Sunday, March 21, 2010
“Daddyyyyyy,” the waking of the dead shrilled down the hallway as a boisterous four year old connected with leg.
Jon ruffled the sunny cap of hair on his youngest son’s head and scooped down to pick him up, “hey buddy!” He smiled at Chloe, who shut the door the door behind him.
“Now what’s going on?” Romeo hid his face into his shoulder and shook his head.
“What did you do?”
Jon looked and smiled as Dot came into the hallway. “Hey,” he said walking towards her.
“Thanks Jon for coming over to watch them for a couple of hours, Romeo just wouldn’t accept that Chloe would watch them. He wanted you.”
Jon smiled. “It’s ok, you know I can watch them whenever you need me to and I can, I know I haven’t been around as much of late.”
Dot fished her keys from inside her purse. “No doubt your new girlfriend has been keeping you busy.”
Jon raised his eyebrow, “well yes and no.” He could still smell her ginger scented sex on his damn fingers and feel her half naked body writhing beneath him. Fuck.
“It’s ok Jon, she seems nice and the kids liked her.”
Jon hoisted Romeo down and took his hand, “it’s complicated at the moment.”
Dot laughed, “With you it’s always complicated.”
He felt guilty, Dorothea deserved to know what was going on and he was in clear violation of the trust that they’d both set up when they separated. He was protecting his family and he stood by his decision to have not told them at the beginning of all this, but now... he wasn’t so sure.
“Romeo, why don’t you go and find Chloe, ask her if she has any of those cookies we love and I’ll come and play with you guys soon, while Mom’s out, k?”
Romeo swung on the end of Jon’s hand and giggled, “Ok Daddy.” The loud splitting shriek and stampede of feet left him and Dot alone.
“I need to talk to you Dot.”
She raised a brow, “ok, outside?”
Jon followed her outside and took a smoke when she offered, he lit them both and took a deep draw. “I haven’t been honest with you.”
She had the right to know, especially now when he had to rely on the security around the house and his family. “MacKenzie is not my girlfriend, well...kind of.” He scuffed his boot against the edge of the cobblestones.
“Kind of?” Dot pushed her glasses up her nose and flicked her cigarette. “What’s going on Jon?” He deserved the tone she fired at him too.
“A little while ago, I was nearly hit by a car outside Rich’s studio—on purpose.”
She stood from the step, “what?”
He cringed, “I was fine, it just turned out that my rejection to allowing a young boy that had gang connections into the Soul, has backfired and now they’re trying to prove something to me. We’re just not sure what.”
“God Jon, so who is she?”
“She’s my bodyguard. I hired her as a Personal investigator and it turned out she did Personal Security, I needed something discrete and I wasn’t about to have an entourage of people following me around. Christ Dottie, you know I hate that shit. I had to have something for all these Obama stomps I’ve been doing.”
“She’s protecting you? What about us Jon? Ever thought you might need to mention to me that oh, you’re being stalked by some bad guys and I should consider some security for the kids? Or once again you were being too selfish.”
“Dot, wait—I have got security for you guys. You just don’t know it.”
He saw the flash of temper, one he’d known well at the end of their marriage. “You have people following us and you didn’t even think to tell me? Jesus Jon, how could you do that to me? What if I had noticed and called the police that some weird people were following us?”
He raked his hand through his hair, he’d fucked up here. He had no excuse, he should have told her. “I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to freak you out or the kids. Honestly.”
“Have there been any more incidents?”
He blew out a breath, “yes—a few. I’ll tell you if you want me to.”
“Damn right you will be.” She crossed her arms and she could have stared through steel as he talked her through the beach house, the drugging incident and the latest attack on MacKenzie. “I can’t fucking believe this. After everything we’ve been through.”
“Dot, I’m sorry. I’m fucked this up in more ways than one. Believe me but I’m truly sorry. You know I’d never hurt you guys. I did it to not have to disrupt your lives.”
“So all time. MacKenzie has just been pretending to be your girlfriend.”
“Yeah, sort of. As I said, it’s complicated.”
Dot snickered, “oh I’m sure it is.”
“It’s not like that—we’ve not---we’re attracted to each other but she’s tried to keep it all business. If anyone has pushed it, it’s me. You don’t need to hear about it.”
“No I don’t, I don’t care much for your bedroom antics these days—what I do care about is when fucked up arrangements interfere with my children’s lives. What if something had happened to one of them?”
“Fuck, Dottie please believe me that’s the last thing I ever wanted. They mean everything to me—you included.” He took her hand, “honestly I thought I was doing the right thing.” He rubbed his temples, it wasn't the right thing and he knew it. He could have kicked himself for letting it get to this point, he had in under control, well at least he thought he did. The gang thing was his mistake, his problem--he was dealing with it. Why should they have been affected too?
“I’m not happy Jon-“ She stopped when Chloe came out to meet them.
“Sorry guys, I just was looking for Romeo. I thought he might be out here with you both.”
“I told him to go and find you?”
“Nope, not with me---I’ve just searched the entire house.”
Jon whipped his head around to Dot’s and they both took off into the house. He felt his face lose all color as the snakes coiled in his belly. “Romeo!” He dashed up the grand staircase taking two at a time while Dot raced through the hallways on the lower level. Kids disappear all the time. Especially Romeo, he was a little monkey. But with everything that had been going on, Jon didn’t trust this one instinct at all.
“Romeo!” He flung open the guest room wardrobes, he didn’t stop and think he was invading Dot’s privacy.
“Dad!” He spun around to see his teenage daughter standing there in her jeans and a red tee-shirt.
“Stephy,” he tugged her in for a hug, damn he’d missed them all so much.
“Dad, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t find your brother, Romeo—have you seen him?”
“He was coming to find you guys...you took too long for the cookies.”
“Oh god,” Jon bolted out of the room and down the stairs, please god not his kids, not his kids. “Dorothea!”
She came flying out of a room, her eyes wide. “He’s not here.” She held up a lonely Bata-bullet.
He clutched his chest. “Ok, stay here---get the kids and stay in the same room together, I’ll call the police.
“Jon—he’s my baby----“
He grabbed her shoulders, “I know...just get the kids and stay here.”
“Mom, Dad, what’s going on?” Steph walked slowly down the staircase.
“Just stay with your mom, I’m going to find your brother. Get the other two boys.” He ran back outside, his hand firmly on his stomach, bent over and emptied the contents of it. This could not be happening, his worst fear out of anything. He took out his iPhone and hovered his thumb over Mackenzie’s name. Things were so awkward but he had no idea what to fucking do—who to fucking call. He closed his eyes and pressed call as he started to walk the grounds, looking for any sign of his son.
“Jon, hey? All done already?”
“MacKenzie—its Romeo he’s gone missing---I’m outside, the kids are inside. I don’t know who to call, he was here one minute and the next he was gone.” Like vomit he spewed it out, hoping to make some sense.
“Ok, Ok---I’ll rein the guys around your place in. We can call the cops, are you sure that he’s not just hiding. That was a big ass place Jon.”
“No he’s not—Kenz. Please---I can’t lose him.”
“You won’t Jon. Just calm down. We’ll sort it out, I’m coming back over now and I’ll call the guys in. I promise, we’ll find him.”
He took a breath and disconnected the call. “Romeo?” He leaned against a tree and grated his hand against the bark. This was a cluster fuck of epic proportions. He would never, never forgive himself if one of them got hurt over all this.
Jon whirled around saw a little boy peek around from behind the bushes. “Romeo!” He leapt over the lawn and scooped him up. “What were you doing in there buddy?” He held him tight, burying his face into the familiar scent of baby-cotton smell.
Jon chuckled, the relief almost blinding him. He loosened his grip and started to
walk back to the house. “What were you doing? We were very worried.”
Romeo hooked his fingers around the collar of Jon’s tee. “You didn’t come in for cookies, you and mommy yelling.”
Jon sighed, “So you hid because we scared you?” He ruffled his hair. “I’m sorry we were yelling, we’re not anymore though ok?” Hia own eyes mirroed in Romeo's stared back at him and nodded.
“Ok Daddy. Can we have cookies now?”
“Yes, we can. If you promise never to run off and hide again from me or mommy.”
Romeo nodded vigorously. “I promise.”
He was two feet away from the door when it flung open and Dot tore out. “Oh thank god.”
“He was hiding, because we were yelling.” Jon managed a small smile, this was all his own damn fault as well for not telling her and then sending them all into panic meltdown mode.
“Steph, can you take him into the kitchen please, we’ll be there in a minute.” He handed him off to Steph who was standing behind her mom, god and just about meeting her height and his. They were growing up way too quickly for his own liking.
“What’s going on Dad?”
“Its ok baby, Mom and I will talk and then come and talk to you guys.”
Jon rubbed his hands on his face and sank down onto the step. “I thought, god I
don’t know what I thought.”
Dot sat down next to him. “I should flame you for that, but I can see you’re shaking. This is exactly why you should have told me Jon.”
“I know Dot. I know.” His arms shook as he steadied himself and took a couple of deep breaths.
The buzz of the gates had him looking up, “damn that’ll be MacKenzie.” He got to his feet, “I can tell her to wait?”
“No, bring her in. Maybe she’ll tell me what the hell’s been going on.”
Jon cringed, “I deserved that. I’ll go and get her. You better put on the coffee, and use skim creamer she hates the full fat stuff.
Dot opened her mouth and then shut it again. “Alright.”
Jon walked down the drive to meet her car crawling up it. Right now he couldn’t care less about what the hell was or was not between them. She rolled down her window, “hey you ok?”
He leaned over, nothing but care etched across her face. “He was hiding, he’s ok—but you better come in. I’m in all kinds of trouble for not telling Dorothea about all this.”
“Oh thank god, I’ll call the security to stand down and just wait outside.” Her lips curved in a smile. “She wants to see me doesn’t she?”
He nodded, “yeah—sorry. She’s got every right to be pissed off at me.”
“Not a problem. I’ll park and then come save your ass,” she winked. “Again.”
He bumped the top of the car as she drove up to the house, damn if she wasn’t right.