Monday, January 16, 2012

Ch 97: Man and ghost


True to his word, Victor picked up the phone intending to call Violet. Three days had already passed without his being able to do this, and he would not allow another night to turn into day without hearing her voice.

“You kidding? It’s much too late,” Richard said. “She’s  already tucked in bed and sleeping like a baby. You’d be an ass to wake her now.”

Victor gripped the phone tighter, angry with himself for allowing his blasted career to interfere yet again with his home life. You’d think he’d learn by now! Wasn’t that how he messed things up with Catherine and the boys? Idiot! He should have called the first night. Not that he had the chance to even breathe since leaving Catalpa Valley, what with the morons he had to work with and the huge mess they made out of this case, but he certainly could have made more of an effort.  Just five minutes to say hello and hear her lyrical voice would have been enough…well, not enough, but better than nothing!

His insides ached from missing Violet so badly. He tossed the phone away from him, lest he give in to his selfishness and call her anyway. He roughly yanked at his tie, pulled off his jacket and tossed that aside, too, and then fell into his easy chair.  He stared up at the ceiling and could almost see Violet snuggled up under a handmade quilt dreaming lovely dreams of…well, probably gardens full of flowers. How he longed to be there with her.

“Picking wild flowers,” he muttered to himself, remembering with pleasure their first picnic at Somerset Hill and the way he had awakened with Violet in his arms. He had been so close then, but alas, it wasn’t to be. Now, however, he smiled thinking of the task he set her of finding a suitable design for their new home.  This wouldn't fail in bringing about his dearest desire.

 He chuckled and muttered, “The Manor at Somerset Hill for Milady.”

“You can’t leave that up to her, you know,”  Richard casually said as he stretched out on the soft-as-a-cloud leather sofa. “She don’t have the head for that sorta thing. She’ll tell ya what she likes and what she doesn’t, she knows how to make it better and make it a home after it’s built, but the actual design? That’s gonna be up to you, Buddy, and a builder. You leave it to her and it'll never get done, I promise. You must know an architect or two.  All lawyers know them guys. Have them send you some designs with say…five large bedrooms.”

“Going to need more than that,” Victor said.

“You can bunk the two boys together and the girl gets her own, one for you, of course and one each for your sons, the grown up ones, which, as they’ll be empty most of the time, can double as guest rooms. That’s five bedrooms.  Plenty.”

“No, it’s not. Sophie needs a room, too. I always count her. With Sophie and the fourteen angel kids, that’s fifteen all together,” Victor insisted.

Richard had always wondered why they always said there were fifteen kids when he could only ever count fourteen, but now he knew. Not that it made him happy. He didn’t like to think of his precious Sophie living under Victor's roof nor the prospect of her actually calling him daddy some day. Mostly, he didn’t want to think of Violet in Victor’s bed, but that was Richard’s problem. He would just have to resign himself to that….in time.  For now, he let that go without comment. 

“You’re only adopting three of them angel kids,” Richard said.  “For slumber parties you can have the others…”

“It’s not enough when we adopt them all.”

Richard gaped at him. “You’re insane!”

Victor grinned. “Violet tells me that all the time, so it must be true.”

“She’s right then. You cannot be seriously thinking…”

“And yet I am. I just hope Violet’s okay with that. I think she will be. I feel it,” Victor said.

Richard sat up and debated not saying what he ought to, but it was his job to help this clueless sot and help him Richard would, even if it killed him…killed him a second time. 

“She’ll love the idea, but…not  just yet,” Richard said, semi-reluctantly.  “She’s not ready for all that. One day she will be, but you have to be patient. She…”

“I’m done being patient,” Victor snapped, grabbing the remote and turning on the television. He flipped around until he got to a sports channel and he tossed the remote down again. “I have to think of Peter.  I promised him a family and I'm giving it to him...to both of us..all of us. Violet and I are  engaged now, and soon we’ll be married and we’ll start our family. It’s all settled. She agreed.”

“Did she now?” Richard said standing up and moving around the chair until he stood behind Victor.  He wanted to strangle him, but instead he leaned over and hissed in his ear, “She actually said, oh, yes,  Victor dear, I’ll marry you? Funny, but I missed that part.”

An irritated muscle worked along Victor’s jawline. “She didn’t say no.”

“Not saying no isn’t a yes, but then you know that. You already know it couldn’t possibly be as easy as that... not with Violet.”

“Easy? When is anything easy with Violet?” Victor growled.

“Oh, yeah,” Richard said, laughing. “She’s tough all right…like fluffy clouds. She’s selfish, too, and bitchy and obstinate and always demanding.”

“She’s none of those things,” Victor mumbled.

“Glad to hear you say it. There may be hope for you after all,” Richard said. 

“But this may work,” Victor said, sounding semi-desperate and perhaps trying to convince himself.  “ She loves the kids and she wants them to be happy and she wants to have a family as much as I do. The happiness we both felt when Karen and Missy were with us, is proof of that. I… I really think this will work.”

“Guilting her into marrying you so you can keep your unreasonable promise to Peter, a promise you should never have made...you think that's gonna work? For how long?”

Victor clenched his jaw, but didn't speak.

“Let’s be clear. This won’t work at this time. If you persist you’ll hurt three cute little kids and why? Cuz you’re through being patient,”  Richard said, glaring at him.  "If you want to drive Violet away,  keep it up. Keep going just like this,  in this headstrong way.  Demand that she marry you right now, not a moment to lose and insist on adopting all those kids, every single one of them. You’ll succeed in ruining your last chance of true happiness, because you know perfectly well, you’ll never be happy without Violet.”

Victor stared at the phone he tossed down onto the sofa. He wanted to call Violet and make quite certain that wasn’t the case.

“Don’t do it. You’ll just make it worse. Do yourself a favor, get to bed and forget about Violet for a while. She has things to do, things that you would not be a welcome part of.”

“Like what?” Victor asked, frowning.

“It’s coming up on a year, you know.  You should know what I’m talking about as you paid for the memorial gazebo for the town’s hero fire fighter. She’ll want that time all to herself, for reflection I suppose.”

“For grieving,” Victor added. “You'd think she'd had enough of that. I should be there for her.”

“Aren’t you listening? You would only be in the way and worse, she’ll resent your interference if you were to show up.  She doesn’t know you were the one behind the project—she assumes it was the township and it’s better for you if she continues to think this.  Freddy and Laurie will be there for her if she needs them, but she won’t. Let her be for now, cowboy. This case of yours, the one you hate for being so all consuming may be precisely what you both need. I know you don’t see it, but nothing happens without a reason behind it. So, just embrace it as a good thing, okay? Do your work and let her do…hers.”

Victor sat for another minute mulling all this over. Although he didn’t want to, he figured it was best that he listen to this strange inner voice and he sent himself to bed where he could dream of a field of wildflowers with Violet in the center of it.

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