Chapter 2: Growing Up Collins

March 1972 – May 1990

The next eighteen years just flew by for Barnabas and Julia. Ever since they brought home their baby girl, it was a constant parade of changing diapers, being up with her at all hours of night, teaching her right from wrong, feedings, and play times. Needless to say, Melody was the apple of Julia and Barnabas’s eyes. They doted over their baby night and day giving her everything she would ever want and need as a baby.

As Melody grew into a toddler and child, Barnabas and Julia enrolled her in dance classes, swimming classes, piano lessons, and began her on an early education track offered by one of the daycare’s in the greater Boston area. This daycare helped children grow intellectually and helped them get into a private school that Julia and Barnabas wanted to send their daughter. Melody excelled at anything she did! If she struggled with anything, she just kept trying until she got it right. Barnabas credits Julia for giving their daughter the trait of perseverance. Although, Julia credits Barnabas for giving their daughter grace, elegance, and classiness as Melody was, for the most part, a perfect little lady. Sure, she had her moments. She was still a child after all.

Barnabas & Julia made a conscious effort to raise a strong, independent young woman who was soft at heart. More importantly, they wanted to shield her from the horrors of her family’s past until she was old enough to understand. Both Barnabas & Julia decided that Melody would not visit Collinwood until she was eighteen years old and graduated from high school, even though it always pained Barnabas to leave his daughter behind when he needed to visit with Roger or David for business purposes.

“Daddy! Why can’t I go with you? You never take me to Collinwood!” cried Melody when she was just seven years old.

“Baby, you can’t go with me. We’ve talked about this. I must go for business reasons,” Barnabas explained trying to hold back tears. Tears filled young Melody’s hazel eyes as she clung to her father in a tight hug.

“But I don’t want you to leave me, ” Melody would exclaim between sobs. Julia then bent down and rubbed her daughter’s back.

“Darling, daddy will be home soon, ” Julia said. “He’ll be home before you know it.”

“But, momma, I don’t want him to leave!” cried Melody as she held on to her father tight. Then, Barnabas picked up his pride and joy and carried her to the couch. Julia followed behind them. He told Melody to stay with her mother for a minute while he went to the bedroom. When he returned, Barnabas was carrying Josette’s music box, something that was special to both Barnabas and Julia.

“Melody,” Barnabas spoke to his young daughter. “This is a music box that has been in our family for generations. Your ancestor, the first Barnabas Collins, gave it to his wife on their wedding night, and ever since then a Collins man has given this to his bride on their wedding night. I gave this to your mother on our wedding night. But since you miss me so much when I leave, we’ve both decided to give it to you to listen to when I’m gone. Therefore, anytime you miss me just open the lid, listen to the music, and I’ll be with you.” Barnabas opened the music box to let the light, tinkling music play for his wide eyed daughter who was cradled in her mother’s arms.

“It’s so pretty, daddy! I love it!” Melody exclaimed reaching for her new precious gift. “I’ll take good care of it.”

“You must, my love,” Julia whispered to Melody. “It’s very old and special. It’s not a toy. One day, you will hand it to your son or daughter.

“I will mommy! I promise!” From that day on, Melody took special care of her music box, and played it often especially when her father was away on business.

Melody quickly grew into her pre-teen and teen years. Melody grew from a wide eyed child to a vivacious young lady with strong, Roman facial features, a petite body frame, and flaming red, curly hair. Needless to say, the boys took notice of Melody once she hit puberty. Her style was “gothic preppy” where she favored the color black, but loved plaid skirts and pretty cardigans. She never really knew a stranger, and was kind to everyone she came into contact with. During high school, Melody was involved in choir, student council, swimming, dance, and theater. She was very popular with her peers and teachers. She was a straight A student, and poised to graduate Valedictorian of her graduating class.

One of the members of the Collins family that was especially fond of Melody was Quentin. When he would return from his travels seeking a cure for his werewolf curse, Quentin would always visit his favorite “niece.” Since he didn’t have any children of his own, Quentin would often consider Melody like his own daughter. Quentin loved spoiling Melody with clothes, jewelry, toys, and gifts. He even bought her tickets to see her favorite performer in concert, Michael Jackson. On her thirteenth birthday, Quentin gifted her with a German Shepherd puppy, with the permission of her parents.

“It’s about time you learned some responsibility, squirt,” Quentin stated in his handsome, husky voice. “This pup is your responsibility and not the your parents. You are take care of him and teach him good manners.”

“I will Uncle Quentin!” Melody squealed as she hugged her favorite “uncle.” Melody named the dog Max, and they became fast friends. Even Barnabas and Julia became quickly attached to Max. Barnabas would take Max on his morning runs, and Julia would sometimes take him to the hospital to cheer up her patients.

When she turned sixteen years old, he bought her a brand new BMW, even though Barnabas and Julia were not keen on the idea of letting a teenager have such an expensive car! But, in typical Melody fashion, she was very cautious when she drove and was never reckless with her car.

Before they all knew it, the day had come when Melody graduated from high school. As expected, Melody graduated Valedictorian of her class. Her plans were to go to Yale University and study Pre-Veterinarian Medicine. Melody loved animals, and knew her calling was in Veterinarian Medicine. Quentin, Barnabas, and Julia were in attendance for her graduation. Julia cried like a baby while Barnabas held her and told her that they did it. They raised a smart, independent woman who was ready to tackle the world. However, before she went off to college, there was one thing they knew they had to do. This summer, Melody would spend time at Collinwood and meet the rest of the Collins family.

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