Monday, April 25, 2011

Ch 59: Especially for Violet by Glory Lennon

Violet had just stepped out of the shower when she heard a rather familiar sound. There was no doubt in her mind the rumble of a deep male voice from directly beneath her in the living room came from Victor and he was probably petting her silly cat.

“That man is the limit! It’s not even six thirty,” she grumbled, drying herself off as quickly as possible before she donned a robe and went down the stairs.

“Hello, Violet!” he said grinning up at her.

Her heart skipped a beat. There he stood before her looking spectacular in a tuxedo.  She clutched at the throat of her robe, speechless.

Interpreting her silence correctly, he stepped to the stairs with a garment bag in hand. He gave her an apologetic look before saying, “Yes, I forgot to tell you this is formal. That’s why I’m here so early. I did bring you something which I’m hoping may be suitable.”

She gaped as he opened up the garment bag to reveal a lovely and elegant gown of emerald green silk.

“Oh, my goodness,” she mumbled.

“I hope you like it,” he said, watching her anxiously.

“Like it? It’s…amazing… but…you bought this for me?”

He grimaced. “Actually, no.”

She tore her eyes away from the dress long enough to make a funny face at him. “You usually go around buying women’s evening wear just for the heck of it?” she asked, sarcastically.

He chuckled. “Actually I do, or rather I used to. I bought this for my mother just before she died. She never got to wear it. Pity, isn’t it?” he said looking at the dress.

“I’ll say,” Violet mumbled also looking at the gown with a mixture on sadness and longing.

“I did tell you once that she was about your size, so I thought…maybe this would be all right for you for tonight…Perhaps?” he said, uncertain.

“Only one way to find out,” she said and she grabbed it out of his hands and rushed up the stairs with it.

He chuckled and turned back to Calendula, who looked thoroughly miffed at being ignored. “I told you she’d like it,” he said, scratching the spot behind her ears. The cat stood up as if expecting to be picked up, but he shook his head. “Sorry, Ginger fluff. Violet will kill me if I get hair on this and I just don’t want her mad at me. Okay?”

This was not okay. She showed him her backside, raised her fluffy tail up into the air and sauntered off in an obvious kitty-cat huff.

Meanwhile upstairs, Violet stared at her reflection in awe. She’d never seen anything so beautiful. And it fit her perfectly, as if it were made especially for her. Could she and Victor’s mother truly be so close in size?

“Very,” Heidi said, smiling brightly. “You look beautiful! You’ll be the belle of the ball…if this were a ball.”

Richard hovered in the background speechless. He stared at his wife with such longing.  Heidi placed a comforting hand on his arm. “She’s gorgeous,” he said.

“Yes, but you think that when she’s wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt, don’t you?” Heidi said. 

“I know one thing,” Violet mumbled. “This calls for some serious girly time. Makeup, hair, jewelry, everything has to be perfect. This dress deserves no less!”

Heidi giggled delightedly and clapped her dainty hands. “Thata girl!”

Violet  went into the bathroom with Heidi close behind her. She tipped foundation onto her fingertips, but paused looking at herself in the mirror.

“What’s wrong, Hunny? Wrong shade?” Heidi asked.

“Maybe Ed’s right. Maybe this is a date,” Violet whispered, biting her lip.

“Of course, it’s not a date!” Heidi nearly shouted.

“But it sure feels like one and Ed said…”

“Nonsense!” Heidi retorted forcefully. “You said it yourself. There is nothing romantic going on between you and Victor.”

“No, but…then why do I feel so guilty?” Violet mumbled.

“The answer to that is easy, my love,” Heidi explained, tenderly touching her shoulder. “You love Richard, so much so that it feels like a betrayal just being alive when he’s not. All those who love so deeply feel this way, but that’s no reason to stop living and stop enjoying ourselves. Our loved ones, they know we will always carry them in our hearts. That way they live on in a sense. Every breath we take, every time we smile or laugh, it will be for them, too. Do you see? Knowing that they live through us and we live with them tucked forever inside us, they wouldn’t want us to stop living.”

“No, we wouldn’t,” Richard chimed in.
Heidi turned and gaped at him.

“I…I get it, I think,” he mumbled still staring fixedly at his lovely wife. “I’m not helping her, am I? I’m just in the way.”

“No, Richard, not in the way, just not on her team yet, so to speak,” Heidi said, smiling at him.

“You’re good at this ghost thing. You help the living, really help them. You even help Violet as much as you do your own son. You’re real good,” Richard said, unusually serious.

“Well, dear, it’s our job as spirit guides,” Heidi replied.

“Spirit guide?” he said. “Thought I was just a ghost.”

She shook her head. “Ghosts roam the earth aimlessly, Richard. Spirit guides, on the other hand, have a specific purpose. We are here to help those we’ve left behind, those who simply are not ready to let go of us, for whatever reason. It is our goal to make them ready, to help them let go.”

He stared at her, his expression confused.

“Yes, my Victor isn’t ready any more than Violet is. Of course, they don’t know it, but it isn’t necessary for them to know. We know. That’s what is important.”

He nodded. “I finally understand. I better start acting like a spirit guide then,” he said and with that he fell through the ceiling and out of view.

“My goodness! I didn’t see that coming,” Heidi muttered looking both delighted and stunned by this unexpected turn of events. She then turned back to Violet who still looked worried and unconvinced. 

“Violet, dear, you know what’s in your heart. Richard still consumes every bit of it.”

“Yes, he does,” she muttered as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Come now, none of that. Victor is waiting on you. He’s so glad you will be there to help him out,” Heidi said.

“Help him? How would I be doing that?” Violet said, sniffing and brushing aside a single tear.

“You heard him, didn’t you? This charity thing is a bore to him, but he feels obligated to go because of his mother.”

“His mother?” Violet repeated.

“Oh, yes! She loved that garden and gave generously to make it what it is today. Victor wants to ensure her legacy continues and to do that he has to attend this fund raiser every year. Victor, the poor dear, barely knows a lilac from a tulip, so you can imagine him there surrounded by people who revere all things horticultural. His eyes literally glaze over the entire night!”

Violet giggled and Heidi joined in.  “Then he must find me dreadfully dull, too! I talk about plants all the time,” Violet said.

“Apparently not.  Does he ever seem bored in your presence? Of course not! You actually make plants fun for him,” Heidi said emphatically. “That was something his mother was never able to do. Believe me, this is a good thing you do for him.  And you know, he does consider this a huge favor, you coming with him. I think he hopes you’ll keep the dullest people away from him!”

“Wow, hope I don’t disappoint him,” Violet said, now putting her makeup on with vigor.

“Oh, that does look pretty!” Heidi gushed.

“It’s been so long, I didn’t think I’d remember how to put this stuff on. It’s just overkill for the daycare center,” Violet said, putting down the eye shadow and going for the mascara.

“We all want to look our best and we need not make apologies for it!” Heidi insisted.

“You sound like Jocelyn,” Violet mumbled with a giggle.

“Oh, no, not that peachy color. Try the ruby red lipstick,” Heidi suggested. “With such dramatic eyes we should emphasize those pretty lips.”

“Oh, yes, I didn’t think of that,” Violet agreed and she put down the soft pink one for the bolder notice-me-red color. “But are you sure it’s not too much?”

“Of course not, not for where you’re going. Everyone will be dressed to the nines!”

“Oh, my!” Violet murmured anxiously.

“Now, now, don’t be that way. You’ll fit in perfectly. You’ve got that beautiful dress, haven’t you?” Heidi said.

“It is a fabulous dress!” Violet said going to the full length mirror in the corner of her room and turning this way and that.

“Yes, you’d think it was made especially for you, wouldn’t you?” Heidi said, smiling impishly.

That could have been because it was.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ch 58: Only friends by Glory Lennon

Victor was barely out the door when Ed turned to Violet. “Not dating, huh?”

“What?” Violet said innocently.

“You’re dating this lawyer,” Ed said angrily.

“I’m not dating him!”

“And what do you call dinner and …”

“This isn’t a date. We’re just friends. ”

“Dinner and a fancy-ass fundraiser at Weston is a date, Violet,” he said.

“Victor’s my friend and that's it. Actually, he was Freddy’s friend first and...”

“Hmm-mm,” Ed said, frowning in disapproval. “Now who’s the liar?”

“We’re not dating!” she shouted. “We’re just two friends going out ...”

“Yeah, on a date,” he filled in for her.

“It’s not a date because there is nothing romantic going on between me and Victor,” Violet insisted.

“Hmm-mm, whatever you say. So, what’s wrong with the washing machine?” he said picking up his toolbox and heading down to the mudroom.

“Eddie, we’re just friends,” she repeated following him and taking an empty laundry basket off the washer.

“So, you’re saying this lawyer doesn’t have the hots for you. He never tried to get in your pants?”

“Absolutely not! He hasn’t even…” She stopped just short of saying,  kissed me. Victor had in fact kissed her a few times. All right, it was just a peck on the cheek, but knowing  Eddie, he’d turn it into something  sordid.

Ed scoffed as if he heard her thoughts loud and clear. “You expect me to believe that?”

“It’s true. Victor’s a perfect gentleman. He knows I’m forever married to Richard. As a matter of fact, he’s the only one willing to allow me that,” Violet said, triumphantly.

“What the heck does that mean?” Ed said, watching the washer fill with water and then setting it to spin.

“Everyone else, all my so-called friends, have already forgotten Richard and they want me to do the same.”

“We do not,” he said.

“You do! You were doing it moments before Victor got here. You were telling me I gotta move on with my life. Setting me up with Harry Colt of all people!”

“And what’s wrong with Harry Colt?”

She rolled her eyes. “What’s not wrong with him?” she shouted. “He’s a…he was a nasty brat who always used to tease me and yank my ponytail and knock my books right out of my hands and…”

“For the love of…are you seriously gonna hold a childhood grudge against him?” he said, incredulous. “He was ten. We’re all idiots when we’re ten.”

“Richard was never like that and neither was Freddy,” she said, her eyes blazing. “And Harry always asked me out even though I told him I wasn’t allowed to date. He was such a bug about it.”

“Can you blame him? He wanted in before anyone else could get to you. All the guys did. Hell, Richie did the same thing, but you didn’t mind then, did ya?”

“He was Freddy’s best friend and he was always nice to me, not a pushy jerk like… everyone else,” she said.

“It didn't hurt that Richie was the most popular guy at school and captain of the football team," Ed snidely remarked.

Stunned Violet gasped. "You actually think that had anything to do with us falling in love?" she shrieked.

 Ed, looking decidedly abashed, shrugged. "No, I guess not, but Harry’s not like that anymore. He’s a nice guy and he needs a wife and a mother for his kids. You already know his kids. They love you. You would be perfect for them. This lawyer is not for you, Vi. He’s just a big city dude who’ll use you until he’s bored.”

“Use me?” she shrieked. “He’s not asked anything of me and he’s been nothing but nice to me.”

“So, why isn’t he the one fixing this stuff for you? Because he doesn’t care about you, that’s why!”

“Victor was probably the one that urged Freddy to call you. He’s been bugging me forever to get someone out here to fix all this stuff.”

“He just doesn’t want to get his soft hands dirty,” Ed replied with a sneer.

“I know you think any man who doesn’t wield a hammer and wrench is no man at all, but I’m not so narrow-minded,” she huffed. “I don’t have to justify my friendship with Victor to you or anyone, but I’ll tell you this. He’s the only one allowing me to grieve for Richard my way, to keep him alive my way. He doesn’t ask anything of me, least of all to forget the love of my life. He’s a true friend, perhaps my only one.”

"Don't be ridiculous. We just want what's best for you," he said.
"Well, it certainly doesn't sound like it to me," she sniffed, sounding perilously close to tears.

Ed was silent for a good long while. “He’s really just a friend? Like you and me?” Ed asked.

“Exactly,” she said finally relaxing. “If you stop pushing Harry Colt at me, anyway.”

“But he’s a…”

She held up her hand to silence him. “Don’t start, Eddie. Even if it were decades after Richard’s death, even if I was looking for a new husband—which I’m not!- and even if I adore his kids, I need to, at the very least, like, trust and admire the one I marry and I don’t even like Harry and I could never trust nor admire him.”

