“I have a couple of friends who want you to be a lead in a play,” Matt was saying, as he sat at his mother’s side in her hospital room, “but they do not want you if you can’t sober up and straighten out. It would be bad on their reputation as well as yours as an actress. Besides. You do this and there will be at least three film scouts watching at each play.
“Mind you, these are Broadway productions, not off-Broadway. You will be in front of millions, Ma. Wasn’t this your dream? To act on Broadway?”
Natalie looked over at her son. “What are the terms?”
“You must go through rehab and complete it successfully,” Matt answered, “and go daily to a psychiatrist to help you cope with whatever happened in the past.”
She glared at him. “In other words, clean and sober. And no men. Right?”
He nodded. “No drinking. No drugs. No wild sex. No bad behavior.”
She swallowed hard. “Okay. I’ll do it.” She looked around the room at all those present. “And y’all were in on this?”
Dani smiled at her. “Yes. We felt you needed an extra boost. Cuz, you do this and you have at least a three film contract with me. I will open other doors for you as well.”
“Baby girl,” her father began, “we have all been worried about you. Your Mama and I have missed you. We want the best for you. If this is what is best, then take it on with your all. You’re a Morrow and Morrows excel.” He smiled at her.
She got up from the bed and went to him to hug him. “Daddy, I’m so sorry for all I put you and Mama through. I didn’t have a choice when I left. He threatened me. He told me that he would kill me. he told me that no one would ever believe me.”
“Michael smiled sadly. “Baby, we all believed you. Even his father believed you and was ashamed of his son. Besides. Toby fled the States afterward to avoid indictment and conviction. He was no more a threat than the man in the moon.” He kissed his daughter on the cheek. “I just wished you had stayed. We would have worked through it and you would be stronger today than you are.”
“And Matty?” She inquired.
“He would have had a home, too, with us. After all, he is a Morrow as well. And the Morrows never turn their backs on family. Never.” Michael’s words eased Natalie’s mind.
“Then I’ll do it,” she announced, pleased with herself, “I’ll do it and make you all proud.”
Matt was proud of her. he could see that the rest of the family was as well. She had taken a big step. He only hoped that she could successfully complete rehab.
He wasn’t sure she knew how much pain and work she would have to do. The DTs she had suffered to this point was nothing compared to what she would have to endure in rehab. Here, she was getting morphine, which replaced the heroin. That kept her from going through full blown withdrawals. The cocaine withdrawals wasn’t as bad while she was getting the morphine either, so she really had nothing to compare what she was about to go through with…yet.
Days later, Matt talked to his mother on the phone. It was the day she would have been released, the day she was to go into rehab. True to her word, she was going to go through with it. He was proud of her. she was finally going to take charge of her life.
Even Tom was surprised at the news. He had thought that Natalie would never change. He wasn’t sure that she was really changing now either, but he would sit back and watch. If she changed, he would admit that he was wrong. If not, he would say nothing. The disappointment would be enough for Matt.
“You know that it’ll be more than a week before you can go visit her, don’t you?” He asked Matt.
“I know.” Was Matt’s simple answer.
Tom smiled. “Just checking.”
That was all he would say for now. Matt had enough on his mind and school came first. And Matt was a straight ‘A’ student. Even with him running his own business, he still passed his classes easily.
Tom was proud of him. the boy had come so far. He doubted if Matt would be alive right now had he not taken him under his wing and given him a permanent home. Natalie would have already done something to kill the poor lad.
The communes had been bad enough. Matt had been lucky to come out of them without any lasting scars. He had been smart enough to avoid the drugs from an early age. He had been smart enough to avoid the other temptations as well.
But his mother had not. She had followed the pied pipers that promised that she could forget. The sex. The drugs. The illusions.
When he left, Tom had asked that she allow him to take the boy as well. She had acquiesced, allowing him to remove Matt from the commune. But, then, he’d had a few allies who’d seen that the boy was way too talented to spend his days in a commune. They had pressed her until she agreed.
After that, there had been no turning back. Matt had seen success. The boy was golden. Everyone wanted to work with him. and ’68 had been the year that he debuted.
Tom smiled. Matt was going places. He was going to be one of the greatest musicians of his generation. There was no denying it.
Tom sighed. He was getting old. He only hoped that he would see the greatness. But he would have to accept it if he didn’t.