“Hello, Dr. Shimmer,” says William Golde into the phone. “Julia has opted to forego further chemotherapy and would like to enroll in Hospice. That last course has really worn her out, and you know she has lost so much weight, her strength is not what it used to be.”
“I understand, Mr. Golde. I will send the Hospice nurse out to see her today. She has a promising young doctor with her this month, a Dr. Steele.”
“I will let Julia know to expect them.”
“Daddy! When did you get home?” asks Leslie. She and her sister Carrie rush into the house.
“I’ve only just arrived, my little plumpkins,” says Carl. “My how you’ve both grown. What have you been up to? We have lots of catching up to do.”
“Carrie and I are following in Mama’s footsteps. We’ve been practicing some new dance routines. We’d make you proud.”
“And it’s good money, too,” says Carrie.
“Although they never seem to have any on hand,” says Melanie.
“Oh, mom. You know we can’t perform in dingy clothes,” says Leslie.
“Well, it’s time my girls have nice clothes, and not just for dancing,” says Carl.
“What do you mean?” asks Carrie. “How?”
“I mean it’s time for a change of career.”
“But we love dancing. After all, that’s how mom met you,” says Leslie.
“Yes, but look at where she is now. I want my girls to catch bigger fish.”
“I wonder what Amanda will say when she finds out we’ve bought the Brighton News,” says Frank Steele to his wife, Carol.
“Well, I hope she doesn’t feel we’re moving in to her personal space. After all, she left Clearwater to be independent of us.”
“Yes, but she’s had four years and we hardly saw her during that time.”
“She never had much free time with all her studying. And she never felt we approved of what she was doing.”
“Well, she’s not going to have much free time now either. But I do want to see her…occasionally, at least. She’s my baby.”
“We’ll need to tell her before it hits the news.”
“Hi, Julia. How are you feeling today?” asks Sylvia Silverman.
Julia is propped up in bed, looking lethargic.
“Terrible. At times, I wish I was already dead.”
“Do you hurt much?”
“Some, but I am so weak and fatigued. I have no energy to even eat.”
“I won’t stay long. I don’t want to tire you out.”
“I’m glad you came. I wanted to ask a favor of you, my best friend through thick and thin. I want you to watch over my kids, keep them out of trouble.”
“Julia, your children are all grown up, young men and women with lives of their own. They don’t wish to have an old woman like me tell them what to do.”
“You are not old. Like me, you are only middle-aged. You will be the new queen of society when I’m gone. And I will be happy for you, wherever I am. You deserve it after being in my shadow all these years.”
“I can never be like you, you know.”
“Perhaps not, but my children respect you. I worry about their future and the future of the company.”
“Tracy is an extremely competent young woman and Marie is very smart. Your boys just need some time to grow up right now.”
“Marie is very rash at times. Her impulsiveness can get her into trouble. Tracy is wonderful but she is so far away, handling our business overseas.”
“Perhaps, it’s time to call her home.”
“Not yet. She would only worry about me. We need her over there right now. Hopefully, she will keep the business running after I’m gone.”
“She also has her father and uncles to help.”
“Hmm. Men are so unreliable sometimes.”
“Are you still worrying yourself about William’s past lovers?”
“Not past. Future. What if he marries some little tramp who will try to take everything away?”
“Haven’t you made arrangements to prevent that?”
“Not really. Never needed to. But I don’t want William to think I don’t trust him.”
“Whether you trust him or not is not the issue. If you want to protect your children’s best interests, you should make arrangements for them.”
“You’re right. Can you send Michael to see me?”
“But Michael’s hardly experienced in these matters.”
“But Michael’s the only one I trust.”