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12. …Shining Knight Leaps into Action.

Rick totally 'gets it'. This is really the moment when they commit to each other, absolutely and without question. She has finally taken the initiative and called him. Rick's reaction is total and 'atomic'. He now makes a major decision—not only to throw everything to the winds for Marian, but to defy his father and bring about a sort of final financial apocalypse and melt-down in the family firm. If anything, her phone call creates the book's most important of several pivots (the earlier, averted suicide scene being another).

Rick promises to deliver the book to her by close of business in Emery that very day. It is a reckless, costly, and important promise he cannot afford not to keep. At least, that is how he sees it in his soul. Throwing his entire budget to the winds, knowing it will make his controlling father apoplectic, Rick makes commanding phone calls and sets up a fantastic and expensive operation. This involves two chartered helicopters—one to deliver him to Emery by nightfall, and the other to land on the parking garage in Manhattan where his car is parked. A special courier service is brought in to drive his expensive car to his home in Hartford—after the courier opens the trunk, finds the lost library book, and hands it to the pilot. All this costs tens of thousands of dollars. As Rick explains it to his father's secretary at the home office in Hartford, who tries to warn him what his father's reaction will be when he sees the expenses tab: "This is for my most important client."

The funny part is that Marian has no idea of the lengths Rick has gone to deliver the overdue book. Rick's helicopter lands at an emergency airstrip near Emery, just in time to meet the other chopper and be handed the book, while the courier is separately on his way from New York City to Hartford with Rick's car. Ever so innocently, when Rick shows up at the Emery Free Public Library, in a specially procured rental car, innocently holding the book as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened (no helicopters, no couriers), Marian is pleased. She wonders how he got here so fast, but has no idea he just spent a fortune to please her. Naively, she offers to pay the fine, which is about a buck and a half, in case he is broke or something. It is touchingly clear she'll give him or forgive him anything, because we know she already loves him—while we know Rick is actually wealthy enough to buy the whole library and not notice a dent in his checkbook. There are a lot of funny moments in this very human story.


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