Monday, March 20, 2017

Chapter 326 What took you so long?

Little dancer

          Violet walked into the house and the first thing she saw was Sophie in her PJs sitting on the staircase. She smiled and said, Arent you a little too old to wait up for Santa?
          I was waiting for you. What took you so long? Sophie said, standing up and crossing her arms over her chest, a sure sign she was irritated.
          Well, if you must know, I offered to put Victors kids to bed while he bid his guests a good night, Violet said, removing her coat, scarf and hat. Something wrong?
          Yesnomaybe, Sophie said, deflating on the spot.
          Well, which one is it? Violet asked. Want a cuppa cocoa while you decide? I do!
          What I want is someone to listen to me, Sophie said peevishly, following her mother into the kitchen.
          I am listening, Violet replied, over her shoulder. You know very well I do my best listening while cookingnot that it takes much cooking skills to make hot cocoa.
          Sophie watched her mother go about making the cocoa, pouring milk into a pan, followed by cocoa powder and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
          How did it go with you and Rance?" Violet asked, while searching the cupboard.
           "You two disappeared for a long while. Didn't he look marvelous? Rance is practically a Lawrence mini-me now, Violet said with a soft laugh. I cant tell you how ecstatic Lawrence is to have his son back. He was miserable being estranged from his only childwell, at the time he didnt even know aboutahFrancine, is it?
They call her Fanny, Sophie said. 
Yes, Fanny  Fanny Price in Mansfield Park.  That should help me remember, Violet went on. Lawrence tells me things went remarkably well with his daughter and old girlfriend.perhaps a rekindling of first love. Im so glad. He deserves to be happy again. Lawrence had been so lost since his wife died and then not being on good terms with Rance just about killed him.  It was quite a while for a man to be in mourning for his wife, I think. Most men find a new partner within a year of losing a wife. Its funny, but I never knew men could feel like Lawrence but nowwho knows? This might be his fresh start, a new chapter in his life. Its amazing how things work out.
          Did he tell you Bug is planning on working in the business now? Sophie said.
          No, he didnt, Violet said, happily surprised. Thats wonderful! Lawrence must be thrilled!
          Probably, Sophie said, unenthusiastically.
          Youre not, though, Violet said, her delight vanishing. Is that what Rance talked over with you?
          Yeahthere is no more band, no more music, no more fun, Sophie said, grimly. My life is over.
          Lets not get carried away! Violet said. Theres a bit more to life than making music.
Mom, he offered me a job an internship or a job, Sophie said, frowning. Its pretty much the same thing, I think.
He? He who?
Bug, of courseRance, I should say. He doesnt want 
to be called Bug anymore, but I cant seem to get that into my head, Sophie said.
Thank God! Bug is rather ridiculous a name for such a nice boy, Violet said.
Fanny agrees with you, Sophie said.
Butwait  Just like that? Rance is not even working in the company yet and hes offering you a job? Can he do that? Violet said. But, Honey, you wont have time for a job anyway, not with school. Remember how it went last semester? What is he thinking?
          That a job at his company under a masterful businessman/teacher like Mr. Van Gholston is worth far more than an MBA from Yale, Sophie said. Or in my case, a music degree from Columbia.
          Violet frowned as she stirred the milk. When you put it that wayyoud be crazy not to take it, she said.
          Really? Youd be okay with it? Sophie said, stunned. I thought for sure youd hate the idea.
          Not crazy about it, she said. I always thought going to college would be great for anybody, especially someone as bright and outgoing as you are, Sweetie, but Miami U wasnt right for you regardless. I also see this job with Rance and his dad is an incredible opportunity. Lawrence is a fantastic businessman, extremely successful and hes done a great deal of good in the world. You should have seen the gifts he handed out to the littlest angel kids! They were so happy and thats just one of zillions of charities he gives to, or so Morris told me. If you learn one tenth of what he knows youll have the world in your hands and you in turn can do good in the world, too.
          Sophie abruptly turned away from her mother and sat at the kitchen table. She couldnt even explain to herself why she suddenly felt like crying.
          If it doesnt work out, I can still go to school. Nobodys burning down Columbia, Sophie said.
Yet, Violet muttered, bringing two steaming mugs of cocoa to the table.

          Well, as troubles go, thats not too bad, Violet said, looking at her daughters unhappy face. Unlesstheres more?
          Sophie stared at the whipped cream heaped on top of the cocoa.
          Of course, there is the question of where you will live if you do take this job. Im assuming in the city, Violet continued. Youll need to look for…”
          Thats not a problem, Sophie said. Mr. Van Gholston has a hundred places he can rent to me.
          Yes, none of which you could possibly afford on an interns salary, Violet said. If you get a salary at all, that is.
          Rance said Id get a pretty good salary, and anyway he has his own brownstone, all to himself, remember? He told me the renovations are all done and since he doesnt need the music studio anymore, theres plenty of room, so Im sure hell let me live there with him for free, she said carelessly.
          Nothing in life is ever truly free, Sophie, so Im not sure I like that idea, Violet said sternly, lifting the cup to her lips.
          That was when it was five guys living with one girl, Mom. Now it would just be me and …”
          And thats the problem. I am not allowing you to live with a man, any man, anywhere until youre married, she said. And dont give me that oh-youre-so-old-fashioned look.
          Sophie remained quiet for too long.
          What is it? Violet asked. I thought youd fight me tooth and nail about this.
          I should, Sophie said stubbornly. Cuz its not like you were all that innocent when you were nineteen.
          I was already married by then, Violet said.
          But you werent when Dad got you pregnant with Kenny, were you? You were seventeen then, Sophie said. Im not stupid. I can do math.
          Never said you were, Violet said, grimly. But that doesnt mean Im going to allow you to live with Rance.
So, its all right for you, but I have to be a nun?
No, you and I are very different. We always were, Violet said. And that is precisely why what happened to me which ended up fine for me, if the same thing happened to you it would really mess up your life. Times have changed.
Sophie stared at her mother understanding these words for the truth they were. Well, I got news for you, Mom. Me and Rance are just friends but even if we werent you cant stop me from from having sex with anybody I want.
          Violets eyes narrowed. You truly think Im an imbecile, dont you?
          Sophie rolled her eyes. When did I say that?
          You didnt have to, Violet said. You dont think I see quite clearing that Rance is madly in love with you?
          No, he isnt! Sophie shouted, although she avoided looking at her mother.
          You may be blind to it, or simply denying it for whatever reasonobviously so you can have your own way-- but I am not blind, and you absolutely will NOT be living with him or anybody before youre married even if you dont feel the same way about him, Violet said, uncharacteristically definite. Especially if you dont love him, actually. No good comes from that situation.
          What did Rance say to you? Sophie asked, staring at her mother in amazement.
          Words are not the only way to communicate, Sophie. His actions speak much louder than words ever could, Violet said. I saw for myself when I was down in Orlando with you and the guys. Most of them did indeed treat you like a little sister, just like you said. They were protective, kidded around and teased you, but I saw Danny with those love-struck eyes whenever he looked at you. He was glued to your side, but more importantly I saw Rance. He didnt like Danny…”
          Yes, he did! We all got along great, Sophie said.
          You didnt let me finish. Rance didnt like the way Danny was pressuring you, pushing himself on you, Violet said. He certainly didnt want you falling for Danny.
          Thats because he had a rule about romance in the band. I told you that he had a girlfriend that caused trouble in the band, but that was before I joined them, Sophie said. Anyway, I could handle Danny just fine!
          Yes, but Rance didnt count on falling for you, did he? Violet said. Could be the band falling apart was more his decision to try to get you.
          Sophie shook her head. Nohe wouldnt do that, she whispered. Things happenedthings got in the waythe guys just drifted onto other thingslike Rance did.
Yes, things happen, Violet said. All I know is Rance was excited to see you when he got to the party and he left looking like a puppy who was kicked to the side. I dont know what you said to him, but whatever it was, he felt hurt and disappointed. So I can imagine he offered this joblike a carrot dangling in front of a hungry horseand then he offered himself and you turned him down.         
          It wasnt like that!
          No, Rance wouldnt insist you can only have the job if you date him. I dont think hes like that, but it is implied and it sounds like a bad idea if you dont make it clear to him from the beginning, Violet said. It can cause heartache at the very least and future trouble at worst.
          Sophie stared into her last bit of cocoa left in her cup, now cold and looking about as murky as she felt. Thought chocolate was supposed to make you feel better, she muttered.
          It can only do so muchespecially when you have warring feelings to deal with and many important decisions to make, Violet said, bringing her empty mug to the sink. We ought to get to bed. Will you be going to church with us in the morning? Shall I wake you?
          Of course, Sophie said, licking the rest of the chocolate off her upper lip. Will we open our presents before church or leave them until we come back from Victors brunch?
          Brunch? Violet said. First I heard of a brunch.
Yeah, were supposed to go to the Christmas brunch right after church. Victor told me we had to come and Georgiana is super excited about it and then Marty and Mr. Kramer told us about it, too, so we gotta go, Sophie said.
          Wasnt it enough that we were there tonight? Violet said, anxiously. I wanted a quiet Christmas at home, just with my family.
          Got news for you, Mom, Sophie said, stretching her arms to the ceiling. Your whole family is gonna be at Victors Christmas brunch. Aunt Laurie and the kids were talking about it and even Uncle Freddy was like a maniac making sure we would all be there. He really shouldnt drink so much. He gets so weird when he does. Kept talking about a special surprise he had for everyone.
          Violet sighed as she turned out the light and followed Sophie up the stairs. After her disappointment this Christmas Eve, why would she expect anything good to come from Christmas day?

©2017 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved  

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