Violet was beside herself with anxiety. She was in desperate need of some good advice. First, she could just imagine what her mother was telling Victor at that exact moment, but it wasn’t as if she could stop her even if she had not been banished in search of a spiked eggnog.
Really, ought her mother even have any alcohol right now? Surely she was on some sort of medication which wouldn’t mix well with coconut rum or any other kind of adult beverage. Violet would find the doctor and make certain before bringing any to Harmony.
As Violet searched for Benjamin Kruger she mulled over her second concern which was her mother’s insistence that she should swallow her pride and ask Victor to marry her because he already had done so several times and was roundly rejected each time, so he wasn’t likely to ever go there again. But Violet ask Victor for his hand in marriage? Seriously??? Of all things! Violet was one of the most traditional women there was, a throw back from another era and her mother expected her to instantly become a feminazi and get down on bended knee and be the man??? Violet’s stomach lurched just thinking about it.
Which brought her to the third concern…Victor himself. Did he still love her? Would he forgive her for being…well, an indecisive wimp? And most important of all…would he say yes…if she could drum up the courage to ask?
She found Dr. Kruger talking animatedly with—of all people—Joaquin. What they could possibly have in common became apparent when she approached. They obviously both had an interest in animals. They were talking about eagles, rams and falcons, but she couldn’t understand what those had to do with Vikings, Cowboys and Patriots until she heard the word Superbowl.
“Since I was a kid I loved the Steelers, but they’ve been such a disappointment lately,” Dr. Kruger was saying. “I mean, what are the chances of ever seeing them in the Superbowl, I ask you?”
“Tell me about it!” Joaquin said. “Don’t get me started on the Jets and their chances. Oh…hi, Violet.”
“I’m sorry to intrude, but…” Violet started.
“Is Harmony all right? Where is she?” Benjamin said anxiously.
“She’s fine! She’s in the study resting a bit and talking with Victor. She, um…she wants a…uh…an eggnog…spiked with rum,” she said, staring at him as anxiously as he was.
He waited for more information, but when none came he asked, “Do you want me to bring it to her?”
“No, I was asking if she should have it at all,” Violet said. “It could mix poorly with her medication… right?”
“She’s not taking anything,” he said.
Violet looked astonished. “Are you sure?” she said.
He laughed. “I am her doctor so, yes, very sure.”
She nodded, feeling even dumber than ever.
“Okay…sorry to have interrupted the sports talk. Go Mets!” she said, leaving them both laughing at her.
Before going to the bar in search of the coconut rum for Mom, she heard Marty who was surrounded by what she calls the princess girls, giving advice on dating. Intrigued Violet approached from behind and listened in.
“You need to stop acting like weak-willed ninnies being lead by the nose by these obnoxious boys,” Marty was saying. “So you like a boy, so what? Doesn’t mean you let him decide what’s what. You need to keep your dignity intact and that means you don’t give in to their whims. Don’t give up what you want ever, not for anybody.”
“Not even a really cute guy?” Janey said.
“Especially not a cute guy! They’re the worst of all! They think they are God’s gift to women. Pul-ease! If you give them the power they’ll treat you like crap and make you believe that you deserve nothing better. They’ll have you wrapped around their finger, doing their bidding, and you have to be grateful for it. Believe me there’s no dignity in that. You’ll eventually hate yourself for it, too, and end up woefully unhappy. You have to know that the strongest tool you have is the word NO and you gotta use it…often. It’s up to women to civilize men, you know,” Marty said.
“But how do you do that?” Clair asked.
“Frankly, don’t take any shit from them!” Marty said, as a few girls gasped and the rest giggled. “I know it’s a lot of work but it’s gotta be done and the sooner you work on them the better for all of us. The last thing this world needs is a new crop of narcissistic a’holes thinking they can get away with murder. If it wasn’t for us they’d still be knuckle-dragging Neanderthals living in caves.”
“Like…in man caves?” Maria said.
Marty laughed. “Not exactly. Man caves are no big deal. It’s just a place for them to be real so they have the strength to behave themselves in our presence. Just remember, ladies who act like ladies will be treated like ladies. That’s where dignity comes from and don’t forget to say no when you have to. Being a doormat is no way to live life. Except no less than what you deserve. Keep to those principles and you’ll have men, and I mean worthy men, groveling at your feet.”
“Oh…okay,” Sally said, though she didn’t look convinced.
“Trust me, sweetheart. I've lived long enough to know what I’m talking about,” Marty said just as she spotted Violet. “Now run along so I can chat with Violet.”
“Thanks, Marty,” Kelly said. All the girls waved to Violet before they vacated the couch making room for her.
“So…how are you and your mother getting along?” Marty asked. “I’m so happy for you, by the way. I want to take the two of you for a spa day so we can get acquainted. Think she would like that?”
“Um…sure. Thank you,” Violet said, sitting beside her. “Marty, can I ask you something and I want you to be honest, okay?”
“Of course,” Marty said, leaning forward to grasp her sweaty hands. “What is it?”
Violet bit down on her bottom lip, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, but when she opened her mouth to speak, nothing came out.
“My goodness, that bad?” Marty asked.
“Marty, do you think…um...if I ...what do you think…”
“Come on, Honey. Spit it out!” Marty said.
“Do you think Victor might still be in love with me?” Violet said in a rush before she chickened out.
“Of course he is,” Marty replied, her expression serious. “Silly of you to ask.”
“Do you really think so?” Violet asked.
“I don’t think so. I know!” Marty said. “Just have to look at the man to know it. Written all over his face…especially when he looks at you.”
“I didn’t think he ever looked at me anymore,” Violet said.
Marty rolled her eyes. “Whenever you’re NOT looking is when he’s looking. I swear the two of you are worse than me and Morris have been all these years…which is saying something!”
“My mother thinks I ought to…”
“Beg him to take you back? Good!” Marty said. “Hopefully you’ll listen to her and stop torturing yourselves. It’s actually painful to watch.” She then smoothed down her dress and rose from her seat. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better look for my old coot before he gets himself in trouble. Do get on with it, Love. You’re not getting any younger, you know.”
Violet sighed and had been about to get up when Laurie plopped down beside her with baby Richie who was making quite a fuss.
“He’s starved after his nap,” Laurie said, placing a blanket over her shoulder before nestling the baby at her swollen breast. She sighed and smiled at Violet. “So, how is it having your mother back?”
“Amazing…” Violet said absently. “Really…good.”
“You sure? You look like you want to barf,” Laurie said. “Mighta been the quiche…tasted kinda funny to me. Of course, ever since I got pregnant with Richie I just can’t stand mushrooms. I’m sure that was it.”
“Laurie, can you answer something for me with total and complete honesty?” Violet suddenly said.
“About the quiche?”
“No, About Victor,” Violet said.
“What about him?” Laurie said, almost angrily. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
“What…me? Why?” Violet said.
“You’re so mean to him, Violet,” Laurie said. “He’s love sick over you and you just… you just ignore him. And those poor little kids! They need a mother and they already have their hearts set on you, but you’re too selfish to…oh, you make me so upset! You all should be a family by now.”
“Are you saying…” Violet said slowly. “That if I asked Victor to…say to marry me that he might…”
Laurie rolled her eyes. “Duh! Lord only knows what you’re waiting for, cuz I don’t get it. He’s gorgeous, he’s crazy about you and his kids-- the first batch and the second one too—they all adore you. What in the world do you want more than that?”
What more indeed, Violet wondered as she listened to the baby’s slurping sounds only slightly muffled by the blanket. She suddenly spotted Freddy across the room and without a word to Laurie she rushed to her brother, but half way there she bumped into Flora, literally, and nearly toppled her over.
“Hey, there you are!” Flora said with a laugh. “I’ve been hoping to meet your mother and…”
“Flora, I need to know something, your opinion. Um…do you think Victor and I have a shot at…”
“Love? Absolutely! Oh, it would be wonderful if you two finally got together. Louis and I and the kids have prayed and prayed for you to come to your senses and get together,” Flora said.
“You have? Really?” Violet said.
“Of course,” Flora said. “We love you and Victor. We know you two belong together. Are you thinking about doing something about it?”
Violet shrugged. Thinking was the only thing she was doing. Perhaps now was the time for action, but first she needed one more person's good advice.
“Thanks, Flora,” Violet said and she made a bee line to her brother.
“Freddy, do you think Victor would still ...”
“Hell yeah!” he said before she could finish the sentence.
“You don’t even know what I was going to say,” Violet snapped.
He shook his head incredulous. “Are you kidding me? I can tell what you’re thinking before you even think it! And you, right now, are finally catching on that you need Victor as much as he wants you. If it were me I’da given up on you by now, but...” Freddy shrugged. “He’s head over heels in love with you and only you. Sickening really.”
“So, if I asked him to take me back…”
“In a heartbeat,” Freddy said. “Violet, all you gotta do is give up the ghost.”
“What?” she said.
“You know I love the guy and always will and you too,” Freddy said. “But Richie is gone and Victor’s here and though I never thought it was possible, you found someone who loves you even more than Richie ever did…at least it seems that way. So, please, Vi, bite the bullet and just do it already. Richie would want you to be happy. So, do what ya gotta do. You, Victor and the kids deserve a happy ending. Go on and live happily ever after.”
Freddy gave her a warm hug and kissed her cheek before moving away.
Violet sighed and muttered to herself, “Guess there’s only one thing left to do then, but can I do it? Ho boy.”
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