Violet jumped when she heard the pickup in the driveway. “They’re back,” she gasped, her eyes wide as she stared at Simon.
“Yes, they are,” Simon remarked, heading for the door.
“Simon, you won’t say anything to your father.”
“About breaking his dishes? Of course not. I don’t want to get in trouble,” he said with a smirk.
“No, about the…the fainting,” she whispered.
“Hmm, that’s a different story. You could be seriously ill and he’ll never forgive me if I didn’t tell him about that, especially as I’m to be a doctor one day. Wouldn’t be right.”
“But I’m not ill!” she said through clenched teeth.
He smiled. “Good. Then I’ve happy news to tell him, or perhaps I should let you do that?” he said, opening the front door and allowing her to step outside before him.
“Simon, I'm not...not what you think I am," she whispered.
“Hmm, well, if it’s not a baby, then Dad should know that you're ill. Shall I tell him, or will you?” he asked just as his father jumped out of the car. “Hey, Dad.”
“I’ll tell him,” she mumbled, forcing a smile, she turned to Victor, her hands nervously fidgeting in front of her. “Hello, Victor.”
“A welcome committee? How nice!” Victor said, swooping down to give her a kiss.
“No, Simon, it would be better if you helped your brother with the armoire, don’t you think?” Violet said, sternly. “It looks like rain and it might hurt the finish, or worse, warp the wood.”
“Very true! Hurry, boys, hurry!” Marty said, as Ronnie helped her out of the truck.
Victor looked from Violet’s worried expression to Simon’s sardonic look and frowned. “Something going on?” he said.
“Not at all,” Violet said and turned on her heels, going back into the house.
Victor raised his eyebrows in question and Simon gestured for him to follow her saying, “She has something important to tell you.”
“What?” Victor said.
“She doesn’t want me to tell you.”
“What the…” he said, then sprinted into the house. “Violet, where are you?”
He followed her voice and found her kneeling on the floor. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she replied, picking up a piece of broken china which she apparently had overlooked when she swept the floor. She held it up to him but didn’t make eye contact. “I dropped a plate and it shattered. I’m sorry. I’ll replace it.”
“Is that all? What do I care about a plate?” he said. “Violet, tell me what’s wrong. Did you and Simon have an argument?”
“No, of course not,” she said, looking around for more broken china.
“Look at me,” he demanded, hauling her to her feet.
“Why? Are you particularly handsome today?” she replied, still looking away.
He turned her around and lifted her face to his. “You tell me.”
She smiled. “Why yes, you do look ruggedly handsome. You should wear jeans more often. Makes you look like the Marlboro man.”
“Hope not. I hear he died horribly of cancer from smoking so much.”
She giggled. “Okay, maybe not!”
“Come here,” he said, pulling her into his arms giving her a squeeze before releasing her. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I said nothing!”
“Yes, I know. You’ve told me nothing, just like a good press secretary,” he replied, then sighed. “You don’t like Marty. That’s it, isn’t it?”
“No, of course not.”
“It’s because she calls you Girly. I’ll make her stop…or rather, I’ll try to get her to stop.”
To his surprise she laughed. “No, it’s not. I think it’s funny actually. Me a girly is bizarre…I mean, I’m practically a grandmother.”
“You are?” he said. “Is Kenny’s wife expecting?”
She shrugged. “Not that I know of, but, she could be and Sophie is well past the age when I had my first baby, so… any day now I could be a grandma.”
“Sexiest grandma I ever saw.”
“Better not let Marty hear you say that, if you know what’s good for you!”
“You’re right. That’s her title,” he said and they both laughed. “Simon said you had something important to tell me. So, that obviously isn’t it?”
“Did he? Well, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” she said, evasively.
“Don’t you? How did you drop the plate?”
She glared at him. “How does anyone drop a plate? It slipped out of my hand. It was slippery and…do you want me to show you by dropping another one?”
“Not necessary, but you’re not telling me something. I can tell, you know, when you’re lying.”
“Don’t be silly. I told you about the dish,” she said, moving out of his reach. “Now go away. I have to cook and… Um…Victor, there is something I was wondering. Do you think it would be all right if I invite Morris Kramer to dinner tonight?”
“Tonight? In the midst of all this moving mess? Marty won’t stand for it, I can tell you that. She needs everything perfect for a guest.”
“Okay…you’re right, it was just a thought,” she said, chewing on her thumbnail. “It’s just he told me how much he loved the food when he went to Mexico with his wife and I had promised to ask him to dinner and we never did. I feel so bad, ignoring the poor man. He’s so alone now, without his wife.”
Victor sighed. “I’ll ask Marty if she’d mind and then I’ll give him a call. How’s that?”
“Only if it's okay with Marty,” she said, slipping an apron over her head and tying it behind her.
“What made you think of Morris now?”
“Oh, nothing really…just,” she said, going to the fridge. “Marty’s orchids just reminded me of him and his wonderful collection. I also thought Marty would like someone around who was more her age and they obviously have the orchids in common.”
