“This is ridiculous!” Victor roared as he paced in front of the desk. “How long do you expect me to sit back and wait?”
“As long as it takes,” Freddy said, calmly. He sat back in his chair watching Victor stomp left to right and back to left, just like he would at a tennis match.
“Because Violet has to be the one to come to you. It won’t work any other way. Trust me on this. I know my sister,” Freddy replied.
“You’ll forgive me if I don’t quite believe you do,” Victor said. “Tell me how she’s supposed to be in love with me if she no longer wants to see me? How does that make any sense?”
Freddy shook his head and sighed. “I never said Violet makes much sense. Victor, you must be familiar with her temperament by now,” he said, soothingly. “She’s fiercely loyal to Richard and it doesn’t matter that he’s been dead for almost a year. She sees falling for you as a base betrayal of his memory.”
“So, there is no hope as I’ve been saying all along.”
“I didn’t say that!”
“You didn’t have to,” Victor said, dropping into the chair in front of the desk. “I’ve been waiting for over a decade for her and now you’re saying…”
“A decade?” Freddy said. “What the hell are you talking about? You’ve only known Violet a few months. You mean waiting to find someone after your divorce?”
“No, I’ve been waiting specifically for Violet. Only Violet! From the moment I saw her I wanted her,” Victor said, clenching his jaw and staring at his feet.
Freddy gaped. “And that was ten years ago?”
“Yes, at a little league game,” Victor said, drifting off in his head to that fateful moment in time. “ I came up from the city to see Simon and Ronny play. Violet was there sneezing her head off. She had a blanket around her and a box of tissues in her hands. She was cheering for every kid that went up to bat, even my kids. She was beautiful, amazing and I fell in love then and there.”
“But she was married then. You had to know that,” Freddy said, astounded. “Richie never missed a game.”
“Yeah, he was there. I saw him, I spoke to him. So what?” Victor said defiantly. “You’ve never seen the perfect woman and said to yourself "she’s the one" and it didn't matter who she was with?”
“Yeah, once, but Laurie wasn’t married and she didn’t have kids. She didn’t even have a boyfriend,” Freddy said, looking askance at his friend.
“Well, aren’t you the pillar of virtue!” Victor snapped. “Why are you looking at me like that? It’s not like I killed Richard to get her. If I had, it was a big waste of time!”
“No, but I suppose you did wish him dead at some point,” Freddy muttered. “Richie had your perfect girl, after all.”
“No, I didn’t,” Victor huffed. “I knew how much they loved each other. Anyone with eyes could see it. I just…I just wished the same for me someday. I envied him. I admit it! But I never wished him dead. Violet half died with him. You said it yourself! Think I wanted that for her? Think I wanted her grieving for the love of her life? Never! I’d sooner kill myself than wish that on her. I‘d be better off doing that than waiting around for something that will never happen.”
With that said, Victor stormed out of the office, got into his car and drove away.
Three weeks! It had been three weeks since Violet banished him from her life. She hadn’t called, hadn’t even glanced his way and Freddy thought…what did he think? That this is how Victor was to gain her heart? By staying away? What madness was this?
Now he was reduced to being little more than a stalker, hoping, praying for a glimpse of Violet at the store, the post office, the bank and for what conceivable purpose? It’s not like she ever saw him. She never noticed anything anymore. She was back to being a ghost of her former self, merely walking through life, but not really living it . Déjà vu all over again. This is where he came in. He was back to square one yet again!
No! Victor had had quite enough of this. If Violet didn’t want him, then there was nothing he could do about it. He would leave Catalpa Valley.
When-- or if-- he ever came back was anyone’s guess.
* * * * * *
“I don’t suppose we’ll see you at the Fireman’s carnival this year, Violet?”
“I don’t suppose we’ll see you at the Fireman’s carnival this year, Violet?”
How many times had Violet heard that same question this week? It started at church two weeks ago and now every time someone she knew bumped into her around town they all asked the same stupid question. She’d always give the same answer which, of course, led to astonishment followed by more questions. Why couldn’t people leave her alone?
“Yes, I’ll be there. I’ve run the baked goods booth each and every year since forever, you know,” Violet replied, trying not to sound as she felt, annoyed and pestered.
“Oh, we thought surely, after Rich… well, we didn’t think you’d want to anymore,” Mrs. Hiller said, placing her groceries on the conveyor belt.
“Richard wasn’t the only fire fighter in Catalpa Valley. The fundraiser benefits the entire town,” Violet said, pretending to be engrossed by a fluff magazine with the picture of Angelina Jolie holding one her dozen or so adopted children on the cover.
“Well, I’ll look forward to buying at least one of your Amish friendship breads. Will you be making them with blueberries this year? They are my favorite!” Mrs. Hiller said.
“I’ll try, Mrs. Hiller,” Violet said, flipping the page.
“I hear you’re dating again. How nice,” Mrs. Hiller said, a snide look on her face.
“You have been misinformed,” Violet said, her jaw clenched.
“Oh? Well, then are you suing someone? Maybe the fire company for wrongful death. I hear you’re frequently seen with that new big city lawyer. I forgot his name,” she said.
“Victor Romanoff,” the cashier volunteered. “He’s gorgeous, but I heard he’s left town though, so… that’s twenty-three sixteen, Mrs. Hiller. So, if he’s dating anyone, it isn’t anyone around here.”
“Is he? I wonder why?” Mrs. Hiller said, casting a sideways glance at Violet as she handed the cashier a few bills and waited for the change.. “Perhaps, small town folk aren’t to his taste after all.”
Seething within, Violet slipped the magazine back into its rack as she waited for the insufferable woman to move out of the way, so she could pay for her own groceries and just go home. She had tons of baking to do before the canival on Saturday and she was resolved to not put even one blueberry in her Amish friendship bread. To hell with friendship!
She had just placed all her groceries into the car and closed the door when she heard her name shouted across the parking lot. “Please, no, not again,” she muttered. She ignored it and hopped into the car. She had the car in reverse when she heard a tapping at the passenger side window.
“Miss Violet?” Karen said, both she and baby Missy beaming at her through the window.
“Oh my goodness!” Violet mumbled. She quickly turned the car off and jumped out. She hugged and kissed them both. “Oh, how I’ve missed you both!”
“We missed you, too,” Karen said. “Missy especially misses Victor.”
Violet’s smiled faltered at the mention of Victor, but covered up by stealing the baby and hugging her. “Missy has grown so much. Oh, it’s so good to see you both. Is she walking yet?”
“Not really but she does pull herself up to stand. I’m surprised Victor’s not with you. You were almost inseparable. Where is he? Working late?”
“Uh…I don’t know,” Violet said. “How is Wally? Have you been able to talk to him much? I’m so worried he’ll be deployed someday.”
Karen smiled. “We talk all the time and so far so good. He’s doing so great with his medics training, that I’m sure he will be needed somewhere. Victor was so good to give us those prepaid phones and the laptop and Skype, too. I wish we could see him again to thank him and to tell him how well Wally’s doing. Do you think he’ll be at the fireman’s carnival on Saturday? Almost everyone in town will be.”
“I…I couldn’t say,” Violet said, giving Missy one final cuddle and a kiss and then handing her back to her mother. “Well, I really should be going. It was so nice to see you, Karen. Come by the baked goods booth. I’ll be there and I’ll make sure to save a cookie for Missy.”
“Okay, give Victor a big hug and kiss for us!” Karen said waving Missy’s tiny hand.
Violet quickly left and wished to high heaven she didn’t feel like crying every time someone mentioned Victor.
“It wouldn’t happen if you would just call him,” Heidi whispered in her ear. “I’m sure he misses you as much as you miss him.”
“I don’t miss him!” Violet shouted.
“Lying to yourself doesn’t make it untrue,” Heidi replied. “You eventually have to face the truth and yourself.”
“Not if I can help it,” Violet muttered, determined to keep herself busy, too busy to think of anything other than the correct oven temperature, measuring, blending and mixing various ingredients and baking them into heavenly goodies. She went into the house with her arms full of baking supplies and then got to baking. It was going to be a long night.