Louise Ch. 14bykalamazoo707©
It was almost two hours before the first movie started. Everyone had questions for Louise that soon grew old. She tolerated them only because she knew that they were asked out of concern and excitement. Nathan finally ended the question and answer session by making an announcement.
"The children are getting bored. Perhaps we should start a movie."
"Thank you." Louise whispered.
"You're welcome." Nathan whispered back. He patted his empty lap and pulled Louise into it. "Comfy?" he asked when she had finally stopped moving around.
"Don't be." Nathan said. "It gives me an idea or two." he added telepathically smiling when Louise blushed.
Nathan could feel Gene watching him, but ignored it and divided his attention between Louise and the movie with most of the focus being on Louise.
"A baby." he mused and then smiled. He knew that for many males, his late grandfather and great-grandfather included, the hope was for a male child. To him, it didn't matter as long as Louise and the baby survived and were healthy. He comforted himself with the knowledge that the incidences of losing either or both were extremely rare.
Their child would be born healthy and strong simply because of his or her lineage. Mentally he began to make a list of things that he wanted to do before the baby came. At the top of the list was the nursery at each home. He decided to have the nursery adjoin their bedroom. A state of the art speaker system would be installed as well as an enhanced security system. He would install the security and speaker systems himself. He wasn't going to trust the safety of Louise and the baby to someone else.
The next thing on his list was the cooking school. He was sure that Louise wouldn't want to be away from her sisters' during the pregnancy. He made a mental note to see if the school had anyone that they could send to the states for private lessons.
"You're thinking too much." Louise whispered. "Enjoy the movie."
"I enjoy thinking about you and our baby." Nathan replied. "And I'm also enjoying the fact that I have a beautiful woman in my lap."
"You won't be saying that when I'm as big as a house." Louise teased.
"I will always say that because it's true." Nathan replied. "I also know that our child whether it be male or female will be beautiful as well."
"Will you be disappointed if it's a girl?" Louise asked.
"I meant what I said earlier." Nathan replied. I don't care what sex the baby is. I just want both of you safe and healthy."
Louise laid her head on Nathan's shoulder and went back to watching the movie while Nathan continued with his thoughts.
Gene sat in the last row of the small theater not paying attention to the movie. He knew that Nathan was letting him stew in his juices. To some degree, he understood, but that didn't mean that he had to like it. He glanced over at Nathan and grimaced. He could only imagine how the man saw him. He was keenly aware of the fact that Nathan didn't like him.
He looked away from Nathan and looked at Patrick. Of the two, he decided that Patrick was the one most likely to invest with him, and the one that seemed to have the least problem with him. He said a silent prayer that one of the Sinclaires' would invest with him. He had visions of the other family members following suit. If all went well, he would be out of the hole financially, and he would soon be able to buy expensive clothes as Leon had done for the wedding. He envisioned the house in Pittsburgh completely repaired and a place to be proud of. It would put Leon's apartment to shame.
Thinking about Leon made him look in his direction. Leon was sitting with his arm around one of the hotel workers. While he found Nadine attractive, he couldn't understand how or why Leon would be interested in someone who did menial labor for a living. He agreed with Barb, Leon could do much better. It didn't occur to Gene that he had no one, and that he had no right to judge anyone. Nadine was working, a student, and she owned her own home whereas he was barely surviving.
Gene's gaze left Leon and Nadine, and went to Juliette and Hans. That was a match-up that he understood a little better. In his opinion, Juliette was getting the better end of the deal. Hans had a good job, was obviously interested in her and liked the kids. He found it amazing that a man would be interested in a woman with three young children. It was something that he wouldn't have considered for himself.
For the first time since Dana left, Gene wondered if there was someone for him. He wondered where the thought came from, and realized it was because of all of the couples. He wanted someone who would take him as he was, and who wouldn't expect him to change. That, he decided had been Dana's problem. She kept telling him that he was a better man than he thought he was, if only he would try.
"Gene, baby you can be so much better than this!" she told him after he had come home drunk one night. "Your family needs and loves you; I need and love you but ...."
"Shut up." he told her. He hadn't yelled it, but the tone of his voice had given her pause.
He closed his eyes when he recalled the look of pain and resignation on her face.
"I'm going to give you a choice." she said softly. "Either you get help or I'm leaving. I can't and won't live my life like this."
"Like what?" Gene demanded. "What in the hell do you want? You have a nice house, a nice car..."
"I want you!" she screamed at him.
"This is what and who I am." he replied. "Take it or leave it." he replied never dreaming that she would actually choose to leave.
When he woke up the next morning, Dana was gone. He found the Petition for Divorce on the coffee table sitting under an empty beer bottle. By the time the divorce was finalized, Dana had taken almost everything and moved to Florida.
The day that the divorce was finalized, Gene called off sick and drank himself into a stupor. He had been on a slow downward spiral ever since. Looking around at all of the loving couples in the room gave Gene pause, but only for a moment. After that moment passed, he was back to trying to figure out how to get a part of the Sinclaire money.
Barb drove to her apartment in a daze. She was convinced that if Louise and Kevyn rolled themselves in a vat of shit, they would still come up smelling like roses. Now Louise was pregnant which told her something. Louise wasn't the innocent that she had led everyone to believe she was. However, it really didn't matter. Louise and the baby would have the best care, and anything that money could buy while she would have to scramble to make ends meet.
As unhappy as Barb was, the thought of abortion never crossed her mind. Her thought was that there had to be a way to make the baby work for her. As she washed her face and changed into her pajamas, she began to add up the expenses associated with having a baby. It didn't take her long to realize that her money wouldn't go far, and that she would need help.
Her siblings were out of the question.
"There is no way in hell that I'm going to them with this." She muttered to herself. It wasn't that she thought that they wouldn't help her. It was the thought that they would look down on her. Of the five of them, Gene would have been the one she would have chosen to go to for help, but then, he would hold it over her head and he had his own issues.
She calculated when her due date was, and realized that it was a couple of weeks before Louise's. Barb cursed under her breath, and then felt a tear run down her face. This wasn't what she wanted out of life. She had spent most of her life dreaming and scheming to get into the lifestyle that she felt she was entitled to, and now it was gone because of Thorne Blackwell and his unborn brat.
"I hate you!" she said with as much vehemence as she could muster as she angrily wiped the tears away. The hate wasn't just at Thorne. It was directed at everyone whom she deemed as being better off than she was, and that included family. The baby was an innocent, but she was still angry at it for ruining her plans.
For the first time, she wondered about her mother. Had she been as angry and upset when she found out that she was pregnant? Wanda Yancy had been a talented vocalist and had dreams of going to one of the schools' of music. Had she hated Kevyn, and then each of them that came after her for ruining her life?
How could she not have? Each birth took her further away from her dream turning it into a fantasy. Barb tried to recall if her mother had ever said anything to indicate that she hated them. Wanda had gotten angry with them, but not once did she say anything that even remotely blamed them for her station in life.
For the first time in years, Barb wished that she could just pick up the phone and talk to her mother. She still believed that she had been abused, and that her parents hadn't done all that they could do for them. But her mother would understand an unplanned pregnancy and the impact that it would have on her life.
"Damn you Thorne Blackwell!" Barb cursed once again not taking any responsibility for her actions. She forced herself to calm down and to think rationally. In a few days, Leon and the rest of her siblings would be gone therefore making it easier for her to be able to stay out of sight.
It didn't occur to her that any of her siblings would be staying in spite of what she saw. She decided that Juliette and Hans, as well as Leon and the housekeeper were just flings. She drank a glass of milk, and then wished that she hadn't. Her stomach tossed and turned for several minutes before it finally calmed down.
She knew that she needed to see a doctor, but decided that it could wait.
"I'm not like the Sinclaires'," she grumbled. "I don't have unlimited resources."
She laid down the couch, closed her eyes and envisioned Louise lying on a big bed wearing a peach colored fur lined house jacket. In her mind's eye, she saw Nathan sitting on the bed next to Louise and handing her a glass of what looked like blood.
"Blood?" Barb murmured already half asleep.
By midnight, Celeste was sound asleep in Hans' lap.
"Let me put her in one of the beds." Juliette said as she stood up.
"I'll carry her." Hans said.
Hans looked at Victor and Wanda as he passed by. Victor was fighting to stay awake and failing. Wanda wasn't too far behind.
"Come." he said to them. "Sleep for a while, you can always come back."
"I'm ok." Victor said with a yawn.
"Just an hour or so." Hans said gently. "You will feel much better."
Reluctantly, Victor agreed and looked over at Wanda.
"You coming?" he asked.
"Go on." Victoria urged when she saw Wanda hesitate. "I'll still be here when you come back."
A short while later, all three children were huddled together; sound asleep. Juliette stood by the doorway watching them.
"They are beautiful children." Hans said from behind her. "You have done well with them."
"I know that you are questioning my sanity." he said. "That is understandable. I also know that you talked with Kevyn and Louise. That too is understandable. What did they tell you?"
Celeste stirred, cried out, and then quieted.
"Let's go to one of the other empty rooms." Juliette suggested.
"Lead on." Hans replied.
Leon kept glancing over at Nadine whose eyes were glued to the movie screen. Every so often, he would hear her mutter under her breath.
"That isn't how it happened." or "Lies all lies!"
"It's just a movie." he told her at one point when she was becoming so agitated that he thought that she was going to throw something at the screen.
"You're right. I'm sorry." she said. "I just hate historical inaccuracies." she added.
"I understand." Leon replied.
What he didn't understand, was why someone with her brilliance wasn't working in academia or writing books. The fact that she worked at the hotel under a variety of roles didn't bother him. She was making a good, honest living, but he thought that brilliance like hers shouldn't be hidden but shared.
At the end of the movie, Patrick stood up, stretched and made an announcement.
"If any of you want to step outside for some fresh air, help yourselves, but please, don't go beyond the gates. We'll start the next movie but feel free to come and go as you please."
Gene sat rooted to his seat hoping that Kevyn would need to use the bathroom or something. A few minutes later, he watched as she kissed Patrick and excused herself. Swallowing hard, Gene left his seat and approached Patrick.
"Umm Patrick? Could I talk with you for a minute?"
"Have a seat." Patrick said.
Gene relaxed, but only slightly. While Patrick was by far more approachable than Nathan had been, he was still no one to fuck with.
"What's on your mind?" Patrick asked with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
Gene squirmed in his seat and looked away trying to avoid Patrick's penetrating gaze.
"I wanted to apologize for my behavior when my mother died. I was inexcusably rude. I should have thanked you instead of acting like a jackass. I also wanted to apologize for the way I've been acting since I got here. I haven't been at my best, and that has led me to making some serious errors in judgment."
"To what are you referring?" Patrick asked.
"Bastard!" Gene thought to himself as he answered the question.
"I'm talking about the proposals. I should have approached you directly instead of leaving them where I knew that you would find them." Gene replied.
"Why didn't you come to me directly?" Patrick asked.
"I didn't want you to think that I was taking advantage of the fact that you're my brother in law." Gene replied.
"But that's exactly what you were doing in a round about way." Patrick said. I have issues with a man who uses his family to get what he wants. The sad thing is, it was a damned good proposal, and well worth considering even if I didn't invest the amount mentioned."
"Are you saying no?" Gene asked.
"At this point, I'm not saying anything except this. I won't be investing the amount of money that you're asking for several reasons. One, I would never invest that much money with someone that I barely know, and I don't care who you are. Second, I don't like nor do I trust you. If you can't be upfront with me with money being involved, what would happen if I gave you twenty-million dollars?
Even the very nice apology that you gave me was false. You would have fared better had you told me exactly what you thought of me. Do you get what I'm telling you? Honesty is the key word here. All I've seen is selfishness and the unwillingness to work for what you want. All you want is the Sinclaire name on one of your accounts and you don't care how that happens."
"That isn't true!" Gene exclaimed.
"Isn't it?" Patrick asked. "I have yet to see you make any effort to interact with your family which now by the way, includes us. What interaction there was, involved us doing something for you. As I've said before, you didn't even approach us directly about your proposal. All you had to do was say that you wanted to present a proposal, set up a time and we would have looked at it. It was that simple, but instead; you left it on a table and then tried to use Louise. Tonight you sat back there alone instead of sitting with the rest of us and made no real attempt to get socialize. You're only approaching me now with your false apology because you want something."
Gene was astounded. If Patrick had read him so easily, then so had Nathan.
"What can I do to fix this?" he asked.
"Start by being honest." Patrick said. "If you'll excuse me, I need to check on things.
Gene sat there for several seconds after Patrick left. He looked around to see who else was in the theater with him. The only person was Nathan. Determined to get the shit out of the way so that he could start working toward his goal, he approached Nathan again.
"You got something to say to me too?" he asked. His tone was terse even though he was nervous.
Nathan turned to look at him.
"Why would you think that?" he asked.
"Your brother just gave me an earful and I thought that you might want to add to it." Gene replied.
Nathan didn't bother to correct Gene's error in saying that Patrick was his brother. He knew that Louise had told Gene otherwise, and it really didn't matter.
"Are you sure that you want to hear what I have to say?" Nathan asked.
"Go for it." Gene said.
"Fine. You Gene Yancy are one selfish and lazy son of a bitch. You are the oldest male in age but the youngest of the children in mentality. You want all of the rewards that come with being the oldest male, but when it comes time to fulfill that role, you step back and let Leon take over. Back in Pittsburgh, you should have set the example and helped Louise more with your mother. You as the oldest male should have set the tone and encouraged the others to help Louise as well. Instead, you caused dissention between you siblings, which left Louise alone to physically care for your mother.
Why was Leon the one to approach Patrick and me to ask us about the care of your sisters? Why was he the one to walk your sisters down the aisle? I don't like you and I'll tell you the same thing that I told Barb. I tolerate you because you are Louise's brother and because when I married her that made you my family. If I invest with you, it will be for those reasons only. Any questions?"
"Do you dislike me that much?" Gene asked.
Nathan's silence was his answer.
"What about Leon?" Gene asked. "Do you really think that he isn't using you?"
Nathan thought about his answer.
"Leon is a good man." Nathan replied. "He has acted with nothing but honor and integrity which is something that I can't say about you. He approached me as a man on the behalf of your sisters, something that you should have done. Not once since his arrival has he hinted that he wanted anything from us, he simply asked."
"What did he ask for?" Gene asked thinking that he would have something to hold over Leon.
"He asked that we love and protect your sisters." Nathan said quietly. "If you want an example of what a man should be, I would suggest that you look to him. I am honored to know him and to consider him a brother."
"He was a drug addict..."
"Who pulled himself together and became the man that he is and was meant to be." Nathan interrupted. "Perhaps it isn't too late for you to do the same. But first, you have someone else to apologize too... no; two people and I think that you know who I'm talking about."
"Louise and Kevyn." Gene whispered.
Nathan didn't reply but walked away wondering if Gene knew what apology he owed Kevyn.
Hans and Juliette found the room that was closest to where the children were sleeping and sat down on the bed. Juliette moved away when she realized how close to Hans she was. Hans noticed, but didn't comment. He sat quietly and waited for her to say something to indicate that she was ready to talk.
"So do you have a last name?" Juliette asked.
"Alhberg." Hans replied wondering why it hadn't come up before. "The al means alder and the berg means mountain." he added.
"And you were really born in Sweden?" She asked.
"Yes in the city of Lund which is located in the province of Scania, southern Sweden. It is considered the oldest city in Sweden. I would like to take you and the children there someday." he said.
Juliette ignored the last part of his answer and pressed on.
"Where is your family?"
"Many of them are still in Lund, but a few of them are here. Juliette, please ask me anything. I cannot and will not lie to you." Hans said moving closer to her. "Neither will I ever hurt you or those children. I would die first."