Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ch162 Big, Burly boys



    

“All I know is, if I ever need furniture moved I’m calling you two big burly boys to do it,” Violet said as the boys came downstairs.
They had just brought up to Marty’s new bedroom her entire bedroom set—after first removing the scant and unacceptable—at least to Marty--furnishing which had been in there and taken them to the attic-- and they weren’t even slightly winded.
Simon grinned and said, “We got time now. We can run over to your place, grab your stuff and move you in here, too, Ms. Bennett. Dad wouldn’t mind.”
Violet shook her head and forced a smile. “One person moved in per day is more than enough for poor Victor.”
“Dad would love it!” Ronnie said, giving her a coaxing smile. “How about it, Mommy?”
“Sorry, but no. I’m not ready for such a drastic change in my life,” she said.
“Is it drastic?” Simon asked.
“I…uh… I’m just not ready,” she said, wishing they’d get off this most uncomfortable subject.

“Is it because Soph…I mean, your kids would be upset if they knew about you and my dad?” Ronnie asked.
“Don’t they know about you?” Simon asked frowning at her.
“Uh…well, no, they don’t,” she said, her cheeks burning. “Never came up in phone conversations. Haven’t seen them in a long time. They’ve been so busy.”
Ronnie made a grumpy face at her. “If you were my mom I’d call you every night,” he adamantly said.
She giggled. “No, you wouldn’t. You’ve got your own life to live as they do. Sophie calls me every week, usually on Saturday mornings, but Kenny is more like once or twice a month when he finds two minutes spare time.”
“Must be tough, being all alone,” Ronnie said. “Sure you don’t wanna move in with…” He grunted when Simon elbowed him hard in the ribs. “What the hell was that for?”
“She’s not alone anymore,” Simon said.
“Oh…yeah, I guess” Ronnie said, rubbing the sore spot. “You can come over all the time…not the same though.”
“And she has us and now Grandma, too,” Simon said. “She’ll never be alone now.”
She stared at him and gave him a tiny smile. Funny thing was, the way he said it just made her feel more alone. “Anyway, you boys should get going while it’s still sunny and warm.”
Ronnie looked confused. “Why does that matter?”
“Your grandmother’s plants are delicate and don’t like to be shocked into the cold,” she answered.
“Oh, yeah, the lilacs,” Ronnie said, scratching his head.
Violet giggled. “Orchids,” she said.
He blinked at her. “Was that a sneeze?”
She laughed. “No, baby, lilacs are a tall, very hardy, flowering shrub and orchids are the flowers your grandmother has been cultivating for decades inside her house.”
Ronnie grinned and turning to his brother he started singing, ♪ ♫…she called me baby, she calls everybody baby …    
Simon groaned, and pushed his brother out the door. “Stop doing that!”
♪ ♫… it’s a lonely ol’ night, but ain’t they all?…it’s a lonely ol’ night, custom made for two lonely people like me and you…    
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Simon muttered, closing the door behind them.
Violet shook her head and laughed, but soon sobered. Those kids sure knew how to lay on the guilt. Must come from having divorced parents, she imagined. She sighed and looked around the house. Already it looked like a brand new place. That is to say, a place which looked lived in and comfy. It looked rather sparse and uninviting before, but now…she could very easily imagine herself snuggled on the couch with Victor while Calendula sat on the ottoman purring. This, however, was not a good thing.
“Blast it all,” she mumbled to herself.
“What’s wrong, girly?”
The unexpected voice startled Violet and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She turned in time to see Marty coming down the stairs with an armful of blankets and sheets.
“Oh, Marty! You shouldn’t be doing that!” Violet said, springing forward to take the load.
“Oh, pish-posh! It’s not heavy. I was just taking them to the laundry room, only I don’t exactly know where that is,” she said as she allowed Violet to take them.
“I’ll show you,” Violet said, leading the way toward the kitchen and beyond.
“So, you don’t like my additions, do you?” Marty said, sounding miffed. “Well, you should have said something before the boys brought it all here.”
“No, it’s not that at all. I love the cozy look you’ve brought to the place. Feels like a home now instead of a showroom,” Violet insisted.
“But?” Marty coaxed.
“No, buts. It’s…it’s so nice…for Victor. It’s exactly what he needed,” she said, filling the washer with detergent, setting it to fill and then adding the linens. “He’ll want to stay home, because now it is home, and that’s great.”
“If it’s so great why do you sound close to tears?”
“You’re imagining things.”
“I’m not senile yet, Honey,” she said placing her manicured hands on her hips. “What is it then? You think I’ll cramp your style with Victor? Ah! I know, you just don’t like me. I’m as bad as your mother-in-law, aren’t I?”
Violet laughed and shook her head. “Not at all. I loved my mother-in-law. She was such a sweetie. I miss her almost as much as I miss…”
“Your hubby,” Marty guessed incorrectly.
Violet chose to let her think she was right. “I’m hoping we’ll get along well, all of us. I think we shall,” she said closing the door on the washer and smiling. “I think I’ll go get lunch ready. The boys should be back soon with your orchid collection so…”
Marty gasped and threw her hands up. “They didn’t go on their own to do that, did they?” she shrieked.
“Uh…weren’t they supposed to?” Violet squeaked.
“Heavens no!” Marty shouted, bounding out of the laundry room and going to the bottom of the stairs. “Victor, come quickly!”
“What is it?” Violet said, just as Victor bounded down the stairs asking the same thing.
“Girly over here has sent your brutish boys to fetch my orchids, that’s what!”
Victor frowned. “So? Isn’t that why we cleared out the den…for your collection?”
Marty growled and rolled her eyes at the same time. “They won’t treat them with the proper care they deserve. If those boys so much as knock off a leaf or a petal I will have a…a…”
“Heart attack?” Victor finished for her.
“Exactly! Now, take me back home!”
“Marty, we’ve discussed this and you should live with…”
“Not that you idiot!” Marty shouted, grabbing her fur coat and tossing it over her shoulders. “This is my new home. I’ve come to grips with that. I mean my old one so I can direct the boys in this delicate operation.” She then flung the door open and stomped off to the car.
“Yes, ma’am,” he muttered looking at Violet. “If we’re not back in an hour call out special ops.”
Violet laughed. When they had gone and she was alone in the house, she went to the kitchen and started cooking.
*****
“Oh my God!” Ronnie said, stepping into the house with a huge box of fully blooming orchids. “Is that….”
“Beef Stroganoff, I’ll bet anything,” Simon said, lugging his own box into the house.
“If we leave Violet alone in the kitchen are we gonna get fed each time?” Ronnie asked, setting the box onto the floor.
“Let’s hope!” Simon said, doing the same.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Marty said from behind them, she carrying a pale pink orchid in its protective glass case. “Don’t leave them here by the drafty door! You trying to kill them?”
“But, Gramma, it’s lunch time and I’m so hungry,” Ronnie whined.
“We can’t leave them outside that long. They don’t like the cold!” Marty said.
“Come on, guys. Bring them in and then we’ll eat,” Victor said, taking his own box straight to the den.
“And do it carefully!” Marty said. “Don’t you go thinking I didn’t notice the long spray of flowers you snapped off my pretty pink Cymbidium, Ronnie!”
“That was Simon. I broke the white… one,” he stupidly admitting it.
“You’re killing me,” Marty muttered, head in hands.
“I’ll buy you three new ones of your choice, Marty,” Victor said, shooing the boys outside before they had their heads bashed in. “Go tell Violet we’re back and we’ll be ready for lunch in a bit. Okay?”
Marty glared at him, her arms stubbornly crossed over her chest.
“I’ll buy you four and I’ll make quite certain they don’t hurt a single leaf. I swear it,” Victor told her.
“Fine, but I want five new ones,” she said, before flouncing off with her nose in the air.
“Traded one diva for another, didn’t I?” he muttered.
“Sure looks like it, cowboy. What were you thinking?” Richard said, laughing.
“Great, my ghost is back,” Victor mumbled.
“Sorry, Bud, but I never left!” Richard said, roaring with laughter.
****
“Lunch is ready,” Violet said, draining the noodles into a colander. She barely put the butter onto the noodles and tossed them before the boys descended on the food like locusts—very hungry locusts.
Victor took her by the shoulders and held her back. “Better stand clear, Honey…just safer that way.”
Marty took one bite and stared in astonishment. “Girly, you can cook!”
“Ses onerba,” Ronnie said with a full mouth.
“Um…” Violet said, looking at Victor for a translation.
“She’s wonderful, he said, meaning you,” Victor said, kissing her. “Thanks, Sweetie. This is great.”
Although watching everyone eating heartily and all their compliments made her feel good, Violet couldn’t help feeling melancholy. The friendly banter, the kidding around, even the boys’ jibs at each other, were so familiar, so welcome to her…nearly music to her ears. She missed that.
“You feeling all right?” Victor asked, noticing she hadn’t eaten much.
“Fine. Not too hungry,” she said, swiftly changing the subject. “You boys won’t leave tonight, will you, not before dinner, I hope? I could make something special.”
Simon and Ronnie exchanged startled glances. “You mean more special than this?” Simon asked.
“Can’t be!” Ronnie said.
She laughed. “I was thinking a Mexican feast. Your father told me you like Mexican.”
“Will you marry me since you won’t marry Dad?” Ronnie said.
“Oh, stop that!” Victor irritably said. “You don’t have to, Violet.”
“Yes, she does,” Simon muttered.
“You’ve already done too much, first with breakfast and now this,” Victor said, frowning at his sons. “We’ll go out to eat after we’re done here. Pizza…something simple. I’m sure Marty has more for us to do, don’t you, Sweetheart?”
“I think I’d rather like a Mexican feast,” Marty said, completely ignoring Victor.
Violet and the boys laughed.
“You people are too much,” Victor muttered.
Violet stood up from the table clearing it as she went. “Go on then. I’ll clean up then I’ll help with whatever there is left to do,” she said.
“Sure you don’t want some help?” Victor asked.
“I like my kitchen all to myself, as you well know,” Violet said, heading out of the dining room.
“Your kitchen, huh?” Simon smirked, following her with more dirty dishes and glasses. “Sure you don’t want to move in?”
“Um… I… it’s, you know, just a saying,” she nervously stammered.
“Hmm…is it indeed?” he said watching her fill the dishwasher. He laughed at the wary expression on her face. “I’m just teasing, Ms. Bennett.”
“Okay…um, I’ll go…”
“No, you stay here. I’ll get the rest,” Simon said. “Dad and Ronnie went with Grandma. She’s making them bring her armoire after all; Says it would look great in the family room.”
“It will. It’s a beautiful piece. Looks just like one Kenny made for me, only mine’s in maple and I think hers is black walnut.”
“Your son did make it,” Simon said. “My stepfather—I think you know Andy?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Yes, he bought it from Kenny for Grandma’s birthday several years ago.”
“How do you know that?” Violet asked.
“I went with him to pick it up. It was just before I graduated from high school,” he said, amused by her shocked expression. “She loves it. That’s why she wants us to go get it.”
Violet watched him leave the kitchen, she gripping the counter. She suddenly felt very odd. She saw spots in front of her eyes, felt the blood drain from her face, and before she knew it, all went black.
*****
“Ms. Bennett?”
She moaned.
“Violet? Come on, wake up.”
Her eyes fluttered when she felt a damp cloth on her forehead, but she couldn’t focus.
“Hey, you had me worried,” Simon said, brushing two fingers down her cheek. “How you feeling?”
All she could see was blue eyes. “Richard?”
“Uh…not even close,” he said, his brow slightly furrowed. “Try again.”
She blinked. Blond hair, blue eyes; it had to be Richard. “Richard,” she whispered.
“Oh, boy,” Simon said. “No, it’s Simon. I’m Simon Romanoff. Your boyfriend Victor’s son. Remember me?”
“Victor?” she said, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. “Where… what happened?”
“You fainted in the kitchen. I think I broke a couple of plates when I grabbed you, but it was better than letting your head hit the floor,” he said, holding her down. “No, rest here for a while. I want to make sure you’re okay before I let you sit up.”
She took another deep breath and opened her eyes, staring around her and then at him. “Simon,” she said, wondering how she got in the living room.
He smiled. “There she goes! Third time’s the charm,” he said.
“You said I fainted?” she said.
“Yes, but you were only out for a minute,” he said. “I brought you here so you would be more comfortable.”
“Oh… thank you, Simon, but you didn’t have to. I’m fine.”
“I’m sure you are,” he said, mockingly. “Does Dad know?”
“Know? Not if he didn’t see me go down,” Violet said, pushing herself up to sitting position. “He’s not here, right? Please, don’t tell him. He’ll make more of this than it is.”
“Shouldn’t he? I think he’d want to know that you’re pregnant,” he said, holding both her hands in his, not allowing her to stand. “Of course, that means you have to move in now, cuz if I know my dad, he’ll insist on getting married right away.”
“Pregnant?” she shrieked. “Oh, for heavens sake! What is it with you Romanoffs? I’m not pregnant. You have to have sex in order to…” She suddenly stopped and blushed.
Simon laughed and sat down next to her still holding her hands. “I’m not ten anymore, Ms. Bennett. I know how it works. It’s also not the fifteenth century. Times have changed.”
“Time may have, yes, but oddly enough, the ten commandment remain the same,” she snapped, pulling her hand out of his and standing up. She only wobbled slightly and took several steadying breaths, Simon by her side ready to catch her.
“Ms. Bennett, you really ought to rest for a bit…at least until Dad gets here. If you faint while he’s here, then you’ll be in trouble, because he’ll know without anyone telling him. I’ll keep your secret if you sit and rest.”
“I don’t have a secret!”
“Think you do. You don’t want me to tell him you fainted. That’s a secret. The other thing, the baby, well, that’s for you to tell him.”
“I don’t have to tell him anything! I’m not pregnant!”
Simon tried not to grin. “Okay, if you say so.”
“I do say so!” she huffed as she pulled away. She slowly walked back to the kitchen and hoped she didn’t fall again.
Simon watched her go and hoped the same thing, but he chuckled as he pondered, “I always wanted a little sister.”



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