“This sucks, Mom!” Regina shouted.
“We’re not babies,” Bethany whined. “Why we gotta go see Beauty and the Beast? It’s like so lame!”
“Come on, guys,” Helen soothingly said, casting apologetic looks at Victor. “It won’t be so bad. You used to like this.”
“Yeah, like when we were two,” Regina said, rolling her eyes and folding her arms over her chest.
“It’s not lame,” Peter said in a quiet voice, wrapping his arms around Victor’s neck, anxiously watching the scene unfold.
Georgiana said. “They high school kids worked very hard on…”
“Can we just stay in the car?” Bethany interrupted, giving Georgiana a snide look.
“Can I just go home?” Regina huffed.
“Perhaps that would be best,” Victor said grimly, shifting Peter to his other arm and placing a protective hand on Georgiana’s shoulder.
“Victor, please,” Helen said. “It’ll be fine soon as we all sit down and…”
“I’m not sitting with a bunch of babies listening to fairytale garbage,” Regina said, grabbing the car keys right out of her mother’s pocketbook, and she flounced back to the car, her sister right behind her.
“This was a mistake,” Victor said, somewhat relieved.
“Well, you know we can go do something else. Something that is good for everybody,” Helen said, smiling a bit desperately. “We can go to the mall and…”
“But I wanna see da beast,” Peter whined.
“I do too,” said Julian, leaning on Victor’s leg with Peter’s feet dangling in front of his face.
“So, do I, guys, and we will,” Victor said, kissing Peter’s cheek and setting him down on the ground. “Go inside with Julian and Georgie. I’ll be in to get you tickets in just a minute.”
“You promise?” Peter asked, his eyes wide and worried as he glanced at the woman who he suspected wished to take Victor away from them.
Victor smiled and ruffled this mop top. “You know it!”
Peter nervously glanced one more time at Helen then did as Victor told him, and followed his brother and sister into the high school.
“Victor, this is…” Helen said.
“Not going to work,” he finished for her.
“You can’t say that!” she said. “This is just the first time. We just have to find something everyone will like. The girls are just…”
“Spoiled brats,” he said, bluntly.
“Now, wait one minute!” she snapped.
“Forgive me, but this is too important to me for beating about the bush. It is obvious to me and it should be to you too, that this won’t work.”
“We were getting along fine at the diner and…”
“Fine?” he said, incredulous. “Were you at the same table as I was? Your daughters had their noses the entire time to those smart phones and when they dared look up they were downright rude and abusive to my kids, and to you too, for that matter. I am not going to allow your girls to ruin the rest of this day for my kids or for me. We’re going to see the play. You can do whatever the heck you want. Or rather what the girls want since you let then walk all over you. I had a lovely time with you at dinner the other night, but I know when to cut my losses. You are not the mother I want for my children.”
“You’re not giving this a chance, Victor!”
“This was the chance, Helen, and it didn’t work. It’s better to know straight off that it won’t work. Good-bye, Helen,” he said. He turned and went inside, gathered his kids, bought the tickets and went into the auditorium.
“Is Ms. Gibson not coming with us?” Georgiana asked, unable to keep the happiness out of her voice.
“No, remember this is too lame for them,” Victor said, putting his arm around her and dropping a kiss at the top of her head. She smiled up at him and he knew he’d done the right thing.
“It’s not lame!” Julian adamantly said.
Victor laughed. “No, it’s not. Some people just don’t know how to have fun, Jules,” he said.
“Violet knows how to have fun,” Peter said, snuggling into Victor’s lap.
“Yeah, she does,” Victor said, sighing as the lights went down and most chatter ceased around them.
“It’s starting!” Julian said, bouncing on his seat.
“Shhh, be quiet!” Georgiana said.
Victor didn’t think he’d really enjoy the show, not with his head abuzz with the events of the day and the unpleasant departure from Helen. Yes, he knew perfectly well he had been a bit blunt, a tad brutal and certainly rude, but he had had quite enough of those nasty girls.
To his surprise though, he found he couldn’t help smiling as he heard Georgiana singing along under her breath—just like Violet always did--Julian incessantly giggling at the funny parts—of which there were plenty-- and Peter’s feet tapping-- against Victor’s knee, no less-- in time with the music. He got caught up in the music and the story just as the kids did and soon Helen and her devil/goth/emo girls were just a bad memory. He sure hoped he had made it clear to Helen that they were done, and he certainly hoped she stay away from his Halloween party!
♪ ♫… bon jour, good day, how is your family? Bon jour, good day, how is your wife? I need six eggs, that’s too expensive, there must be more than this provincial life …♩ ♬
“That girl sings real pretty,” Georgiana whispered, her eyes wide in the dark.
“She does,” Victor whispered back.
“Violet sings better,” Peter interjected.
Victor chuckled and silently agreed, but he soon sobered. Violet wasn’t the answer either. Perhaps he would have to be a single dad, just like Belle’s father.
“My goodness, Violet,” Flora said, grabbing the large garment bag out of her hand and ushering her inside as the wind blew large, dried catalpa leaves into the foyer. “Sounds like a hurricane a-brewing. What made you come out on a day like this?”
