Having told all his children about Kevin’s heritage, Daniel decided it was time to confront his mother about her part in the deception. He arranged to go to her place for a lunch with just the two of them. He was nervous on the drive over, but still felt it had to be done; and sooner was better than later.
“Come in Daniel, it’s great to see you and nice to be able to just have some mother and son time together.”
“Good to see you too Mum.”
“A drink before lunch son?”
“Sure, I’ll have a beer.”
Beryl served Daniel and prepared a G&T for herself. “Now what brings you over in the middle of the week? I thought you would be particularly busy with this corona thing driving so many people around the bend.”
“You’re right, I am busy but there’s something important I need to discuss with you.” He answered as he removed an envelope from his jacket pocket.
“What have you got there, Daniel?”
“An old document I found recently, but I think you’ve seen it before.”
“Sounds intriguing, show me.”
Daniel removed the document from the envelope and handed it to his mother with a slightly trembling hand. Beryl unfolded it carefully, read it in silence then looked up at Daniel and said sternly “Where the hell did you get this?”
“I found it when cleaning up this flat.”
“You mean you went through my private files?”
“Well actually they seemed to be Dad’s.”
“And since your father’s death, now mine.”
“OK technically yes, but that really isn’t the point.”
“So what is your point?” she snapped.
“I would have thought that was obvious, do I need to actually ask you?”
“Knock yourself out; you seem to have some agenda here.”
“OK if that’s how you want to play this. Why did you and Dad do this and why was I not told before.”
“The whole purpose of this document was to keep you from being hurt, by not telling you.”
“That went well, didn’t it? How do you think I feel now; and not to mention how Kevin feels?”
“You’d feel a whole lot better if you didn’t go snooping around in other people’s property and do you mean you’ve told Kevin?”
“Of course we have, it’s his right to know and Christine and Jason too.”
“For god’s sake Daniel you didn’t need to tell everyone. You and your wife could have just kept it between you.”
“My wife!” he shouted “My wife, as you put it has a name, it’s Jennifer, you seemed to have used it liberally throughout this document but you can’t bring yourself to say it now.” Daniel said with exasperation in his voice.
“Don’t be so precious Dan. This is in the past and should have remained that way. That was our intention and the purpose of this agreement. You didn’t have any right to go through those old papers. ”
“Oh now you want to talk about rights, so let’s look at whose rights have been violated here. Firstly, you take away Jenny’s right to choose, at a time when she was very vulnerable. You violated my right to know that I was raising another man’s child. Oh and let’s not forget Kevin’s right to know and maybe someday choose to contact his birth father. And you have the nerve to accuse me of not having the right to find this document. Mum, you’ve got all your priorities wrong here.”
“But we just wanted to protect you and save your marriage.”
“I don’t need your protection anymore; I was a grown man at the time and perfectly capable of making my own decisions as well as saving my marriage, if need be.”
“Stop trying to lay all this on me, I wasn’t the one who strayed and got pregnant outside of my marriage. I’m sure you know who to blame for that.”
“Stop being so insulting to Jenny. You and Dad interfered where it wasn’t your business and this is now the result. And by the way whose idea was it to do this?”
“Well if you really need to know, I discussed the problem with your father, we decided between us something needed to be done and he came up with the idea of a contract.”
“So you two decided to take away our rights and bought off Anthony’s right to future access to his son.”
“I think that says it all about him, if he could be bought off so cheaply.”
“You just can’t help yourself, can you? You just can’t see that you should take any blame here. You just think you’re so all knowing and right all the time. You really are pathetic Mum, and not the woman I thought you were all these years. You should be begging for forgiveness from Jenny and me.”
“I don’t need your forgiveness; everything I did was for all the right reasons, for you.”
“I don’t see it that way Mum, you had no right. If that’s your attitude, I’ll never forgive you for this.”
“Then I think you’d better leave now. If you can’t see it my way, you’re not welcome here.”
“Fine, I’m leaving and I doubt I’ll be back any time soon.”
Daniel got up, and walked off without any further words to his mother. As he reached the door he heard Beryl call out. “And tell that sprog of yours to get his bare arse and that woman of his out of my house.”
“You wouldn’t really throw Jason and Colleen out, would you? They came here to help you.”
“I don’t need any help from you and your lot. You’re so ungrateful.”
“Fine, if that’s how you want it. I’ll tell them you said they are no longer welcome here. I hope you’ll be happy in your loneliness.”
Daniel then went next door to see if Jason was home.
“Hi Dad, what brings you here. I saw you go into Gran’s and after a while I thought I could hear you two shouting. There’s not a problem is there?”
“Yes Son, there’s a big problem with your Gran.”
“She’s not sick is she? Colleen checked on her last evening and she seemed alright.”
“No it’s not a medical problem but she is extremely upset with me and to be frank I am mad at her as well.”
“What happened, Dad?”
“I came over to discuss the situation about her involvement in covering up Kevin’s history and she didn’t like me confronting her. She reacted very angrily so I left rather than continue to fight with her.”
“Maybe that was for the best, when you both have time to cool down you might feel better about it.”
“I doubt it Jason, this has put a huge gulf between us and it may never be fixable. But there’s more and now you and Colleen will have to suffer the consequences of this.”
“I don’t understand Dad; how are we involved?”
“The mean old witch wants you and Colleen to leave here. Her bitterness is so strong she seems intent on making the whole family suffer.”
“But, we’ve only just moved in and let our old flat go. Besides we moved here to take care of her. Can’t you get her to change her mind? Colleen won’t be happy either.”
“I know all that Son but you know how stubborn your Gran can be and she has taken this very personally. We said some very hurtful things to each other but it had to be said. Now, I at least know where I stand with my mother. She is always right and my opinion counts for nothing with her.”
“I’ll discuss it with Colleen when she gets home, but it will be late, she’s doing a double. Every day there seems to be more staff off sick or at least in isolation if they have had contact with suspected Corona cases. I’m quite worried about her Dad. She’s always tired and that makes her short tempered and then there’s always the worry that she will come down with it herself. I wish she didn’t have to work so much and that makes me feel guilty because my dancing gigs have dried up and I get less bar shifts with the restrictions.”
“I’m sorry to hear that Jason, I hadn’t realised things were so tough for you two, but we’ll work it out. I’ll talk to your Mum about all this and get back to you.”
“Now I had better be off I’m due at the health centre.”
Daniel had a few consults that afternoon but found it very difficult to concentrate so when his last client for the day cancelled, he was relieved. He called Jason and invited him over for dinner. He knew Colleen was working late, as was Jenny so he thought it a good opportunity for Jason to spend some time with his siblings.
“Sure Dad that will be great, as long as I’m home before Colleen. She finishes at 11.00pm and I don’t want her coming home to an empty house. She’ll need some TLC when she gets home.”
“I understand, just let yourself in if no one’s at home when you get there.”
Christine called Daniel, while he was driving home, to let him know she was having dinner and a few drinks with uni friends. When Daniel arrived home, Kevin was doing his homework, then Jason arrived shortly afterwards.
“Looks like it’s just us boys tonight.” Daniel said as Jason walked into the kitchen while he was preparing their meal.
“Anything I can do to help Dad.”
“I would kill for a double scotch. How about you show us your bar skills while I get this in the oven and then we can sit down and relax. It’s been a bugger of a day.”
“You’re on. Where’s Kevin?”
“In his room, but leave him for a bit, he’s finishing off his homework, don’t want him disturbed. You know how easily he gets distracted, and besides when you two are together it gets a bit tense. I’m not in the mood for that tonight.”
“Don’t worry about that Dad, I think Kevin and I have worked it out.”
“You mean he did talk to you about his problems the other night. We were all hoping that’s what you two were doing in his room.”
“Well, sort of.” Daniel looked questioningly at Jason. “Relax Dad, all’s well with your boys.”
“I’m glad to hear that...finally.”
The dinner discussion continues in the next chapter.