Victor clenched his hands into fists as he watched the spectacle before him. Seriously? Marty and Morris, who less than an hour ago were at each other’s throats, are now all lovey-dovey and have decided to get married? Oh, hell no! It should be he and Violet getting married, not these two old geezers!
“Marty, you have to be joking,” he said. “You are seventy-three years old, and...”
Marty gasped. “Victor Romanoff, you did not just reveal my age! How could you do such a thing?”
“Martina, take it easy,” Morris soothingly said. “I know you’re not eighteen anymore. We’re practically the same age, remember? I was a senior in high school when you were a sophomore.”
Marty bristled. “I was a freshman!” she huffed.
“Even better,”Morris said, winking at Violet. “Hear that? I’m getting a spring chick.”
“The point is,” Victor interjected. “It’s ridiculous for you to even think about getting married at your age.”
“Why?” Violet asked. “If they love each other, age shouldn’t matter.”
“Thank you, Violet,” Marty said, lifting her chin haughtily. “At least someone around here wants me to be happy.”
“Grandma, we all want you to be happy, but…you have to admit, this is awfully sudden,” Simon said. “You only just met…”
“No, they’ve known each other since they were in high school. They just said so!” Ronnie said.
“You didn’t let me finish,” Simon snapped. “They only just met again. Apparently, they haven’t seen each other before today in a very long time, so…”
“Yes, Simon, that may be true,” Violet said, smiling at the happy couple, “But it’s obvious that they’ve picked up exactly where they left off. Isn’t that so, Marty?”
“Yes,” she said, watching Violet with a curious expression. “You’re smarter than you look, girly.”
Violet giggled. “About some things, maybe,” she said.
“But not this,” Victor interjected. “This is a stupid idea.”
“You know, Victor, you’re starting to tick me off!” Violet said whirling around and sticking her finger into his chest, making him back up a step. “You just shut up for a minute!”
Stunned into silence, Victor backed off and she then turned back to face Marty. “Now, I’d like to know the whole story. Will you tell us, please? What happened that it took so long for you to finally get together?”
Marty and Morris exchanged looks and smiled sadly. “It was foolishness on my part, listening to deceitful people with agendas all their own,” she replied.
“It didn’t help that I was a stubborn fool and that I believed the lies, so many lies,” Morris said grimly shaking his head.
“I should have stood my ground and not been intimidated just because your family disapproved of me and considered me a gold digger.”
“I can’t believe they told you I was dead,” Morris said angrily.
“Dead!” Violet shouted.
“It was war time, and I was MIA for a few weeks. Martina apparently thought…”
“I never would imagine your family would stoop so low and tell me you had died when you were perfectly fine. I should have known better. I should have waited for you. I should have…”
“If they told you he was dead, it wasn’t your fault, Gramma. You can’t be expected to love a dead man forever,” Ronnie said.
“Some people do,” Simon muttered, staring at Violet. She, however, didn’t hear that.
“Is that when you married Grampa? When you thought Mr. Kramer was dead?” Ronnie asked.
Marty shook her head. “I married someone before your grandfather,” she said, staring at Morris, gripping his hand as if afraid he’d disappear again.
The boys exchanged startling looks. “Mom never told us,” they said in unison.
“Catherine never knew,” Marty said. “It wasn’t long-lived. I never loved him, but… but I was heartbroken. I was convinced I had lost my only true love. Nothing mattered at that point.”
“Martina, it was my fault. I shoulda known something was up when I got no replies to all my letters.”
“I didn’t get any. Either your parents intercepted them or mine did,” Marty said resentfully.
“Both no doubt,” he said, gruffly.
“Then…what happened to your first husband?” Simon asked.
“We…we divorced,” Marty said. “Parted as friends.”
“But why didn’t you two hook up then… I mean before grandpa?” Simon said.
Marty sighed and shook her head again. “By then…it was too late.”
“I came back to find my girl married to some duffus and…and being a resentful jilted lover, I went off to college and I married the first girl who said yes. Biggest mistake of my life. If I had just waited…we could have been married then, right after you divorced, but…I had to be stupid!”
