A/N: Remember me? After a much-too-long hiatus, I finally found the time to complete and post this story. I hope it gives you a few laughs while we're waiting the last few days for season 3 of "Fantasy Island" to come out on DVD next Tuesday the 23rd. I had some fun with this, and took a few aspects of it from my own memories as well. I'm considering doing another flashback story for the next one, so I might actually have something posted sooner than Christmas, LOL. Meantime, enjoy!
§ § § - May 30, 2008
It was the last day of school, and Susanna, Karina and Tobias would be four in just a few more days. In the middle of the morning, while Roarke was out seeing to several final preparations for the weekend and Leslie was trying to tie up some loose ends that had been sitting around waiting to be handled, Katsumi Miyamoto unexpectedly appeared at the open French shutters, looking woebegone. Leslie stared at her in surprise. "Hi."
"Hello, Leslie," Katsumi said, hesitating. "You are busy, yes? I come back later."
"No, no, I'm not doing anything world-shaking," Leslie said with a laugh. "It's just a lot of fussy little paperwork and stupid things like that. Come on in and sit down. You look lost." Then she remembered the date. "Oh gosh, that's right—Haruko graduates tonight!"
Katsumi nodded and shuffled inside, lowering herself into a chair with her usual unconscious grace. "Yes, is so." She looked up at Leslie. "Kazuo say same thing as I, that this school year seem so much shorter than all the others before. Now Haruko leaves for college after this summer, and she will be away…"
"The triplets will miss her too," Leslie said gently.
Katsumi stifled a sob behind one hand. "She is my baby girl. The little one who is always with me from my lonely days as geisha. Now she has grown and she leaves me!"
Leslie got up and rounded the desk, sitting in the other chair and taking Katsumi's hand. "All children grow up sooner or later. Father told me once about how lost he felt for the first few weeks after I left the island when I married Teppo. But…well, listen—college is just four years, and Haruko's planning to study marine biology, thanks to her friendship with that mermaid girl." She grinned. "By then, Dania Branham just might need a colleague to work with!" Dania had come to the island in the lull between Christmas and New Year's and had settled into the small cottage that had once belonged to Tattoo's friend Ambrose Hoskins, the groundskeeper who had posthumously won the Irish sweepstakes during Leslie's final year of high school. The cottage looked out over the ocean and was perfect for Dania; though she and Jonathan Ichino had cultivated a fairly serious relationship since her return, they weren't quite ready for the next big step. Meantime, Dania was happy that at last she was making use of her college degree and no longer had to be a waitress.
Katsumi blinked and suddenly laughed a little. "I never think Mr. Roarke might have job for more than one person in that…that job."
Leslie grinned again. "Well, this is Fantasy Island, and there's a lot more to study and catalog here than just about anywhere else in the world. Dania's barely gotten started and she's already asked about having a secretary just to transcribe her notes into the computer. At this rate, Haruko could have a job waiting for her when she comes back. So don't worry. With a situation like that, you're guaranteed to have your little girl back here on the island after college graduation, and you and Kazuo will get to see her all the time."
"So true," Katsumi said, her black eyes sparkling. "I am so glad I come here. You make me feel much better now. I hope you and Christian come to see Haruko graduate."
"We'd love to," Leslie said, delighted. "Camille's David is graduating too, so she and Jimmy will be there with Craig and Robin. And incidentally, you're not going to be all alone just because Haruko's heading for college. Don't forget, you still have Chikako!" Katsumi and Kazuo's younger daughter was now ten and just completing the fourth grade.
Katsumi's smile grew a bit wry. "And Chikako is handful too. Perhaps Haruko will be happy that she is at college and I cannot tell her any longer that she must watch her little sister." They both laughed, and Katsumi arose. "Now I let you finish your work. You must have much to do…perhaps even birthday party for the triplets."
"Yep, and we're having a visit from some of Christian's family who're planning to stay for the full month of June. One more year and we'll be marching those little imps off to kindergarten. To tell the truth, I'm looking forward to it. They keep poor Ingrid hopping all the time, and they never stop asking questions."
"Who will stay with them when they are here at weekends?" Katsumi asked.
Leslie shrugged. "There's no shortage of willing babysitters, that's for sure. Christian and I are still trying to work something out so that all three of our prospects can have an equal shot at it." The phone rang and she snorted. "Well, that does it…work's calling. I'm glad I could help."
"I am glad we are friends," Katsumi said warmly. "We talk later." She hurried out, her steps somehow still dainty, and Leslie picked up the phone.
By lunchtime she was relieved to have Roarke there while she put the triplets atop phone books in their usual chairs. "How is the construction coming at your house?" Roarke asked, noting his daughter's frazzled mien as she tried to put a halt to an argument between Susanna and Karina.
"Girls, that's enough—stop it this instant, and I mean it," Leslie snapped, then drew in a breath and cast her father a look that was half apologetic, half pleading. "I can hardly wait for it to be done. They're supposed to be painting this weekend and putting in the carpet, so I was going to ask you if you minded if we all stayed here at the house with you."
"Not at all," Roarke said warmly. "It's little different from usual procedure, and you know I always enjoy having my grandchildren around." His attention was diverted when Susanna pinched Karina. "Susanna, I think perhaps you'd better listen to your mother and stop bothering your sister." His voice was kind but firm.
Susanna's face turned red and she hung her head. "I'm sorry, Grandfather." Then that same head popped right back up. "But she took my best dolly, and I want her back!"
"It's my dolly," Karina insisted, glaring at her sister. "Mommy and Daddy gave me her for Christmas."
"It's my dolly," Susanna shot back.
"Mine!" Karina fired at her.
Tobias rolled his eyes. "Dolls are stupid."
"I said, that's enough," Leslie announced ominously, and when her daughters saw her expression, they shut their mouths then and there. "And Tobias, you don't need to jump into their argument. Honestly, if you keep up this fighting, you might not get a party for your birthday on Monday."
Roarke eyed her with surprise, but the threat worked; the triplets gasped in alarm and promised to be good, just as their father reached them from the other end of the porch. Christian overheard his children's promises and laughed. "Those are likely to be broken within the hour. What did you threaten to take from them now?"
"Their birthday party," Leslie told him, finally daring to take her seat.
"A bit harsh, perhaps, don't you think?" Roarke suggested.
Christian, surprised, peered at him as he took his own chair. "Do you think so, then? I had my share of ridiculous birthday parties and would never have missed them."
"As a child?" parried his father-in-law, and Christian laughed.
"Well, you could be right about that," the prince admitted good-naturedly. "But I have a feeling poor Leslie's at the end of her rope. The children have been restless all week, ever since they heard some of their cousins are coming to visit. It's been one fight after another, and very little of what we say has much effect. I daresay she issued that particular threat out of desperation."
"Maybe it'll help that the new bedroom should be finished by Monday morning," said Leslie, making him brighten. "I got a call from the contractors this morning and they say everything's done except painting and putting in the carpet. We can probably start moving furniture in on Tuesday or so."
"And I'm gonna get my own room," Tobias crowed. "No more stupid dolls all over my bed and those dumb ponies Susanna gots."
"I want my own room too," Karina sulked. "Then Susanna won't steal my dolls."
"I didn't steal her," Susanna flared. "She's my doll!"
"Stop now," Christian ordered sternly. "Don't forget about the party."
Roarke laughed. "I begin to see the problem. Well, tell me, while the children are distracted by food. What have you decided about the babysitters?"
"Haruko should be able to go on sitting for the summer," Leslie said, "but as I understand it, she leaves for college around the last week of August so she can get settled into her new dorm room. Kazuo and Katsumi are making a little vacation out of it to help her move in, and they'll be putting Chikako to work too. But on the weekends, we thought it might be a good idea to give Haruko those days to herself, and start getting the turkeys here used to new sitters. We're just trying to figure out who."
Christian smiled. "Well, I can tell you that one candidate has dropped out of the running. Dori Ichino got an offer from Jeremy to babysit her little cousin Kylan while he and Holly are working, according to news bulletins I received from Jonathan; so now it's down to Brianna Harding or Noelle Tokita."
"Oh boy," Leslie murmured. "I'm beginning to wish something like that would come up for one of them too. I can't stand the idea of having to choose between them. It'd be easier to pick Brianna, just because she happens to live right across the street, but I think Noelle would be crushed. Myeko's told me several times that Noelle can't wait to get to know the triplets, in the hope of taking over Haruko's job."
Christian sat up straight. "You know, I think I just found the answer. It was when you mentioned that Brianna's across the street. It seems to me that, if Grady and Maureen don't object, the children could spend the days at the Hardings' house under Brianna's supervision, say, during what would be normal school hours. On weekends, while they're here with us, Noelle could take over sitting duties. Unless Haruko objects, we could begin next Tuesday, so that we can get the changes started."
"Why can't Ingrid stay with us and we get to play with our own stuff at home?" asked Karina, looking alarmed.
"You'll be going to kindergarten in another year, sweetie," Leslie explained. "I think it's time that you and your brother and sister get used to leaving home for a while every day. Brianna's nice, and besides, you'll get to play with April, remember?"
"Yeah, that's right," Susanna said, beaming. "I like that. Can we do that, Mommy?"
"We have to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Harding about it, but I hope we can," Leslie said, smiling at her. "And Ingrid will be here only one more year anyway." She caught Roarke's questioning expression. "Her boyfriend back in Lilla Jordsö proposed to her, so she let it be known that once the triplets start school, she's going back home. Anyway, Christian, that sounds like a great solution if Grady and Maureen don't mind."
Christian nodded, falling silent for a few moments while Roarke and Leslie talked a little business regarding the forthcoming weekend. Then he observed during a lull, "It's going to be a very strange year. With Haruko graduating and leaving the island, and the potential babysitters vying for the position, and the possible schedule changes…perhaps it's best that I'm working only part-time now."
Leslie smiled and squeezed his hand. "Consider it another phase in our lives. By the way, Katsumi invited us to come see Haruko graduate, so we have a little date tonight."
"I expect that should bring back memories for you, Leslie," Roarke remarked.
"I don't doubt it," she agreed, laughing. "Has it really been twenty-five years? I'm surprised none of us has heard anything about a reunion yet."
"I expect you will," Roarke assured her. "You have the whole summer before you. In the meantime, let's eat; there is yet plenty to do."
§ § § - May 31, 2008
"Smiles, everyone, smiles!" Roarke urged, as he still did without fail each Saturday morning. "Remember, it's important that our guests feel welcome." He motioned to the band and glanced at Leslie, who straightened her stance beside him, before turning his attention to the seaplane that had just moored at the dock. The cabin hatch popped open, and a young native attendant reached in to give a hand to a sweet-faced African-American woman at least ten years Leslie's junior, wearing large-lensed glasses and a brightly colored dress with a full, swirly skirt. "Miss Kalora Calhoun, all the way from Wilmington, Delaware."
"Long trip," Leslie commented. "What's her fantasy?"
"One that I am sure has crossed the mind of everyone ever born, sooner or later. She wishes to go back in time to…to advise her younger self."
Leslie noticed the odd tone in Roarke's voice and eyed him curiously. "What do you mean, 'advise'? And why would she want to do that?"
Roarke chuckled, shaking his head a little. "I suspect for the same reasons anyone else would want to. Miss Calhoun says she often finds herself in awkward social situations, and has sometimes been the butt of taunts and cruel practical jokes. She feels that her responses to those instances were, uh…'very lame' was the phrase she used. As with most people, she often dreamed up much better ripostes long after the fact, when it was too late for them to be effective."
Suddenly Leslie understood. "Aha. And she wants to revisit those occasions so she can tell herself what to do when she experiences those taunts and things again."
"Exactly," said Roarke. "However, she may well be let down." He released a small sigh and shifted his attention back to the dock, introducing the next fantasy which belonged to a set of siblings who wanted to experience for themselves the trials and tribulations of their great-great-grandparents' immigration to the United States from Germany; but Leslie knew where her interest lay. Kalora Calhoun looked eager and excited, and Leslie hoped Roarke's last observation in regard to her fantasy would be wrong.
"My dear guests!" her father called then, raising his glass in salute. "I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island!" The German-descent siblings, four of them, raised their drinks in return, and so did Kalora Calhoun, her eyes shining brightly behind her glasses. Leslie smiled at her, anticipating their introductory chat at the main house.