Friday, December 20, 2013

Ch192 Way to go, Mom!



        
Looking out the dorm window, Sophie’s bright blue eyes widened to their extreme limit as she watched her mother alight from a white limo, the driver placing her luggage on the walkway before bringing it inside.

 “Way to go, Mom,” she mumbled as she scrambled down the stairs, exiting the dorm rooms and running to greet her mother. “Mom!”

“Oh, Sophie!” Violet said rushing forward to meet her baby girl, hugging and kissing her until her fill. “Oh, I’ve missed you!”

“I’ve missed you, too, Mom,” Sophie said, blinking stupidly at the old man who sprung out of the limo with a gleaming mahogany walking stick in hand, and a wide grin on his face. “Mom, have you forgotten to tell me something?”

“Like what?” Violet said, eying her daughter’s long, lean, tanned body in the briefest of denim shorts, and a tank top with a gauzy, long-sleeved top over it. Violet noticed her slightly fuller figure and smiled. Sophie had finally gained back some of the weight she lost when Richard’s death left her as miserable as it did Violet. “Oh, baby, you look wonderful.”

“So do you, Mom,” Sophie said, her eyes still on the old man. “Are you going to introduce me to your…uh… boyfriend?”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ch191 A Thanksgiving Day to Remember





 Victor couldn’t believe his eyes and certainly not his ears. He pinched himself—quite literally and very hard, too—just to make sure he was truly wide awake and seeing what he never imagined possible, namely he and his ex-wife together in the same house once again and NOT at each other’s throat. In fact, they were getting along incredibly well. He pinched himself again. Really he just couldn’t believe it!

This incredulity started when Catherine, holding her new baby, beamed as Andy opened the door to Victor and his new brood of kids. 

“Hello, Victor! I’m so glad you could make it. Now we’re all here,” she said, kissing his cheek. “Ronnie, Simon! Your father’s here, apparently with more brothers and a sister, for you.” She then gave each child a welcoming smile.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ch190 The Final Goodbye



     
              

“Oh, my Lord…Yes, yes, I’m coming! I’m coming!” Violet shouted as she heard the doorbell a good half hour before Morris Kramer told her to be ready. At least she was packed, but she still wasn’t certain there wasn’t something vital she was forgetting.

“No, need to fret, Dear,” Heidi whispered to her. “You’re not going to the arctic, after all. Anything you forget you can buy down there. There are stores in Florida you know, far more than needed, if truth be told.”

“I suppose so,” Violet muttered as the doorbell rang again. “I’m coming! Leave it to Mr. Morris to be this early.”

She ran down the stairs, slipped on her shoes by the coat closet and grabbed her coat. She had one arm in the sleeve when she opened the door with an apology on her lips, but she snapped her mouth shut instead, her eyes wide. It wasn’t Morris Kramer at all, nor was it his driver.

“Victor! Why in the world are you here…so early…and today?” she said. “I’m leaving for…”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ch189 Get out of town




“Violet…Violet…VIOLET!”

“What, what?” Violet said, annoyed as she could be and looking around for the person interrupting her work. Didn’t everybody around here know the hanging basket Poinsettia displays needed extra attention at this crucial moment in their development? 

“What is it, Julie?” she said, trying and failing to keep her irritation to a minimum.

“Just thought you might want to know your ass is ringing,” Julie relied.

“Excuse me?” Violet said, then she heard it. Her cell phone was ringing in her back pocket. “Oh! It might be Garret needing me.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ch188 She wasn’t lying




“At least she wasn’t lying to me,” Victor grumbled glaring at Violet’s vacant and deserted car as it sat parked in her designated spot just outside the employee entrance of Weston Botanical Garden’s massive conservatory. 

He watched from the opposite side of the closed wrought iron gates a flurry of activity as crews of volunteers went about transforming the outdoor arboretum into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights strung from every tree and nearly all shrubs, and setting up elaborate displays of fanciful sculptures of reindeer, angels, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and elves, plus nativity scenes complete with sheep, cows, camels, goats, the three kings and the little drummer boy. 

