**Author’s Note** This update deals with mature subjects and may not be suitable for a younger audience. Also, it’s pretty text-heavy as I wrote it after I’d taken the pictures and didn’t feel like going back to stage some of them. There were places where I wanted more visuals but didn’t have something that would work. This update didn’t come easily to me. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to get Charlie to realize what his birth father had done to him. I’m not sure that I picked the best way. Regardless, as one can see in the first picture, Charlie has no more illusions about Jack Osborne.
The multicolored lights and pounding beat of the music blaring from the speakers faded into the background as I leapt at Jack and drove him to the floor where I proceeded to do my best to pound him into the dance floor.
He was startled at first, probably figuring that I wouldn’t hit him because he was my biological father and we’d always been friends. But I couldn’t let what he’d done pass without some sort of retaliation.
However, once Jack knew I was serious, he started giving as good as he got. At one point he got me into a headlock. I flailed my arms and tried to break his hold.
“I may be an old man, but I trained you!” He snarled at me. “I know all of your weaknesses.”
I couldn’t let him win. I managed to sweep my foot into the back of his knee, causing him to loose his balance and let up on me. Then I grabbed his arms and pushed them away from me. Unfortunately, we both went down in a heap.
For awhile, I had the upper hand. I managed to pin him to the ground and punch him a few times in the kidney. But my advantage didn’t last long. He managed to knock me off of him and quickly got up, forcing me to get up, too. He was faster. He grabbed my shoulders and pulled me into his knee, knocking the wind out of me. Then he punched me, breaking my nose. I flew back and hit the ground again.
“Stay down!” he screamed as I struggled to rise. I spit blood on the dance floor.
“Don’t think that I won’t knock you out just because you’re my son,” Jack snarled at me.
“I am not your son,” I hissed.
“Go home Charlie. Go back home to your mother or aunt or whatever you want to call her. Go back to your slut of a cousin.”
“She is not a slut,” I said and took another swing at Jack. He blocked it, unfortunately, grabbing my arm and pulling it behind me, twisting painfully.
“Well, she put out for me, didn’t she,” he sneered in my ear. “Probably did half of the men in the office. Just like her aunt Kindra.”
“No!” I tried to pull away from him, but his grip was too tight. He yanked my arm up until I thought he might break it.
“Let go of me!” I twisted, but that only earned another yank.
“Get out of here, Charlie. Don’t come back,” Jack shoved me away from him and toward the entrance of the Grind. Everyone was staring at us. No one had done anything to stop the fight. I don’t even think the bartender had even called the cops.
They were all gawking at me, Charlie Fields, who’d been in the papers several times for scandals like the one on my 13th birthday and the debacle at the Grind when I wasn’t old enough to be there (yeah, Jack hadn’t gotten them to not print that picture). Now here I was doing something scandalous again.
Emma had met Jack at the office. She was a young coffee courier and he was the CEO. She looked up to him as much as she had always looked up to Kindra, who was now the company president.
Emma had always known that Jack was my father. She and Shelby had been the ones to help me meet him, but she hadn’t really gotten to know Jack personally until I invited her and Shelby to my birthday celebration with him.
I guess they’d gotten a little more friendly that night than I realized.
Both were athletic. (Jack had been able to kick my ass for a reason—the guy worked out constantly. I should have known I couldn’t take him!) Jack often invited Emma to go to the gym after work, offering her rides in his company car. She must have been really impressed with his wealth. She always was a bit of a snob that way.
At first, Emma told me, she resisted Jack’s advances. Even though she let him take her to his apartment, she wouldn’t let things get farther than an amorous hug and some kissing.
But Jack was nothing if not persistent. I’d seen the way he went after Wu in Egypt. I could only imagine how he worked at changing Emma’s mind.
While I was in Egypt, he took her out to fancy clubs and bars, expensive restaurants, and even took her back to the Grind, where we had gone for my birthday. Slowly, he broke through her resistance.
Oh she insisted that he was a gentleman. He seemed to really like her, she said. She even thought that maybe he loved her.
Emma said he hadn’t pressured her at all and that it was her decision to go to bed with him.
“But he never let me stay the night,” Emma sobbed when she told me. “I should have known that he didn’t love me when he wouldn’t let me stay the night.”
That wasn’t Emma’s only clue that Jack really didn’t love her, but she refused to see that anything was wrong in her relationship. I didn’t learn about the rest from Emma. Instead it was Shelby who told me.
Shelby said that Emma would come home upset because Jack hadn’t been nice to her. He’d call her names and make her feel terrible if she didn’t do what he wanted. But Emma always stood up for Jack, saying that she’d done something wrong and that Jack had apologized and said that he was just tired, or stressed or some other excuse that Emma would believe.
“It was awful, Charlie,” Shelby confided. “I tried to tell her that things weren’t ok. I kept reminding her all of the times that our mom said that Jack hadn’t been nice to Kindra, but Emma wouldn’t listen.”
“Do you think he was like this with Kindra, too? She always said that he’d have been a bad father…I was so blind that I didn’t realize.”
“I don’t know what happened with Kindra, but Jack came over to the house just before you got home. Emma said they were going to have a romantic dinner together. I agreed to go eat at Hogan’s so they could be alone.”
Shelby told me that when she got home she found Emma in tears in their bathroom upstairs. She’d obviously been sick, hadn’t even bothered to flush the toilet. Jack was gone.
Eventually Shelby calmed Emma down long enough to learn that Emma thought she was pregnant. She’d told Jack and suggested that maybe they should get married.
“She really thought he would marry her, Charlie,” Shelby looked incredulous. “She was so devastated! Jack said that he’d never marry a goody-two-shoes like her. He called her all sorts of names. It was worse than any of the insults and abuse that he’d heaped on her before.”
“Did he hit her?” I demanded. I couldn’t believe what Shelby was telling me. I wouldn’t have thought Jack capable of abuse. I knew he wasn’t the marrying sort, but to treat a girl so badly…
“She says he didn’t. But he refused to believe that the baby might be his. He told her that it could be anyone’s. He accused her of sleeping around.”
“But that’s ridiculous. He also called her a goody-two-shoes!”
“I know. He just didn’t want to face his responsibility. I guess Kindra was right that he’d be a lousy father.”
Shelby said that Emma was having a hard time at work because of this. She accused Jack of making sure that she didn’t advance. Unfortunately, Emma was too afraid to go to Kindra and tell her what happened.
So when I saw Kindra and Caleb outside of the Grocery the next day, I knew what I had to do. I invited them over for a barbeque in my back yard.
“Something’s going on with Emma,” I said, not wanting to just surprise them with it when they got there. But I didn’t want to be the one who told them, either. “I’m not sure what it is, but it has to do with work,” I said to Kindra. “Do you think you can help? She won’t talk to me.”
Of course Kindra agreed. She and Caleb would go home and change and then be right over. They’d bring the twins, too.
Shelby made hotdogs and I talked to Caleb about my adventures while Kindra talked to Emma. At first I didn’t think it was going to go well. All they did was talk about work. But I should have had more faith in Kindra. She eventually brought up the fact that Emma hadn’t been promoted. She wondered what was going on because she couldn’t see why Emma was being passed up.
“I’m worried about you Emma. Charlie says you’ve been really emotional and upset since he got back. Is there something going on at work that I should know?”
Emma fell apart. I felt sort of guilty since I was the one who had invited Kindra over in the first place. But it needed to be brought out into the open.
I just didn’t realize what I would find out when I asked Kindra to come over.
Caleb ushered the twins inside the house to eat the hotdogs that Shelby had prepared. He tried to get me and Shelby to go, too, but both of us refused. Shelby stayed to give Emma her support. I stayed to make sure that Kindra would take care of Jack at work. Just because he was an ass didn’t mean that Emma should suffer.
The story came out amidst Emma’s sobs.
“I’ve been seeing one of the executives at the office,” she began.
“Who? Don’t worry. You can tell me. I’m your aunt now, not your boss.”
“I don’t want to tell you,” Emma whispered. “You’ll hate me.”
“Tell her,” I insisted. “She won’t hate you. She’ll help you.”
Emma looked at me, tears pouring down her face. She had told me about Jack, knowing that I had always sort of worshiped him. If I was ok with her telling Kindra, then she could do it.
“It was J-jack,” she finally admitted.
Kindra gasped, clearly shocked more than I had been. She looked like someone had punched her in the gut and knocked the wind out of her. I was surprised at how Emma’s revelation affected her.
“Oh no,” Kindra put a hand over her mouth in shock and horror. “No!”
She pulled away from Emma. “Did he force you?” Kindra finally demanded.
“N-no,” Emma answered. “We were dating, but he dumped me when I thought I might be pregnant and suggested we get married.”
Kindra looked as if she really hadn’t heard Emma’s explanation. She mumbled under her breath, “At least he didn’t force you like he did me.” I heard her, but what she said didn’t register right away.
“He abused her, too,” I said because I wanted Kindra to know the whole truth.
“No he didn’t!” Emma protested, still defending Jack. At the same time Kindra said, “Did he hit you?”
“No! He said he loved me. But now I’m pregnant and he doesn’t want m-me!” Emma dissolved into sobs again.
“Tell me exactly what happened,” Kindra asked Emma once she’d calmed again. Emma did. Shelby explained about the abuse when Emma tried to gloss over that part.
“He was abusive, Em. I tried to tell you.”
“I didn’t see it. He always apologized.”
“He’s a jerk,” Kindra said firmly. “He always was. I should have sent him to Bridgeport. I should have fired him.”
“What am I going to do?” Emma asked Kindra. “I’m pregnant. He doesn’t think the baby is his. He said I must have slept with other men.”
“I’m going to kill him,” I said.
“You can’t,” Shelby said.
“Calm down, Charlie,” Kindra said to me, then to Emma she said, “You can do whatever you need to. Caleb and I will help you. This is my fault for not taking care of Jack sooner. I should have told you…told all of you about him.” She looked at me.
“I tried to tell you, Charlie. You didn’t let me and then Jack was good to you, for the most part. I figured you needed a father in your life. Then when you were grounded, you seemed to give Jack up, so I thought I could just leave it alone. I should have told you, made you listen to me.”
We were all looking at Kindra questioningly. We weren’t talking about Emma anymore. Now she was talking about me. Jack and me. “What should you have told me?”
“Jack raped me,” Kindra said in a strangled voice. “I didn’t want you to find out. You were so little.”
Now Kindra was the one who was crying. Silent tears poured from her eyes. She looked at me, pleading for understanding, acceptance, maybe reassurance. I wasn’t sure.
“He said it was an office romance,” I shook my head, trying to reconcile what I’d always believed with what Kindra was now saying.
“I know what he said. I think he actually believes it, too. We’d been dating, but we weren’t sleeping together. He got tired of waiting. I had no proof, of course. My boss, however, believed me, but all she could do was send me to Bridgeport.”
Kindra turned to Emma, “Are you sure he didn’t force you?”
Kindra nodded. I just sat there, too stunned to move. My whole foundation was shaken. I didn’t know what to do.
I don’t remember calling Jack’s cell phone and asking him where he was. I don’t remember hearing the music in the background as he told me and invited me to join him. I don’t remember saying yes and agreeing to go to the Grind.
I just remember walking through the doors. It was busy and the music was loud. I saw Jack across the room. He was dancing with my aunt Melinda.
In my mind I flashed back to the time when he’d flirted with Melinda back when I was a teen. I hadn’t thought anything of it then, but now I knew what he was like. No more Fields women would fall under his spell!
I went up to the two of them, rage in my eyes. I accused him of being an abusive rapist. I told him that I knew the truth about him and Kindra, my mother. I told him that I knew what he had done to Emma.
And that’s when I jumped him.
Even though my nose is broken, my knuckles are split, and I lost the fight, I wasn’t sorry for what I had done. I knew it was going to be in the papers. I knew that I hadn’t solved anything or made things better for Kindra or Emma or even myself, but I didn’t regret.