Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chapter 285 All I want for Christmas

“Well, I suppose I ought to let you get to sleep now,” Violet said, tucking the blankets around Georgiana.
“Not yet,” she said. “I'm waiting for Daddy. We always read together for a few minutes first.”
Violet smiled. “His favorite part of the day,” she mumbled, dropping a kiss on Georgiana's forehead.
“How do you know that?” Georgiana asked.
“I know a great many things about Victor,” Violet said, drawing in a deep breath before admitting something she never had previously done. “He's been my best friend almost for this entire year. You get to know a person that way and I know...he's amazing.”
“Really? Then why don't you...” Georgiana stopped herself, pressing her lips together to prevent the words from spilling out. After all, she had promised Victor she wouldn't say anything to make Violet uncomfortable and surely what she had been about to ask would have counted as such. “I wish...”
“What do you wish, Honey?” Violet asked, even though she had a good idea. “It's Christmas time, the best time for making wishes, especially unreasonable ones.”
Georgiana shook her head. “If wishes were horses we'd all live in Texas on a horse ranch.”
Violet stared for a moment, then dissolved in uncontrollable laughter. “Where in the world did you get that from?” she asked, still laughing.
“Daddy said it...or something like it. I think it means we wish for too many things and most of them won't come true so...” she said, smiling. “I like to see you laugh, Violet. Reminds me of when I used to make my mom laugh. It was so nice. I miss that.”
“Oh, Sweetie, you and I are so alike,” she said, fighting back sudden tears.
“We are?” How?”
“Well, several ways. We both have fathers who pretty much abandoned us when we needed them most. We both miss our mothers very much, even after so many years and...”
“Is your mom dead too?”
Violet looked away from those huge hazel eyes, so innocent and sweet. “You might say that. The thing is neither one of them are ever coming back to us as they once were and that's so sad.”
Georgiana nodded. “All I want for Christmas”

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chapter 284 Like a normal family

Victor stared at Sophie for a minute and said the first word to come to his lips. “Mercurial.”
“Huh?” Sophie said.
“You are nothing short of mercurial,” he said.
“Uh...” she said, frowning slightly.
“It means moody,” Ronnie said, who, unknown to the both of them, had been blatantly eavesdropping on their conversation.
Sophie, totally miffed about this, glared at him. “I know what it means!” she snapped, although in truth, she didn't. “And I'm not moody!”
Ronnie nearly choked on the Italian bread we had been munching on. “You're fricken kidding, right?” he said. “You've got more moods than Sybil.” 
“Who?” she said.
Ronnie rolled his eyes. “Twelfth grade Humanistic sociology class. We watched the movie about a girl with multiple personality disorder. Her name was Sybil.”
“I don't remember that, and anyway being moody is very different than having multiple personalities,” she said.
“Not where you're concerned,” he muttered.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Chapter 283 I mean it

“I mean it, Mr. Romanoff,” Sophie said.

He smiled mirthlessly. “You'll have to forgive me, Sophie, if I don't exactly believe you.”

“I guess you shouldn't cuz of what I said, but...” Sophie said. “I was wrong to get between you and her.”

“Were you indeed?” he said carelessly. “Didn't think it mattered to you. You made yourself perfectly clear you thought very little of the friendship between your mother and me. Worse, you expressed that any relationship between us was an abomination, that Violet should never think of remarrying anybody, lest she forget your father.”

Sophie winced. “I know, and I'm sorry I said all that, but I know things now I didn't then.”

“Oh? Like what?”

She hesitated a moment, biting down on her lip again. She decided she couldn't tell him about her ghost father. That would just sound insane. No way he would believe it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chapter 282 Give up without a fight

Victor wondered which of the crying kids he should try to comfort first, but he knew all of them was the right answer. So, he picked up Julian, took his place between the other two placing Julian on his lap, then he wrapped arms around the other two pulling them close.

“Come on, guys, you don't think I'm giving you up without a fight, do you? You are mine, we are family no matter what.”

“But if ...what does he want? He didn't see us for almost four years. Why is he bothering with us now?” Georgiana said.

Great question, Victor thought to himself. “You are about to be adopted, so he must want to know how you are, and if you like it here with me and if you're okay with me being your new father.”

