"How do you know so much about us?" seventeen-year-old Violet Baudelaire asked the man sitting across from her at his desk. It was late, and Violet had suffered from severe insomnia since she was a small child.
"Research," was Lemony Snicket's short reply. He was a socially awkward person by nature and that hadn't changed even after he had tracked down the orphans and they moved into his shabby apartment. He happened to be up for precisely the same reason as Violet.
"No, I realize that was how you found out our story. But what I really mean to ask is… why us? Why research us at all?"
And there it was. The question he was least eager to answer. It involved delving into his past.
Lemony was silent for a minute, and Violet fidgeted nervously, afraid she'd upset the man who had graciously taken her and her siblings (little Beatrice included) in.
Finally he asked, "Did your mother ever talk to you about her life before she married your father?"
This struck Violet as an odd question, but she answered anyway. "Only that she almost married another man. She never told me his name." She didn't say this, but she also remembered her mother holding her when she was an infant and bursting into silent tears every time she looked at her.
Lemony shifted his gaze down to the floor.
"Why do you ask, Mr. Snicket?" Even after living with Lemony Snicket for the last three months, the orphans still called him that.
"Call me Lemony," he said immediately. As he said it, he realized how ridiculous his first name actually sounded.
"Okay," Violet said hesitantly. "Why do you ask…Lemony? What does it matter?"
He cleared his throat awkwardly. It couldn't have mattered more.
"It matters, Violet, because I was your mother's ex-fiancé. She almost married me."
Now it was Violet's turn to be stunned silent.
"I didn't find out until much later the real reason why she'd left me and married Bertrand. But I have reason to suspect that she didn't actually love him."
Klaus would argue otherwise; he might even get angry at the awkward writer. But Violet knew he spoke the truth. She knew her mother loved each and every one of her children, and loved her husband too, in a way. But Violet had noticed, as she grew older, that her mother rarely kissed her father, or showed any signs of affection. They were civil to one another, and clearly best friends, but not a couple in love.
However, what had really convinced Violet of this were the times when she would crawl into bed with her parents, and she would notice that they slept far away from each other on opposite sides of the bed.
Lemony and Violet were silent for several minutes, lost in their own thoughts, before he said, "So, to answer your question, Violet. That was why I researched your story. I felt that I owed your mother that."
"Oh," Violet said absently.
"I think you should go to sleep now."
She nodded and stood up. "Thank you, Lemony."
He gave her a small smile. Actually, he suspected that it turned out as more of a grimace, as it had been years since he'd really smiled. But Violet appreciated the effort and smiled back before leaving his room.
Yet, she knew it would be a long time before she fell asleep. Her talk with the awkward writer had left her with more questions than she originally had. So Lemony Snicket was the man that she would have been named after if she'd been a boy. He was the man that she knew her mother had never stopped loving.
As Violet crept into the room she shared with Sunny and little Beatrice, she vowed to ask Mr. Snicket about her mother. She wanted to know the story.
However, when Violet woke up in the morning- early, as she hoped to talk to Lemony before her siblings woke up, she found the writer gone. He left a note on his typewriter though:
I Went on a walk. I should be back in about an hour.
Violet sighed inwardly. She didn't know if she could wait an hour before talking to him. She turned to leave, when a flash of white caught her eye. It was a pile of papers, about an inch thick, slightly yellowed with age. They were sitting in a drawer left half open.
She of course, knew it was wrong to snoop, yet she couldn't stop herself from taking the papers out of the drawer. She would only take a little peek, she told herself.
But when she read the first words on the first page and recognized the handwriting, she knew she would do more than peek.
Dear Lemony, the first letter began. It was written by her mother and dated several years after Klaus was born; when Sunny was about one year old.
Violet rifled through the pages and realized the letters were stowed oldest to newest, the most recent on top. She flipped through to the oldest letter, dated several months before she was born.
She separated it from the rest, and read:
I don't think you will ever read this, as I fear you are dead. But I had to write this. I'm sorry for leaving you; I know it broke your heart. But if you read this, know that I've never stopped loving you.
I'm pregnant, Lemony. And I'm almost certain it's yours. Bertrand doesn't know yet, I just found out this morning. If it's a girl, I've already decided to name her Violet. I remember how much you loved that name…
Violet could feel herself grow numb. She kept reading that one line: "I'm almost certain it's yours…"
She rifled through the stack and picked one dated about a year after her birth.
Violet is such a sweet baby. I wish you could meet her…she has your eyes, Lemony. I can scarcely look at my own daughter without crying. I miss you…
Her rifling became more frantic as she glanced at letter after letter. Several from the time of her birth to when she was five years old. Some were about Klaus, others, still, about Sunny. But most were about Violet- her first steps, her first word (mama), her first invention- a mechanism that she could use to turn out the lights without getting out of bed (so the monsters couldn't get her, she'd explained to her parents).
Violet's breaths were coming out in shallow gasps. Her usually sharp, inventor's mind was muddled with this new information.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped and dropped the letters.
She put a hand to her rapidly beating heart and looked up at the intruder. It was Lemony. He looked neither angry, nor happy. Instead, he looked… sad.
"I see you found the letters," he said quietly.
She focused on his eyes. They were green.
Violet had always known that she was the only green-eyed member of the Baudelaire family. Sunny, Klaus, and both of their parents were brown-eyed. As a young girl, Violet had often worried that there was something wrong with her. Yet, when she told her mother these fears, she received a big hug as her mother said, "Sweetheart, you're just different."
Oh and how different she was.
Violet stood up awkwardly and brought her hands up to her face and found it wet.
She sniffed once and then said, "Sorry. I'll just be going now." And the she hurried out of the room.
Violet lay in bed a few hours later. She was not asleep though- far from it. The clock ticking away on the wall read six o'clock.
Violet glanced over at Sunny sleeping in the other bed next to little Beatrice. She thought of Klaus in the next room. Her siblings. She knew it was pointless to think of them any differently. They were still her family.
She let her mind wander to her parents- her father in particular. The man who had raised her and had gotten her interested in inventions. That man wasn't actually her father.
Lemony Snicket was. The shy, awkward writer who had been hopelessly in love with her mother. The man who had his heart broken.
As Violet lay there, thinking, she suddenly remembered something that Ishmael, of all people had said: "… and gave it to Kit Snicket's brother. He gave it to your mother. For reasons I still don't understand, she gave it back to him…"
Later that day, Violet stood outside Lemony Snicket's door and clutched a small object in her hand.
She took a deep breath and knocked. She heard the rustle of paper inside and then the door slowly creaked open. Lemony poked his head out and seemed surprised to see her there.
She didn't give him a chance to speak. Instead, she thrust the object at him and asked, "Did you give this to my mother?"
He blinked several times, as if he were still in shock. But then eventually, he said quietly, "Would you like to take a walk with me?"
To Violet, this seemed like an odd question, but she agreed anyway. In a few minutes, she and Lemony Snicket were walking on the sidewalk in the chilly early evening air. The sun was just about to set.
They'd been walking in silence for several minutes before he said, "Yes, Violet. I gave your mother that ring. When I proposed to her."
"Was it her engagement ring?" Violet studied the old ring emblazoned with the letter R. Kit had said to give it to little Beatrice, but Klaus and Sunny had agreed that Violet should keep it until Beatrice was older.
Lemony shook his head and fumbled with a chain around his neck. He pulled it out of his shirt and Violet could see the gold band and the diamond and ruby setting. "This was her engagement ring. She gave both back a month before our wedding." Along with a two-hundred page book explaining why she was breaking off the engagement, he added to himself sadly.
"My mother married my father a month after leaving you?" The thought was inconceivable to Violet. She hated to think that her mother would do something like that.
Lemony let out a small laugh. "No. But Bertrand proposed to her. They set off for the VFD colony soon after. They weren't facilitators there for long."
Violet nodded, remembering how the entries her parents had made to A Series of Unfortunate Events had been dated by months, rather than years.
"Beatrice received a letter soon after about the Snicket fires," Lemony continued. "She thought I was dead, which wasn't true, as you know. That's why she started writing the letters, I suppose. She was three months pregnant with you. By the time they left the island, she was eight months pregnant."
Violet wasn't ready to get into the conversation about the letters, so instead she asked a question that had been on her mind for several years now. "How could my parents let me and my siblings get sent to Count Olaf?"
At this question, Lemony let out a bitter laugh. "Mr. Poe's an idiot. When your parents had written their will, they requested that you be raised in the most 'convenient way possible', am I right?" He said, reciting information from his research.
Violet nodded, remembering exactly what Mr. Poe had said about Olaf being the only living relative within the city limits.
Lemony continued, "Well, Beatrice had stored her letters in a fireproof box and counted on someone, such as the authorities, finding them and discovering that you, at least, were a Snicket. Violet, your mother meant for you to be sent to my sister, Kit. She lived no more than three blocks away from you. Jacques would have taken you in, I'm sure, but he was busy with another assignment."
Now there was no getting around the inevitable conversation. Violet looked at the writer and said, "So, you're really my father."
He looked at her. "In the biological sense, yes, I suppose so. But in every way that matters, no. Bertrand raised you as his daughter. He was your father."
Violet digested this information, yet it still didn't seem right. Yes, it was true that Bertrand Baudelaire raised her as his daughter, probably not even realizing that he wasn't the biological father, but it still felt strange.
Lemony and Violet walked in silence for another few minutes before Violet blurted out, "Tell me about my mother."
He stopped in his tracks to give her a questioning look and she could feel herself blushing. "I mean, tell me about when she was with you. I want to know that story."
"Oh." They started walking again. "What would you like to know?"
"How'd you first meet?"
At this he smiled. A true, genuine smile. "I can't say for sure, because for the first year I knew her, I wasn't sure she knew I existed. We were fifteen; she sat in front of me in codes class at the VFD academy."
