In case you couldn’t tell, Violet was suddenly in a foul mood. Why that was even she couldn’t tell you at the moment. That would come in time.
For now, she left her bewildered looking son and BFF at the front door and marched into the packed living room where not one person appeared to notice her entrance. Being completely ignored didn’t bother her, however. In her present mood she might snap someone’s head off which would NOT have been a pretty scene, so she proceeded to the overloaded buffet table set up in the dining room where she grabbed a dinner plate. Not that she was hungry, but what else was there to do at a party when you were irritable and didn’t want to talk to anyone?
Violet looked over the food spread before her and nothing particularly appealed to her. She had had plenty of great tasting food at the Weston Christmas party, after all, and only the most tempting morsel would do right now….something to ease her sudden moodiness or at least make her forget about it.
Ah yes, there it was! The most ooey-gooey chocolate confection imaginable was hidden behind a large flower arrangement sitting next to a bowl of pasty looking rice pudding which Violet recognized as poor Laurie’s failed recipe.
“God bless that woman,” Violet muttered to herself, thanking the good Lord for Marty who loved chocolate as much as she did and more importantly, knew how to bake! She had just finished one piece and sliced into the cake for a second helping when she felt a tug on her skirt.
“Merry Christmas, Violet!” Georgiana said.
“Oh, Honey, look at you!” Violet said, putting down the cake to envelop the little girl in her arms. “You look beautiful… like a fairy princess!”
She did indeed in a poufy, pink chiffon dress, her hair done up in curls with the obligatory bejeweled tiara perched on her head and Violet could distinguish a bit of blush on her cheeks and a faint pink tint to her glossy lips making her smile shine even brighter.
“Grandma Marty’s early Christmas present. She took me and Auntie Catherine and Auntie Laurie to a day spa. See?” Georgiana wiggled her pink tipped nails at her.
Violet laughed. “How nice!”
“I missed you, Violet,” Georgiana said hugging her again. “Wish you had come with us.”
“Silly girl, you just saw me a few days ago,” Violet said, not admitting to herself she had felt the same. “Besides, I had to work today.”
Georgiana shrugged. “If I don’t see you all the time, like every day, I just miss you,” she said. “I have a gift for you, but Daddy said we’re not supposed to give them out til tomorrow.”
Violet grimaced. “Oh, shoot! I forgot all the presents back home. I was supposed to bring them tonight so you can open them in the morning.”
“You didn’t forget,” Georgiana said. “Sophie and Kenny and Janice brought presents for everybody. I helped them put them under the tree in the family room. Kenny and Janice are really nice!”
“I’m glad you think so,” Violet said, looking into the living room at the guests as Georgiana spoke excitedly. “What in the world are Eddie and Mary Teresa doing here?”
“Grandma Marty invited them I think and everybody knows him ‘cause he’s the handyman. He used to fix everything at the orphanage. He’s really funny, too!” Georgiana said.
“He is that, all right,” she mumbled as she watched Andy and Morris having good old belly laughs to prove it. Then she spotted Bonnie Beckel leading a group of angel kids in a rousing chorus of the Hanukkah favorite, the Dreidel song. “How in the world did she teach that song to the kids so quickly? We only just got here a few minutes ago …and goodness me, where did the menorah come from?”
“Mrs. Beckel comes to the orphanage all the time. She’s good friends with Reverend and Mrs. Trent,” Georgiana said. “Every year she comes at Hanukkah time to celebrate with Clair and Janey ‘cause they’re half Jewish. That’s why Grampa Morris bought the menorah… he said they should have one even if this is a Christmas party.”
“Oh, my goodness, I had no idea,” Violet said. “Did Bonnie go this year to the orphanage?”
Georgiana shrugged. “I dunno. I wasn’t there this year, remember?”
“Oh, that’s right…silly me.” Violet said.
Just then Catherine came up to them with her unhappy baby in her arms. “Hello, Velvet…” Catherine said absently.
“Violet, her name is Violet,” Georgiana said in a stage whisper.
Violet laughed. “Merry Christmas, Catherine, and Merry first Christmas to you too, Sweetie-pie! Oh, she’s getting so big.”
“Yes, she is and fussy, too,” Catherine said fretfully. “Georgiana, would you mind doing your magic with Andrea? Nothing I do will stop her crying.”
“But she’s not crying now,” Georgiana said, watching the baby instantly stop her fussing and gurgle and smile at Violet. “She’s probably just bored and wants to play with us kids. I’ll take her for a while.”
“Oh, you’re a darling. Thank you!” Catherine said gratefully placing the baby in Georgiana’s capable arms and watching her move carefully through the crowd.
Catherine smiled and picked up the cake Violet had abandoned and took a bite, nearly groaning with pleasure. “I so needed this. You know, that kid is worth ten top-of-the-line au pairs. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
“She is wonderful, especially with her own brothers,” Violet said, making a face as her cake was slowly savored and devoured by her would-be rival.
“Aren’t you going to have some of this? It’s marvelous…my mother certainly can bake,” Catherine said.
Violet grabbed another plate and took a smaller piece. “So… how is it going being a new mom? I mean… are you a bit overwhelmed with the baby?” she asked cautiously.
“At times I suppose…she is so fricken fussy and… but she’s a dream come true for us and I wouldn’t trade her for all the world!” Catherine added earnestly. “It’s been so long since I had a baby, you know….takes a while to get back into the swing of it.”
Violet nodded as she ate her cake which with every bite tasted better than the last one. “Yes, it’s much more work having a baby...when you don’t have a nanny,” she said.
“Meow!” Heidi said with a giggle at her former daughter-in-law’s expense. “Violet, I didn’t know you had it in you to be so catty. I love it!”
Catherine blinked at her. “I suppose Victor told you that. Well, I was young and scared and, frankly, I just didn’t want to have kids then! He forced me!”
“Really?” Violet said dispassionately. “Forced, huh? Like…he took away your birth control and raped you? Mustn't make Simon and Ronnie feel too good to hear that about their father and how their mother felt about having them, but that's none of my business.”
Catherine bristled and clenched her fists at her side to keep from slapping her, but with a struggle she took a deep breath and kept her cool. After all, with one word to the authorities Violet could swiftly have her ill-gotten baby taken away from her. That would NOT do. “That may be the wrong word… he begged, pleated and nagged me until…whatever. I…I have to speak to Andrew. Please excuse me and…Merry Christmas, Vickie.”
“Merry Christmas to you too… Katie,” said Violet.
Catherine gave her a scathing look over her shoulder, but continued on her way to the bar where she pouring herself a double.
Violet nearly doubled over with laughter. "Maybe it's the cake," She muttered to herself.
“Perhaps this party will be fun after all, huh?” Heidi whispered to her. “Now have another piece of cake and let’s really go to a party!”
Violet hesitated a moment, then had another slice. Heck, it was Christmas! As she ate it, she watched in fascination the motley crew assembled before her. Janice was cradling baby Richie and animatedly talking to Laurie, probably gathering mothering tips. Bonnie Beckel was telling the story of Hanukkah to a larger group of kids. From the “music room” she could hear Sophie and Ronnie leading the older kids in some non-Christmasy pop tunes. Flora was keeping Marty in stitches as was Andy with Eddie and Morris, and Freddy was handing out drinks to Victor and Marcus who looked rather grave.
She was wondering if she should go say hello to them just as blast from the past approached her and she gasped. “Jolene! Oh, my goodness, I didn’t know you were here!”
They hugged and laughed. “I thought you might not remember me,” Jolene said.
“Of course I do!” Violet said recalling perfectly her one and only chance to shine like a singing star at the jazz club Marcus owned in The City. “Are your brothers here too? And Clarisse?”
“My brothers, yes. They’re in the next room singing with Ronnie and …that blonde girl is your daughter, right? Not my sister, though. Clarisse is in Los Vegas on her honeymoon…actually she eloped. Dad’s still a bit freaked out about it,” she said giggling.
“Eloped! Wow, I might freak out too, even though…I kinda did too. Do whatcha gotta do, you know?” Violet said with a laugh. “Oh, I hope Marcus will get over it.”
“He’ll be fine once the shock wears off. He likes Gregory, Clarisse’s boyfriend…I mean husband now…even if he is a white boy,” Jolene said dismissively. Then a bit more soberly she added, “It’s been such a long time since I saw you last, Violet, how are you?” Her expressive coal black eyes suddenly looked so sad. “I hear you and Uncle Victor are…not together anymore? I was so hoping you were the one for him. You seemed so perfect together last summer for his birthday and he’s been alone for too long…even longer than my dad.”
Violet easily side-stepped that land mine by asking, “Your father seems very happy with Jocelyn. How do you like her?”
Jolene placed her hand over her heart. “OMG, I Love her! She is so exactly what my dad needed! She’s so cool and her little kids are cute as anything. I think my dad really likes being a dad again…I mean to little boys. Adam and Aaron…they’re funny kids. Like um… they are starting to accept me and my sister and brothers as siblings, but it’s been slow. They don’t trust easily.”
“No, they had a rough start in life I understand so…but with enough persistence and love…miracles happen,” Violet said.
“Yeah…anyway, I better get back. I’m supposed to bring everybody drinks. Merry Christmas!” Jolene said, and she left for the kitchen.
Violet watched Jolene go through the door remembering all too well Victor’s birthday weekend which they spent in The City.
“You had a wonderful time, remember?” Heidi nudged.
“Yes…that’s when I first knew I was falling in love,” Violet mumbled.
“Don’t supposed that’s changed?” Heidi asked.
Violet shook her head slightly.
“Then perhaps you ought to do something about it… don’t you think?” Heidi suggested.
Violet nodded and headed straight toward Victor.
©2017 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved