Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lassiters Ch. 15 You Better Sit Down, Kids

After David and Barbara's joyous wedding a few weeks before it was heartbreaking to Melora that the next time her family was all together it was to announce the breakup and possible end to her own marriage. John had been staying in a hotel and she had decided to wait to say anything to the kids until she could get past her own feelings. She could wait no longer; they were adults and deserved to know that their parents had separated, however unhappy the news was.

So she asked all of them to come over Sunday afternoon. When they got there, and after greeting them warmly she asked them to join her in the dining room. The long table there was no longer able to seat the whole family at one time. Devon volunteered to take an extra chair next to the windows and Melora shot him a grateful look. He had turned out to be a very good man and a good son-in-law, just like Harvey, should she have been surprised? No, because he was the youngest son of two of her oldest friends, Royal and Brenda Brecht. All of them were talking animatedly to each other, having no idea of what was to transpire next. Melora finally cleared her throat gently and spoke.

"Thanks for coming; I know all of you have busy lives and look forward to your weekends. I--"

"Wait, Mom, we can't start," Grace cut in, "Dad's not here yet. Where is he anyway, working on the Viking?"

"He's not home, sweetie. That's what this is about. Your father has moved out. He's staying at the Bluewater Inn but will be moving to the Seaspray Apartments today."

For a moment no one spoke, looking about at each other in bewilderment.

"I don't understand, are you saying Daddy won't be living here anymore?" Grace asked in a stunned voice.

Melora nodded. She hoped she wouldn't start crying, not over John, but over their four children. Suddenly she saw them the way they had been, sweet little faces looking earnestly to her and to John for safety and love. That was ridiculous, they were all adults, capable, mature and financially independent and had been so for some time. But they looked so shocked and she hadn't even told them yet the reason why John was gone.

"Yes, Gracie," Melora replied, "We've separated. It's a sad story but not that unusual I'm told."

"But...why? What happened?"

"Maybe she doesn't want to talk about it, Grace," Lori cut in because, of course, she'd been worried about her parents for a while now. She had finally told Harvey her fears, but only recently.

"No, it's all right," Melora assured her, "That's why I wanted you all here. I'll tell you briefly and then you can ask any questions you want. I can't promise I won't get emotional, but I'm sure you'll understand. It seems your father has been having an affair; I don't know who at this point. I didn't want to know. He claims that it is over and that he has stopped seeing her. We are going to try counseling to see if there is any chance to save our marriage."

They reacted in different ways. Grace looked helplessly across the room at Devon and he came over to stand behind her chair, massaging her shoulders. Lori didn't take her eyes off her mother, but reached automatically for Harvey's strong and comforting hand.

David's eyes were flashing fire. He had always been close to Melora; he'd been the "baby" of the family until he was fourteen and Trey and Lori had been born. His relationship with his father had been problematic at times. He glanced at Barbara; he was embarrassed somehow that she had to know about his father's transgression and he was furious at the betrayal to his mother. 

Trey, on the other hand, would reserve judgment, he hadn't heard all of the story and he hadn't heard John's version. He was the one who could hide his emotions almost as well as his father. His wife, Chelsea, caught his eye; she'd been through the breakup of her parents marriage years before and it had affected her strongly; she knew what he was going through.

"How could Daddy do this? It's so unlike him," Grace burst out. She was the one who'd always kept John on a pedestal and the fall he'd just taken was unbelievable to her. Surely there was a reason, some unknown excuse, that would make him be able to get back up on that pedestal.

"But Mom," Lori said, "How can you trust him again?"

She couldn't bear even to picture her father in her mind at this point.

"I don't know; I'm hoping the counselor will help me with that. The thing is; I want you to continue to have a good relationship with your father. I want you to feel you can still see him, still contact him, know he's there for you," Melora went on.

David's anger and disappointment flared,

"Oh, yeah, like he was there for you, Mom? He should be too ashamed to see any of us...or you. I don't want to ever see him again."

Barbara leaned over and touched his hand,

"David, don't."

Her parents were gone and she would never see them again. She would easily give a year of her life just to spend an afternoon with them once more. David looked at her and felt ashamed.

"That might be your first reaction, David, sweetheart," Melora acknowledged, "But try to keep an open mind. I'd be lying if I said this was not a devastating blow to me. I'm willing to try to work things out because I made a vow for better or worse. So did your father and we are duty bound to try to remedy this. Although this was a thoughtlessly horrendous thing he did, he gave me his best for over thirty years, he has always given you kids his best. All marriages have chinks and flaws. I have no guarantee that the counseling will work, but we both have to give it our best shot. Besides, in spite of everything; I'm afraid I'm still madly in love your father. Nothing will change that, I guess."

"You're all alone in this huge house with only one neighbor," Lori began tentatively, "Do you need any of us to stay here for a while with you? I mean, there's plenty of room. Or would you like to stay with one of us?"

"I'll be fine. All of you live within blocks of here. If I need you I'll call. Besides I have Felina for company." 

She didn't mention that she was sleeping in Lori's old bedroom because she could not bear to use the master bedroom. She couldn't fall asleep in that bed without John beside her. And she didn't tell them she often felt vulnerable with so many doors to the outside, so many windows. She'd always loved having lots of windows before, but now at night it bothered her. She would deal with it.

"Are you sure?" David asked, "I know Lori and Harvey need to be at home with the twins and the same for Grace and Devon with the baby coming soon, but Barbara and I could come for a week, maybe take turns with Trey and Chelsea."

"No, no, no; that's too disruptive for you. Thank you for thinking of me but I'm getting used to it already."

"Well, please call any of us if you need anything," Harvey assured her, "It's no trouble and with two sons and two sons-in-law you have plenty of strong arms to choose from."

"Thank you, Harvey, I knew I could count on all of you. Kids, I hope you will contact your father when you're ready. I've got his old business cards with the new address on the back. His cell phone is the same, of course."

"I know this is a shock," she went on, "You'll need time to absorb it."

Two by two, the kids trickled out the door, hugging Melora and murmuring words of encouragement.

She spent the evening reading a new thriller that kept her mind busy. She did quite well during the days, but the nights were awful. She had cried herself to sleep the first week, but now she would crawl into bed and let herself browse through her memories, it comforted her. John and she dating; dancing and kissing and laughing. They'd had a wonderful and exciting courtship back in North Carolina. Each night she was inching forward; their engagement party in Atlanta, the wedding and their first house there on Lake Norman, moving to Pleasantview and onward. Thirty-five years provided a treasure trove of memories.

John called her every day to chitchat for a bit. He had from the beginning but it had taken her two weeks after she'd thrown him out to stop ignoring his calls and texts. Just making herself get up every day and put one foot after the other was the best she could do right now. One day at a time she told herself; one day at a time.


Sovereign Dark said...

Again, a remarkably well written entry, Lor, and thank you for keeping these coming to us. It's strikes such emotion. You can feel Melora's despair throughout and the strength it required of her to reveal this terrible news to her children. I'm eager to read on, see what comes of their marriage, of Lalique, and I'm very curious to see how the younger Lassiters will each confront their father.

Lorelei said...

Aw, thanks, Sov, I find it amazingly gratifying when I hear that my beloved characters have become "real" to my readers. Sharing them makes playing so much more fun! (I hadn't thought the game could get any more fun until I started writing the blog lol)

Sim Girl said...

Wonderfully written. Oh that must have been truly hard to break the news to her babies. Each and every one had a very real reaction to this.
I am sure John will get a lashing from a couple of them, though I hope they hear him out first. I cannot say he does not deserve it though.
I agree with Sov for sure - you can definitely feel her anxiety yet strength in your writing and I am also anxious to see more.

Mrs. Stuffy said...

Very emotional family meeting. I hope everyone can get through this ok.