"Nolan does fix cars there at his house. He's been looking for a job, and does live in the place he described. Chuck couldn't find any indication that he is married. But...he can't find any information on Ray Nolan prior to two years ago."
"Well, what does that mean?"
I was asking that myself," John said, "Then Chuck told me that his source suggested he should leave it alone."
John exhaled noisily,
"Chuck is a former police detective so I assume he's trying to get the information through an old friend of his who is still on the force. I got the impression he may also have asked an informer he had from the old days. Somewhere along the way he ran up against a brick wall. All Chuck will tell me is that as far as he knows, Arlene's guy has never been in trouble with the law. He feels pretty sure his source knew something further, but wouldn't--or couldn't--tell him. The guy asked him in the name of their friendship to back off. So Chuck pretty much asked the same of me."
"Well, for heaven's sake," Lalique was amazed but she was no longer as worried because of the two times she'd been around Ray. Before she had a chance to tell this to John he went on,
"If you ask me it doesn't bode well and I'd try to talk Arlene into breaking it off with him. For all you know he might even be in the witness protection program with the mob hot on his trail."
"Well, if he has no record as a criminal I guess it will be all right for her to see him. I can't tell her who to date, anyway, John. Besides I met him last week and he seemed like a decent guy; he looks kind of rough around the edges with long hair and, according to Arlene, he dresses that way, too. But the two times I saw him he was wearing jeans, a tee shirt and a jacket. He looked fine and he has good manners."
"You saw him two times already? Why did you do that when you specifically asked me to check him out first before you let him anywhere near your place?"
Since John was absolutely right Lalique back-pedaled, feeling defensive,
"Well, he asked us to dine with him at Eden House, an upscale restaurant and obviously a public place. He was on time, courteous and, frankly, footed the bill for the whole thing. His best friend showed up later. The guy is an attorney so I doubt there is anything to worry about with Ray. On the basis of my observations, a few days after that I invited them both over for a cookout. Ray struck me as a real nice guy although his lawyer friend gave me a swift pain, I must say."
"So you're going to encourage her to keep seeing him in spite of what Chuck told me?"
"Don't worry about it, John. I appreciate your checking him out. I don't suppose you've ever heard anything unsavory about a lawyer named Perry Everhart?" she asked hopefully.
"What? Yeah, I know Perry, he's a straight up guy, extremely intelligent. Why are you asking?" John sounded a bit suspicious.
"Never mind, it doesn't really matter, I guess. Anyway, none of this is your problem. You did me a favor and I thank you."
"It's not my problem?" he sounded incredulous, "You have three small children at home, one of whom is mine, and you're contemplating letting a man into your house who has no past? I think of that as my problem, Lalique. And I'm afraid I'm going to have to insist you allow me to come over at least for an hour or two. I think I'd like to see my child, if you don't mind."
Lalique was so flabbergasted she couldn't say a word. John knew? How did he know? How much did he know? Obviously he didn't know everything because he'd said 'three children' so he evidently only assumed she'd had only one baby by him instead of twins.
He went on,
"Don't worry, I'm not trying to get a foot in the door to renew our relationship. As I told you when you asked me to look into this, Melora found out about us. Unfortunately when I told her you'd had my baby, she demanded to know your name. She actually does understand about me wanting to see the baby and is encouraging me in that. However; to Melora this means the end of our reconciliation efforts, but I'm not giving up. Somehow I'll get her back. So you can see I'm not trying to start things up again with you."
Her temper flared,
"So you're not trying to revive an old flame, so what? I'm the one who ended it and it wouldn't matter to me if you were trying to get back or not; you'd be wasting your time. Just so you know where you stand. So now are you asking for my permission to see the babies--or are you demanding it?"
"Somewhere between the two, I guess. I'm asking, but I intend to see my child one way or another," he paused, "Please, Lalique, I have to see the--wait a minute--babies? Plural? As in more than one?"
"I had twins, John, a boy and a girl," she said stiffly and then her voice became softer, "Bretton Gerard and Noelle Ondine."
In spite of his shock after a moment he forged ahead,
"I promise I won't try to interfere in your life but I would like to have a small part in their world."
She sighed. At least he wasn't trying to take over everything the way she feared he would if he knew about the babies. Not so far, anyway. Still, his usual possessiveness no longer seemed to be for her, but may have transferred to his children.
"All right," she relented, "You can come tomorrow afternoon if you want."
She dreaded it; she had wanted to keep that distance between them. John was a forceful and charming man, and as she thought back to the time of their affair she feared his influence on her would become all encompassing again. It had been a heady thing for her to let this older, sophisticated man take charge of her and of her life. No more, she vowed. No Alpha male would ever again tromp through her bedroom and her heart. No way. She pushed all thoughts of how much she'd loved being captivated and dominated by a commanding man, even if he was sexy. That was then; this is now.
When John came the next day it appeared she needn't have worried; he concentrated on his babies during his visit and not on charming her. He also told her he definitely wanted to help with money, though. He was obviously happy and thrilled with the twins.
She knew Brett and Noelle deserved something; after all, what if they'd been married and had divorced? He'd had to have coughed up some bucks in that case, so why not take any financial aid he offered?
But she was proud so she said casually,
"Hey, if you want to start a college fund for them, be my guest. Otherwise, I'm okay, I don't need your money."
In reality things were beginning to get a bit tough for her financially. She hadn't worked in a few years and her savings were seriously depleted. She had investments but didn't want to touch them. If it got really bad she could get help from her parents but that was a last resort. It wouldn't be a problem if she wasn't so determined to be a stay-at-home mom. However; before she'd ask for help from her parents she'd go back to work. She hated the idea of daycare and she knew sooner or later Arlene was going to marry her guy and want to move to her own home.
He didn't argue about the money for now and she was relieved. Frankly, she still wanted as little contact with him as possible. She felt she'd been on her way at last to getting over him. At least as close to moving on as she'd ever expected she would get. Her constant dreams of him had begun to let up. In fact she hadn't had one in almost a month. John's feelings had definitely changed too, in fact, he barely looked at her while they both played with Alain and Desiree. He'd asked to see them while he was there and that pleased her. They had no father and John was the closest thing they'd had to one. They ran to him the minute he entered their nursery.
Lalique told him they would have to work out a schedule for his visits with Brett and Noelle. Definitely she couldn't have him barging in whenever he got the notion. And for now the visits would be fairly brief.
He agree to that and said if she wanted she should get a lawyer to draw up something that he would sign. John's step was jaunty as he left; his male ego was stroked by the fact that he'd fathered twins--and at his age.
"Macho poophead," Lalique grumped under her breath as his car pulled away.
Meanwhile, Perry Everhart had been calling Lalique almost every day in the week that had passed since she'd entertained him and Ray Nolan at the house. She was briefly negative to the point of rudeness. No, she would not see him, she would not have dinner with him and, in point of fact, she never wanted to see him again. He never seemed to hold a grudge, and was unfailingly upbeat. But he hadn't called today or the day before; well, it was high time he got the message. But what had changed his mind?
It doesn't matter Lalique thought, it took a week but he's finally going to leave me alone. She reflected that this conclusion should have been not only a relief but cause for jubilation. Wasn't it? It was almost as though she looked forward to their once-a-day verbal sparring. It was kind of fun to play the ice queen. She shrugged; the day wasn't over yet.
Next blog update: Jenny Lomax Hammond Ch. 9 Family Vacation