Chapter 17 – Revealing Times

It had been a month since Brian watched Emily and Christy when they came back from their lunch.  He had a feeling that something was up that could be the revealing of all the family secrets.  He wasn’t sure if that would be good or bad.  He just knew that he was getting tired of keeping secrets.

“Brian, could I talk to you for a minute?  It is something very important.”

He watched as Emily came into the room.  The last month since she had reunited with her family she had begun to change.  She seemed happier and more relaxed, less sad.  Even after all these years he knew that she still mourned the loss of her daughter.

“Sure why not.  I have to apologize for being so busy these last couple of weeks.  I never meant to ignore you and the kids.  I just never remembered that being in private practice could cause so much work.  It seems like when one case is finishing another one just as important comes along.  It doesn’t help that we are also in the process of moving to new offices.  Who would have thought we would have to increase our staff so soon after we began our firm?”

“I know.  That is why I have put off talking to you for so long.  I want to talk to you about something Christy and I talked about when we went out for her birthday lunch.  Do you think we could talk about it without you closing up on me?”

“What do you mean, closing up?”  Brian asked with concern.

“Cut the act Sherlock, you know full well what I mean.  Every time I mention something new with Christy you close up.  This is something different.  Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Well, Christy asked me why I had never adopted her…”

Brian couldn’t help it.  He started coughing and couldn’t stop.  When he finally quit enough to speak he asked “and what did you tell her?”

“I told her that I had tried when she was 13 but because there was something in her records that said she could not be adopted without parental release that I was told no.”

“You tried to adopt her when she was 13?  Why didn’t I know about this?”

“Because you know all about Sarah and I didn’t want you to think I was trying to replace her with Christy.  If I had told you, would you have agreed with me or tried to stop me?”

“I would like to think that we would have sat down and talked about it and then gone on from there.”

“Good, because that is exactly what I am doing now.  I want to adopt Jimmy and I want you to go along with it.”

“How long have you wanted to do this?”

“A few months.  That is one of the things Christy and I talked about.  She wanted me to know that if we were to ever adopt Jimmy it was okay because she sees him as her real brother anyway.”

“She said that she sees him as her real brother?”

“Yes, why?”

“Oh, nothing.”  Brian knew that something was up with Christy.  And he was going to find out exactly what it was.  “I think that adopting Jimmy is something that I have been thinking about as well.  Why don’t we have a talk with both Christy and Jimmy before we make our final decision?  No matter how much we love that little boy, he still has a right to decide what he wants to do.”

He watched as Emily began smiling a smile that would light up the room.  He watched as she left the room humming a song that he had not heard her hum since the day she had given Sarah away as a baby.  It was the song she was humming when he carried the baby out the door.  Brian knew that they were going into a time that would be very turbulent.  But first he had to talk with Christy.  He had to find out what it was that she knew.

“Hey, I’m going to take Christy over to the new offices.”  Brian called through the doorway.  “She has offered to help Jeremy and me with the decorations.  I want to see just how good she is.  I’ll talk to her about Jimmy while we are there.”

“Sounds good to me.  I’ll catch you later sweetie.”

“Christy, let’s go for a ride.”  Brian called down the hallway to Christy’s room.  “I want to get your impression about that topic at your birthday lunch.  You can also begin trying your hand at interior decorating with my office.”

“Great, let me get something real quick and then I will meet you at the car.  My car, I’ll drive.”  She called back laughing.

“You just can’t get enough of that car can you?  Okay, let’s go.”

Brian watched as Christy ran to her room.  When she came back she was carrying a small box about the size of a photo album.  He wondered just what it was that she had in it.  Every time that he had seen the box she had always kept it locked.  For the last couple of months she had been keeping it hidden.

“Here hold this.”  Christy thrust the box into his hands as they were getting into the car.  “Remember to buckle-up.”  Christy said excitedly.  “I just love this car.  Thanks Dad!”

They were soon at Brian’s office and Christy had begun looking through all the wallpaper and carpet samples that Brian and Jeremy had agreed upon.  Trying to combine two different tastes in an office was turning out like a marriage.  One would agree on one thing and the other would simply hate it.  They finally came to an agreement that whatever Christy chose would be what they would go with.

As Brian watched her he could see bits of Emily peeking through.  “Christy, how do you really feel about your Mom and me adopting Jimmy?”

“I think that it is cool.  It will be kind of neat having a little brother of my own again.”

“Are you talking about a real little brother or an adopted little brother?”

“Um, a real little brother, I think.”

“What are you not telling me?”

“Well, I found something a couple of months ago that I have not showed anyone yet.”

“You did?”  He wondered what she could have found.  There was no telling what was left of the stuff her adoptive parents had collected.  Brian had a feeling that the box was a clue to everything.

“Ya, it was in my photo album the whole time.”

“What was?”  Brian watched as she went over to the box they had set on the secretary’s desk and took something out.

“This was.”  Christy held out an old envelop with a piece of paper inside.  Brian read it quickly and then handed the whole thing back to her.

“Have you talked to your Mom about this yet?”

“No.  I wanted to talk to you first.  I thought maybe you could tell me what to do.”

Brian knew that with that little piece of paper everything was beginning to become untangled.

“Do you want to tell anyone?  Besides me, that is?”

“I’m not sure.  If you are talking about Mom, I don’t know if I want to talk to her or not.  Mom has never said anything you know.  About a baby.  I’m not sure I want to talk to her about this.  Not yet.”

“What are your feelings about this?”  Brian needed to hear this before he could make any type of decision.  There was just a feeling of relief that at least one other member of the family besides him knew about some of the secrets.

“I’m a little confused.  She told me that she wanted to adopt me.  But if she wants to adopt me why did she give me away in the first place?  Then she would not have to worry about adopting me.  Every time I think about it I became more confused.  I know that Mom loves me as Christy.  But would she still love me as her?”  She thrust out the paper.

Brian could see that there were questions that although he could answer he knew that it would be better for her to hear directly from Emily.  He just wished that the secrets that still remained were not weighing down his shoulders.

“I know she would.  She would love you no matter what your name was.  Christy, there are some things that I know from that time that I am not free to reveal at this time.  Things that I wish I could tell you but I can’t.  I will tell you this though, I have loved you from the first time I saw you.  Due to attorney-client privileges I can only reveal to you now that I was your adoptive parents lawyer.  I cannot tell you any of the details and I also cannot tell your Mom any of the details even though I am her husband.

If you want to tell your Mom what you found you have to do it on your own.  I will support your decision.   You see even though I know you found it, I cannot be there with you.  Once your Mom knows then and only then will I be free to discuss this with her.”

“You’ve known all along haven’t you?  You’ve known that I was Mom’s daughter?  Is that why you always left in a hurry every time Mom said something about me that could be one of the secrets?”

“Yes.  I knew from the first time that she mentioned your name when you were nine who you were.  That is one of the reasons why I moved to Abilene when I did.  I wanted to make sure that nothing came between you and your mother again while still maintaining my attorney-client privilege.  I never expected things to turn out the way they did.  I certainly never expected your Mom to become your foster mom, much less try to adopt you.”

“So, do you think I should tell her?”

“Christy, I think that you should make up your own mind about this.  This is something that you really need to think about.  Don’t just jump into it because you think you should.  You have to consider a lot of things.  For one your Mom has never revealed to you that she gave a daughter away.  If you confront her without thinking this through she might feel trapped.  Now I know that she would never do anything to hurt you but if she is feeling trapped she might just say something that she would not mean.”

“What do you mean?”

“She could tell you that it isn’t any of your business and that you have no right digging into her past life.”

“Why would she say that?  I haven’t been digging into her life.  I found this in my own stuff.”

“That is why you have to think this through.  You can’t just walk in and confront her with this knowledge without first opening the doors for communication.”

“What would you suggest I do?”

“Let me think about it for a couple of days. And I will talk to you about it again.  Now show me what you have chosen for the interior designs of my new office.”

Brian watched as Christy once again looked through the samples and came up with a combination for the carpeting and wallpaper.

“How do you like this?”  She held up a sample that he would never have put together.  But for some reason it worked.  It was even something that Jeremy would like.

“I think that’s great.  How about we go and show it to Jeremy?  I think he will like it as well.”

“Is he my uncle now?  Does he know about me?”  Brian could see that Christy really did need some answers to questions that he did not feel he should be providing.  Although Christy now knew her heritage he was still holding so much back.

“Yes, he is your uncle.  You need to ask him. And I really do think that you should tell your Mom.”  He was beginning to think that getting this confrontation over with was going to be the best thing for the entire family.  “Why don’t we go home?  I will make Jimmy and me scarce so that you can do what you need to do.  When we come home then I will talk to your Mom.  And you can talk to your Uncle Jeremy about what he knows.”

Brian asked Christy if he could drive them home.  She said yes, but he drove home with a heavy heart.  He knew that the next few hours would be stressful for his marriage.  He just hoped that Emily would be able to forgive him his years of silence.  So while Christy and Emily talked Brian took Jimmy out to the park.  He also called Jeremy and told him about the surprise that was in store for him in a few hours.  He also asked him not to reveal anything about Jack and Christy’s inheritance.  He wanted to clear the air between him and Emily and then tell them both together about it.  Jeremy agreed to the plan.

When he returned home the place was silent.  He found Christy in her room playing with CD’s.  She just gave him thumbs up to let him know that things went well.  Now it was up to him to finish up the scenario.

“Christy, when I am finished talking to your mother, there are still some other things that I need to talk to you about.  Your Uncle Jeremy is going to take you and Jimmy for the night.  We will pick you up tomorrow while Jeremy takes Jimmy to the zoo.”

“Okay.  When will he be here?”

“It sounds like he is driving up right now.  Go ahead and get a bag together.  I’ll get one for Jimmy and meet you in the front hall.”

Brian hurried to get the bag ready and find Jimmy.  Then he took the bag to the hall with Christy.  He watched as Jeremy greeted his niece for the first time without any pretense, just an enthusiastic hug.  Then he noticed Emily watching in the living room doorway.  She had been crying but she was slowly beginning to realize that there was something going on here that was more than just finding out about Christy.  He watched as she just stood there staring at him with questions in her eyes.

He felt terrible.  He could see the walls of his marriage crumbling and he knew that there was not a lot that he could do about it.

“Christy please don’t forget; I will pick you up tomorrow morning about 9:00.”  With that Brian watched Christy, Jimmy and Jeremy walk out the door leaving him to clear the air with Emily.

“Okay, now can you tell me what is going on?  You have been hiding things from me for a long time.  I have watched you close up through the years when one thing or another came up with Christy and I just never put it together.  You have known this whole time that I was Christy’s mother haven’t you?  How could you not, you were her adoptive parents’ lawyer.”

“Yes, I have known.  But I couldn’t tell you.  Just like you said I had been the adoptive parents’ lawyer and I had a sworn oath to maintain the attorney-client privilege.  You never asked their names and once you gave up your rights I had no way to tell them to you.  I also knew the name that they changed Sarah’s name too.”

“Has everything been a game to you?  You knew that I never wanted to give up my baby.  Yet you never did anything to get us back together.”

“No, this has not been a game.  When you told me that you had met a little girl named Christy Daniels I knew that fate was at work.  I just had to be here with you.  I fell in love with you so long ago that I could not let you go through discovering her on your own.  But you never did discover her.  You just went right on with life and living with Christy like you didn’t have a care in the world.”

“Can I tell you something?  I think I have known for a long time now that Christy was Sarah.  I just never wanted to admit it.  How could I have not acknowledged it for so long?”

“Did you really want to acknowledge it?  Emily now that you know there is more that I need to tell you.”

“What more could there be?  We know who Christy is now and her birth father has been dead since before she was born.”

“Um, well about Jack.”

“You know his name?”

“Yes, Jeremy told me a few years ago.”

“Please start from the beginning.  I never told Jeremy about Jack so how could he know his name?”

“You’re right.  Here is a condensed version from the beginning.  I met with Jeremy when Christy was nine years old.  He showed me this file that was mailed to him anonymously that contained information about you and Jack.  The file said that Jack was not dead and that he had moved to Europe after the accident.”

“He wasn’t dead?  Why did everyone tell me that he was dead?”

“He had been paralyzed and the file revealed that your father had paid him to break up with you.”

“He What!”

“Yes, like I said the file indicated that your father had paid him to break up with you.  I was outraged too until I spoke to your father shortly before we were married.  You father said that he paid Jack $50,000 to break up with you and to never contact you again.  When he did this he had no idea about the baby, he said that he would never have approached Jack if he had.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter now.  Jack never wanted the baby.  He wanted me to get an abortion.  He said it was that or we would never marry.  That’s what we were arguing about when we had the accident.”

“Well your father was paying Jack $25,000 every year since the time of the accident until he died when Christy was 11.”

“So now you are telling me that Jack is really dead?”

“Yes, the obituary was in the New York Times.  I was so scared that you would have read it and was so hoping that you had not.”

“You wanted to keep it a secret.  What on earth would make you want to keep it a secret?” Emily demanded.

“Hold on a minute.”  Brian went to his briefcase and took out the file that he had put in it while he and Christy were at the office.  He pulled out the obituary and gave it to Emily to read.  He watched as she slowly realized just what it meant.

“Jack acknowledged his child?  He swore that if I had the child that he would deny being the father.  That was one of the things I blocked out after the accident.  He told me that he would accuse me of sleeping around and say that I was carrying someone else’s baby.”

“I don’t think he meant those things.  Your father told me that he became a friend to Jack through the years that he was living in Rome.  He came to believe that Jack really did love you in his own way.”

“Why would my father do that?  He had already paid the guy off to leave me.”  Brian could see that Emily was becoming confused.  This whole story sounded like something you would see on Broadway.  Even to him and he had known the entire story for years.

“Jack had been hurt in the accident.  I think that he regretted his words and accepting the money.  It is my impression that if the accident had not happened then Jack was going to give the money back.  Instead he ran to Europe and lived on as little as possible.  He used just enough of the money to meet his medical bills and then created quite a nest egg.  You read about that in the obituary.”

“So now what am I supposed to do?  Am I to say that all is forgiven?  Brian I really don’t care about Jack and his life anymore.  I haven’t for a long time.  But you kept so many secrets.  How am I supposed to forgive you?  I think that you should leave for a while.”

“As in I need to pack a bag for a while.  Or you just need to be alone for a while to come to grips with your thoughts.”

“You need to pack a bag for a while.  You don’t know how much you have hurt me by keeping these secrets.  You have known all along what I was going through and yet you never did anything to change it.  I need to come to grips with what you and my family did.  Not with what Jack did.”

“Emily, while you are thinking about it please remember that through the whole thing I have loved you.  I had to maintain the silence for as long as I did because I was sworn to uphold the attorney-client privilege.  If I had told you even one part of that story then the whole thing would have come out and then I could have been disbarred.  I was torn.  And I still am.  I don’t know how much of that privilege I have violated now.  With Christy finding the birth certificate I thought that now would be a great time to tell you.”

“Brian, would you please just go?  Give me some time to think about this.  I’ll pick up Christy tomorrow and tell her about Jack.  You don’t have to worry about that.  Then I will have Jeremy contact Jack’s lawyer and set up the DNA testing so we can close that chapter of our lives.”

“Your father was Jack’s lawyer.  He already knows about Christy and the inheritance.”

“Enough, I can’t handle any more.  Please give me some time.”

“How much time do you think you will need?”  He asked sadly.

“Please, just give me a call later with a number where you can be reached.  I will get back in touch with you when I have been able to adjust to these changes.  I don’t know how long that will take.”

He knew that slowly his world was coming unraveled.  Brian knew that he would have to let his wife begin to deal with this in her own way.  He just hoped that she would forgive him and let him come home soon.  He quietly left the room and went to pack a bag hoping that she would call to him and say never mind that she didn’t want him to leave.  That never happened.  So he left a note on the dresser that told her where he could be reached.  He knew that she would never answer the phone when he called.  Then he quietly left the house and drove away.

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