Following the post on October 9 (Chapter 2), Chelsea was troubled about her parents especially her mother. She had gone from being this outgoing happy child to a tense and troubled teen. Her grades were still high, but she felt cut off at times from her friends who all seemed to her to have mothers who were happy to put their children and husbands first. Chelsea’s father, Larry Max, was actually unaware of all that was going on in his home.
The fact was that his wife, Jenny, played around. She played around a lot. He never seemed to realize it because he was crazy about her and when he was home she spent a lot of attention on him. If someone had asked Jenny if she loved her husband, she would have said yes and not thought she was lying. She had a somewhat masculine notion that her flirtations with other men had nothing to do with her love for Larry Max. But they had become more than flirtations by this time.
Still, when it came time for Corky to have his big birthday, Jenny was right there with a cake and party favors. Now that he was a teen Corky became enthralled with playing the guitar even more than playing his beloved piano.
It seemed only yesterday that Mike left for college, but in reality he had been living on campus for nearly 3 years.
For Mike's story at University go HERE.
For Mike's story at University go HERE.
The next thing the family knew, little Andy was ready for his birthday. The baby of the family was growing up. Oldest son Mike was 20, youngest son Andy would soon be 15. Both of these events seemed to combine to make Jenny even more frantic to have a good time and feel young and attractive.
The family was still hanging tough, but tensions were increasing every day now. Because she knew some of what was going on, Chelsea was frequently insolent and argumentative with her mother. Jenny tried to be patient, for she realized Chelsea had caught her on the phone with a man a couple times. She didn't want her daughter to say anything to her father, frankly. Jenny had no idea how many things Chelsea was picking up on though. Often, Chelsea was at the very brink of telling her mother she knew all about her secret life, but she always stopped before this happened. So now there was an unspoken war between mother and daughter.
Up until recently, the anonymous men in Jenny’s life came and went. They seemed to be all the same to her. She loved attention from men but she preferred it to be universal rather than specific. Some of the gentlemen were well known in town, but the affairs were only whispered about. At least she had stuck to single men, so far, all different types, although she seemed to have a bit of preference for men with black hair for some reason. Some of the men who dallied with her were the town millionaire playboy Beau Broke, rock musician Brian Ottomas before he left town, Bob Blackford, the owner of Dreamland Arcades in Bluewater Village, the Chief of Staff at the hospital, Dr. Jody Broke, a local entertainer named Leonid Olfshki and, newly back in town and thus and out of the loop, Nicky Ferguson (Holly’s older brother). Since Jenny was getting more careless she was starting to become the town joke. This was terrible for her children as they heard whispered comments and even laughter. Jenny seemed to think no one knew about these men, but it wasn’t true; especially since she was beginning to have public trysts with some of them. People (especially other wives) were beginning to avoid her at local parties and barbeques and even civic get-togethers like the grand opening of the Pleasantview Players Playhouse, and the annual Fabulous Fish Fry in July.
Dr. Jody Broke
Leonid with Jenny right outside Goth's Apparel!
No one seemed to steal her heart, though, until she met Lonnie Hammond. Trouble.
Jenny began to actually think she might have a chance at a second life with Lonnie. This was naïve on her part, at best. Lonnie was a player. He’d always made that clear from the beginning and Jenny said that was okay with her, but that was before she fell for him. Daydreaming of a new life with Lonnie, Jenny became a little proprietary with him and he didn’t care for it. Lonnie was actually a pretty laid back guy, but he liked being single with no strings, so when he saw Jenny getting a certain look in her eye, he started backing away. That, unfortunately, just made Jenny dig in her heels. Usually she would streak out the door after her trysts with men, but when she left Lonnie, she was always unhappy to have to go home.
All Chelsea knew was that her mother spent an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom where Chelsea knew she was phoning some man. She didn’t know who he was (or how many he was). Larry Max didn’t even think that was odd; Jenny had always loved her bathroom and taken long baths, pampering herself every day. He joked that it was her favorite room in the house. When he joked like that now, Chelsea just wanted to scream and claw her face. How could he not figure anything out?
Poor Larry Max. All this time he had still been working his way up the culinary ladder to become a celebrity chef. Since she did all the cooking at home and Larry Max rarely did, Jenny had always viewed his career hopes with some scorn.
