[adjective. not quite right; inappropriate or out of place.]
The day of the wedding
“Melody?” Mark Gilmore says to the woman walking down the aisle. He grabs a hold of Cathy’s arm to reassure her. “What are you doing here?”
“I loved you, Mark,” Melody says, stepping down the aisle closer to the couple. The noise from the congregation grows louder. “You were supposed to marry me! You weren’t supposed to marry your own wife again!”
Three Months Later
“Come back here bastard!” Melody Walker screams as a fleeing Mark Gilmore runs across the road. “You can’t hide from me forever, you arsehole!”
Constance Helling steps up to the woman’s side and puts her hand on Melody’s shoulder, attempting to provide her comfort. “It’s over dear,” Constance says. “Mark and Cathy are enjoying their new life together. The sooner you realise that, the better it will be for you.”
Melody spins around quickly, pushing Constance away from her. “Get your hands off me, you bitch!”
“Excuse me,” Constance says, finding her feet. “Do you know who I am?”
“Should I care?” Melody laughs.
“I’m Constance Helling. My grandparents were the founders of this town!”
“I’ve heard about you,” Melody laughs again. “Constant Hell!”
“How dare you!”
Melody abruptly pushes Constance again and brushes past her, continuing on her way along the sidewalk. “Get out of my way, you fat cow!”
Michael Anders gently caresses Amber Harp’s brown hair. He pushes back her fringe as he looks over his sleeping lover.
A tear falls down Michael’s face.
Amber looks so peaceful.
“It’s all my fault,” Michael whispers, another tear falling. “I should have protected you.”
Amber stirs suddenly and groggily looks up at Michael. He quickly wipes the tears from his face.
“Oh, you’re still here Mister Anders,” Amber says.
“You remember who I am?” Michael is surprised.
“Of course,” Amber smiles. “Your name is Mister Anders.”
“Please call me Michael.”
“Michael,” Amber smiles again. “I like that name. I think I had a friend named Michael once.”
“You did,” Michael sighs heavily. “And I once had a close friend named Amber.”
Another tear rolls down Michael’s face.
Akemi Helling makes her driver get out of the vehicle and open the gates to the construction site. The protestors outside the gates chant loudly while holding their placards. They tap on the vehicle’s window trying to draw Akemi from the Statesman she has arrived in.
“Go away and make yourselves useful,” Akemi says from the safety of the car.
Once inside the safety of the gates, she steps out of the car and looks around the construction site. Building works on her new hotel had progressed in the last few weeks and the foundation work was well under way.
Akemi closes her eyes and envisions the ten storey hotel resting on the bank of the Helling River overlooking the town of Peppercorn Patch. She had met a lot of resistance from locals, but was happy that work had begun. She knew that once the hotel was complete, it would draw visitors from near and far. The locals would soon be thanking her for reinvigorating the local economy.
“It’s over here, Ms Helling,” the site manager leads Akemi over to a section of the building site. She is given a fluro coloured vest and helmet and promptly puts them on.
“When was it discovered again?” Akemi asks the site manager.
“This morning. We found it while digging the foundations and thought you might want to look at it first.” The site manager points to a large pile of soil and the pair walk closer towards it.
As Akemi approaches the soil, she can see a metal object half covered. “What is it?” she asks.
“It looks like a metal tool box,” the site manager explains. “And if you look closer, you can see something else.”
The site manager uses his hand to brush away some of the soil resting on the top of the metal box. Akemi reaches for her reading glasses and rests them on her nose, squinting as she tries to make out the inscription on the side of the box.
“Does that say what I think it does?” Akemi asks.
“Are you sure you’re ready to do this?” Constance Helling sits on the hospital bed next to Valerie Pickering.
“Well, you don’t have much of a choice, do you?” Constance asks.
“I should be just left to die,” Valerie pouts.
“And what good would that be?”
“One less burden. I never wanted to be anyone’s burden.” Valerie looks away from Constance, feeling ashamed.
“Listen to me.” Constance grabs Valerie’s hands and holds them in her own. “You need to stay strong.”
Valerie nods, although unconvincingly.
“This isn’t going to be easy,” Constance continues, “but you need to have this kidney transplant.”
“You shouldn’t have asked him.”
“Michael was only too happy to help out. He likes you Valerie. Many people do.”
“You haven’t told him the truth about me, have you?” Valerie is suddenly worried.
“He only knows the bare minimum. He thinks he’s helping out a friend,” Constance informs Valerie. “You’re going to have to tell him one day. It’s best that it comes from you.”
“I’d be too ashamed to tell him.” Valerie pulls herself away from Constance. “I don’t deserve to be called his mother.”
“Where am I, Michael?” Amber Harp asks from her hospital bed.
“You were in an accident, Amber,” Michael says. “You’ve had some memory loss. You’re in a hospital. You are being looked after.”
“When will I be allowed to go home?”
“I’m not sure, Amber,” Michael replies. “When you are feeling better, I guess.”
“But I am feeling better,” Amber says.
The harsh knock on the hospital room’s door interrupts the couple’s conversation and makes Michael jump.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Michael,” Cathy Gilmore says from the doorway. “Are you ready?”
“Of course,” Michael says as he follows the nurse out of the room.
“You’re a very good friend to do this,” Cathy says. “I’m sure Valerie feels honoured that you would give up one of your kidneys for her.”
“She’s always been a good friend,” Michael agrees. “But I’m also doing this for Joanne.”
Cathy Gilmore looks Michael Anders in his eyes and tries to hold back tears.
“I’m doing this in Joanne and her baby’s memory,” Michael adds.
Cathy Gilmore takes Michael Anders by the hand and leads him towards the hospital’s operating theatre.
Welcome back to the intriguing town of Peppercorn Patch.
Next Episode – Thursday March 10
Happy Season Four!