The following day, everyone went back to California. When they arrived at the airport, Owen said his goodbyes.
“Well everyone, I just wanted to say we had two good shows despite the fact that I almost broke us up. I’m gonna be out of pocket for a day or two. If I need you, I’ll call you. Keep on rehearsing, and Isaias you’re in charge. I have to try to fix my marriage. See you later.”
Owen didn’t wait for any goodbyes. The band watched as he walked away, obviously still in pain. Owen made his way to his waiting limo, and got in.
They left the airport. Once they got out of the city, Owen viewed the ocean most of his way home. The only thing he could think about as he rode, Desiree wasn’t with him. He sighed and closed his eyes, trying not to think about it.
When he arrived home, physically nothing about his house had changed, but it felt empty. Nigel greeted him.
“Welcome home, Mr. Thomas.”
Hoping what she said to him in New York wasn’t true, he asked, “Is Mrs. Thomas here?”
“No sir. Two days ago, your mother arrived with Mrs. Thomas. She packed some clothes, and then the both of them left.”
His butler confirmed it. Desiree really did move out of the house. “I see.”
“Is everything all right, sir?”
“No, Nigel it’s not. Mrs. Thomas and I are having some problems.”
Owen thought of his wife, but he didn’t forget his stomach.
“What can I do for you sir?” Nigel asked.
“Nigel, I think I want a huge steak and a baked potato.”
“And to drink sir?”
“It will be ready shortly sir.”
“Thank you. I’ll be in my study. Bring it to me there.”
Nigel nodded and went about the task at hand. Owen went to his study, and sat for a minute. As much as he hated to do it, he had to call his mother.
Nadia was going to jump all over him, and he didn’t want to hear it. However, she was the only one that knew where Desiree was. He didn’t bother calling on the house phone, he called his mother’s cell phone.
Recognizing her son’s number, she didn’t even say hello. “Well it’s about time you called. I’ve been worried sick about you. What’s wrong? Mr. big shot jazz man can’t call home?”
“I’m sorry mother. I just had to finish our shows first. Where’s Desiree?”
“Can I talk to her?”
“You haven’t even tried to call her before now?”
“Mother, I was busy. Plus I had to let her cool off. You know what happens when she gets angry, she starts speaking Spanish, and I have no clue what she’s even fussing at me about. So how is she?”
“She’s stopped crying…for now.”
“Do you think she will see me if I came over there?”
“It’s worth a shot.”
“I’ll be there after I eat.”
“Oh and mother?”
“Don’t tell her I’m coming.”
“All right. Goodbye Owen.”
Owen ate his food, and drove to his mother’s house. He rang the bell, and William opened the door.
“Shhh,” Owen said, putting his finger to his mouth.
William was all for the secret, so he whispered. “She’s in the breakfast room sir.”
Owen tapped William on the shoulder and smiled. He made his way to the breakfast room and quietly went and stood in the door. There he found his wife reading in her robe. He wanted to hold her, but he dared not get close to her.
“You’re so beautiful.”
Desiree looked up and saw her handsome husband standing in the door. For some reason she also wanted to hold him, but anger wouldn’t let her do it. She folded the morning paper and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I came to bring you home.”
“I’m not coming home. I thought I told you that I was leaving you.”
Owen shook his head. “You can’t leave me Desi, I need you.”
“What’s the matter, Owen? Did you get used to sleeping with two women at once? Can’t hack it without me?”
He deserved that. But he ignored it. “I need you because I love you. I want you to come home. We can work this out Desi.”
Desiree shook her head. “No.”
“Baby, please,” Owen begged.
“I can’t. How do I know that you won’t do this again? I mean she is still a part of the band.”
“But I don’t love her. I love you.”
“I clearly heard you say that she loved you.”
“I may have, but not once did I say that I loved her.”
Desiree smirked. “Men. Always blaming your infidelities on the other woman. Had you not kissed her in the first place, we wouldn’t even be here. Tell me I’m lying.”
“You’re right. But it won’t happen anymore.”
“You are lying to me, Owen.”
Owen frantically shook his head, desperate for his wife to believe him. “No. I talked with my father, and he told me something that I never knew.”
“Really Owen? You spoke with your father. What was it that he told you?”
“He said that he felt just as trapped in his marriage as my mother did. He told me that he only stayed married to my mother so it wouldn’t hurt me.”
“And what does that have to do with me?”
“He told me that if I had any feelings for Lillian, that I should let you go, and don’t put you through the pain that my mother suffered.”
“So, I don’t love her. I love you, and I want you to come home and give me another chance.”
His wavy brown hair sat on his shoulders, and his brown eyes bore into her soul. Desiree loved him, and she believed she had since the moment she laid eyes on him. But she was just as smart as he was. She wasn’t about to let him worm his way back into her life based on something his father told him. If she went back to him, it would be on her terms. If he didn’t like what she brought to the table, she’d let him go.
“I don’t think so Owen. I will not have my children suffering, and wondering where their father is. I will not have them see me crying for no reason. It will not happen. My children have a right to a happy home where both of their parents are together and faithful to each other. I love your mother to death, Owen, but I’ll be damned if my life will be anything like hers.”
Thinking that he would apologize, and Desiree would simply accept his apology and immediately fall back into his arms, Owen was mistaken, and his father was right. Desiree was a smart woman, and she knew what she wanted. Looking at her, he realized that he hurt her more than he ever thought he would.
“Desi please. I promise that this will never happen again. Isaias has threatened to break up the band. He can’t break up the band, that’s my band. But, he said he would do it, and the rest of the fellas agreed. They know how much we love each other, and they don’t want us to break up.”
Not really surprised, knowing her old friend, Desiree asked, “Isaias really say that?”
“Come on girl he’s your best friend too. You know he did.”
“So how does he plan to keep you away from her?”
Owen shook his head. “He’s not going to have to do that. I told you. I will not give you up. I will not cheat on you ever again.”
Desiree turned away. “I don’t believe you.”
“It’s the truth.”
Desiree turned sharply and looked at Owen. Desiree only spoke Spanish when she was very angry. It was involuntary, and often she didn’t realize she was doing it.
“¡Mentiras! ¡Todo el mundo en tu familia engaña! ¡Así que, por qué no debes mentir! (Lies! Everyone in your family cheats! So why shouldn’t you!)
“English woman!” Owen yelled.
Realizing that he didn’t understand her sudden outburst, she repeated herself in English, and just a bit calmer.
“Liar. You all cheat.”
Still trying to convince her how much he loved her, “I’m not like them, Desi. This was just one moment of weakness. I love you, Desiree Thomas. You’re my wife, and we belong together. Please. I’m begging you. Please come home and give me another chance.”
“Go home, Owen.”
“Not without you.”
“Go home!” Desiree shouted.
“No!” Owen shouted back. “Listen to me woman. I’m not perfect and never claimed to be. I have been in love with you for so long, that I don’t know if I will ever love anyone else. It took me forever to admit that to myself, and will not give up on you. I want a life with you, Desiree. I want to have children. I want us to watch them get married. I want a million grandchildren. I want to grow old with you. You Desiree. No one else. I came over here to tell my wife that I’m sorry and I want her to forgive me. I’m just a man honey. A simple man. I make mistakes just like everyone else. But if you can’t see that I am being sincere, I’m sorry. I’ll leave now. I won’t bother you anymore. Just know that I will wait on you forever Desiree.”
Owen turned to walk out of the door. His words to her moved her. Something about what he said made her want to believe him.
Owen stopped but did not turn around. He didn’t want Desiree see him crying.
“I do love you. Never for one second believe that I don’t. But I have to be able to trust you again. You understand don’t you?”
Defeated, he only said, “I’m sorry I hurt you, Desiree.”
Owen didn’t look back and walked out of the house. Soon afterwards, Nadia walked into the breakfast room.
“You didn’t tell him did you?”
“No. But I will.”
When Owen left his mother’s house, he drove to see Isaias. Heartbroken and torn at what to do, he needed to talk to his best friend, even if he had no words to help him.
“Hey man what’s up? How’s Desiree?”
“She’s still pissed. I begged and pleaded until I was blue in the face. She’s not coming home.”
“She will,” Isaias said, offering as much encouragement as he could.
Owen shook his head. “No. I blew it. She is the only woman I have ever met that has given me purpose in life. And what do I do? I screw around on her. I could blame Lillian for allowing me to push her into what happened, but that would be wrong. Desi said that if I had not kissed Lillian in the first place, none of this would’ve ever happened.”
Isaias shrugged. “I tried to warn you. I tried to warn you way before you even touched her.”
Owen nodded. “You did, and I should have listened.”
“So do you have any feelings for Lillian at all?”
“Humph. My dad asked me that same thing when he bailed me out of jail. Then, I had to think about it for a minute. Right now, I can say for sure, the answer is no. It has always been a sexual attraction. Nothing more. When Lillian told me she loved me, I told her she couldn’t love me, because I would never be able to love her. She said she didn’t care.”
“So what was the show you gave us in New York about? Why did you jump on her date like that?”
“It was simple. When we started messing around, I told her that she couldn’t sleep with anyone else. Only me.”
“Didn’t want to risk bringing home any STDs.”
“Exactly. So, that is really why I flipped out. But none of this matters anymore. When we finish the Christmas album Lillian can go on her way. I hope she is successful in her career. We tell Scott that the next time the label wants help launching a career they will have to choose another band to do it.”
“I’m glad you have come to your senses, but you can’t deny that Lillian also helped us.”
“I know she did. Now that we are hot, we can go back to doing what we do. If there is any singing to be done on an album, I will sing it.”
Relieved. “Whew! I’m glad. So now what?”
“I go home and wait. If you and the boys want to come over and get ready for the Houston show, we can rehearse at my house. Just not today. Maybe tomorrow. I just thought I would come and tell you what was going on.”
Isaias was happy that his friend hadn’t totally lost his mind. He reached out to him and gave him a hug to show that he was still there for him.
“Loved you when…”
Not hearing those three words from Isaias in a very long time, made him tear up. He knew at that point, whatever happened in his life, Isaias would always be there for him no matter what.
“Loved you since we were ten.”
Owen left and drove home. Whitney came into the library soon after Owen left.
“How’s he doing?” She asked.
“I’ve never seen him like this. He says he’s not going to give up on her, but in his eyes, he’s already given up.”
Whitney sighed. “This is bad.”
“Well, even if they do break up and we lose our recording contract, it will be worth it to see him come back to his old self.”
“I know you care about him honey.”
“Not as much as you do. You’ve known him much longer than I have.”
“Yeah, this is true.” Isaias was quiet and allowed Whitney to hold him and run her fingers through his hair. He suddenly realized that his other best friend was dying inside as well. “Honey, I want you to go see Desi. Let me know what’s going on.”
Whitney nodded. “All right honey.”
An hour later, Whitney called Desiree.
“Hey girl, how are you holding up?” Whitney asked.
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone before Desiree said, “Whitney, I have to talk to you. Can you please come to Nadia’s?”
Whitney then had her answer. “Certainly. Be there in a bit.”
When she arrived, Desiree was in Owen’s old room. When Whitney opened the door, her best friend looked as if she had been crying. Whitney sat on the edge of the bed along side her close friend.
Desiree broke down crying and hugged her friend. “Oh Whitney.”
Feeling sorry for Desiree, Whitney hugged her back. “Shhh. Hey, I know it hurts. I know it does. But he loves you.”
“What am I gonna do? I don’t want to leave him, but I don’t know if I can trust him anymore.”
“You will, it’s just gonna take some time.”
Desiree pulled away. “Whitney, I have something to tell you. You can’t tell anyone. Not even Isaias.”
Desiree paused for a long time, and broke down crying again. Whitney hugged her.
“What’s the matter, Desi?”
Whitney smiled and stroked her friend’s hair. “Oh Desi don’t cry, that’s wonderful news.”
“I wanted to tell him. I just couldn’t do it,” Desiree said, pulling away to look Whitney in her eyes. “I won’t live a life like Nadia did Whitney, I just won’t do it.”
“So how far along are you?”
“Honey you have to tell him even if you don’t go back to him right away or at all.”
“Wait, that’s not all.”
Desiree nodded. “Twins.”
“I’m so happy for you Desi. That’s wonderful.”
“So what do I do?”
“Tell him. It will make him happy. If you want to, I will drive you to see him. That way he can’t try to make you stay.”
“Of course I will. You just let me know when you’re ready.”
Desiree wiped the tears from her face. “Thanks, Whitney.”
Whitney nodded. “Are you excited about the babies?”
Desiree nodded and Whitney got a bit of a smile from her friend. “Actually I am.”
“Good. You know I’m here for you no matter what happens between you and Owen.”
Two days later, the band was at Owens house rehearsing for their Houston trip. They decided not to involve Lillian until the week before they left. They had been at it for around four hours, when Whitney walked into the theater. They waited until they finished the song, before they acknowledged her.
Isaias jumped off stage and kissed his wife on the cheek. “Hi baby, what are you doing here?”
Whitney turned around, and Desiree walked in. Owen’s mouth fell open, and he immediately jumped down from the stage, and ran towards Desiree. Whitney stopped him.
“Owen, wait. Slow down. She just has to tell you something.”
Owen glad to see his wife, respected her boundaries. “What is it Desi?”
“Owen, remember on graduation day when Isaias found out about Jason?”
Owen nodded. “Yeah.”
“Well I didn’t want to wait until your children were three years old before you knew they existed.”
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Owen slowly started walking towards her. He wanted to touch her. He wanted to hold her.
“I’m pregnant, Owen.”
“Six weeks ago.”
Both of them had tears rolling down their faces at this point. Both wanting to share in the joy of children coming into their lives, but they couldn’t. Things were different between them now.
“Baby, I’m so, so sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you. I mean that. You know I mean that,” Owen said.
“How can I trust you?”
It was if everyone in the room had suddenly disappeared. Owen didn’t care that his heart was on his sleeve at that point. He missed his wife, and he didn’t care who saw it.
“I love you, Desiree. Please come home. I want to be an active part in my child’s life.”
Desiree corrected him. “Children.”
Owen’s eyes widened. “Twins?”
“Yeah,” Desiree nodded, wiping a tear from her face.
By this time, Owen was within arms reach of Desiree. Owen was now crying so hard he could hardly speak.
“Desi baby please don’t leave me. Please. I’m giving you all I have now, baby. Look at me. I’m showing weakness in front of my friends. When it comes down to you Desi, I’m weak. I am so weak. I’m slowly falling apart knowing that I may never hold you again. Please, please come home.”
Wanting so badly to forgive him for what he’d done to her, Desiree slowly reached out and hugged Owen around his neck. Owen held her tightly and cried even harder. All that witnessed this cheered and clapped.
“I love you so, so much Desiree. I swear to God that I will be faithful to you for the rest of my life. Please just tell me that you are going to come home. I’m dying without you. Please.”
Just as she was about to agree, Lillian’s face flashed in her head and she pulled away from him. “I love you too, Owen. But I’m not ready.”
Desiree turned and walked out. Owen couldn’t believe it he was so stunned, he fell to the floor and cried like a baby. Whitney walked out behind Desiree. Isaias and Smoke went and picked Owen up off the floor.
“Man, come on. At least you know that she loves you,” Smoke said.
“Shut up Smoke!” Owen yelled. “You have no idea what this feels like! None of you do!”
“I beg to differ. A couple of years ago I was feeling your pain. Maybe not to these extremes, but yes I do know how you feel. Whitney almost left me. Remember? You screwed up then too.”
“It’s not the same, Isaias.” Owen said.
“Oh bullshit. Are you trying to say that I don’t love my wife the same as you do yours?”
Owen had had enough. “Go home. I want all of you to go. I just want to be alone for a while. Go! Get out!” Owen yelled and sat down in an empty chair.
“You all go,” Isaias said. “I can’t leave him like this. I’ll see you all at the rehearsal hall tomorrow at noon.”
“You sure you don’t want me to stay?” Smoke asked.
“Its okay, Smoke. We’ll be okay.”
“Call me if you need me.”
Everyone left as instructed, and Isaias sat in the chair across the table from Owen. Owen sat in silence for a while. Isaias only waited to see what Owen was going to say.
“Fuck!” Owen yelled, slamming his hand down on the table. “She’s not coming home. I’m not gonna have the opportunity to raise my kids! Isaias, I hate Lillian. I hate her!”
Isaias shook his head. “No you don’t. You hate the fact that you fell under her spell. She has probably snagged many men with her sweet voice. I’m sure that if none of us were taken at the time, we would have fought over her.
“But you can’t let the past get a hold of you. What’s done is done. Now you just have to figure out how to work with her on a daily basis, and get your wife and her trust back.”
Owen sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “I’m gonna have two babies. Two. They will probably have Desiree’s fantastic looks. So if we don’t get back together, how will I be able to look at them and not want to hold her? How am I gonna do that Isaias!” Owen yelled, yanking himself from his chair.
“Owen you have to pull yourself together. You are a certified genius man. Think.”
Owen paced in a small space with his hands on his hips. “You’re right. But am I supposed to try and out think Desi? Shit, she’s just as smart as I am.”
“Right now, she’s not a scientist. She’s just a woman. One that’s hurting. Right now is the only chance you will have. She saw you cry in front of your friends. She knows that you really do love her, or you wouldn’t have done that.”
“So what do I do?”
“Take her out on a date.”
“Yup. You have to build trust again. If you don’t do that, you won’t have shit. Wait until after we get back from Houston, and send her some flowers. And I’m not talking about a whole shit load either. A dozen will do. If you get no response from that, then try two dozen.”
“I get it. Then three dozen.”
“No. Then jewelry. That will definitely get the response you want. Take her out for dinner and that’s it. Give her a kiss on the cheek and come home. Step it up with each date.”
“In the meantime she’s still pregnant.”
“Try not to think about it. She’s still Desiree pregnant or not. You have to concentrate on getting her back. Then after that, you think about the kids. Damn I can’t believe that she got pregnant before Whitney.”
“That surprises you how?”
“Because I wanted it more I guess. But none the less, I’m finally going to be an uncle.”
“Not if I don’t get Desi back.”
A month later, Desiree was beginning to show. She hasn’t had any communication with Owen at all. Nadia and Desiree decided they wanted to go out and eat lunch on this particular day. They went to Tuscany. This was Desiree’s favorite restaurant. They had no idea Owen and Smoke were there too. He and Smoke were sitting enjoying their food when Nadia and Desiree walked in.
The hostess greeted them. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Thomas. Your regular table is occupied at the moment.”
“I’m not certain. Twenty minutes, maybe?”
Desiree nodded. “We’ll wait.”
“Desiree dear, we can sit at any one of the open tables.”
“No. I want my table. It has the best view.”
Nadia looked around the restaurant to see if she knew of the people there. Twenty minutes was a bit of a wait. It didn’t take her long to spot her son. She tapped Desiree on the leg.
“Owen is here. Do you want to go somewhere else?”
“No. I’ll be fine. I want duck, and this is the best duck in town.”
Fifteen minutes later, the hostess sat Desiree and Nadia at their table. Smoke looked up briefly and noticed that they entered the restaurant.
“Desi and your mother just walked in.”
“Good,” Owen said chewing his food. “This is my chance to ask her out.”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“Nope. I have to earn her trust somehow. How else but to start over with her.”
Owen waited until they got their food, and he went to the table. That way they couldn’t leave.
“Hello, mother,” Owen said kissing Nadia on the cheek.
Owen smiled. “Hello Desiree.”
Still wanting him in her arms, she replied, “Owen.”
“You’re looking beautiful today, Desiree. How are you doing honey?”
Her heart was beating fast and hard. “I’m fine.”
Owen sat down in one of the empty chairs. “I was wondering what you were doing tomorrow night?”
“I don’t have any plans, why?”
“Would you consider going out on a date with me?”
“Oh Owen, I don’t know.”
“I would like to take you out to dinner. Nothing intrusive, just dinner.”
Desiree looked at Nadia, and Nadia nodded in an attempt to make Desiree say yes.
Owen’s smile, widened to a huge grin. “I will pick you up at six thirty if that is okay with you.”
“Six thirty is fine.”
“See you then,” Owen said, leaving the table.
Desiree was stunned. She looked at Nadia confused.
“Desiree, dear, give him a chance. He’s trying. The two of you haven’t seen each other in a month.
Desiree sighed. “All right.”
Two months later, Desiree still wasn’t home, but Owen followed Isaias’ advice to the letter, and it was working. After the date on this particular night, Owen managed to get Desiree back to the house.
“Well Mrs. Thomas. Here we are. I hear that there is a very charming man on the other side of the front door. Are you sure that you want to go in?”
“Why not? I would love to meet him.”
“All right. Let’s go.”
Once they were on the other side of the front door, Owen introduced Desiree to himself.
“Mrs. Thomas, I would like you to meet a good friend of mine. His name is Owen. He’s tall and good-looking.”
“Really?” Desiree smiled.
Owen nodded. “Oh yeah. He has a very bizarre sense of humor, and he is very smart.”
With a mock look of surprise on her face, Desiree replied, “Do tell.”
“He is a partner in a vineyard, and is front man in a very popular jazz band.”
Desiree enjoying Owen’s game waved in the air and said, “Oh please go on.”
Owen looked down at Desiree’s left hand to see that she still wore her ring. The game was over. It was now or never. With his right hand, he reached for her left and held it.
“He is married to the most incredible woman on the planet, but she’s not here. He wants her to come home.”
“Why isn’t his wife here?”
“Because he messed up. He thought that two birds in the bush were worth more than the one in the hand. That however isn’t the truth. The bird in your hand is just that. The bird in your hand.
“Since she’s been gone, he has learned, that once you have the one that you love, you should love the one you have. Never falter, never stray. Because if you do, the loving bird in your hand will fly away. He wants his beautiful bird back. She may not have been a songbird, but just knowing she was there for him when he needed her was enough.”
Desiree stared into his eyes. “You know, I think I met his lost bird.”
Desiree nodded. “She told me that she loved him with all of her heart. She didn’t want to leave, but she had to. She longs to be with the one who loves her. I said to her, “Why don’t you just fly back home?”
“What was her answer?”
It was Desiree’s turn to smile. “She said it’s been long enough. I think I will.”
Owen’s mouth fell open in surprise. “Desiree, do you mean it?”
Owen cried tears of joy as he kissed Desiree passionately.
“Desi baby I missed you so, so much. I am so sorry.”
She wiped the tears from his face. “Owen, it’s over. Let’s just move forward. I forgive you, but I will never forget.”
“I know you won’t. Thank you honey,” Owen said hugging Desiree tightly.
“Owen, be careful. Your children want to be born normal. Don’t smash them honey.”
Owen chuckled and let Desiree go. “Oh I’m sorry. I can’t believe it. Twins. Do you have any in your family?”
“Not that I know of.” Desiree stroked Owen’s cheek. “Owen, I’m sorry I put you through this.”
“No Desi,” Owen said shaking his head. “If I was hurting, it’s totally my own fault.”
“I’ve missed you.”
“Desiree Thomas, I love you.”
Owen kissed Desiree, and carried her upstairs to their room. They made love until they couldn’t anymore. Desiree was happy to be home, but only trusted Owen as far as she could throw him.