Trixie BeldenŽ is the registered trademark of Random House. This story is not for profit.
This story's title and the
lyrics featured in it come from the Neil Diamond song Sweet Caroline.
Thanks to Ann who encouraged me to write shorter, more manageable stories, and
to Leigh and Meagan who are always there to re-read and offer support.
Thanks so much ladies!
Margery Trask walked slowly along the
path that lead from Manor House to Crabapple farm. It was a change from
her normal brisk pace, but a heavy heart weighed her down and she couldn't coax
her body to move any faster.
It had only been a day since Edgar
Carver had left and she had been able to think of little else. It had been
many years since she had allowed herself to dream of a life with someone
special, and it had surprised her how this man had so quickly captured her
heart. But now he had gone and she could taste the familiarity of
She took a deep breath and urged
herself forwards. The Bob-whites were returning home tomorrow, and
until then she knew a visit to Helen Belden would be a welcome distraction from
the thoughts that tormented her when she was alone.
"Hello Marge." The soft and
slightly strained voice surprised her and she looked up in confusion.
Unconsciously, her expression turned to a frown when she saw Thomas Lytell
standing before her.
"Mr Lytell." Miss Trask
"Taking an afternoon stroll?"
"Visiting Crabapple farm actually,"
Miss Trask replied, a little bluntly. She resented having to explain
herself to him.
"Your gentleman friend has gone home?"
There was a hint of hope in his voice.
"You don't miss much, do you?"
Miss Trask muttered under her breath. "Yes, I'm afraid Edgar had to
"He's not from around these parts is
he?" Mr Lytell persevered.
"That's quite observant of you," Miss
Trask remarked. "I'm afraid I can't chat any longer, Mrs Belden's
"Would you be interested in a game of
cards tonight?" Mr Lytell asked hopefully. "I was planning on making that
casserole you like so much."
It was his olive branch, but she
wouldn't give him the satisfaction. She was still too angry.
"That's very kind of you, but I'm
afraid I'm unavailable tonight," Miss Trask replied icily. "Now you must
She turned away and continued down the
path to Crabapple farm, her heart a little less heavy and her step a little
"So did Matthew say if the Bob-whites
got up to any mischief in St Louis?" Helen asked Miss Trask as she poured the
"He was a little evasive," Miss Trask
confided. "I expect we'll hear all about it when they return."
"I expect you're glad that they were
his responsibility and not yours for once," Helen smiled.
"I'll look for the grey hairs when he
returns," Miss Trask joked and the two women laughed.
She felt good laughing. It
helped shake off the encounter with Mr Lytell.
"I tried to contact Edgar Carver
today," Helen began. "But the receptionist at the inn told me he left
Miss Trask nodded, her eyes lowered.
She took a sip of tea.
"I hope he didn't have to leave for
some kind of emergency," Helen commented further.
Miss Trask sighed and put down her
tea. "The restoration committee decided to meet last night and he needed
to be there. I drove him to the train station early yesterday morning."
"That's a shame," Helen murmured,
watching her companion carefully. "The children will be disappointed that
he left so soon."
Miss Trask nodded slightly in
"And perhaps you are too?" Helen dared
Miss Trask sighed and shook her head.
"Only because I allowed foolish dreams to enter my head. I... I'd
forgotten what it was like to feel this lonely."
Helen was surprised by the frank
honesty of her friend's revelation. Despite developing a close friendship
since she had moved to Manor House, Helen had rarely seen this side of Miss
"You couldn't tell him?"
"There was no point," she answered
flatly. "He doesn't feel the same way. I thought for a moment he
might have, but I was wrong."
"Are you sure?" Helen asked gently.
"Did he say something to you?" Miss
Trask asked with a hint of eagerness.
"He asked about your relationship with
My Lytell," Helen admitted.
"Thomas." Miss Trask spoke his
name bitterly. "He came across us on the path and was extremely rude.
What did you tell him?"
"That you were only friends," Helen
assured her softly. "But he believed that Mr Lytell's feelings for you
were more than platonic."
"We've never had that kind of
friendship," Miss Trask stated crossly. She closed her eyes and sighed.
