Victor heard the soft knock at the door and cocked an eyebrow. He had wondered if he’d ever get her into bed, but now that she at last came upstairs, she’s politely knocking at her own bedroom door? Did Violet really think she needed to do that before coming in? With all they’d been through together and what they’ve already done—whether or not she remembered doing it—she should at least know he was not remotely shy, so how could she truly think it necessary to knock first?
Of course, he realized as he closed over the book he had been reading, he most likely would have done the same, but that was only because she was so prim, proper and…well…prudish.
There he said it! He was in love with the ultimate prude. Spending the night deflecting Chenille’s advances taught him this, in sharp contrast. Ah, well, there are worse things to be.
“Come in, Violet,” he said, amusement in his voice. His smile widened as she carefully poked her head around the door, her eyes as wide and round as twin full moons. “Are you expecting a dragon to lunge at you? It’s only me here, sweetie.”
“You might still be as angry as an injured dragon,” she said, still poking her adorable head into the room only enough to briefly glance at him. He sat bare-chested on the bed propped up on pillows with the covers over his bent legs. She couldn’t help wondering if he had anything on, and couldn’t decide whether she wanted him to or not.
As if in answer to her unvoiced query, he smiked, threw the covers back and stood. She gasped as he came toward her, even when she realized he wore boxers.
He opened the door, leaned on the door jamb and grinned. “Are ya coming in?” he asked, almost as a challenge.
She gulped and nodded ever so slightly. “If you want me to,” she squeaked, reminiscent of a frightened mouse.
“Violet…” he said, then he just sighed, shook his head and stepped aside hoping once he got her inside everything would go back to normal—whatever that was for them.
“Hope I…uh, didn’t keep you up,” she said, slipping inside but staying close to the door, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.
“No, Stephen King was doing that,” he replied showing her the book in his hands before tossing it back on the bed. Propping his fists on his hips, he stared down at her wondering what in the world was up now.
“Ooh, I can’t read scary stuff like that…gives me nightmares,” she said, biting down on her bottom lip, holding the shawl tighter around her shoulders as her eyes danced around trying not to stare at his chest.
“Did you have a nice time?” he asked, frowning slightly.
She gave him a look which clearly said, “You should know I didn’t, you were there.”
“No, I meant just now with my Aunt Lucy in the kitchen. You had tea?”
The scowl on her face melted into a genuine and affectionate smile. “Oh, yes, she’s lovely. She’s so…” Violet looked off into space and her smiled turned sad. “She’s so much like my mother. I adore her.”
Was this the time to ask about her mother? Victor thought not. “So, she made you feel better?” he asked.
She nodded, tugging the shawl tighter.
“Are you still cold?”
She shook her head.
“Then why are you …” he said, before he stopped and watched her for a few seconds. “Violet, are you still shy about… wearing that dress?”
“What little there is of it, yes,” she replied, tugging the hem down an inch.
He only just stopped himself from laughing. Instead, he stepped closer and placed his hands on her shoulders. “You seem to forget I already saw you in that dress…all night I saw you…along with every man at the restaurant…and a few lesbians, I imagine. And you didn’t burst into flames, now did you?”
“I suppose,” she said, reluctantly.
“May I?” he said, taking the edge of the shawl in his hands and pulling it.
She held onto it for a second, then sighed and let go of it. “Fine, since you like looking at my boobs so much,” she said in a snippy voice.
“Can you blame me? They’re very nice to look at,” he said, smirking.
She rolled her eyes. “You’re just like…”
He pulled the shawl off her shoulders and draped it around his neck like a scarf. He then drew in a deep breath as he allowed his eyes to skim over her figure. “Who am I just like? Dearly John Yearly?”
“God no! Not that bad.”
He laughed as he tossed the shawl around her waist and tugged her closer to him. “I missed you,” he whispered.
She made a funny face. “Missed me? I’ve only been gone for twenty minutes maybe,” she said, catching her breath as her hands pressed against his bare skin.
“I wanted to be alone with you all night. Didn’t like having to share you with Anders,” he said.
“Who’s fault was that?” she snapped and instantly regretted it. “I’m sorry, Victor…I…”
“Mine, it was my fault and I’m sorry for it. I paid for my stupidity dearly,” he grumbled, letting the shawl slip from his hands as he pulled her closer. “I wanted to dance with you tonight…slowly and...”
“Horizontally?” she said, before she could stop herself. She blushed as he gaped at her, then without notice he burst out laughing. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“I think you did,” he said, hugging her tightly. “Oh, Violet, you never stop amazing me.”
“Guess you’re not mad at me anymore?” she asked melting against him.
“No, I never really was,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
“Liar,” she said, as she snuggled closer. “Or should I say lawyer? Means the same.”
He laughed again. “I deserve that,” he said.
“We…uh…we really ought to be more quiet or we’ll wake up the others. It’s late.”
“I’m sure they’re all dancing and won’t even hear us,” he said, smirking.
“Dancing?” she said, looking up at him in confusion. His smirk explained what he meant. “Oh… dancing.”
He chuckled as he back peddled to the bed taking her with him. He sat down and pulled her onto his lap. Her dress rode up her thighs revealing an enticing glimpse of the garter holding up her stockings. She tried tugging at the hem to cover it, but he grabbed her hand and placed it around his neck.
“What’s this?” he said, his fingers lightly touching the edge of the silky stockings, slipping underneath to touch her soft skin.
“You know perfectly well. It’s what you packed for me. It was wear this or do a Britney Spears and go sans panties.”
He burst out laughing again and she shushed him. “You’re being too loud,” she said.