“Don’t you dare let her hear you say that they’re the same age!” he shouted. “In her mind, she’s your age.”
Violet giggled and pushed him out of the kitchen. “Go on and help your boys. I’ll be in here cooking up a storm, so no interruptions, if you know what’s good for you.”
“You’re just not gonna tell me, huh?” he said at the doorway.
“Already did, silly,” she said.
“I could ask Simon,” he said.
She gulped then tried to shrug carelessly. “And he’d tell you about the broken dishes.”
“Ah! So, it was more than one dish!” he said.
“Caught me,” she said, endlessly relieved.
“Try not to break anymore or Marty will have me buy a whole new set from Tiffany’s or something at thousand bucks per setting. If her daughter didn’t bankrupt me, she might,” he said rolling his eyes and finally leaving the kitchen.
Violet stood with her mouth agape. “A thousand a setting? Hope he’s kidding!”
“Tonight?” Marty shrieked. “But…there’s no time for a proper dinner party…no invitations, no flowers, no theme, no…anything!”
“It’s just a family dinner. You can have your fancy dinner party some other time. Violet has been wanting to invite Mr. Kramer over since last June, but we never got around to it. If you don’t feel comfortable having him here tonight, we can do it some other time.”
Marty twisted her mouth as she thought this over. On one hand, she would like to see her old high school crush and more so, she wanted him to see her. After all, she was still a beauty for a woman her age—if she did say so herself--much better looking than his nasty old bee-atch wife ever had been. So it would be a sort of In-your-face moment. She wanted to have him eating out his heart when he saw what he had missed out on.
On the other hand…well, there really was no other hand. She wanted to see him, period, especially now that he was widowed! She was dying to see him, because—and she would actually die before she admitted this to anyone—she still harbored a bit of a crush for the old coot. That was why she wanted everything perfect whenever they did get to meet.
She couldn’t get over it. Violet just wanted a family dinner for this man? What was that girly thinking? Didn’t she know he was just about the richest man in town, a world traveler, a renowned business man, a connoisseur of the finest things in life, and was used to far better than fiesta rice and tacos?
She pursed her lips further and made a huffy sound.
Victor took this as a definite no. “All right. No worries. I won’t call him.”
“No, Victor, if you think he’d be fine with a simple family dinner with all of us here, well, I won’t spoil Violet’s plans. I refuse to get between you and your lady love. I will, however, go for a lie down. I’m feeling a bit worn with all this activity, and if we’re to have company…well, I would like to be at my best.”
Shocked, Victor merely gaped at her as she slowly went up the stairs. “I’m as bad at reading her as I was with Catherine,” he said.
“That explains the divorce, but doesn’t explain why you get along so well with Grandma,” Simon said, coming in and plopping down on the bottom step.
“It’s cuz of us,” Ronnie said following suit. “Are we done yet?”
“Yes, that was the last of it. You guys can rest,” Victor said, pulling out his cell, looking through all his contacts. “He’s gotta be in here somewhere.”
“Who?” Ronnie asked.
“Friend of Violet’s… the man who sold me the land on Somerset Hill. She wants to invite him over for dinner tonight, if he’s home and if he’s willing on such late notice,” Victor mumbled, frowning. “Could be he’s not in this phone. I didn’t have this when we met him.”
“What’s the guy’s name?” Simon said, pulling out his own phone. “We can find it online.”
“Morris Kramer, with a k not a c,” Victor said, moving toward the kitchen. “But don’t bother, Simon. Most likely Violet has his number.”
“Oh, crap, oh, crap, oh, crap,” Ronnie said, running his fingers through his hair and looking ready to yank it all out.
“What the hell’s up with you?” Simon asked only half interested, his eyes glued to his emails.
“How common is the name Morris Kramer…do ya think?” Ronnie asked.
“Around here? Probably very common. I heard some kids at school saying there was a prominent family here long ago named Kramer. Owned half the town, actually founded Catalpa Valley I think, and Kramer Lake was named after them. Why?”
“Cuz…uh…cuz…my business ethics professor was Morris Kramer and he once mentioned that he lived in New York…upstate, but there’s no way he’s the same guy, right?” Ronnie said, breathlessly.
Simon suddenly lost interest in the internet and grinned mischievously. “Well, we’ll soon find out, won’t we?”
“Oh, crap, oh, crap, oh crap,” Ronnie muttered, his head in his hands.
“Guys, I know I said you could rest, but how about you do one more run for me?” Victor said. “Violet just talked to Mr. Kramer and he’ll be coming. He just had knee surgery though, so he shouldn’t drive. Pick him up for me?”
“Sure, Dad,” Simon said clamping a firm hand of Ronnie’s shoulder. “We’d love to.”
“I don’t gotta go, do I?” Ronnie whined.
“Go keep your brother company. Here’s the address, but you won’t need it. It’s the only house up on Somerset Hill, large modern chalet type house, all glass fronted, overlooking the lake. You can’t miss it.”
“We’ll find it, Dad,” Simon said, pushing his reluctant brother ahead of him. “This ought to be fun.”
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved