After I left Don and Cat, I went to Don's old bar.
"Jack Daniels," I told the bartender. "Straight up. A double. And keep them coming."
"Jack Daniels," I told the bartender. "Straight up. A double. And keep them coming." I left about 2 in the morning. Stood outside for a while. The place across the street where Don had rented a room before Ellen died, seemed about a hundred years ago, had been completely rehabbed, fancy sports car in the driveway. You notice ridiculous things when your head's not on straight. The whole neighborhood was changing. I was trying to decide whether to go somewhere else or go home when my cell phone rang -- at 2 in the morning? "Tony?" It was Gen. "Are you ok? Need a ride?"
I hadn't even called her, which was at a minimum thoughtless. "No, I guess not. I can still get back. I'm sorry I didn't call." "Don called me," she said.
I stood there on the sidewalk with my mouth open. "What?! What did he say?" "He told me what happened today; that's why I wanted to make sure you were all right."
So now I've got a bunch of nannies watching me, as if I'm going to break or break something else. I was already almost radioactive with anger and frustration -- he was definitely going to hear about this. I do not need him calling my wife to talk about me! It was my business to tell her, not his.
"I'll be there in about an hour," I said shortly and hung up. Get out of here, I told myself. Go home, Tony. It was close to noon the next day when Ginny got me out of bed. "Hey, sleepyhead," she said, "it's a nice day. I've got coffee outside. Put on some clothes and come on out." I yanked on a pair of jeans and wandered outside barefoot. She looked very pretty, but then she always looks pretty.
"You ok?" she asked. "I've got a headache, but yeah, I'm ok. Thanks for the coffee -- I needed it." "Tony, what are you going to do about the boy?" I took a big gulp of coffee.
"I don't know. Everyone seems to think I should do nothing." "That's a lot to expect from you -- to do nothing." "Yeah, well, when I figure it out, you'll be first to know." I started to add -- quit talking about me with my cousin -- but decided Don was more at fault than she was and bit it back. What was she supposed to do, refuse to listen to him? She stood up. "Come here, Tony."
The hug was good. "I can't get that child back for you," she whispered, "but I can give you another one that no one can take away." Now, that cut right through the headache and the haze in my brain! "You're pregnant!"
"I certainly am." I grabbed her and held her so tight she gasped. "I love you, Ginny. Whatever else happens, whatever stupid thing I ever do, don't ever forget that."
No, it didn't "make up" for losing Rafe; but it was what I've wanted for so long now, wanted so bad. "Thank you," I whispered.
She laughed. "You're welcome." I'm breaking in here. I heard the call my dad made to Ginny last night and decided right then I was going to crack into Tony's thing and read it and do something. They've got to be kidding. They think that kid can force the truth out of Eden? I was waiting for Amanda to get here -- something else that's getting real risky. I'm masking the caller ID on my cell, but I know her dad's suspicious. And I know who he is. And I know that would be the end of it, will be the end of it, if and when he finds out she's going out with Don Lothario's kid. And I haven't decided whether to tell my dad who he is -- he doesn't even know the guy has a daughter. Pretty wierd privacy thing, I guess. I don't understand it.
I heard her come up behind me and say, "Hi, Gabe."
"Come here for a sec and look at this," I told her. "No," Amanda said. "You get up and say hello to me first."
Demanding little thing, but she's worth it! "I need your help figuring out what to do," I said. "Remember that kid at the mall? Rafe Taylor? The one whose pic I took? He's my cousin Tony's son -- everyone's pretty sure he is, anyway. So what do we do about it?"
"Isn't that up to Tony?" "My dad and Cat are telling him to let the kid force the issue."
Amanda laughed. "Right. Well, somehow you've got to get a DNA test done." "A DNA test?"
"Sure. My mother walked off and left me when I was a baby. My dad had to go to court, get a DNA test ordered, go through a whole lot of custody hearing crap -- they weren't married and he wasn't the only one sleeping with her. That's how it's done." "I can't do that," I told her.
"No, that's what I said. Your cousin has to do it."
"Well," I said, frustrated, "he's not going to do it. Any other ideas?" Amanda rolled her eyes. "No. Not unless, wait a sec, she just THOUGHT it was going to happen." She just thought it was going to happen... I grinned at her. "You're a genius, Mandy. You know I'm crazy about you, don't you?"
"I know it," she said, and smiled at me. "What're you thinking?" I got up, went to the computer, and said, "Ok, help me with this. I've got an idea. No one in this family is going to do anything anyway except sit around and wait. Email going out." "Sending it to who? You don't know Rafe's address." "Completely useless to send it to the kid. Nah, going right to the top this time. The Senator's official email address, which his staff will undoubtedly open and read. That'll stir things up. A LOT. How's this sound?"
-- Dear Senator Taylor, I need this for a school project. Here's a pic of my cousin Tony Lothario who used to be married to your wife, and your 'son', Rafe. Looks like a family line to me. For my science project, I'd like to know if you ever did any DNA tests to find out who the father is. Your patriotic constituent, Gabe --
"Always stick that in about the school project. It makes you sound like an idiot kid, kind of a little bit of camo." "Gabe! It sounds like you're threatening him!"
"I am threatening him. He's the only one I've got any leverage to threaten. Embarrass the guy in front of a whole lot of people."
"You're really going to get into trouble this time. Your cousin's going to be furious that you got into his blog, much less did this!" "Yeah. I've outdone myself. Now we wait for all hell to break loose.... going to be interesting to see who comes after me first, Tony or the Senator." Job well done, I thought, satisfied, then turned it off and started doing something a lot more fun than taking care of family business. Gen went to bed early that night -- I should have, but I was wired and anxious. I sat down, logged in, and damn, there was Gabe.
I read what he'd done. Read it again. I was catatonic for about a minute. Could not believe the nerve -- Then I sat back in the chair and laughed my head off. Would I have had the guts to do that at his age? Maybe. I'd like to think so. The relationship between Gabe and Amanda, that was another thing. I knew Nicky Alcaide -- it had been a long time, but I knew him; a little, anyway. Should I tell Don? Thought about it, as much as I could think about anything. No, probably not the best idea. I wasn't going to do that to Gabe. And I'd been angry all day with Don for getting into my business. Leave it alone, Tony.
--Gabe, you've got the risks wrong. no problems with me. interesting strategy -- Thought about it for a second or two more.
--nicky alcaide will lock up that girl until she's 18. your deal, but that's what's going to happen -- sorry -- Punched it in. Hit send. I could see my own reflection in the screen. Looked like I had a couple of diamond earrings from the lights on the shed outside. I'd come from down in the gutter somewhere to a strange mood, everything seemed funny and everything seemed possible. At that point in the night, the possibility that I might get my son back seemed real.
And my Gen was going to have my baby. That was definitely real.
This is Tony, logging off.
Tony Lothario's Blog #8 - Gabe
Apr 12, 2007 by eshuff
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