Friday, February 6, 2015

Chapter 238 Ghost Husband




“Does that mean you can't make your ghost husband go away or that you won't?” Simon asked.

“Do you think I have a choice?” Violet asked.

Simon tented his fingers in front of him, tapping them against his pursed lips. “I don't know. Only you can decide that. Do you feel you have to in order to marry Dad?”

“It's not just that, Simon.”

“Guilt then, because you are able to go on without Richard?”

“I'm sure that's a factor too, but...you have to understand, Simon, I do love your father, but..."

Simon made a face and shook his head slowly. "Please tell me you're not going to say you love him but you're not in love with him, cuz I ain't buying that," he said.

Violet stared at him, astonished. She actually had been about to say that exact thing and now, because this guy was so very penetrating, she would have to deny she ever meant to say that.

"No, of course not...it's...um... Okay... Simon,  I loved Richard... so very much...still love him,” she said earnestly.

“Clearly...and?”

“And...because I did...do... love him so much, I don't know if I can ever love Victor as much.”


Simon smiled. “Yeah, but you have to understand that Dad wouldn't care. If you loved him half as much—hell, one tenth as much, it would be enough for him. That's how much he cares about you. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I know him. He loves unconditionally, Violet. When he and my mom divorced and Ron and me pushed him away because we blamed him for it, he never gave up on us. He was there regardless of what we did or said or anything and he's like that with you, or would be if you let him. Dad loves you enough for the both of you,” he said.

She pressed her lips together, trying to keep her emotions under control.“But that's just it. Because Victor is exactly as you say, I can't just...I won't allow him to accept less than he deserves. He's a good man, Simon, a wonderful man and he deserves nothing less than one hundred percent. I can't, I won't marry him unless and until I can love him completely with no reserve and hopefully no guilt.”

Simon frowned slightly. “And I assume, you are nowhere near that now?”

She shook her head.

He stared at her a few minutes then sighed. “Okay... but is there anything Dad or I can do to help with this?”

Violet made a helpless gesture and opened her mouth to speak, but a small noise from the doorway made her stop and look up. There stood Cassandra in Violet's long, pink flannel night gown, her feet bare and her hair wild.

“Violet?”

Simon turned and jumped to his feet. “Cassandra!” he said, rushing to her, helping her to a seat.

“Wh...what am I doing here?” she said, weakly dropping into the chair.

“Oh, Cassandra!” Violet said going to her side. “Oh, Sweetheart, how are you feeling?”

“I don't understand... what...how did I get here?” she said.

“That's a very long story, Cassandra,” Simon said, suddenly feeling very relieved. He knelt by her chair and held her hand. “Can I get anything for you?”

She looked at him and frowned. “Do I know you?”

The smile slipped from his face. “No. No, you don't, not really.”

She kept staring at him. “Are you sure, cuz...you look familiar. Are you a friend of my brother?”

“In a manner of speaking,” he replied. “How are you feeling?”

She stared at him blinking slowly, then grimaced. “Like a freight train's running through my head,” she whined. “Violet, can I have some coffee maybe...just a little with...”

“I know how you like it, Honey, half warm milk-half coffee,” Violet said, getting it for her.

“Wow, funny how you remember that...it's been so long,” Cassandra said, rubbing her head.

“Maybe some aspirin, too, Violet,” Simon said. “I have to admit I was a bit worried about you.”

“Why?” she said, pushing her hair out of her face.

“You were a little out of it last night,” he said, peering into her face, checking her eyes and suddenly remembering the kiss they shared the night before and wishing for another.

“Was I?” she said, gazing intently back at him. “Are you sure I don't know you? You remind me of someone... I think I saw you...like...in a dream or something?”

“Here you go, Cassie,” Violet said bringing her the coffee. “I'll get the aspirin, too.”

“Thank you, Violet,” she mutter before taking a tentative sip. She grimaced and set the cup back down. “I still don't understand...why am I here? And how did I get here?”

“You really don't remember anything about last night?” Simon asked.

She blinked several times frowning. “I....uh...I remember...um...getting Frankie's office in order. It was such a mess...papers all over the place, but now they're in neat piles...they're ready for the accountant, and...uh...Sophie. We talked and... She was singing and... ooh...Ronnie! Ronnie Romanoff was there and he was so cool. He was singing with her. Do you know Ronnie Romanoff?”

Simon suddenly felt extremely jealous. Sure, she remembered Ron singing and he was so cool. But she recalled nothing of him? Just great! “I should. He's my brother.”

She shook her head. “No you're not...are you?”

Simon tried to grin. “I don't like to admit it, but yeah.”

She gaped at him. “Brothers from different mothers?”

He laughed. “Nope. Same mother, same father.”

“Wow,” she said, gazing fixedly at him, until she realized what she was doing and she looked away turning pink. “I'm sorry. So rude of me to stare. I'm just not...”

“Don't worry about it. I was staring right back at you in case you didn't notice. You're easy on the eyes, you know,” he said.

That made her turn a brighter pink and Simon thought she looked positively adorable. That, however, was when she realized she was wearing only a night gown in front of someone she didn't even know. She wrapped her arms around herself and searched for some way to escape. This man--was he really Ronnie's brother?-- was making her nervous.

“Are you cold?” he asked. “I'll get you a blanket, if you want.”

“I wish I had my clothes.”

“What you were wearing last night isn't much warmer,” he said, remembering the simple knit dress she wore over tights.

“How do you know what I wore yesterday?”

“I was there. Cassandra, I brought you here to Violet's house after...”

“After what? What happened to me? Why don't I remember you?”

“That's because you were drugged,” Simon explained gently.

“You drugged me?” she shouted.

“No! Not me!” he said. “You accidentally drank someone else's drink—Sophie's as a matter of fact-- and it had ecstasy in it.”

“If you didn't drug me how do you know what was in the drink?”

“Because of the way you were acting, and actually it was Dr. Larimar who guessed that it was ecstasy when I described your behavior.”

Her eyes grew twice their usual size. “What did I do?” she squeaked.

“Nothing bad. You were just ...you were not acting like you normally do, according to your brother, and you were saying silly things and singing.”

“Singing? I don't sing! I can't sing!”

“Hmm...regardless...you were definitely singing,” he said. “I heard you.”

“Oh, my God,” she moaned, putting her head in her hands. “I sound like a stray cat screeching at the moon when I sing.”

“It wasn't that bad,” Simon said, smirking. “Close but...I'm kidding!”

“Oh, man...is this what a hangover feels like?”

“Um...couldn't tell you. I never drank so much that I wasn't able to function the next morning, but then, I have better things to do than get wasted.”

“So do I,” she muttered, and she tried her coffee again. This time it wasn't too hot. “That's better. I burnt my tongue before.”

He watched her drinking her half coffee/half milk and smiled when she left a faint milk mustache on her upper lip.

“What is it?” she said, self-consciously trying to tame her hair. “I must look a mess.”

“Nope,” he said shaking his head. “You're as beautiful as you were last night.”

“You're crazy,” she said, nervously. “Or blind.”

“Nope, definitely not blind. Could be crazy though,” he said, gently pushing a strand of her curly, glossy hair behind her ear. “Because I desperately want to kiss you even though I know your brother would kill me.”

“Y—you want to kiss me?” she said.

“Yup.”

“Why?”

He smiled. “Why do you think?”

She stared at him in wonder for a minute, then went back to the cup and drank the rest of it, this time wiping her mouth. “Why do you think my brother would kill you... if...”

“Because he as much as said so,” he said.

“He did?” she said, indignantly. “He has no right!”

“Perhaps, but I can't blame him for wanting to protect you. I know if I had a little sister as pretty as you, I would be wary of anyone wanting to kiss her,” he replied.

“Well,” she said,nervously licking her lips. “My brother isn't here, is he?”

Simon smiled and slowly shook his head. “No, he isn't, but that doesn't mean you want me to kiss you.”

She stared at him for a long moment. “Doesn't it?” she whispered.

He leaned closer saying, “Well then...”



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