It was one of those blessed times when not much of note was going on in the Archies’ lives. The big event of the week was Eileen’s old bike breaking down on her just as she arrived that morning. She worked late that day in Archies’ modern kitchen baking for a fundraising drive being held at her church. When she finished the baking, and it was time for her to leave, Kelly loaded the bike into his truck and drove Eileen home. On arriving one of her sons, unloaded the bike, and set to repairing it, assuring Kelly that it would be back in service when Eileen came to work the next morning.
When Kelly returned from dropping Eileen off at her home, he found Genevieve in the master bedroom packing her suitcase under Alexis’ close supervision. He watched the charming vision for a few moments before walking in and asking, “Well, are you about ready for your trip to New York?”
“Yes, it’s the last of it!” she said, running a graceful hand over the suitcase, not very worried that the lid didn’t quite close, knowing that her husband would work his magic on it before she was ready to leave.
“Daddy, I helped Mommy,” announced Alexis, proudly. “Mommy said that she couldn’t have done it without me.”
“That is wonderful, sweetheart,” said Kelly, thinking that with Alexis’ help, the suitcase might not be in such disarray when he went to repack it.
“Alexis, you were a really big help, but now you need to go get ready for bed. When you are in bed, call out and we will come tuck you in!” said Genevieve, running the same graceful hand over, this time, her daughter’s perpetually messy hair, in affection, not with any hope of bringing order to the platinum tresses.
“Yes, mommy,” said Alexis, scampering out of her parents’ room, glad that her mother didn’t mention a bath. Alexis didn’t mind baths when she was really dirty, but she loathed them when she spent the day inside. Long forgotten to her was the morning spent taking care of Cheyenne and reading to the barn cats huddled up in the hay listening to the rain on the barn’s tin roof.
“Genevieve, it is so good to see you so strong again. Though I am going to miss you like the dickens, It makes me so happy to see you getting back to your normal life,” said Kelly, once Alexis made herself scarce, and taking his wife into his arms, a light shiver going up his back as the thought of how close he came to losing her.
The next afternoon, Genevieve found herself at the airport in New York. As she walked out of the gate she saw that Bennie, who came in on an earlier flight, was waiting for her holding up a sign lettered roughly, “G.R. Davis”.
“How are you doing my funny boy?” Genevieve greeted him, with a quick hug, noting the envious glances of the other women around the gate, as they gazed at Bennie. “Here take the claim tags for the luggage. I will meet you at the curb shortly.”
“Sure thing boss; same suitcase as normal?” asked Bennie, and received a nod before Genevieve turned to find the ladies’ room, taking with her the carry-on bag.
When Genevieve rejoined Bennie, who was standing on the curb by her suitcase, gone was the plaid cotton shirtwaist dress that she traveled in, replaced by a stylish gold brocade dress and jacket, with a distinctly Asian look. The light hand she normally used with makeup was augmented just enough to take away the farm fresh look from her face. Bennie was always amazed that she was able to redress her hair in the ladies room. While still wearing her long hair up, she took it down from the tight bun she wore when he saw her at the gate and put it back up again, in a softer style that reminded him of Tippi Hedren, in The Birds. “Wow, you look great! I love that dress. Where did you get it?”
“Oh, it was a gift from Madeleine. She ordered it custom made for me in Hong Kong. I am very lucky to have a sister who is the exact same size as me. No tailoring was needed,” said Genevieve, happy to be back in New York again.
“You know, I have always wondered why you keep your hair so long. Doesn’t it make dressing it to look modern a lot harder?” asked Bennie, thinking how cute his boss would look with a haircut like Jackie Kennedy’s.
“You are right. Even if I cut off half of it, it would be a lot easier. The problem is that in the battle between my husband and my sister, Kelly thinks of my long hair as his personal victory. So as you see, I can’t cut it and let Madeleine win,” said Genevieve, smiling at the futility of the family feud, as she waved for a cab to pull over to the curb.
It was a busy few days in New York. Genevieve’s year long absence didn’t go unnoticed, and she was welcomed back into the New York art scene with a round of parties and receptions, which punctuated her meetings with art dealers and gallery owners. She was sorry that her young muse could only attend one party, since he was busy with his own concerns.
Though Bennie gained a certain amount of fame as the muse of G.R. Davies, his acting career wasn’t as steady. Though he gained critical acclaim for his few off Broadway roles, things seemed to have stalled. After his disappointment at losing his first movie role, people had been very kind to him, and made an extra effort to smooth his path. They took it personally when he dropped out of the western. He found to his horror that even Off-Broadway turned its back on him, as being tainted by Hollywood, since his name had been associated with two movie deals.
Out in Hollywood, the agents wouldn’t touch him because the word was out that he broke his contract for the movie that should have made his career. Though through no fault of his own he lost the first roll, which could be forgiven, but to turn down the second, when it was his for the asking, labeled him as unreliable. He found himself starting over at the advanced age of 20-years-old. He found himself on the grind again, auditioning for soap operas and commercials for TV; only to find that there too he was not wanted.
Too cheer him up after the hard week of being told not to call that he would be called if he was needed, Genevieve took the star struck Bennie, to see the new movie, which just opened in the city, Dr. No, starring the fabulous Sean Connery.
They both enjoyed the action packed adventure, though neither of them would remember the second feature, in years to come when they spoke of that magical night. When Bennie walked out of the movie house with Genevieve on his arm, he assured himself that one day he would be walking out of premier with an equally stunning woman at his side, as flash bulbs popped.
Before leaving Bennie in New York to continue his auditions, Genevieve accompanied him to Abrahams’ Place, where his room was always waiting for him. Eitan welcomed her as if she never moved away and assured her that should she ever need to come back she would always be welcome.
“Oh, Eitan, as much as I loved living here, and practically growing up here, I have to be getting home to my husband and child,” said Genevieve, as she gave Bennie and Eitan a hug goodbye before retreating to the curb where a taxi awaited to take her to the airport.
Back in Misty, Texas, Genevieve couldn’t wait for Dr. No to come to the Misty Movie House, so she could take her husband to see it. When the movie opened in other Texas towns in early May, she didn’t pay attention to it, but after seeing it with Bennie she was excited to see how Kelly would respond to it, but cautioned her husband that it wasn’t the sort of movie they could take Alexis to. She arranged a double date for her and Kelly with Mae and Woodrow, to see the movie.
When the day came they took Alexis to the Cooper’s house, where she would spend the night with Woody, sharing the same sitter, since Eileen Griffin was going to the movies with her husband that night, and couldn’t look after Alexis. The two couples, in spite of their ages, were like teenagers at the movie, cutting up with each other and stealing each other’s popcorn. After the sodas and popcorn were finished and the credits rolled, the two couples wandered out into the muggy Texas night, chattering about the merits of the film they just saw. Genevieve’s party ran into Mr. and Mrs. Giffin outside the movie house.
“That was some movie!” said Eileen, still feeling the excitement of the experience. “But you know that part, where he and the girl … Well, it seemed like they handled that all wrong!”
“Oh, Eileen, I saw the movie in New York when I was there last, and you are right. There was a whole scene that had been cut out of the movie we saw tonight, and whoever cut it out did a very bad job, making the whole thing not make sense.” Genevieve informed her.
“Are you meaning to tell me that Melvin Guest is censoring our movies?” gasped Eileen, realizing that the owner of the movie house was doing a little censoring to keep the movies inline with his own sense of decorum.
“Genevieve, are you sure?” asked Kelly, his arm around his wife’s willowy waist, wishing that she hadn’t worn heels so high, making her superior height so noticeable.
“I am quite sure,” said Genevieve, so bothered with him for questioning her statement that she rested her chin on his head, which she knew he didn’t like, but with witnesses he refrained from recoiling.
“Well, I don’t think it is right,” said Eileen, with determination, “Do you think we should complain to Melvin Guest about it?”
“No, mama, I think we shouldn’t complain, but we should write him a letter giving him notice that cutting our movies is cutting the value of them, and that for now on we will just drive to Tyler or Terrell to see movies where the owner will not cheat us,” said the normally taciturn Mr. Giffin, to the sock of the Archies.
“Kelly I am surprised at you,” said Genevieve, taking advantage of Alexis’ sleepover to be less than modestly dressed while enjoying a cocktail in the living room with her husband, after dropping the Coopers off at their house.
“How is that my dear? What have I done that surprises you?” asked Kelly, leaning back sipping his martini.
“I would have thought you would be up in arms about the censorship of the movie tonight,” she remarked.
“Well, I considered it, but I suddenly realized that you and I might like a bit of censorship of movies when Alexis becomes a teenager,” commented Kelly.
“Oh, you! You know how to get to me. You are right, the scene isn’t one I would like Alexis to see if she were ten years older either,” admitted Genevieve.