“We just weren’t meant to be,” Marty said.
“Just bad timing all around, it sounds,” Simon said.
“How horrible,” Violet said, “You were thwarted at every turn.”
“But it’s the right time now,” Marty said beaming again.
“It certainly is. Nothing’s getting between us now,” Morris said, and he kissed her cheek.
“This is ridiculous,” Victor said. “You can’t just…”
“What? They can’t just what?” Violet angrily asked. This time he backed away from her before she could poke him in the chest again. “You think you can’t put love on hold for weeks and months, apparently several decades? Funny, you told me differently, or were you lying to me?”
“Well,” Morris said, “He is a lawyer. Lying kinda goes with the territory.”
Ronnie laughed until he saw the look on his father’s face. He then coughed and looked away.
“That’s different, Violet,” Victor said. “You were off limits when I fell for you. Your husband was still alive.”
“Sounds like the same thing Gramma just said,” Ronnie said.
“Yes, I thought so too, Ronnie,” Violet said, glaring at Victor.
Victor clenched his back teeth until he thought they might break. “That’s hardly the same thing, Violet.”
“I beg to differ,” she said, going right up to him and poking her finger into his chest again. “You said you would wait until I was ready. Well? Were you just blowing smoke, then?”
“That…that has nothing to do with this,” he said. “We aren’t in our seventies.”
“No, we’re not, but any one of us could die today crossing the street, riding in a car or…”
“Or of a dreaded disease?” Simon interjected. “one that makes you dizzy and faint dead away?”
Violet gaped at him and blushed. “Yes, even that. And that is why Marty and Morris should do exactly as they please regardless of what anyone says.”
“But at this age it’s not even worth the trouble,” Victor said.
“What does that matter, Dad?” Ronnie asked. “You’re allowed to get married when you’re sixteen, but not when you’re sixty or seventy? They are old enough to know what they want.”
“Victor, are you seriously going to stand there and deny these people some happiness? For what possible reason? Just cuz you think they are too old for love? You’re never too old for love! Or maybe you’re jealous it’s not you? Well, get over it! This isn’t about you or me. This is about Marty and Mr. Kramer and the miracle of them getting back together after all these years. It’s their last chance for happiness. Life is too short for them to wait for this to be okay with you and the boys and anyone else who has a problem with it, and you know what? They don’t need your approval or permission. So, if you think I’ll let you or anyone stop these two from getting together… well, just try me! You ain’t seen crazy yet.”
Victor glowered. “That it not the point.”
“Then what is the point?” Marty asked.
“Perhaps he thinks I’m after your money,” Morris said, smirking.
“Pish-posh! He knows darn well all my money is securely set aside for my daughter and my grandsons’ futures,” Marty retorted. “You won’t get a penny of it, Morris, so you better want me for my body, because you’re getting nothing else!”
Simon grimaced. “That painted a nasty picture,” he muttered under his breath.
“Still haven’t found that eraser,” Morris said, sticking his hand in his pocket, pulling it out empty and sticking it back in.
“I can get you one,” Ronnie said, helpfully.
“He’s just kidding, moron,” Simon said.
“Calling your brother a moron is a point against you,” Morris warned.
“Then you may as well get me off the list entirely, Mr. Kramer, cuz Ronnie just not too bright most of the time,” Simon said.
“Shut it! Hey, you doing pre-nups then?” Ronnie asked, making a face. “Sorta unromantic, but…you now…Mom will have a cow if….”
“I’ll say,” Violet agreed.
“Of course we’ll have one,” Marty said.
“I mean it, Morris, I will not have anyone calling me a gold digger and if I go first, you won’t keep my money either. It’s going to my boys.”
Morris smiled and then chuckled. “Fine with me, honey. I’ll let you know how much I’m leaving to my heirs.”
“But you don’t have any…heirs I mean,” Violet reminded him needlessly.
“I will soon as I marry Martina, won’t I?” Morris said, smirking at the boys.
Ronnie’s eye widened. “Hey, does that mean I gotta call you… grampa?” he said, apparently none too pleased. “Don’t know if I can switch from professor to grampa in two minutes.”
“You better if you want a piece of the pie,” Morris said.
“Pie? I didn’t see any pie. Is it in the Kitchen?” Ronnie said, frowning at Violet, as if she was hiding it from him.
Simon groaned. “See, Mr. Kramer? Total idiot!”
“That’s Grampa to you buddy-boy,” Morris said, then he turned to Martina. “Well, are we going or what?”
“Yes,” she said, “I’ll go pack some things then we can go.”
“Whoa!” Simon said. “You’re living together…like now?”
“Sweetheart, we’re getting married now,” Marty explained. “We’re going to Vegas to do it.”
Violet gasped. “Seriously? No real wedding?”
“That takes time to plan, dear, and we’ve wasted enough time,” Marty said. “As Victor has made it quite clear, we’ve each got one foot in the grave so time is of the essence!”
“I never said that!” Victor shouted.
“Far too much time wasted now,”Morris grumbled. “Be quick, woman! The plane’s a-waiting.”
“The plane is waiting for you?” Simon said, rolling his eyes. “Sure it is.”
“Need a ride to the airport?” Ronnie asked. “I have to be in the city anyway. I could drop you off at JFK.”
“With what car, genius?” Simon asked. “You sold yours, remember?”
“Oh, yeah…forgot,” Ronnie said, briefly glancing at his father and quickly looking away again.
“We don’t need to get to JFK. though. My plane’s at a private airfield just thirty miles west of here,” Morris said, casually. “But you can use my car to take us there, Ronald. You can have it, actually… my car, I mean. I won’t need it anymore.”
Everyone stared incredulous.
“You…you’re gonna let me use your car…like for free?” Ronnie asked.
“Look at it as your first gift from your new grampa,” Morris said.
“Wait…you really have your own plane?” Simon shrieked.
“And airstrip, yes,” Morris said.
“Wow,” Violet said.
“But you’re just a profess…oh…and a business man, too you said,” Simon mumbled, comprehension finally dawning. “Then…you weren’t kidding about the list?”
“Can somebody please tell me what the hell this list is for?” Ronnie shouted.
“Well, I don’t really need the list anymore,” Morris said with a smirk. “I’m looking at my heirs right now…soon as I can put a ring on this woman’s hand, that is. Will you get packing already, Martina? I want to leave…like ten years ago!”
She jumped and ran up the stairs.
“Shall I go help her?” Violet asked.
“That would be right nice of you, Violet girl,” Morris said, taking her hand, holding her there as he stared into her eyes with a serious expression on his face. “Might I ask a favor?”
“Of course,” Violet replied.
“Marry this young man, your Victor, so I can count you as my family too.”
She opened her mouth several times, but not a word came out.
He patted her hand. “In your own good time, of course, but remember, life is too short, just like you said…but it can be awfully long and dreary when it’s full of regrets. I should know. I wouldn’t wish that on such a sweet lass as you.”
Violet stared at him then hugged him tightly. “I always thought of you as family, anyway,” she whispered. She kissed his cheek, released him and nodded, then briefly glanced at Victor before heading up the stairs.
“I guess Gramma doesn’t really need that pre-nup, huh?” Ronnie said looking a bit dazed.
“Dog gone genius, my brother is,” Simon muttered.
Victor groaned and threw himself onto the sofa.
“What’s wrong, Dad?” Ronnie asked.
Victor sighed and looked up at him. “You realize your mother is going to blame me for this, don’t you?”
Ronnie and Simon exchanged looks, grinned and both nodded. “Oh, yeah, totally your fault!” they said together.
“I think I might not want to meet my new step daughter,” Morris said, sitting down on the other end of the sofa. “At least not for a while.”
“Good call,” Victor said.
“Would you like a drink while you wait for Gramma, Mr…uh… Grampa?” Ronnie said.
Morris grinned. “Sounds good, Ronald,” he said, and he didn’t mean the drink.
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved