As Vivian poured tea for Alphonse and his mother, her husband said, “Darling, I have a surprise. I’ve invited Jeremy to tea.”
Vivian’s hand faltered, and she splashed a bit of tea on the pristine ivory lace tablecloth. “Why ever would you do such a thing, Alphonse?” she asked. “He’s been such a nui–”
“Ah, here he is now,” Mother said, as the parlor maid brought a guest to the table. “Welcome, Jeremy. Do join us. The pastries are exquisite. Lemon curd, your favorite!”
Vivian was confused. How would her mother-in-law know her former fiancé’s pastry preferences? Manners dictated that she welcome Jeremy however, and so she did.
“Thank you for inviting me to your home, Vivian and Alphonse,” Jeremy began. “And of course it is always a pleasure to see you again, Laura.”
Laura. So strange. Mother and Jeremy smiled at each other over their teacups. Vivian busied herself by giving Truffle a bit of crust–the kitty had been waiting at her feet.
“Ahem,” Alphonse said. “Jeremy, we do want to take action to end this gossip that I stole Vivian from you. It’s become quite ridiculous amongst our friends.”
“I apologize,” Jeremy said. “It was a joke that spiraled out of control. You know how people are.”
“It’s not your fault,” Mother Laura said. “No one has anything better to do than spread rumors. I myself keep busy with my show kittens.”
“Which is so admirable!” Jeremy burst out. “I’m serious about wanting to purchase a pair.”
“You!” Vivian laughed and seized the opening to get a dig in regarding something that had always bothered her. “I don’t think you quite understand the care involved. Kittens will not be compatible with your bohemian bachelor lifestyle.”
“Ah, but that’s all coming to an end.” Jeremy stood up and walked over to Mother, resting his hand on her shoulder. “I’ve asked the lovely Laura to do me the honor of becoming my wife, and to my utter delight, she has accepted!”
“Mother!” Alphonse stood up, looking aghast.
Vivian simply crumpled off her chair into a graceful heap on the floor, dropping her lemon pastry in the process.
Truffle the kitten immediately snatched it up and scampered off behind the liquor cabinet with her treasure.