Just as Victor and Violet sat down on the sofa, they heard shouting from the kitchen.
Victor groaned. “Must those two fight at every turn?” he said, exasperated.
“My mother used to blame it on that fine line between love and hate,” Violet said smiling. “They seem to hate each other because there is too much love there.”
Victor gave her a skeptical look, but shrugged. “I’ll take your word for it,” he said, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close. “I finally have you all to myself. We won’t have many of these moments now that Marty’s living here, so let me get some loving while I can.”
He kissed her and left her breathless, then he nibbled on her neck making her squirm and giggle.
“You’re tickling me!”
“That’s the whole point!”
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”
“I think you turn into a teenager when your kids are around,” she said, pushing him away—or rather, trying. “A horny teenager.”
“You betcha!” he said and continued molesting her.
Well, if she couldn’t stop him this way, she’d try a new strategy. She fell back onto the couch and offered no resistance.
“Oh, my gosh, I killed her!” he said. “Ah, well, a dead Violet is better than no Violet.” He then dropped on top of her and kissed and tickled her some more. At this point she was laughing so hard she couldn’t kiss him back and he started laughing, too.
At last she caught her breath and the giggles passed. She lay there looking up at him and smiled. “What am I going to do with you?” Violet whispered, caressing his cheek.
“Anything you want. I’m game,” he replied, taking her hand and kissing the palm.
“If you’re game does that make me the huntress?”
“Just as skilled as Artemis, as beautiful as Diana,” he said, kissing her tenderly. “Only tons better because you’re real and right here and all mine.” Victor stared at her, wanting her more than ever. He sighed and straightened up, bringing her up with him.
“Which reminds me…what Morris said struck a nerve with me.”
Violet’s eyes widened with fear. “Victor, don’t… not again, please. You know I’m not ready for…”
“But I have to. He told me I had to get you to marry me and soon or I’d lose you to some other guy. Not willing to risk that.”
“You know perfectly well there is no one else.”
“Actually there is, but we won’t mention the dearly departed just now.”
“It is true I got rid of dearly John Yearly and I scared away Cody’s dad,” he said, ignoring her protests. He placed his arm around her so she could lay her head on his shoulder. “If I hadn’t, you might be Cody’s mommy by now.”
“That would never have happened! I never liked him…not back when we were in school and definitely not now. He was notorious for cheating on his girlfriends and then his wife. And all the while she’s dying of cancer he.... Despicable creep! I wouldn’t have given him the time of day had it not been for his poor little kids.”
“So, he was never a contender…good to know, but there are others who would do anything to get in your…”
“…good graces. What did you think I was going to say?” he asked, smirking because he knew perfectly well. “My sweet little Violet has a dirty mind!”
“I do not!” she huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
He laughed, until he heard the sound of glass breaking. “Oh, cripes! What are they doing now?” he shouted.
“Probably Simon dropping another dish,” she said, without thinking.
“I thought you said you dropped the dishes.”
“Uh…I did,” she lied.
Victor narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “So, he dropped them? Why are you covering up for him? He knows I don’t care about a few dishes, but that’s not all there is to it. What is up between the two of you?”
“What…what do you mean? Nothing!” she said, totally unconvincing.
“I saw you and Simon having a little tête-à-tête and...”
“Tête-à-tête? Isn’t that a military move in Vietnam?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. That’s the Tet offensive you’re thinking of and has nothing whatsoever to do with this, and you know it. Stop trying to change the subject,” he said, sternly. “Is my son making a move on you? You hooking up with Simon when my back is turned?”
She gasped and pushed away from him. “I would never do that! He’s my own son’s age for Pete’s sake! I’m old enough to be his mother!”
“So, if he were older…”
“Then why all the secret whispers, the subtle innuendo? What’s he got on you?”
“You’re lying,” he said, standing up. “I’ll just have to go ask him.”
“No! Victor, don’t.”
“Then are you going to tell me…the truth I mean?” he said, somewhat angrily. “Don’t give me any broken dishes crap either. What is going on?”
“It’s nothing, but your son seems to be as bad as you are!”
“In what respect?”
“Over-protectiveness…if that’s a word.”
“It is,” Victor said and he frowned. “Who needs the protecting and from what? Surely not me from you!”
“No, nothing like that. The opposite, actually.”
“So…he’s protecting you from something? What?”
“Well, that’s just it, Victor. I don’t need protecting, but he’s taken it upon himself to…guess that’s why he wants to be a doctor, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“You’ve lost me.”
She sighed and closed her eyes. “I just get dizzy sometimes when I move around too quickly and today while I was cooking…”
“You dropped a dish?”
“No, that was Simon when he ran to catch me before I fell.”
“You fell? Are you hurt?” he said, proceeding to check her limbs.
“Will you stop that!” she shouted, pushing his groping hands away from her. “Gees, what’s a girl gotta do around here to be left alone?”
“Well, you can stop being so pretty or—here’s an idea—tell the truth for once! The whole truth and not some Washington version of truth.”
She sighed again. “Oh, all right, already! I got dizzy and was going down, but Simon caught me and a pretty little plate paid the price for his chivalry.”
“And? There has to be more.”
She gritted her teeth. “He jumped to the only conclusion all you Romanoff men ever seem to come to. But there’s one tiny problem. I’m not pregnant! I think I would know if I was, being I have been pregnant twice in my life and know the feeling. Have any of your sons or even you ever been pregnant?”
Instead of laughter as she expected of him, he frowned more.
“Then this could be serious. You need to see a doctor,” he said, sternly. “I can’t believe it took Simon urging you for you to tell me this. We may not be married, Violet, but I consider us at the very least engaged and therefore I still have a right to know when you’re ill. I’m going to have a word with Simon about this too. He should have told me straight away when you refused.”
“Perhaps he’s practicing that …doctor-patient confidentiality thing,” Violet said. “Don’t get mad at him, Victor. He just thinks I’m having a baby which everyone knows isn’t a serious malady. He just wants that to be what finally gets us married,” she said, exasperated. “For goodness sake, I’m surrounded by yentas!”
“No, my love, you’re surrounded by people who love and care about you. Now, who’s your doctor?”
“I don’t have one.”
“If I have to, Violet, and it seems like I may, I’ll tie you up and drag you to the hospital for a battery of tests if you continue to fight me on this. Who is your doctor?”
“I told you already, I don’t have one,” she stubbornly said.
“Come on, Violet,” he said, taking his smart phone from the coffee table. “I’m calling them right now for an appointment.”
“It’s after hours,” she said.
“I’ll save the number and call in the morning. Who do you see when you get sick?”
“I don’t get sick,” she said, triumphantly.
He closed his eyes and shook his head for a second. “God, give me strength,” he muttered. “All right, who was the last doctor you saw?”
“Dr. Gilbert, my kids’ pediatrician,” she replied.
“Are you serious?” he shouted.
“Why would I lie to you?” she said, then quickly added, “I mean, about something like this!”
“You must at least have a gynecologist.”
“I did, when Sophie was born.”
“That’s an obstetrician. Who do you see when you have a… a female problem?”
“I beg your pardon. Sophie was not a problem.”
Victor dropped his phone and placed his hands around her neck. “Tell me your doctor’s name or I swear I will strangle you!”
She giggled. “You’re tickling me!”
He let go and glared at her.
“Look at Mr. Gwumpy face,” she said pouting at him, then she laughed.
“You’re killing, Violet,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Then I ought to take you to the doctor!” she said, playfully sticking her tongue out at him.
“This is serious, Violet!”
“No, it’s not. I’m perfectly fine.”
“Yes, it is! My mother was exactly like you. “Oh, what do I need a doctor for? I never get sick” but guess what happened. She did get sick, very sick and she died of something which could have been prevented had she seen a doctor regularly.”
That wiped the smile off Violet’s face. “She was elderly and I’m not.”
“All the more reason for you to get a check up. If you don’t have a doctor or refuse to get one, then I’m getting one for you, and you will have no say in the matter.”
She made a face at him and stuck her tongue out at him again.
“Keep acting like that and we’ll visit that pediatrician,” Victor said.
“Shouldn’t the baby be born first?”
They both jumped at the sound of Simon’s voice.
“So, I was right? And I’m not even half through medical school. I am good!” Simon said, grinning from ear to ear.
“Holy crap! You’re really having a baby?” Ronnie shouted. “This is awesome! Always wanted a sister. Oh, I hope it’s a girl!”
Violet hid her face in her hands and mumbled, “Why doesn’t anybody listen to me?”
“No, there is no baby…not yet anyway,” Victor said. “Which means it’s nothing to celebrate. Simon, I’m extremely disappointed in you. Don’t you ever hide something like this from me again.”
“I gave Violet the chance to tell you, because it’s the kind of thing a woman should tell her man, isn’t it? Had she been pregnant, I mean,” Simon said. “I’m sorry, Dad, but I really thought it was a baby. She was only out for a minute or two.”
“You mean she actually was unconscious!?!” Victor bellowed.
“I…” Simon said, staring at Violet. “She didn’t tell you everything, did she?”
“Why don’t you tell me now, like you should have done as soon as I got home,” Victor growled.
“Okay. I was helping bring in the dirty dishes to the kitchen, I saw her going down, I dropped what I was carrying and grabbed her before she hit the floor. She just barely missed the counter with her head. I brought her in here, put her on the sofa and a few minutes later she woke up…she thought I was Richard for a minute.”
If Victor was livid before, he could spit nails now.
“No, I did not!” Violet protested. “I knew it was you, Simon… and I didn’t pass out…not really.”
“I beg to differ,” Simon said. “I was there and far more lucid than you were.”
“Oh, man, this isn’t good,” Ronnie said, going to her and taking her hand. “Are you okay now? How do you feel?”
“I’m fine. I keep telling all of you, there’s nothing wrong with me,” Violet said. “You’re sweet to worry, but I’m not ill, or pregnant, or anything.”
“You’ll forgive me for not taking your medical opinion as law,” Victor said. “You’re going to a doctor.”
“No, I’m not! I hate doctors!”
“That bodes ill for me,” Simon said, actually looking hurt.
“I didn’t mean it like that, Simon, it’s just…” Violet started to say.
“Don’t fight me on this, Violet! You are going,” Victor shouted.
“Stop yelling at her, Dad,” Ronnie said, then turning to her he added softly, “You have to go. Please, listen to Dad and just go for a little checkup. We don’t want what happened to our other Gramma to happen to you. It won’t hurt anything and then we’ll know for sure that you’re okay.”
Violet opened her mouth to protest, but that pleading look in his eyes was too much for her. “Oh, Ronnie, you are a sweetheart. All right, I’ll go, but only to show all of you I’m perfectly fine.”
Ronnie hugged her. “Thanks, Mom,” he whispered.
“Silly boy,” she said, then giggled. “So, did you boys put away the leftovers all right?”
The boys exchanged grins and nodded.
“Did you find room in the refrigerator?” Violet asked.
They both shook their heads. “We found a better place for it,” Ronnie said, rubbing his tummy.
“You didn’t!” Violet shouted.
“Think we did,” Simon said.
“But…there was so much leftover... two enchiladas and tons of rice and the refried…” Violet looked from one to the other and made a face. “You mean you ate it all?”
“Not a spoonful left,” Simon said, not looking remotely sorry.
“It was too good to just leave it there. Tomorrow I go back to eating take out all the time. I’m so depressed!” Ronnie whined.
“What, pray tell, is all the yelling about?”
Four heads turned at the sound of Marty’s voice. There she came into the room arm in arm with Morris, both of them beaming.
“Well, if it isn’t the stargazers,” Simon said. “So, did you see any falling stars? Been out there long enough to have one fall on your lap.”
“Watch it, Sonny,” Morris warned. “I have an eraser and I’m not afraid to use it on my list.”
Simon laughed. “Sorry, Mr. Kramer. I’ll be good.”
“What the heck is this list you keep talking about?” Ronnie asked.
“Never you mind. You may find yourself on it too, if you ever play a tune on the piano for me.”
Ronnie made a funny face. “So, I would want to be on this list?”
“Go play me something nice and you’ll find out,” Morris said, motioning with a nod that he wanted to sit. Marty took him to the sofa and sat beside him. “Go on, Ronald!”
“Uh…okay,” Ronnie said and he went over to the piano and played the first thing he could think of....Chop sticks.
“I hope you can do better than that!” Morris laughed.
“Just warming up,” Ronnie muttered, as he started playing something a bit more sophisticated.
“Ah, Moonlight Sonata. One of my favorites. Another one for the list,” Morris said, grinning at Marty. “Are you going to tell them or shall I?”
“Tell us what?” Violet asked eagerly, sitting across from them.
“So, you did catch a falling star! I’d like to see it,” Simon said, sitting down beside Violet.
“Where’s that eraser of mine?” Morris said, patting his shirt pockets before winking at Violet and making Simon laugh.
Marty smiled at Morris, then looked up at Victor, and finally at Simon. “I’m sorry I made you boys work so hard today bringing all my things here, but it’s just as well it happened now, before I was fully unpacked.”
“What happened now? What are you talking about?” Victor said, and he, too, sat beside Violet.
“I’m afraid I won’t be staying here after all,” Marty said.
“But you have to!” Ronnie shouted, abandoning the piano.
“Grandma, we’ve discussed this already. You need to stay with Dad,” Simon said. “You just had a heart attack, remember?”
“Oh, pish-posh!” Marty said.
“Marty, what is all this about?” Victor asked.
“Excuse me, but before we get to that, may I asked, why you call your mother by her name?” Morris said, frowning at Victor. “I may be old fashioned, and make no apologies for it mind you, but I find that practice not right. I’m surprised you would allow it, Martina.”
Marty laughed, as did Simon.
"And what is so funny?" he asked.
“My mother has been dead for five year, Mr. Kramer,” Victor said. “Marty is my mother-in-law.”
“I beg your pardon?” Morris said.
“Victor, you keep forgetting the former part,” Marty said, smiling indulgently. “Morris, dear, Victor was married to my daughter Catherine, but when they divorced I refused to give him up! Catherine may have been an idiot to get rid of him, but I am not. I suppose that may be why she and I don’t get on as we ought.”
Morris looked flabbergasted. He stared at Victor in disbelief and at last said, “What is wrong with you, Son? Letting a mother-in-law move in with you and your wife is bad enough, but a former mother-in-law and especially this one? Martina’s a piece of work! What were you thinking?”
Marty huffed indignantly as her grandsons burst out laughing, and even Violet couldn’t suppress a giggle. “I suppose that means the deal's off?” she snapped crossing her arms in front of her.
Morris grinned and put an arm around her. “You know darn well that’s what I love about you,” he said and he kissed her cheek.
“Whoa…I thought you hated each other!” Ronnie said.
“Now why would you think that?” Morris said.
“Oh, I dunno,” Simon retorted, “Could be the not-so-subtle jabbing and sparring you’ve been doing all night.”
“What’s going on?” Victor asked. “Marty, can you tell us what all this is about?”
“Well, as you must know sometime,” Marty said, placing her hand on Morris’ and giving it a squeeze. “We’re getting married.”
Four jaws dropped and a state of paralysis seemed to set on the four people gaping incredulously at the elderly couple.
“They’re taking it better than I thought,” Morris whispered.
“Give them time,” Marty replied, waiting patiently for the reaction.
“You’re kidding, right?” Ronnie said.
“You barely know each other!” Victor shouted.
“This is an odd turn of events, but what I must ask is, if I support this will I remain on the list or get kicked off it?” Simon said.
“Oh, how wonderful!” Violet shrieked and she rushed forward hugging them both.
“And there’s the winning response!” Morris said. “I really like this Violet girl.”