Where was Violet while all this was going on? In the conservatory, busy as a hive full of bees getting ready for winter, directing her crew, barking orders like a staff sergeant and when they didn’t do it to her liking, doing it herself. Of course, Victor couldn’t see her at this, but he knew that would be where he could find her, if he had been allowed in. The garden was closed to the public for a few days to set all this up and Violet was in the thick of it, an indispensable entity. Or so, Walter the garden director insisted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ch187 I do believe in Spooks


Victor frowned as he watched Violet gathering things from the living room, bowls, dishes and half empty cups for the kitchen and trash can. She looked like a zombie the way she moved around on automatic. Something was definitely wrong with her, but he couldn’t tell what it was. He had thought it was something to do with Catherine—knowing his ex to be a nasty piece of work when she wanted to be-- but now he wasn’t so certain. Violet had been a bit off even before his ex and Andy had shown up. 

Whatever it was Violet didn’t want to talk about it, not with him anyway. But she was willing to…well, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but why had she nearly attacked him as she had that stormy night in the hotel? Victor had the feeling she wouldn’t have objected to going upstairs and going further had he asked…before the bizarre lounge chair incident, of course. 

What in the world had caused that, he still couldn’t imagine, but it certainly had spooked Violet. He half smiled. She had a “I do believe in spooks” look about her still. Could it just be that?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ch186 Vise-grip hold



      
“Really, Victor! Must you manhandle me?” Violet snapped, pulling her arm out of his vise-grip hold.

He closed the door behind him and nodded. “I think I do, because I’m not Victor right now. I’m Elvis and Elvis never took no for an answer. Nobody took him for a pushover, but I know that’s what you think of me, isn’t it?” 

Violet almost laughed. Victor, a pushover? “Yeah, that’s likely,” she muttered. Had he no idea what a vise grip hold he had on her? and not just on her arm. She couldn’t exactly tell him that though, now could she? If he knew, she’d never have the fortitude to just…leave and never return.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ch185 Familiar Strangers



    
       
Heidi and Richard stood at the curb watching Catherine and Andy getting into their car with their new baby safely in her arms.  

“Just goes to prove you never really know people. At best they are familiar strangers,” Heidi said, as she watched the car move carefully down the road until the red taillights vanished around the curve.

“Meaning?” he asked as he turned and floated back toward the house with her.

“Catherine…she’s like a totally different person now. She’s never been more human in all the time I’ve known her,” she said, in stunned disbelief. 

Richard laughed. “Spoken like a mother-in-law who hates her daughter-in-law just ‘cause…why did you hate her anyway?”

“I didn’t hate her!” she snapped.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ch184 Feeling like an outsider



      


Violet bit her lip and blinked rapidly as she went about cleaning the kitchen, putting away what little was left of the food. She heard the laughter and gleeful chatter coming from the party, and music too. She paused to listen. Marcus must have brought his saxophone and someone else was playing a guitar. It sounded nice and she would have joined them, had she not felt so much like an outsider. 
She really ought not be here, she thought, and she went back to cleaning up with thoughts of leaving as soon as humanly possible.

“What is up with her?” Richard asked, running frustrated fingers through his hair. “Why is she so…why doesn’t she just…what is going on in her head? I mean…”

Heidi sighed. “I know. In a perfect world all would make sense, but it never does and never will,” she said.

“We’re supposed to be helping her, so what do we do now? How can we make her stop this stupid behavior? I mean she loves the guy and loves the kids so…”

“But to her it isn’t as easy as that, Richard,” Heidi said.

“Why the hell not? She didn’t have this much trouble with me!” it took her all of two minutes to know we were meant to be."

“And now you’ve finally hit upon the problem,” she said, giving him a meaningful look.

“You’re blaming me for this?”

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ch183 Somebody’s crying



      
     
Somebody’s crying, Violet thought. She could hear it more clearly as she approached the door leading to the garage. She reached out to grab the doorknob, but paused when she heard a deep male voice. Victor’s voice.

Violet stepped back, dropping her hand. It could be Helen in there with him, after all. She hardly needed to walk in on that scene again. But no, that wasn’t an adult crying. It sounded like a little girl. Yes, she could hear a soft voice, that of Sally if she wasn’t mistaken. 

Violet didn’t know what to do. Should she see what was going on and try to help or should she stay out of it? Maternal instinct being stronger than common sense or self-preservation, she compromised. She leaned forward and listened through the door.

“Please, don’t cry, Sally,” Victor said. “It’s not like you won’t ever see us again.”

“Yeah, it does,” Sally said between sobs. “You’ll be too busy with them. You won’t have any time to come visit the rest of us or take us places or have swim parties or any of that stuff.”

“We’ll make time. I swear it,” he said.

“You say it, but it won’t happen.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ch182 Should I be jealous



    

“Should I be jealous?” Andy said as he leaned on the door frame with an amused expression on his face.

Victor jumped and instantly dropped his arms from around Catherine. “Absolutely not, Andy. She’s all yours,” he said. He turned Catherine around and even pushed her toward Andy for emphasis.

“Can’t blame a man for worrying,” Andy replied wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist. “It’s nice, isn’t it?”

“What is?” Catherine asked.

“Seeing the two of you NOT fighting for a change. Wish I had a camera to capture the moment for the boys. They’ll never believe me!”

“I wouldn’t hold my breath on it lasting, Andy,” Victor retorted. “We’ve always been at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the boys, you know. That's not about to change any time soon.”

“Victor, I’m going to try,” Catherine said.

Victor lifted a skeptical eyebrow. “Try what?”

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ch181 Don’t start!



   
“Victor, I was looking for you,” Catherine said.

“Don’t start with me,” Victor snapped. “I won’t apologize for keeping you in the dark. Marty has every right to do as she pleases. She merely asked me not to tell you where she was and what she was doing. Not that she had to. I wasn’t going to blow her chance of a happy honeymoon by telling you. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised she came back so soon, but I know they didn’t want to miss this party.”

She blinked at him, her large blue eyes wide in surprise. “Well, that’s not what I wished to talk to you about, but since you brought it up, it seems Mother has put aside her foolish romantic notions and actually has chosen the only person remotely suitable for her.”

He gaped at her. “Are you saying you like Morris and approve of him?”

“Well…” she said with a dismissive wave of her hand which Catherine probably didn’t yet realize is exactly what her mother always does. “He’s certainly not my father. Mother obviously wants to share the rest of her life with a friend and companion, one who could give her more out of life, instead of a love interest who would only drain her own reserves.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ch180 Elvis was a pedophile?



    

“Well, this is weird. I never thought Elvis was a pedophile. For shame Shirley!”

Violet gasped and pulled away from Victor’s embrace, blushing scarlet. “Freddy! We were just…uh…just…”

“Hey, don’t mind us,” Freddy said, smirking. “I was just looking for a bathroom for my little kitty cat here.” 

Molly stood next to him scratching her whiskered nose with one finger, staring up at Victor who still had his arm around Violet. “Whatcha doing here in da dark?” she said.

“Oh, you know,” Victor said, grinning like a fool. “Showing Shirley my jungle room.”

“Jungle room? Can I see it, too?” Molly said.

“He’s kidding, Molly… I think,” Freddy said.

“Oh…’kay,” she said, and she went down the hall to the bathroom by herself, her long tail swishing from side to side behind her.

“I’ll stay with Molly,” Violet said.

“No need. I’m here. Go on with Elvis, the jungle room’s waiting,” Freddy said, turning his back on them and following Molly down the dark corridor.

Victor laughed until he caught the look on Violet’s face. “What?”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ch179 Join the party







Violet was beginning to think she’d never join the party when the doorbell rang yet again. She opened the door and her heart sank. She pasted a smile on her face, however, and said, “Hello, Helen. Come in.” Violet stepped back from the door and waited for her to come inside, but for whatever reason Helen stood as she was, seemingly fuming mad.

“What are you doing here?” Helen said, glaring at her. “Victor said you two broke up and that you wouldn’t be here.”

Violet opened her mouth to answer, but could not find one to give. “What a lovely costume. I’m sure Victor will love it,” Violet said, sweeping her eyes over the curve-hugging dress, oddly enough almost an exact match to the one Catherine wore, only Helen’s was in a cobolt blue. At least they weren’t both trying for Marilyn Monroe. Helen wore a flaming red wig, not platinum blonde. Violet vaguely wondered if they would have a cat-fight over the dress anyway…or because of Victor?

“You’re Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, right?” Violet said, still holding the door open and wishing she’d come in already. The night air was not good for the baby, which slept peacefully in her arms and knew none of this.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ch178 Elvis is in the house!



   
Who knew a white, jewel-studded jumpsuit and a pompadour could turn a sensible man into a rock star? Yes, Elvis was in the house! Or at least it sure seemed like it. The kids crowded around Victor/Elvis, the girls giggled and even Flora suddenly acted like a dumbstruck groupie, actually asking for his autograph and a picture with him.

Seriously?

Violet could only stare in wide-eyed wonder at the spectacle, but not for long. Freddy—in what could only be a hick farmer’s get-up of overalls, flannel shirt and a well-worn baseball cap-- and his family came to the door just then.

“Hi Aunt Violet,” Molly said, looking at her with a funny expression on her bewhiskered face—she was a cat, same as she had been for three years straight. “Are you ‘sposed to be Heidi?”

Violet laughed. “Sort of, yes,” she replied as Valerie came in wearing scary, dark, makeup, black clothes, and also carrying the baby. “Ooh, Valerie, don’t you look…uh…nice,” Violet said taking the baby out of her arms. “Oh, ders my cutie. Hello, Fireman Richie!” The baby wore a tiny, red firefighter coat with hat and black booties.

“I’m not supposed to look nice. I’m supposed to be scary,” Valerie said, gazing at the others. “Great costumes! Did you make them, Aunt Vi?”

“Some, yes,” Violet replied cooing at the baby.

“Oh, Darth Vadar! Who is that?” Valerie asked.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Violet's in Bloom, Links to the very beginning of the story



Violet’s in Bloom has been around for a while, but if you weren't here from the beginning you might feel lost. So I decided to post links to the very beginning chapters for your enjoyment, for your convenience, slightly edited, mostly kept the same.

67.
68.
69.
70.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ch177 Scared to death




Violet had everything packed into her car, all the food for the party, decorations and such, plus her own costume which she’d slip into moments before everyone showed up for the Halloween party. Everything was on schedule, all was ready and there was not a glitch in sight.

So why was she scared to death? Okay, maybe not scared to death but still a bundle of nerves. She knew the reason was waiting for her at Victor’s house…Victor himself!

She hadn’t seen him since he stormed out of her house a week and a half ago. Not a phone call or anything. He had really cut ties with her and was presumably still ticked. In truth, she wasn’t certain he would want her to show her face at his house for his party.

“It’s not just his party, and you know it,” Heidi said. “You planned it together. It’s actually for the kids. You said it yourself to your brother. You won’t ruin things for them just because of a petty quarrel.”

“It wasn’t exactly a petty quarrel,” Violet mumbled to herself as she locked the house and slipped into the driver’s seat.

“Of course it was,” Heidi replied confidently. “You care too much for each other for things to dissolve completely between the two of you.”

Violet didn’t believe that for a minute. They had had quarrels before, she and Victor, but somehow this was different, very different. A feeling of dread filled her and the only thing keeping her from staying home, crawling into a corner and licking her wounds was the angel kids who would expect her to be at the party. She took a deep breath, put the car into reverse and hoped for the best.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ch176 Where were you?




          Violet muttered an unladylike curse as she turned into her driveway and found Freddy in his car waiting for her. “Blast that man! Why can’t he go down to the bar and have a beer and watch a game with the guys like normal men, instead of wasting his breath on his pathetic sister?”

          He glared at her as they both emerged from their cars. “Where were you? I told you I was coming over. I’ve been waiting for over an hour, and why the hell don’t you ever answer your phone?”
          “Nice to see you too,” She grumbled. “I was out delivering Halloween costumes, if you must know,” she added heading toward the house. “I told you I didn’t have time to chat. I still have loads of baking to do for tomorrow’s party.” 
          “So, the party’s still on then?” Freddy said, following her into the house.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ch175 This sucks!



       
Beauty and the Beast on stage
          “This sucks, Mom!” Regina shouted.
“We’re not babies,” Bethany whined. “Why we gotta go see Beauty and the Beast? It’s like so lame!”
          “Come on, guys,” Helen soothingly said, casting apologetic looks at Victor. “It won’t be so bad. You used to like this.”
          “Yeah, like when we were two,” Regina said, rolling her eyes and folding her arms over her chest.
          “It’s not lame,” Peter said in a quiet voice, wrapping his arms around Victor’s neck, anxiously watching the scene unfold.
Georgiana said. “They high school kids worked very hard on…”
          “Can we just stay in the car?” Bethany interrupted, giving Georgiana a snide look.
          “Can I just go home?” Regina huffed.
          “Perhaps that would be best,” Victor said grimly, shifting Peter to his other arm and placing a protective hand on Georgiana’s shoulder.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ch174 Lies of Omission



         

      Victor tapped a pencil to the contract he was attempting to read, and couldn’t make out what the sixth paragraph said even after reading it several times. His mind drifted each time he tried, so the words—not able to penetrate the fog-- didn’t make any sense at all. Of course, neither did anything going on in his life at the moment.
He sighed and tossed down the pencil just as the door of his office burst open and crashed into the large, potted yellow striped dumbcane plant—a gift from Violet-- behind it, making it sway as if in a tropical storm. Victor looked up in shock, but he smiled when he saw it was friend, not foe.
He was mistaken, however.
Freddy stopped in the doorway in a furious stance, balled up fists at either side. “You bastard!” he shouted.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ch173 What I want



         
        
      “Victor? Are you not going to answer me?”
          He looked at Helen for a long moment. “Do you really want to know what I want?”
          “I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t,” she replied, tilting her head to the side again and she smiled.
He liked when she did that; tilting her head as if signaling she was ready to be kissed and happy for the privilege. He looked down to her lips. Her pretty, smiling, glossy pink lips, tempted him for a taste, but before he indulged in that, he needed to find out a few things, or rather, he needed to explain to her what he required.
“Would you like to step out onto the patio?” he asked.
Her smile broadened. “You wouldn’t be trying to get out of our dance, I hope. Cuz if you are, you’ll get none of my dessert and I’ll take all of yours!”
He chuckled and shook his head. “We can dance all night if you like, or at least until the babysitter expects you back.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure Mrs. Silverstone is already sound asleep with her crochet hook in hand and a ball of yarn at her feet, and my girls are pigging out on her freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and will soon be snoozing away too, so no one is expecting me back too soon.”
“I see,” he said, reading between the lines. “Okay, we’ll dance until your tiramisu starts beckoning. Then over dessert I’ll give you my answer. That sound all right?”
She laughed. “Okay,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. “But I warn you up front, Victor. I’m hearing nothing but music right now.”
“Good,” he said and he twirled her around, dipped her and straightened her up again.