|Violet in chains|
Violet had just said her goodbyes to nearly everyone at Victor’s party--all except for Victor—and she was in the hall retrieving her coat, when she remembered Bonnie Beckel had come with her and would need a ride home. With coat over her arm she went looking for Bonnie.
“Violet, are you leaving so soon?” Victor said, Peter resting his sleepy head on his shoulder.
“So soon, you say?” she replied with a laugh. “Victor, it’s very late, which would explain this little guy barely able to keep his eyes open. Recall, Santa won’t come until all little kiddles are sound asleep in their beds.”
“I’m not sleepy. I wanna see Santa come down the fireplace,” Peter mumbled, holding his head upright for a mere second before it plopped back down.
“No, you’re not at all sleepy,” Violet said sarcastically, shaking her head at Victor as they both tried not to laugh. “How about I put him to bed for you, and the other two if I can find them?”
“You don’t have to do that, Violet,” Victor said, although half-heartedly.
“You need to stay with your guests,” Violet said, setting down her coat over the back of the sofa, and holding her bare arms for the boy. “Besides, I’m quicker at putting them to bed than you are.”
“Who says?” he indignantly said, while placing Peter in her arms.
“I don’t fall for their tricks, I don’t allow them to keep me talking all night like you do,” she said. “Daddy, why is the sky blue? Daddy, how do planes stay up? Daddy, do anacondas burp after they eat a whole person?”
Victor threw back his head and laughed.
“Send up Julian and Georgiana if you see them,” Violet said, over her shoulder.
Victor grinned as he watched her slowly climb the stairs carrying dead-weight Peter who was getting a bit too big for her. He had just been about to help her with him when Catherine stepped in front of him.
“Well, Victor, we’ll be heading home. It was a very nice party,” she said, her eyes following his to the stairs. “Thank you for inviting us. We had fun.”
“You don’t have to sound so surprised,” Victor said, turning to his ex-wife. “Your mother gives an elegant bash every time she tries, you know.”
“Getting anywhere with her yet?” she asked.
“With your mother?” Victor said.
“With Velvet,” Catherine said, pointing up the stairs to Violet.
Victor growled in his throat. “Never you mind. You coming to Christmas brunch tomorrow?” he asked.
“Are we invited?” she replied.
“Would I have asked if you weren’t?”
“Why do we always answer questions with questions?” she said, shaking her head. “Anyway, I think Andrew might be on call tomorrow, but we’ll see. If I don’t get to see you tomorrow, Merry Christmas, Victor.”
“Merry Christmas, Catherine,” Victor said, waving to Andy who waited by the front door with baby Andrea snug in her basket.
“Daddy, can we go to bed now?” Georgiana said.
“We hafta get everybody to go home or Santa won’t come!” Julian said anxiously.
“I’m working on it, Buddy. If you hurry, you can have Violet tuck you in,” Victor said. “She’s upstairs with Peter now.”
“Violet? Really?” Georgiana said, grabbing Julian’s hand. “Come on! We gotta hurry!”
Victor had never seen them so eager to get to bed. “I should try to get Violet to come every night at bedtime,” he mumbled.
“You really should. Works with Laurie…happy as a clam after I’m done with her…me too for that matter,” Freddy said, swaying a bit on the spot. “Have I told you Laurie’s great in the sack?”
“Every time you get a little too drunk,” Victor replied.
“Listen, you gotta make sure Violet is here before one tomorrow, okay?” Freddy said, lowering his voice. “Our special guest should arrive by then.”
“I have to get her here? I thought you were going to handle that part?” Victor said.
“Hey, no worries! Just tell her I gotta big surprise for her,” Freddy said. “No! You should say you gotta big surprise for her. That’ll get her to come… literally. Richie used to say she was great in the sack too, you know.”
“Victor, you won’t mind if I take this loony bird now,” Laurie said, grabbing her husband by the arm. “Freddy, we gotta go home. We have to get the kids to bed.”
“I gotta get you in bed, Babe!” Freddy said, with a lewd wink. “Know what I’m saying, uh-huh!”
“Sure you do, Honey,” Laurie said, rolling her eyes at Victor. “And people wonder why I’m always pregnant. See ya tomorrow, Victor!”
“Looking forward to it, Laurie,” he said with a chuckle as he watched her steer him out the door, their kids in tow.
“Victor, we’ve put away the food, cleaned up a bit and tomorrow we’ll come and set everything up for brunch right after church. Don’t worry about a thing,” Marty said. She smiled up at him. “It was lovely tonight, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely,” he said. “I just hope all this work is not too much for you.”
“Nonsense! I had a great bit of help from Lucia and Joaquin. Who knew they were so accomplished in the kitchen? Those two will be going to culinary school if I have anything to say about it…and I do!” Marty said. “Morris is thinking of starting up a restaurant for them, but that’s in the future. Let’s get through tomorrow first, shall we?”
“As you wish,” Victor said, trying to keep up with her.
“Anyway, Dear, Good night,” she said, offering her cheek for his kiss.
“What would I do without you, Marty?” Victor said, hugging her too.
She sighed. “I couldn’t imagine the boredom.”
He laughed as she walked away, grabbing Morris away from Marcus and Jocelyn who were putting coats on their twin boys.
“Well, I should be getting home, too…if I could only find Bonnie,” Violet said, sneaking up on him.
Victor stared at her, stunned. “You can’t have put them all to bed already? You did see Julian and Georgiana?”
“Of course! The boys will need baths in the morning, but Georgiana took a quick shower and they’re all snug in bed…sugar plums and everything dancing in their heads,” she said.
“You are a marvel. Wanna do that every night?” he teased.
She stared up at him a moment then said, “Promise?”
The amusement on his face slipped away and was replaced by surprise and something else…anticipation perhaps? Maybe hope?
Violet knew this was the last shot she’d have, so go for it she would, right then and there. “Victor, I wan…”
“There you are, Dear!” Bonnie Beckel said, at the most inopportune time.
“Hello, Mrs. Beckel,” Victor said, recovering first. “I gather you had a fine time here tonight? I know the kids were enthralled with your Hanukkah tales.”
“Do you know each other?” Violet asked, looking from one to the other.
“Indeed we do,” Bonnie said. “Victor has long running ad space reserved for his law offices in the Catalpa Village Voice and he also set up my Henry’s last will…which reminds me. Violet, I think I may have to renege on our deal. I’ll be wanting to stay in my cottage after all, but you’ll be the first to know if and when I decide otherwise.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that, Mrs. Beckel,” Violet said.
“I do feel badly, though,” she said. “If I hear of another place for you I will let you know.”
“What do you need a new house for?” Victor asked, but he was summarily ignored.
“I was going home now so if you’re ready I can drop you off at your cottage,” Violet said.
“Oh, you don’t have to do that, Dear,” Bonnie Beckel
said, just as an elderly gentleman came to her with her coat over his arm. “Alexander has offered to take me home.”
“I see,” Violet said, smiling at the man and offering
her hand. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure?”
“Alexander Brunhart, at your service,” he said, in a
rather sophisticated voice with a slight German accent.
“He’s Flora’s great uncle,” Victor whispered in Violet’s ear.
“Oh, how nice!” Violet said. “Flora must be delighted
to have you here for Christmas.”
“Alexander is visiting all the way from Liechtenstein,”
“Liechtenstein?” Violet repeated, her eyes aglow.
“I hear it’s beautiful there---medieval castles, gorgeous mountain views and quaint villages. Straight out of the Sound of Music! I’d love to go there someday, although I can’t really say I know where it is exactly.”
Alexander smiled. “We are a small principality nestled between Austria and Switzerland,” he said. “I’d be delighted to give you a tour should you ever come.”
“Not very likely I’ll get to go. Will you be staying long in Catalpa Valley?” Violet asked.
Alexander nodded and cast a furtive glance toward Bonnie before answering. “I have heard Catalpa Valley is extraordinarily lovely in the spring. I should like to see that for myself.”
“You’ll have a long wait,” Violet said. “Winter’s only just started.”
“Well, there is Weston Botanical in the meantime,” Bonnie said, slipping into her coat with Alexander’s help. “That should keep us busy til spring.”
They thanked Victor for his hospitality, wished them both a Merry Christmas and left arm in arm.
“Well, how do you like that?” Violet said, astonished.
“What?” Victor said.
“I found that woman this close…” she said, with thumb and forefinger a half inch apart, “from complete despair over the recent death of her husband and in a few hours she’s hooking up with Mr… Mr. Liechtenstein!”
Victor laughed, but he swiftly sobered. “Perhaps, it has to do with age. Neither of them is in the bloom of youth and when time is of the essence it’s best to live in the here and now instead of the past.”
Violet caught the message he was sending. “Yes, you are right. Victor, I want to…”
“Uncle Vic!” There came a shout from across the room.
“Hey, great party!” Malcolm said, giving him a bro-hug.
“Thanks for coming,” Victor said.
“Thanks for coming,” Victor said.
Jolene, Tyrone and Terrence surrounded Victor and kept him busy as did Eddie Spaghetti and his crew and in the confusion, Violet slipped away, undetected, dejected and feeling lonelier and ever.
She should’ve never expected otherwise.
©2017 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved