Violet was in shock. Victor had pulled together the entire Labor day barbeque- pool party with no help from her-- None, zip, nada!~~and much to her surprise it was a raging success. He hadn’t missed anything and even came up with a few things Violet wouldn’t have thought of. He obviously didn’t need her in the least, and despite her endeavor to be otherwise, she was thoroughly miffed about it.
Loads of delicious food was on hand and an endless flow of drinks elicited fun of all sorts. Violet was witness to it all. Her friends were getting very friendly with all of Victor’s friends. What with all the laughing, dancing, singing, playful banter and outrageous flirtations—not the least of which could be seen going on between Jocelyn and Marcus who appeared to be thoroughly enthralled with one another-- there was nothing for Violet to do except watch everyone have the time of their lives.
Victor was practically ignoring her, too, which didn’t jive too well with her. She had asked several times if there was anything for her to do to help and he just dismissively waved her away.
“No, no, don’t worry,” Victor said as he flipped over a sizzling steak. “Party’s going on its own now. Go have fun!”
Violet could do nothing more but avoid advances from some of the most amorous people there as she stared at Victor—he flirting with one girl after the other. She simply didn’t know what was going on with him lately. She had never seen him so happy before…with other women, that is. Somehow it rang false…or something. It didn’t seem natural…except she didn’t think it unnatural when he was happy with her.
How could that be? Didn’t make much sense, now did it?
“Don’t I know you?”
Violet started as she suddenly found her feet at the end of her lounge chair being moved over slightly so a man could sit there. He then proceeded to stare at her as if she was a painting in the Museum of modern art where you’re likely to find artwork you simply can’t make sense of.
“Excuse me?” she said, giving him an insolent look, which went right over his head.
“I’m sure I’ve seen you before. Do you work on Wall Street?” he said.
“Me? Of course not!” she said. “I couldn’t even find Wall Street on a map!”
He laughed. “You say that is if it’s a bad thing,” he retorted.
“Isn’t it?” she replied, staring at him in stunned disbelief as he threw back is perfectly combed head of hair and laughed uproariously.
This man’s teeth were so bright in his unnaturally tanned face they nearly blinded her. One thought crossed her mind upon watching him as he talked—and he did like to talk, non-stop. This man was either an actor bent on having everyone as delighted with him as he was himself or a cheesy newscaster who couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. She wished he would go away.
“That’s it! That’s where I saw you,” he said. “Fun times, huh?”
Being she hadn’t been listening to a gosh-darn thing he said, she was clueless as to what he was talking about, but she did so want to escape that she nodded and attempted to get up and leave. This man, however, placed his hand on her ankle and wouldn’t let her move.
“You’ll excuse me, please,” she said, slapping his hand away none-too-gently. “Victor may require my assistance.”
“Oh, damn,” he said, laughing again, that smile causing a glare so intense Violet was certain it would endanger passing motorists. “I forgot. You’re Victor’s fiancé!”
She groaned. “Please, don’t say that. We’re not…”
“What? You keeping your options opened?” he said, this time placing his wandering hand above her knee. “I’m all for that.”
With nails digging painfully in making him wince with pain, she grabbed his hand and tossed it off.
“Do that again,” she said through clenched teeth. “And you’ll never smile again, at least not with your current teeth.” She then swung her legs off the lounge, kicking his hand and spilling his drink all over his shorts.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, watching her stomp away in a huff. “She’s definitely on Wall Street.”
Violet would have gone to Victor, but of course, he was yet again talking—or should we say seducing?—another woman. She pivoted on her heel and ran smack into a rather tall man who grabbed her by the arms to keep her from bouncing off of him and landing in the pool.
“Hey, sorry about that, Violet,” he said.
She gaped at him. “Do I know you?” she asked.
He smiled, his teeth shining a few hundred watts dimmer than the last guy, much to her relief. “I’m Jarrod Nelson. Guess you don’t remember me. We met at my sister’s wedding about three years ago when she married Paul Gilbert? You went with a thin, tall man, blond, blue eyed…um….Robbie or something, a fire fighter like Paul.
“Oh!” she said staring up at him. She couldn’t say he looked familiar, but with her memory she was lucky to remember her way home most days. “I’m sorry, I…uh, I’m really bad with names. I’m surprised you remember mine.”
He laughed again. “Well, it’s hard for me to forget it. You see, there I was talking to Robbie…”
“Richie, most people called him Richie,” she interjected.
“Okay, um, sorry,” he said chuckling to himself. “Funny how I couldn’t recall his name but I remember yours, huh?”
“A bit,” she said, although she didn’t.
“Well, like I was saying, I was talking with Richie. Real nice guy and funny! He had me cracking up,” he said.
Violet nodded and figured a melting ice cream cone might have this guy howling with laughter, too.
“So, I looked passed the dance floor as we’re talking and I see you standing there all by yourself just watching everyone else dance and I say to Richie, ‘Wow, look at that babe over there in the red dress! I gotta dance with her. Looks like she wants to dance. Give me a chance to make my move.’ And he says, ‘Oh, Violet loves to dance.’ So, I say, “So you know her?” And he has this smirk on his face which should have been a clue, had I not been staring at you, and he says, ‘Yeah, I know her. Only thing is, she rarely dances with anyone but her husband. And I say, ‘Oh, crap! She’s married? That sucks,’ and you know what he does? He laughs at me and says, ‘Not for the guy married to her.’ and then he shoves his drink in my hands, walks straight over to you and sweeps you onto the dance floor. Can you believe that? I laughed my balls off!”
Violet forced a smile. “Yes, Richard was like that,” she said and she found herself wishing to escape again.
“So, where is he? I don’t see him here?”
“That’s because he died over a year ago,” Violet said.
“Oh, I’m sorry!”
“You couldn’t have known. If you’ll excuse me…” she said, turning away.
He grabbed her hand. “Wait! How about that dance now? Richie wouldn’t mind anymore,” Jarrod said.
“But I would. It was nice seeing you again,” she said, pulling her hand out of his grip and quickly walking into the house.
She had half a mind to grab her purse and leave, but it just didn’t seem right to abandon Victor, even if he had forgotten all about her. She sighed and headed to the kitchen. Surely she would find something out of place there for her to put to rights. But as she stepped into it, she found a wall which ought not be there. At least she thought it was a wall…big enough to be one.
It was, however, not an inanimate part of the house, but instead a very large, wide person with his back to her. Only knowing one person that big at this party,she knew immediately who it was, Marcus. She had been about to speak his name when she saw two slinky, mocha colored arms encircling his broad back. She knew those arms anywhere and the bejeweled fingers attached to them.
Violet’s mouth fell open and when she realized she ought not be there, she quietly backed away from the kitchen doorway, tripped on a tote bag lying on the floor in the hall and promptly fell into Victor’s arms.
“Violet! What are you doing, trying to kill yourself?” he said, setting her on her feet.
“I…uh…I was just going to clean up some…or go home…or something,” she said.
“Go home?” he said. “Whatever for?”
She shrugged. “Not much for me to do here,” she said, trying her best not to sound whiney.
“You mean more than flirt with my friends?” he said.
“Me flirting? You’ve got some nerve, Mr. Two girls on each arm!”
His jaw dropped then he burst out laughing. Apparently she was extremely humorous today. She, however, wasn’t amused. She stalked away—or rather attempted to.
Victor grabbed her. “Where are you going? Looking for a new boyfriend?”
“Maybe I am!” she shrieked. “Let go of me!”
“Fat chance,” he said, pulling her closer, wrapping his arms around her and gazing into her eyes. “It’s not my fault your friends are all over me. It’s not like I encourage them. If you would stick by me like any ordinary girlfriend would I wouldn’t need to fend them off, you know.”
“Oh, sure, blame me!”
“I blame myself,” he said, bending down to capture her lips, but stopping just short of an actual kiss. “I’ve missed you, Violet.”
She would have liked to disagree, but that would be a lie. So, instead she remained quiet and still in his arms, his rather comforting arms and waited with bated breath for the kiss which didn’t seem coming any time soon.
“I’ve been rather busy lately. I won’t say with what,” he said. “But I don’t suppose you’ve noticed or care that I’ve ignored you.”
She shrugged. She most certainly had noticed and she cared more than she was willing to admit to herself, but she wasn’t about to tell him all that. “I’m sure you have better things to do than…”
“Than be with you? Hardly,” he said, tugging her closer still, until a speck of dust couldn’t find space between them. “I figured you needed space, so I gave you some, but you know what?”
“I hate staying away from you.”
She stared up at him, knowing full well she felt the same. Again, she wasn’t willing to say it, though…not in so many words.
“Then don’t,” she whispered.
He smiled then kissed her, lifting her right off her feet.
“Happy Labor day, Violet, the end of summer, but the beginning of an even better autumn, if I have anything to say about it. I’ll make it memorable for us. I promise,” he said.
She had not a doubt in her mind that he would and she was rather looking forward to it.