"I want to bring Heath over here next weekend, just for supper. I'll cook the meal; you won't even have to worry--" Lonnie said.
"Meadow Thayer...Meadow Thayer," Jenny searched her memory and then snapped her fingers, "Oh, yes, she was that bleached blonde--the corporate executive. Bobbi Jo told me about her when Larry Max and I first moved here. But now I realize I saw her up at Goth's Apparel a couple years ago, I just didn't know it was her."
Then she sniggered a bit,
"She said the woman rode a Harley to her office and was one of those tree huggers; everything had to be natural and she believed in all that new age stuff. She retired with a ton of money while she was still in her early thirties, right?"
He couldn't help thinking that if Meadow was a bleached blonde then she must be bleaching her kids' hair, too. Every one of them except Heath was nearly platinum blonde. Lonnie was an even-tempered man who was getting ticked off at Jenny's sneering. She did tend to have a mean mouth when she was mad.
"Ya know, I really don't remember discussing her life philosophy or the balance in her bank account. Frankly, I was only with her because I was terrified of fatherhood and marriage and trying to get over you."
"Oh, I'm sure you had much more on your mind than her political views, babe. How do you know for sure he's your child, anyway?"
"She volunteered to have a paternity test done, but the minute I saw his photograph and even more when I met him in person there was no way I could deny him. He looks just like me, Jenny."
Jenny flinched as if she'd been slapped and her eyes filled. She batted her eyelashes swiftly; forcing back the tears,
"Really, Lon? And all this time I thought the girls looked just like you."
Lonnie looked stricken; he didn't know what to say. Of course she was right; they had his black hair and his big brown eyes. They were really a blend of both he and Jenny, having her chin and nose. But Heath looked almost exactly like Lonnie and not at all like Meadow except his complexion was darker like hers. After a few awkward moments of silence Jenny asked in a tired voice,
"And just what is it you want me to do about all this?"
"Well, I didn't know if you'd want to be with me when I told the girls. You know; so we could present a united front."
"Hah! Not likely. You can tell them about your sordid affairs without me being there. Just keep in mind how young Liara still is."
"I'll keep it in mind, but she has to know. I want him to come here to the house--will you meet him?" he went back to feeling like a scumbag.
"No. I don't want any part of him. What do you expect of me, how much do you think I can take? Knowing you slept with that blonde biker chick--how many times? And gave her a son. Does Brian know the boy is not his?"
"Yes, she said he's known all along. He was just a friend until after Heath was born and then they got married when Heath was about six months old."
Jenny mulled that over,
"Well, I guess Brian must be more forgiving than I am. Of course, it didn't come as a surprise to him like it has to me."
"There was nothing to forgive--Meadow says they've been friends since high school. When he found out she was pregnant he began coming by her house to check on her and then she asked him to stay with her until the baby came. Which he did and which I'm glad he was there for Heath when I wasn't."
"So I suppose by then he'd fallen for her," Jenny said cynically, "Ain't love grand?"
Meadow and Brian...and Heath
"Look, you know now there is no big romance between Meadow and me, never WAS a big romance. If I hadn't already been in love with you way down deep, maybe there could have been something, it's true. As it was I was just fighting my feelings for you."
Jenny wanted to believe that, but her former confident ways had begun to disappear soon after meeting Lonnie. Her constant obsession about growing old had eaten away at her former self-assurance. She had never been a jealous or insecure woman until she fell in love with Lonnie.
"Well, if you are determined to do this I can't stop you but I don't want to see him."
"Babe, I know this is a shock; I truly am sorry about that. And I understand why you're mad at me and maybe even at Meadow although she didn't know about you and me at the time. But why take it out on an innocent kid? He didn't do anything wrong, not any more than Loni Faye can be blamed for the dishonest way she was conceived. You tricked me. I love her and Liara more than anything or anyone but you. Still, you were sneaky about it. But I thought you had more compassion than this," he knew he was digging his own grave but couldn't seem to stop himself.
He wished he hadn't mentioned the last couple sentences, but he had pushed him to the limit. Her look of shock and then fury at his words made him ashamed for referring to the fact that Jenny had, indeed, deliberately gotten pregnant before they had broken up. She claimed it was so she'd have a child of his to remember him by but he knew her too well; she'd done it to hang on to him. Then she'd kept it a secret for awhile and that had always bothered him. He took a deep breath,
"I'm telling the girls now and then as soon as possible I'm inviting him over here, if he'll come. I've waited so long that I'm pretty sure I've hurt him. I would love you to meet him, but he's coming whether you will or you won't."
"I'm not going to meet him; I'm not going to talk to him. I can't believe you are dragging the girls through all your dirty laundry just to meet a boy who was a mistake and probably has the morals of his hippie mother." she couldn't seem to make up her mind whether Meadow was a biker chick, an executive with too much money, or a hippie.
"Jennifer!" Lonnie's voice was deep and uncharacteristically severe as his temper completely boiled over, "Don't you dare talk to me about mistakes, dirty laundry and morals. Both you and I romped around with half of the people in this town. The girls have half-brothers on your side that they haven't even met because they wouldn't talk to you for years after you cheated on their father."
"You were the one I cheated with!" she replied, stung.
"Yeah, me and how many other guys, babe? And not all of them were before you met me. Now I love you, Jenny, but if I ever hear you say something unkind to this boy or about this boy, I swear," he stopped himself with difficulty, but calmed his voice, "Before he gets here you can either go somewhere or stay upstairs. Do NOT come downstairs unless you can be civil."
"You're saying I'll be confined to my bedroom in my own house?" she laughed, "I don't think so."
"Don't push me any further, Jenny. If you don't want to stay upstairs, then act like an adult and be there when the girls meet him or go across the street for one of your endless gossip sessions with Bobbi Jo or take her out to lunch or just go shopping. I'm going to try to get him to come next weekend."
"But next Saturday is Liara's birthday!"
"I know that, but we won't have her cake and gifts until after supper; he'll be gone by then."
He'd thrown down the gauntlet. It remained to be seen what Jenny would do. Meanwhile, Lonnie had to find the words to tell Loni Faye and Liara.
Jenny watched as he left their bedroom and headed downstairs to explain to their daughters why and how they had another half-brother they'd never met.
She cried silently for a while and then swallowed a Xanax. Evidently Lonnie still resented things she'd done because she'd thought they were necessary. And it was all so long ago it didn't seem fair to her. She didn't realize that if she'd simply cried and told him her pain without the sarcasm and waspishness he would have been more understanding and supportive. She still never had learned she was usually her own worst enemy. Depression and denial hit and she undressed and got into bed even though it was early. She just wanted to sleep; she just wanted to escape.
Next blog update: Jenny Lomax-Hammond Ch. 11 Lonnie Tells the Girls