“And I keep telling you, they’re all too busy to be listening to us. Do you hear any of them?”
“No, but that’s cuz they’re sleeping.”
He grinned. “Really, Honey? You think so? You really are that naïve about what goes on at a bed and breakfast?”
She stared at him and slowly made a face as she nodded. “Guess I’m silly, huh?”
“No, not silly,” he said running his hand down her leg to her feet where he removed her shoes and tossed them away. He then rubbed her feet.
“Why are you doing that?”
“Don’t like it?”
She gulped. “Didn’t say that,” she said wiggling her toes with pleasure.
“My ex used to complain after a night in high heels and she always asked me to do this. Thought it was a girl thing, but if you don’t want me to…”
She opened her mouth to protest, but then she felt his hand slide back up her leg and her heart skipped a beat. His dark eyes held hers prisoner as she felt him remove, with just the flick of his thumb, the clasp holding the stockings in place. Then he went around the back of her leg and undid that clasp as well. Slowly, he pulled the stocking off, his fingers skimming her skin all the way and his eyes never leaving her face.
She was being artfully seduced and blast it all if she didn’t like it.
“Hmm?” he said. He let the stocking slip to the floor in a silky puddle, then he moved up her other leg with feather-light fingers which tortured as much as they promised pleasure.
“Victor?” she said breathlessly.
“Yes?” he said, his hand slipping between her legs to undo the other clasp. Her sharp intake of air surprised and delighted him in equal measure. He smiled and wondered if Richard knew what a treasure he had all those years.
“You’re kinda good at that, huh?” she mumbled. “It took me forever to put them on properly.”
He chuckled as he slipped the stocking down her leg. “I never put them on…much easier to remove.”
“I imagine you’ve had a lot of practice taking them off,” she said.
He assumed it wasn’t intended as an accusation, so he wondered why it felt like one. How was he to respond to that? Truthfully he figured. Nothing else would do with Violet.
“Yes, mostly with my ex-wife,” he said. He then waited-- for what he didn’t know, but he wasn’t fooling himself it would be good.
“Catherine and…um…the others were all…uh…”
“What?” he said, trepidation filling his insides with cold lead.
“They were probably a lot like Chenille,” she said, her hand tugging down the hem of her dress.
He shook his head slightly. “What do you mean?”
Violet opened her mouth, but closed it again. She had to choose her words carefully lest she insult his choice of companions.
She shrugged. “They're not like me.”
“No one’s like you, Violet,” he said, knowing he’d never spoken a bigger, undeniable truth.
Violet didn’t think she liked that answer, but conceded it was probably true. “I mean…” she licked her lips then bit down on it. “With an overly developed…um…with a staunch adherence to Christian values.”
He stared at her, baffled. What in the world was she talking about?
“You’re an idiot!” Richard snarled, inches away from Victor’s ear.
Heidi jumped, startled by his sudden appearance. “Richard! What are you doing here?”
“Heck if I know!” he grumbled, pushing his hair out of his eyes.
“You’ve been keeping your distance up until now. You promised to!”
“I was, I tried…I don’t know why I’m here.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know what happened, Heidi. I was with Sophie all this time. Tonight I was standing right next to her at this club full of drunk college kids. She was just done with her first set and was basking in the glow of a fantastic performance, with fans all around her and then that jerk-off Antoine was man-handling her and then, poof! I was here. It was like a giant hand grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and pulled me here against my will.”
Heidi gaped at him. “Has this ever happened before?”
He shook his head. “I’ve been desperately trying to get back to Sophie. She needs me. I know she does! But I’m here and I’m stuck. I can’t leave.”
Heidi looked from him to Victor and Violet --who were now frozen statues sitting at the edge of the bed--and back again. “How long have you been here?”
“I appeared at the lake just before they saw the bears. They seemed to be fighting or something. I tried to leave when they went back inside, but I got pulled back to the kitchen. I got halfway to Sophie and now I’m back again. What the hell is going on?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Heidi sadly said. “Violet needs you here...or wants you here.”
“What the hell for?” he shouted. “She’s doing fine. Or can’t you see that? I’m sure your son will make her…quite happy in a few minutes and I don’t exactly want to stay to see it, if you don’t mind.”
“It won’t happen now that you’re here.”
“But I don't want to be here. It’s not me doing it!”
“I know that now,” she said with a sigh. “It’s not you at all. It’s Violet.”
“So, what am I supposed to do?”
Heidi shook her head. “If I knew…”
“Sophie needs me. She could be in real trouble!”
Heidi shook her head. “She’s not.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know. Her band mates will intercede on her behalf. Antoine doesn’t stand a chance against those four capable guys --bodyguards actually, for all intents and purposes. Those sweet boys have made it their life’s work to protect that darling girl.”
Richard gaped at her. “And how the hell do you know that?”
She smiled. “I’ve been keeping tabs on her, too, Richard dear.”
“Why?” he said, both incredulous and skeptical.
“Let’s just say I have a vested interest in your darling daughter.”
“Oh, really. Does that mean Victor’s gonna dump Violet to go for my Sophie? Over my dead…” He stopped and clutched at his t-shirt right over his no-longer-beating heart, only then realizing what an empty threat that was. “I’ll kill him first. I don’t know how, but I will!”
“Relax, Richard,” she said, waving a dismissive hand at him. “Victor is in love with Violet, not Sophie. For goodness sake. Are you forgetting he thought not very long ago that even Violet might be a bit too young for him?”
Richard frowned staring at the frozen couple. “Then why am I here?”
“I think we’re about to find out,” Heidi said.