"Speaking of need to know, it appears that there are things that I need to know." The usually laid-back Jack was nowhere around. In his place was a young stranger, a man determined to get some information. "Things like why I wasn't told something---no, you've already explained it to your own satisfaction. You were both in need-to-know jobs. That pretty well sums it up, doesn't it? And, it appears that I didn't need to know until now."
"Jack," Jared began uneasily, uncomfortably aware that the young man who had always regarded him with something akin to awe was now looking at him as if he was something that needed to be scraped off the bottom of his shoe.
"Save it. I heard the part about you not wanting me to find out at all. It's okay-I understand. It has to be awkward having your long lost-no, make that unacknowledged- love-I use the term loosely-child suddenly revealed as the boss's right hand man, her secretary-her gofer. Especially when he's just learned after twenty-seven years that he has a sister. Whom, by the way, you haven't acknowledged either. Also, understandable. Damned embarrassing to have to admit to loving-again, the term is used loosely-and leaving two women. Don't worry, Jared. I'm no more anxious than you are to have this secret revealed. You know, I used to fantasize about my real parents-that they were deeply in love but that circumstances had kept them apart, and forced them to give me up." He shook his head in disgust. "Circumstances?? Yeah, they were too busy gallivanting around the world with some puffed-up opinions of themselves as the saviors of said world. They were the only ones who could do it, and hell, what was one child over the @#$%^ world? You know, I should be grateful to you that I had the Johnsons for my folks."
"Jack," injected Marty, alarmed at the angry words that were flying around the room like bullets.
"Sorry. Mom, is it?" At her shocked expression, Jack continued, "You know, you could have told me years ago. I'd have understood back then. After all, it wasn't exactly a state secret. Or, maybe it was that you didn't want anybody, especially me, to know about your illegitimate son? The one you left behind?"
"Jack, that's not fair."
Jack laughed bitterly. "Fair? Since when has fair been a consideration? Expediency has always been the name of the game."
"Jack," Jared started again.
"Look, folks," Jack interrupted. "I'll make this real easy. You don't have to worry about me revealing your deep dark secret. Hell, I wouldn't want anybody to know you are my birth parents. I'd be embarrassed. Anyway, it doesn't matter anyway. I'm outta here. I quit. Don't worry about my desk-I don't want anything to remind me of either of you."
With that, Jack turned and strode purposefully out of the office, Marty watching in horror as Jared sank further down into his chair.
"You really put your foot in it this time," Marty stormed at him. "Damn you, Jared Andrews!! You have become the most self-centered, selfish bastard I've ever had the displeasure of knowing! Do you have any idea of how many times I've wanted to tell him?? But, then I'd have had to tell him about you, about us, and you didn't want him to know. And, fool that I was, I respected your wishes. No more! Now, get your sorry a** out of my office and get back to work."
"Work?" Jared was stunned at the temper of the woman before him. "I don't work for you any more. Remember? I already quit."
"Fine-then go back to your wretched grapes! While you're picking the bugs off of them, or whatever it is you do, try to remember exactly what it is that's bothering you in your nightmares. No more molly-coddling-there's something there and it may well be extremely important, and not just to your miserable life."
Angrily, Marty dashed a tear away from her eyes. "Get out, Jared Andrews. I only wish that I could fire you for being a complete jerk." She punched the intercom, then swore when she realized that Jack was no longer in the outer office. Entering a few other numbers, she said tersely, "Dixie?? Send somebody from security to escort Mr. Andrews-yes, Jared Andrews-from my office. He's leaving the building and won't be returning. Yes, that's right. He's not coming back. Ever." Her point made, she turned her back on him and resumed working at her computer.
"You're not going after Jack?" Jared was astonished at the emotional firestorm that had taken place in the office. "You're going to let him walk out like that?"
"He's an adult, Jared. He can come and go as he pleases. If and when he pleases to talk with me, I won't turn my back on him. You, on the other hand, have overstayed your welcome."
At that moment, the security guard, Jenkins, appeared at the office door. "Mr. Andrews?"
"Coming." Turning back to Marty, he said, "This isn't over." Then, he turned and walked out the door.
"I'm getting a divorce," Rosemary told Suzanne as they sat and discussed their lives over a cappuccino. Strange, how it was getting easier to say. She'd told her friend Liz and now she was telling her other close friend, Suzi. "It's really been over for a while, but neither of us wanted to admit it."
"I wondered when he moved to the cabin," Suzi confessed. "Was there another woman?"
"Not that I know of-though I do have somebody looking into that. It wouldn't matter now-I just want this marriage ended. In fact, if there was another woman, I hope he's happy. I did -do-care about him, but more like you care about a brother, or a friend. There's no passion, no anger, really not much feeling at all."
"I'm sorry." Suzi thought about the passionate relationship she shared with Peter, about the understanding they had, the closeness, and wished that Rosemary could have had the same thing. She glanced down at the sparkling tennis bracelet that she wore, an ever present reminder of her husband's love and generosity. "Maybe you can find someone else some day."
"I'm not looking," Rosemary quickly responded, and Suzi caught the sudden blush of color.
"Are you telling me that you've already found him??"
"So I'm supposed to think that you dance the tango like you did the other night with just any man?"
"I'm not blind," she answered. "And neither is anybody else. There was enough heat generated there to have powered the entire city of San Francisco for a year."
"He just did that to spare Jared," Rosemary told her, wishing that she could believe Suzi's opinion. "You heard what Frank White said."
"I did, and I've been meaning to ask you about that." Suzi met her friend's eyes straight on. "Can you tell me what happened?"
"I really don't know. Maybe you should ask him yourself."
"No, I couldn't do that."
"Why not?" Rosemary looked directly at her friend, and asked, "Have you ever told anybody but me? Did you ever tell Peter?"
Suzi glanced guiltily around, and shook her head. "You're the only one who knows-and Peter, while he knows that I was pregnant, thinks that the father was a young man who died in Viet Nam."
"You told him that?"
"Let's just say that when he came up with that scenario, I didn't disabuse him of the notion."
"No clue. The last thing I want her to do is learn about this. She loves Peter-he's the only father she's ever had. He loves her."
"Then, here's hoping that it never comes out."
"No reason that it should," Suzi said. "No reason at all."