Violet didn’t know if she was happier to hear that Sophie would likely get into Columbia with Laurence’s help or that Victor just called her Sweetie. It was truly ridiculous how happy it made her.
Could it be things were getting back to normal? Of course, she didn’t know if getting back to normal was a good thing yet, not when so much was still up in the air for them.
Victor glanced at her. “You can’t tell me you’re shocked by this,” he said.
“I…I guess I shouldn’t be. You’d think I’d be used to men paving the road with gold bricks for me,” she said. “First Freddy, then Richard, then you and now Laurence. I must keep Gloria Steinem rolling in her grave.”
He laughed. “As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty sure she’s still alive, no matter how many times you try burying her. Of course, she could be a zombie by now,” he muttered.
“If what you say is true, I don’t know how I can possibly repay him. Of course, I have to be more concerned about paying the tuition for Columbia,” she said.
“I’m sure this is his way of repaying you.”
“Really, Dory?” he said. “I heard him saying how grateful he was for your help with his son. It seemed to matter a great deal to him—whatever it was you did--so it would be just like him to give you something in return, something he’d think you deserve which would help out his son too in the long run. I doubt his boy wants the lead female singer of his band gone because she couldn’t get into Columbia, especially when it’s something so easily remedied with a little cold hard cash. I wouldn’t be surprised if they insisted Columbia offer her a full scholarship. The slightest bit of a nudging from LP would do it.”
She gasped. “You don’t really think…?”
“Certainly I do,” he said. “It’ll be a drop in the bucket for him to pay for a new art, science or business wing in return for a scholarship. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.”
But she did worry about it. She didn’t want Laurence to think she was using him for his money. She was certain too many people already did that and she didn’t want him thinking she was one of them.
“Violet,” Victor said taking her cold hands in his, squeezing lightly and reading her thoughts as if she spoke the words out loud. “Let him do this for you. He doesn’t often find good people whose furthest thoughts are of taking advantage of him. I’m sure he knows you would never do that and that’s why he won’t hesitate to help you…just because you are not like that.”
Violet stared at his hand encircling hers. It felt good, surprisingly good, and not just because his hand was warm on her cold fingers. It was nice to feel connected to him again. She wanted to lift his hand to her cheek and press it there for a good long time and maybe even kiss it. She wanted it wrapped around her waist pulling her close to him as he had so often done. She wanted things she couldn’t articulate even in her own thoughts.
She stared at his profile as he concentrated on driving, now with her other hand on top of his, keeping it hostage. She knew she ought to relinquish it so he could drive properly, but just one moment more wouldn’t matter to him and it mattered to her very much.
“Thank you, Victor,” she whispered.
“Don’t thank me. It’s LP who’s getting Sophie into Columbia. Maybe she can convince Ronnie to go too. He quit Wharton, did I tell you?”
“No, you didn’t,” she said, finally releasing his hand when he gave a little tug. “Was this a bombshell on Thanksgiving? I can’t imagine Catherine was happy to hear it.”
“No, but that’s because she doesn’t know yet…as far as I can tell. Ronnie’s scared to death to tell her.”
“Maybe he’s hoping you will tell her for him?”
“That is precisely what he’s hoping, but I won’t do it. He has to man up and face it himself. She’s mellowed since the baby, so it should be…well, easier if not exactly easy. She can’t yell too loudly if she’s worried about upsetting her baby. The magic of babies, huh?”
Dear God, not back to that ill-gotten baby again!
“Maybe during Christmas he could…um… tell her and get it over with. If she blows her top…”
“Very likely indeed,” he interjected. “He’d get coal in his stocking for sure.”
“He could stay with you until it blows over…or with Marty and Morris or…” she said.
“Or with you and Sophie, but they might talk shop and keep you up til the wee hours.”
“That’s what happens with her bandmates after every show, so I’m used to it now.”
“Is her band coming for Christmas, too?”
“No, Danny said he had family in Maryland to visit and Elian will stay in Florida with his family until after the holidays. I don’t think Rick has family, or much family, and John has none at all, so I don’t know where they’ll go. I ought to ask Sophie so they could come here if they have nowhere else to go. No one should be alone for Christmas.”
“No,” Victor agreed, wondering if she would want to spend any time with him during the holidays. “I have a lot of shopping to do this year.”
“So do I, but I had a jump start in Orlando. I got the cutest Disney stuff for all the angel kids. Just hope I got the right sizes for them all,” she said. “Tell me, do you think extra-large would be big enough for Ronnie? He’s so big I thought a 2X, but I…”
“You got a shirt for Ronnie?” Victor asked, stunned.
“A hoodie. You don’t think he’d like it?”
Victor smiled. “He’ll love it, and extra-large should fit him well. He likes showing off his physique, you know.”
“I got one for Simon, too, but I didn’t know if he’d wear it. He’s such a sharp dresser most times.”
“Coming from you, he’ll love it and yes, he will wear it. Large would be fine for him.”
“Good, that’s what I got him. Now don’t you go and tell them!”
“I won’t. I know Christmas is about keeping secrets,” he said.
“No, it isn’t!”
“Yes, it is. I already caught Georgiana stuffing something under her bed that she didn’t want me seeing and she looked awfully guilty.”
Violet giggled. “I remember doing that as a kid. Freddy always knew what I was making for him, cuz he knew my secret hiding spots. The little brat!”
Just then the phone rang. One glance at the number on the dash and Victor grinned then pressed the Bluetooth button on the steering wheel to answer it. “Speak of the devil and here he is calling me. Hey, Freddy,” he said.
“Glad I caught you, Vic,” Freddy said excitedly. “I left a message at your house, but I couldn’t wait to talk to ya. I just got a call from Doctor Kruger and…”
“Freddy!” Victor shouted unnecessarily. “I might lose you here, there’s a dead spot coming up. I’ve just come from picking up Violet at the airport.”
There was silence for a few seconds.
“Freddy? You still there?” Victor said.
“Can she hear me?” he said in a near whisper.
“Yes, you’re on speaker. Violet, say hello to your bratty brother.”
“Hi, Freddy. Who’s Doctor Kruger?” she asked anxiously. “Is one of the kids sick? Are you sick?”
More silence then Freddy’s voice came on missing every other word and then “click”, he was gone.
“Who is Doctor Kruger?” she repeated.
With all his years as an accomplished liar Victor shrugged and nonchalantly said, “A client of his who is always giving him great tips for investing in the market. I’m starting to worry about Freddy. I think he’s addicted to trading.”
“Oh,” Violet said, her hand over her heart. “Is that all? Freaked me out. For a minute I thought he was going to say he had cancer or something. What kind of doctor is Kruger?”
“Neurology, I think,” he said, relieved he didn’t have to lie about that part, but now he was curious....curious to know what Freddy wanted to tell him about Doctor Kruger's most interesting client…Violet’s mother.
©2014 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved
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