“At least she wasn’t lying to me,” Victor grumbled glaring at Violet’s vacant and deserted car as it sat parked in her designated spot just outside the employee entrance of Weston Botanical Garden’s massive conservatory.
He watched from the opposite side of the closed wrought iron gates a flurry of activity as crews of volunteers went about transforming the outdoor arboretum into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights strung from every tree and nearly all shrubs, and setting up elaborate displays of fanciful sculptures of reindeer, angels, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and elves, plus nativity scenes complete with sheep, cows, camels, goats, the three kings and the little drummer boy.
Where was Violet while all this was going on? In the conservatory, busy as a hive full of bees getting ready for winter, directing her crew, barking orders like a staff sergeant and when they didn’t do it to her liking, doing it herself. Of course, Victor couldn’t see her at this, but he knew that would be where he could find her, if he had been allowed in. The garden was closed to the public for a few days to set all this up and Violet was in the thick of it, an indispensable entity. Or so, Walter the garden director insisted.
Victor called Walter for confirmation of Violet’s activities--not that he needed it.
“Violet is such a dynamo!” Walter said gleefully. “Oh, but I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to her, Victor. She’s my favorite employee by far and worth her weight…no, double her weight. She’s so tiny after all—in gold! She is such a hard worker and nothing is beneath her notice. She’s become Garret’s right hand, don’t you know. He really likes her and is constantly asking her opinion. He never does that with anyone else…ever! Heck, I wouldn’t doubt if he’s half in love with her!”
Walter’s booming laugh still rang in Victor’s head and an ominous green monster stirred in his guts.
In disgust, he tossed his cell phone away from him so it landed on the passenger side seat, the seat--Violet’s seat-- which had been unbearably empty for far too long. He had called her every single day several times each day for the entire week following the Halloween party to ask her to dinner, a movie, two minutes conversation, anything!--and she never could or would.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Victor, but I have to work late tonight,” she said repeatedly. “So much to do before the Thanksgiving weekend and there’s so little time left before I leave. It starts the busy Christmas season you know!”
Yes, he knew all too well. He clenched his teeth, sighed and headed home, alone and miserable.
Well, not quite alone.
Heidi sat in the empty seat smiling adoringly at her son as he drove. She reached out a hand and touched his cheek. Victor smiled sadly and rubbed the spot.
“Wish you were still here, Mama,” he whispered. “You would be such a comfort to me now. You could help me.”
“I’ll always be here for you, whenever you need me,” she replied.
“If you were here…maybe…maybe you could talk some sense into Violet. Then she would…then we could…She would love you and you her,” he said wistfully. “If only…”
“Yes, if only,” she replied. “My love, don’t be discouraged. All in good time. We must be patient. You have to…”
The cell phone rang just then and Victor reached through Heidi’s lap to retrieve it, forgetting he had Bluetooth on this car.
“Victor Romanoff,” he said, tossing the phone down again.
Taken aback slightly, it took him a moment to recognize the voice. “Morris?”
“I see you still have your wits about ya,” Morris laughed.
“Somewhat, yes. What can I do for you? Marty okay?”
“Well, that’s what I wanna talk to you about,” Morris said.
“What’s wrong?” Victor said, immediately alarmed and ready to turn the car around, heading for the nearest hospital. “Is it her heart again?”
“Hmm, I suppose you can say that,” Morris said, remarkably unconcerned.
“How is she? Where is she?” Victor shouted.
“Don't get your panties in a bunch. She’s gone, is all…abandoned me for a little squirt. Barely married a month and we’re on the rocks.”
Victor must have heard wrong. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Fawning all over her new grandchild, of course, so she's forgotten she’s supposed to love me.”
“What’s wrong, Sonny? Got cotton in your ears or something? The new baby has replaced me, dag-nab-it, and I’m not happy about it!” Morris shouted.
“The new…oh…” Victor said, only then recalling Catherine and Andy’s newly adopted baby. “So, Marty’s embracing the grandmother role…again.”
“Embracing? More like strangling,” Morris grumbled.
Victor could barely keep from laughing. “Well, you have to understand how it is for mothers, and grandmothers, in Marty’s case. Fawning is required.”
“Don’t like it!” Morris snapped. “I liked it better when her attention was solely on me.”
“Well, um…sorry about that. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Yes, there is,” Morris said, getting down to business. “I wanna take Marty away for a bit, so I can have her back.”
“O…kay?” Victor said, now confused. How was he supposed to help with that?
“Thing is, how do I get her to go with me? She’s likely to just wanna stay behind offering to babysit or something unless I tell her something good.”
“I…don’t know. I always find it’s best just to be honest, tell it like it is and hope for the best.”
Morris scoffed. “That’s your lame advice? And you a lawyer! How did you ever get this far?”
Victor did laugh then. “Well, I still don’t see how I can help, Morris. Have you tried telling her that parents need time to bond with the baby…alone? With no interference from the outside world, even grandparents however well-meaning they may be?”
“Think I’m an idiot?” Morris roared. “First thing I tried. But they actually want her around!”
“Okay, so where do you want to go?”
“It’s getting cold. I was thinking Florida. Got some buddies down there I haven’t seen in a while. Could get some golfing in now that my hip’s healed.”
“Well, you don’t really need Marty for that,” Victor reminded him. “If you’re golfing with your buddies, what is she supposed to do? Watch? You don’t know Marty if you think she’ll be good with that.”
“You are not thinking of staying for Thanksgiving, are you? Marty won’t have that!”
“No, wanna be back before then, but I don’t like traveling in my plane all alone and I won’t do JFK or any commercial airport anymore! Hate that TSA crap,” Morris swore under his breath, grumbling for several minutes about cavity searches on little kids, molesting wheelchair bound individuals and frail, elderly grandmothers mistaken for terrorists.
“Well, you could take Violet down with you. She’s visiting her daughter in Miami, remember?” Victor suggested.
“Hey, now! That’s the kinda thinking I need. Think she would come with me?”
“Who wouldn’t want a ride in a private jet, Morris? I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.”
“Excellent! You ask her for me, okay?”
“Uh…I can barely get her to return a call to me these days. She’s more likely to return one from you, though,” Victor said, annoyed with that bit of truth.
“You having trouble with the little missy?”
“Sorry, Sonny. I’ll put in a good word for ya. How’s that?” Morris suggested.
“Can’t hurt. Thanks, Morris and good luck.” Victor clicked off the phone and drew in a deep breath as he slowed for a red light. “Sure, Morris gets to go with her. How’s that fair?”
“Fair isn’t what is important right now,” Heidi said.
“Important to me,” Victor whined.
Heidi smiled and placed a comforting hand on his arm. “You really ought to worry about Violet’s odd behavior of late. It’s not normal and strangely enough only started about the time she started on those blood pressure meds. Don’t you think that is more important?”
“Yes, it is,” he muttered grabbing for his phone. He flipped through his contacts searching for Dr. Gifford or his wife/nurse Marion. “Dammit, I don’t have them in here.”
Just then he started at the loud blast from the car directly behind his. The light had changed and he went through the intersection.
“There is always the personal touch,” Heidi said. “You’ll be passing the Doctor’s office on the way home and I’m sure they can chat with you.”
Victor scoffed. “And have Violet tear my head off once she finds I’ve been interfering again?”
“T’is a risk you may have to take. It’s for Violet’s well-being.”
Victor frowned and grabbed the phone again googling the medication Dr. Gifford had prescribed for Violet.
“Victor, please, don’t do that while driving!” Heidi said, grabbing the steering wheel when he drifted to the side of the road, correcting it with a forceful tug.
“Oh, snap!” he muttered. “It is the medication!"
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved ♪ ♫… …♩ ♬