“Like he cares,” Georgiana mumbled with a sniff.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Chapter 281 Year of the Cat

After suffering through several atrocious songs, Violet shut off the car radio in disgust, but only a few minutes into the long ride back to Catalpa Valley the oppressive quiet got to her and she started humming the first tune to pop into her head.
…On a morning from a Bogart movie, in a country where they turn back time …
Violet paused, wondering, “Isn't the United States the only country turning the clocks back for daylight saving time? Or do they mean a country stuck in the seventh century like Iraq, Iran and Syria? Ooh, I bet that's what they meant! Where is Casa Blanca anyway? Same place where they rock the Kasbah, perhaps?  Or...Monaco, Morocco or something like...I think. I should look that up.”

She proceeded with the song: ♪ …you go strolling through the crowd like, Peter Lorre contemplating a crime …

She deliberately forced her mind away from the one young and adorable little boy named Peter who she knew very well—and also his slip-of-the-tongue father-- to the one she didn't know at all. “Peter Lorre...” she mumbled. “Was he in Casa Blanca or maybe in The Maltese Falcon? He could walk right up to me and I wouldn't know him from Adam. I should look him up too.”

Again she continued with the curious song: ♪ …she comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a water color in the rain …

Once more Violet stopped and made a funny face. “What the heck does that mean? Comes out of the sun...water color in the rain?” she muttered.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chapter 280 Tell me about it

Ronnie came back into the living room--which was now used almost exclusively as his personal music room-- thoroughly put out. He had searched all the usual places for his cell phone, and plenty of unusual ones too, and came up with nothing but a few stray coins, a paper clip, a loose button, more girls' phone numbers scribbled on tiny slips of paper and a melty, sticky peppermint candy. Of course, what he saw there upon his entrance still sitting at his piano bench was even more annoying. He shook his head wondering why Sophie was crying yet again.

“What now?” he said, thoroughly exasperated. “Your ghost dad tell ya to kill my father or something?”

“What?” she said with a sniff. She still held the cell phone in her hands and stared at it as if it held all the troubles of the world...perhaps it did.

“Your boyfriend break up with you?” Ronnie asked, slightly waspish in his tone, because, despite the fact he didn't know Bug nor would he ever in all likelihood, he couldn't stand him. Why? He'll think of a reason later.

“How many times do I gotta say it? I don't have a boyfriend,” she said, taking a deep breath in, expelling it slowly. “Sometimes life just sucks and you can't do anything, anything at all to fix it.”

“Tell me about it,” he muttered.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chapter 279 Where is my cell phone?

Ronnie went back to the couch and plopped down propping his head on some throw pillows at one end and his long legs on the cushioned arm at the other. He frowned as Sophie rapidly texted her friends. He checked his pockets again; stupidly because he knew his cell phone wasn't there, but where the heck was his cell phone? Simon should have returned it to him by now—if he had found it-- but he was probably too busy entertaining Cassandra to bother with anything so trivial. What did Simon care if Ronnie had his cell phone?

Nobody answering?” Ronnie asked, grumpy without much reason.

No, not yet, only...ooh!” she said grinning from ear to ear when her phone suddenly rang. “Hey, Bug! I just sent you a text.”

I know, but I'm getting ready to leave soon so... thought I'd just call ya quick instead,” Bug said. “How ya doing, Babe?”

Good. I miss you guys,” she said, not realizing until that moment just how much.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Chapter 278 That doesn't make any sense

Ronnie gaped at Sophie shaking his head. “That can't be right, Sophie,” he said.

Whaddaya mean?” she said. “That's what my dad told me. He wants me to stop getting in the way so my mom will marry your dad.”

No, no way. That can't be what he meant. I mean...that doesn't make any sense,” Ronnie said. “You must've heard him wrong.”

Hello! I was the one there, Ronnie, there with my ghost dad. I heard what he told me. He wants your father to marry my mother,” Sophie said. “I thought you'd be thrilled. Isn't this exactly what you've been whining about?”

I haven't been whining,” Ronnie indignantly said. “But yeah, I do want them to get together, but what you're saying makes no sense.”

What are ya talking about? Makes perfect sense!” Sophie said. “He said...”

Listen to me for a minute. If your father is okay with Violet getting married, then why is he bothering to haunt her, huh?”

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chapter 277 I understand

Simon cursed a blue streak as he tore apart—not literally, of course-- his father's truck, which for all intents and purposes was now Ronnie's ride. He was in search of his dimwitted brother's missing cell phone, getting increasingly frustrated with the fruitless chase. He looked in the front and the back cabs, under and around the seats, in each pocket and every nook and cranny—and this truck had far too many of them for whatever reason-- and all he found was: lip balm--cherry flavored, a week-old newspaper, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, several pens, a small notepad with random phone numbers in Victor's handwriting, insurance and registration papers stuffed into the owner's manual, a few gas receipts and in a hidden compartment his father's Sig Sauer  which Simon ought to remind him was still here before he allowed Ronnie to run heedlessly around all of Catalpa Valley and elsewhere with it, lest he be stopped and arrested for having it without a conceal/carry permit.

Sonava...” he muttered as he crumbled candy wrappers-- snickers minis, his dad's favorite-- and stuck them in his pocket before getting out and slamming the door shut.

Unknown to him, a snazzy looking silver and black Jeep Wrangler had pulled into the driveway without his noticing it and it doubly surprised him to see Cassandra sitting in the driver's seat staring morosely at the steering wheel. His heart gave a grand leap upon seeing her again and he told himself to keep cool. His heart, however, refused to listen; it fluttered like a caged bird's wings trying desperately to escape.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chapter 276 What did I do wrong?

Georgiana didn't understand why Sophie was suddenly looking at Ronnie as if he'd personally done her harm. She thought it best to distract her from him before she took it into her head to smack him or something, because she knew Ronnie never did anything to anybody!

So...Sophie, can I sing now so you can tell me how I sound?” Georgiana asked.

Sophie turned away from Ronnie's sleeping form and smiled. “Okay, what ya got?” she said motioning her to stand up. “You always sing better standing up, you know.”

Really?” Georgiana said. “Ronnie never told me that.”

They switched places; Sophie sat on the bench and Georgiana stood by the piano. Sophie listened carefully while Georgiana sang some vaguely familiar song, one she recalled hearing once or twice. She didn't like it at all. The song, that is; Georgiana had a nice voice for a little kid.

What did I do wrong?” Georgiana asked, stopping in the middle of the song.

What makes you think you did anything wrong?” Sophie asked.

You made a face. Ronnie does that, too, mostly when he doesn't like a song, but I think he does it when I do something wrong, too, but he never wants to tell me what I did. I think he doesn't want to hurt my feelings, but I wanna do it right, so, please tell me.”

Sophie smiled. “Well, it's not really that you're doing anything I don't know this song very well so...” don't know Let it go? ” Georgiana said, shocked to her toes. Should I? Not the kinda stuff we usually do,” Sophie said.

Georgiana stared at her, aghast. “It's from Frozen. It's the best song ever!”

Sophie tried not to laugh. “I doubt that, but anyway, I can still tell you what you're doing wrong.”

Georgiana wasn't convinced of that. How could she trust the opinion of someone who didn't know Let it go???

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chapter 275 What does he want?

Victor had never seen Freddy so furiously indignant. It warmed his heart to know he cared so much. While Freddy wasn't a very large man, nor intimidating on a normal day, his barely contained fury was almost scary. Victor briefly wondered how much worse he would be if it was his own kids' happiness being threatened.

But it wasn't Freddy's kids. It was Victor's.

And... what? They...he can't possibly want them back!” Freddy said, fists clenched at his side. “The asshole can't just come back after all this time, after what he did and...and expect to...”

Just then Victor's cell rang again. 

That's odd,” Victor said anxiously, putting it to his ear. “Hey, Joaquin, how ya doing? You okay?” He listened for a minute then visibly relaxed and smiled. “That would be fine.... Just you or all the kids?.... either is okay...How about tomorrow after school? I'll pick you up then and we'll head to the mall. All right? Cool. See ya then.”

Who's that?” Freddy asked, watching Victor pocket his cell.

Joaquin...remember Darth Vader at the Halloween party?” Victor replied. “Joaquin just wants me to take him and the other orphans Christmas shopping.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chapter 274 Don't answer that!

Victor opened the door to the office of Norton CPA and not at all to his surprise he found yet another stranger occupying the revolving door which was the secretary's outer office. This certainly wasn't the no-nonsense young woman who had the personality of plain brown cardboard and looked as if she stepped straight off a runway in Milan. She also wasn't the ornery, excessively tattooed, beefy woman who gave a distinct Rosie O'Donnell vibe. Nor was this woman the twenty-something who didn't even know for what the fax machine was used and scowled resentfully every time the phone rang interrupting her very important filing...nail filing, that is.

Good morning, Mr. Romanoff,” the new secretary said, pressing a button on the computer in front of her and swiftly moving to the printer where several papers shot out onto the receiving tray. She had a pleasant face, was tall and thin and smartly dressed in a navy blue pencil skirt topped with a lavender colored silk blouse. Her age was possibly mid-forties and she had unnaturally orange-red hair which reminded him of I Love Lucy, his mother's all time favorite TV show and comedienne.

Good Morning...erm... I'm sorry, I don't recall...have we met?” he said, pulling the hat off his head, and the scarf from around his neck as he unbuttoned his coat.

No, we have not. Mr. Norton told me he was expecting you here this morning, however. He asked me to show you right in,” she replied with a soft smile, tapping the sheets neatly in order before opening the door to Freddy's office. She stepped in behind Victor and placed the sheets on top of Freddy's desk.

Dorothy, if my sister calls don't answer!” he said, staring at his cell phone as if it was a cobra ready to strike.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chapter 273 Trying to kill me

Cassandra stepped out of the steamy bathroom into the hall wearing a thick terrycloth robe wrapping around her head turban style a thick towel. She wasn't looking where she was going so she promptly collided with a solid wall. The solid wall turned out to be her brother and he was the one who caught her when she stumbled backward.

Whoa!” Frankie said laughing as he grabbed her with his good arm.

You trying to kill me, Frankie?” she squeaked, staring at the deadly looking hook which could have easily taken out her eye.

If I actually tried to kill you, Cassandra, you would be very dead already,” he said.

She grimaced, wishing he wouldn't be so blasé about all the killing he'd done overseas. It was all justifiable, of course, and better them in a grave than her brother, but made her insides squirm to think about how many people he might have killed. Then again, it scared her silly thinking how close she came to being an only child.

What are you doing up so early, Frankie? After last night I thought you'd be in bed til noon,” she said, letting her damp curls free from its makeshift turban. “I thought I was the only one up.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chapter 272 Just Little Kids

Ronnie went back to the kitchen to find only Simon sitting at the table shaking his head as he perused their father's daily copy of the Wall Street Journal.

Why Dad needs this archaic form of getting news is beyond me,” Simon muttered. “He could read all this and so much more up-to-date stuff online and not have this black ink all over his hands.”

He's old fashioned, I guess,” Ronnie said. “Where are the kids?”

I'm sure they're all somewhere pouting until Dad returns home,” Simon answered.

You yelled at them and scared them off, didn't you? Dammit, Simon, why you gotta be such a douche? They're just little kids. You don't hafta be so mean to them and what the hell is wrong with you whining that we never got to see Dad? At least we had a father who cared, which they never had. Think about that why dontcha?” Ronnie said, angrily screwing the top onto the jam jar, closing the Cheerios box and stacking the breakfast dishes. He grabbed the untouched toast on Georgiana's plate and munched on it as he paused looking at the words Peter had made from Cheerios on his place-mat. He frowned. “He can't know what a bog is, right?”

What?” Simon said, disinterested.

I think Peter's dyslexic or something. Look,” Ronnie pointed at the words. “I fixed the backward P in his name before, but look at the other words. The C is messed up and the R in car and the D in dog, too.”

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chapter 271 It really happened

Darlin, it's time to get up. You don't wanna miss seeing your mom before she leaves for work.”

Sophie groaned and turned her head away from the weak winter light peeking in between the curtains. Her nose hit something furry.

She went to push it away, but a nagging memory struck her and her eyes flew open. Upon seeing her old teddy bear, her dream came back to her in stunning, vivid detail.

Daddy...such a weird dream,” she whispered staring at the bear. Then she frowned.

If it had been a dream, how did the toy get on her bed when she had stored it away on the shelf? She noticed the bear's naked neck and felt around to her hair which--instead of being loose as she always liked it-- it was now neatly gathered in a ponytail and held at the nape of her neck with the bear's pink satin ribbon.

Oh, my God...Daddy...” she muttered, slipping the ribbon out of her hair, staring at the neat little bow as if it were the miraculous cure for cancer. “It really happened.”

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chapter 270 Christmas can be so Depressing

Violet had never understood how anybody could be so unhappy-- let alone depressed enough to kill themselves-- during the wonderful Christmas holidays, and yet here she was thoroughly depressed. No, she wasn't thinking of suicide, but this year she found out for herself just how depressing Christmas can be.

She knew it certainly wasn't the holidays themselves causing it. She always had enjoyed Christmas—almost always anyway. The year her mother had gone away had been a particularly awful one. Christmas was normally magical and had special meaning to her, but she supposed that was only when you have your friends, family and loved ones around you.

Only thing was, she did have a lot of friends and family around, so why was Christmas so depressing this time?

You don't have me anymore, do you?” Richard whispered.

Violet wiped at a tear, shook her head and tossed the sheets over her head, hiding from the slowly brightening world just outside her windows, and wishing she could stay there forever. She hadn't felt this lonely since... well, you know.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chapter 269 Good Morning

Good morning, Ronnie!”

Ronnie groaned as Julian pounced on his back. “You sure about that, Jules?” he mumbled into the pillow.

About what?”

Ronnie rolled onto his back pinning his new little brother under him.

Hey, you're squishing me!” Julian shouted, scrambling out from under the massive weight.

I am?” Ronnie said, albeit innocently. He tried opening his eyes, but they weren't doing a great job focusing so he shut them again. “What time is it?”

I dunno,” Julian said. “I can't tell time yet.”

We'll have to fix that...real soon!” Ronnie said squinting at the clock on his night stand. “Little dude, it's only seven-thirty. What are ya doing to me?”

Trying to get you up. It's breakfast time,” Julian said, as if that was reason enough.

Ronnie groaned again and put the pillow over his head. “Call me when you learn to tell time.”

Come on, Ronnie! Get up, Get up!” Julian said, hopping on the bed.

Okay, okay!” Ronnie said, tossing the blankets aside.

Where are your PJs?” Julian said.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chapter 268 Do you love him?

Violet trudged into the house feeling exhausted. All she wanted was a hot cup of tea, a warm bed to fall into for a long, dreamless sleep, and not to wake up until next week. Of course, why would she expect anything to go her way now when barely anything had all day?

Hey, Mom!” came Sophie's voice from the kitchen.

Hi, Honey, can you put the kettle on for me? I desperately need some tea. I'm chilled to the bone,” Violet said, as she removed her coat and snowy boots.

Sure, then we can talk.”

Violet nearly groaned. It was the very last thing she wanted to do just now. Not that she didn't love her daughter and chatting with her was often extremely enjoyable, but after a day like she's had—and such a long one filled with disappointed hope-- she'd much rather sit comatose for a few minutes and then go to bed.

Sophie, I'm so tired, can't we talk in...what in the world?” Violet shrieked and stopped dead in her tracks upon entering the kitchen and seeing what looked like the remains of a hurricane. “What is all this?”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chapter 267 If you ever wanna talk

Ronnie was mildly surprised to find lights still on in the house when he finally got home around two-thirty in the morning, but he was stunned to find the door unlocked. Good thing that, because he didn't have his house keys with him and it would have been bad to have to wake somebody to let him in.

He expected to see Simon ready to pounce giving him the third degree, but at not seeing his dictatorial older brother, Ronnie breathed a sigh of relief, locked up and turned out the lights. Just as he was about to ascend the dark stairs to his bedroom he caught sight of lights gleaming from under the door of his father's den.

He couldn't be up waiting for me,” he muttered as he walked down the hall. He knocked softly, then opened the door. He found Victor sprawled out on the leather couch his arm tossed over his eyes. “Dad? Why are you still up?”

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chapter 266 Nowhere in sight

How the hell long does it take to put three kids to bed?” grumbled Simon who had been waiting for his father in the den downstairs for what he thought was far too long.

He got up and started pacing, looking at his cell phone for the umpteenth time. Perhaps if Ronnie answered the phone or had returned from taking the girls home already Simon wouldn't have been so ticked off, but it was nearly midnight—over an hour after they should all have gotten back from the garden and no Ronnie.

What the hell was he doing? Well, Simon had a strong suspicion.

If his stupid brother was with Sophie all this time, doing what Ronnie usually did with sexy girls, Simon would have to kill him. Of course, if Ronnie was with Cassandra instead doing what he usually did with sexy girls, Simon would have to torture his brother before killing him extremely painfully.

After rounding the large desk for the forth time he pulled out his cell again and sent another text to Ronnie: Where are you????

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chapter 265 The one good thing

Simon had been about to take Cassandra's hand in his when he spotted Victor and the kids leaving the conservatory.

Hey, Dad!” he shouted and ran to catch them before they left.

We'll meet you home, Simon. No need to hurry home or are you staying with your mother tonight?” Victor asked wearily.

Your house if that's okay,” Simon answered. “But Dad, why are you leaving so soon? You didn't get a chance to speak to Violet or Gramma and Morris and.... Violet seems a little down and I thought you could...”

Simon, the kids are tired. It's way past their bed time,” Victor said.

Simon struggled for a moment then said something he never thought he'd voluntarily say. “I'll take them home for you then. I'll... I'll give baths, tuck them in, read stories, whatever it takes, and you can stay and...”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chapter 264 Glad you made it

Daddy!” Georgiana said, springing from her seat followed by Julian who shouted, “Daddy's here!”

Down on his knees Victor hugged his three kids simultaneously, but quickly hushed them and rushed them back to their seats.

Glad you made it, Dad,” Simon said, shaking his hand.

Dad, how'd ya get in with the garden Jehadist at the door?” Ronnie asked, moving over for him and taking Julian onto his own lap.

Violet let me in,” Victor answered.

Ronnie grinned. “She's awesome.”

Shhh...” Marty said, pointing to the stage where the choir was now in place behind the harps.

From that point on there was no more talking, but Georgiana held Victor's hand, Peter sat on his lap comfy as you please and Julian kept touching his arm as if to make sure he was real. Even Ronnie grinned at him. There was no doubt Victor was loved, so why did he feel the world caving in on him?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chapter 263 A bit of relief

Victor was already on the road leading home when he remembered he wasn't supposed to be going home.

Damn,” he said aloud, as he made a U-turn and went back to the highway heading to Meridale where the conservatory of Weston Botanical gardens promised a bit of relief from this miserable weather...and other concerns.

At least, that was the hope.

Forty minutes later, standing in a long line of cars trying to get into the packing area of the garden, he recalled the first time he brought Violet here and how that visit secured the dream job for her. He smiled sadly as the cars ahead of him slipped through the elaborately decorated wrought iron gates, inched passed the row of lit evergreens and bare-branched trees strung up with zillions of tiny, multicolored fairy lights. 

You'd have to be a knuckle head not to be cheered by the sight...or a man with the weight of the world pressing upon his shoulders.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chapter 262 Wisdom of the ages

Ronnie gave Andrea an extra cuddle and a tiny kiss on her cheek then placed the baby in her basket before looking around.

Looking for this?” Sophie said, holding up a fluffy, pink baby-sized blanket.

Yeah, thanks,” he said, watching her curiously. “You okay?”

Yep,” she said, pressing her lips together and looking anywhere but at Ronnie.

How come I don't believe you?” he said, taking the blanket out of her hands.

Why do you say that?”

Because you're here and you hate babies, and ...yikes! there's a baby right there!” he said, placing the blanket over the baby, tucking it in around her. “Quick, run for it before she spits up on you!”

Very funny. I never said I hated babies,” she said, crossing her arms in front of her.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chapter 261 The Bitch is back

Ronnie scrunched up his face. “I think somebody did a real stinker,” he said.

Well, don't look at me!” Cassandra said. “I've been potty trained for a few years now.”

He laughed. “Good to know, but I was talking about Andrea,” he said, just as she started fussing and whimpering in discomfort. “Come here, cutie.”

Give her here then. It's not like you know what to do,” Cassandra said, holding her arms out for the baby.

You girls think you know everything...”

That's because we do,” she retorted. “Give me the baby.”

No! I can change a diaper, you know,” Ron said, all indignant. “I'm a godfather.”

She scoffed. “Oh, really? You ever put a severed horse head in someone's bed?”

He burst out laughing again and shook his head. “No, but that won't help change a diaper, so I think I'm good.”

Shows how much you know. You need a different sort of fortitude to handle this stuff,” she said squeezing his bicep. “Yeah, you could sever a head no problem but...”

Cassie, I would never cut off a poor animal's head, but I can deal with poop.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chapter 260 Only Pretending

Sophie grabbed the remote and pointed it at the giant TV as if it were a Glock ready to pop off an intruder's head. Man, was she pissed! And Simon wasn't even the reason for it...well, not entirely.

She plopped down onto the plush sofa clicking with abandon through the endless channels, but she was only pretending... pretending that she was searching the tube for something to watch. She flipped through inane kids' programs, stupid talk shows and boring wartime docudramas without paying the least bit of attention to any of them. All her attention, after all, was focused elsewhere, just beyond the living room-- where she sat-- looking through the archway  past the foyer across into the dining room where Cassandra and Ronnie were trying to feed the baby and seemingly having the time of their lives doing it.

Surreptitiously Sophie watched the way-too chummy behavior of her supposed best friend with Ronnie, the love of her life. There they were talking about their days in biology and math class and laughing and joking and having far too much fun all while playing silly games with the baby.

Some friend,” Sophie muttered through clenched teeth.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Chapter 259 Get Some Attention

Seriously, what is wrong with those two?” Simon said, shaking his head as his brother and Cassandra delighted in the now wide awake and wiggling, cooing baby.

Tell me 'bout it. You'd think it was their own baby!” Sophie said, grumpily. “Maybe if I strap on a diaper and drool a bit I'll get some attention around here.”

Simon turned his gaze on her. “Jealous are we?”

Of what?”

You tell me,” he replied, turning the chess board around and playing the white pieces, which were supposed to be Cassandra's.

Are you cheating so Cassie loses?” she said.

Isn't it obvious she's done playing with me?”

Well...mind if I play for her?”

Monday, June 1, 2015

Chapter 258 You've had enough

Are you sure you've had enough?”

Sophie looked up and smiled at Simon's scowling face. “For now,” she said, savoring the last bite of a delicious apple crumb cake.

Don't know how your parents didn't go broke feeding you,” he muttered, looking at all the empty dessert dishes in front of her.

They managed,” she replied. “And don't worry, Simon. I'll pay for my lunch so your mom doesn't go broke now. So you won't have to quit med school or work your way through school. Happy now?”

I'm already working through school, for your information,” Simon retorted.

Hmm...never woulda guessed it,” she mumbled.

Catherine chuckled. “Victor pays for school, but I've had to feed Ronnie for nearly twenty years and I still can afford the best,” she said, pointing her Prada-clad toes and admiring how sexy they looked. “If he couldn't manage putting us in the poor house, I doubt you could during one lunch, Sophie.”

Doesn't look like Ronnie eats that much,” Cassandra said.

What?” Ronnie said, without looking up from his phone where he had just received a text. “What did I do?”

Ronald, you know how I feel about phones at the table,” Catherine said, irritably.

But it's Dad,” he said. “I gotta answer him or he'll freak.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chapter 257 What are you talking about?

What are you talking about, Ronald?” Catherine said. “My mother loved Morris before what?”

Before Halloween, of course,” Simon interjected, sending a warning glance at his brother.

Catherine looked from one boy to the other. “What aren't you telling me?”

Uh... nothing,” Ronnie said, motioning the waitress to come over. “What kinda dessert do you want, Sophie?”

What do they have?” she asked.

All sorts of pies, puddings, cakes, ice cream. Whaddya want?” he asked.

One of each,” Sophie said.

Come on, be serious,” Ronnie said.

One. Of. Each,” she repeated just as the waitress came. “We can all share just as long as I get to try them all.”

You mean eat most of them,” Cassandra said, grinning across at her.

You're crazy, you know that?” Ronnie said.

No, just perpetually hungry,” Sophie replied.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chapter 256 Just shut up about it

Cassandra held the door open and looked her bewilderment. “Um... so you're not gonna tell them I told you?”

You didn't, did you? I already knew,” Catherine said, stepping out of the restroom where she came face to face with Simon. She stare at him. “What are you doing here, Simon, lurking around the restrooms like a common pervert?”

As opposed to an uncommon pervert?" he quipped.

Catherine gave him a withering look and his smirk vanished.

"Sorry, Mom. You've been so long I started to worry,” he said, looking from his mother to Cassandra. “Was there a problem?”

No, Cassandra was kind enough to help me with Andrea,” Catherine said. “Seems to know her way around babies and it's good to know she's not planning on having one any time soon.”

He smiled. “That is good to know. Perhaps she should use that and go into pediatrics,” he said.

I'm not in med school, Simon, and you know perfectly well it'll never happen,” Cassandra said, irritably. “So I'd appreciate it if you'd stop teasing me  about it.”

I'm not teasing. I'm of the opinion that anyone who wishes to heal the masses ought to be able to do so,” he said. “Don't you agree, Mom?”

In my experience, the masses are always in need of healing and doctors are becoming rare, fewer and far between in some places including Catalpa Valley, so...yes,” Catherine replied.

See?” Simon said.

That's fine for you to say, but I have no choice in the matter, so just shut up about it, Simon!” Cassandra said, rushing ahead of them to get to their table first.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Chapter 255 What's the use?

Cassandra pushed the door and peeked inside before coming into the restroom. She immediately saw Catherine at the far end bending over a white wicker changing table equipped with everything a baby could need. She was cooing to her now quietly content baby.

Hello, Mrs. Delaney,” Cassandra said, tentatively coming forward.

Catherine pulled her eyes away from the baby and stared. “Hello...”

Cassandra,” she said, smiling down at the baby.

Yes, I remember your name,” Catherine said, eying her curiously.

She's much happier now, I see,” Cassandra said, offering her finger which the baby grasped straight away making her smile. “She is so adorable.”

Yes, I think so, too,” Catherine remarked. “You like babies then?”

Cassandra shrugged. “As much as the next person, I suppose. I have many cousins so I've been around babies forever. I know how special they can be....nice to have one around.”

You're a bit young  to be thinking of having one of your own...”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chapter 254 Bring it, bitch!

Ronnie looked from his mother—her expression one which often scared him witless-- to the defiant look on Sophie's face, and he couldn't understand why Sophie didn't evaporate on the spot. He had the sudden urge to toss her over his shoulder fireman style and take her as far and as fast as possible away from his vengeful mother before... oh, hell, he didn't know what would happen, but he certainly didn't want to hang around to see it!

Catherine, although seething on the inside, smiled at Sophie in a perfectly diabolical sort of way. She recognized the look on this skinny little blonde—Bring it, Bitch! It clearly said-- and she welcomed it. It had been a long time since she had to put an obnoxiously impertinent person in their place, but she certainly wasn't out of practice. Oh, but that pretty little  girl would not know what hit her, nor would she see it coming. Sophie would be in tears before long. 
Let's hope her mascara is waterproof.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chapter 253: Was there a reason?

Not that we mind coming to lunch with you, Mom,” Simon said. “But was there a reason? We did see you just yesterday. If you had something to tell us you might have done so then.”

Yes, something came up. I have a meeting with the hospital board of directors this afternoon, before Andy can get back in time to watch the baby. I was hoping you could do me this favor,” Catherine said.

Simon grimaced and stared across at his brother who rolled his eyes, then nodded.

No problem, Mom,” Ronnie said. “I'll watch the baby. Simon can take the girls shopping.”

But you said you had some shopping to do, too,” Sophie said.

Can't we take the baby with us?” Cassandra said. “She seems like such a good baby. How much trouble could she be?”

I wouldn't want to find out,” Simon muttered, just as their server came with their food.