He sighed. "It took me forever to talk to her. I've always been shy- always in the shadow of my siblings. Jacques was the oldest, and then Kit. I was always the baby." Lemony seemed to be enjoying his stroll down memory lane.
Since he rarely left the apartment and had been in hiding for several years, he was almost deathly pale and if it weren't for Sunny's cooking, he would probably be skin and bones. Violet thought her new guardian looked nice with a little sun on his face.
Lemony continued his story. "I remember one day, I was writing in my commonplace notebook when Jacques walked in and saw the poem I was writing. It was called, 'Beatrice'. He saw it and told me, 'God dammit, Lemony. If you don't talk to her, I will!'"
He smiled at Violet. "Turns out I didn't have to. The very next day, she asked me if I'd like to go out for root beer floats with her."
Another similarity Violet shared with the writer (and her mother). She had always enjoyed the taste of root beer. Klaus hated it, and Sunny liked it, but was not entirely fond of it.
According to her mother, when Violet was an infant, she sometimes refused to touch her bottle and instead would only accept root beer.
Violet told Lemony this and he replied, "Yes, I know. She wrote it in a letter. 'Dear Lemony,' he recited from memory. 'Violet refused to drink her bottle today. I let her have a sip of my root beer yesterday and now it's all she'll drink.'"
It had been several years since Violet had root beer- not since her parents died. And it made her sad.
Lemony looked at her. "Would you like to get a root beer float? There's a place right up the street."
"I'd love to," she replied. It would give her more time to ask the writer questions.
Violet waited until they were seated at a table and their root beer floats were sitting in front of them before she said, "So, tell me another story about my mother and you."
Lemony smiled shyly again. "Well, there was the VFD dance when we were eighteen…"
Violet dug her spoon into her root beer float, hearing the slight crunch of the ice that had formed around the vanilla ice cream. "What happened?"
"That was the first and last time your mother ever got me to dance with her."
It was hard for Violet to imagine the awkward writer dancing to anything. "I take it that that didn't end very well," she remarked.
He laughed. "No. It was okay, and she was happy. That's all that mattered. We were dating officially by this point, and she dragged me to the dance despite my protests. I hate being out in public, but I would do anything for her, so I went."
His voice had gotten quieter and quieter during this retelling- so quiet that Violet had to lean in to hear him.
He cleared his throat and spoke louder. "I warned her that I was a horrible dancer, but she wouldn't listen. 'Oh Lemony,' she would tell me. 'Don't be silly.' I still didn't dance for almost the entire night." He laughed a little. "Jacques danced with her a few times, but she mostly danced with Kit… but she really wanted to get me to dance at least once. So, when a Beatles song came over the loudspeakers, she grabbed my hands and forced me onto the dance floor. 'Oh, I love this song!' She told me. 'Dance with me!' All I remember is her singing along in perfect harmony the whole time."
Violet remembered, one day, when she was one year old, her mother had played a record on the old phonograph and picked Violet up and danced with her.
Lemony seemed to know what she was thinking about. "She wrote me a letter about that day. She said that you were her favorite dance partner."
"I remember that," Violet replied. "Vaguely anyway." She took a sip of her root beer float. "What was my mother like at eighteen?" She wondered.
He smiled. "Beautiful. I still can't believe she chose me, of all the men in VFD. Every one of them asked her out, but she refused them all, until I came along." He laughed. "And she was also very impatient. I don't think she ever finished one project before going on to the next. It wasn't until many years later when she learned that skill."
Three root beer floats later and Violet was still finding out more and more information. She found out about the poem that Lemony had written for her mother when they were seventeen, the day he proposed… and the day that he found out that he was a father.
By this time, they were on their way back to Lemony's shabby apartment. But he continued talking.
"I always wanted children, and so did Beatrice. But after she left me, I was already in hiding and it just… well, it just never happened…" He looked down at the ground and kicked a small pebble lying on the ground. Finally, he looked back up at Violet. "I've, uh, I've been thinking… about adopting you children officially. What do you think of that?"
Violet couldn't help the smile that crept onto her face… or the enormous hug she surprised the writer with. Her siblings had yet to find a real, official guardian again- someone who would actually take care of them, like Uncle Monty had. "I think that's a wonderful idea, Lemony Snicket."
Lemony wrapped his arms tentatively around his, well, it still felt odd to say 'daughter'. But what he could say was that for the first time since Beatrice left him all those years ago and he had to go into hiding… he was happy. Really and truly happy.
A/N: Hello to anyone who happens to read this… Well, this was just an idea that would NOT freakin' leave me alone until it was written. Seriously, I've been rereading all the books and generally just being obsessed and annoying those around me for almost a month now! So, yeah, just a fic that goes a little more in-depth with the Violet Snicket theory. I've seen one fic on here that's actually about the theory and one other that only acknowledges it. Plus, I wanted to add a little Lemony/Beatrice 'cause they're absolutely adorable together! And yes, slightly cheesy ending, but I wanted it to be at least sort of happy. Read and review!!!!!!!!!!
Disclaimer: Daniel Handler owns all!