Monday, April 13, 2015

Chapter 252 A Mother's wrath

Catherine looked from her first born to this silly little fool of a child he was currently fawning all over and frowned, not seeing what could possibly be the attraction for him. Surely Simon was kidding. This little twit would not do for her son and she had to do something about it. These thoughts fueled a mother's wrath so fierce, growing to a fever pitch within her bosom, that she couldn't have stopped what popped out of her mouth even if she tried.

"Well, aren't you a funny little troll?" she said smiling as only an evil step-mother could.

"Mother," Simon warned.

Do you go to Yale with my son, Cassandra?” she asked, ignoring her son and the menu just handed to her by the hostess, her eyes intently scanning Cassandra's face.

I wish,” she replied before she could stop herself.

"Excuse me?" Catherine said.

Cassandra shook her head. “I...I, Ma'am, I don't.”

Harvard ?” Catherine said.

Mom...” Simon tried to interrupt.

No, sorry,” Cassandra said, growing nervous.

U-Mass then or Boston-U?” Catherine persisted.

Mom...” Simon said, sternly.

No, Ma'am,” Cassandra said, the color rising in her cheeks again. "I'm going to the community college in Meridale."

"Are you serious?" Catherine asked.

Mother, please stop,” Simon said.

What? I only want to know how you two met,” Catherine replied. “How long have you been dating my son, Cassandra?”

Uh...” Cassandra said, glancing at Simon then the others. “We...we're not dating...not really.”

You're clearly not dating Ronnie,” Catherine said, warily eying Sophie who, she suspected, might scratch the eyes out of any girl to get between her and Ronnie, although –by the looks of it--she probably already had many men including her gullible son wrapped around her little finger. “Surely, Simon, you did not meet at a frat party.”

Of course not,” he answered indignantly.

Then where did you find such a... pretty little girl?” Catherine said sweetly, her icy gaze never leaving Cassandra.'s a long story, Mom,” Ronnie interjected quickly.

Catherine turned to him with one arched eyebrow elegantly raised in query. “Oh? Longer than it would take to be informed by your ethics professor that you quit Wharton?”

Ronnie shut his eyes in a pained grimace. "Grampa,” he muttered, the blood draining out of his face. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants until a gentle touch tugged at his hand and he felt Sophie's fingers intertwine with his. He took a deep breath then said in a great rush, “It was Violet, She sent us to get Sophie who went out on a date with a serial rapist. He drugged her drink but it was Cassie who drank it, so we took her home to Violet's to sleep it off cuz she didn't want to worry her over-protective father. She's with us cuz...she wants to go shopping and we said we'd take her."

His speech stunned himself and everyone around him.

Catherine stared at him, then at each of the others. “Is this true?”

Actually yes,” Sophie said, squeezing Ronnie's hand under the table cloth and gazing at him with pure adoration. “We're very grateful to your sons, Mrs. Delaney. They saved us from a fate worse than death.”

Don't exaggerate, Sophie,” Ronnie said in a low voice.

She's not...if what you say is true,” Catherine said, surprising them. “Men never understand the terror behind rape...especially date rape.”

Yes, exactly. Thank you, Mrs. Delaney...I knew you would understand,” Sophie said, giving Ronnie another squeeze of the hand. “But you're wrong. Your sons know exactly or they wouldn't have cared or done so much to help us. I think we can thank their mother for that.”

I'm sorry,” Catherine said, staring at Sophie. “But you look very familiar. Perhaps we've met before?”

Mom, she's Violet's daughter...Sophie Bennett,” Simon said.

Catherine's eye brows shot up and she glanced from her to Ronnie and back. “So, you're that Sophie,” she said.

Ronnie's face turned ashen. He pleaded silently with his mother,“Please, Mom, don't, just don't!”

Catherine smiled. “I adore your mother, Sophie. She's a rather generous woman, kind and caring.”

Ronnie stared in disbelief and exchanged curious looks with his brother.

Yeah, that's pretty much my mom, but how do you know her?” Sophie asked, briefly scanning the menu and closing it over.

We met at Victor's fabulous Halloween party. She was Shirley Temple,” Catherine said, laughing at the memory. mother...dressed up for Halloween?”

