Meanwhile the children played outdoors when they could and played indoors when it rained and they had to do so. Brook was getting more mature and she was naturally neat, just like Brian and her brother, Heath. She not only did the chores she was assigned, but often tidied up around the house on her own initiative. She was a blessing to Meadow these days.
Summer finally arrived. It was getting close to Heath's birthday and he was often outdoors, but half the time he was just daydreaming; a natural enough thing for a child approaching puberty.
Meadow finally called Lonnie at his restaurant and asked him to meet her at Goth's Apparel. She could tell he was curious, but he asked no questions except for what day and what time.
Meadow got there early and was already seated at a table on the patio when Lonnie drove up. Waving at him to get his attention she felt enormous anxiety.
"Well, here I am," he said somewhat unnecessarily as he took a seat, "What's up?"
"Um," she stalled trying to remember how she'd planned to start the conversation but her mind was suddenly a blank. So she gave him a bright smile,
"Well, Lonnie, how have you been, anyway? I haven't seen you since the block party."
He gave her a quizzical look, she'd invited him here just to inquire as to his health?
Meadow sighed,"I can't think of one single way to break this to you gently, so here goes: you have a son, Lonnie. I mean I gave birth to a son by you. I've been afraid to tell you all this time."
The story of Heath's birth HERE
Chapter where the reader (and Brian) learn Heath's father's identity...HERE
"What?" he asked as if he'd suddenly lost his hearing.
"When you and I dated back in the day, I got pregnant. On purpose. Because I wanted a baby."
He blinked, then she could see anger slowly building in him,
"You used me?" he asked and then emphasized, "You used me. Why? Why me?"
"Because you're reasonably good-looking and you're very talented. And, frankly, I wasn't seeing anyone else and hadn't in a long time," she didn't mean to sound so abrupt but she just wanted to get it over with. She'd dreaded it for so long.
He considered her words; he knew she was married with a number of kids and he asked cynically,
"How do I know you're telling the truth? How do I know I'm the father?"
She took out a photo of Heath and handed it to him.
"This is a school picture. He's not smiling, but I feel sure you can see the astounding resemblance. His name is Heath."
Lonnie gazed at the photo. Heath was practically a clone of him.
"Holy Smoke," he said and whistled. Then a bit of a smile crossed his face, "Yes, he's my son, I can see that. Does he know? I mean, does he know who I am?"
Meadow nodded,"I just recently told him."
"What about your husband? He knows?"
"Of course. I wasn't trying to palm Heath off as his son. And anyway, we were just friends at that time. I didn't tell him it was you right away, but he's known for some time."
"Is he...is he a good father?"
"He's an excellent father, Lonnie," she said as she handed him the family photo they'd had taken in Three Lakes, "He adopted Heath when he was a baby. The two of them are very close. This photo is a little dark; it was taken at night. These are his sisters Brook and Willow. We have three younger children, too."
He mulled this information over as he studied the photo and then he said,
"I'm glad then; glad he's a good father. You pulled a terrible trick on me, though. I could have been a father to him."
"If you want to know the truth, I thought you might try to take him away, that's why I didn't tell you. I know it was wrong, but I couldn't help myself."
"So why are telling me now, then, if you don't want me near him? And I wouldn't have tried to take him from you--as if the courts would let me take him away from his real mother, anyway. Think I could be that cruel? I have two daughters and I'd kill anyone who tried to take them from me."
"You weren't the man you are now, Lonnie; back then you were a fast-living single guy who didn't like responsibility. I didn't know what you'd do. Besides I don't feel that way now. As I told you, I recently revealed everything to Heath. He was upset at first; he adores Brian, but finally he said he would like to meet you--if you want to see him."
Lonnie looked at her in surprise,
"Are you kidding? Of course I want to see him!"
"He knows Loni Faye and Liara are his half-sisters, Lonnie. I don't know if you're planning to tell them or not."
He leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He was looking off, just thinking. She'd hit him with some shocking information. Then he turned back to her and spoke,
"I'd like to tell them, but first I have to find a way to break it to my wife. She's a little...well, I'll figure it out. When can I see him?"
"I'd prefer it be at our house; so he feels secure. School days are too hectic, but if you'd like to come over on a Saturday afternoon..."
"Yes, definitely, can I come this Saturday?"
"Okay," Meadow paused, "Will you want to bring your family?"
"No, I'm not going to tell them right away, not until after I meet Heath and see how it goes."
Meadow stood up and so did Lonnie. She said,
"All right, then. Actually his sisters do no know yet either. I'm not telling them until Heath is comfortable with that. So I'll find some way to arrange it so Heath can talk to you alone. But in case they should come in, just be aware that they don't know anything."
They left it at that.
It was a hot summer day when Lonnie came to the house the next Saturday, passing Brook and Willow out in the side yard swimming in the pool. Meadow had suggested they do that so they'd be out of the house during Lonnie's visit. She'd even sent a jug of Kool-Aid and some chocolate chip cookies and potato chips out with them for when they might be hungry and thirsty. Feeling like it was a mini-picnic the girls were eager to go outside. Brian was in the yard trimming the shrubs in case they might need him, but he also had both of the baby monitors clipped to his belt. He could hear Rocky and the twins breathing gently while they napped.
Meadow greeted Lonnie at the front door and said she had called Heath from upstairs and he should be there in a moment. They sat down on the love seats and Meadow said in a low voice,
"He's excited, but also very nervous. I just thought you should know."
"Trust me; so am I."
When Heath came downstairs he stood across the room from the man he now knew had sired him. Gazing in wonder he realized how very much he looked like Lonnie.
Lonnie was not as obvious, but he was stunned again at the resemblance between Heath and himself. It was even more striking in person. Meadow motioned to Heath to come sit by her and Lonnie started trying to make conversation.
He knew he was good at communicating with his daughters but of course, he'd raised them. Mostly he drew the boy out asking about school, his hobbies, and his interest in music which, of course, Lonnie shared. The longer they talked the more relaxed Heath became until he was talking quite animatedly about all the things he loved. But when Lonnie mentioned possibly playing music together some time for fun, Heath backed off and said,
"Well, I usually only play with Daddy."
Then he suddenly seemed to become shy again. Lonnie glanced at Meadow; she had warned him how much he loved Brian. That he was afraid getting close to Lonnie would somehow be disloyal to his father. She had assured Heath that Brian was okay with this, but he was still too insecure about his place in all of this and he couldn't bear to risk losing any part of Brian. Lonnie desperately wanted to get to know his son, but he didn't want to push him away either. So after a second he said,
"I can understand that playing music with your father is something you want to keep special between the two of you and I don't want to interfere with that in any way. I'd like to get to know you better though, so maybe some time we could do something else together. Like go to the skating rink or the park, hit the arcade or even catch a movie some afternoon. You can think about it, you don't have to tell me right away."
Heath smiled once more,
"Yeah, I'd like that."
So Lonnie said goodbye after giving Heath his cell phone number and saying he could call him anytime at all.
After he left Meadow said to Heath,
"Are you okay, honey?"
"Yeah," he mumbled. He was obviously pondering all that had happened, but he didn't look upset.
"Do you want to go out with the girls? They've got goodies to eat."
Heath looked at her, his face clearing,
"Maybe later. I think I'm gonna go out and help Dad in the yard."
"That's good; I'm sure he'll be grateful for your assistance," she smiled.
Now that Heath and Lonnie both knew the truth it was like a stone had rolled off her heart. One that had been there for so very long. She went in her bedroom to check on the twins who were still sleeping and then into the nursery where Rocky was just waking up. Maybe she'd feel a little less stressed now. Of course, they still had the upcoming move to the new house. Meadow longed to be in the their new home, but she dreaded the actual operation of packing and hauling their stuff across town to the big house on the edge of the town limits.
Next blog update: Organizing the Ottomas Family