Poison's Bend: Chapter 14
Lazlo refused to move in unless we were married.
He said it was the old-fashioned-ness coming out in him, and he also said it would be better for Catherine... less confusing... if she knew there was a long-term commitment from him before he moved in and tried to be her stepfather. He said she may not understand it exactly like that, but she’d feel it all the same.
I had to agree.
We were married in a private ceremony surrounded by autumn leaves, and my surname once again became Curious.
Truly I could not be happier.
When I looked at my swarthy, playful, handsome husband, and watched him with my daughter, I felt so much joy.
I had been through so much to come to this moment.
Surely this was what was meant to be!
Early one winter morning several months into our marriage, there was an unexpected pounding on the front door during a fierce blizzard. Catherine was still asleep; school had been closed that day, and Lazlo and I were relaxing by the fire in the library, lingering over our cups of coffee.
We both jumped when we heard the sound.
“Who in the hell could that be?” Lazlo wondered, walking swiftly to the door. Cautiously, he peered out the sidelight... “Hey, it’s Johnny!” he called. “My nephew, Johnny!”
He flung the door open, and a shivering, alien-skinned, blond young man hurried inside.
“Get in here, man!” my husband laughed. “What the hell are you doing out on a day like today?”
“You have no idea,” Johnny replied, his teeth chattering. He unwound the scarf from around his neck and blew on his fingers. “Gods, is it cold!”
“I’ll make some hot cocoa,” I said, and headed toward the kitchen. “Go on into the library and have a seat, Johnny... there’s a warm fire in there.”
“Thanks,” the young man said gratefully, flashing me a winning smile, and still blowing on his fingers, he followed Lazlo into the library.
When I came back with the steaming mugs, Johnny and my husband were deep in conversation, sitting in front of the crackling fire. Unobtrusively, I passed around the cocoa, then sat down on the sofa next to Lazlo.
“...trouble in paradise, eh?” Lazlo was saying with a grin, and the half alien young man sighed.
“Trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it,” he said. “She kicked me out... for good this time, she says. I dunno, Uncle Lazlo... I think she means it.”
“Well, what in the hell did you do?” Lazlo’s words were harsh, but his eyes were kind.
“Nothing!” the young man protested, warming his hands on the mug of cocoa. “Well, nothing that I thought was that bad. She just...” he sighed again. “She wants me to stay home all the time, Uncle Lazlo... and you know how I like to go out and meet new people! I don’t cheat on her... and I think she knows that, but she still doesn’t like it.” He shook his head.
“Well, Johnny,” Lazlo replied with a slight edge creeping into his voice, “who wouldn’t like a husband who partied until three in the morning four nights a week, came home too drunk to go to work, and spent the next day sleeping off his hangover, leaving her to take care of the kids, the house, and clean up after him to boot?”
Johnny cringed. “Jeez, you make it sound so...”
“...bad?” Lazlo finished. “Look, John, I have no problem letting you stay here until you get yourself together, but here’s the deal... you will get yourself together. Understand?”
"Yes, Uncle Lazlo."
My head snapped up.
Did he just say, ‘stay here’?
My husband continued, addressing himself to Johnny. “That means, no partying, no getting so pissed drunk that you can’t keep a job, working on getting some promotions... making something of yourself. Get it?”
The young man nodded contritely.
“Maybe after you’ve shown you can do that, Ophelia will take you back.”
“Maybe,” came the reply. “I sure hope so.”
Johnny was going to stay here?
“I’m sorry, Aerin,” Lazlo said, turning to me. “I should have made some better introductions. Aerin, this is my nephew, Johnny Smith. Johnny, this is my wife Aerin. Everybody warm and fuzzy?” He grinned as Johnny and I laughed.
“It’s nice to meet you,” I said to the young man, and shook his hand, which I'm sure was much warmer than it had been when he'd come in.
“The same,” he replied, giving my hand a slight squeeze.
“Johnny’s been having some hard times at home,” Lazlo continued, “and I told him he could stay with us until things got better. I hope that’s all right.”
“Oui, Of course it is,” I murmured, looking deeply into Johnny’s green eyes. “Please, Johnny... make yourself at home. We have plenty of space. Just find a bedroom that looks unoccupied and make it yours.”
“Wow, thank you so much,” he replied gratefully, finishing his cocoa. “...and if no one minds, I think I’m going to go scan the want ads for a job. Aerin, do you have a computer?”
“Right this way,” I said, standing and leading him to the home office, which wasn’t far from the library. “Here you are,” I said, gesturing toward the desk. “Good luck in your search.”
“Thanks, I’ll need it,” he said, grinning and tossing his flaxen hair back from his forehead.
Oh, his smile was captivating.
There was no other way to describe it.
It was so exciting, knowing this enticing young man would now be part of my household!
“Well, if there’s anything else you need, Johnny,” I said in a low voice, touching him gently on the shoulder as I left the room, “all you have to do is let me know.”
To Be Continued...