Deleted Scenes from Melinda's Journal, beginning right after she and Steven are married:
The next entry jumped almost two weeks. Genevieve checked to make sure there hadn’t been any pages torn from the book. Every page was intact, but as she flipped through to the end of the book, the entry dates were sporadic, not like they had been before her marriage.
I’ll be showing soon. I have a feeling it will be too hard to hide here, in Phoenix. Friends are popping by, and it’s just a matter of time before they notice. It would be easy if I were going to keep the baby. I’d just say Steven and I started our family early. But I’m not. I still know the baby will be loved much better if I let it go. I felt a flutter in my belly yesterday. I wish I could love this baby, I do.
Steven blindfolded me this afternoon and drove me for what seemed like an hour—probably because he gave me no idea of what he was doing. He kept saying, “Patience, Melinda, patience.
When we stopped, he came around and opened my door to help me out. Then he took the blindfold off. There, a mansion stood before me! A brand-new, huge mansion and Steven told me was ours! Leading me around, I know I’m going to get lost in this place, I just know it! There are ten bedrooms, ten bathrooms, two offices, a humongous kitchen, separate pantry, laundry room, living room, dining room, and a foyer that is larger than my first apartment! What is Steven planning for I wonder, buying a place this gigantic?
He said we could move in any time and it could be my hideout while I decorate it and make the house our home! I like the idea, hiding in plain sight…sort of anyway. We’ll be living on the outskirts of Scottsdale now, but no one will know. I only hope I can stand the loneliness of not seeing my friends.
We just finished moving everything we had into what Steven is calling, ‘The Estate.’ Although the grounds are vast, there’s very little on them other than a tree here and there. Steven showed me the plans, however. The cowboy-at-heart is planning to build a large stable and soon. He said he has big plans for it. I’m not sure I’ll enjoy horses or not as I’ve never even been near one.
Also, he showed me his plan for a beautiful pool, and a greenhouse, since he said I have such luck with plants. But Steven, honey! That’s all it’s been, dumb luck. I hope he won’t be wasting his money on such a frivolous thing.
I have been feeling more and more flutters now. If only this were Steven’s baby. I know he’d be so happy to have children of our own.
Genevieve felt her lip tremble. Why didn’t you? What happened?
June 21, 1955
I met with Linda and Amy for lunch today. I’ve begun wearing maternity clothes at home now, but for today, I wore the one dress left in my closet that still fits comfortably. I found the huge, bright red and yellow flower design also worked quite well at camouflaging the bulge in my tummy.
Since the three of us have modeled, often together, through the years, we’ve grown quite close. These luncheons have always been our way to commiserate or congratulate, usually both. There was a time, early on, when I first knew I was pregnant, that I was tempted to tell the girls. But I was afraid they’d leak the news to others, and it would eventually get back to Godfrey.
So, I planned just to have some fun together today, and get caught up on the latest industry gossip—as they do love the gossip, okay, I do too!
Lunch started as usual, with who’s doing what, and catty remarks about rivals stepping on their toes, both literally and figuratively. I sat with a smile, happy to be distanced from all of it.
At one point, Amy mentioned what she called “a wonderful glow” about me. Then Linda smiled, saying if she had a husband as handsome as Steven, she’d be shining like a neon light. That girl always makes me laugh!
We were about half finished with lunch, when Linda asked Amy if she knew a photographer named Godfrey.
I held my breath, and dread filled my body.
Amy had a blank look and shook her head. Then Linda looked at me and asked the same thing. My mind started racing! Did she know? Did she work with him? Did he say something or do something? I didn’t know how to answer.
So, playing it safe, I said I thought I might have modeled for him once, but I wasn’t sure. “Why,” I asked as noncommittal as I could, “Do you know him?”
Nodding, Linda said she had done some catalog shoots for him about a year prior. Then she got this “I have some dirty scoop” look on her face. She had heard that he got arrested in Mexicali, Mexico, for gun-running!”
I almost laughed, telling her that sounded like fiction. But Linda shook her head, saying she’d heard it straight from Gwendolyn (another model) and her own agent as well. They confirmed it happened almost two months ago. Then Linda leaned in, and, after exaggerating a shiver, murmured, “I shudder at the danger we could have been in…so close to a criminal like that!”
I began feeling nauseous. Nothing she said made any sense. I wanted to leave at that point, so I needed to tell them what I had planned to say and get out of there.
I quickly changed the subject and said I would be leaving town for a while. That Steven and I loved Hawaii so much, we were going back for an extended honeymoon and might even live there for six months or so.
Although seemingly a bit jealous, they found it believable. Now, I’m just hoping a few other friends, and Liv will believe it as well.
I keep thinking about Linda’s story. Could Godfrey have been a gunrunner too? I know absolutely nothing about him, nor will I, ever! But the story seems outlandish. If he truly is in a Mexican prison somewhere, then he’s right where he belongs, and that is a comfort to me.
End of page.
Genevieve found the story odd at best. With the man a complete stranger, there could be any number of possibilities. Maybe Linda did find out what had happened to Melinda and made the story up to make her feel safe and secure? Maybe Godfrey really was an even bigger creep than anyone could’ve imagined. Maybe he had been blackmailed somehow and was forced into doing it. Maybe the man had been framed. There were just too many maybes to contemplate.
Suddenly, Genevieve’s eyes glazed over, Oh…no.
Flipping back several pages, Genevieve remembered Melinda mentioning a suspicion. She found it on the April 22nd entry. “…the change in his tone…a peculiar look.” Things that had made Melinda wonder about the man she was about to marry. That entry was two months before this one! Could the man I’ve called Father orchestrated such a scheme? God, there’s no one to talk to, no way to ever know for sure.
With her eyes darting from side to side, Genevieve tried to look at it from Steven’s vantage point: They were never going to get Godfrey on a rape charge. It would have eaten Father alive to know who the man was—what he’d done, and that he was still free to keep doing it. Any other man might even have resorted to something more…permanent. Genevieve had seen a fair share of cases where men let anger and revenge take them down a dark and dismal rabbit hole. Steven was creative, a problem solver, and certainly a man of action. That’s the reason he had been so incredibly successful. His thinking was always outside the box while everyone else got trapped inside it.
After pondering the, “What ifs” a while longer Genevieve realizing she may never have an answer and finally turned to the next page.
July 14, 1955
Steven has been gone for days, working in Las Vegas. I could have gone, but I would have been alone most the time, and the smoke at the casinos give me a headache, so I decided to be lonely here instead.
We now have a groundskeeper, Henry, who’s been working tirelessly, planting trees and watering the baby grass that’s popping up all around the estate. The maid, Josie, is sweet but keeps to herself, not much of a conversationalist.
It’s so hot. I don’t venture out much. Now that the stable is finally completed, Steven said the pool is next. I’m honestly looking forward to that! I wonder, how long does it take to build a pool anyway?
I spent an hour earlier today talking to Liv. She was pretty excited, saying Zeffran might be able to get home earlier than expected. Every time we talk, she brings up her plans to get pregnant—how she wants to make Zeffran happy and be a real family.
I went to the doctor last week, and he says everything looks good. I feel the baby’s movements more now, just little kicks.
I sometimes wonder what Steven thinks when he sees me this way. We decided before he left that it was time to move forward with the adoption since that’s what I wanted.
My only want is to know this baby will be loved by a couple ready for parenthood, where there is no past to contemplate. A clean slate where their first cherished memory will be the day the baby is born and placed into their anxious hands. Am I wrong to feel this would be best?
I made an appointment for next Thursday.
End of page.
Genevieve could feel Melinda’s self-imposed isolation and guilt getting stronger. Sometimes Genevieve had to remind herself it all happened sixty years ago, before she was ever born. Yet Melinda’s raw emotions never felt more current as the young bride penned her angst of the baby’s future and her roll in it.
July 18, 1955
Steven came home with a surprise for me, a puppy! Oh, my goodness she’s so cute. I’ve never had a pet before. She’s this little white Maltese fluff ball! She’s been running through the house, slipping and sliding, for an hour; piddled twice too. But now she’s on my lap, sleeping.
I needed this little one to focus on and distract me. God, I love that man, and this little princess.
I’ve been thinking of a name and Misty sounds perfect since I got that way when Steven put her furry body in my hands!
July 21, 1955
After filling out several pages on a questionnaire at the Tender Heart Adoption Agency, we met with Jennifer Todd, one of the consultants there. In the interview, she noticed I left the box empty that asked what the circumstances were in deciding this course of action. After I told her, she nodded and quietly asked if I knew who the father was. I said no. If I have my way, he’ll never be known to anyone. All I told her was that he was Caucasian.
She said the agency had three couples waiting for a Caucasian baby. However, since there was no background or information on the father, the couples may be hesitant to move forward.
When she said that, Steven stood up and said, “If they have that attitude and want a detailed pedigree, they aren’t the kind of couple we want for the baby anyway!” Then he took my hand and helped me from the chair. As we left the office, Steven told Jennifer to let us know by tomorrow, or we’ll go elsewhere.
When we got in the Chevy, Steven acted as if we’d just come from a pleasant day at the park. He turned the radio on and started serenading me with “Sh-Boom.” I didn’t let him see that it was bothering me, but I kept thinking about his term, “pedigree.” and began to feel his indignity as well.
He was right. It WILL be the couple that needs nothing more. Sight unseen, pedigree unknown—it won’t matter. But their desperate need for a child to love will. That’s the couple I want to have my baby. If it means going from agency to agency, that’s what we’ll do.
August 20, 1955
We’re filling the pool today. I took Misty, and we sat on the bottom step, watching the water slowly crawl up from the deep end. Feeling adventurous, she took a big jump off the step and ran to the water’s edge then yelped when it touched her paws…she’s such a scaredy-cat, uh, dog!
If I didn’t have that little ball of energy, I think I’d die of boredom. I do get out occasionally to shop, go to the doctor or see a movie with Steven, but I feel I have no purpose other than to be an incubator for this baby. What will I do once it’s born?
At least we found the baby’s parents now. It didn’t even take a day. Jennifer called within two hours after our appointment! She said the couple she talked with, had no questions other than when the baby was due. They have been waiting almost two years! They were stable with eleven years of marriage, had a mortgage, and a decent, steady income. Jennifer went on to say that they were both in their early thirty’s and couldn’t have children of their own. He was a grocery store manager, and she sold perfume and cosmetics for a company named Avon.
At the end of the call, Jennifer added, “They both screamed when I told them they would be parents by the end of October.”
It seems funny I know, but when I heard that, I felt happy and sad at the same time.
September 5, 1955
It’s Labor Day. Steven is cooking hot dogs on the barbecue and it smells heavenly. The grass is looking very good; thick and green! Henry is slowly moving outward, planting more and more.
Steven bought his first filly a few days ago. He named her Patience, after one of the attributes he said he loves about me. I never thought of myself in that way. But I suppose it’s best that I am, in my circumstance. She’s a beauty, jet black with a long mane and tail.
Genevieve smiled. Patience was Haddie’s mother. I never knew she had been Dad’s first horse or the reason behind her name. Patience was always very docile, more so than her spirited off-spring. But then, it was Haddie that helped to tame my rebellious attitude when I first arrived here. And in time, I was able to tame her. I still miss her.
Everyone has the day off today, so I took the raft and floated for a short while in the pool naked. It felt so good, free of the binding clothes. Steven decided to join me. Misty stood by the side of the pool barking and growling at him, thinking Steven was hurting me. But those moans, little girl, were quite the opposite!
Genevieve felt a bit like a voyeur since Melinda had never intended anyone to read her personal thoughts. But still, it was nice to know that their intimate relationship was healthy and playful now.
September 20, 1955
Steven came home to find me crying today. He tries so hard to keep my spirits up, but some days…
He said as soon as I was able, he’d like to take me back to Honolulu for a week, and from there—travel the world! I’ll be happy just going to see my sister at this point. I don’t think I noted this earlier, but she’s pregnant now, just like she planned. I think it would be nice to stay with her for a while before the baby is born. Zeffran will be gone again soon, and I know she’ll be lonely. Thank God I have Steven. I don’t know what would have become of me, had he not been in my life.
October 15, 1955
I got panicked this morning when I saw what I thought was blood on my underwear. I called the doctor, and after asking a few questions, he said it’s normal. It’s called lightening, he said, and it’s a sign that the baby will be coming very soon. I’m ready for this to be over but unbelievably scared. I know it’s done every day, but it seems so impossible. My belly is so big! At times I can’t stop trembling; it’s so close now.
End of page.
Genevieve remembered the “impossible” feeling also, before Ariella was born. But the circumstances were so different in every other way.
Genevieve knew that though Melinda didn’t think she would, she cared for the baby at this point, even loved it. She had had almost nine months of bonding. It happened slowly, with the little talks she gave it, the gentle caressing, as her hands moved along her swollen belly and the kicks she felt in response. It was natural. It was nature’s way of drawing them close.
And it was knowing what that power held, that made Melinda’s strength of resolve all that more incredible in Genevieve’s mind.
The next page was the final entry in the notebook.
October 29, 1955
It was a girl, seven pounds, four ounces. I always felt that was what I was carrying. I heard her cry, and I wanted to say I’d changed my mind. I wanted to hold her; to know what it felt like to be a mommy.
But, because the staff knew my circumstances, I never got to see her up close. After Dr. Monroe delivered her, he checked to make sure she was healthy; then the nurse took her away quickly. It was meant to ease the stressful situation.
I thought once I’d delivered, that I’d quickly resume my life as before. But her absence doesn’t feel real yet. It’s been a week now, and I still imagine feeling her stirring within me.
Do you even know I’m gone little one?
Do you miss me?
God, I hope you’re happy.
At least I know you’re loved, and I know I’ll survive this. Steven and I will be parents one day soon. I just need that patience he talks about.
I’ve decided this will be my last entry. I started writing as a child because I had no one that understood me. I could scream and cry with my words and it soothed me somehow. But I have that someone now. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable with him---Steven knows me. And he’s proven he’s strong enough to handle just about anything I throw his way.
Now it’s time for me to become the wife he deserves.
Copyright © Sheryl M. Frazer 2019