“Should I be jealous?” Andy said as he leaned on the door frame with an amused expression on his face.
Victor jumped and instantly dropped his arms from around Catherine. “Absolutely not, Andy. She’s all yours,” he said. He turned Catherine around and even pushed her toward Andy for emphasis.
“Can’t blame a man for worrying,” Andy replied wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist. “It’s nice, isn’t it?”
“What is?” Catherine asked.
“Seeing the two of you NOT fighting for a change. Wish I had a camera to capture the moment for the boys. They’ll never believe me!”
“I wouldn’t hold my breath on it lasting, Andy,” Victor retorted. “We’ve always been at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the boys, you know. That's not about to change any time soon.”
“Victor, I’m going to try,” Catherine said.
Victor lifted a skeptical eyebrow. “Try what?”
She shrugged searching for the right words. “Not to be a bitch I guess.”
Andy laughed and kissed her cheek. “That’s my girl!”
“We’ll see,” Victor replied.
“So, I hear you’re going to be a daddy again. Congrats! Peter’s a great kid. I even got to meet his brother Julian and sister Georgie.”
“Her name is Georgie?” Catherine said, rolling her eyes.
“Georgiana. You ought to approve that name. Much more formal and I think she prefers it,” Victor said, immediately defensive. So much for his ex-wife trying not to be a bitch, he thought to himself, just as he heard his name shouted from the living room. “I’m being beckoned.”
“Yes, they sent me to find you. Violet said something about you being in the jungle room and I knew Marilyn might be the only woman who never got a chance to go there, so…”
Victor laughed, deciding not to mention that he had had this particular Marilyn for a few years, and didn’t want her back. Then he turned toward the living room, but Catherine stopped him with a hand on his arm.
“Victor, we’d like to have you and your new family to Thanksgiving, if you haven’t any other plans,” she said.
Victor stared at her in stunned disbelief then looked at Andy who wore a similar shocked expression although he smiled broadly and made a thumbs-up sign behind her back.
“And you should bring your chip…um…I mean…um…Velvet?” Catherine said.
“Violet, Sweetie, her name is Violet,” Andy mumbled into her ear.
“I’ll never remember that. Violet is a color, something found in a Crayola box for Cripe’s sake, like charteuse or magenta. Violet is not a real name!” she said.
“It’s also a flower, like Lily and Rose…just saying,” Andy said, casting an apologetic look at Victor. “Anyway, Vic, would be great if you all could come. The boys would love it. Marty and Morris have already said they’d come…with the stipulation they get to cook.”
He then made a face indicting this was a-okay with him, being Catherine had never been much good in the kitchen.
Victor smiled politely. “Violet already has plans to go to Florida to visit her daughter who is going to school at the University of Miami,” Victor said.
Catherine blinked. “She has a daughter college age?”
“Sophie and Ronnie were in the same grade in high school.”
“Sophie, did you say?” Catherine said, thoughtfully. “Could that be the same girl…”
“That Ronnie had a huge crush on? Yeah it is,” Andy replied. “Will you be going with Violet, then, to Florida?”
Victor drew in a deep breath, let it out slowly and shook his head.
“Then try to come? The boys would love to meet their new brothers and sister,” Catherine coaxingly said.
Victor nodded, as he heard his name yelled out again. “I’ll let you know. Gotta go see what’s up.”
“Oh, you’ll love it!” Andy said, following him into the living room.
“There you are!” Violet said, surrounded by the princesses. “We’ve been waiting. Was it very hard to find the jungle room, Andy?”
Andy grinned, then made a grumpy face. “Yeah, he had my wife in there. Had to use my bat on him before he’d let go. These rock stars, I’m telling ya!”
Violet smiled as she watched Catherine and Andy take seats on the sofa together, beside Laurie and the baby who was now wide awake and getting fussy.
“What’s all this?” Victor asked.
“We have a surprise for you,” Louisa said, trying to get Carmencita to go with Joaquin, but she was still scared to death of him, even though he had removed the mask.
“Give me her,” Victor said, reaching for the little girl.
“No,”Carmencita shouted, scrambling away to stand beside Violet, holding her hand. “Yo quiero sing, too.”
“Oh, really! You’re all going to sing for us? Well, go ahead,” Victor said, sitting back in his favorite chair.
“It’s totally lame, but I bet you’ll like it,” Jeff said in a whisper, sitting down on the floor.
“Be nice,” Victor warned.
At Violet’s signal, Billy started the CD player and the girls followed Violet’s lead prancing around, making elaborate hand gestures and singing, ♪ ♫…On the good ship lollypop…it’s a sweet trip to the candy shop…♩ ♬
Georgiana was giggling so much she couldn’t sing much at all, Sally tried her best but could barely keep up with the choreography. Maria and Kelly were taking it very seriously, watching Violet for the next cue and following each movement with painstaking accuracy. Meanwhile Lucia kind of hid in the background, not wanting to be seen and Carmencita was having the most fun of all, dancing to her own beat and singing at the top of her voice. Surprisingly, she knew most of the words.
Victor was in seventh heaven and clapped the loudest when the song was over and all the girls rushed to give him endless hugs and kisses.
Sally held on a little bit longer than the others, hugging his neck extra tight. Then she whispered, “I wish you could adopt me, too. I love you, Victor.” And she scrambled away before he could say anything. He had never felt so guilty in his life.
Violet came up to him then with Carmencita holding onto her hand. “I know we’re not rock stars like you, but I think the girls did very nicely, especially Carmencita,” she said winking at the little girl.
“Me gusta singing!” she said, hopping on her toes.
“I like your singing too, darling,” Victor said, giving the little girl a quick hug. Smiling, he stood up and wrapped his arms around Violet. He buried his face in her hair and squeezed a little tighter than he ought to have done. She squeaked like a captured mouse. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she said, looking into his face. “What’s wrong?”
He forced a smile and shook his head. “Nothing. This was really wonderful, Violet. You must have worked so hard with them. Thank you.”
She had been about to reply when he kissed her and kept on kissing her.
“That is what the jungle room is for, Elvis,” Freddy shouted and laughter erupted.
Violet pushed him away, blushing crimson. “Victor, please. Not in front of everybody,” she whispered.
“We’re among friends and they all know I’m in love with you. You’re the one that’s ashamed of it,” he said, then walked away.
Violet stood in the center of the room, irresolute as to what to do now. She looked around expecting everyone to be staring at her, blaming her for causing Victor so much trouble. She found to her surprise that they were all too engaged in their own fun to pay her any mind. The kids were playing games, talking and laughing and the adults were doing much the same. She decided to make herself useful and started to gather the stray cups and dishes.
As she moved about the room, she found the strangest pairings and overheard snips of the most bizarre conversations. Top of the list was Catherine who was holding baby Richie while listening intently to Molly as she told her all she knew about babies—which oddly enough was a lot. Andy and Marcus seemed to be having a joke telling contest; they were cracking up all over the place. Flora and Morris were having what seemed like a rather serious discussion, but as it was in hushed tones, Violet couldn’t tell of what they were talking.
Diane and Laurie were moving about the room looking at the paintings on Victor’s walls—Laurie explaining how she had painted nearly all of them especially for him and Diane trying to convince Laurie to paint one for her father’s birthday gift and that she would pay handsomely. Marty was playing ring-around-the-rosie with Maria, Kelly and Georgiana, all their voluminous skirts swishing together. Nicky was trying desperately to capture shy Lucia’s interest and Joaquin was flirting shamelessly with Valerie and she with him. Jimmy, Timmy and Jeff were trying their best at making as much noise as possible and succeeding quite well, and Peter, Billy and Julian were taking turns fighting each other to the death with light sabers, making that weird veeerrrum noise with every swipe.
As much as Violet looked, she couldn’t find Victor anywhere. Neither could she see Helen anymore. Had she left or were they together again? She sighed and told herself it was hardly her business no matter how much Victor insisted it was. She went into the kitchen with a tray full of cups and dishes and started putting everything either into the trash or the dishwasher.
Then she heard a noise and she stopped abruptly to listen. It was coming from the garage.
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved
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