Connections Jan 2015 - Page 73

before, but not often. He was nowhere near rational when his temper ruled like it was right now. “Jeremy Shane Carpenter?” He finally hissed. His chest was rising and falling rapidly. He had a son. A son that Melissa didn’t bother to give his name. “Don’t try to pretend he’s not mine. So help me Melissa, I’ll force a paternity test if necessary.” “It’s not necessary.” She said softly. “He’s ours.” “Ours?” Shane bellowed. “That’s rich. Ours suggests some kind of joint commitment. In this case joint knowledge would have been nice. How could you?” If all Melissa had seen was anger, she would have had a comeback, but she knew Shane too well. And what she saw in his eyes was pain. “Let’s go inside.” “Does he even know? Does he know I’m his father or did you lie to him, too?” Shane asked, not moving. “No Shane, he doesn’t know. I was hoping I would have more time before you found out I was here. Well, that’s not true. I knew the instant I showed up for work the whole town would know. I just never thought you’d come over so soon. I planned to talk to him, and you, in time.” Melissa stopped, sensing she was only making things worse. “Eight years wasn’t enough time for you?” He said through gritted teeth. “No, it wasn’t.” Melissa shot back. “Because during most of that time, Jeremy had a father. A good man that loved him. A man that Jer looked up to and thought was his dad.” “You told my son that some other guy was his father? You let my son grow up thinking that some random guy was...” Shane stopped himself, clenching his fists by his side. He knew he was getting out of control. He couldn’t sit down and talk rationally about this. He needed time to think, time to cool off. He closed his eyes and counted to ten. When he opened them, Melissa was still standing there motionless, not saying a word. “I can’t do this right now. I’ll come back at nine. Go have dinner with ‘our’ son. I assume he’ll be in bed by then?” “Yes.” Melissa confirmed. “Then I’ll be back at nine. Don’t mess with me, Melissa. You had better be here when I get back.” “I’m not going anywhere, Shane.” Melissa said, turning to head back into the house. “This is my home now. I’m staying in Hidden Lakes for the foreseeable future.” “Good, then I’ll see you at nine.” Shane climbed in his truck and drove away. Melissa sank to the ground and began to cry. Jeremy looked out the window, expecting to see the cowboy talking to his mother but instead he saw her crying. His face hardened and he rushed to his mother side, angry at the man for ruining things. They had been so happy here until he came. “Mom?” Jeremy said, putting a hand on her shoulder the way his father used to do when he was upset. Feeling his dad’s strength always made Jeremy feel safe. Maybe he could do the same for his mom. “I’m sorry, sweetheart.” Melissa said standing and taking her son’s hand. “Did you set the table?” She needed to pull it together, for Jeremy’s sake if not her own. “Yes, but why are you crying?” He frowned down the road then looked back at his mom. “Did that man hurt you? Because I sort of liked him, but if he made you cry he’s not nice like I thought.” “No sweetie.” Melissa said. “Shane didn’t make me cry. There’s just something very hard that I have to do and it scares me. That’s why I was crying.” “Is Shane making you do it?” Jeremy asked following his mother into the kitchen and taking his seat at the table. “No, not really. It’s something I should have done a long time ago, but I was too afraid.” Melissa pulled dinner out of the oven and dished up their plates. “Can I help?” Jeremy finally said. “Maybe if I help you, it won’t be so scary.” Mel took Jeremy’s little hand and held it tight. “No, it’s something I have to do on my own. But don’t you worry. Everything is going to be okay.” Jeremy stood and moved to his mother. He reached out and gave her a big hug. “Maybe that will help. Hugs always make me feel better.” Melissa felt the tear slide down her face