Chuck gave an interesting challenge for this week–smash two movies together. Good thing I rolled Planet of the Apes and The Godfather, two movies that I’ve never seen. I had my father give me the gist of both movies, and this is what I came up with.
Funny story, I totally came up with “Cornelius” on my own. Didn’t realize that the name was actually in Planet of the Apes until after someone in my writing community pointed it out. Happy coincidence!
Cornelius Atwater the Third frowned deeply at the woman walking toward him with a beautifully tailored pink silk shirt on a hanger. She smiled sweetly at his displeasure, no longer impressed by his frown. “You want people to look at the art on the walls, not whatever ‘art’ you think that is on your body,” she scolded.
“I don’t want your damned shirt, mother,” Cornelius shot back, though not with absolute venom. He spread his sleeved arms out and allowed his mother to drape his body with it. “It doesn’t match my belt buckle.”
His mother tsked and moved to button the shirt. He slapped her hands away and did it himself, leaving the majority of his tattooed chest exposed. After rolling up the sleeves half way up his arm, he moved and tucked the shirt in a way as to make the buckle the forward ornament of his tiny waist.
“Is that how the kids in art school are dressing these days?” His mother sighed in exasperation.
“It’s how this art student dresses,” her son mimicked.
“I’m glad that your father is still in Washington. He won’t see this until after the toast. Try to stay away from the cameras before then, yeah? We don’t need the Democrats getting too much of a view of this.”
Cornelius raised his hackles, “This is my first gallery open. This is my night, mother! Not everything is politics! Not everything is Father’s!”
His mother raised her hands and averted her eyes. She didn’t want to fight with her son and, as usual, she was embarrassed by his explosion.
Before he could launch into his usual anti-political diatribe, Mrs. Vivian Atwater took her leave. She ducked under the draping that stood as an entryway between the gallery space and the dressing area, and stepped into the beautifully appointed space. It had cost them a fortune to get this tiny gallery space in the middle of Manhattan, but it was worth it. It would be incredible press for her husband, and would make a perfect fundraising space to assure a sixth term as senator from the great state of New York.
A young woman walked into the sunny and busy room, dressed in high-tops and designer capri pants that matched a vintage logo t-shirt. Passerby might think her disheveled but fashionista would envy her taste. Light skinned with a scorpion tattoo on the side of her neck, she walked the confidence and grace of an heiress. She wore her hair naturally, in beautifully manicured locs that were swept back in a messy bun under a tilted fedora. She barely looked at Vivian as she passed by, and Vivian didn’t need her to.
That night, after the speeches were given, it lifted her heart when her son started shifting through his pockets to take out a small box and turned to the young woman with a smile. “Chloe. You are the only thing in my life that’s real. You’re my anchor in the storm that is my insane family. You kept me directed toward my passion in my times of weakness and doubt. It’s been three years—“ to this he opened the box, which beheld a platinum and ruby ring—“I hate conformity, but some things should be done right. Please, Chloe, accept this ring and be my partner in this life.”
When Chloe Myers said yes and kissed her son, all of the worries in Vivian’s world lifted. She smiled a wide smile and clapped with great fervor along with the rest of the crowd.
Her son insisted on being married before the end of the summer. He also insisted that she not be involved in any planning. She shrugged it off and bit her tongue when her son asked for access to his trust fund in order to help pay for it. “Her family is paying for most of it,” He’d said icily as she signed the authorization with objection.
“Have you even met her family?” She’d asked in curiosity.
“Most of them. The people who matter to her. I’m meeting mom and dad at the rehearsal dinner. She feels about her parents the way that I feel about you,” He spat. She remembered him before he became so damned foolish. A time when they were genuinely a powerful and happy family. He could have made a great senator.
She thought that she would have to fight for their invitation, but it came in the mail without discussion. Her husband grumbled something about bowing out for a fundraiser, but she would hear none of it. The wedding website was full of glossy pictures and happy notes. The pretty girl with caramel skin, the soft long locs, the sharp eyes and looked like her mother’s. The handsome boy with the brilliant white smile made more brilliant by the warm pumpernickel coloring of his skin, the bald head, the powerful brow given to him by his father. They were a handsome couple. It was a brilliant match.
The Rehearsal Dinner was to take place at sunset in tea-light, purple fabric and flower strewn barn at an upstate winery. With a tasting menu of fine wines, cheeses and upscale cuisine, it was the perfect prelude to the big event. The handwritten invitation from her co-conspirators brought a gladness to her heart and as they walked up to the hosting mother- and father-of-the-bride, everyone was smiling.
“It’s been a long time, Cornelius,” Conrad Myers, former senator of Virginia said with a warm chuckle.
“The world is so small, Vivian,” Natalie Myers, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom laughed as she embraced her old friend.
They all nodded and smiled, so pleased with themselves. Five years of work brought them to this night and there was more to do. When her son and his fiancé stepped out of their car, there was nothing sweeter in life than the recognition that washed over her son’s face.
“I’d say ‘welcome home,’ son, but…well…” The triumphant smile on Vivian’s face wouldn’t fade for many, many days.