“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.
“Having your usual morning ritual so rudely interrupted must have ruffled your feathers. I’ll try not to awaken you so early next time,” he told her in a soothing voice.
Her jaw dropped as she glared at his profile. “Next time? You planning on waking me at the crack of dawn every morning to make you breakfast?” she asked, indignant.
“I would be either crazy or stupid not to. Your waffles have me hooked and all you need do is reel me in,” he stated happily.
All flustered, she blurted out, “I’m not fishing!”
“Did I say you were?” he replied as he parked in front of the daycare center. He got out and around to her side before she could even get her seat belt unbuckled. She was further dismayed that he parked right in front so everyone could see quite clearly how and with whom she got to work. Why couldn’t he have dropped her off at the far end of the parking area, well away from all the parents, the children and her co-workers all of whom stared open-mouthed?
Victor opened her door and leaned in to help with her seat belt. He smiled as he expertly unfastened it. He was way too close for comfort and yet taking a whiff of his intoxicating cologne Violet yearned to get closer. If heaven had a scent that was it. She stared mesmerized into his fathomless dark eyes. She tried to ignore that funny feeling in her chest. What did it all mean? Realizing she was staring she blushed bright pink and quickly looked away.
He straightened and held his hand out to her. She reluctantly took it with a furrowed brow.
“Don’t tell me. You’re a staunch feminist and you resent a man holding a door open for you among other niceties,” he said with a rueful grin.
“How could you even say that? I’m a dinosaur, for heaven’s sake,” she told him making a funny face at him.
“T-Rex or pterodactyl?”he asked innocently. He burst out laughing at the withering look she gave him.
“I mean I was always a stay-at-home mom, a vanishing species, extinct like a dinosaur. Get it, wise guy?” she explained, half irritated and half amused in spite of herself.
“And dinosaurs can’t be feminists?” he asked lifting a curious eyebrow.
“I’m pretty sure feminists would just as soon have me beheaded as anything. I’m running contrary to their beliefs that all women should aspire to be captains of industry, doctors and lawyers and run the world. But all I want to run at the end of the day is a hot bath,” she said brightly.
He burst out laughing just as a little girl with bright red hair came up to them and hugged Violet around her knees.
Violet looked down and beamed. “Good morning, Cherry-Berry. How’s my good girl?” she said warmly ruffling her curly top.
“My, my! It’s Rosie McIntyre’s granddaughter,” he exclaimed excitedly.
Violet giggled. “Silly man, this is Sherry Barns, if you must know. She’s one of my favorite charges,” she said cheerfully.
“You can’t fool me,” he whispered in her ear. “They’re all your favorites.”
His voice made a shiver run down her spine. She desperately tried to ignore the tingling sensation all along her weakened limbs but it was difficult indeed. It had been rather delightful in an annoying sort of way. Why she was reacting like this she had no clue but she certainly wished it would stop.
She cleared her throat and stepped back away from him. “Anyway, um, I have to go. Um, thank you for getting me to work,” she said awkwardly. He merely stood there staring at her with that charming grin on his face. She wished he would just leave so her heart could go back to its normal pattern.
He waved at the little girl who clung to Violet’s hand. “Bye-bye, Sherry, see you later, Sweetie,” he said before glancing at Violet again, smiling broadly, then getting in his car.
She frowned as she watched him leave. She wondered if there was no escaping this man and exactly what did that fluttering feeling mean? But she put that thought aside and looked down at Sherry. “Well, little Miss Curly-top, we should get inside, don’t you think?” she said brightly.
Violet was assailed as soon as she stepped into the building.
“Violet, who's the stud?”
“Where did he come from?”
“How come I can’t find someone like that?”
“Does he have a brother?”
“I’ll even take a cousin.”
Violet groaned and ignoring them all, removed Sherry’s coat, mittens and boots. She knew this would happen. There was no escaping this either. After Sherry skipped into the playroom, Violet removed her own coat and hung it up all the while wracking her brain for answers to quash their curiosity. She now desperately wanted her connection with Victor to be severed for good so she could go back to her normal, boring, uncomplicated life.
Boring? Now why in the world had she added that one? Her life wasn’t boring. She had plenty to keep her occupied. Especially now that she was working at the daycare center.
“Doesn’t mean it’s not boring,’”a tiny voice spoke in her head.
Perhaps she could ignore her inner voice but could she continue to ignore her friends? She stared at them all, such eager faces looking at her aglow with...what? Happiness? Curiosity? Lust? She smiled to herself. Lust was very likely. Victor was the kind of man to invoke such reaction from desperate, single women and possibly happily married ones too.
“Violet, please, tell us something,” Diane pleaded.
“I think he’s a lawyer, is that right?” Helen said excitedly.
“Where did you meet him?” asked Pamela.
No, ignoring them just wasn’t going to fly with this crew. Violet grimaced and resigned herself to this. She raised her hands saying, “Okay, okay! His name is Victor Romanoff and he’s my brother’s lawyer friend. I don’t know if he has a brother or cousin. I’ll ask him if he’s interested in dating any of you. Now, can I start sing-along time? My kids are waiting.”
She said all this very quickly but they kept staring at her and refused to move out of her way. Feeling distinctly transparent and not much caring for it she shouted in exasperation, “What?”
“It’s so nice to see you getting out there, Violet,” Diane gushed. With tears of joy in her eyes she hugged Violet warmly. “After all you’ve been through you deserve this.”
“He seems so nice,” Helen said and she too embraced Violet. “Have you been dating long?”
“I’m so happy for you, Violet,” Cheryl said giving her a brutal hug.
“I’ll bet he’s a great kisser,” Winnie said dreamily.
“I’ll bet he’s great at everything. Come on, Violet, give us something,” Pamela begged.
Violet blushed scarlet. “We are not dating so I wouldn’t know what he’s good at but any of you can ask him on a date to find out for yourselves. Now, can I please go to my kids?” she pleaded, desperate now to get into the playroom. Kids she could handle, pushy men and friends with romantic notions in their heads, not so much.
Finally allowed to go passed them she never saw the smug little smiles and utter joy on her friends’ faces. They could see quite clearly what Violet refused to see, that Victor was not the kind of guy content with “friendship”. He was not about to leave her alone, they knew. These ladies could spot a man in love from ten miles away. No, there was no escape. Too bad Violet didn’t know this yet.