Rise of Roxy Ch. 03byEgmontGrigor2011©
Rebecca Scott called her mom Sophie two nights later.
"I'm coming home tomorrow to meet this Wonder Woman of yours who is taking you to Italy. Her interview was screened on our TV an hour ago."
Sophie said, "What 24-hours after the event?"
"It doesn't matter mom; programs like that don't date like news does. The continuity announcer said she believed it was likely the program would be sold overseas, in Europe where Jacki Meadows is a really big name. Your girl is really beautiful with a great personality."
"That is really discerning of you darling. God you really are growing up. And how's work?"
"I've been promoted to the treasury department at the council and given a salary jump."
"Oh congratulations. I knew you'd not stop at just being a clerk. You have the right degree for finance. Why don't you call Jon and suggest he comes home with you."
"Why don't you call him?"
"You relate better to him than I do."
"Mom he's your son..."
"I know darling but you know we'd knock heads and he'd say he was too busy. Being a holiday weekend he ought to get time off okay. Perhaps Roxy can sort your brother out."
"Mom you are the expert in relationships."
"Yes well it doesn't appear to work with family blips and Roxy really has it."
"She had the ability to transcend."
Rebecca asked what on earth did that mean.
"Roxy has the power to surpass boundaries but really isn't aware of it and I believe it's best she not be told about it."
"Oooh, how interesting. Now that you mentioned that she did appear to really have Jacki Meadows under control."
"Perhaps dear but remember Roxy caught Miss Meadows who emotionally would be at low ebb. Call your brother and email me arrival time. I'll meet you at the airport."
"Bring Roxy with you."
"Well I'll invite her. She's under training by Mrs Smith."
"Oh god, Mrs Smith. She could be the ruination of Roxy."
"Darling it takes one to know one; your father had spoken to me about Mrs Smith's extraordinary focus and ability to get through to people."
"Omigod," Rebecca shrilled. "We are being infiltrated by Martians."
When heading for the airport on Thursday evening, Roxy told Sophie the planning meetings at Channel 8 and with the university team were increasing.
"There will be a media conference at the university next Wednesday to announce the joint project and they want us all there. You are invited of course, well Sally insists you be there and suggests you accept the title of team coordinator."
"Paying me to go is enough. I don't need a title."
"The legal advice is that you do and Sally says with two camera crews the need for coordination increases and if the media ask who does that woman do, Sally wishes to avoid saying you are in the team to hold my hand."
"Oh right, I accept that could embarrass Sally. Very well then. At least it's better than camp mother."
Roxy raised an eyebrow and asked, "What does that mean?"
"I think it's used in England to describe the senior woman in charge of a camp of children or teenagers."
"I'll tell Sally you prefer the title of camp mother."
"Don't you dare. At least that will expand my interest in the project. I can't see you requiring much hand-holding."
Roxy ignored that.
"You must be excited to have your children home?"
"Yes I'm really delighted. But they are adult children, Rebecca is twenty-five and Jon twenty-seven."
"Really, then how old are you?"
"Forty-seven. God you are rude."
Fluttering her eyelids, Roxy looked across at her driver and said, "I wouldn't have thought you were a day over forty."
Sophie smiled, "Oh you are such a charming child Roxy."
While Jon was coping with his mother's hug and kisses, Rebecca said rather sharply, "Dad says my mother has practically adopted you."
"Well that's something you should discuss with your mother. Are you always this unfriendly?"
"Well I... ah god no, you must think I'm horrid. I just get a little up tight at times."
"At such times you should try visualizing lambs gamboling across lush spring pasture."
"It doesn't matter."
Rebecca said anxiously, "Oh but it does. Tell me what you mean?"
"Oh it was just a thought. Perhaps I was thinking if you switch your mind off from the problem and then re-connect, you might have a stronger connection and be better able to cope."
"Have you been talking to mom about me?"
"No and why should she when you and I have never met?"
"Well I... I think what you've just said is rather profound and I think I ought to try it. Mom said you've got it."
"Um I don't really know what mom means. You may call me Becky is you wish. My friends call me Becky. I talk to mom a lot on the phone and you'll know that. I have to say she's been so happy since you came to live in our house and it's awesome that you are taking her to Italy with the team."
Sophie came over to them. "Well you two, you are getting to know one another? Jon has gone to collect your checked-in bags."
"Mom although Becky hasn't been to college, she's just told me something to try when I get into tight situations and my mind runs awry. I think it might work for me. She denies you've told her I over-stress at times."
"That's true darling, we have not discussed you other than in a cursory manner."
Rebecca said excitedly, "Then she does have it?"
"Have what dear? Oh Jon is waving to us. He has the bags already."
Jon took the keys from his mother and asked Roxy to sit beside him.
As they drove from the airport he said, "Becky says our dad told her mom has practically adopted you."
"Well that's something for you to discuss with your mother."
The two females on the back seat who'd been chatting had stopped in mid-conversation and Rebecca said, "That's exactly the fob off I got to that question."
"Becky please, it's no fob off. I have no idea what's in your mother's mind unless she reveals it. She's taken me under her wing, that's all but if you are concerned about your father's take on the situation then do as I suggested, discuss it sometime with your mother, in private.
"Mom we want to hear the truth."
"My dear children, Roxy was in a tight spot and I befriended her, that's all. I'm sure at her age she's not seeking adoption and she probably doesn't need me now she's building up some new friendships."
Jon asked, "Then why are you going with her to Italy for two months?"
"Because Roxy was pushed into this very important role of presenter in a $2 million filming project when she had yet to work up to become a presenter. The people involved wanted her because she is familiar with the region and Italian fluently, has had some acting experience and speaks well. The pressure was applied and she finally agreed to accept the role providing I went as part of the team as her confidante."
"Is that all, then what's the big deal?"
"I have no idea Rebecca; you appear to be the one who's concerned."
"Oh mom and Roxy, I'm sorry to have over-reacted on this."
"It's fine dear, Sophie chuckled. ""I guess you should have communicated your concern and we could have discussed it before you became so uptight about it."
"I didn't know about gamboling spring lambs then."
"It's okay mom. I was just thinking aloud."
"Becky and Jon, why don't you come to Italy and visit your mother on location? We will be filming at the height of the vacation season. I'm sure by then I've have saved money on my higher pay scale and can contribute towards the cost of your travel."
Jon spluttered, "You are prepared to subsidize our travel?"
"Yes and why not? Your mother and father have been very good to me taking me into their home until just recently when I moved into my own small apartment. Kindness needs to be repaid with kindness and your mother would love having you over there with her for a few days and it's expected your father will visit us at some stage."
"Roxy that is an awesome offer but Jon and I are financially independent and if we take up the offer to join up with you and mom in Italy, we are confident about paying our own way. God I can now see why mom adores you Roxy, you are so lovely."
"Thank you Becky. What are you doing tonight?"
"I've arranged to hang out with a group of my friends."
"And what do you have planned Jon?"
"Nothing. May I hang out with you?"
"Oh that would be lovely. I have been invited to a small party and everyone else will be there as couples. It's at Sally Brookes' apartment. She's an assistant professor and leader of our team going to Italy."
"Oh great, I know Sally because she coached us in volley-ball. I graduated from Chesterfield with my master's in computer science. I bet this Italian venture has something to do with her pitching for promotion to an associate professorship and it will be hugely important to her. Is it about Italian culture?"
"Yes the project was announced at a news conference at the university on Wednesday. Your mother and I and everyone else connected with the project were there but only one person from the media turned up, a radio journalist, and a Channel 8 news team of course. Oh it was such an embarrassment and the university PR department would have had to deal with an enraged Sally. Fortunately I have become friendly with a senior reporter on the morning newspaper and she interviewed Sally at length yesterday for a feature that was published in this morning's newspaper. Sally is so relieved "
At 3:00 on Sunday morning Sophie called and said she was worried about Jon because he hadn't come home.
"He's here with me at home."
"Is he okay? When at university he used to drink himself legless."
"He's fine. He couldn't have banged me like he did and being that drunk."
"Oh darling, you have such a delicate way of putting things."
They laughed and Sophie said, "Bring him home for lunch darling. His father and I would like to spend more time with him. Um you could stay the night if you wish."
"What about the noise?"
"What noise? Oh no, don't answer that," Sophie giggled. "It will be okay. I'll put you two in the guest room."
* * *
When the doco team left for Rome, the departure was covered by a Channel 8 news camera crew and some sixty family and friends of the eight team members waved them off. Becky, who'd become very friendly with Roxy, came home for the departure and hugged and kissed his mother and wished her well on her big adventure and when kissing Roxy goodbye whispered, "Please try to keep mom away from nasty old lecherous Italian men."
"But you're okay if she turns to sexy clean-looking young Italian men?"
Red-faced Becky nodded, giggling.
During the eight weeks away, Roxy and Sophie became even closer in their relationship and one evening as they watched the sun disappear behind distant hills, Sophie reached across from her deckchair to take Roxy's hand.
"This is as good as it gets. I'm so sad I don't have the depth of relationship with my own children I have with you."
"You'll know better than I do you can only go so far to improve relationships," Roxy sighed, and added, "It takes both sides to develop the quality of such bonding. You know your big chance will come if or I should say when either of them is responsible for making you a grandmother."
"That's true," Sophie nodded and said she looked forward to that event. "Well how do you think you are going?"
"I suppose I have to say I've been very disappointed but that's most due to my own inexperience. I'd thought it will be full on for me and everything would go smoothly. I hadn't expected the long periods of inaction as we waited for equipment to be set-up or dismantled, as we waited for weather to clear or the natural lighting to be just right, the foul-ups of people not arriving for interviews despite being confirmed but I'm getting used to it."
"Why did you push Steven away? At the start you two were all over one another?"
"Well he wasn't only humping his camera around. One afternoon when it was raining and you'd gone off to get supplies I found him humping Sally."
"The randy wretch."
"Who do you mean?"
"Why Steven of course."
"Your comment fits both of them. That night I told him to stay away from me. He didn't like it but I have maintained cordial relations with them."
"Oh here come Steven and Sally now from reviewing today's footage," Sophie said. "They both look unhappy."
Sally snarled, "Forty percent of today's shooting is sub-standard. We'll have to remain here and re-shoot those two interviews. The sound is crap and the lighting failed to measure up consistently."
"That's fine," Roxy said and they watched Steven trudge off.
"He's apologized for taking the guys off to quaff wine last night," Sally said. "It turned out the venue was a night club and the entertainment was so good and women wanted to dance with them they found time just ran away on them."
"Men!" snorted Sophie sympathetically and received a warm smile from Sally.
"Why don't we three go out tonight together and keep away from men," Roxy suggested and Sally said great idea providing Sophie joined them. "We'll want one responsible person with us, eh Roxy?"
The team of nine including the Italian liaison officer had four Campervans, three 24-feet long and a 28-foot one that the three senior camera crew, cameramen Steven n and Roy Schmitt and the sound tech/grip Rory Miles used as their base and it included a fire-proof safe to store video tapes, logs and releases, Sally's scrip and copies and storyboards. Every day or so Sophie took the tapes to a properly equipped city processor to be copied. She'd retain the copy and deposit the original with a forwarding company in a reputable international courier network for delivery to Channel 8 for professional editing and storage. Sophie usually did that either calling a cab or riding one of the team's four bicycles and carrying the precious tapes in a backpack and had an additional strap buckled around her waist.
Sophie only became lost once in making those drops by cycle whereas she'd expected to often get lost but she did carry a map. She was delighted to find her Italian was improving enormously.
The practice was to group the vans in a line on location and always have a team member on watch. Throughout the time they were in Italy two of the guys had their wallets stolen when they were drunk and Sally had the bicycle she'd used to go shopping stolen and that was replaced. Even more important, all the consignments of video tapes got through to Channel 8.
After two weeks Sally offered to replace Sophie as the bicycle courier but the reply was, "No way, keep the guys doing their jobs. This is something important I can do and I feel I'm making a valuable contribution."
As it turned out the Italian liaison officer Camilla Rossini proved to be the anchor for the team and she'd been helped to gain ascendency in that role by Sophie and those two became good friends. The pressure of her heavy responsibilities kept Sally the team leader on edge and her behavior at times became very erratic. Fortunately she recognized the leadership qualities of the hawked-nosed but easy-going Camilla, a 48-year old mother of three adult children and could see that the men jumped when Camilla snorted at them.
Throughout the time in Italy, none of the team became aware that the business-oriented professional Sophie called the shots and Camilla barked out orders or gentle admonishments as required to keep the group operating as a team.
Steven found Sophie drew well and sketched faster than anyone else and he began using her to draw the sequence by sequence of next day's shoot as a storybook. At times Steven and Sophie would disappear and that raised eyebrows but of course nothing was said; all in the group were adults.
The arrival in Florence after that day's delay because of reshooting was not the majestic entry that Sally, Roxy and Camilla had spoken about and excited other members of the team.
The plan had been to enter the city at dawn but that entry was delayed six hours because an engine part for one of the vans failed to arrive the previous day but was delivered overnight.
The convoy sighted the city from elevation early afternoon. Being the height of the tourist season the roads were clogged. When the vehicles became separated the passengers in each vehicle heard by phone where the lead vehicle was waiting for them to regroup. It was a very hot day and the air was still and dust and smoke dulled expectations somewhat but that first view that charged up the team about the charm and magnificence of Florence when all eyes focused on the magnificent and famous reddish/orange dome of the Florence Cathedral. Despite the hazy atmosphere, the dome gave the impression of being pristine.
After late lunch then convoy went up into the Florentine hills to a campground park called Camping Michelangelo. A few minutes after they team began settling in Rory the sound technician called to everyone to follow him and then went to a clearing at the edge of the camp and saw the city spread out below them some 5 km away. Sally pointed out some of the great buildings of the city, some several hundred years old.
"We are looking at the cradle of the Renaissance," Sally said softly and the team, all immersed in their mission since their arrival in Italy, looked down at Florence in silence as if in awe until Steven said, "I think we should set-up for some night filming here this evening. The sky is clearing and the breeze will probably die by nightfall."
They quickly learned it was nightmarish maneuvering campervans in the crowded city and went to locations in one vehicle, Sophie remaining behind to be on guard around the other three vehicles until the others returned and then she got a break until it was time to take the tapes to be copied and dispatched. Quite often the camera crew was back by midday, filming early morning in the galleries before they opened to the public but then remaining to catch some crowd scenes looking at the treasures and as the guides spoke to Italian parties in their language, Roxy the presenter would translate on camera.
The team remained in Florence for three weeks and only had Sundays off. There was so much to do and as Sally knew from the outset, nothing could be rushed in Italy and so she'd planned for filming to be slow progress and it worked pretty well.
One evening in the second week they were in Florence, Roxy was playing cards with Larry Charles the lighting tech, Sophie and Camilla Rossini when she received a call.
"Hi it's Nick Robbins. I've arrived and am at the Montebello Splendid here in Florence."
"Omigod, Sally will be excited. Um why are you calling me instead of Sally?"
"Her phone is not on. She'd given me your phone number."
"Oh dear, Sally is out for the evening with a couple of the crew," Roxy lied, aware Sally had sloped off unabashed with Steven, announcing it probably would be very late before they returned. "If her phone's off I can't see how you can contact her. They will be bar hoping and dining and then probably going to a club or two."
"Then you come and have dinner with me somewhere."
"Because I have no wish to dine alone on my first night in Italy."
"Then come up here to our camping ground. We haven't eaten yet."
Nick said, "A camping ground, not thanks. Please Roxy, be a lovely darling."
"Just a minute."
Roxy took Sophie aside seeking advice and she groaned when Sophie smirked and said, "It's only dinner darling and just think accepting could be good for your career."
That was sufficient to totally collapse Roxy's resistance. She hadn't had a man touch her for neigh on three weeks, so perhaps just a kiss from Nick would be fine. Just a kiss? Roxy shivered in excitement and yawned and said to Sophie then she better go and meet Nick.