Heidi and Richard stood at the curb watching Catherine and Andy getting into their car with their new baby safely in her arms.
“Just goes to prove you never really know people. At best they are familiar strangers,” Heidi said, as she watched the car move carefully down the road until the red taillights vanished around the curve.
“Meaning?” he asked as he turned and floated back toward the house with her.
“Catherine…she’s like a totally different person now. She’s never been more human in all the time I’ve known her,” she said, in stunned disbelief.
Richard laughed. “Spoken like a mother-in-law who hates her daughter-in-law just ‘cause…why did you hate her anyway?”
“I didn’t hate her!” she snapped.
“Sure you didn’t. You absolutely loved the woman who stole your baby boy’s heart away from you, your only son, too,” he said, mockingly.
“It wasn’t that at all. I knew she was NOT the woman for Victor. I knew long before he figured it out,” she said, pointedly. “But I do know Violet is perfect for him.”
That remark made Richard stop laughing.
“I do believe this change in Catherine may actually be the catalyst we need to get Violet and my son together.”
“How you figure?”
“I always thought Catherine might get in the way… she always had before, but now with Violet keeping this baby-secret for them, Catherine is beholden to her. That will ensure…” Heidi stopped in mid-glide and frowned.
“What?” Richard asked. “What will it ensure?”
“I don’t quite know…yet, but… I’ll figure it out eventually. All I know is Catherine has transformed into someone who is virtually unrecognizable and we can use that.”
“Violet’s changed, too,” Richard said scratching his bewildered head. “I can’t believe she let them just steal a baby like that. I’m sure she would have offered to take care of her until an adoptive couple could be found.”
“That’s easier to understand,” Heidi insisted. “She’s a mother and she easily sympathized with Catherine.”
“More like with Andy. We’ve known him forever. He’s a great guy, and always loved kids.”
“Yes, I suppose there is that, but Violet knows what it’s like. She, after all, wanted to have more children. It was you who prevented her from having a dozen.”
“What the… how the hell do you know that?” Richard shouted.
Heidi rolled her eyes. “Really, Richard, you don’t think I can see right through you?”
“I’m a ghost. Everybody can!” he snapped.
“You can be so obtuse sometimes,” Heidi mumbled.
Richard frowned looking down at his hands, turning them this way and that. “Obtuse…is that like transparent?”
“You mean opaque, don't you?” Heidi rolled her eyes as they went through the front door and into the living room where everyone was gathering around Violet. “Uh-oh, she looks like a deer in headlights.”
“That’s her normal look,” Richard said dismissively.
Violet followed Flora out into the party and was immediately assailed with questions, first by the kids then by the adults.
“Where have you been hiding?” Laurie asked, after the kids dissipated a bit.
“No doubt in the kitchen cleaning up,” Freddy surmised correctly. “You’re supposed to do that after the party, Vi.”
“Did you talk to Catherine and Andy, Flora?” Jocelyn asked.
“No, they weren’t there,” Flora said. “Violet was all alone.”
“Thought they went into the kitchen to find you, Violet. Do you know where they went?” Diane said.
Violet froze. Could she pull off the lie Catherine had made up? To stall for time she picked up Carmencita and fussed unnecessarily with her angel costume.
“They got called away on important business she said, before she stole Andy away. He was in the middle of a great joke, too,” Marcus interjected, looking thoroughly put-out.
“Important business?” Victor said, glancing at Violet. “What kind of business?”
“Uh….um…” she mumbled and she could feel color rising in her cheeks.
“Some emergency at the hospital?” Louis suggested.
“Did she say anything about it involving the boys? My boys?” Victor sternly said. “Are they hurt or in trouble?”
“No, not them! Uh…I…no…um…” Violet stammered nervously.
“Violet, what are you not tell me?” Victor said harshly.
“Just tell them what Catherine said, dear. A call came in for them about a baby they will be able to adopt,” Heidi said, gently nudging her with her soft, comforting voice.
“A baby….um…they’re adopting a baby girl,” Violet said breathlessly.
“Yes, that’s why I went in search of her,” Flora said. “We were going to discuss… wait, did they specifically want a girl?”
“No, they…I mean…they have a baby already. Um…” Violet said, as several dozen stunned eyes stared at her and she froze again.
“Go on,” Richard gently muttered. “A teenage mother gave up her baby and they went to go get the baby.”
“What?” Victor said, shaking his head. “That can’t be right. She just told me they were giving up on a baby and were going to adop…”
He stopped suddenly when he realized all the orphans were intently listening in on this and they shouldn’t be. He cleared his throat and added as he picked up Julian and kissed his cheek. “It’s getting late.”
“Yes! We have to get going,” Louis said, patting Sally on the shoulder, and Billy on top of his head. “Everybody thank Elvis and Shirley Temple for the great party.”
In the mass rush of kids with sticky-faced kisses and hugs, Violet was almost certain there were far more than the usual number of angels kids. Then she realized her own nieces and nephews had joined the fray, but when Jeff thanked her for the second time, she knew she was being had.
“Didn’t you already say good-bye to me, Jeffy?” Violet chided mildly.
He shrugged sheepishly and she giggled as she kissed his freckled cheek once more and sent him out with the others.
It was only as she and Victor stood together waving everyone off, that Violet realized they were now alone…alone and…she most certainly didn't wish to be.
“Well, um…I should get going too,” she mumbled just as Victor grabbed her arm and she yelped as he started dragging her back into his house. “Victor! What are you doing?”
“I’d like to say we’re heading to the jungle room for a long night of passion, but I know you’ll scream bloody murder if I do, so I’ll settle with you telling me the truth about Catherine and Andy’s sudden disappearance.”
Oh, snap! She was in trouble now!
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved