CHAPTER 65: RONALD…THE REASONING AND THE RECKONING
ALLEGHANY COURTHOUSE – EVENING
I look at this pinched and supposed-to-be pious woman. “You get one phone call ma’am and you have used yours.”
“But I have children! They can’t be left alone.” The other woman whines. “Mother, give me Brian’s number and I’ll call him.”
“It says that the number is out of service Claire!” She turns to me. “Can you look up the number for Brian Taylor Kinney? Then give it to my daughter so she call him to bail us out.”
I stare at them for a minute. “No. For two reasons, one I’m a police officer not the information service. And two, you were in court just now speaking against him. You called him many names so tell me why he would want to save your asses?”
“He’s my son and if it wasn’t for me then he wouldn’t have…”
“Ended up being patched up by Debs so much.” The voice of Harold Foster Brown cuts through icily. “Get comfortable ladies. In the highly unlikely event of you finding out his number, I will make sure he doesn’t answer. Being more family than you are gives me some advantages.”
“Well I never…”
“No you didn’t! And shame on you!” He barks.
“You must tell Brian that his mother and sister need him!” She shouts.
“And the moment I see Debs and Zee that’s what I will tell them. Pleasant dreams ladies. Oh don’t worry about the roaches; they will spare you since they have taste.”
Her mouth drops open as he stalks out without a backward glance. I take that moment to escape to the back office.
HAROLD FOSTER-BROWN’S CAR
I’m so cross! What creatures! How Brian became what he is, is incredible! I’m stewing so badly that when my phone rings I don’t look at whose calling.
“Foster-Brown!” I bark. “Oh sorry darling! I just didn’t look. What? Where are you? Why are you crying?” I demand worriedly. “Never mind, explain when I get there! I’ll be there in about 20 minutes, take a cab, I’ll meet you there!” I lean forward to Tyrone our driver. “Take me to this address as quickly as you can!”
It’s late. But I’m not tired, I’m just relieved that he knows. Once he stopped sobbing, he dragged me to the office so I’ve spoken to papa, mama, Uncle Luc, Aunt Dee, mom, Daphne, Sol and Menno. Needless to say everyone is coming over this weekend. Mom has already told me that I’m not to stress myself on this trial and have to let Meriam, Ephie and Charles know.
Jenny has been hopping about like a jack-in-the-box but has her organising head on and has got everyone in various houses. And even though I’m more than capable, no cooking for me. The bollocking I got from Alice and George for not putting them on speaker at the same time, made my ears blister.
She’s already been given a temporary name…Bubble. Emmy has now recovered from the shock and is now working out our schedules with Faal, Zeus and Cynthia. I want to point out that I did tours and can disarm a bomb and am more than capable of sorting out my own damn schedule. But… to be honest, being looked after is nice.
So here I sit on the sofa, with a plump bellied Storm and she’s resting her head on my stomach and dozing. The door rings and I go to get up but am stopped by a look from Papa Bear.
“Pregnant but not crippled.” I grumble, sitting back into the cushions almost resentfully.
Faal lifts my chin and kisses me softly. “Stop. You’re fooling no one. Okay?” He mutters against my mouth. I look into his blue eyes and just nod. “Let us do this. We will stop once we get used to the idea.”
The lounge door is flung open and Kiki is there with a bedraggled Millie and flustered Bernie and Arnold. She flies to my side and clasps my hand. “Honey, what is it?”
“For fuck sake Kiki! If you hadn’t hung up so fast, you would’ve heard me say pregnant!” Debs snorts and presses a brandy into her hand.
“Pregnant?” Millie gasps and starts to cry again before swatting Kiki. “You scared the shit out of me! Oh my Harold!” She scrambles in her bag for her phone then her eyes alight on Ronald before looking at Jen, who holds up a hand.
“Harold, how far away are you? No there’s no panic. It’s nothing but good news! Kiki needs to learn to listen to an entire conversation. How far away are you? Okay see you soon.”
Ten minutes later, Harold arrives and is caught up with my news. “Way to go Faal!” He claps him on the back.
Faal grins at him. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a dad again.”
There’s a strangled sob and Matt leaves the room and Faal looks at me confused. “You said again. Go mop him up.” I order and he leaves but they are back soon enough. I lean back on the cushions, closing my eyes for just one minute.
I watch Zee start to go to sleep. So between the three of us, Ben, Faal and me, we manoeuvre her so that she’s lying down with her head in Faal’s lap and she doesn’t feel a thing.
“So Ronald, what exactly are you doing here?” Harold demands.
Once he explains and Harold comes clean, he’s actually laughing. “Do you know where Lindsay is right now?”
“New York? Where the fraud took place.”
“Pittsburgh. She’s going to be a character witness for Michael Novotny.” Harold replies.
Those who didn’t know are understandably shocked. Not only that she’s here because she would do anything to save her own hide, but that Harold knows.
“If you didn’t know...” I stare at Ronald thoughtfully. “It’s reasonable to assume that Nancy doesn’t either, right?”
“Ronald…” Millie begins carefully.
“She had an affair.” There’s a stunned silence. We’re grateful the kids are upstairs. “It was years ago but she thinks I don’t know. She thinks me a fool and he’s back in town.”
“Then why the hell didn’t you walk the fuck away?” Bernie snaps before being shushed hard.
“I was afraid of being alone.” He replies quietly. “She has all the connections and I don’t. And then when we moved, it was better. But then the painting brought back her old habits...”
“So strap on a pair and think fuck this! Don’t just tell… do!” Zee states, startling us as she slides up to rest on Faal’s chest.
“Zee’s right.” Jen states. “Do what you say this time. And for the record, you do have the connections. Who’s here? You or her?”
“Ronald. Be strong enough to leave or to it let go.” I advise quietly.
“But isn’t that the same thing?” Ronald mutters, looking around.
“No. When I cheated on Brian, despite it being an open relationship, it was cheating because I broke the rules that I made. Brian let me leave but then took me back when I found the answer I most needed then. He loved me enough to let it go and never threw the affair or the reasons why it happened back in my face.” Justin tells Ronald. He makes me sound like some sort of hero but I was just a man who was in love with him. I found I didn’t like my life without Justin in it but I definitely understand how Ron Peterson feels at this moment.
“I want you to not think and just answer.” Zee demands and he nods. “Do you like Nancy and Lindsay?”
“God no!” Ron retorts and then looks incredulous.
“Have you heard of Teresa Brewer?” He shakes his head and she writes something down. “You best be going home. But just listen to this one time; that’s all I ask.”
He nods still slightly dumbstruck and we get him in a car.
Finally, he’s home!
“Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!” I snipe.
He takes out his phone and looks at it. “Not so worried that you could call, I see.”
“Where have you been?” I demand, ignoring what he said.
“With friends. How was your evening?” He asks me, solicitously.
“Fine. What friends?”
“Millie and Harold.” He smiles sweetly, humming a tune and heads to the office.
“Ah there it is. Just bear with me a moment.”
“Oh I would’ve loved to have met up with them. Why didn’t you say you were meeting with them?” I demand peevishly.
“I wasn’t expecting to meet up with them. Where were you by the way?”
“I was working on our portfolio.” I pout.
“Oh by the way. Lindsay is in Pittsburgh Women’s Correctional Facility.”
“So are we going to see her?” I demand.
“You can if you want but I won’t be.” He replies.
That’s what you think!
“Ronald, nobody is here now. You don’t need to grandstand.”
“I’m not grandstanding Nancy, I’m sincere in this. I want to see Gus and build a relationship with him, and Jenny. But as for Lindsay, she has had more than enough chances. And just so you understand me clearly, these are our divorce papers and I will file them tomorrow. If you want to go back to Marcel- yes, I know he’s in town- then you do so but not with my portfolio.”
Marcel? How the hell does he know about Marcel?!
“Your portfolio?” I sneer.
“Ah there’s the WASP.” He chuckles and then hums again. “She’s right you know.”
“Who’s Teresa Brewer?!” I demand, my heart racing. Me being with someone is one thing, but he can’t be!
“Google is your friend.” He smiles at me and heads upstairs. “And so is the spare room.”