Jesus! It was a long, quiet, tension that could choke a horse- filled ride home. The kid, Sky fell asleep while I headed towards the outskirts of town for pizza. When I pulled into the parking lot, I checked the backseat. His knotted hair covered the face that freaked me the hell out when Jude made the introductions earlier.
Like, my present lover is introducing me to my own son who my so-called wife dropped and ran! How am I s'possed to react? Julien has kept his indignant face to the window the entire ride home. I've had just about enough of his Frenchie attitude. This ain't about him and he's makin' me feel like I got to worry over his ass too.
I shift the van into park outside our brownstone apartment building.
"Ya know, Jude." I direct my comments to the windshield. "This is as much a shock to me as it is to you. I'd appreciate y'all givin' me the benefit of the doubt instead of casting your aspersions."
The nest of black curls now faces the window while Julien gawks at me, arms folded across his chest. I swear to Christ, I expect to hear a squawk!
"You mean to say you too are astounded at your failure to inform me of a marriage, or of the fact that you have a son?"
"See!" I slam the steering wheel. "This is exactly what I mean. Raeanne was never my wife!"
"Be still," Jude's hushed command comes served up with a heaping side of attitude. "Can you not see that the child is traumatized? Sleep is his only saving grace at the moment."
"Look, I don't need you to tell me how I should treat the kid."
"Who is your son."
"Stop it, Jude."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You can beg whatever the hell ya want, but don't fuckin' judge me before ya even heard my version of events."
His back straightens against the seat.
"And while we're at it," my ire is up despite my exhaustion, "if y'all are gonna act like judge and jury, I'd rather make my bed on the couch tonight."
Julien's mouth forms an "O" of disbelief while I jump out. When I slide open the door, I'm bowled over by the scent of melted cheese, mystery meat and sweat. I point to the floor and the pizza I know won't get eaten by anyone until tomorrow.
"If ya don't mind, why don't ya take the pizza inside."
I gather up the sleeping kid. He's warm like a snoozing puppy. His body turns into my chest. I can see by the streetlight that we share the same blonde hair. Wouldn't my Indian father bust a gut over that; Chetan Ahote's son and grandson both Indian, but hidden by the fair skin of the greedy man.
"Kurt," Julien persists with his hands around the cardboard box. "I am ashamed of my reaction."
I fiddle with the keys while trying not to wake up the boy.
"Let me open the door."
Julien grabs for the key ring and our fingers touch. I'm always blown away by the fact that it's still electric when we commune. Whether that jolt leads us to a good place depends upon our emotions. Sometimes we take perfectly good chemistry and make lousy music.
"Hey Jude, I swear on a six pack, I was not married. I had no idea about this boy."
"I believe you, Kurt." His steadfast eyes confirm the sentiment. "But, I need you to explain how this happened, and why at this particular time?"
"Yeah," I start out for the apartment, "you and me both, babe."