Chelsea couldn’t make up her mind. On one hand she wanted her mother to be caught and face the circumstances; on the other she didn’t want Jenny to be caught simply because she didn’t know what would happen then. What she really wished for was her mother to go back to being the woman she was when Chelsea was small.
Most of these bathroom phone conversations had to do with Jenny's affair with Lonnie. She was having repeated discussions with Lonnie about where their relationship should go. He didn't see why it should have to go anywhere. Pretty much the same thing happened whenever she was with him.
Lonnie didn’t really want to talk about it. He had no intention of ending his happy bachelor existence at this time. He tried to get this through to Jenny but she refused to believe he didn’t want to move to the next stage. She told him she was ready to consider divorce. Lonnie diverted her that afternoon and she took his non-answer as “yes, go ahead”. When she left Lonnie’s place that afternoon she was so happy. She saw a new future with a new man coming together for her and she needed that to happen and soon. No matter what she had to do to ensure this. Since she believed Lonnie loved her (though he had not said so in so many words) and wanted to marry her (same) Jenny had to figure out how to get a divorce quickly.
With that in mind she decided to invite Lonnie over to the house. The kids were in school and Larry Max was working as usual. But she knew his hours and knew that he'd be back home while Lonnie was still there. She had a hard time convincing Lonnie to come over, he thought it was a bad idea, but she flirted and hinted at certain things and he gave in. She told him Larry would not be back until late. What she hoped is that she could maneuver things so that nothing was out in the open, but when he came home Larry Max would see his wife having coffee with a strange man and finally figure things out.
Unfortunately he did figure things out quickly, because Larry Max came home earlier than Jenny thought and, hearing voices upstairs, came straight in to the master bedroom. They didn’t even hear him so he burst in on a very romantic scene. He was not amused.
Understandingly enough, Larry Max ordered Lonnie out of the house. Lonnie was laid-back as usual yet eager to be on his way as one can imagine. Jenny tried to apologize and sweet talk Larry Max as usual, but he was not having any. Was Larry Max too trusting? Yes. Easily duped? Yes. Out of his mind? No.
Now that this had actually happened Jenny was beginning to get qualms about what she had done. Maybe she had moved too fast. Especially since she could see how easily Lonnie left without a backward glance. And she realized Larry Max was furious and devastated. She'd never had him look at her with so much loathing before in her life. She couldn't believe that her flirting was getting her nowhere with Larry Max. She'd always been able to charm with ease.
Larry Max just told her to stop it and to put some clothes on and get out of his sight. But the fight didn’t really get rolling until early evening. Jenny had stopped trying to cajole him and instead became defensive and then argumentative. In the middle Larry Max broke down in tears and she thought for a moment he might forgive her. When he didn’t she berated him, saying he was not really a man because he had cried and because he had let her push him around. As far as Larry Max was concerned, that tore the thing. Now the argument really heated up and even got a tad physical. When the dust cleared (literally), Jenny had won the battle, but lost the war. Larry Max ordered her out of the house. Immediately. She had the nerve to be shocked.
Although Jenny cried bitterly, it was as though she didn’t really regret anything she had done, but she was terribly upset that she was getting kicked out. She had evidently never once considered she might really lose her children. Never really thought she would lose Larry Max’s love. She packed an overnight bag and moved out that night to a room at the Bluewater Village Inn. Larry Max said he would box up every bit of her clothes and things and send them to her when she got a place to live.
Poor Chelsea had heard the whole thing; all the accusations on both sides. The boys had fled to their bedroom early in the evening.
That same night she called Holly and asked her to please, please come and get her, she had to get out of the house. It was 1:00 in the morning, but Holly sneaked out of her own house and came to get Chelsea. As Chelsea crept stealthily out to the car for just a moment she wished she was carrying a suitcase herself and moving to Holly’s forever. Holly didn’t know what to say to her; she couldn’t even imagine her own mother doing such things, but she could imagine how bad she would have felt if she did. She did point out,though, that Larry Max and the boys would need Chelsea more than ever at home. “So you can’t run away right now, Chelsea. But any time you need me I’ll be here. And I know Elle feels the same way, and so do Lori and Melanie. We love you.” Chelsea broke down then, but it really helped her to know her friends were there for her and not looking down on her because of her mother. The truth was Chelsea seemed to feel the shame that Jenny should have felt, but didn’t. And of course Chelsea had done nothing wrong.
Next Update: the Lomax Family Ch. 3 Troubled House Pt. 2