Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jenny Lomax-Hammond Ch. 10 Dropping the Bomb Part 1

Lonnie Hammond, owner and manager of the Le Magnifique Restaurant, was ordinarily not an introspective man. He preferred to keep things easy and simple. He had two young daughters and a pretty wife, Jenny, and he loved all three of them dearly. So when his attention wasn't focused on his restaurant it was on doing things with his family.But over the last four or five years he did have one thing that continually rode him because he had yet to deal with it or the repercussions.

Lonnie and Meadow Thayer had only dated a few times during the period when he and Jenny were struggling with their relationship and had broken up. He dated 3 or 4 other women at the time as well, but Meadow was his favorite. The short affair was soon over and Lonnie had gone back to Jenny, this time permanently.

Six years ago Meadow, now Mrs. Brian Ottomas, had called him out of the blue and asked him to meet her in town. There she proceeded to tell him that he had fathered a son; she was the mother, and the boy was then eleven years old. Any disbelief on his part ended when she showed him a photo. The son, Heath, looked just like his father, there was no mistaking it.

Meadow and Brian had five other children now besides Heath. She had become involved with and married Brian after Heath was born. She also told Lonnie that Brian had adopted Heath when he was a baby.

For a recap of Heath's birth see  

Lonnie was anxious to meet the boy, but he put off telling his wife. Jenny and their daughters knew nothing about Heath. Meadow introduced to his son at last over at her home where she felt Heath would be relaxed.

Lonnie had begun seeing his son monthly and taking him to various places like the park, the movies, the skating rink--all public places. Heath had been cautious at first but they'd become friends as both of them relaxed.

Pressure to tell his wife and daughters built up but Lonnie still dreaded telling Jenny so he continued to delay. At first Heath had peppered him with questions about his half-sisters and Lonnie's life with them but after a while he stopped. After two or three years, as Heath hit his teens, he became withdrawn and moody as many teenagers do and not only quit enquiring about his sisters and even cancelled a few get-togethers with Lonnie. The monthly visits dropped to bi-monthly and then a couple times a year. When Lonnie had been turned down so many times and faced with his only son's seeming apathy he had quit trying.

Heath was in his senior year now and it had been eight months since Lonnie saw him. It had become a painful subject to Lonnie and so he pushed it to the back of his mind. However; he finally realized that he had to tell Jenny and the girls, maybe if Heath felt that Lonnie was proud to have them meet him he might thaw a bit. Besides he owed it to his family to be truthful.

It was late on a Monday afternoon and Lonnie's day off when he said to Jenny,

"I have something to tell you. Let's go upstairs."

Jenny nodded and followed him up to their bedroom, but her forehead creased immediately with concern. They started out calmly enough, sitting on adjacent comfy armchairs in the corner of their bedroom. 

"Well, what is it?" she prompted somewhat impatiently. It didn't fill him confidence.

"Remember when we broke up and then kept going back and forth before Loni Faye was born? You knew I dated some other girls during that period."

Jenny tensed but she put on a bored and cynical act,

"Yes, I did know, but I certainly hope you don't expect me to keep track of all your conquests back then."

Lonnie paused and then rushed ahead,

"I don't know how to tell you this, except to just tell you. It turns out I have a son by another woman. I didn't know, of course, not right away."

Her face froze as she tried to absorb what he was saying,

"What do you mean you have a son by someone else? Who? Who is the little witch?"

He could see Jenny getting ready to blow.

"Now, honey, keep in mind, I didn't know. Her name is Meadow Thayer, well it was Thayer now she's Meadow Ottomas. She's married to Brian Ottomas, you know, he owns Club Dante around the corner from Le Magnifique?

Jenny's mouth dropped open. Talk about a one-two punch; she'd had a fling with Brian just before meeting Lonnie. Not something she had particularly wanted Lonnie to know. She still didn't want him to, especially since she'd have to think about how she might use the information for her own benefit.

"When did you find out, anyway?" she asked, suddenly suspicious.

"Well, a few years ago."

"A few years ago! When were you planning on telling me? In fact, you've hidden it so well, why tell me now?"

He hated it when Jenny got all sarcastic and catty.

"I was going to tell you as soon as I got up my nerve, but obviously that didn't happen until today. I was seeing him fairly often, but the we just sort of drifted apart. It recently occurred to me that he might have been hurt that I'd never introduced him to Loni Faye and Liara and so it's been eight months since I last saw him. I just can't get him off my mind and I miss him."

Jenny narrowed her eyes,

"I. Want.To. Know. About.This. Meadow. Person."

"It was no big thing with us, Jenny. She admitted she just used me like a sperm donor, frankly. She's married and has 5 other kids besides Heath."

"But now she wants you back in her life?"

"No! She's HAPPILY married, I told you. When she told me about Heath I wanted to meet him. Jenny, he's a great kid; you'd like him. I know it's a lot to ask but I want to tell the girls. I want Heath to get to know them and them to know him.

For the first time in 20 years, Jenny wished she had a cigaret.

"Lon, I'm trying to stay calm here. You tell me that you have a son by some other woman. She got pregnant, you say, while we were broken up. I was already carrying Loni Faye then, right?"

"That's right. It was while you and I were apart. You knew I was seeing other women, then. Said you didn't care."

That made Jenny furious because, of course, Lonnie was right. She'd known he was seeing other women again and had told herself she didn't care.

For a recap of the Jenny and Lonnie's courtship and leading up to Loni Faye's birth, see this

"Okay," she replied, "If you want to continue seeing him--what's his name again--Keith?"

Lonnie gave her the stink-eye which Jenny ignored,

"It's Heath."

"If you want to continue seeing 'Heath' I can't stop you, but I don't want the girls dragged into this."

"Jenny, if we don't tell them they'll find out somehow--as it is, they're going to be upset they didn't know sooner--I mean Loni Faye must see him in school all the time."

Meanwhile, downstairs in the tiny studio, Loni Faye and Liara were home from school and painting. They could bear their parents' voices getting more agitated but they couldn't tell what was being said.

"Think Daddy wants Momma to stay home from the restaurant like he asked you to do?" Liara finally ventured.

Loni Faye frowned. She hated that her little sister had to hear her parents fighting.

"No. At least I don't think  so. He wants me to quit working there until after graduation. He said I need to be able to attend all the senior events that are coming up and to work hard on my classes so I can go to University. But why would he want Momma to stay home?"

Liara looked around the room fearfully as though checking for listening devices,

"Well, he might do it because Momma gets so mad if there's a pretty woman there at the restaurant and Daddy is even friendly to her. And you know Daddy has to be nice to all the people who come there. I wish Momma would be happy more often. She's so pretty and when she smiles--"

"Liara, honey, I know she does get jealous and I know Daddy isn't doing anything except being the owner of a fancy restaurant. He's pretty goodlooking for an older man so I see women do flirt with him, but he's always just polite to everyone. He has to kind of schmooze with customers you know. But I think the reason she worries so much is because she's older than Daddy and she told me that before they got married he had like a gazillion girlfriends."

"When I get married it will be to a man who has never had any girlfriends at all before he met me," Liara pouted darkly.

"Good luck with that," Loni Faye laughed, "You're too young to worry about that anyway."

"Well, my birthday will be here soon and--oh, no my French blue got dried out. Do we have any more of that?" Liara asked.

"Yes, here's another tube. But you need to be more careful about putting the top on tight, Li."

Liara shrugged and sighed,

"I know," she sounded a bit fatalistic and then the voices upstairs got even more vehement and she turned to her sister, tension clouding her face, "They're getting louder, Loni."

"I'll put my new CD on--you haven't heard it yet anyway--and we'll crank up the volume."