Now That She’s Gone: Chapter 5 – Part 2

girl wearing vr box driving bicycle during golden hour

Chapter 5: Part 2
Katherine: June 2005

Joe stood behind Martin in the laundry room and he was deliberately not meeting Katherine’s eyes.

“Martin.” She glared, not even pretending to be friendly. “What are you doing here?”

Joe awkwardly cleared his throat.

She listened carefully for the sound of the garage closing, careful to keep her voice low so the kids wouldn’t overhear. Jesse and Robbie were in the garage getting their bikes. She’d given them money for a movie so they wouldn’t be around to hear this argument.

“I came to get my son,” he smiled at her. “Thanks for watching him for me.”

“Watching him?” she said, her voice breathless with anger. She paused, waiting. Finally, the telltale sound of clattering metal signaled that the garage door was finally closing. As she pushed passed Martin and Joe to walk back into the living room she said: “Watching him is what you do for a night or a couple of days. Maybe a couple of weeks tops. 10 years is not watching him!” She whirled around to spit out: “That’s called parenting!”

His faced flashed into a glare. “You are not his parents.”

She walked to the front window and saw Robbie’s and Jesse’s retreating backs as they sped off on their bikes. She felt her body relax. She faced Martin again.

“You abandoned him. You gave up the right to call him son.”

He took a step towards her. “Time doesn’t change his DNA.”

“Robbie is his son,” Joe whispered, staring at the carpet.

“He’s happy now!” She exclaimed.

“Oh, yeah? Well why don’t we ask him?” Martin asked.

She flinched. “No, absolutely not.”

He grinned. “Why not? What are you afraid of? That he’d prefer to live with me than you?”

“He doesn’t know you’re his father. You’re going to mess with his head. And for what? To abandon him again? Why now? You’ve been gone for most of his life.”

“He doesn’t know me?” Martin asked, looking back and forth between her and Joe. Joe stared at the ground and mumbled incoherent explanations, but she ignored him. She’d seen Martin’s face when she asked that. She knew she was on to something. “Why are you even doing here?” she asked again.

Martin glared at her. “I don’t have to explain myself to you.”

“If you want to see him you do.”

Martin frowned, but didn’t answer.

“Come on,” she said, probing him. “You and Skye left for an audition in L.A. Then, another one came up. Then, another. Finally, it’s, ‘we’re going to stay out here for awhile.’ It was all about fame and fortune with you two. So, why are you back?”

Martin scratched his arm, glaring at her, but he didn’t say anything.

“What’s the matter? Didn’t the glamorous life pan out like you thought? Big surprise. So why are you back? How are you going to provide for him? Do you have a job?”

“I don’t need a job,” Martin said, finally. “There’s big money in child actors.”

“What?” she nearly shouted.

He held up his hand. “Hear me out. There’s this audition for seven to nine-year-olds that would be perfect.”

“He’s thirteen!” she said, exasperated.

“Wait, what?” he asked, looking back and forth between her and Joe. Even Joe was glaring at him this time.

“Well, that’s fine. There’s auditions for thirteen-year-olds too. Really, thirteen?” he ran his hand over the back of his head. “Huh.”

Katherine stared at him, her eyes huge. “Get out.”

He opened and closed his jaw a few times, then a glint lit up his eyes. He smiled. “I’ll tell him.”

“Excuse me?” She cocked her ear at him like she hadn’t heard correctly.

“I’ll tell him your not his real parents unless you,” he paused and closed one eye like he was thinking hard. “Appreciate my silence.”

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