Indeed she did and very cleverly, too. The boys' father made a rather impressive Elvis that night...tight, diamond- studded, caped jumpsuit and all."

You're kidding!” Ronnie said.

No, not kidding,” Catherine said. “There were hippies, beatniks, flower children, Darth Vader, a pirate, a cowboy, Cleopatra and Marc Antony, Buzz Lightyear, a few Disney Princesses, maybe all of them, a tiny angel, a tall Tinkerbell, a giant blueberry and I remember one very cute dalmation puppy and a baby fire fighter. So adorable.”

"Omigosh, that sounds awesome!" Cassandra said.

"What were you dressed as, Mom, or didn't you come in costume?” Simon asked, very much liking this turn in the conversation and willing to do anything to keep it here.

Your grandmother came as Scarlett O'Hara and Morris as Rhett Butler, and they claimed they would slam the door in my face and not allow me to enter if I didn't come dressed as a famous character, so... I was Marilyn Monroe and Andrew was Joe Dimaggio,” she said.

Cassandra squealed with delight. “Oh, I would love to see that! Do you have any pictures?”

Actually I do,” Catherine said, pulling her phone out of her bag and quickly flipping through it. It took several minutes getting past all the baby photos before she got to that fateful Halloween night. In which time the others placed their orders.

Cassandra, you have to eat something other than just a cup of soup,” Simon said.

But I'm not very hungry. That was a giant omelet you made for me,” she said.

Simon made you an omelet?” Catherine said, stopping the picture search to look at her son.

Someone has to feed this girl. She's fading before my eyes,” Simon said then turning to the waitress he added, “Bring her a grilled cheese sandwich with mozzerella with basil and tomato and a bowl of soup, please.”

How did you know...?” Cassandra said.

Not so wild guess,” he said, grinning.

Here we go. Andy went to town taking pictures of everyone,” Catherine said.

Simon took the phone from her and held it while Cassandra moved closer to view the photos with him.

Yep, there's Dad,” he said. “My God...”

Cassandra gasp then giggled. “Look at Violet! Oh,  everybody looks great. Those princess dresses are gorgeous! Do you know everybody?”

Can't say I do,” Simon said. “Mom, who are all those kids?”

Orphans most of them, but some of them are Violet's nieces and nephews, I was told. Oh, and of course, Victor's new kids.”

Oh, yeah, There's Peter,” Simon said pointing out his brothers and sister to Cassandra and his grandparents.

Must have been such a fun party,” she said wistfully.

It was one of the best nights of my life,” Catherine said, touching the soft hair on her baby's head.

Best night of your life? Must have been an awesome party!” Sophie said.

"Andrea was born that night and came to us like a miracle," Catherine said, completely forgetting to hate the girls who were stealing her sons away.

"Well, that explains it," Sophie said. “Can I see those when you're done?”

Omigosh, there's a video!” Cassandra laughed as it played. “You're mother is awesome, Sophie!”

What's she doing? Lemme see!”

You'll see it when we're done,” Simon said, putting his arm around Cassandra and bringing their heads even closer as they watched it together.

Awww...they're so in love!” Cassandra said. “It's so nice she found somebody so perfect for her.”

It's great,” Simon said, sadly.

Who?” Sophie said.

Violet and Victor of course,” Catherine said, knowing now they were at the end of the video where Violet was being thoroughly kissed by Victor. “I do hope they set a date for the wedding soon. Your father deserves to be happy after so many years. Get the vultures to leave him alone at the very least.”

Sophie had waited long enough. She reached across the table and snatched the phone out of Simon's grip.

Hey! We weren't done!” Cassandra said.

Get over it,” Sophie said, replaying the video from the beginning. Ronnie looked too and she moved the phone and herself closer to him so they could share. “Oh, my God...”

Wow, performing must run in your family. She's great!” Ronnie said.

Yeah...great...” Sophie said, stunned to see her mother like that, but her heart nearly stopped when Victor took her into his arms and kissed her...and her mother kissed him back.

She'd seen quite enough. She shoved the phone at Ronnie, her hands shaking with fury and something else.

Ronnie was right. They were as good as related and she didn't like it...not one bit.

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