§ § § - November 14, 1983
Roarke was quite his normal self the following morning when the rover came around with Leslie Darnell and Marshall Baldwin. Leslie watched in surprise as Baldwin rounded the car and handed Mrs. Darnell out; he was dressed once again in suit and tie, as if they had resumed their old roles of employer and butler. "Mr. Roarke, Leslie," Mrs. Darnell said; they nodded at her, and she glanced at Baldwin, who nodded impersonally back and strode on ahead to the plane with Mrs. Darnell's carry-on bag.
"Well," said Mrs. Darnell, "my fantasy was more than satisfactory, Lawrence, even though it wasn't quite what I expected."
"Begging your pardon, madam, but Baldwin acts as though…" Lawrence began.
"Yes," said Mrs. Darnell with a quiet sigh. "As though nothing has changed."
Roarke smiled. "And yet we know that the smallest ripple sent out into the sea of life finally reaches the farthest shore, don't we, Mrs. Darnell?"
"Yes, Mr. Roarke," she agreed, "but in our case, we know it's more than a ripple…it's a tidal wave. And I'm going to do everything in my power to keep that storm raging."
"Then may I wish you both a turbulent but happy voyage, Mrs. Darnell," Roarke said, and she thanked him, laughing, before shaking Lawrence's hand.
Then she turned to Leslie. "The only namesake I've ever met yet," she said and placed a hand on each of the girl's cheeks. "Thank you for the support you gave Marshall and me. I'll never forget your kindness."
"I really hope it all works out for you," Leslie said. "Maybe, if you're so inclined, you could write and let me know."
Mrs. Darnell grinned. "I'll certainly do that. All the best, Leslie."
"And to you," she responded, watching the lady head for the plane dock, where Baldwin stood waiting. She received a parting lei before turning to wave at them; then she gave Leslie a knowing look and a broad wink before deliberately reaching out and taking Baldwin's hand to pull him the rest of the way along the ramp with her. Leslie chortled and exchanged delighted looks with Roarke and Lawrence.
The second rover delivered Edmond Rome and Julie Mars; there was only friendly cheer on Julie's face this morning, Leslie noticed, and she found herself watching her father very closely. "Well," Roarke greeted them, "Ms. Mars, Mr. Rome, from all reports, the film festival was quite a success."
"Bringing Julie back to the stage was really the big event of the festival," Rome said. "By the way, I'll send you tickets for the opening night." He reached out to shake Roarke's hand as the latter chuckled and thanked him. Leslie opened her mouth to protest, but Roarke took just a second to shake his head at her, and she subsided.
"Thanks again for everything," said Julie, sounding remarkably impersonal. "Goodbye, Mr. Roarke, Lawrence, Leslie." She smiled, then started away for the plane.
There was a strange expression on Lawrence's face, and both Roarke and Leslie noticed, looking at each other before Roarke addressed him. "Something wrong, Lawrence?"
"I'm quite astonished by Ms. Mars' behavior," Lawrence said in befuddlement, staring after Julie.
"Oh?" inquired Roarke, looking amused.
"Yes," he said, joining in their collective final farewell wave. "She acts as though you were just casual acquaintances!"
"Hers was a very special fantasy, Lawrence," Roarke said. "To make it a reality, she in effect had to drink from the waters of Lethe."
"You mean, forget the past?" asked Lawrence, very surprised.
Roarke smiled. "Only a part, Lawrence. Only a very small part."
§ § § - April 21, 2007
When Roarke and Leslie finished, the listeners were subdued for a few minutes, considering everything they'd learned; then Christian studied his wife until she felt his gaze on her and turned to him. "Something wrong, my love?"
"Once and only once, hm, my Rose?" he asked teasingly. "Ah, the certainty of youth."
Roarke laughed. "That was just my thought that evening," he said, making Christian break into laughter too.
Leslie made a good-natured face. "Well, you know teenagers—they're convinced they know everything there is to know, and they don't learn otherwise for decades sometimes. I didn't fully understand how anyone could have more than one great love till I fell in love with you, Christian, and then I realized what Father must have gone through with Julie and Helena. And it's funny, he loved one a little more than the other—just as I love you more than I loved Teppo."
Christian nodded, smiling; then his hazel eyes took on a twinkle. "The two of you must have been certain it was a grand coincidence that you, Mr. Roarke, met both Ms. Mars and Mrs. Marsh on Valentine's Day."
"Mars and Marsh," broke in Myeko, bolting upright in her seat. "Do you hear that? Only one letter's difference in their surnames! On top of everything else…I mean…this is positively cosmic!"
"You don't think they might've been very distantly related somehow, do you?" Diane suggested facetiously. "Like immigrant families who take two similar but differing versions of the original family surname?" That brought on more laughter.
"Well, back to the Valentine's Day thing," Leslie said, steering the conversation back on track, "even Father thought it was just another funny little thing that he'd met them both on separate Valentine's Days. Until that party we had a couple of months ago, and it turned out that rascal Cupid was responsible."
"Cupid has quite a bit to answer for," commented Roarke dryly, which set off more laughter before the grandfather clock chimed and captured everyone's attention.
