Monday, January 31, 2011

Ch 21, Now we’re cookin’ by Glory Lennon

“Oh, will you go sit down!” Violet shouted in exasperation after she bumped into Victor for the umpteenth time. He was more of a nuisance to her in the kitchen than anything else. “Now I know why you say you have the fire department on speed dial. You are a danger to yourself anywhere near a stove!”

 “I did warn you,” he said hovering around her. Bumping into him was annoying her, he knew, but he couldn’t have been happier.  Who wouldn’t want that pretty little body running into them?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ch 20: An odd friendship indeed by Glory Lennon

It was only as Victor started the car that Violet realized she had been holding her breath. She had just bought a car or rather will have done as soon as the endless paperwork was complete and she signed her life away. With her bottom lip clamped tightly between her teeth and her brow furrowed, she placed one gloved and trembling hand over her madly thudding heart. What insanity was this? She couldn’t afford a new car!

Again showing uncanny perception Victor grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently saying, “Please, don’t worry, Violet. It’ll be just fine. You’ll see.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ch 19: Tell Me Sweet Little Lies by Glory Lennon

Victor and Violet arrived at Hellers car dealership and were walking around looking at the various cars, trucks and SUVs with Victor telling her the pros and cons of each. None of them appealed to Violet. It wasn’t that they weren’t great cars. They were indeed wonderful. Her complaint was the  sticker shock they induced. She was certain she would hyperventilate if she saw one more exorbitant price tag.

Granted, her first car when she was a teenager had cost less than a thousand dollars but she didn’t think anyone should have to pay more than a year’s income for something you drive only to and from work and to do sundry errands about town.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ch 18: Ride into Treadwell by Glory Lennon

It was close to three-thirty in the afternoon and Violet was singing an unusually cranky Missy to sleep. Finally the child’s whining subsided and she drifted off to sleep. Violet had just put the baby in the bassinet when Diane placed a hand on her shoulder.

She whispered,“You need to get ready to go. Victor will be here soon.”

Stunned, Violet stared, eyes wide and the blanket she was about to tuck around Missy still in her hands. “What do you mean?”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ch 17: Differing Opinions by Glory Lennon

“There, now, this isn’t so bad, is it, Richard?” Heidi declared brightly, with a  reassuring tap on his knee.

They were floating above the table looking down on Victor and Violet who were just finishing breakfast. The look on Richard’s face told a very different tale. He couldn’t believe this actually happened. He had been on a double date with his own wife and his “date” was Victor’s bossy yet sweet ghost mother. And now Violet was making this lawyer dude breakfast. What the hell!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ch 16: Car Trouble

It was close to noon and Violet was in the playroom leading a small group of three and four-year-olds in another sing-along complete with finger play when Cheryl opened the front door. She gasped and stared hungrily up at Victor and not because he carried several pizzas.

“Wow, Tony’s has got some delivery staff,” she muttered still staring avidly up at him.

“I don’t actually work for Tony,” he countered with a winning smile.

 “Oh, I know that. I’m just teasing,” she exclaimed, before moving aside to allow him entrance. “You’re Violet’s new guy and I’m Cheryl.”  She cleared the front desk and motioned for him to place the pizzas there.

Victor beamed as he put down the steaming boxes. Violet’s new guy, huh?  Sounded just right to him. 

“It’s nice to meet you, Cheryl. I’m Victor Romanoff. I thought  you lovely ladies, hard-working as Violet says you all are, would appreciate a little lunch. I hope this isn’t a bad time,” he said, raising his elegantly arched eyebrows in question. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ch 15: Man Trouble by Glory Lennon

“Omigosh, someone stole my car! Victor, stop! My car’s gone!” she shrieked as he continued passed the supermarket parking lot.

“Relax, Violet, it’s already been towed. I called them while you were getting dressed. Boy, you’re excitable. I thought you were more even-keeled than this,” he replied seemingly unconcerned.

“What would give you that impression when you barely know me?” she said irritably. How she hated feeling like this! Of course, she might not be so out of sorts if her world had not been completely turned on its head. It was all due to this pushy man beside her.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ch 14: Pushy Man by Glory Lennon

“Good morning, sleepy-head!”

Violet bolted upright in bed, blinking at the bright light coming through the gap in the curtains. She pushed her tousled auburn locks out of her frowning face. 

“Richard?” she murmured. 

That, however, didn’t sound at all like Richard. It was Victor Romanoff.

“Dear God, he didn’t,” she shrieked, incredulous. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ch 13: The date that wasn’t by Glory Lennon

 “Tell me, Violet, how did you and Richard meet? In college?”

Their food was brought to them at that moment and when they were once again left alone he stated enviously, “Yours looks real good. You’ll have to let me try some.”

She gasped and stared at him. He, on the other hand, frowned.  “You okay?”he asked.

Violet blinked and shook her head. “I... um....I ... just sounded so much like Richard. Sorry,” she stammered, willing her heart to go back to normal. She shook her head again as if to clear it. “Um, we met in kindergarten.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ch 12:The Mount Claire by Glory Lennon

“Good Evening, Mr. Romanoff. So good to see you again, Sir!” the Maitre D greeted him excitedly, bowing to Violet. 

“How is the family, Carlos?” Victor asked warmly as he helped Violet off with her coat.

“All well, thank you, Sir.”

They were shown to their best table and fussed over quite a bit. Perhaps Victor was famous, Violet mused. “I’m sorry, but didn’t you say you had never been here before?” she asked curiously. “Everybody here seems to know you.”

“They do. What I said is that I wanted to try it. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been here before,” he answered as he waved to the man at the bar.

Utterly confused and looking every bit of it she said, “Is this lawyer double-speak?  I’m not fluent in that.”

He laughed. “Your brother’s right. You are a kick in the pants.”

“What did Freddy say to you?” she asked looking extremely curious.

“About what?” he said bracing himself for the worst. Would she catch on? Please, no!

“Over the phone. You said you didn’t know something,” she said, a suspicious expression on her face.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ch 11: Deja vu all over again by Glory Lennon

Violet allowed Victor to pull her through the doors of the supermarket and into the slushy parking lot straight to his very expensive looking car without thinking anything amiss. But of course something indeed was amiss. This man was a complete stranger and yet all too familiar all at once. How could this be?

 The answer to that was simple. It was deja vu all over again or rather Victor reminded her of Richard. They were obviously both forceful men used to getting their way, both easy to laugh and both very appealing. But there the similarity ended or at least she deemed it so. This man, this slick big city dude who had no rational reason to be in Catalpa Valley was nothing at all like her down-home-country-boy Richard. Apart from all that she was, after all, still married to Richard and would forever be.

She ripped her hand out of Victor’s firm clasp not angry at him but at herself for allowing herself even for a second to imagine this person could be her Richard. Realizing too what just happened in the market, she allowing him to pay for her groceries and to make Margie and anyone else who had spotted them holding hands to assume they were dating, made her cheeks grow warm with shame.

 “Oh, Mr. Romanoff, I’m so sorry. You paid for my stuff. I’m used to my husband doing it. I..... How much do I owe you?” she said awkwardly. She hated to admit  she momentarily thought of this stranger as Richard but there it was. She wondered vaguely if this would count as cheating on Richard.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chapter 10: Learn Something New Every Day

It was amazing how many kids in Catalpa Valley knew Richard and consequently knew he was a ghost. Richard was stopped five times by kids near the ice cream freezer and about ten times in the candy aisle all the while searching for Violet with mounting desperation. These kids remembered him from all the coaching he’d done over the years. They weren’t nearly as astonished to see him come back as a ghost as he was that they seemed to take talking to a ghost very much in stride. It was as if they did it all the time. Perhaps they did.

“My dad’s a ghost too, Coach Bennett,” Frankie Gleason told him, smiling so he showed his one missing tooth.

Richard smiled down at the seven year old  ruffling his hair. He knew Frankie’s dad went off to war and never came back.  “Is he?”

“Uh-huh, he comes at night to talk to me,” Frankie told him matter-of-factly. “I don’t miss him so much no more.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chapter 9: Uncertainty

Violet stood  with pursed lips and a basket over her arm. She perused the pathetic excuses for tomatoes grimacing. Tomatoes weren’t supposed to look like peaches without the fuzz. They should be bright orange-red, she mused irritably. She remembered the beautiful, heirloom Brandywines  she had grown that past summer. To be forced to take these plastic things had her cringing. But what did she expect in the dead of winter?

“Not to your liking?”

The deep, male voice so close to her ear made her jump.  With heart pounding Violet looked up into a most handsome face. Piercing dark eyes fringed in thick curling lashes, a classically straight nose, high cheekbones and sensual lips which at present smiled pleasantly down at her. He towered over her by about a foot possibly more. He was ever so slightly familiar looking.  She frowned wondering if she knew this person.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, his deep voice gentle and oh-so-soothing.

She continued to gaze up at him transfixed. Had she seen him somewhere before? By the looks of him probably the cover of GQ . He wore an expensive suit and reeked of wealth, sophistication and cultured living. What in the world was this guy doing in Catalpa Valley?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chapter 8: Haunted by Jealousy

Richard had never been jealous when he was alive. Never had to be, not with an ever faithful wife like Violet. So, why was he now consumed with it?

Like always he followed Violet everywhere, to the daycare center, the drug store, the library, the market, all around town. It was the same old, same old... only not.  Unlike before, when Richard’s only focus had been Violet, he couldn’t help now noticing Victor Romanoff looming in the  background at every turn, watching her, always holding doors open for her, handing her a dropped glove, a forgotten receipt or pulling a stuck shopping cart out for her use and more annoying than any of those things, he was forever gazing at Violet with a lustful expression, much to Richard’s utter annoyance.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chapter 7: Battle with a Ghost

Freddy’s mind was on several things at once as he drove home from work this blustery, snowy day. First, he was getting pretty darn sick of winter and it had barely begun. With all these blasted icy roads, snow piled up in heaps in parking lots, barely a day without a snow shower and a bitter cold that seeped easily through warm, down parkas he was ready for a trip to the tropics! Second, he wished tax season would be over already and yet that had only just started too. And third, he hadn’t seen Violet in over a week. He had been way too busy.

He was worried about her but he was more worried Richard’s ghost would show up wondering why he hadn’t done something to help her as he had promised. He had put off calling Victor as long as he could. He grabbed the cell and waited for Victor’s distinctive, cultured voice to sound in his ear.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chapter 6: Resident Mary Poppins

Jocelyn wouldn’t recognize her daycare center. For a week she had been with her dying mother and the rest of her family spending what little time remained to them back in their hometown of Bay Springs in Jasper county in the great southern state of Mississippi. She knew she had nothing to worry about back in Catalpa Valley, not with Violet at the helm. She did, however, want to kick herself for not having thought of it sooner.

Here was the perfect person to run a daycare center, not to mention the best darn childcare provider right under her nose, but as Violet never held a job outside of home it never occurred to Jocelyn that it should change. How stupid was that? For someone with a PhD from Princeton, very. But Richard was gone now as were the kids and Violet’s many talents were going to waste. At least they had been.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chapter 5: To the Rescue

“Wow, Freddy wasn’t kidding,” Violet mumbled as she pulled into the parking lot of Mio Caro Bambino daycare center. A stream of cars, SUV’s, minivans and pickup trucks went by just as she parked and got out of the car.  With a perplexed expression on her face she watched the procession enter the steady stream of unusually busy Saturday morning traffic.

“What in the world could make every parent in Catalpa Valley dump their kids off at daycare on a Saturday?” she said to herself.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chapter 4: Reaching Violet

Violet, still in bed well past her usual time to be up and dressed, lay wide awake, miserable and listless. She felt half dead and maybe she was. Richard had been her other half and he was gone. But he wasn’t, not really. She could almost feel him right beside her as he always had been spooning her to him, snuggled close, his arms holding her tight, his breath on her neck.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chapter 3: Getting the hang of it

Richard found Laurie cleaning up the kitchen in her usual haphazard manner. He grinned and shook his head. She just would never be his Violet no matter how hard she tried. The strange thing was Laurie tried at all. She didn’t have to be a domestic diva like Violet and yet she so wanted to be. Laurie had talents all her own. She was a great artist  so why did she want to be called a great housewife, too? Wasn’t that contrary to everything the Women’s lib crowd stood for?  It simply baffled Richard.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chapter 2: The Haunted Family

Freddy showered, shaved and dressed with no mishap. His mind being totally elsewhere, this was a miracle. It wasn’t until Laurie giggled and took the socks from around his neck that he finally awoke from his reverie.

“What?” he asked finally focusing on her smiling face.

“Freddy, since when do socks work as neck ties?” Laurie replied replacing them with the Mickey Mouse tie Molly got him for Christmas just a few weeks ago. “Honestly, where is your head today?”

He wondered, as he watched her fuss with the tie, making the perfect Windsor knot,  if he should tell her about the dream. It had been so real, so vivid. But he knew talk of Richard always upset her so. She instantly thought of losing him in some devastating way. No, he couldn’t do that to her, not when she was looking so happy.

He suddenly kissed her pretty lips and loved all over again the way her blue-gray eyes widened in surprise.

“What was that for?”she asked.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chapter 1: Who ya gonna call?

~Seven months later

“This isn’t gonna work for me,” Richard muttered as he paced in irritation beside Violet’s bed on which she lay gently weeping. He ran his hands through his already-tousled, wavy, dark blond hair then stuffed them into the back pockets of his faded jeans and stared morosely at her shaking form.

“Oh, Richard, why did you have to go? I miss you so,” Violet mumbled, her chest heaving with every tear slipping down her face.

This utterance broke his heart for the thousandth. “Baby, I’m right here. I haven’t left. I can’t leave you. You won’t let me. If you would just sleep you would know that. I could tell you,” he explained, his voice full of anguish but she could hear none of this. Ghosts can rarely make themselves heard.

In an act of desperation he climbed into the bed beside her and spooned her just like they used to do practically every night of their married life. “Assume the sleeping position,” he had said more times than can be counted and she would grab his hand and hold it over her heart. They would fall into peaceful slumber this way. But she wasn’t doing that now. She couldn’t feel him as she once did. She couldn’t sleep without him either.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Violet’s in Bloom, Prologue: Death of a fire fighter

“Emily! I gotta get Emily!” the distraught mother screamed as two firefighters held her back.

“Where is she?” Richard shouted. He could barely make himself heard over the screeching sirens, over the bellows from Captain Frankfort and the roar of the flames eating the building in front of them.

“She’s upstairs, last room at the end of the hall. Her dog is with her. Please, let me get her. She won’t come with you. Please!” the woman screamed.

“She’ll come. I have a way with little girls,” Richard assured smiling at her. He released her then ran into the smoke filled building after pulling on his mask and helmet.

“Ramrod, don’t!”Jake yelled, doubling his efforts to restrain the woman.“You can’t go in alone!” 

But too late.