We now come to the end of part one of Mansfield Ranch. If I get at least twenty reviews overall I will continue with part two. In this chapter we return to the theater. In the novel The Mansfield players demand that Fanny and Edmund join in the production. Both decline, but Fanny is pressured the most and her true place in the family is made clear. A mouse to be stepped on. In this story Fanny Price has self confidence and will not cry when her Aunt is harsh with her. And I have this Fanny do what I really wanted her to do.
On May, 1 the daytime high was in the low 80s and the next day it snowed three inches. Welcome to Colorado!
"Now Edmund and Fanny I know that the two of you did not want to be a part of this show in the beginning," Mr. Yates started in his oily voice. "Fans of the show want to know more about you and really want you to have more of a role in the show. Here is a contract for each of you, the same contract Tom, Maria and Julia signed."
"No," Edmund said before Yates could go on. Tom, Maria, Julia, Mrs. Bertram and Mrs. Norris were present.
"And what about Miss Fanny," Yates asked. "A young lady of your talents could use a good payday."
"No thank you, Sir I do not care to play in this theater." Fanny's opinion on the matter was more detailed. She felt that her cousin were using the Reality T.B. show as a device to circumvent the rules of their society. In short they were becoming famous for no reason at all; and Fanny would have nothing to do with that. Also Fanny noticed a trend that she loathed even more. The show indulged cold blooded vanity. Add to it, the viewers were inconstant in their likes and dislikes.
"Fanny you can come in and be as quiet as you like; it does not matter if nobody hears you we just need to look at you," Tom said. Then everybody begin to push the contract on to Fanny, even her two Aunts.
"That will do," Edmund said forcefully. "She does not want to sine nor do I. Leave it alone."
"I will leave it alone," Mrs. Norris said. "But I think that Fanny is a stubborn , ungrateful girl; given who and what she is she should do what her cousins and Aunt want her to do." Fanny remained quiet to this statement because her feelings were not hurt. She knew who and what she was, a principle, intelligent young woman. She was also wise enough not to respond directly to Mrs. Norris, for she was a woman who would argue until she was blue in the face. What was more she knew how limited her Aunt Norris's powers were in the household. None of the staff liked her and would ignore Mrs. Norris at every chance. It was Fanny who spoke Spanish to the workers; it was Fanny who made sure the workers got there cost of living increase. She was the one who arranged their seasonal gifts. Therefore Fanny had no reason to be afraid of her Aunt Norris.
"Tell me Aunt," Fanny said in a calm voice. "Who and what am I?"
"What," Mrs. Norris snapped.
"You said considering who and what I am," Fanny continued in her soft voice. "Who and what am I?" The question tactic used by Debra was coming in handy.
"You are a lazy girl," Mrs. Norris said.
"Can you support the statement," Asked Fanny.
"I don't have to prove anything to you," Mrs. Norris snapped.
"How can you call me lazy, if you do not give evidence to support the statement," Fanny countered. "If you want me to bend to your will give me a reason to do so."
"I am your Aunt and have taken care of you for years," Mrs. Norris replied.
"I have lived in your house," asked Fanny. Edmund was proud of his Fanny and was having a hard time hiding his smile.
"No of course not, I can not take care of you," Mrs. Norris returned hotly.
"Then how can you say," Fanny did not get a chance to finish her question.
"I am done answering your questions," Mrs. Norris said with great indignation.
"Tom I do not want to be apart of your show," Fanny said in her still calm tone. "Will you be happy with that answer."
"yes, that's fine," Tom said quickly before his Aunt could embarrass herself anymore. Tom had realized that Fanny did much for the family without thanks and was far from lazy. Fanny made this point deliberately clear by talking about her term paper on the Hellenistic Age and asking did everybody like the breakfast she had made. A three cheese quiche, brown sugar ham, raspberry scones and ambrosia.
Even though Fanny had refused to become a member of the cast, she still had agreed to a waver. The waver stated that she did not abject if her voice or face were captured on camera during filming. Fanny was often seen with her family and this was the cause of viewer interests. People saw just enough of Fanny to be fascinated by her.
Fanny's sitting room had a professional desk and chair set, outfitted with last years electronics. What Julia called a graduation present. On the second wall was a sofa and coffee table deemed out of fashion for the master sweet. Along the third wall were a pair of stunning mahogany bookcases with glass doors and a grandfather clock in-between, some things Tom did not want in his basement apartment. The walls were painted a blue-gray and the floor was covered with wall to wall silver-gray carpet. On the wall above the sofa was a picture of William in uniform in front of the air craft carrier he served on. The intercom buzzed with Edmund's voice, was Fanny awake enough to talk. Yes she was and would meet him in her sitting room. Fanny had just returned from her date with Charles, where they had gone to a concert in the park before having dinner at a fancy Greek restaurant. The first thing Edmund noticed when he came into the sitting room was the fact that Fanny was not in her nightgown as it was after ten o'clock, and he knew that she went to bed at ten.
"Did you have a late study group," Edmund wanted to know.
"Do you want a green tea or juice cocktail ," Fanny asked not answering the question directly.