Violet pushed the hair out of her eyes and lifted her own garment bag to keep it from dragging on the floor. “Well, I need the kids to try these on, just to make sure they are all right. If I need to make adjustments I’d like to do them tonight. The party’s tomorrow so, I don’t have much time,” she said, looking about and smiling at the little faces peeping around the corner to see her. “Hello!”
“Yes, all right, come out and say hello,” Flora said. “Homework will just have to wait.”
In a rush they came toward Violet with hugs and kisses and all chattering at once. Then started the distribution of costumes and mayhem ensued.
“I’m the pirate!” Timmy yelled above all the others.
“I know, Timmy,” Violet said, patiently holding the costume out to him while he tried on the eye patch.
“Oh, Violet!” Kelly gushed as she held up her Princess Jasmine outfit. “It’s beautiful!”
“Glad you like it,” Violet replied.
“You are amazing!” Lucia said, smiling as she turned the Tinkerbell outfit front to back.
Violet laughed and handed her the angel costume for Carmencita. “Thanks, sweetie, but go try it on and help Carmencita with hers, too,” Violet instructed, handing out the appropriate costumes to each child, until she was left with the last three. “I have Belle’s ball gown here for Georgiana. Where is she? And I haven’t seen Peter and Julian either.”
“Oh, well…” Flora hesitated.
“Are they ill?” Violet asked, her eyes wide in alarm.
“No, they’re quite well. They went out with Victor today,” Flora said. “Matter of fact, that’s why I was surprised to see you here. We all thought you were going with them. Victor mentioned he was meeting someone and… well…”
“No, I…Where did they go?” Violet asked, needlessly fussing with Julian’s penguin outfit.
“To the high school play,” Flora said, taking the three costumes from her and hanging them in the hall closet.
“Beauty and the Beast?” Violet squeaked. “I wanted to see it.”
“Yes, the kids were so thrilled when Victor came. You should have seen them,” Flora said.
Violet most certainly wanted to. She let her fingers trail on the yellow chiffon of Georgiana’s ball gown. She had worked so hard to make it identical to Belle’s dress, and now Georgie and her brothers were watching the real thing on stage and she was missing it. What a bummer! Now she really was depressed and miffed too.
Billy rushed into the foyer in full costume, beaming. He pointed to the ceiling and shouted, “To infinite and beyond!”
Flora laughed and clapped. “Oh, that is great, Billy!”
“Thanks, Ms. Violet, this is awesome!” Billy then turned his back and said, “Whoa, impressive wingspan!” and then he ran up the stairs.
“I hope he knows he can’t really fly in that thing,” Violet said, anxiously.
“Or even do fancy gliding!” Flora chuckled.
Down the stairs trooped a parade of princesses.
“I love it! I love it! I love it!” Maria said, spinning around so her silvery-blue dress billowed out. Then she flung herself on Violet and hugged her about the middle. “You’re the best!”
“Does it fit all right?” Violet said, looking critically at her work.
“It’s perfect,” Maria said. “Wait til Victor sees us!”
“And hears us,” Sally giggled, swishing about her full, pink skirt.
“We’ve been practicing,” Kelly said, admiring herself in the full length mirror. “Can we have a dress rehearsal right now?”
“Ooh, yes, please!” Sally said excitedly.
Violet looked to Flora for the answer. “Why not? I’m due for a break from algebra anyway,” Flora said, leading the way to the family room where she sat herself in a comfy chair to watch.
Violet went to sit down too, but Sally took her hand and tugged at her to join them. “You’re singing with us tomorrow, so, gotta practice too,” she said.
“Uh…I wasn’t planning on doing that at all, and besides,” Violet said stemming the tide of grumbling. “I’m not sure I can make the party.”
The girls gaped with their mouths hanging unattractively opened. It would have been comical if Violet hadn’t felt like a complete and total coward.
“Why not, Ms. Violet?” Lucia quietly asked. “After all your hard work…”
“It’s not fair!” Maria shouted.
“You have to come. We can’t do this by ourselves,” Kelly said.
“Did you run outta time to make your costume?” Sally asked.
Violet laughed and shook her head. “No, I have it, it’s just I have so much work to do and…”
“We all have tons to do, but we’re all going to be there, anyway, Violet,” Flora interjected. “Many of your friends and family will be too. All of them have things to do too, but they are all taking a break from the norm and we’re planning on having fun. It just wouldn’t be the same without you.”
Everyone stared at her and just as she opened her mouth to speak, a booming voice behind made her jump a foot into the air.
“Violet, I am your father,” Joaquin said from behind his Darth Vader mask, complete with frightening heavy breathing.
“I am?” Violet said, shocked to see the full costume she had made looked so well on him. She had never seen the mask before, however, and wondered at the heavy breathing. “Are you feeling all right under that thing?”
The girls fell over themselves laughing.
“Yes, and you will be at the party. Come... come to the dark side!” he said, raising his hand and drawing out his light saber.
“Uh…okay,” Violet said, warily.
Darth Vader/Joaquin nodded, and sweeping the cape in dramatic fashion, he left the room.
“I guess I gotta be there,” Violet whispered. “He scares the heck out of me!”
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved