“What just happened?” Richard said, following Violet into the house.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Heidi said, looking just as stunned as her ghostly companion.
“Your son just proposed to my wife!” he shouted.
“No, not quite,” she slowly replied, a quizzical look on her face.
“Not quite?” he bellowed. “Open your eyes, Lady. That’s just what happened. I’m not dead a year and Violet’s off marrying the first guy that shows up! What the hell! She said she would never forget me. This is how she does that?”
“Oh, hush!” Heidi snapped. “If you would shut up long enough to see things how they truly are, you would understand it’s nothing of the sort. Look at her face. Is that the face of a woman who just agreed to be married? Does she even look like she knows what just happened or what she wants? No! She’s obviously conflicted and why do you suppose that is, Richard? Come on, now. Surely, you can come up with this one on your own.”
Richard watched Violet methodically remove her wrap and hang it in the closet. She then slipped her shoes off and padded barefoot into the kitchen. She petted Calendula for a bit then picked up the bowl and washed it before opening up a can of cat food and giving it to the cat.
“She looks normal to me,” he said, resentfully. “She’s really forgotten about me.”
Heidi made an impatient sound in her throat. “No, she’s only acting normally. She certainly doesn’t look normal. Just look into her eyes, look at her face.”
As if on cue, Violet sat down and put her face in her hands bursting out in tears.
“What the…Violet…” Richard mumbled.
Heidi placed a comforting arm about Violet’s shoulders. “There, there, my sweet. Nothing to fret about. We all have our wishes and dreams and we all know when they are not in the stars for us…at least not yet. But that time will come sure enough. You’ll see.”
“What are you talking about? Why is she crying?” Richard said, kneeling in front of Violet and taking her hand in his. “I thought…”
“Well, in typical male fashion, you were wrong, just as wrong as Victor was in doing such a fool thing as this. Honestly! I thought better of my own son than to try and guilt Violet into marriage and using three orphaned children, too. If I wasn’t already haunting him…”
“I thought you said you weren’t a ghost haunting him, that you’re his spirit guide.”
“Same difference!” Heidi huffed, then calming down and re-acquiring her usual motherly tone she turned back to Violet. “Now, Violet dear, go on and take a nice warm bath. Add some lavender to it. That should help you sleep and don’t think about those kids. Don't think about anything. You are not ready for such responsibility as that, so ignore it. It didn’t happen.”
Violet stood up wiping at her tear streaked face and headed out of the kitchen.
“And Victor will realize this soon enough. I’ll make certain of it,” Heidi added, an angry expression on her face.
“How do you do that?” Richard asked in awe.
“What?” Heidi asked.
“You can always make Violet do exactly what you say.”
“Because my suggestions are reasonable and what she would ordinarily do, unlike yours,” she retorted.
He gave her an exasperated look. “Now what?” he asked.
“I don’t know about you, but I need to have a chat with my son. Don’t upset Violet while I’m gone, Richard dear.”
“Of course I won’t!” he said, indignant.
“Hmm,” she said, giving him a stern look. “Well, if you wish to be useful to her, you could help her with some house plans. Tudors, of course.”
“But… but you just said Victor was over the top with his plans. I thought you were gonna tell him…”
“He’s still going to build a house on Somerset Hill and he’s certainly right to wish for Violet’s input on it being it is in essence for her. After all, she will eventually marry him…”
“But…but you said…”
“And Victor really is considering adopting those kids even before they do marry.”
“How do you know what will happen? You got some secret special power I don’t have?”
Heidi shook her head. “No, Richard. Surely, you must know by now,” she said.
“What? What do I know?”
She sighed and shook her head again. “Perhaps it is too complicated for you to understand,” she said.
“Why? Cuz I’m too stupid?” he snarled.
“No, Dear, because you are not a woman and therefore do not know a woman’s feelings,” she said. “And as I am a woman and I’ve walked in Violet’s exact same shoes, I know precisely how she feels and I know precisely what she should and should not do. So, perhaps you may wish to take my word that I know what I’m talking about.”
Richard opened his mouth to argue, but shut it again and nodded.
“Violet is falling in love with my son…slowly, but surely, she is. She doesn’t realize, however, that it’s the wrong kind of love.”
“What the hell are you talking about? How can there be a wrong kind of love?” he said, angrily. “She either loves him or she doesn’t…and if she loves him, that means she doesn’t love me anymore.”
“She sees much of you in Victor,” Heidi said holding up a hand to stop his interrupting. “I know you are like day and night, but that is on the outside. We’re talking deeper than the obvious. We’re talking about whatever it was that made her fall madly in love with you back all those years ago and continues to keep her tied to you. That intangible something which keeps her…yours.”
“But you just said…”
“I know. Just listen. Violet recognizes those qualities, so naturally she’s transferred her feels for you to him. Transferred is not the correct term. She still feels that way for you, after all. Unfortunately, her heart has no room for Victor at present. It’s too full with you and it will remain that way until she can exercise you out of it, making room for Victor.”
“Wait, I thought the heart had an endless capacity for love,” Richard said.
She smiled and placed a motherly hand on his cheek. “There now, we are learning, aren’t we? That is true. Problem is Violet doesn’t know this.”
“She doesn’t?” Richard said.
“No, she doesn’t. She thinks it’s one or the other, never both at once. The only thing keeping her from being completely head over heels in love with Victor by now is her need to keep you alive, Richard. She desperately needs you still, so be there for her.”
“But, how? Shouldn’t I be telling her to…to forget about me?”
“Of course not. Even if she could, she would never forget you.”
Richard looked his confusion. “That makes no sense. If she can’t or won’t forget about me how can she love someone else? You said it’s the wrong kind of love. What does that mean?”
“She can’t love Victor like she loves you… not yet. Right now she’s starting to fall for him because he reminds her of you. That is not fair to Violet and certainly not fair to Victor, who deserves to be loved for who he is.”
Richard stared into space, running these thoughts over in his brain. “Do you know why she needs me still?”
She stared at him debating whether or not to reveal this last bit of information. She chose not to and shook her head. “You’ll figure that out on your own…in time.”
“You think so? I’ve been pretty dense so far,” Richard said, grimacing.
She smiled. “This is all new to you, Dear. I’ve been at it three years longer than you, so I know the ropes a bit better, but you’re getting there. I have faith in you and so does Violet. Use that to your and her advantage.”
She chuckled. “Like a said, you’ll figure it out.” She then turned away heading for the door.
“Oh, and one more thing,” she said pausing midway through the front door. “I sort of lied to you at the beginning. I’m not really Victor’s spirit guide and you are not Violet’s.”
“Then we are just ghosts haunting them?”
“Yes and no, Dear. We are both. I am haunting my son and I’m a spirit guide to Violet, as odd as that may seem. I believe you can guess what you are here for?”
Richard gaped at her, his mouth hanging open. “No ficken way!”
“Way,” she replied with a smile and then she glided out through the very solid oak door.