"No, thank you I wanted your advice," he said turning the desk chair around. Fanny took a green tea out of the mini fridge, a real gift from Edmund. "Fanny I feel the time has come for me to join this reality T.V. show of Tom's fancy. They are becoming out of control and while I can not stop the mischief I hope to at least limit the chaos. I know how it must look to everybody. I have spent two years disapproving this show and now when it has become such a hit I want to join in. Do you agree with me?"
"Does this have anything to do with Mary Crawford," Fanny asked dryly. Fanny's feelings were mixed about Mary Crawford; she disliked and mistrusted Mary, but could find no logical reason why.
"No," Edmund said quickly. Too quickly Fanny thought. "Yates is talking about bring in more drama and conflict into the show."
"And how does he plan to do that," Fanny was almost afraid to hear the answer.
"He has convinced my mother and Aunt Norris to join the show."
"That'll do it," Fanny said riley. "What do you think you can do?"
"Keep the peace as best I can," Edmund replied. "I think that I know my family well enough to end an argument before it goes to far."
"There is some truth in what you say, but I do not think it does my Uncle credit," Fanny observed.
"You are wrong in this case," Edmund said. "I can at least restrain them from doing no worst than they have already done. Plus one other is to join the cast, James Rushworth."
"He really does give football players a bad name," Fanny remarked. James Rushworth had very little to say that was worth hearing. His conversation was limited in it's subject matter, namely sports and making money.
"He fits the stereotype of the dumb jock, which is a shame because I have met many intelligent players," Edmund added. "I will go find Tom and Yates and get it over with, when viewers start complaining about my performance Tom will regret asking me."
When filming for season three of Keeping Up With The Bertrams started in late May, Mrs. Norris decided that was the time to take her revenge on Fanny. All the young people had gone on a four day hiking trip leaving Fanny at the house with her two aunts. On Friday Mrs. Norris woke Fanny early in the morning.
"Get up Fanny," Mrs. Norris demanded.
"What do you want Aunt," Fanny mumbled into her pillow.
"We are having a dinner party tonight and you need to cook," Mrs. Norris said.
"Aunt, I asked you last night if you needed me to cook at all this weekend and you told me," Fanny started.
"That does not matter now," Mrs. Norris said red faced. "I am your Aunt and I have given you an order." Fanny said no more and rolled out of bed. Later in the kitchen she asked Mrs. Norris again if she was needed to cook this weekend. And this time Fanny asked her in front of the cameras the family loved so much.
"I will let you know," Mrs. Norris said huffily. Fanny had the time to do a slow roast and decided on her red wine pot roast. The side dishes were red potatoes, mixed vegetables and rice. Fanny called a gourmet cheese shop for their best cheese and cracker tray. Then she called a gourmet bakery for the desserts to be delivered. After the dinner was over Fanny gave the remaining foods and quarter bottles of wine to the film crew.
On Saturday Mrs. Norris came to Fanny at ten o'clock and told her that a lunch needed to be served at noon.
"Yesterday," Fanny started.
"Was yesterday," Mrs. Norris snapped. "Get to the kitchen!" Fanny drove to a near by nation wide restaurant to buy lunch. She bought a quart of each of their soups, one of every sandwich and one of every salad. Fanny returned to the house put everything on the buffet with the disposable plates, bowls, forks and spoons provided. Went upstairs to change for her date and went down the back stairs when she heard Mrs. Norris screaming.
On Sunday Mrs. Norris called to Fanny as she was going out the door for church.
"We are doing the coffee hour after church today," Mrs. Norris said. "So make sure that you have at least four kinds of cakes and three kinds of coffee." Fanny had said nothing and stopped at a bakery to pick up a large order. She was nice enough to make the coffee at home.
On Monday Fanny had her triumph at last.
"Fanny you can't leave," Mrs. Norris said chasing Fanny to the garage. "I need to go over today's menus."
"Was that menus, as in more than one," Fanny exclaimed. Even the most long suffering person could only take so much. "I have my internship to get to." Fanny was spending her summer as an intern at a Denver Museum.
"You are not going today," Mrs. Norris declared. "Your time is mine to command and you'll do as I say. Here take these menus and start cooking. I want these meals to have real elegance, the last three days have been lacking."
"But," Fanny started.
"Quiet! If I need you to cook for a party," Mrs. Norris said in a grand way. "You will stop what you are doing and fallow my order. You have no right to live in this house for free and need to earn your keep."
"I take this to mean I will not be paid for my work," Fanny asked mildly.
"You don't need to be paid," Mrs. Norris returned.
"There is a word for unpaid worker," Fanny replied. "Slave." And with that Fanny held up her house keys and dropped them on the floor.
Fanny's friend Jasmine Lee needed a new roommate. Her current roommate had completed her degree in May and returned home; Jasmine would not finish her degree until December, at which time the lease would expire. Fanny could afford to be the replacement roommate. She had saved half the money Thomas Bertram had given her and all the money she earned from catering for Tom, totaling 25,00 dollars. It was her hope that the 1,000 dollars a month would still come in, but she was prepared if not. Terry Snowmoon had started her own catering company and would hire Fanny if she needed a job. And when the lease expired Fanny could find another roommate or another apartment. Over the last week Fanny had started to pack her things. She made the choice to only take what she could fit in her two large suitcases, one garment bag, duffel bag, five rubber storage containers and her computer case. She had the staff put everything in the automobile she used. Fanny had planned to tell the family that day, but with Aunt Norris acting this way it was better to leave now!