The three little ones stood at the door, their mouths hanging open in surprise.
"Where's Ronnie?" Julian asked in a whisper.
"Dontcha 'member? He went back to da city," Peter said making a curious face. "Why is she sleeping in here? Don't mommies and daddies sleep in da same room?"
"Not until they're married," Georgiana said, her voice equally soft.
"Is she gonna stay here from now on even before they get married?" Julian asked.
"I guess," Georgiana said with a shrug.
"Will she make us breakfast every day?" Peter asked, sounding excited.
"Tired of Rice Krispies? I sure am!" Julian said, not bothering to whisper anymore.
"And Cherrios," Peter said.
"Shhh…you're gonna wake her up," Georgiana said, none too quietly herself.
"Too late," Violet mumbled, opening her eyes with a big smile on her face. "Good morning, my little munchins!"
The three little kids tried to look guilt-ridden, but it just didn't take.
"Well, come on in," Violet said, patting the bed. "I'm wide awake."
Giggling the boys jumped up and took their place on either side of her, while Georgiana demurely sat at the foot of the bed.
"Why look so grave, Georgiana?" Violet asked.
"I'm sorry we woke you up," she said.
"Oh, you didn't," Violet said. "Anyway, I should be up. I heard something about breakfast…"
"Are you sure you're not mad at us?" Georgiana asked, still nervous and anxious. "Peter just…"
"Of course I don't mind," Violet said. "This is the very best way to wake up…my favorite way."
"How?" Peter asked.
Violet laughed and hugged him. "By little ones who are as happy to see me as I am to see them. I'd forgotten how much I missed that. It's been such a long time."
"Did your kids wake you up, too?" Julian asked.
"They did when they were very little, especially on Christmas day," Violet said, a reminiscent gleam in her eyes.
"You weren't here with us for Christmas morning, so we couldn't wake you up," Georgiana reminded her.
"No, but God willing I will be next year," she said, hugging both boys. "Now what should I make for breakfast?"
One said waffles, the other said pancakes and the third said omelets.
"Oh, my," Violet said with a laugh. "I'm gonna be busy."
"You certainly are," Victor said, appearing at the door, his expression one of annoyance mixed with amusement. "Is this a private party or can just anyone join in?"
"Hi, Dad!" the boys said, seemingly unconcerned.
"Good Morning, Daddy," Georgiana said, hugging Victor around the middle.
"Good morning, Sweetheart," Victor said, with a kiss at the top of her head.
"Daddy, you're not mad at us, are you?" Georgiana said. "Julian forgot that Ronnie wasn't here and…"
"Ah, yes," Victor said, picking up Georgiana and giving her a squeeze. "How can Ronnie ever wake up without his Julian alarm clock?"
"Should I call him now and wake him up?" Julian asked eagerly.
"No! He no longer needs you to do that," Victor said. "Anyway, you should NOT have awakened Violet."
"Viowet said we didn't wake her up… not weally," Peter said.
"Victor, don't you know it's the best way to be awakened?" Violet said, grinning.
"I know of a better way," Victor said, giving her a meaningful smirk.
She cleared her throat unnecessarily. "Yes, well…time enough for that," she mumbled.
"You kids want breakfast?" Victor said, his eyes hungrily on Violet. "Then you go get dressed, fix up your beds and clean your rooms and don't forget to comb your hair. Got me, Peter?"
After a few minutes grumbling, they left them.
"And you," Victor said.
Before he managed to say anything to her, Violet opened her arms wide inviting him straight into them. He did not hesitate in doing so. They kissed like horny teenagers until Victor's hand crept up the over-sized t-shirt Violet borrowed from him.
"Victor, no, we can't! The children…"
"I'll call Marty. They can be gone in twenty minutes and then you can do to me all I dreamed of last night," he said, nipping at her neck.
"Oh, my…but we can't," she said.
Victor pulled away from her, but not too far as she was still holding on. "Such a tease, you are," he mumbled.
She stared at him, a wistful expression on her face. "I love you so much, Victor," she whispered.
He said nothing.
"I get the feeling you don't believe me. Either that or you…please tell me, Victor, if you no longer love me and don't wish to marry me just say it, please. I know I've done nothing to deserve it," she said. "Do you still love me?"
"You really need to ask?" he replied, incredulous.
"Yes, you used to tell me all the time and…you just don't say it anymore, especially after I started saying it," she said, peevishly. "I've noticed."
He half smiled. "Recall if you will, how often you told me to stop saying it, that it was annoying. It was pressuring you," he said.
She closed her eyes tight and bit her bottom lip. "I was so stupid."
"I wouldn't go that far," he said.
She looked up. "I should have said yes the first time you asked. I wanted to, but…"
"You and I both know you were not ready then," he said gathering her in his arms, holding her close. "I just hope you truly are now."
"I am! Really and truly I am," she said.
Victor grinned as he pulled away from her. "Prove it," he said.
Her eyes widened. "But the kids are here," she whispered.
He shook his head. "Prove it by calling up your brides maids--I assume Jocelyn and Laurie at least-- call them all right now and tell them you need them. That you're spending the entire day looking for the wedding dress and not just any wedding dress. It has to be spectacular. You have to absolutely love it and I have to drool when I see you coming down to meet me at the alter. Remember I said money is no object and I mean it, Got me?"
Violet laughed and pulled him down for another long kiss.
"You kill me, Violet," he muttered pushing her away. "I got too much to do today. Now, get your butt down stairs, feed those hungry little monkeys so we can pawn them off on Marty and Morris for the day and let's get this show on the road!"
"And what are you going to do while I go shopping?" she asked springing out of bed.
"I've got some epic schmoozing to do, possibly a bit of bribing too in order to procure our spring-time-in-the-middle-of-winter wedding at Weston," he said.
"I thought you said Walter would do anything for me," she said. "Didn't think you'd need to bribe him."
"He's also a business man, Darling," Victor said, heading for the door. "Only so much he's willing to do without getting his palm greased. Perhaps I'll donate an alle of trees for around the fountains, maybe Crape Myrtles. I remember you like those cuz they bloom for most of the year."
Violet might have told him crape myrtles couldn't make it in their climate, but she didn't want to ruin his carefree the mood. So instead she watched him close the door and stood motionless for a moment.
"It's really happening. Victor and I are getting married…at long last," she mumbled to herself.
She looked around her as if looking for someone. "If you're still here, thank you so much, Heidi," she whispered. "And tell Richard, if you see him, tell him thank you for letting me let him go."
She felt a feather light touch on her arm which sent goose bumps up her spine and she could have sworn she heard a faint yet distinct, "You're very welcome, Dear."
Violet smiled nervously, quickly dressed and left the room.
Heidi sighed as she watched her leave.
"What's wrong?" Richard said. "Thought this was all you ever wanted? Your darling baby boy is marrying my wife…okay, widow."
"It is, but…I get the feeling something is going to get in the way of their happiness," she said, a worried expression on her face.
"Why would you say that?" he replied. "I'm not stopping it. Nobody is, not anymore. Everybody's totally for this union."
Heidi gave him a stern look. "Are you quite sure about that, Richard?"
Richard opened his mouth, then shut is again. "I'll let you know in a minute," he said before zooming out of the room.
"Yes, you do that, Richard," Heidi said with another sigh and she, too, zoomed away.
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