This time, she answered on the first ring. “Oh, my God! I heard part of that. What the fuck is goin’ on there?”
“He knows. This isn’t exactly the way I thought things would play out when he found out he was a father. For some reason, my dreams all went in another direction.”
“What are ya gonna do?”
That seemed to be the question of the hour. What the hell was I gonna do?
“He wants me to meet him at his hotel room tomorrow so we can talk about what happened. He wants to spend time with Logan too.”
“Well, he’s the father so that’s understandable.”
“You need to figure out which father you’re rootin’ for here. Ya can’t keep throwin’ that up at me.”
She groaned. “I’m just sayin’. Are ya sure that’s safe?”
Furrowing my brows, I sat down in my car. I took a drag off my cigarette, shaking my head. “What do ya mean is it safe? Is what safe? There’s a whole lot right now that’s not too safe with this whole thin’.”
“Is it safe to go meet him alone in his hotel room?”
“I don’t think he’s gonna kill me if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“No that’s not what I’m worried about. You two could barely keep your hands off each other for one week. It sounds to me like he fell in love with you as hard as you fell in love with him. The two of ya… alone… in his hotel room isn’t an ingredient for talkin’.”
“We won’t be alone. I’ll have Logan with me.”
She grunted. “I’m not sure that would stop anythin’ from happenin’. My suggestion is that ya don’t go to him or ya don’t go alone.”
“I have to go meet him or he’s gonna tell Mike an’ his mother everythin’. I don’t know what to say to him. I’m so busted. I don’t know what to do!”
“Well, you could always–”
“No. I will figure this out. It was your bright idea that got me in this jam, remember.”
“Yes, an’ now ya have Logan. I didn’t know Mike had a brother livin’ in California or I would’ve suggested another beach. What the hell are the chances that ya would get pregnant by his long-lost brother anyway?”
“I know. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to take it out on you. I’m just frazzled right now an’ have no idea what’s gonna happen. Mike an’ I’ve been gettin’ along for the most part, but Corey…”
“Yeah. This is enough to piss him off to want to kill… you an’/or Corey.”
“I know.” I butted out my cigarette, getting out of the car. Closing the door, I locked it. “I gotta go. I have to get back in there. I’ll call ya later.”
“It’s all good. I’m about to see a guy about a few hundred orgasms.”
I just looked at the phone as I ended the call. She really needed a thought filter. Taking a deep breath, I slipped back inside the house. I tried looking like I wasn’t about to jump out of my skin.
“What the hell took so long?” Mike glared at me.
I smiled at them as I reclaimed my seat at the table. “Sorry it took so long. I got on the phone with Tania an’ smoked a couple of cigarettes an’… well, time just got away from me.”
“That’s understandable,” Corey said as he held Logan in his arms. “I’ve just been getting to know… my nephew.”
Mike looked at Corey, and then back at me. “Why do you look so red? When you left, you were white as a ghost, now you look almost sunburned.”
I glared at Corey, but smiled at Mike. “Tania called while I was smokin’ an’ ya know how much drama she has. More than any soap opera I know. Problems at work, too many men danglin’ on the line, an’ two of them actually met up with each other. What a mess.”
“If she wasn’t fucking so many men at one time, she wouldn’t have so much drama. I swear she has a different man every night and they all get to feel inside her goody bag.”
“Sorry if this offends you, her being your sister and all, but it sounds to me like she’s a real slut,” Corey told me.
Mike nodded. “Damn, there is something that we actually agree on! She is! That girl’s number has been passed around more dating services than the dating service number itself.”
“Sluts always seem to weave webs of deceit, capturing unknown victims along the way, but then when they get caught, they just add to the deceit with lies to cover up the original deception.” He put Logan back in the high chair and made an excited face at him.
Logan laughed at his silliness, banging his fists on the table.
He smiled, looking over at me, and then frowned. “Deception is never good.”
I wasn’t sure if he was talking about me or Tania. “Yeah, but some girls aren’t sluts just out to do what they think is right. They don’t mean to hurt anyone, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.”
“Yes, but they should think about the damage they can do to others involved.”
“It’s not always about others, but what’s good for the individual. Did ya ever think of that?”
“Well that just sounds selfish to me.”
Mike nodded. “Tania’s always been selfish. It’s all about how she can benefit and to hell with anyone else.”
“That’s not true.” I told both Mike and Corey. I wasn’t so much talking about Tania, as much as I was talking about me, but using Tania as the subject. “Tania’s always been there for me… an’ sometimes it’s about makin’ one’s dream come true.”
“That depends on the dream and the dreamer,” Corey told me.
“Usually, there’s a good reason behind somethin’ like this, if one just takes the time to listen.”
“There’s always a good story or a reason why. Too bad I’m not one to buy the lies.”
“There not always lies ya know an’ if you’d listen with an open mind, you’d see that.”
“Yes, but the truth coming from a liar, usually means more lies to cover up the lies that were told to begin with.” Corey leaned down with his hands on the table, glaring into my eyes. “How does one believe anything that a liar says?”
I put my hands on the table, standing, and leaned over, throwing his angry stare back in his direction. We were almost nose to nose. “If one can’t believe anythin’ on the basis that she might be nothin’ more than a liar, then one doesn’t deserve to know the truth an’ the reasons why she did what she did.”
“Yes, but how can anyone excuse what she did.”
“Because she has her own reasons for the actions she takes.”
“For every action is a reaction that makes a huge mess.”
Mike looked from Corey to me, obviously confused. “Are we still talking about Tania or something else?”
I turned, glaring at Mike. “What else would we have to talk about?” Then I turned back to Corey. “We just met.”
Corey shook his head with a half little smirk. “…and what a treasure you are too.”
“Thanks. I think you’re quite the gem yourself.” My gratitude sounded more like fuck you, but only he caught the meaning in the word.
He pushed off the table and leaned down, kissing the top of Logan’s head. “Nice to meet you, Little Champ. I’m sure I’ll see ya soon.”
Maureen looked upset. “You’re leaving?”
“Yes, it’s been enough family time for me.”
“…but you just got here.”
“I’m feeling a bit jet lagged. I think I need to just go home and rest. I have a very… productive day planned tomorrow.”
“…but we have so much to catch up on.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll see you before I leave again.” He looked at me. “It was nice to finally meet you Elyse, even though your sister sounds like a straight up slut.” He accented the “T” in slut.
“That’s because ya don’t know her.”
“Some women prefer that little bit of mystery in which we never really know who they are… sometimes after years of being married to them. They’re like these strangers in our bed.”
“I guess that would be the husband’s fault for not gettin’ to know his wife better.”
He looked at Mike, nodding. “Handsome family you have here. It’s good to see the doctor didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Mike paled, nodding. “Sometimes they don’t know as much as they claim, obviously.”
He turned to his mother, leaning down, kissing her. “As always, I love you more than anything.”
“I love you too,” she told him, watching him leave.
I pushed off, storming from the table at the same time Corey headed for the door. He slammed the front door, as I slammed the bathroom door. I could hear Mike and Maureen talking at the table as I glared at my reflection in the mirror.
“Well, I think they hit it off nicely,” Mike said, sarcastically.
“Yes,” she said, though it didn’t sound like she believed it.
“The holidays are going to be a lot of fun with these two at each other’s throats.”
“Leave it to Corey to piss off my wife by talking about her sister.”
I heard the sound of burning tires as Corey raced from the scene of the crime. That’s what it felt like to me. I had gotten away with murder for so long, but I was sure that was about to change. The judge was about to issue my sentence.
“Yes. It would seem he did hit a tender spot on her tonight.”
“Good food, Mom. We should do this again. Only next time, don’t ask Corey. I have to live with that woman. He doesn’t.”