Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chapter 306 Do you Wanna talk about it?






Violet was emerging from Georgiana's bedroom with a huge smile on her face just as Simon was coming out of his own. Her smile faded at the sight of the morose expression on his own face.

Hello, Simon,” she said, tentatively. “I hope we didn't disturb you too much with our giggle-fest.”

He shook his head. “Not at all. It was good to know somebody has something to be happy about,” he said.

She frowned. “Surely it's not as bad as all that, Hunny?” she said.

He half grinned. “Don't mind me, Violet. It's how I handle disappointment.”

Um...Sophie said Cassie's father was being rather difficult tonight,” she said, with a slight grimace. “Of course, she used far more colorful language than that.”

Do you know Mr. Bellarosa well?” he asked, stuffing his hands in his front pockets leaning on his door.


Oh, I can't say well. I met him maybe twice, but not long enough to form a just appraisal of his character,” she answered. “But...through Cassie, I understand he's a lot like my own father was with me; tough, dictatorial, demanding and opinionated and woe betide those who question or stand up to him.”

So, you know him very well!” he replied.

She laughed, but sobered swiftly. “I suppose that's why you're...um... upset? Do you wanna talk about it? There's a yummy piece of gooey chocolate cake with your name on it in the kitchen courtesy of your thoughtful grandmother and I can make you some hot cocoa or coffee to go with it. Even if you don't want to talk, chocolate can't hurt and often makes you feel better.”

He stared at her a long time a slight quirk of his lips indicating a potential smile emerging. “You know, I've heard that doctors make the worst patients. I can only imagine that includes counseling and therapy.”

She laughed again. “Ah, but you are not a doctor yet and I'm not a counselor. I'm just a friend who wants to listen to your troubles to see if we can find a solution together.”
Sounds like the very definition of counselor.”

No, not with me. I won't make you lie down on a couch and urge you to hate your mother. I'm merely offering dessert!”

Ah...is that it? Perhaps that is just what I need,” he said, taking her arm, hooking it around his own, and turning toward the stairs, led the way down the corridor.
Violet felt an unexpected flutter in her heart. It was the same antiquated yet charming gesture Victor always had used when they were together for whatever reason—he always found a reason to be closer to her-- and she only just noticed how much she had missed it.

Something wrong?” Simon asked, watching her carefully.

No, it's just...in some ways you are so much like your father that it's...” she wistfully said.

Surprising?” Simon asked.

No, not surprising,” Violet said, descending the stairs with him. “Amazing and rather nice.”

Once in the kitchen, she served the cake and had him sit at the breakfast counter. “Now, what will it be? Coffee, tea, hot cocoa?”

Milk, please,” he said, taking his first taste. “I'm going to pretend I'm like Georgiana; a little kid in need of a mother's counsel.”

Violet nearly dropped the tea kettle in her panic. What had he heard through the wall which stood between his room and Georgiana's that would make him say such a thing?
In that case, perhaps you should have a chat with your mother,” Violet said, putting the kettle down again and heading toward the fridge.

Simon's fork stopped halfway to his mouth and stood suspended as he glared at Violet. “You've met my mother, right? Surely you realize she is NOT one for tea and sympathy. She would just say it's great that Cassandra is gone from my life, cuz that tramp wasn't good enough for me anyway.”

No, she would not!” Violet said.

You don't know our mother, then,” he said.

Um... Cassie isn't really...I mean... what happened tonight?” Violet asked, biting her bottom lip as she took out the milk and grabbed a glass.

I thought you said Sophie told you,” Simon said.

No, not at all,” Violet said, pouring a tall glass of milk and bringing it to him. “She just said Mr. Bellarosa was being, uh... very mean to you, is how she put it.”

I suppose she laughed about it,” he bitterly replied, after thanking Violet for the milk.

No, she seemed genuinely upset. She probably felt bad for Cassie, but she also must know you two belong together. She didn't get a chance to tell me much because she left with Ronnie soon after you arrived,” she said.

Where were they going?” Simon said sharply.

Slightly taken aback by his tone, Violet shrugged. “Danfords, of course. Ronnie has work and Sophie's going to perform with...uh...one of her friends, I guess. She didn't say who. Did you want to go with them?”

Simon sighed. “No, I'm in no mood for merriment,” he said and went back to eating his cake. “Aside from that, there is no reason for it. Not like there's anything for me there. No use going where it is very likely a person you wish to avoid will be, is there?”

Do you mean Cassie?” Violet said, stunned.

Of course.”

But why would you wish to avoid her? It wasn't Cassie being mean to you. She adores you, Simon!”

Wouldn't know it to see her tonight with her family all around her. No, she didn't utter a word against me, but neither did she stand up for me,” he said, bitterly. “She just sat there looking at her feet and said nothing, let her father berate me for no reason at all.”

You don't understand how it is with...”

You know, she said the same thing, that I wouldn't understand,” he said angrily. “Well, I'm not an idiot, so why don't you try me?”

Violet sighed and thought back when she was a kid, how her father controlled every bit of her life and very nearly prevented her from marrying Richard. Had she not left the house when she did, she was sure her father would have forced an abortion on her so she would have no ties to Richard and she could find a more suitable young man to marry after she went to college and became a teacher—his dream, not hers. Ironically, her father would have been thrilled with a man like Victor as her suitor, but that was the one she had already turned down countless times. What was wrong with her head? Was it a subtle way of getting back at her dad?

Violet, are you still on planet Earth?” Simon said, breaking into her wayward thoughts.

Oh, I'm sorry. Um...” she said, frowning a little as she formed the words. “It's a bit like... like those woman who stay with abusive husbands and...”

Wait...are you saying your father abused you and Cassandra's father is doing the same to her?” he shouted.

No, my gosh, no! I mean... at the time I didn't think so, and I still don't want to call it abuse, but by today's standards it would be considered such, at least by ultra-sensitive people.”

Simon stared at her frowning. “Continue... please.”

I mean, he's your father so you have to love him, no matter what he does. Honor thy father, you know, but that doesn't mean you have to like it.”

Exactly, so why put up with it?”

Well, when you're a kid, and timid and shy and weak-willed as I was and to some extent so was Cassie like that. She's improved considerably since last I saw her before Sophie went off to college. Anyway,” Violet said, giving herself a little shake of the head, forcing herself to stay on topic. “When you're young and insecure, you just have to do as you are told and not question it because you fear getting in trouble.”

How is that anything like an abused woman staying with her husband?” he asked, bewildered.

Violet shrugged. “After enough belittling and physical and emotional intimidation, the abused woman doesn't remember that she has a will of her own and that she can get out of this mess she finds herself in... if she only gets a bit brave. She starts believing it's all her doing and that she actually deserves the abuse, and little kids, well, they never know it to begin with, so they are a little...stuck in the trap. They don't see a way out because they don't know there is a way.” Violet stopped to lick her lips, watching him frowning at her. “I'm not making any sense, am I?”

He remained quiet for a long time, moving his fork around the plate chasing crumbs, making swirls with the frosting. At long last he shook his head. “I don't know why I care so much,” he muttered.

Violet leaned on the counter and touched his hand. “Don't you though?”

He shook his head again. “Don't go believing this is Romeo and Juliet, Violet,” he said, pushing the plate away. “It's not love and so what if it was? I'll be in Boston in medical school for several more years, including residency and Cassandra will be here, in Catalpa Valley, stuck doing the books for her brother all the while wishing for better. I don't have time for all this...BS. I need to devote every ounce of time and energy I have to becoming the best damn doctor I can be without having to worry about anybody else. We never had a shot. Pipe dream is all it was.”

Doesn't have to be that way, Simon,” Violet said. “I thought I would never get my own life, the one I wanted for myself, but I did and one day so will Cassie... maybe with your help.”

Oh, really? My help, huh? She barely acknowledged I was even there tonight so why should I help her even if I could?”

I'm sure she was embarrassed by her dad's behavior. You have to be understanding, Simon. Poor Cassie... she's had little to no experience standing up for herself let alone for someone else,” Violet said, earnestly.

Okay, I know all her family goes along with this and that she has no mother, but... where was your mother in all this? Why did she allow your father to do what he did? Was your father abusive to her, too?”

Violet turned a bit pale.

Oh, God,” Simon said, reaching for her in case she were to faint again. “I'm sorry, Violet. Are you all right?” He forced her to sit on the stool beside him, holding her hand, keeping her steady.

I'm okay...it's just. My mom wasn't around for most of my childhood,” she said.

Just like Cassandra,” he muttered. “Violet, I'm no hero, but I do admit I like Cassandra...more than is practical, but I don't see... How did you do it? How did you break free from your father's control? Who helped you?”

She smiled even as tears threatened. “My brother.”

He stared and waited. “Explain... please,” he said.

"That, Simon, is a very long story," she whispered.


"I'll make tea, then," he said, and he squeezed her hand before snatching up the tea kettle, filling it and setting it on the stove top.

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