“Why?” Ed asked, bewildered.

“I heard things about…never mind. I just don’t like him,” she said evasively.

“But Violet, he’s…”

“Eddie, listen to me! I wouldn’t marry Harry Colt if he were the very last person on Earth. So, please, if you want to be my friend, my true friend, you will not push him or anyone else on me. I’m not now nor will I ever be ready to move on. I love Richard, with my whole being. I still love only Richard and no one else…ever. Got me?”

Ed stared at her, a miserable expression on his face. “And this lawyer?”

“How many times do I have to tell you? We’re just friends,” Violet said, exasperated.  “I’m not going to marry him either.”

Ed wished he could believe that, but he saw the expression on Victor’s face when he looked at Violet and his actions spoke volumes, too.  He was staking his claim and nothing but.  Ed knew it, but Violet wouldn’t see it that way.  How could she? She was a protected and sheltered female who knew so very little of the real world and even less about worldly men and their lustful ways. She was still an innocent just like she had been back in first grade, even after all these years. She would be taken in by this slick, big city lawyer--he just knew it!—but there was nothing he could do about it. That didn't make him too happy.

He took a deep breath, shrugged and turned to the washer. “So, what’s with this thing anyway?”

Violet smiled and explained the trouble. Ed listened and fixed it up along with several other little things for the next two hours.

“Well, I’ll come back in a few days to fix that lock, okay?” he said, packing the tools away and making ready to leave.

“I can’t thank you enough Eddie,” Violet said.

“Sure you can…with a pie!” he joked. “Next time I come you better bake me up somethin’ nice.”

She gave him a stern look then went to the kitchen. When she returned she had a pie in her hands.

“No way!” he shouted and grabbed the pie out of her hands.

“Way!” she replied with a giggle. “Would I allow my buddy Eddie to leave without a baked something or other? Mary would cry foul! And you will share this with her.”

He stood inhaling the aroma of the pie and didn’t look as if he heard a single word she said. “She’ll be lucky if she gets the crusty bottom of the pan.”

“Eddie, be nice!” Violet chastised, handing him a large plastic bin. "And this is for the kids. Cookies. They're not for you! You got me, Mister? "

He grinned and with a wink he was gone.

“Ooh!” Violet said, casting a glance at the clock on the wall before sprinting up the stairs. “I only have an hour to get ready!”

Little did she know, she had even less than that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ch 57: Ed, the handyman

Victor made it to the daycare center in five minutes flat. Had he dawdled even a minute he would have been stuck behind a half dozen school buses. Luck was on his side. Or so he thought.

He parked and smiled as a dozen kids waved to him before they were ushered into their respective SUVs by their harried looking moms. He exited his car and almost had made it to the door when Sherry saw him and broke away from her mother to hug him about the knees.

“Sherry! What are you doing?” her mother shouted.

“Dis is Victor, Mommy,” she said smiling up at him. “Hi!”

“Hello, Sherry,” he said, picking her up and kissing her cheek. He smiled at the very pretty woman staring up at him.  He suspected Sherry would grow up to look just like her mother and break a dozen hearts along the way. “Hello, Mrs. Damask. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

She gazed up at him mesmerized. “You're Victor? The Victor of the giant guardian Teddy bear?”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ch 56: Rumor has it

Point, eraser, point, eraser, point…snap!
That was the fourth pencil Victor broke in as many minutes. He tossed this one into the waste bin behind his desk with the others and just barely kept himself from screaming in frustration. Why was it every time he thought he was getting closer to Violet--so close he could almost taste it--something happened to set him back?

Karen and Missy had been a major step forward. He has been so close to actually having Violet believe they were something more than just friends. They were practically a couple, a family, in fact, but then Wally had to come back and ruin everything…everything for Victor anyway.

He sighed as he stared at the new pictures on his desk. Karen had sent him one of herself with Wally and Missy. They made a lovely little family, he had to admit. They were still in their wedding clothes and looking happier than could be imagined. Victor, however, could very easily imagine it. He so wanted it for himself and for Violet. What killed him was he had been all the closer to it that day.