Authors: Christina Leija
Exhausted Charlotte sat down at the table. John and Andrew were headed for their 3rd round of go-carts. They had gone through 2 large pizzas, bread sticks and a dessert pizza and the boys were still running on fuel. Charlotte just couldn’t keep up.
About 10 minutes later John came running in with Andrew on his shoulders. Charlotte’s heart swelled at the site of them. This man was incredible. He must be hiding something; no man could be that great. Of course Charlotte knew she had no room to talk about keeping secrets.
“Mommy, mommy! I beat John in go-carts; I’m faster than he is! He said I’m the fastest racer he’s ever seen” Andrews’s excitement was almost uncontrollable.
“I’m so proud of you honey, I knew you were great but a natural born racer too, that’s incredible.” Kneeling down Charlotte kissed Andrew before he pushed away for more pizza.
“John thank you”
“No biggy, the kid is great! We have a lot in common.”
“Does that secretly mean your 5 years old?”
“Only at heart baby, the rest is alllll man!”
“Oooh my knight in shining armor.”
“She what? How could that Bitch keep that from me? She s in no way fit to raise my son!” Angry and hurt Alex was now screaming to where the house keepers were venturing to the other side of the house to work.
“Calm down my love, his is exactly what we needed to get Andrew, she dug her own grave and now, hopefully sooner than later, she will lie in it.”
“Get my mother on the line we need to call Ranger and Fields immediately! I want an emergency action taken against her for withholding information like that; my son will be mine soon enough.”
“Don’t worry my love, I’ve already taken care of it.” Victoria took pride in her new advancement, Charlotte was ever to trusting, as always and this time Victoria would finally get everything she’s ever wanted. The family that Charlotte stole from her long ago, now karma was working her magic and in a better way that Victoria could ever imagine.
Charlotte and John returned back to the house to a strange man standing by the entranced of Charlottes apartment. The man was wearing a expensive trench over his established suit that was pristine and sharp. The man held a manila envelope of legal size. The man stepped forward and seemed to animate form his statue like pose the minute he saw Charlotte walk forward. “Mrs. Jackson, Charlotte Jackson?”
“Yes that’s me?” Quizative and shaking now with adrenaline rushing through her Charlotte retracted her step a bit. John pushed forward to step in a protective stance slightly in front of Charlotte.
The minute John stepped forward the man gave a questionable stare followed by a snapping tone that confused Charlotte now more than ever. “John what are you doing here?”
“I should ask you the same thing Richard, what are you doing here”
“My job! Mrs. Jackson you have been formally served.”
Charlotte took the envelope still not registering what was going on. Served? Richard? John? None of this was making sense. Now angry, Charlotte turned to John with a snap and fury that made John step back. “What the Hell is going on John!”
“I’m not sure but that was a process server who works for my father firm”
“Let’s go inside, I think we need to find out what’s going on.”
Once inside Charlotte angry had softened a bit and now worry had consumed her. Mrs. Nelson was keeping Andrew overnight since Charlotte had to work in a few hours, but her time with John was precious so she figured she would enjoy every bit of it while she could even if it meant losing a few hours of sleep.
It’s funny the things we take for granted when we realize they may be taken away from us at any moment. Her john was an angel in disguised and she wondered why she couldn’t have met him years ago. But then again her life would not have been the same and she would not have had Andrew and for that she wouldn’t give up the past.
“Charlotte, this is a letter from my father’s firm”
“John I don’t understand, what do you mean your father? Why would he be sending me something? You’re not married, are you John?”
“No charlotte but apparently he’s representing an Alexander Jackson?”
“Oh My God, John that’s my ex-husband!” Charlotte was at a loss for words, unsure how to feel. Why would John’s dad be involved? How would he know her? Was John spying on her for her Ex? It would make sense and be her luck; he was so persistent to get close to her. Multiple thoughts began to run through her mind, none of them good.
“Charlotte, calm down honey, please, you’re going to get sick with worry and upset. Let’s just read through this and I can talk to my dad to see what’s going on.”
“What’s going on?! I’ll tell you what’s going on John Ranger! You lied to me, you used me for my Ex! You are a lying bastard that played on my heart strings knowing I was vulnerable and an easy target, how could you!”
“Charlotte what are you talking about? Stop, your acting crazy.”
“Crazy? I’ll show you crazy! Get out!”
“Charlotte, stop please, and listen to me, I don’t have a clue what you’re saying, I love you, I didn’t play you, please listen to me.”
Charlotte saw nothing but red through the pleas, each word only hurt her more and cut her deeper. He still stood lying to her. Confused and hurt Charlotte lowered her voice to a calm stern whisper; “Just get out, I need to sort through all this and I don’t need you here right now.”
Hurt, John stormed out leaving the papers on the counter, he had read them and was now determined to find out what was going on and who was the cause of ruining what could have been the best thing that ever happened to him and he knew just who to start with…his father!
John stormed into his father’s office with a fury that scared a few of his father’s associates. When John spoke it was with dominance “Leave now!” The associates all got up except his father who seemed stunned by his son’s fury. “What is the meaning of this intrusion Johnathan?”
“What is your connection to Alexander Jackson?”
“How do you know? Wait, where did you get that name from?”
“Your stupid goon you had serve his ex-wife Charlotte Jackson, that’s where!”
“Johnathan what on earth are you talking about? How do you know about that case?”
“That’s the woman I intend on marrying that’s how! You and your client may have just ruined it you worthless bastard!”
“Johnathan you’re not thinking clearly, that woman is unstable and will be under investigation for her poor parenting skills, she’s a danger.”
“She’s not a danger you self-absorbed asshole, all you see is money and your wife abusing client’s lies!”
“Lies son? She’s sick, just ask her yourself”
“Sick how? What are you talking about?”
“She hasn’t told you?” Intrigued his father slowed to a smile, now realizing he had the upper hand in this situation. Of course Charlotte would reel his son in, he had money, wealth and a strong name behind him, just like his client use to have. Oh yes, he was already warned about Charlotte Jackson, the failed socialite whose father had disowned her for her stupidity and now she was sinking her hands into his son.
“Father, what are you talking about? You don’t even know her and now you may have ruined the one true happiness I’ve ever had.”
“Stop complaining Johnathan! You’re a Ranger for Christ sake, have some dignity. I get it son, you fell for long legs with easy access, it happens to the best of us.”
“Don’t you ever talk about her that way! You don’t even know her; she is an amazing mother and the one I’m going to marry.”
His father took a stride at him, now obviously frustrated with the confrontation. He took one big deep breath and the furry in his father’s eye lit like a wild fire, consuming everything in its path.
“Listen here you little shit, I paid for your law school, your licensing and all your expenses since. I have put up with your dreams of wanting to play the field and live this carefree life style, throwing all your college away, but no more. Man up or you’re cut off! This is fucking it son, if you continue seeing that whore you’re done, I damn well mean it, don’t fuck with me anymore!”
The buzzer came from the intercom before John could answer, which was probably a good thing because right now he couldn’t remember a time that he hated his father more. All he cared about it was money and getting ahead no matter who he mowed over, his mother included.
“Mr. Jackson your 9pm is here”
“Kind late to see a client isn’t it father?”
Just then a gorgeous blond strode in; she was the epiphany of well breeding and beauty, the kind of woman that men drool over. After her however walked a burly man who looked beat and worn.
“Mr. Jackson and the lovely Victoria, may I introduce you to my son Johnathan Ranger, he will be heading your case”
“Over my dead body!” John was appalled over his father’s introduction and assurance that he would lead the case, a case against Charlotte, the one he loved, was his father put of his fucking mind?
“Son, remember our agreement” His father’s tone was stern and with warning, a warning that john didn’t take lightly.
Just then Alex stuck his hand out with a greeting that showed arrogance and a respect for his father domineering tone. John slapped his hand away and began to storm out.
“Johnathan if you walk out that door you’re done, I do mean fucking dead to me.”
“I’ll see you in court old man! Fuck off.” Storming out Johnathan went straight to Penny the secretary. “Penny my dear, I need a file, can you fetch it for me please, my father needs it for his current client, a Mr. Jackson I believe.”
“Yes my dear, I’ll fetch it right away and bring it in”
“It’s ok I’ll wait, you should be headed home soon.”
Charlotte was so distraught over this whole evening. Her eyes were blotchy and red from crying. Charlotte’s throat was scratchy and sore from yelling at John. She hadn’t even had time to register anything before Alex’s town car had delivered Andrew home. Her boy, the one good thing she could always count on. No matter what he always made her feel blessed and happy, even in a thunderstorm to hell, like the one she was living now.
She put Andrew down for bed after dinner and finally had a chance to sit down and sort through all the events of tonight. John, the process server, her ex and John’s dad? It was too much to process and she was feeling betrayed and overwhelmed. How did all this fit together? How could she have missed the signs? Were there any signs? Just as she was ready to sit down and fall fast into a sleep to forget everything, a knock at her door came as ferocious as a drum line in a college show.
John rushed over to Mr. Black’s house as fast as he could. His rage was overwhelming. John couldn’t stop shaking, his father! His own father! Involved! He knew that bastard was shallow but this was a whole new level. His father was about to assist in ruining a woman’s life for good. Of course, John thought to himself, it would have helped if Charlotte had enlightened him to who her ex really was. But she hadn’t wanted to talk about her past, insisting that she wanted to put everything behind her and only work in the present and focus on the future so John had not pushed it.
John knocked on Mr. Black’s door, it was just after 10pm and raining like crazy, not that the rain was unusual in New York. John noticed the lights come on in the entry way of the New York town house. The door slowly opened only admitting a small bit of light through the still latched door.
“John, is that you? What on earth?”
“Mr. Black I’m so sorry to scare you but it’s urgent.”
Mr. Black opened the door and John stood wet and cold looking like a broken puppy that had been whipped near death. Mr. Black rushed John in and yelled for the house keeper to grab towels, a change of clothes and something hot to drink quick.
After John was changed, warm and most importantly dry he sat at the bar in the barely used, immaculate kitchen, his head in his hands John looked up at Mr. Black who seemed concerned and slightly irritated with the wait that John was submitting. John took a deep breath and told Mr. Black about the last few months and all the events that had lead up to tonight’s fiasco.
When he had finally finished it was nearly 1130pm. John waited as he attempted to search Mr. Blacks face for his emotions, some sign that John wasn’t crazy or ruining his life. Mr. Black took a deep breath.
“Well my boy, what do you want to do about this?”
“That’s why I am here, I’m confused, lost, hurt, angry and everything in between, but most of all I know I need to help her, I love her.”
“I admire your dedication, I loved your aunt very much and she loved you as a son, you do know that, right my boy?”
John said nothing but he knew that his adopted aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Black cared deeply. He simply nodded and hoped for the best, some solution that could save his heart and save Charlotte from any further damage that he was sure may crush her for good.
“Well, your father has always been a son of a bitch and one thing he has never been able to do, is beat me in court, so the question is where do we begin?”
John snapped his head up in shock, he couldn’t believe it. Mr. Black didn’t ask for any further explanation or question John’s sanity in his time of rush. Truly he had never loved the man more.
“First off, I need to meet with Mrs. Jackson.”
“That might be a problem, I am not sure she wants anything to do with me, she’s furious with me and told me to get out and never return. My father has ruined everything, again.”
“Jonathan, I never want to hear you disrespect your father, that’s my job not yours and do you think I would have been married 40 years if I listened to your aunt every time she told me to get out and never return?”
“She told you that?”
“Oh yes, plenty of times, I was a son of a bitch as a youngling, and I suppose not much has changed but that woman kept me in check and put me in my place as soon as I got out of line. God bless that woman, and that my son is a kind of love that only comes around once in a life time and a love worth fighting for to the bitter end.”
Anthony’s wife Violet had just passed away less than 2 years ago, John did love her like a mother. She was stern but loving. She held a firm hand on Mr. Black and never disrespected him in public but in the privacy of their own home; you could see who ran the family and Mr. Black was just fine with that.
“So, my boy let’s get started, there is a lot to do and I didn’t push you through law school just for me to do all the work.