|No soup for you!||photo credit: http://www.rudebaguette.com/assets/No_Soup_For_You_Wide.png|
Violet placed her napkin on her lap and waited for everyone to be served. She looked up at the largest painting again and sighed.
“I don’t think I’d ever leave this room if this were my home,” she said, smiling at Bug before briefly glancing at his father.
Rick grinned and winked at Sophie. “Hear that, Bug? Mrs. B. wants to live here. Which one of those dozens of rooms you willing to rent out to her?”
“She just said she wanted this room…wait…I didn’t count that many bedrooms,” John said. “Are there really that many?”
Elian laughed. “He’s kidding…I think. Aren’t you, Rick?”
“Not sure I am,” Rick retorted, smirking at Bug. “This counts as a mansion and Bug is richer than…well, maybe Warren Buffet.”
Bug glared at his father, refraining just barely from telling him, “Thanks a lot, Dad!”
Instead he took in a calming breath and said, “I don’t think you’d really like it here, Mrs. Bennett. The hurricane season gets pretty scary.” Bug then gave a menacing look to Rick who seemed to be having entirely too much fun about this.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Violet said. “I just really like those paintings and I would always like to be around them just to look at them. Don’t you like them, Sco…uh, Rance?”
He cleared his throat, but didn’t answer directly. “I’m sure my father would be willing to part with them,” he said. “Not like they’re worth much to him….not worth any money after all.”
Laurence looked simultaneously angry and hurt. “That is patently untrue and you know it!” he snapped. "They mean more to me than anything in this world...anything besides you, of course."
Everyone stared in shock, even the footman paused before placing the last bowl of soup down in front of Rick.
“What are you talking about, Bug?” Sophie said, with a nervous giggle. “Those must be…you know worth thousands of dollars.”
“Try hundreds of thousands or maybe millions,” Danny mumbled out of the side of his mouth.
Sophie stared at him. “Really?”
“Are you going to tell them, Rance, or shall I?” Laurence said.
“Tell us what?” Violet asked, looking from one to the other with some trepidation.
Laurence waited a long moment, but when Bug sat with pursed lips, he sighed. “They are forgeries, every single one of them, albeit excellent ones.”
Violet gasped. “Isn’t it illegal to own forgeries?” she shrieked.
Sophie rolled her eyes. “No, Mom, it’s only illegal to sell them as the real thing.”
“Wow, so you got gipped?” Elian asked, gaping at Laurence.
"I wouldn't say that," he replied.
“Don’t even wanna ask how much money you lost on them,” Danny muttered.
"Did the forgerer get caught and sent to prison?" Rick asked.
To everyone’s astonishment Laurence laughed. “No, she did not, thankfully. They only cost me the price of the paint and canvas, plus a trip to Sarasota to see the original, and I was okay with that,” he said.
“No shit…” John said. “You got someone to paint them for you? A commissioned forgery?”
“No, you idiot!” Bug snapped. “My mother painted them.”
“Oh, my goodness,” Violet whispered staring up at the painting again. “She was amazing.”
“In every way, she was indeed,” Laurence agreed. There was silence for a minute then he added, “We should eat.”
He lifted his spoon and waited for the others to follow suit, before taking his first taste of the creamy soup.
“So, how was the tour of the house? Did Rance show you all of it or just the fun room?” Laurence asked.
“The whole thing and it’s awesome!” Elian answered, as he slathered a ton of butter on a roll.
“I could really get used to a place like this,” Danny said, snatching a roll before Sophie could stop him.
“It’s a beautiful place, Mr. Van Gholston. Bug was lucky to grow up here,” Sophie said.
“I’ll say! Don’t know why you’d ever want to leave,” John said.
“Had my reasons,” Bug muttered, briefly glancing at his father.
“So, um…what did you and Mr. Van Gholston talk about while we were gone, Mom?” Sophie said smiling at Laurence.
“Uh…” Violet said, looking like a deer in headlights. She glanced at Laurence then at Bug and back again. “Nothing.”
“Oh, that was convincing,” John muttered so only Rick heard.
“For forty minutes you said nothing?” Rick said, smirking. “So, you just kinda…stared at each other in silence? Interesting...”
Elian stifled a laugh by taking a huge spoonful of soup, then he made a weird face.
“What else would we talk about but our kids and their musical ambitions?” Laurence said.
“What about them?” Bug said, suspiciously.
“Nothing…it…just…we wondered how you…uh… got together,” Violet said. “We wondered how you found each other and decided to form this group just like that.”
“Didn’t go like that, Mom,” Sophie said. “I met Bug in…uh…” She glanced at Bug who gave her a look which clearly said, “Don’t tell them that!”
“See, I knew we shouldn’t have taken so long looking around the house. The soup’s cold,” Elian said, grumpily.
Sophie groaned. “It’s supposed to be cold, Elian. It’s vichy…”
“Vichyssoise is wonderful, Elian,” Violet said. “Don’t knock it til you try it.”
“Mom, you’ve had vichyssoise before?” Sophie said, stunned.
“Of course,” Violet replied, taking a spoonful and tasting it.
“Where?” Sophie asked.
“At home, of course,” Violet replied.
“You never made vichyssoise for Daddy,” Sophie insisted.
“No, for Vic….uh…” Violet nearly choked on her tongue.
“Violet, do let us know how your recipe compares to Dolf’s, won’t you? Our chef will be upset, perhaps suicidal if you say yours is better, but…well, I suspect he’ll just have to get over it, won’t he? Or you can give him your recipe,” Laurence quickly interjected.
Violet stared at him for a moment, surprised and grateful because he had pretty much rescued her from her own slip of the tongue. She smiled and shook her head.
“He has nothing to worry about, I assure you. I cheated and served it warm when I made it. I was too hungry to wait for it to cool, but it wasn’t nearly as good as this,” she mumbled.
He laughed. “Dolf will be most relieved to hear it.”
“Father, you really shouldn’t have had Mr. Dolf go to so much trouble,” Bug said, frowning at the way his friends were warily tasting the soup. “The guys are used to burgers and pizza, you know, not fancy fare like this.”
“So, escargot is out?” Laurence asked, an amused expression on his face.
“Whoa…snails?” Elian shrieked. “We’re eating snails?”
“I beg your pardon, Sir,” Mr. Jefferies interjected.
“Yes, Jefferies, what is it?” Laurence said. “Have the snails walked off into the garden again?”
Violet couldn’t help bursting out laughing.
“No, Sir,” Jefferies stoically replied. “And neither have the Cornish game hens, wild rice and asparagus tips topped with a lovely hollandaise sauce. Dolf made everything especially for the occasion being it is…or perhaps I should say, used to be Master Laurence’s favorite meal?” He looked to Bug for confirmation.
Bug gave him a genuine smile and nodded. “I’ll have to thank him for such thoughtfulness,” he said. “I think we can handle that. Thank you, Mr. Jefferies.”
“What’s a garnish gamin?” Elian whispered to Bug.
He rolled his eyes. “It’s Cornish, Cornish game hens. They’re like…baby chickens. Don’t worry, you’ll like them.”
“Wait…aren’t baby chickens just…eggs?” John asked.
“Oh, I like eggs…sunny-side up, please!” Elian said, pushing away his cold soup.
Sophie and Bug groaned, both wondering how they managed to find such knuckleheads to hang around with, but at the other end of the table Violet and Laurence laughed themselves silly.
“And I thought this dinner was gonna be boring,” Rick said, lifting his beer bottle to his lips and draining it.
©2014 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved