“Love & Friendship”, Ch. 22: Taking Kaitlyn to School on Monday Morning, January 31st, 1/28/13 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #352)
British actor Richard Armitage as Robert and American actress Diane Lane as Lydia, the 1940’s child actress Margaret O’Brien as Kaitlyn, Alfre Woodward as Social Worker Marla Washington, and others.] [(1ab) Story Logo]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Love & Friendship” is a romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap: Lydia, Robert, and Kaitlyn had a lovely first Sunday together as a family–french toast, church, sledding and such. Marla had also admonished Lydia and Robert to remember that they need to be on their best behavior and not complain to the foster care workers about Kaitlyn’s prior living conditions if they want to keep her–which they do. And taking Kaitlyn to school for the first time on Monday morning will prove to be amusing.
“Love & Friendship”, Ch. 22: Taking Kaitlyn to School on Monday Morning, January 31st
For now, Foster Parent Case Worker Marla Washingong and the Kensington’s feels it’s best for Kaitlyn to continue her schooling at the Foster Homes’ School Center until they see if her placement with Lydia and Robert is a permanent one. Kaitlyn will see the kids she’s used to being around and it will provide some continuity for her. So, Robert and Lydia drive Kaitlyn to her school and meet her teacher and the other kids on Monday morning.
Marla [(2) right] is at school this morning because—as they learned Sunday afternoon from Kaitlyn—her teacher is showing Robert’s tv movie about love amidst the backdrop of England’s industrial revolution for history classes this week. And Marla wants to make sure that the teacher, Mrs. Greene, doesn’t make too much of a fuss about Kaitlyn’s foster daddy being the actor in the film. Lydia and Robert and Kaitlyn arrive at the school around 8:00am to meet Marla who shows them around the school. Then at 8:10am—a few minutes before the other kids arrive—Marla introduces them to Kaitlyn’s teacher.
MarlaW: “Mrs. Greene, hello. As you know, Kaitlyn has been placed for a foster family home visit this week. And these are her foster parents, Lydia and Robert Kensington.”
Mrs. Greene: Not looking up from trying to find something on her desk—because she’s used to meeting foster parents—she says distractedly. “Lovely, it’s nice to meet you.” Then Mrs. Greene looks up, she sees Robert, and she almost becomes a frozen statue.
Lydia: While maintaining her smile at Mrs. Greene, Lydia whisper to Robert under her breath as leans over to him. “Do you always have this effect on women?”
Robert: Also whispering back to Lydia. “Hey, they keep me working.” Then he tries to break the ice. “Mrs. Green, it’s lovely to meet you. I’m Robert and this is my wife Lydia. We’re the Kensingtons.”
MarlaW: “Robert, I think she knows that.” Marla looks over at him wondering why he always introduces himself. Of course, Lydia wonders about the same thing. And both women smile knowingly at each other.
Kaitlyn: Kaitlyn [(3) right] quizzically looks up at her teacher. “Mrs. Greene, didn’t you hear? This is my new foster Mummy and Daddy.” Kaitlyn says swinging her foster parents’ hands that she’s holding.
MarlaW: Leaning over to Mrs. Greene, Marla whispers under her breath. “Mrs. Greene, are you going to breathe, or do we need to call for the paramedics?”
Mrs. Greene: “Oh, I am so sorry.” She says finally regaining her composure—and closing her open mouth. “You know, it’s such a coincidence. We’re showing your movie this week for our history unit about the industrial revolution.”
Robert: “So we were told by Kaitlyn.” He smiles wincing a bit embarrassedly.
Kaitlyn: “Yes, I told Daddy that I thought a movie about cotton would be boring. But that you said it was really a love story.”
Mrs. Greene: “Yes, well, it is Kaitlyn. But that love story is also about people coming from two different worlds, but finding common ground and falling in love.”
Kaitlyn: “Oh, like Mummy and Daddy since they came from different countries?”
Lydia: “Kind of, Kaitlyn Sweetie. But I’m sure Mrs. Greene will explain the culture clash more as you and your classmates watch the movie. Now remember, though Daddy’s character starts out seeming mean, he gets nicer by the end–when he’s in love.”
Kaitlyn: “Daddy, did you get nicer when you met Mummy?” Kaitlyn asks sweetly.
Lydia; Lydia chuckles. “Ha ha ha.”
Robert: Robert rolls his eyes at Lydia. Then he continues explaining helpfully to Kaitlyn. “Kaitlyn, actors tell a story. They’re not really being themselves. So, though it might be confusing at first, try to remember that the way the character behaves at the beginning of the story is not really me.”
Kaitlyn: “Okay, I’ll try.”
Lydia: “So, are you seeing the miniseries over several days?”
Mrs. Greene: “Yes. One hour each day. Then on Friday the kids are going to do an art project to go with their daily writing projects in class about the movie.”
MarlaW: “Well that sounds very interesting. You’ll have to tell us how it turns out. I’ve already given the school Lydia and Robert’s contact information. Lydia and Robert, the school day ends at 3:30pm. So, you’ll want to be back here about 3:15pm just so Kaitlyn doesn’t get inadvertently herded onto the Foster Home bus by mistake.”
Kaitlyn makes a startled face at Lydia.
Lydia: “Not a problem, we’ll be here.” Lydia smiles down at Kaitlyn—who looks relieved—as Lydia caresses Kaitlyn’s face.
Robert: “Yes, we will. Well, it was lovely to meet you Mrs. Greene. I guess we’ll be seeing you around the school.”
Lydia: “Kaitlyn, here is the extra copy of our picture together from Saturday for you to give to Susie. Now, you’ll have to tell us all about school today when we pick you up.” She waves to Kaitlyn who is walking over to her classmates.
Kaitlyn: “I will.” She waves smiling. Then Kaitlyn runs back to Robert and Lydia and falls into their legs hugging them. “I love you Mummy and Daddy.”
Robert and Lydia: Robert and Lydia kneel down and hug Kaitlyn with tears in their eyes. “And we love you, Kaitlyn.” Then they kiss Kaitlyn’s forehead and she runs over to meet her friends—waving back at her Mummy and Daddy as she reaches her school mates.
MarlaW: “Kaitlyn is an adorable little girl.”
Lydia: “Yes, we think so.” She says sighing and Robert nods his head.
Mrs. Greene. “Well, we’ll see you at the end of the school day.”
Robert: “See you later.” He waves as he and Lydia walk out of the classroom.
Lydia and Robert are on pins and needles all day long waiting to pick up Kaitlyn after school on Monday. Though they had some creative meetings to attend, their minds were elsewhere. They are new and eager parents and want to do everything just right. As soon as they mention their newly foster parent state to their colleagues, they are awash in parental advice form their colleagues. Lydia finds this very amusing, because the more upper crust and wealthy an upbringing these colleagues had themselves, the less parent time they had–being raised mostly by nannies and then they were sent to elite boarding schools. And they have continued that pattern with their own children. So some of their colleagues’ parenting advice is spotty at best.
Robert attended a prestigious private day school as a child, but lived at home. Both Lydia and Robert have decided that they do not want to become parents only to pack Kaitlyn off to a boarding school–however helpful the connections that she might make there would be for her. And, of course, Kaitlyn’s HIV status also makes Lydia and Robert want to make sure that she receives the best medical care possible under their watchful and loving care.
Kaitlyn looks askance at Robert when they pick her up from school. Kaitlyn and her classmates had watched episode one–where Robert’s character appears arrogant, aloof, and mean.
Kaitlyn: “Mummy?” Kaitlyn leans in and whispers to Lydia sitting with her in the back seat of the car–since she is still small enough that front seat air bags would be a hazard to her, so she sits in the back.
Lydia: “Yes, Kaitlyn.” She smiles warmly as she puts her arm around Kaitlyn’s shoulders.
Kaitlyn: “Daddy was sure mean in the movie today.” Kaitlyn’s eyes are wide and her lips are pursed in a pout.
Lydia: “Now remember, we said that Daddy was acting. He isn’t mean in real life. Well, you know, you have been around him for two days.”
Kaitlyn: “Uh huh.” She nods as she looks at the back of his head.
Robert: After he maneuvers their car out of the heavier rush hour traffic that Robert had been concentrating on, he joins their conversation. “How was your first day of school, Kaitlyn?” He asks, forgetting that Kaitlyn has been going to school all along. It is just Kaitlyn’s first day going to school as a member of their family.
Kaitlyn: “The usual.” She pauses, wanting to ask him, but a little scared, too. She says hesitantly. “We watched your movie.”
Robert: “How did you like it?” His eyes continuing looking forward because he is driving. But he glances in his rear view mirror and he sees Kaitlyn blanche. “Oh that’s right.” Now he blanches. “I guess that they probably didn’t cut out the beating scene–even for your age group.”
Kaitlyn: “Why did you beat that man, Daddy?” She asks quietly. She has heard tales that kids in foster care have told her about kids being hit by grownups. And she is a little afraid. Child abuse [(4)] is an all too common occurrence for some children.
Robert: Robert can hear the fear in Kaitlyn’s voice and he and Lydia exchange looks in the rear view mirror. Knowing that him launching into a theatrical analysis of the character motivations and how they will be transformed at the end won’t help. So Robert answers her fears directly. “I didn’t really beat him, Kaitlyn. The other actor and I were acting. No one was hurt. But my character was wrong to beat that man, Kaitlyn. Yes, he should have fired the man for smoking in the mill and risking all of their lives if a fire had started. But there is never a reason to hit anyone else.”
Kaitlyn: “Never?” She asks, just to make sure.
Robert: “Never.” He says with ultimate finality.
Lydia: “Never.” She reaffirms Robert’s answer. And she feels the tension easing from little Kaitlyn’s shoulders.
Kaitlyn: “Good.” She sighs, relieved to hear that the two adults caring for her now–and whom she hopes might keep her as their daughter–don’t believe that beating is right.
Lydia: Then Lydia assures Kaitlyn that she will start liking the main character that Daddy soon. “You know Kaitlyn, Daddy’s character begins to fall in love in episode two that you will see tomorrow. The woman he loves is compassionate and of strong character. Her kind hearted influence will forever change his life.”
Robert: “But, it will take her a while to realize that she loves him, too.”
Kaitlyn: “Was that the way love happened between you and Daddy, Mummy?”
Lydia: Lydia smiles, because Kaitlyn had fallen asleep Sunday night long before Robert finished telling her about their love story. “Actually Kaitlyn, I knew that I loved Daddy, but he took a while to figure it out.” She teasingly looks in the rear view mirror at Robert as they turn onto the lane where they live.
Kaitlyn: “Daddy, why didn’t you know that you loved Mummy?”
Lydia: “I would like to hear that one myself, Robert. You never actually told me.”
Robert: Gulping in some air as he drives their car into the garage–feeling put on the spot by his wife and daughter’s interrogation–he parks the car and turns off its engine. “Hhhh!”
Kaitlyn: “Daddy?” She queries as they clamber out of the car and she pulls on her heavy book bag.
Robert: Trying to distract her for a minute, he asks. “What have they put in your book bag? Rocks?” He lifts it up for her and feels its weight.
Kaitlyn: She looks up at him curiously. “No Daddy, … books are in my book bag.”
Lydia: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” She can’t help tittering at Robert’s obtuseness. “Oh Robert. You walked right into that one.”
Kaitlyn: “What do you mean, Mummy? Daddy didn’t walk into anything?”
Lydia: “I mean the humor of the situation. Daddy is more of the straight man in a comedy duo. He doesn’t make jokes.”
Robert: “I don’t know why I can’t remember jokes?” He says as they turn off the garage lights and head inside. “’The only joke I remember is A blond walks into a bar. You’d a thought she’d have seen it.’” [(5)] He says with no vocal inflection whatsoever. Lydia and Kaitlyn stare at him.
Robert: “See what I mean?” He holds his hands out and shrugs his shoulders. “Hhhh!” Lydia tries not to laugh at his joke telling ineptness. Then he tries once more, but with some vocal emphasis, facial expressions, and gestures [(6) right] this time. “‘A blond walks into a bar. You’d a thought she’d have seen it.’”[(5)]
Lydia: She can no longer contain her amusement at his admitted lack of joke telling ability. “Oh Robert. Give it up, fella. Ha!” Then she sees his pouty face and she leans in and gives him a hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll still love you.” She kisses him on the lips.
Kaitlyn: Joining the family hug by putting her arms around their legs, she chimes in. “Me too!” Then she remembers something. “Daddy, why didn’t you know you that loved Mummy at first?” Kids have rock solid memories when it comes to making adults squirm at answering their questions.
Robert: “Well.” He shrugs his shoulders sheepishly.
Lydia: “Well?” She smiles at him mischievously.
Robert: “I felt … Hhh! Lydia, I felt that you were … you are so beautiful, and funny, and talented, and the sweetest and kindest and most loving lady whom I have ever known, that you were way out of my league romantically. And I didn’t think that I had a chance that you might love me back. But blessedly, you did … you do.” He says achingly sincerely, then he kisses her softly with tears in his eyes.
Lydia: Her eyes tearing up, Lydia [(7) right] lovingly gazes at Robert for a few moments–not trusting herself not to start balling like a baby were she to speak. Then she caresses Robert’s face. “Robert my love, you really hit that one out of the ball park.”[(8)] They kiss tenderly again.
Kaitlyn: Not having heard all of her foster parents lovingly whispered exchange, she tugs at their coats. “What did you say to Daddy, Mummy?
Lydia: “See Kaitlyn? Daddy’s kind and loving remark to me is why he doesn’t have to be funny–because being kind and loving wins over being funny any day of the week.” Robert and Lydia gaze at each other adoringly.
Kaitlyn: “Oh! Okay.” She nods her head agreeably.
Then after Lydia and her chopper Robert put a casserole dinner on to cook, they help Kaitlyn with her paragraph essay homework about the movie. And Lydia and Robert do get an earful from Kaitlyn about her impression of the industrial revolution mini-series movie Kaitlyn’s class is watching this week–dusty, dirty, dark. The words were on her vocabulary list for the movie that she has to use in her essay. Homework is followed by a yummy meal, a board game, bath, and a bedtime story.
Then, after kissing an already sleeping good night Kaitlyn, Robert and Lydia slowly walk into their bedroom where they sweetly, tenderly, lovingly, and adoringly make love together. Eventually they also fall asleep–exhausted from their first day of school as a family. Their world is just about perfect. But it will soon, get even better.
To be continued with Chapter 23
1) The Love & Friendship” story logo is a composite of two images:
a) British Actor Richard Armitage in a December 2010 Promo portrait found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2010Promo/album/20Dec2010-Perou-03.jpg; and
b) American Actress Diane Lane at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diane_Lane_%28Berlin_Film_Festival_2011%29_2.jpg
2) Marla Washington image is that of actress Alfre Woodard and was found at
3) Image of Kaitlyn is that of 1940’s child actress Margaret O’Brien in starring in “Meet Me In St. Louis” (1944) and was found at http://www.threemoviebuffs.com/assets/images/review_images/meetmeinstlouis2.jpg
5) Joke quotes were from the interview video“Max 60 Seconds with Richard Armitage (The Hobbt)” by Cinemax and was found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLIK-DREmJA&feature=youtu.be
6) Robert Image is Richard Armitage portrait #6 by Victoria Will during his NYC Hobbit Press tour and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/NYHobbitPromo/album/NYC-VictoriaWill-06.jpg
7) Image representing Lydia Baker is that of actress Diane Lane and was found at http://www.stylezza.com/uploads/articles/savannah_xgom.jpg
8) “Hit that one out of the ball park.” is an American idiom referring to do something really well. It may also be found at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hit_one_out_of_the_ballpark
Previous Story Link to Ch. 21 is: