Parental Deception; chapter ten, part three

Chapter Ten; Part Three

I take a deep breath and dive back into the dossier that Yuri has provided me. It gives more details about TAP, including that investors poured close to $50 million dollars into it. I blink at the number. I was expecting it to be a few million or maybe ten at the most. It’s more than I thought it would be, even though it’s still peanuts to most venture capitalists. There’s an interview with Richard Liang in which he threatens to kill George, but I can’t tell if he really means it or if he’s just letting off steam. Scott Huang takes a more legalistic approach by threatening to sue George. Both of these statements came after George went back to San Francisco. I find out that they managed to put a lien on George’s assets. My mouth drops because that’s not easy to do, and I wonder if they have a judge in their pockets. Things were pretty grim for George for the next year. I have to wonder how he kept Rowena in the dark about this, or maybe she knew. Just because she didn’t tell me about it doesn’t mean she wasn’t in on it. From her point of view, why would she tell me? I’m going to have to call her again, which is the last thing I want to do. On impulse, I start another post.

I don’t understand wanting to be kept in the dark in a relationship. Let me explain. I’m not a very confrontational person, but if I’m going to be with someone, I have to trust them. If I don’t, then I’m only half present in the relationship, if even that. I know everyone has secrets, and it’s healthy to keep some things to yourself. However, I don’t understand not wanting to know something major about your partner. Take, for example, a man who has two families in different states. Even if he is a master at dissimulating, you have to know on some base level if you’re one of the wives, right? Even if he has a job that allows him to travel freely around the country, there has to be a little voice in the back of your mind that tells you something is wrong. Nobody can keep up that façade perfectly for a lifetime. Whether it’s a slip on the kid’s birthday or calling you by the wrong name, I firmly believe there are tells, even if you choose to ignore them.

I had an affair with a married man when I was in my mid-thirties and he was in his forties. We saw each other once a week, which was all I wanted from him. It was light and fun, and we were together for over a year. During that time, he would call me while he was in the car with his wife sleeping and his kids watching cartoons on their tablets or whatever we watched videos on in those days. We consistently went over his minutes for the month, and since his wife managed their money, he had to explain it to her. Personally, if the person I was in a monogamous relationship with talked over thirty hours a month on the phone with someone who wasn’t me, I’d be a tad suspicious. In addition, we met on the Wednesday nights every week, and he told his wife he was going bowling with the guys. You mean to tell me she didn’t ask any of ‘the guys’ ever about those bowling nights?

I know it’s common, and I know it’s more a matter of denial than actual not knowing. It’s still sad to me that so many people settle in their romantic relationships to the point where they’ll take crumbs rather than expect a whole cake.

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General Housekeeping

I am having laptop issues and cannot access my fiction folder. Until I resolve that, I can’t post any fiction. Hopefully, I will get this all figured out this week, but until then, here’s a Missy Elliott video to get your blood pumping.

Parental Deception; chapter ten, part two

Chapter Ten; Part Two

“Did you know?” I demand, my voice hard.

“Excuse me, what?” Understandably, Mrs. Tsai is confused. “Who is this?”

“Megan Liang,” I say through gritted teeth. “Did you know that your husband bilked my sisters and me out of our inheritance?”

“What are you saying? I don’t understand.” There’s fear in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s hiding something or because I’m ranting like a crazy woman. I take a few slow and smooth breaths so I don’t verbally slaughter her. I’m mad at her husband, who is now dead. I shouldn’t take it out on her.

“Your husband was the executor of my father’s will,” I say, my voice dangerously calm.

“Yes, I know. He said Henry had given all the money to us.” There is nothing but sincerity in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I’m sorry I’m going to have to be the bearer of bad news.

“Did you see any of that money?” I ask. I know it’s a leading question, but I need to find out what she knows.

“No. George said wills take time. Probate and all that.” It’s clear she knows nothing and that her husband had been deceiving her as well. Suddenly, I wonder if I should tell her what I know because chances are, the will is in his house. I doubt he even submitted it to probate. I’m assuming there has to be a copy in legal land somewhere, but I’m not sure. If I tell Mrs. Tsai, she might destroy the will. Then again, Mr. Tsai probably already has. I need to call a lawyer and stat. First, though, I confront Mrs. Tsai.

“Your husband lied. My father did not leave his money to you—he left it to my sisters and me. I have proof,” I say, hoping she won’t ask me what proof and how I got it. “I’m assuming you didn’t know about this.”

“No! Are you saying George lied to me? He wouldn’t do that.” I stay silent, though it’s clear to me that her husband has lied to her about many things.

“Your husband also was the one stealing money from his partners, not the other way around.” I feel as if I’m pummeling her with the information, but I have run out of patience at this point. I’m furious that her husband was a piece of shit who decided to intrude upon my life. I really wish I hadn’t heard of him, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

“I can’t deal with this.” Click. She hung up on me! I stare at my phone in shock. I mean, it’s not that surprising given the barrage of information I’d given her, but it’s very un-Taiwanese behavior, especially for an elder. Then again, she’s lived in San Francisco for most if not all her life, so she’s more American than Taiwanese. I stifle my impulse to call her back because it won’t do any good. Instead, I read about the will again, and I get angry all over again. I call Viv and wait impatiently for her to answer. I know she’ll still be awake, whereas Jasmine has probably been asleep since a half hour after we returned home.

“What’s up, Meg? I was just about to start a piece.” Viv’s voice is distracted, and I know I have five minutes at best to keep her attention.

“I found out more information about our father,” I say, stepping outside to smoke. “He left all his money to us in his will.”

“His will,” Viv repeats, her voice uninterested. Then a few seconds later, “His will???”

“Yes. He made that man his executor, but Mr. Tsai decided not to fulfill his duties.” There is bitterness in my voice, and I don’t attempt to hide it. My rage needs to go somewhere, and I know Viv can handle it.

“You can do that?” Viv is as astounded as I was before I Googled the issue at hand. The number of people who’ve bilked their so-called loved ones out of the family fortune has disheartened me. I know families can be shitty to each other, but it’s depressing, nonetheless.

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Parental Deception; chapter ten, part one

Chapter Ten; Part One

“Viv! It’s good to see you again.” I throw my arms around my sister and hug her tight. She’s wearing a slinky little black dress with her hair in artful waves, and she looks stunning.

“You, too, Meg.” Viv holds me at arm’s length and studies my dress. As I’m wearing a short red dress that barely hides my tits and ass, I’m confident that I’ll meet her standards. She believes in flaunting what the good lord gave you, and I’m inclined to agree with her. “I’ve made reservations at Haute Dish. Is that OK with you?”

“It’s fine,” I say, a distinct lack of enthusiasm in my voice. I’m not a big fan of deconstructed food, and I don’t want puree in the middle of my tater tots. Still. Viv is the guest, so she gets to choose. “Where are Jasmine and Bob?”

“Bob is taking a nap. Jasmine is getting ready. She’s coming with us.” Viv fusses with her purse before bringing out a warm red lipstick and applying it.

“What?!” My mouth drops open in surprise. I hadn’t even invited Jasmine because I was so sure she wouldn’t come with us.

“She wanted us girls to go out once before I go back home,” Viv says, finishing with her lipstick. She puts it back in her purse and snaps the purse shut.

“I’m glad. It’ll be fun.” I have my reservations because we had such a different reaction to Mr. Tsai, but it’ll be great to have the three of us together again.

“Hi, Megan! You look great.” Jasmine hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. Unlike Viv and me in our monochromatic dresses, she’s wearing a pink floral print that suits her. Her dress reaches her knees, and she’s covered up her own impressive bosom.

“So do you, Jasmine,” I say as I pull back. “Let’s face it. We are three fine-looking ladies!” We link arms and go outside. Since I’m not in the mood to drink tonight, I’m driving. Neither of my sisters drink much, either, but they’re not against a glass of wine every now and again.

We chat about our lives on our way to Haute Dish. I don’t know about them, but I need a break from all the heaviness that has dominated my life in the past few months. We laugh and giggle, and I can feel my spirits lifting. When we reach the restaurant, I look over the menu. The Beet X 5 is calling to me as an appetizer, and I decide on the Quail in a Can for my dinner. Once we’ve ordered, Jasmine brings up the subject we’ve all been avoiding—that man.

“What do you girls think about the news?” She asks, lifting her glass of wine to her lips. “I can’t believe he was lying about being our father.”

“I can,” I say bluntly. “I never really thought he was our father.”

“So you’re glad to be proven right?” Jasmine asks, her voice rising a bit.

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Parental Deception; chapter nine, part three

Chapter Nine; Part Three

“Mrrrrrreow!” Onyx leaps into the air, and I catch her effortlessly. I cradle her to my chest and nuzzle her fur. She purrs happily, waving her front paws in the air. Jet dances around me, excited that his human is home. He bats at my legs, careful to keep his claws retracted. I ruffle the fur on his head, and he snuffles happily as if he’s a dog. I carry Onyx into the kitchen as she continues to fling her paws about. She’s being so goofy, I can’t help but laugh. Jet is literally nipping at my heels, and I admonish him to move away so I don’t step on him. He doesn’t listen, of course, because he’s a cat, and I use my empty stepping so I don’t accidentally squish him. I pull out the bag of Temptations and give them each four. I’m trying to curb their snacking, but I admit my heart’s not in it. I heat up some of the Thanksgiving leftovers, including a piece of the sweet potato pie. I grab a Diet Coke so when everything is ready, I can take my booty to the living room. As I’m eating, I start a new post about lies and deceptions. I don’t want to write specifically about George Tsai, but his deception galls me.

The sign of a good con man is that he knows intuitively his marks’ weaknesses. It’s the one ‘compliment’ I can give the president-elect—he has an uncanny knack for giving the people what they want. Not all people, of course, but enough to be elected—but that’s not the post I want to write, so I’m going to put it aside for now with great difficulty.

Recently, I had a man come into y life who purported to be someone I used to know. I didn’t quite believe him, but, I wanted to so very much.

My phone rings, startling me. I’m not expecting a call, but when I glance at the screen, I recognize the number. I can’t quite place it, but at least it’s not a telemarketer. I answer just because curiosity will kill me one day.

“Hello?” I say cautiously, ready to click the phone off if I’ve been tricked, and, indeed, it is an advertiser.

“How come you didn’t tell me?” A distraught female voice greets my ear. I yank my phone away because she’s hurting my ear.

“Mrs. Tsai? Is that you?” I think I can place the voice, but I’m not sure because it’s at high volume.

“You knew he was dead when you talked to me. That’s how you found me!” She’s continuing her monologue without paying any attention to me, but I get the gist of it. She’s pissed because I didn’t tell her that her husband was dead when we last talked, and I don’t blame her. I would be angry with me, too, if I were her. However, I don’t feel that bad because her husband offered a whopper of a lie to me and my sisters without any remorse. While she hadn’t approved of it, she went along with it. Was it her job to tell me and my sisters? No. It sure as hell would have been nice, though.

“I’m sorry,” I say, although it’s begrudging. “I didn’t think it was y place to tell you. How did you find out?”

“The Minneapolis police called me,” she says, bursting into tears. “Oh my god! How can he be dead? I just talked to him last night!”

“It seems he was going to have it out with someone he thought had scammed him,” I inform her, telling her everything I know. “Does that sound familiar to you?”

“What? No! I—wait. Is this from when he lived in Minnesota? We weren’t together at that time.” Mrs. Tsai is still crying, but at least I can understand what she’s saying. “George was secretive about his time in Minnesota. He always said it was a mistake and that he didn’t want to talk about it. I should have made him!” She bursts into tears again, and I wait for her to regain her calm. Every time she tries to catch her breath, she starts crying again.

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Parental Deception; chapter nine, part two

They had the funeral a week later, and it was attended by hundreds of people. Several of them spoke up, giving loving eulogies of Henry. Many of them were gay men that he had met through the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus, and they sang, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men, which was one of Henry’s favorite groups. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when they were done. George soaked up all the stories, and after the funeral was over, he was found huddled with a handful of Henry’s closest friends, trading stories. Rowena had a hard time getting him to leave, and he was in deep thought all the way home.

Once he was able to examine Henry’s assets, he spent hours poring over everything he found in Henry’s house. The furniture, all of which Henry made, his computer, though there wasn’t much on it. Henry wasn’t a big email person and preferred to talk on the phone. George found a cache of letters, and that’s when the idea to impersonate Henry sprung into his mind. The letters were the fifty or so that Henry had written to Jasmine, Viv, and me, once a week for a year after he left. Every one of them was returned unopened with the words, “Return to Sender” written on the top of the envelope. George opened them and read each one. Several times. There was also a journal written in Henry’s hand, and it was filled with reminiscing from his time with his family. George read the journal entries  several times as well, especially the passages that had memories of Henry’s three daughters.

“George, it’s late,” Rowena said at midnight. George had brought all the paper paraphernalia from Henry’s house home, and he was reading through them once again. “Come to bed.”

“In a minute, Ro,” George said distractedly, his eyes on the journal. He was thumbing through it again, and he had a pencil in his hand. She could tell that he’d been marking the journal with his pencil, but she didn’t know why.

“What’re you doing, George?” Ro asked, peering over his shoulder.

“Nothing!” George snapped, covering the journal with his free hand.

“George!” Rowena said, placing her hands on her hips. “Do not talk to me in that tone.”

“Sorry, sorry,” George said, his voice softening. “I just….” He hesitated. He uncovered the journal and pushed it toward Rowena. She took it, her brow furrowed. Even when she read his notes, she didn’t understand what he was doing.

“What’s going on, George? I don’t understand.” She handed the journal back to George, and he held it almost reverently. He laid it carefully on his desk before responding.

“Ro, what’s the one thing I’ve regretted in my life?” George asked, looking hard at Rowena.

“Not moving back to Taiwan,” Rowena said promptly.

“What? No! I love our life in San Francisco.” George was startled by Rowena’s response. “No, it’s not having children.” Rowena’s face fell, and she instinctively tightened her shoulders.

“You gonna blame me for that again?” Her voice was weary as it’s an argument they’d had a million times before.

“No! I’m not. Really.” George patted Rowena’s hand, and she relaxed her shoulders in response. “But it’s what I’ve missed the most in my life.” He took a deep breath and added, “I’m going to meet Henry’s children. As him.”

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Parental Deception; chapter nine, part one

Chapter Nine; Part One

“Gah.” I’m awakened by my phone ringing. It’s Jasmine’s ring, and it’s not stopping. I let it go to VM as I glance at my clock. It’s five in the morning, and I’m going to kill Jasmine for calling me so early. A minute later, my phone starts ringing again, and it’s Jasmine—again. I have a hunch she’s not going to stop calling me until I answer, so I grab my phone. “What?” I snap, pissed off that she’d call me so early. “This better be important.”

“He’s dead, Megan!” Jasmine screams, causing me to wince. I yank the phone from my ear and glance over at Rembrandt. He’s still sleeping, of course, because nothing short of a hurricane will wake him up.

“Who’s dead, Jasmine?” I ask, slipping out of bed so I can grab a cigarette while we talk. Onyx and Jet meep in protest, but they remain on the bed. I go downstairs, take my cigarette and mug outside, and smoke.

“Henry! Our father! Look at the local news.” Jasmine is still screeching, which is setting my teeth on edge. Then, her words sink into my brain, and I’m jolted awake.

“Hold on.” I quickly pull up the Strib’s website, and there’s a picture of that man staring back at me from the lower right corner. The photo is just of his face, thankfully, but it’s accompanied with the question, “Who is this man?” I frown. Why would they need to ask that question? He should have some identification on him that says who he is. Come to think of it, why the hell didn’t I ask for any identification from him? I curse myself, then dismiss it as unimportant at this point. I read the article, and it says that he was hit by a car last night in Richfield. Richfield. Why does that tickle my brain? I go through my mental rolodex of what that man told me, and I finally recall that he used to work for the IT department of Best Buy, who are based in Richfield. He also talked about being bilked out of money by somebody or bodies during that time, so it wouldn’t be surprising if those people live in Richfield.

“Did you read it?” Jasmine asks, her voice tearful.

“Yes, Jasmine,” I say. “I did.”

“I’m going to the police to tell them what I know,” Jasmine says, breaking down. “I’ll let you know what they tell me.”

“Do you want me to go with you?” It’s going to make it difficult for me to get to work on time, but I’ll do it for her.

“No. I can do it myself. You go to work.” Jasmine’s voice is wavering, but she sounds determined.

“OK. Let me know as soon as you’re done there.” I could sleep for another hour, but I’m wide awake with this news. It’s bothering me that I never asked that man for identification, and I’m kicking myself for being so stupid. I didn’t push him hard enough on why he scrubbed his online history, and I brushed off that phone call he received when we first met. In addition, I didn’t ask more about the business venture that went wrong and—oh shit. He sent me that rambling email last night in which he said he was going after the people who stole his money.

I take a shower, a long one because I have the time. When I get out of the shower, Onyx and Jet are on the counter. I give them each a skritch behind the ears before going back into the bedroom to get dressed. Rembrandt is in the middle of the bed, his arms splayed to the sides. Ginger is smack dab in the middle of his stomach, also splayed on her back. I snicker at them before pulling on a pair of brown corduroy pants and a magenta blouse. I’m hungry, so I go downstairs to see what I can rustle up for breakfast. I usually just make toast and jam, which is what I resort to this time. Toast and strawberry jam. It’s not very original, but it gets the job done. I still have time before I need to leave, so I check my blog. The debate about sex is still raging, and people on both sides are getting heated. No one is crossing the line into disrespectful, though, so I don’t step in. I Google more about that man being run over, but there isn’t much. Let’s face it, it’s not a sexy story in any way—an older Taiwanese man gets hit by a car—so I don’t expect it to be front page news. The fact that they don’t know who he is does add to the mystery, but that won’t take much to clear up. I’m startled out of my musing by my phone ringing. It’s Jasmine, which means she’s probably done with the police.

“What did they tell you?” I ask, making sure I have everything I need for work.

“He’s not our father,” Jasmine says before bursting into tears.

“You don’t say,” I say, my tone even. I’m not completely surprised, though I am angry at his deception.

“They called the police out where he’s supposed to have lived, and they found out Henry Liang died a month ago in San Francisco.”

“What?” That does surprise me, though I can’t say why. “So this man stole our dead father’s identity?”

“Yes!” Jasmine is sobbing, and I ache to wrap her in my arms. “I can’t believe I was so stupid.”

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Parental Deception; chapter eight, part three

Chapter Eight; Part Three

Predictably, I start getting antsy, but I don’t want to disturb our fragile détente. I breathe smoothly and slowly, trying to expel the tension from my body. I roll my neck around, which helps. My leg is falling asleep, but I don’t want to move it because it’ll disturb Onyx. Rembrandt’s breathing slows down, and when I peek at him, I notice that he’s fallen asleep. He and Ginger are snoring in a compatible rhythm, and I wish I could join him in la-la land. I put Onyx on Rembrandt’s lap next to Ginger and move Jet’s paws off my thighs and onto the couch. I ease away from Rembrandt without waking him, then go outside to smoke. I’m not pleased with the way our conversation went, even though Rembrandt was more gracious than I had any right to expect him to be. What I wanted was for him to say he was fine with us being open, but I knew that was unrealistic before I even brought up the subject. I also know he won’t be happy that I left the couch, but what does he expect? For me to sit around meekly waiting for him to wake up? I’m working myself into a snit, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I know it’s because I’m panicking at the commitment I’ve made to Rembrandt, as limited as it is.

“Hi, honey,” Rembrandt says, putting his arm around my waist. “It’s a bracing night, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I say leaning back against him. He puts his arms around me and holds me close. I can feel his heart beating against my back, and it’s strangely comforting. He doesn’t say anything, and neither do I. I can feel the tension draining out of me as all the strawman arguments I had created in my brain melt away. Rembrandt is such a sweetheart, and any woman would be happy to have him doting on her. What the fuck is wrong with me? Maybe I shouldn’t even be dating if I’m dithering this much about having a wonderful man care so much about me. I push the thoughts to the back of my mind and try to stay in the moment.

“Can I stay the night?” Rembrandt asks, his voice tentative. I can feel his cock digging into my ass, and my body responds accordingly.

“Yes.” I turn to face Rembrandt, kissing him hard on his lips. He grabs my head and kisses me in return. There’s a fierceness to his kiss, and I know I’m in for a night of raw sex, which is fine with me. Sometimes, I want slow and gentle loving, but other times, I just want to be fucked. That’s what I want now, and Rembrandt is more than willing to oblige. We race upstairs, tearing off each other’s clothes as we go. By the time we reach my bedroom and close the door on three inquisitive cat noses, we’re naked. We hit the bed with a thud, and there’s little conversation between us. We’re totally focused on the business at hand, and I’m more than ready to fuck him. Normally, I like a fair amount of foreplay, but not tonight. I want his cock in me as soon as possible, and I push on his arm to indicate it’s time. He rolls a condom down his erect cock and thrusts all the way into me in one go. I bite down on his shoulder, leaving a distinct bite mark. He returns the favor on the back of my neck, and I moan in pleasure. I turn us over so I’m on top. I’m in the mood to ride him, and ride him I do. I slam myself down on his cock, clenching around him with my muscles as I do. He has his hands on my hips, but he’s letting me set the pace. I lean forward and kiss him on the lips. He bites my lip, and I bite his in return. Then, he grabs one tit in his hand while sucking on the other nipple. I know I’m close, so I speed up. I need to come now, no delayed gratification for me. My orgasm hits me in an explosion, and Rembrandt isn’t far behind. I’m screaming something as I come, but I’m not sure what. Once I’m done, I collapse on him. I have no energy or strength, not even to roll off of him.

“Girl,” Rembrandt croaks, his voice hoarse. I don’t know why as he didn’t say much as we were fucking, but I dismiss it as not important. After a few seconds, I flop onto the bed, a silly grin on my face. I hear the cats meowing to be let in, but I can’t make my legs work. Rembrandt rolls himself off the bed, staggers to the door, and lets them in. They scold him as they jump onto the bed, smack dab in the middle. The three of them twine around each other and promptly fall asleep. Rembrandt laughs and lies next to them. They are between us, acting as a barrier. I want to cuddle, so I move them, one by one, to my other side. Predictably, they don’t approve of that, but they begrudgingly comply. I scootch over to Rembrandt. He puts his arm around me and falls asleep. I’m content to lie in his arm for several minutes before I need to move again. I slip out from under his arm and go to the bathroom. I take a quick shower to wash away the sex funk, and it feels good. As much as I like sex, I don’t like to wallow in the fluids. When I whisk back the curtain, I see my cats staring back at me. I assume Ginger is still with Rembrandt, which is fine by me. I go down to the living room to check on my blog. I’m still receiving comments on my post on families, and I know it’s time to write my next post. I decide it’s going to be on sex.

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Parental Deception: chapter eight, part two

Chapter Eight; Part Two

I am still thinking about it as I drive home. I list all the reasons it’s a bad idea, but there’s a small voice in the back of my head saying, “I don’t care. Fuck his brains out.” I try to shut it up, but it refuses to be quiet. Should I even mention it to Rembrandt? I mean, if it’s just going to be one night, why bother? I know I’m rationalizing, however, because I don’t want to deal with the drama of discussing it with Rembrandt. The fact that I want to fuck someone else only a month after starting to date Rembrandt suggests that maybe I need to cool things down with Rembrandt. I’ve already started to feel restless after spending three nights with him, so maybe this is a sign.

“Meow!” Onyx launches herself into my arms, and I catch her effortlessly. I snuggle her to my chest as I slip off my shoes. Jet bumps his head against my shin, and I reach down to ruffle the fur on his head. I’m having dinner with Liz at Sen Yai Sen Lek at six, which means I have to about fifteen minutes before I have to leave again. I’m excited to see Liz because I haven’t seen her since she left for Philly a year and a half ago. I give my babies their treats and lots of fuss before taking off again. I arrive at Sen Yai Sen Lek at ten minutes to six, which means I have to wait for at least ten minutes, and probably twenty. Liz is perennially late for social events, and it’s something I tease her about to this day. Fifteen minutes later, she walks in. Her red curls are swept up on top of her head, and her emerald eyes are sparkling behind her glasses. She’s wearing a deep green dress that brushes her knees, and she looks fantastic.

“Megan!” Liz calls out, a wide grin crossing her face.

“Liz!” I jump up, run over to her, and hug her hard. We both start babbling at each other as we make our way to the table I had already snagged.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” Liz asks as she studies the menu.

“Surprisingly good,” I reply. I’ve already decided on my order, so I don’t pick up my menu. “I met Rembrandt’s mother and brothers plus partners and children for lunch, and then I brought him to Jasmine’s for dinner. Which was fine except that man was there. How about you?”

“Thanksgiving was fantastic! It was my family and Frankie’s family, which was about fifty people. Hey, he’s Italian, and so is my mom.” Liz sets her menu aside, and the server rushes over to take our order. Once she’s gone, Liz continues. “Day after Thanksgiving with my father wasn’t as fun because we flew out at the crack of dawn to LA, and he was stinking drunk. I think he was nervous being around Rosa for the first time in a few years.”

“Sorry. That must have sucked.” I sip at my Diet Coke, then at my water.

“I was glad to leave, I can tell you that much.” Liz drinks her Thai iced tea and sighs. She’s had a rocky relationship with her father since he left her mother for another woman when Liz was ten years old. It’s one of the things we bonded over—our fathers leaving our families.

“I bet.” The server comes with our appetizers, fried tofu and chicken skewers. We both take a few minutes to heap our plates with both.

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Parental Deception chapter eight, part one

Chapter Eight; Part One

“Meow!” Onyx hurtles through the air, and I catch her as if she’s a football thrown by Fran Tarkenton. Back before he became a Republican asshole, but that’s neither here nor there. She tucks her head under my chin and purrs loudly. Jet saunters over and whaps my shin with his paw. He immediately follows it up with a gentle rub of his head against the same shin, so I allow the hit this one time.

“Time for treats!” I carry Onyx into the kitchen with Jet trotting behind us. I set Onyx on the ground before giving her and Jet their Temptations. I grab a Diet Coke from the fridge before bringing it to the living room. Then, I go upstairs to change into sweats and heave a sigh of relief. It’s been a lot of interaction over the past few days, and I’m happy to be on my own again. With my cats, of course. Who are prancing around me in glee now that I’m home. We go back to the living room, and I check my blog. There are several heartwarming stories of family reconciliation and reunions. BearlyThere writes, “Before this year, I hadn’t talked to my brother or sister in over ten years even though we all live in Denver. Our family fell apart after my mother died because we all felt we deserved certain heirlooms that our mother promised us. Unfortunately, she promised a particular painting to all three of us—not out of maliciousness, but because she didn’t want to disappoint any of us. Unforgivable words were said by all three of us, and we all went our separate ways. A few months ago, my sister called me and said that she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. That shocked the hell out of me because in the back of my mind, I had all the time in the world to reconnect with my brother and sister. I didn’t, and we had Thanksgiving together for the first time in ten years. It was awkward and sad, but also heartwarming and joyful. I got to meet two nephews and three nieces I’d never met before, plus my sister’s wife and my brother’s girlfriend. It was fucking amazing.”

SinsationalShivers reminisces, “I’m from a large Italian family. Our way of showing love is to shout at each other. I’m married to a Norwegian woman, and the first time I met her family, I was floored at how quiet they were. Afterwards, I asked my honey if her family hated me, and she just laughed and said that’s how they are. Conversely, when she met my family, she was wide-eyed as they screamed back and forth. It’s taken five years for us to truly understand each other’s family and by extension, each other. This year, we had a mixed Thanksgiving with her family and mine, and her uncle hooked up with my cousin.” PizzaHo adds, “My mother walked out on us when I was eight. My father told my brothers and me that it was because she hated us. Not him, just the kids. It wasn’t until this year, fifteen years later, that we found out it’s because he was terribly abusive. She always meant to come back for us, but any time she tried, he beat the shit out of her. It’s only because he died a few months ago that she was able to reconnect with us. I couldn’t be happier.” BetterOffTed shares his story as well. “I grew up dirt poor, the fifth out of seven kids of a single mom. Our father died when I was six, and my mom worked three menial jobs just so we could eat—barely—every day. My oldest sister was the mom around the house, and she did all the cooking, cleaning, and tucking us into bed. My oldest brother has had a job of some sort since he was a paper boy at age eleven. We didn’t have much in terms of material goods, but what we had was a shit-ton of love. My mom remarried this year to a man who treats her like a queen, and she’s finally able to take a breath now and then. They’re going to London for a three week vacation, and I could not be happier for them.”

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