Monday, February 17, 2014

Ch197 We’ve met before




Violet waited for the kids to disappear into the house before she turned toward the relentless sound of the crashing waves. She walked to the coral wall and placed her hands on the rough surface, leaning forward to look out to sea. Twilight had fallen now and tiny pin-pricks were popping out as the sky grew darker. Only a nearly full moon lit the sky casting onto the surface of the water a long streak of sparkles leading right up to shore.

Violet closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath, that salty air filling her lungs and somehow cleansing whatever cobwebs or dust particles remained plastered on her soul. What was it about the ocean, she wondered, that made you feel new and alive? And vulnerable, and small, and insignificant too.

This was only the second time she was near the shore. She smiled remembering the first time, which of course was with Victor just a few weeks after his birthday weekend. He had taken her to a charity event in the Hamptons sponsored by one of his law firm’s most important—e.g. most wealthy, prestigious and demanding-- clients. His partners couldn’t make it—one had a funeral to attend and the other a wedding-- and since someone had to go to represent the firm and donate a huge sum of money to this charity, they sent Victor and he insisted Violet go with him to help repel any harpies with their eyes on an eligible male.

“You are my fiancé remember?” Victor had said a might too loudly—loud enough for everyone to hear-- kissing her cheek then grinning from ear to ear as they strolled around the heavily perfumed and bejeweled women who were giving Violet the stink-eye as she passed.

“You are incorrigible, you know that?” Violet whispered.

“Must be, Mama always said so,” he laughed, steering her to the end of the patio and onto the boardwalk which led over the sand dunes and down toward the beach. They walked the full length until reaching the sand, leaving behind the noisy crowd, the clinking champagne glasses and drunken laughter to be replaced by the tremendous crash of the rushing ocean. Violet couldn’t hear anything above the waves, not even what Victor was trying to say to her. 

“What? What did you say? I can’t hear anything!” she shouted.

He then gave up and pulled her into his arms, kissing her soundly. When he finally came up for air he pressed his mouth to her ear and said, “Let’s you and me shimmy down to our skivvies and jump into those waves.”

Violet laughed. “And what would your clients have to say about that when we’ve scandalized their guests?”

He scoffed and waved a dismissive hand. “If you knew only half the scandalous things we’ve had to defend them from, you wouldn’t ask or care.”

He then slipped the thin straps of her dress down her shoulders and kissed her there and up to her neck. “Come on, it’ll be fun… you and me in the water…”

“If we don’t drown in those massive waves you mean,” she said, pulling the straps back into place. “Besides, I’m not wearing anything under this so…”

“God, you’re killing me, Violet,” he groaned, pulling her to him again.

She smiled at the memory. It was amazing how many firsts she had with Victor, almost as many as she had with Richard.

“I’d say more,” Richard grumbled.

Violet shook her head as if in answer. Richard was still first in firsts…important firsts anyway. It was then she noticed Mr. Van Gholston had sidle next to her. He leaned back on the wall, crossing his arms over his chest and stared at her, a slight frown crinkling his forehead.  She spared him a mere glance then went back to looking at the waves.

Funny, but it wasn’t too long ago when finding a man staring at her would have freaked her out, frightened her to the point of paralysis. Dearly John Yearly came to mind. She could honestly say that was another thing Victor had done for her. She was no longer fearful of men and it was due to him…at least she thought it might have been, but it could also be that she now knew she could get rid of any annoying person with a skillfully placed, exploding, marzipan pineapple. 
  

She giggled to herself as she recalled that bizarre dream and Victor’s reaction to it.

“May I ask what you find so amusing? Are there sand pipers and sand plovers running about on the beach today? They are rather cute the way they run just out of reach of the waves, but it’s rather late for them to be out,” Mr. Van Gholston said, never removing his gaze from her face.

“No, nothing like that,” she said. “I was just thinking…it’s so beautiful here by the water. I’ve only been to the ocean twice in my life, and I just love it. The smell, the sound, how it never stays still…just everything about it. I’d almost say I would love living by it, but I suppose it’s kind of scary during a hurricane. Pretty sure I wouldn’t like that, but I could stare at it for hours when it’s calm like this. I did the first time out on Long Island and now…”

He suddenly pointed at her and snapped his fingers. “I knew it!”

She raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Pardon?” she said.

“I knew the moment I saw you that we met before.”

She gaped at him. “I very much doubt that. I think I would remember,” she said.

Richard laughed in her ear. “Seriously, Dory? You really gonna go with that?”

She now stared at Mr. Van Gholston straining her perilously patchy memory and came up blank. If she ever met this man, she certainly didn’t remember it.

She shook her head. “No, I don’t think we ever met.”

“Okay, maybe not officially met, but I saw you before! I knew you looked familiar. It was the dress. You wore this same dress or one very similar,”he said, his eyes now roving over her figure. “It was waving in the breeze just like this.”

She skimmed her hands down the skirt of her dress trying to stop it from flying up and showing too much leg, then she shook her head again. “Now I know you’re wrong. I only ever wore this dress once before at a…”

“A Charity shin-dig in West Hampton last summer given by the…what’s their name? The Brickenbachs I think. Save the whales, save the grasslands, save the sea urchins, save the yellow bellied sapsuckers. Who the hell knows? They’re always pretending to save something from utter destruction.” He gave a disdainful laugh. “Just trying to save their own hides, is all. You’ll know they have a scandal brewing every time they put on one of those elaborate charity events and invite anybody with a heavy wallet.”

“Now do you remember, Dory?” Richard whispered in her ear. “Think back now. You and Victor kissing at the bottom of the stairs off the long boardwalk, two steps away from the sand and waves, when all of a sudden…”

“Omigosh…I remember,” she mumbled.

"There's a miracle," Richard muttered.


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