“Well, how'daya like that?” Marty said staring at Morris who was cuddled on the comfy sofa with the boys; Julian on the right and Peter on the left, both sound asleep and Morris tying in vain not to nod off too. It was a losing proposition.
“Winkin, Blinkin and Nod,” Violet whispered with a giggle.
“I was so sure all that chocolate was going to rev them up and look at them now,” Marty grumbled.
“Yes, but you didn't take into account the calming effect of the hot cocoa,” Victor said, scratching his head before looking toward Violet for her take. “Whaddaya think? Should I wake them up for baths?”
“Oh, no! Let's just put them to bed, the poor dears,” Violet said, dropping the tinsel she had been using on the nearly finished Christmas tree and going to where Peter slumbered, carefully lifting him into her arms. “They've had such a long and tiring day, after all and they can always take baths in the morning.”
“Not to mention eventful,” Victor said, lifting Julian with ease. “Are you sure you can carry Peter? He might be too heavy for you now. Give him here. I can carry both.”
“Don't be silly,” she said. “He's light as a feather.”
“Says every mother...even when the child weights about as much as a baby elephant,” Marty said conspiratorially to Georgiana when Violet was out of earshot.
“But Peter doesn't weigh as much as a baby elephant. They're two hundred pounds at birth, you know,” Georgiana earnestly informed her.
“Oh, sweet child, I was only fooling,” she said. “The thing is, this is the kind of thing which is perfect for...well, let's just say that tossing those two together in domestic situations whenever possible might kindle the fire which will finally bring them together.”
“But Daddy says...” Georgiana started to say.
“Now, let's not listen to the idle ramblings of a man scorned. It's almost as bad as paying heed to vicious mutterings of a woman scorned!” Marty said.
Georgiana merely frowned trying to figure out what that meant and swiftly gave it up as a lost cause. “Huh?”
Marty laughed. “Are you tired too, Luv?” she asked, but not allowing Georgiana time to answer she added as she lead the befuddled child to the stairs, “Perhaps you should run up for your bath and suggest a certain lovely lady tuck you in for the night?”
“You wanna tuck me in, Gramma?” Georgiana said.
“I meant Violet,” Marty whispered, with a wide, knowing smile.
Georgiana smiled too, hugged her grandmother and rushed up the stairs.
“They are dead to the world!” Violet said, removing shoes and socks plus pants and shirt and getting Peter into his Pjs without him lifting an eyelid through it all.
“Tell me about it,” Victor said, marveling how Julian only muttered something about a little red corvette, rolled over and kept on sleeping.
“Nighty-night, precious boy,” Violet whispered, dropping a kiss on Peter's cheek. Then turning to Julian, gently pushing his unruly hair out of his closed eyes, she brushed her lips against his forehead. When she turned off the light by the bedside she spotted Victor staring at her, a familiar expression on his face, one she had grown to love.
“What?” she asked, her heart in her eyes.
He stared for another long moment, opened his mouth as if to say something which long had been on his mind, and shut it again when common sense told him not to give in to the temptation.
He shook his head. “Nothing,” he said and lead the way out the door and into the hallway where they found Georgiana already bathed and clad in her long, billowy, white cotton night gown holding a brightly colored Teddy bear.
Somehow, seeing the little girl standing like, her bare toes wiggling in the plush carpet, reminded Violet of Peter Pan's Wendy. Then it occurred to her that Wendy, John and Michael, children who discover they miss their mother, were now represented in her mind by Georgiana, Julian and Peter.
“I thought you wanted to stay up and help us for a little bit,” Victor said. “It's still early for you to go to bed.”
Georgiana looked from him to Violet and bit her lip. “Um... I kinda wanted to talk to Violet again. I...uh...I remembered something I had to tell her.”
“Georgiana...” Victor said in a warning sort of tone.
“Please, Daddy? Violet understands,” Georgiana pleaded.
“I don't mind, Victor,” Violet said.
“But I do,” he said. “I don't want Georgiana getting any ideas. She's taking advantage of you.”
“I wouldn't exactly put it that way, Victor!” Violet protested. “She knows we're good friends and good friends confide in each other. It's what girls do!”
“Please?” Georgiana said. “I won't keep her very long, then you can have her.”
Violet gave an involuntary giggle, albeit a nervous one at the thought of Victor having her.
Victor sighed. “Guess it's two against one and I lose,” he said, and pointing to the little girl he added, “Do not be impertinent with Violet. Don't pretend you don't know what that means cuz I know you do!”
Violet waited for him to descend the stairs before she said, “Good thing you know what it means...cuz I don't!”
Georgiana laughed and grabbed her hand leading the way to her room.
“What! I've lost two more helpers?” Marty said--pretending to be annoyed, but in fact being quite delighted-- watching Victor arrive by himself.
“Seems so. This decorating party is somewhat of a bust,” Victor said, watching Morris suddenly snap awake.
“Blimey...where'd my boys go?” he mumbled sleepily.
“Off to bed, where else?” Marty said. “You'd think there was a sleeping draft in the darn cake the way they dropped off!”
“Perhaps it was the bourbon,” Morris said, shaking the fog out of his head.
“You gave the children bourbon?” she shrieked.
“Of course not, you crazy old woman. What kinda monster do ya take me for?” he snapped. “I was talking 'bout me. The darling lass gave me a wee bit.”
“And by a wee bit you mean enough to knock over a cart horse I suppose,” she muttered disapprovingly.
“What a cart horse is doing nipping at my bourbon is anyone's guess,” Morris countered.
Victor burst out laughing.
“And what, pray tell, are you laughing at, Victor dear?” Marty asked.
“Listening to the two of you makes me glad I'm no longer married and makes me wish to remain unattached.”
Marty gasped and clutched at her heart. “You don't mean that!”
“The heck he doesn't. Listening to you nag-nag-nag is enough to put anyone off matrimony,” Morris said. He then winked at Victor and reached out his gnarled, rough hand to Marty. She automatically placed her hand in his and smiled.
“Of course, if he got to see us when we're all lovey-dovey he'd quickly change his mind,” she said, dropping a kiss on his lips.
“It's a good thing I don't get to see it then,” Victor muttered, reaching up to hook the mistletoe above the archway between the dining room and living room.
“So, my boys are in bed, are they?” Morris said. “What about Ronnie and Simon? Where are they tonight? I was hoping for some clues. Still don't know what to get Simon for Christmas.”
“What about Ronnie?” Marty asked.
“Oh, Peter gave me a great idea for him,” Morris said, happily rubbing his hands together. “But don't let Ronnie hear ya.”
“Don't you remember? Ronnie went off to work and Simon...well, I don't know where he is,” Marty said, looking to Victor for explanation.
“He had a dinner date with that new girl...Cassandra Bellarosa,” Victor said.
“Oh, was that the same girl with him at the Christmas concert? She was very pretty!” Marty said.
“Yes, that's the one. Friend of Sophie...she made us dinner last night,” Victor said absently. He kept looking at his watch and glancing toward the stairs, wondering what Georgiana and Violet could have to talk about for so long.
Violet was laughing so much she collapsed onto the bed clutching at the stitch in her side. “Oh, that was fun!” she said. “I have not had so much fun in...oh, I dunno, months it seems.”
“You can come over and play charades with me any time you want,” Georgiana said. “You are so much fun, Violet. I wish you were my...”
Violet sat up and smiled. “Your what? Isn't it enough that we're friends?”
Georgiana shrugged. “It would be better if you were...never mind,” she said.
“Nuh-uh, you can tell me,” Violet said. “Friends tell each other everything, even the bad stuff.”
“It's not bad,” Georgiana said. “It's just...Daddy doesn't want me to be impertinent remember?”
Violet laughed and hugged her tightly. “I already told you I don't know what that means.”
“Yes, you do!”
“Okay, maybe I do, but I'll tell you a secret,” Violet said.
“What?” Georgiana whispered, because everyone knows secrets ought to be whispered.
“What Victor calls impertinent is not likely what I consider such, so I give you permission to be as impertinent as you like with me,” she said, dropping a kiss on the top of the little girl's sweet smelling hair.
“Is it impertinent to tell you I wish you were my mom and that you would live with us forever and ever?” Georgiana asked quietly.
Violet sighed. “I suppose it is. About as impertinent as it is for me to wish the same thing,” she said.
“Really?” Georgiana said looking up at her.
Violet kissed her again and held her tight. “And that will be our little secret.”
©2016 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved ♩ ♬ … …♪ ♫