I thought it might be fun to also write some notes about all the excuses Amanda gives Dotty about her whereabouts and why she is coming and going at odd times of the day. So to start it off, here’s the first excuse of them all – Amanda’s club to save the clams.
INVENTING A CLUB (THE FIRST TIME)
The minute Amanda agrees to take the package for Lee at the train station she immediately finds herself embroiled in a situation which is the polar opposite of her normal, safe, everyday life. Certainly, the fact that things go completely pear-shaped by her being unable to deliver the package sends her into a whole new world of secrets and intrigue. And that means she finds herself having to come up with an excuse to her family – more particularly her mother – as to why she suddenly has to start leaving the house without warning to go and keep her meeting with Lee.
The fact that Dotty is engrossed in following a cookery programme led by Mrs Welch on TV means that maybe she can just casually say she’s popping out for a while and won’t be questioned on it. The trouble is that Jamie notices that his mother looks much prettier than usual. “You look great, mom.”
That draws Dotty’s attention towards her. As she peers at Amanda, she notices that there is indeed something different about her daughter. Amanda plays it down, casually dismissing her appearance and the fact that she has made an effort for her meeting with Lee in the hopes of shutting down any further questions.
“No TV until they do their homework,” she tells her mother, veering the conversation in another direction as she gathers up her purse and readies to leave the house. She is stopped in her tracks by Dotty asking where she’ll be if Dean asks. After all, he’s going to be there at six and if she’s not back….
Then it strikes Dotty that Amanda hasn’t actually mentioned anything before about going out.
“Where will you be?” she queries, frowning.
For a split second Amanda stands there, a little caught off-guard by this one seemingly innocent question, before seizing upon the first thing that enters her head. “At my club.” And with that she scoots for the door to avoid any further questioning and leaving Dotty looking completely confused.
She is pretty sure that Amanda hasn’t mentioned anything to her about joining any new club recently.
The fact that a few hours later Amanda, with Lee in tow and hiding in the shadows beneath the kitchen window, comes home soaked to the skin is not lost on Dotty. In fact, she doesn’t hold back in telling Amanda just how untoward it all looks.
“Marine life, Mother. To save the clams,” Amanda tells her, seemingly vocalising the first thing that comes into her head, even as she furtively feeds yards of kitchen paper through the open window to Lee while her mother’s back is turned.
Dotty, blissfully unaware of what is going on while her back is turned, finds it all very odd indeed. After all, surely clams aren’t endangered?
Amanda doesn’t respond but merely smiles before rushing off into the dining room to get the package – only to find that her mother has mailed it! And what’s even worse is that she can’t even tell her why she wishes she hadn’t done her the favour of posting it without mentioning her association with Lee.
Dotty isn’t particularly pleased by Amanda’s lack of gratitude either. She abruptly walks from the room leaving Amanda with not only the realisation that she’s annoyed her mother but that Lee, having heard every word skulking outside in the bushes, will almost certainly be angry with her too for having lost the package.
Furthermore for Amanda, trying to juggle her secret meetings with Lee and her family life doesn’t get any easier either especially when, having learnt that Lee might well be in danger she decides to go to his rescue.
Unfortunately, she has her Cub Scout group with her. She has already taken them to the TV station, trying to keep them entertained by practising knots while she tries to get hold of Lee – all to no avail – on the telephone.
She knows she certainly can’t take the boys off on her little mission to find Lee but is thankfully saved by her mother coming to help out just as she’s leaving the studio with the scouts. That, at least, gives her the perfect opportunity to leave her mother in charge.
“Mother, something’s come up. Now I need you to take the boys home for me all right?”
Dotty, for her part, can’t imagine what on earth would have Amanda running off like this – besides, Dean is coming for dinner!
Well, it’s not a complete lie as Amanda does have an emergency in that she needs to get to Lee as fast as she can if she has any hope of helping him. With that, she heads off, not giving her mother a chance to question her further as to what sort of emergency would have her bolting off in such a fashion.
Dotty, meanwhile, is left standing there watching after her, a frown on her face. She can’t work it out. After all, what exactly is this clam club Amanda is a part of which causes her to just up and leave her Cub Scout Group in such an abrupt manner?