John Yearly was nothing short of a nuisance and he made Violet feel most uncomfortable. Too bad he was too dense to figure it out and Violet was too polite to tell him this. Granted, she had been so busy with a steady stream of people snatching away cookies and cupcakes by the dozen that she barely had a moment to think about the hideous man, but she couldn't turn around without him being right there. She could feel his eyes glued to her. He simply gave her the heebie-jeebies and it didn’t even matter that she was modestly dressed. She knew he was undressing her with his eyes, the creep!
Oh, what she’d give to be rid of him for more than a couple of hours! Her only conciliation, it was Sunday, the last day for the carnival and the last day to have John on her tail.
“God forgive me, but I kinda wish he’d drown,” she muttered irritably after John went off to the dunk tank again. She breathed a sigh of relief as she put out some rock hard brownies she wouldn’t even feed to the crows, if she had the choice.
All the baked good she had made were long gone. She usually sold out midway through the second day, but this time she was completely sold out of the good stuff with several more hours to go. Now she had to peddle inferior items, the Betty Crocker cupcakes, the Pillsbury brownies and really awful suedo-homemade stuff. Ugh!
Violet shook her head and told herself she simply had to get over her homemade-baked-goods-snobbery and do her duty and just sell the stuff. Of course, it didn’t help that everyone coming to her asked specifically for things she had made. They grumbled and they moaned and then they ended up buying nothing. Guess that was the trouble with being the best baker in town. People knew not to settle for less!
Violet had turned to get some chocolate chip studded marshmallow-rice bars when several voices shouted her name. She turned to see her booth surrounded by her angel kids. They beamed and laughed at the stunned expression on her face.
“Hi, Miss Violet!” they said somewhat in unison as she came out from behind the tables and hugged and kissed each one at least once and a couple of them twice.
“So, you did come!” Violet said, taking Carmencita out of Lucia’s arms and cuddling her. She looked around and frowned slightly. “You’re not here alone, are you?”
“No, Victor came to get us!” Timmy shouted over everyone else.
“Yeah, he got us in his new van. It’s awesome!” Jeff said.
“New van?” Violet asked.
“You should see it!” Janey said. “It’s huge! We all fit, no problem.”
“And it's beautiful,” Claire said. “There’s an angel painted on the side.”
“Of the van?” Violet asked.
“Yeah, and it says, ‘Angels on board’. Ain’t that funny?” Kelly said.
“Victor said he didn’t like the bulky old bus Mr. and Mrs. Trent have,” Lucia interjected. “He even got the little ones car seats.”
“Really?” Violet said, astonished.
“We all have assigned seats,too, so we don’t fight!” Sally giggled.
“Good idea. And have you been here long? Do you like the carnival?” Violet asked, needlessly.
“We’re having so much fun!” Julian said. “We’ve gone on all the rides.”
“And ate all sorts of food,” Lucia said.
“Funnel cakes and corn-dogs and cotton candy and popcorn and…” Joaquin counted on his fingers.
“Oh, my, you might get sick from all that junk food,” Violet said, looking worried.
“Victor gave us spending money. Can I have a brownie?” Billy asked, waving around his five dollar bill like a flag.
“I think brownies would not be good after all that other stuff you’ve eaten,” Violet said sternly.
“But Victor gave us all money so the firemen don’t get killed like your husband did,” Kelly said.
“Kelly, you shouldn’t talk about that. It makes Miss Violet sad,” Sally whispered to her sister.
“Maria, why are you so quiet? You look so sad,” Violet said, caressing the girl’s cheek.
“She’s mad cuz I stepped on her foot,” Sally said, somewhat proudly.
“Oh, does it hurt very much?” Violet asked.
“I think it’s her feelings that are hurt,” Lucia whispered.
“Oh, well, I’m sure Sally didn’t mean to step on you, Honey,” Violet said.
“Oh, yes, I did. She just wouldn’t shut up so I stepped on her. It worked. She hasn’t talked since,” Sally said with a smug smirk on her face.
“Sally, that wasn’t very nice,” Violet scolded. “There are better ways to ask someone to be quiet.”
“I told her ten times to shut up and she wouldn’t!” Sally shouted.
“I think you owe Maria an apology.” Violet waited until Sally grudgingly said, “I’m sorry I stepped on you.” And then she turned to Maria and very kindly said, “Now maybe you can learn to be a bit more quiet so you don’t bother others, okay?”
She gave Maria and hug and a kiss and the little girl nodded and finally gave her a smile.
"That’s my good girl…Uh, where…where is Peter?” Violet asked as she felt her heart dancing around like a jack-hammer. “You didn’t lose him, did you?”
“He had ta go potty,” Georgiana said. “Upset tummy.”
“Oh, dear!” Violet said.
“Miss Violet, can we buy sompin from you, please? We promise to save it til later,” Billy said, still eying the brownies and clutching his money.
“Hmm, you have to promise to save it until tomorrow. Can you do that?” Violet said handing the baby back to Lucia and going around the table. She surreptitiously looked around then pulled a large container out from under the table. She lifted the lid and handed Billy a small bag containing cookies, cookies she made and saved especially for them.
“It’s got my name on it!” he shouted.
“Really?” Julian said, downcast when he saw it clearly labeled. “That mean only he can have ‘em?”
Violet could barely keep from laughing and handed Julian his own bag of cookies.
“Way cool!” he said.
“There’s one for each of you, so no worries,” Violet said handing the rest out.
“What do you recommend for two homesick college kids?”
Violet froze. She knew that deep male voice anywhere. “Victor,” she whispered.
He was here! But what was she to say to him?