Chapter Sixteen: Memories
Everyone was standing around in the sitting room still enjoying each other’s company, and I was going to ruin it. What I was going to say was going to make everyone…well, I had no idea. Celiene happened to be missing from our little gathering, and I was for the most part…glad.
“May I have everyone’s attention please?” Everyone in the room turned to me except, Kay. Perhaps she knew what was coming. I couldn’t be sure. “Thank you.” I paused to both gather my courage and take a deep breath. For what I was going to tell my friends, was going to shock the shit out of them, and I tried to prepare for the fallout.
“I called you all to this room, so I can tell you the last reason why we are here. Celiene and I got into a fight tonight. We fought about something I should have told her a long time ago, but I was afraid.”
I hesitated and looked in Kay’s direction. She was still looking out of the window. Jeffrey called out from the back of the room, “Come on man! I have been waiting all night!”
Damn it Jeffrey. I sighed and continued. “Okay, okay. Quite a few months ago, I did something that I promised I would never do again. I cheated on another woman I cared about. This time, it was Celiene.”
I looked across the room and I could see Jeffrey staring at me while shaking his head. I had to continue. “Yes, I know. I thought I was done breaking promises. But what’s done is done. Something happened that I didn’t count on this time. The woman I cheated with, got pregnant.” I waited on the gasps in the room to die and then continued. “I have two children. Two sons. One for my wife, another, for Kay.”
More gasps of shock and surprise. I glanced at Jeffrey, and he just rolled his eyes at me. I knew I was going to get the I told you so, when this was all done.
All eyes were on Kay, and I think she might have felt it. She slowly turned around. What came from her mouth was shocking, even to me.
“This is my fault. If I could have just forgiven Darren, we would probably be together, and would be very happy, I’m sure. But instead, I chose to put my trust in a man who abused me. Jacob locked me up when he got the chance and did all sorts of unspeakable things to me. The last thing that he did was punch me when I was seven months pregnant. He thought the baby was his, and still, he put me in the hospital. I haven’t seen him since.”
“So where have you been all this time?” Melissa asked.
I looked up at Kay and she slowly nodded. I answered for her. “I hid her away and didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want Celiene to find out. I was having a hard time trying to juggle two families. It wasn’t fair to Kay. So that’s why she came tonight. So I could prove to her I could tell the truth. Now that I have, my wife may leave me. I never wanted to hurt anyone.”
My best friend walked up to me knowing my pain, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, “We have a lot to talk about, don’t we?”
I looked at the floor in shame. “Yeah, I suppose we do.”
While Darren was downstairs entertaining our guests, I was ready to get the hell out of there. How dare he cheat on me. I knew he would. I don’t even know why I tried to fool myself into thinking he wouldn’t. Now, where should I go? I thought.
Perhaps I would go stay with my parents. I shook my head. No, they would ask too many questions. I settled on spending a night in a hotel. That is, until my phone rang.
“Hello?” I answered, not expecting the phone call.
A smooth voice on the other end of the phone said, “I want you to come and stay with me tonight.”
Who is this? I thought. It took me a moment to recognize Leonard’s dulcet tones. I shook my head though I know he couldn’t see me. “I don’t know if I should.”
“Come on, Celiene. One night. It won’t hurt. I’ll make you feel better.”
I took a deep breath. I concluded that if Darren could cheat, so could I. “Okay. Text me your address. I’ll be there soon.”
“Fantastic. See you soon.”
I hung up the phone and changed my clothes. Then I went to check on Tevin. I kissed my son, and then made my way to the informal sitting room where everyone was gathered. I walked up behind my husband. “I’m leaving now, Darren.”
I could see in his eyes that he didn’t want me to leave. My guess he wanted me to stay so we could work out our recent problem. But I wasn’t having it.
“Where are you going to stay?” He asked.
I was still pissed. “If I wanted you to know that, I would stay here with you.”
Then something happened that never happened. Darren begged in front of friends and clients.
“Celiene, please don’t leave. I need you here. Tevin needs his mother too.”
I rolled my eyes. “You should have thought about that before you slept with someone else,” I gave Kay a hateful glance and then walked out of the door.
She was gone, and I didn’t know if she was going to come back. Was she going to abandon her son? I had no clue.
My heart ached, and I’m sure Jeffrey saw it all over my face. “Come on man, it will be alright.”
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” I tried to play it off. It was Jeffrey that we were talking about here. He could see what was going on in my head like he was Superman or some shit like that.
He shook his head. “No, you’re not. You want me to stay? We can hang like we used to when we were kids.” Jeffrey meant every word. He would drop everything to hang with me, and I appreciated it.
I nodded. “Yeah man. Then I can get the rest of this shit off my chest.”
Then Kay came up behind me. “Darren?”
I turned to her and gave her a half smile. “Yes Kay, what is it?”
“I think I need to go home. I’m gonna catch a cab if that’s okay.”
She only asked permission because Carl was with her. Other than that, she could have done what she wanted. I nodded. “That’s fine. I will talk to you later. Call me and let me know you made it home.”
She kissed me on the cheek. “I will. And thank you so much. This meant a lot to me.”
Her being happy, meant a lot to me too. “You’re welcome, Kay.”
The party quickly started to die down. Danny and Cha Cha were the first to leave.
“Sorry about your girl, Dude. But we’re gonna go too. We had a good time,” Danny said. Cha Cha. To think I slept with a gang leaders girlfriend again brought back memories; however, I was an adult now, and certainly not going to talk about it.
I nodded. “Alright Danny. Thanks.”
Melissa walked up to us and kissed Jeffrey on the cheek. “Babe I’m getting a bit tired.”
“Well I’m gonna be a while. Gotta get my bro back together. Do you want to go home?”
“Yeah, but I can wait for a little while.”
I didn’t want Jeffrey to leave, so I came up with an alternative. “I have a better idea. Go in the east wing and find a room. There are plenty.”
I smiled. “No problem. When I’m done with your boyfriend, I will send him up to you.”
She smiled and kissed Jeffrey on the cheek again. “That works. Goodnight fellas.” Melissa left the room and walked in the direction of the east wing. Mel was a gorgeous woman. Jeffrey was a lucky man.
“You wanna go check out my handsome son before we do this?” I asked, thinking about how this would affect Tevin if Celiene never came back.
Jeffrey chuckled. “Lead the way man.”
We went to the nursery to check on Tevin.
I made my way to Leonard’s house, and he quickly whisked me away from there. The next thing I knew I was riding in his car headed to some unknown destination.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
He looked over at me and smiled widely. “You’ll see.”
A few minutes later, we pulled up to a little house far away from the city. Leonard got out and went around the car to open the door for me.
Leonard helped her out of the car. “Well, here it is. It’s not much.”
I was a little house in the middle of nowhere that had a lot of charm. “Oh, it’s so cute!”
Leonard turned to face me. “And so are you.”
He gently stroked my cheek and came in for the kiss. I didn’t even give it a second thought and went through with it.
Jeffrey and I went into my study, pulled off our jackets, and he sat down. “Want a drink?” I asked, walking to my small bar.
He shook his head. “Nah. I just want to hear what’s in your head.”
“Where do I start?”
“Why don’t you tell me what happened after Kay broke up with you?”
I poured myself a cognac and sat down on the sofa across from him. “Well there was the day I went to go pick up my things from her house…”
I told him the whole story, and well really, he wasn’t shocked.
“So, you kicked his ass and sent him to the hospital,” he retorted when I was finished.
I nodded, sadly remembering that day. “She went with him, so I assumed she didn’t love me anymore. So, I left her there.”
“So, this was before you and Celiene got married?”
I nodded. “Actually, it was that moment that made me want to marry somebody. It didn’t have to be Celiene.”
“Fair enough. So how in the hell did you hook up with Lucy again? I thought she was long gone.”
I sipped my cognac and replied, “That was just weird. I went to church one day and…” I started my story.
“…the same doctor that treated Kay that time? Are you shitting me?” Jeffrey replied, shocked to find out that Gabriel Hernandez was married to Lucy.
“No man, not at all.”
Jeffrey smirked. “Let me guess. You fucked her too, didn’t you?”
I shrugged. “I tried not to, but she was my first, man. How could I not sleep with her?”
“She was married, Dude. Seriously?”
“Well shit you saw her. She has barely aged a day.”
“Is that Charlie’s son she brought with her tonight?”
I finished my drink and got up to get another. “Yeah. But he doesn’t know that. He thinks I’m his biological father.”
“What the hell?”
I shrugged, “Hey man, I know. But she explained it to me.”
I began telling Jeffrey the conversation that Lucy and I had many months ago. When I finished, Jeffrey got up and went to pour himself a cognac. He thought he might need one or two by the time the night was over.
“…that’s what she told me,” I concluded.
“So, you killed Charlie, her husband died, and you are just supposed to be a father to her grown son?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
“Oh my God man, you are killing me here. Does Celiene know about Walter?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I told her not long after Lucy left that day.”
“And she was fine with that?”
I finished my second drink. “Yeah.”
“Wow. So, tell me something. When you found out Jacob hit Kay while she was pregnant, what did you do?”
I shook my head. “Nothing.”
Jeffrey finished his drink. “Oh bullshit. I know you, and I know how you felt about Kay. What happened to Jacob?”
“Dead. And no, I didn’t do it.”
“What did you do…exactly?”
I got up for another drink. “I put a hit out on him.”
“Does Kay know?”
“No. I didn’t tell her,” I replied shaking my head. “I didn’t want to tell her. I was glad that black hearted, vile piece of shit was dead.”
My best friend stared at me for a moment. He didn’t miss the fact that my last sentence had just a bit of anger in it. “You still love her, don’t you?”
I nodded thinking about her soft lips. “Yeah. I never stopped.”
“So why in the hell did you marry Celiene?”
I rolled my eyes. “I told you. I things were over between Kay and me. Damn man, aren’t you listening?”
“Yeah, yeah,” taking a swig of his cognac. “I’m just trying to understand you. So, do you love Celiene?”
“Of course, I do. Just not like I love Kay. I know I’m pathetic.”
“So, what are you going to do?”
“I have no idea.”
Jeffrey put his glass down on the coffee table. “Well, seems you dug yourself a pretty big hole with this one, and I don’t have enough rope to help you. This is all you. Just know that if you need to talk, I’m here for you.”
Jeffrey stayed up with me talking all night. The next morning, we were both dragging ass, but we were hungry. We thought we would go to the kitchen to eat something. I wasn’t about to cook. I’m sure there were some leftovers we could heat up. I started pulling things out of the fridge.
“You remember Ravyn Kirk?” I asked out of the blue.
Jeffrey smiled widely at the thought of his high school crush. “Oh, hell yeah. That girl was fine!”
“Too bad you couldn’t get her to talk to your ugly ass,” I chuckled.
“I know right?”
We both laughed out loud.
“I wonder what ever happened to her?” Jeffrey asked.
“Well she was all over Ivan so maybe she married him and had a bunch of babies, who knows?” I paused as I started looking in bowls. “But seriously though man. Thanks for last night. I needed to get that off my chest.”
“Anytime man, you already know that.”
Five hours later, I was doing my best to re-work the proposal for Richard Harrison. But all I could think about was Celiene. She didn’t come home, and she told me she wasn’t. But it is almost noon, and she still wasn’t home. Where was she?
I decided to take a short break from working and go check on Tevin. He was in the upstairs nursery, just off our bedroom. Before I could go into my room, I could hear him screaming. I would expect that Josie heard it too, but she was nowhere to be found. I again thought of Celiene. Where in the hell is she? Tevin seemed to scream louder. I started walking towards the nursery. Alright! Coming! I thought as his screams were grinding my teeth.
Before I got to the nursery, my cell phone rang. Damn it! I had to take the call. It was Richard Harrison. Tevin seemed to scream louder. Then it was my turn to scream. I was frustrated, and angry. “Josephine!” I bellowed. The phone rang again. Fuck!
Soon she skirted her slow-moving ass into the room. “Damn it, don’t you hear the baby crying?” My phone rang again.
“Sorry, Darren. I will take care of him.”
I was finally able to answer my phone on the last ring. As Richard Harrison just started talking, I still wondered where my wife was. She is in so much trouble.
One in the afternoon, and I was back at work on this insane proposal, and my phone rings again. This time, it’s Jeffrey.
“Hey Dude, are you gonna make it to work today?”
Pissed. “Hell naw man. Celiene hasn’t come home yet.”
“Harrison called me. He’s threatening to go to another firm if he doesn’t talk to you.”
“Are you fucking kidding me right now? I just spoke with him about an hour ago.”
“That’s what he said, Dude.”
I rolled my eyes. “Have Amanda schedule an appointment with all three of us for tomorrow.” Just then there was a knock on my office door.
“Will do Daddy O,” Jeffrey replied in a playful tone.
“Alright man I gotta go.” I hung up the phone still pissed. Where in the hell is Celiene? I soon got my answer. “Come in!”
My wife opened my office door. I stood and did everything I could to hold myself back. “Where in the fuck have you been?”
She crossed her arms in front of her. “Out having a little mommy break.”
“You knew I had to work today,” I said in anger. “Why didn’t you come home this morning?”
She shrugged. “I didn’t want to.”
She didn’t want to? What the fuck? Yes, I realize she was pissed at me, but damn! “You are a mother, Celiene! A mother! You have a son who needs you!”
She crossed her arms in front of her and gave me a wicked stare. “He didn’t need me his father was here.”
I decided to calm down. I was not going to accomplish anything by yelling at her. “That still doesn’t excuse the fact that you were gone all night.”
She was being smug, and that was not in her personality to be that way, but I will say it hit me the wrong way. “Like you used to do?”
“How dare you! I have not spent one night away from you since we have been married! What I did before I married you is my business!” I exploded.
“Would you like to? I mean spend a night away from me. Maybe you can spend the night with Kay.”
It was at that moment, that I knew what she had done. Or at least I thought I knew. “What the hell did you do Celiene?”
“I broke our contract just like you did,” she said plopping down in one of my chairs.
“You cheated on me? With who? I’ll kill him!”
Yeah, I was pissed. Dude was the only one that could cheat. Darren on the other hand was a family man. Celiene cheated on Darren, and that was not acceptable.
She shook her head and smirked. “Oh, I don’t think you will. You just closed the biggest deal of your life. Remember?”
I then put it together. The flirting, the touching… “Leonard Long?”
She giggled. “Yes. Leonard long.”
That shit was not funny. Here I was trying to be a better man, and she cheated on me with one of my business partners. I didn’t need her if her loyalty was not in the right place. Had she slept with anyone else but Leonard, it would have been different. I was not going to regret what I was about to do.
I sat down in my comfortable chair and rocked back and forth for a moment. When I opened my mouth, she got a surprise. “Get out.”
She was indeed surprised. “What?”
She cheated on me. I was indeed pissed off. “You heard me. Pack up all your shit and get out. I will have the divorce papers drawn up in the morning.”
She realized that I was serious, and a lone tear rolled down her face. I didn’t care. “Darren, please don’t do this. I love you. I was just angry with you.”
I shook my head. “You don’t love me Celiene. When you married me, you said it was just a contract. Remember?”
She started crying harder. “I only said that because I knew you were going to break my heart. I love you Darren and have for a long time.”
I took a deep breath and calmed down. Celiene was my friend long before I decided to marry her. I realized I couldn’t treat her like some gold digging trick. “I’m sorry Celiene. I love you too, but I never really stopped loving Kay.”
“What are you saying, Darren?”
It was at that moment that even though I was married to her, there were things about me she was not aware of. “We have a lot to talk about.”