"I'm sorry Helen, I didn't mean to snap. I've found his behaviour of late
"I can see that," Helen smiled.
"But perhaps your assessment of your situation with Edgar is not quite right.
I think perhaps that he felt he was intruding on something between you and Mr
Lytell, and maybe that's why he left so abruptly."
"I don't know..." Miss Trask
shook her head doubtfully.
"Why don't you call him?" Helen
suggested. "Perhaps if you make it clear that you aren't involved with Mr
Lytell in any way and that you enjoy Edgar's company, it will give him to
confidence to reveal the way he feels."
"Helen, I don't think I..." Miss
Trask stared at her hands.
"Yes, you can Marge," Helen told her
softly, but firmly. "What have you got to lose?"
My self-respect, my confidence, my
dreams of being loved and living a normal life. I couldn't go through all
"I'll think about it," Miss Trask
replied finally, in a tone that made it clear to Helen that she shouldn't pursue
the topic further.
"Well..." Helen murmured. "Did
Mr Wheeler give any indication what the Bob-Whites got up to on their trip?"
"Well, look at you!" Alex cried
in amazement as Edgar Carver stepped out of the train. "You look twenty
"I almost feel it," Edgar grinned and
hugged his friend. "You're a sight for sore eyes, my friend."
"I'm sorry I couldn't get up to New
York to see you," Alex apologised. "I really did try to, but I just
couldn't get away."
"Don't give it another thought," Edgar
"You weren't too lonely?" Alex asked
him, grabbing the suitcase that Edgar pointed at.
"Not at all," Edgar told him.
"The Bob-whites came to visit me after the operation with a friend of theirs."
"Did you manage to visit your cousin?"
"As a matter of fact I did," Edgar
smiled as they walked out to the car. He was aware of Alex's eyes on him,
watching the way he walked. "I didn't get to visit with the Bob-whites as
I had hoped, but their friend was gracious enough show me around and visited my
cousin with me."
"Who was this friend?" Alex
demanded. "That's the second time you've mentioned them."
"Marge Trask," Edgar replied with a
wistful smile. "She manages Manor House where Jim and Honey live.
Her sister was at the same hospital as me."
"And?" Alex asked, lifting the case
into the trunk of the car.
Edgar ducked his question by getting
into the car. A moment later, Alex climbed in besides him. He put
the key in the ignition then turned to Edgar, observing him carefully.
"Yes, Alex?" Edgar asked dryly.
"Never mind," Alex grinned and started
the car. He could see the change in his friend and he knew it was more
than just his ability to walk.
On the drive home to Green Trees, Alex
questioned his friend about his rehabilitation and his physical therapy.
"Have you felt any pain, anything
unusual?" Alex asked.
"Everything feels unusual to me,"
Edgar replied with a smile. "I've felt a shortness of breath on a couple
of occasions, but I assure you that it's nothing to do with the operation."
"How can you be sure?" Alex asked in
"Because it only happens when a
certain person is around," Edgar admitted reluctantly.
"I knew it!" Alex cried
triumphantly. "Is it Marge? So what happened?"
"Yes, it is Marge," Edgar replied.
"And nothing happened."
"What do you mean nothing happened?"
"Nothing happened," Edgar repeated, a
little impatiently. "We spent some time together while I was in hospital
and then when I went to Sleepyside. I thought we grew quite close in that
short time, but it appears that she's involved with someone else."
"It appears?" Alex repeated.
"You don't know?"
"No," Edgar squirmed miserably under
his friend's gaze. "It seemed pretty self-evident. I didn't want to hear
all the details. I couldn't bear it."
"But surely you felt that she was
interested in you?" Alex asked.
"Of course I did," Edgar almost
snapped. "That's why I'm so angry at myself. Obviously, she was just
being kind and friendly and I just saw more in it than there was."
Alex was silent for a moment. He
stared out at the road and wondered how he could help his friend.
"Edgar you're the best judge of
character I know," Alex began, "I can't believe that she didn't feel the same
way for you."
"When she held my hand and looked at
me with her clear, blue eyes, I was positive she felt something for me..." Edgar
murmured. "But I guess my judgment was clouded by what I hoped could be."
Alex shook his head. "From what
you just told me, I find it impossible to believe that she didn't have feelings
for you. Don't let this go Edgar. You don't want to end up
regretting what might have been."
Edgar was silent and Alex wondered if
he had spoken out of turn. They had always been frank with one another,
but they had rarely discussed matters of the heart.
"Perhaps it's all for the best
anyway," Edgar sighed. "Virginia is so far from New York and neither of us
could leave our homes. It's ridiculous to think we could have a long
"Then what about a friendship?" Alex
asked. "You're good friends with the Bob-whites and it seems likely you'll
see them again given that the Lynch family bought Rosewood Hall. You don't
want to make things uncomfortable, do you?"
"No..." Edgar admitted.
"Then call her," Alex told him.
"We could always do with more friends, particularly special ones."
"I'll think about it," Edgar said
finally, but he was already wondering what he would say to her.
Miss Trask sat down next to the phone,
a glass of sherry in her hand. Normally, she didn't need to look outside
herself for courage, but this time it was different. This time she needed
something to calm the butterflies in her stomach.
Picking up the phone, she dialed
information and obtained his phone number, writing it down neatly on the pad
besides the phone.
She put down the pen and took a sip of
Why was this so hard? It was
just a phone call. I don't want to leave things like this...
She placed her hand on the phone and
paused. What if he didn't want to talk to her? He had been so
eager to leave...
The phone began to ring and she sprung
back in surprise. Smiling at her foolish reaction, she picked up the
"Marge?" Edgar asked
"Edgar?!" Marge gasped in surprise.
"I was... uh..."
"I... I just wanted to let you
know I arrived home safely," Edgar began feebly.
"That's very kind of you," Marge told
him, still surprised. "Are you tired from the trip?"
"A little," Edgar admitted and he
squirmed as he pondered what to say next. "How's everything with you?"
"Fine," Marge murmured and she
searched desperately for something to say. "Is everything in order for
your meeting tonight?"
"I... uh, I think so..." Edgar
stammered. "They're due here soon."
"Marge, I wanted to..."
They both laughed nervously.
"You first," Edgar offered.
"I... I... uh... think you
may have gotten the wrong idea about Thomas Lytell, the man we met in the game
preserve," Miss Trask began nervously. "We are and always have been just
friends. I know Thomas may have given you another impression, but it's not
true, and I think this may have upset you. I didn't want you thinking that
I'd hidden something from you."
Relief washed over Edgar. "Oh,
Marge! I... Helen tried to tell me that it may have been one-sided,
but then I thought that maybe what I felt had been one-sided too, and..."
"It's okay Edgar," Miss Trask assured
him, the knot in her stomach disappearing. "I think we both jumped to
wrong conclusions, I'm just sorry you left before we had a chance to talk this
"Me too," Edgar sighed with a smile.
"I really did enjoy the time we spent together Marge. It's meant a lot to
me at this time in my life."
"It's meant a lot to me too, Edgar,"
Marge told him earnestly. "I hope that we can continue our friendship
despite the distance between us."
"I'd like that," Edgar replied.
"Perhaps you can come and visit me sometime soon. I'd really like you to
see Green Trees."
"I'd love too," Miss Trask murmured.
"I'll see when I can arrange it."
"That's wonderful!" Edgar cried.
"In the meantime, please don't be a stranger. I miss our talks already."
"I was just about to call you
tonight," Miss Trask admitted. "I'd missed talking to you too."
"Well, I'd better get ready for the
meeting," Mr Carver said reluctantly. "Will you call me soon and let me
know when you're able to visit?"
Miss Trask experienced a small thrill
that was slowly become a familiar sensation. "I'll call you later this
"I'll look forward to it."
"Thank you for calling Edgar," she
murmured earnestly. "Good night."
"Good night Marge."
Miss Trask placed the phone back on
the receiver with a happy sigh. Tonight they had been able to reach out to
each other and find friendship and the hope of something more.
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who'd have believed you'd come along
Hands, touching hands