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.

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