazzi and understood the emotional trauma Jessica would have to endure being Christopher's girlfriend. But she was a strong girl.
I swallowed. "Look-"
Suddenly, there was a large knock on the wall. "Mind if I come in?"
"Sure, Howard," Jessica said.
"I was wondering what was taking so long, and I overheard some of it," Howard started. "I'm sorry about that. I know it is personal stuff. But I just want you to know that I think this Christopher boy is doing all he can. You have to think about it from his point of view."
Jessica sighed. "I know, but still. I thought he was such an amazing boy. But then...why-"
"He's still figuring out his feelings for you, Jessica. As a guy, he is slower than most woman to figure out what they really want," Howard replied, looking up at me. "Add the fact that he is a celebrity, you must understand that turmoil that he is undergoing right now."
I frowned. Jess looked so sad, so tired. "Go get some sleep, Jess. Tomorrow is a long day. You'll have a long flight back home."
She nodded. "Okay."
"Come along, now," I said, taking her hand.
"Come here, Jess. I know it hurts right now," I told her. "But things aren't what they seem on the outside. Given time, life has a way of working itself out."
Jessica nodded. "Really grandma?"
"Yep. I mean, just look at me. I've been trying to get rid of that ugly old car since your grandpa died," I chuckled, choking back tears.
Jessica gave me a big hug. "I love you grandma."
"I love you too, sweetheart."
Jessica then proceeded to give Howard a big hug. "Bye, Howard."
"Take care, sweetheart."
I watched as she got into the car and as the car drove off.
"She'll be all right," Howard told me. "She's a strong girl."
I smiled. "I know."
Most of you know what happened next, if you were at the dance or were watching Starstruck TV. Christopher went and sung to Jessica, and after a bit of truth telling, things went back to normal. Or as normal as life possibly could be.
Some of you might be wondering what I did with that $5,000 I got from Christopher Wilde. Well, an airfare for three cost quite a bit of money, wouldn't you think? Next time I think I'll just stay home. High school dances are too noisy for me.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. This is the first time I wrote in first person about anyone older than the age of 20...so I hope it was good. Thanks for reading! Please R&R!
February 14, 2010; 1:34:28 PM