Impulse: Book One
AFTER ALL IS SAID
"Impulse: A sudden inclination or urge"
The American Heritage dictionary
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Installment EightInstallment Nine
Richard finally spoke for the first time since she began to bare her soul, "You know, Tori . Love makes fools of us all. I remember when I first saw your mother. We were at some social function and I spotted her looking at me from across the room. At the time, she was being courted by this aristocratic boob .." He laughed remembering the man.
"He was shamelessly trying to get her attention. But the look on your Mothers face was that of absolute boredom." Pausing, he wiped a tear from his own eyes remembering the first time he laid eyes on his beautiful wife.
"At the time, a part of me, though proud of my family, always felt that I was never good enough for the likes of her. She was like this beautiful porcelain doll." He paused and looked at his daughter. "You know you have always looked most like her sweetie." Pulling her closer to him, he placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
He continued, "I felt like such an oaf around her. So awkward and so unpolished. Our money was made off the sweat of our backs and the determination of our wills. Some of the wealthy look down on that: saying that because we didnt come from old money, we lacked breeding. But your mother ..she never thought that way."
He looked at Tori with big blue green eyes, "I almost walked away from her. I thought she deserved someone better than me. That even that pompous ass that was bothering her could give her what I couldnt. Luckily, your mother would have none of that. She asked around and found out that I worked with my father and grandfather at the shipyards". Richard laughed as he pictured Dominiques face. "What a spitfire she was She would go down there everyday and bring me lunch. Everyday she would be there and everyday I would tell her to go home. "You dont belong here" I would tell her. But being determined like she was, shed show up everyday just in time for the lunch whistle."
"One day a shipping crate came crashing down splintering into pieces. Unfortunately, one of the dockworkers was pinned under the rubble. Everyone rushed to get the debris off him. I was so focused on getting the man free. I hardly noticed your mother by my side. There she was in her expensive clothes and her perfectly made up hair holding her own with the best of them. We took piece by piece away until we were finally able to get the man free. Not only did she help rescue him, but as we were working away, she sent her driver to fetch her father." Pausing, he took a moment to remember his father in law. "Your grandfather was an amazing man and a very gifted doctor. It broke his heart when he couldnt help your mom when she got sick. I guess when its your time, its your time." He broke into a thoughtful pause and sighed.
All the while Tori listened intently as her father reminisced about his first meeting with her mother.
"Anyway, he came and took care of the mans injuries and rode all the way to the hospital in the ambulance with him. He saved that dockworkers life that day." The admiration of his father in law shone on his face.
"It was also on that day I sat down and had my first lunch with your mother. I realized it was not up to me if we were together or not. I couldnt stay away from her even if I tried." A smile went to his eyes.
"My heart and my legs were in cahoots and they always led me straight to your mothers side."
He turned to Tori and his face turned more serious. "You see Tori? Fate has a way of making those decisions for you. If you and Brett are meant to be together, it will happen. Love will not be denied, no matter how hopeless the circumstances may seem. What I am saying is maybe your true love is Brett. Maybe not. All I know is that you, my love, are far too wonderful a person not to have a true love somewhere out there. Everyone does", he said with all certainty.
"Though your mother and I didnt have a whole lot of time together, what time we did have I would never trade for anything. Love is worth the risk and the paybacks are so much greater than the disappointments." A tear came to his eye remembering his life with Dominique.
"The love your mom and I shared gave us four incredible children. That love is part of you. That love created you and nothing and I mean nothing an ever take that away. I promise you will have a love like that. No matter what you may think, you deserve it. We all do." He said this last sentence with complete confidence.
Tori pushed away from her father, "But Daddy, you just dont under "
Long fingers rushed out to hush Tori, "Listen, sweetie. I heard every word you had to say. But this is my story and Im sticking to it." He winked and held out his arms. Tori again fell into his arms.
"What I see is a beautiful, beautiful woman who is going to make some woman out there very happy someday and Im going to proudly stand by and watch it happen."
Feeling the kind of safety that only her father could provide, Tori watched in wonder as her father accepted her without condition. Wondering as she had so many times in her life what she had ever done to deserve this amazing man she called Daddy.
Sometimes a parent has the ability to make or break a child. Richard Hull was a shining example of what a parent could be.
That day Richard would have his daughter back even if it took one hug at a time ..one day at a time. He would be there for his kids. After all, he had a promise to keep. He sent a quiet thank you to his beloved Dominique as he felt Tori sink into his embrace. He knew she was home.
A few months passed and Tori had put into place all that was needed for the European offices to operate without her. With everything in order, she made her way back to the States.
It was now Thanksgiving and she was on her way to the Montgomery home. Victoria was not certain that this was the wisest thing for her to do since she was trying to make a fresh start of her life. However, she felt it was high time she stood and faced your fears.
She had started eating better and had gotten a physical to make sure her health was up to par. With a clean bill of health, she got back on her exercise regimen.
Now looking at her reflection in the window of the limo, she saw a hint of a smile grace her face. It was a rough road but she was starting to feel a whole lot better.
Gibeau, her driver, rolled down his window as he approached the intercom. This would announce Toris arrival. The gates opened and the car made its way down the long drive around the circular driveway. Tori got out of the car and went to the front door. Philip, the butler, opened the door and welcomed her to the Montgomery home.
"AH, Miss Victoria it is so good to see you, again. Everyone is in the dining room. They are awaiting your arrival as we speak."
Tori nodded, "Thank you Philip. It is very good to see you as well."
The Montgomery home, although very regal, still somehow carried incredible warmth. As they say, it is not the house but the people in it that make a home. The Montgomery family was exactly that: a little peace of home after a long journey.
The conversation she had with Gordon the day she left the firm came ringing back. "Know that when your journey is through, well be here waiting for you." True to Gordons word, they all were.
She entered the large dining room. Seated at the head of the table were Gordon and Janice Montgomery. To their right were Paul and Diane Crawford, Antoine and Michaela Fellini, and Oleg and Felicia Arden.
To Gordons left was Toris father, Richard Hull, her brother Ian, his wife Pamela, and their two children: two-year-old, Marcus and their brand new baby girl, Dominique Elizabeth. Stephan Hull was next with his new flavor of the month. And Victorias sister, Jessica, was seated next to them.
Rounding the table were Bretts siblings: Eric Montgomery and his fiancé Corey, her younger brother Scott and his girlfriend Belize. Erin the youngest Montgomery was next to Bretts older sister. Lauren and close friends Alexi and Adrian were next to them. The only other friend missing was Toris old boyfriend Cole Crawford. He was overseas.
Not forgotten and most importantly, seated in all her glory was Brett Montgomery. Tori almost passed out right there. No more was there that ever-present youthful look that always made Brett seem so much younger than she was. Now an air of poise and quiet sophistication sat in its place. True to form, blue eyes met green and, as they say, it was all over. Toris heart betrayed her again. It was so willing to run unguarded to Bretts side casting all caution to the wind and sending signals to all parts of her body that her love was near.
Brett had heard that Tori was coming and anxiously awaited her appearance. The moment that her childhood mate entered the room, a flush of heat went to her face and everyone in the room ceased to exist the moment she arrived. Tori looked incredible. She wore a button down midnight blue Armani pantsuit which made her look even taller than she was. Her hair was a little shorter than the last time Brett had seen her. However, the dark tresses still flowed past her shoulders. Toris look was sleek and polished. She exuded power and grace. Even more, she oozed of sensuality. Brett was having an intense physical reaction to this new and improved version of Victoria Hull.
Breaking the trance was a loud clearing of a throat. Turning to the direction of the intrusive sound, Toris eyes connected with a smirking Gordon Montgomery. Giving Tori a welcoming gesture and an all-knowing wink, he uttered, "Ah Tori. We are all happy to see you. However, can you sit your butt down? Im hungry." Laughter filled the room and Toris face turned a beet red. She gave everyone a blanketed hello and took her place between her father and her brother Ian. Of course, she noticed that Jenna Carlisle was delightfully missing. As that realization hit her, a smile crept upon the brunettes face. For the first time in years, it made it all the way to her beautiful blue eyes.
Hands were held around the table as Gordon started the traditional Thanksgiving Blessing.
"Dear Lord . As we gather around this table, we remember all the many blessings that you have bestowed upon us. Like the many friends and families that have enriched our lives, those that share our lives with us on a daily basis, and those we dont quite see as often as wed like." Gordon shot a look in Toris direction and laughed as a blush made its way to Toris face.
"We thank you for giving us the ability to express and receive love in its many forms. We thank you for the many miracles that you give us everyday. Like the new additions to our families," looking towards baby Dominiques crib and the various new girlfriends and fiancées around the table.
"We thank you for keeping us strong and surviving the many obstacles that attempt to discourage us from our path in life. We thank you for the food that we are about to receive and for blessing the hands of those who have prepared the meal. Let this meal nourish us not only today but whenever we look back at our lives and remember this day with love years from now.
"Dear Lord Thank you for giving us so much that our hearts are bursting. For the love that fills this room and for the love I see in each and everyones eyes. As it is written in the bible, we are all created in your image. Therefore, if we see love in ourselves, so must you be love. So above all else thank you for you." Gordon looked up with eyes that were filled with unshed tears and nodded indicating he was finished.
Toris eyes were also filled with tears. She was always amazed at Gordons capacity to love. With that thought, she let out an audible sigh. Realizing everyone was giving her an inquisitive look, she let out a dazzling smile and looked at Gordon. " Sir . I think we might need to take a recess after that one." It was now Gordons turn to blush.
Tori sent out a thank you of her own. She thanked whoever was listening for giving her back her life and promised to never ever do anything that would take her from her family again. Tori felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see her father smiling at her. Nothing was said but he understood just the same. It had been a long road coming home and though Tori was a little tattered from the journey, she had survived.
All the while, green eyes were sending messages in Toris direction. Soon enough, Brett said to herself, "Soon Victoria Hull Im gonna get you alone and when I do .. if I have my way ..you and I .are going to have that conversation we should have had six years ago in Michigan."
TO BE CONTINUED. Installment Ten
Impulse: Book One
AFTER ALL IS SAID