Monday, September 7, 2015

Chapter 8, Surprises

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

I was dreading lunch with Terrrill. He seemed nice enough but then, so had Simon. I didn't want to get into the same trap I'd gotten into with Simon. Right now, my life was very full with raising Nathaniel and getting my new company accustomed to my ownership. I had a campaign and advertising strategy to map out for the launch of our new products, and I certainly didn't have time to be entertaining male company.

Noon was rolling around very quickly. I'd thought of just not showing up and later on just sending him a text saying I'd had an emergency come up at work. Okay, so it was a boldfaced lie and it certainly wasn't the first time I'd lied about something. What changed my mind about not showing was the dawning realization that I'd be taking the coward's way out. After everything I'd been through, I didn't want to start doing the chicken dance now. I'd just have to suck it up and have lunch with the man.

Terrill was waiting for me when I arrived at the bistro. He signaled to me, then got up to pull out my chair for me. It was a beautiful day and he'd gotten us a nice table outside. The fresh air and sunshine was wonderful and I was hungry.

"I'm glad you came, Debbie. A part of me thought maybe you'd stand me up. You didn't seem very enthusiastic about having lunch with me," Terrill said.

His statement sent my conscience into a tailspin and I felt like a complete ass. I looked down at the table and blushed. "I thought about standing you up but in the end, I couldn't do it," I confessed.

"Well, I'm glad you decided to come. I do hate eating alone," Terrill said. The warmth of his smile reached inside me and I felt some of the tension give way.

"Me too," I said, smiling back.

"Something tells me you eat alone a lot," he said.

"At work, yes, but at home, I eat with my son. Being a toddler, however, his table manners are appalling," I laughed.

Terrill laughed too. That deep, rich laugh of his had a quality that would brighten anyone's day. "I don't have any children but I've always wanted them. I was an only child and was lonely for a brother or sister to play with, you know? My wife and I tried for kids but it never happened."

I was taken aback. "You're...married?" Dread surged through me and I had to swallow down the need to flee.

"I was. I'm a widower. Betsy died some years back," he said.

"Oh, God, I'm sorry," I said, sympathy for him replacing the dread.

He sighed. "Yeah, me too. We didn't know she was sick until it was too late. After that, I couldn't bring myself to get involved with anyone until..."

"Until?" I prompted when he trialed off.

Terrill gave me a sheepish look. "I was on a Reality TV dating show once. It's called 'The One.' It was quite a while ago as a contestant."

I blinked, then looked at him more closely. His admission brought on recognition for me and I knew immediately which season he'd been on. I don't watch much reality TV, especially dating shows, but I began watching "The One" when it had been announced that my favorite author in the whole world was going to be the Bachelorette. "Why, you were on Lenora Landgraab's season, weren't you?"

"Yep," he said.

"She's my favorite author ever," I confessed.

"I'm not into romance novels so haven't sampled any of her writing. I do know she's very talented musically. She was always singing to herself when we were on the show," Terrill said.

"Yes, she has a lovely voice. Meeting her one day is on my bucket list," I replied.

Terrill grinned at me. "You have a bucket list?"

"Doesn't everybody?" I asked, chuckling.

"I didn't before but now I do. When Betsy died, it made me realize how fragile life is. After I got over the worst of the grief, I decided to try to fulfill everything I could that's on my list. I do the best I can, but I have a long way to go," he said.

He seemed to have a great outlook on things, but I could see the sadness that appeared in his eyes from time to time. Like me, he was a lonely soul trying to get on with life as best he could. "You'll accomplish it, I'm sure," I said.

We continued to eat but in silence for a while. We resumed talking over coffee and dessert and I was surprised at how relaxed I felt. "So, what do you like to do in your spare time?" I asked.

"Well, I work out a lot and am a closet guitar player," he said.

I raised a brow. "Why a closet player?"

"Because I'm not good enough to play around anybody," he said. "I just do it for fun and relaxation. I sing a little but I'm pretty mediocre."

"Oh, I'm sure you're better than you give yourself credit for," I said. "What kind of music do you like?"

"I like most types but I play around with some of the classic rock stuff. You know, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones," he said.

"No kidding!" I said, leaning forward in excitement. "My favorite song is 'As Tears Go By' and that seems to be the one I play around with a lot."

"You play guitar?" he asked.

I laughed. "Only a little. I'm more of a strummer than anything. My singing is even worse."

"I'm sure not," he said.

I snorted. "Ever hear a bullfrog with laryngitis?"

He shook his head and roared with laughter.

"Well, that's what I sound like. Believe me, I'm no Barbara Streisand."

"Who is?" he said. Then, both of us were doubled over in helpless laughter.

The remainder of my workday passed in a blur and I was actually whistling as I walked through my door upon arriving home. I didn't know if I was feeling giddy from the glass of wine I'd had with lunch or because I got to spend time with someone who actually didn't want something from me.

I changed into comfortable clothes, scooped up my son, danced with him around the room, and gave him a big tickle that sent him into gales of glee. "Your Mommy's life is looking up, Nathaniel, my love. I think we're gonna make it."

I didn't have to work the next day, so I took some time, something I normally don't get, to read the paper. It seemed that the only news reported nowadays was always bad. I remembered the day when I got the shock of my life when Shane's name was splashed all over the front page. He'd been arrested for his part in the kidnapping and attempted murder of Lenora Landgraab. Thinking myself to be hallucinating, I closed my eyes for a moment, then opened them to look again. Sure enough, Shane's name was right there in black and white.

When I'd married Shane, I never dreamed that he was the way he was. At first, he was very loving and wonderful, but when our lives got busy and I refused to have kids, he changed. He became a different person but I didn't realize just how different he was. Maybe this was how he'd been all along and the way he'd been at the start of our marriage had been the facade. I believed that now. Gone was that sweet, adoring person that probably, in reality, never was. I encountered the person he truly was firsthand when he broke into my house and raped me.

Now, as I sat reading, another piece of news caught my attention. Ericka Adamsson had filed for divorce against her husband, Simon Adamsson on the grounds of mental cruelty and adultery. I forced out a breath and put down the paper. I knew for certain that this could get ugly since Ericka was the town mayor and Simon was a high profile businessman. The case would probably go to court and there was a good chance I'd be dragged into it. Oh man! I'd made such a mess of things and I was paying a high price. I deserved whatever came to me, but my son was an innocent person. Protecting him from being hurt was my top priority and I had to find a way to see that it got done.

Later that day, another bombshell was dropped on me. The results of the paternity test were in, and it showed that Simon clearly was Nathaniel's father. Shane had been in jail when the test was done, and since I had kept the rape quiet, nobody except Simon knew that there was another possibility for Nathaniel's paternity. Because of it, Shane hadn't been ordered to submit to the test, and there wasn't the need for it now since the results were so clear. At least I had something to be thankful for. The monster I was married to hadn't fathered my son, so there was no way he could legally touch him. He was also in prison for a very long time, which made me sleep better at night.

Things like this always happen in threes as they say; my life was no exception. I was about to sit down to dinner when my doorbell rang. I felt all the color drain from my face when I saw who was on the other side. "I'm Erica Adamsson. We need to talk."

Bonus Pic

She's just so adorable holding her cute little boy. :)

Author's Note: I'd like to thank Jazen for use of Terrill Maldonado for this chapter and for giving him to me for my story. She has some awesome stories that I'd highly recommend taking a look at. You can find them by clicking the links below.

"As Life Goes"
"Kiss of a Vampire"
Just Simming Along