Marty had grown up to be a fine man. He had married and now was the father to three beautiful children. He remembered Natalie as she had been during the Selma marches and even as she was as a child. He had grown up with her. being her cousin had been harder than anything else.
He was not one for making excuses. Not even for those he loved. A strict believer in living as you were meant to, he refused to excuse anyone else’s foibles. At the height of the Red Scare, his mother and father had almost been exiled because of their being a mixed race family. But the Morrows and the Venacek families stuck together and grew stronger through the whole ordeal.
Selma had shown him just how unstable Natalia had become. While she was outwardly fine, he could tell that she was a storm just brewing and seething beneath the placid surface. From what he was told later by Dani, Nattie had snapped shortly after leaving the marches that had gone from Selma to Mobile and Mobile to Washington. She had gone from civil rights to civil disobedience and beyond to hippie-dom.
Now, she was lying in a hospital bed going through DTs. Apparently, she had decided that reality was too much for her and begun taking drugs. Even worse, Matt’d had to rescue her once again from a violent man. And, as usual, the man had up and disappeared.
Marty was smart enough to know that Tom, the man who’d been a part of the family since those days when the French family were under investigation, had been behind the disappearance. The man had connections within the Mafia and wasn’t afraid to use them. Hell. Tom had connections in the government as well. FBI. CIA.
He could have used any of his connections to get the same result. That was why he had been glad, in Selma, that Tom had been present. Even though he was supposedly there as a photographer, things could have been a thousand times worse for the protesters and Dr. King would have never made it to Mobile…or DC. Tom’s presence ensured their relative safety. Even those Alabaman bigots had been afraid of Tom. Something had kept them from doing their worst and Marty believed that it had been Tom.
At least Matt had the man to help him. seemed that Nattie had a protector, whether or not she knew. What promise had Tom made to Uncle Michael that day after the French Hearings ended? What had driven Natalia to where she was now? And why did Matt believe that he had to save his mother?
The questions ran through Marty’s mind. Questions that had no quick or simple answers. Questions that led to more questions. For a lesser man, it would have been something that would drive them mad. But not Marty.
Dani got the call at about noon. None of what she heard surprised her. Nattie had always lived vicariously. Still, the news was sad.
No matter how hard others tried to reach Natalia, the woman was unable to wrap her head around reality. For some reason, she always seemed to think that life was just another movie and that she was the star of. Even though Hollywood had never heard of her, and New York’s finest stages had refused her, she still insisted in believing herself to be an actress without equal.
Dani had to laugh. Now a Hollywood producer, she knew the quirks of the industry. It had been a long hard climb for her, a woman of color, but she was now an unprecedented member of an elite group. Of course, she had been the force behind the formation of Morrow-Venecek Entertainment. She had hoped that Natalia would be willing to sober up and join her as co-CEO at the time, but she realized after about a year that Nattie would never do any such thing.
Hollywood, like so many cities of industry, hated strong women. Hell. They even had a problem with minorities. Though both weren’t as bad as they had been, they were still there deep down. After all, Hollywood was just as slow to change as any other industry.
She smiled. Perhaps the team-up would happen between her children and Nattie’s. After all, Nattie had cut her children off from the Morrow legacy and they would need a way to reenter the family. Her company would be the perfect way.
At the moment, she had her eye on Matt. He had done so much in his young life. He had played with so many legendary musicians. He had been on so many albums that no other knew about as an unnamed bassist, guitarist, or keyboardist. He had even done backing vocals. And to think that his career had begun when he was ten. And onstage at Woodstock to boot!
She giggled to herself. How many youths could boast such a start? She didn’t know of any. None but Matt.
Matt hung up the phone. He had called the whole family. It was time for all of them to work together to help his mother. Grandpa and Grandma Morrow had agreed to come and help. so had Marty and Dani. He knew that he could count on Aunt Shasta as well. And many others had agreed and promised to come as well.
Mama would have no choice but to go through rehab. No matter how painful it would be for her. and she would go through psychotherapy. Lord knew she needed it. Whatever demons drove her to attempt suicide through violent men and drugs had to be exorcised. Somehow.
He hadn’t wanted to do it, but this time she had forced his hand. His support to her would end. He would advise Grandpa to do the same. No more special treatment.
If Mama succeeded in going successfully through rehab and went to the psychiatrist faithfully, he would talk to Cousin Dani about allowing her to act a little. It would be both an enticement and a way for his Mama to live her dream. This time, it would be for real, not just in her head.
He felt that the plan would work. Mama had always wanted to go to Hollywood. She had always wanted to act in film. She had even expressed a desire to act on Broadway. Perhaps he could sweeten the deal and get one of his producer friends to allow her a part on Broadway as well.
But she would have to sober up and straighten out. There was no other way to get her what she had always wanted without her doing her part and Matt knew that. They would only hire her if she was sober and remained so throughout the tenure of her contract.
He picked up the phone. He knew at least two Broadway producers that owed him for a little work he had done for them. One of them was bound to need an extra female in one of their plays.