"Oh my gosh, I had no idea it was that late," cried Michiko. "I wanted to reminisce, but I didn't want to trap everyone in here till the small hours. I'm so sorry."
"Don't apologize, we all had a blast," Leslie assured her.
Roarke smiled. "As long as we could help you, that's the important thing."
"You did help," Michiko said, smiling at everyone. "It's been wonderful, and I thank you all for being here—especially you, Mr. Roarke and Leslie, for being willing to give your time just for me."
"Let's try to do it again sometime," Diane said. "This has been the most fun weekend I ever had." A general consensus went up at that, and Roarke and Leslie looked at each other and grinned secretly. They'd had the most fun of all!
I had such a great time writing this, I probably could have gone on with five or six more fantasies, but I'll leave that for some future tale. This entire story took up three printed chapters for my personal collection as it was! I'll probably take a bit of a break till June, and give myself a chance to decide which idea I'll develop for my next tale.
In the meantime, here are the credits for the eight episodes I adapted for this story, in the order they appear (I give credits only for the characters I used):
The Mermaid / The Victim: original airdate December 1, 1979; with Mary Ann Mobley (Amanda DeHaven), John Saxon (Professor Harold DeHaven), Michelle Phillips (Nyah), Joan Prather (Julie Brett), James Darren (Michael Duval), Cathryn O'Neil (Annie), Robin Riker (Fran), Dorothy Stratten (Mickey), and Candi and Randi Brough as the twins
The Inventor / On the Other Side: original airdate December 15, 1979; with Arte Johnson (Professor Duane Clebe), Marcia Wallace (Martha Meeks), Alex Rodine (André the Russian), Barney Phillips (Mason), MacDonald Carey (Hobart), Stone Bower (CIA man), Harv Selsby (reporter), Jeanette Nolan (Irma Gideon), Ike Eisenmann (Keith Gideon), Stefan Gierasch (Zoltan), and Chip Hayes (medtech). Also features an uncredited John Larroquette as André's Russian sidekick!
The Man From Yesterday / The World's Most Desirable Woman: original airdate January 31, 1981; with Dennis Cole (Major Kelvin Doyle), Martin Milner (Bill Keating/Jed Morrison), Elizabeth Baur (Mrs. Keating/Miss Carson), Rummel Mor (Petie), Barbi Benton (Carla Baines/Marcia Garnett), Bert Convy (Hal Garnett), M. G. Kelly (Strutton the photographer), and Cindee Appleton (Trish)
King Arthur in Mr. Roarke's Court / Shadow Games: original airdate January 23, 1982; with Tom Smothers (Ralph Rodgers), Robert Mandan (King Arthur), Carol Lynley (Queen Guinevere), Linda Blair (Sara Jean Rawlins), Donny Most (Todd Porter/Billy Williams), and Peter Mark Richman (Sam Treacher)
Funny Man / Tattoo, the Matchmaker: original airdate February 20, 1982; with Jimmy Dean (Beau Gillette), Vicki Lawrence (Jenny Casey), Jeanette Nolan (Mama), Morgan Woodward (Uncle Jack), Linda Thompson Jenner (Cousin Lindy), Skip Stephenson (Ambrose Tuttle), Laurie Walters (Harriet Wilson), and Misty Rowe (Claudia Mills)
Revenge of the Forgotten / Charo: original airdate February 19, 1983; with Steve Kanaly (Alan Daly), Marjoe Gortner (Loren Robertson), Christine Belford (Marian Robertson), Russ Marin (auctioneer), Charo (Maria Diaz), Van Johnson (Charles Woodruff), Nancy Kulp (Mrs. Pomproy), Federico Roberto (General Rodriguez), Carmen Zapata (Tia Gina), Carlos LaCamara (Cousin Rudolpho), and Richard Paradise (French ambassador)
Forbidden Love / The Other Man—Mr. Roarke: original airdate October 8, 1983; with Juliet Prowse (Margaret Smith), James Houghton (Jeffrey Dorner), Jamie Rose (Virginia Smith), Stephanie Faracy (Deborah Barnes), Richard Kline (Dennis Payne), Douglas Alan Shanklin (Mr. Anderson), and David Fletcher (the waiter)
Roarke's Sacrifice / The Butler's Affair: original airdate November 12, 1983; with Cyd Charisse (Julie Mars), Cesar Romero (Edmond Rome), Lee Meriwether (Leslie Darnell), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Marshall Baldwin), Ruta Lee (Rachel Andrews), Terry Moore (Audrey Wilkins), Ian Abercrombie (McShane), and Kathryn Daley (Carol). I was able to add some extra scenes thanks to a script of this episode.
And the coincidence in dates that Leslie and Roarke discussed in the next-to-last chapter? It's true! The episode in which Roarke and Helena Marsh fell in love aired November 11, 1978, and the one in which they were married aired on November 3, 1979. I had to fudge the date Julie Mars had supposedly gotten her knee injury to keep Roarke from seeming like a two-timing cad! It was fun creating an explanation for those too-close-for-comfort dates…