“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?
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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 ... sorry...you 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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
Thursday, January 13, 2011
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
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
“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
“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.