Jon stood at the door of the Park Avenue apartment, his right hand leaning on the door jamb, his fingers tapping an anxious rhythm against it. He had managed to bypass the doorman and was now standing in the foyer on her floor. He was a bundle of nerves. He couldn't remember the last time he had been so nervous. In fact in twenty five plus years of performing and public appearances nothing had ever affected him as much as this one moment.
It had taken him exactly twelve hours to reconcile himself to the fact that he needed to see her again and less than two to act on it. It had just gone midday and here he was at her door after just a few well placed phone calls to retrieve the information he required. The drive home from the Gala the evening before was uncomfortable to say the least.
Initially he thought it would be fine. The ride home spent in stony silence. Dot dealt with these matters in one of two ways, an immediate tirade of – usually well deserved – abuse, or she ignored it all together. It seemed she had chosen the later in this case. As a result Jon got all the way into their bedroom and was half undressed in his complacency when it started.
Dots voice had a hard edge when she spoke. "Well?? Are you going to say anything?
"What's there to say?" Fuck she's pissed. This is not going to be good. Jon rolled his eyes. Hell, it's gonna go there anyway. May as well get it over with!
"Just go right ahead and take it there Dot. I know you want to." How many times had they had this same conversation about his fidelity – ironically in the very early days, the focus of those conversations was usually Gina. But hey, it wasn't like she was some kind of saint either, Dot had had her dalliances over the years.
Dots voice was measured when she spoke. "It's more a case of have to than want to. She's yours isn't she?"
Jon's jaw snapped shut in an effort to quiet the misplaced rage that threatened to escape. It didn't work. "I fucking KNEW it." He exploded. "You always have to assume the worst don't you? What the fuck is with you Dorothea?"
"What the fuck is with you asshole?" She spat back "It was pretty fucking obvious to me!"
"Give me a fucking break would you? For ONCE?!?! Why does it always have to come back to this same old bullshit Dorothea? If you're so sure I fuck around on you why do you stay?" He knew what was coming in response to that and cursed himself for asking it.
Her answer came in a calm resigned voice. "You know very well I don't give a fuck what you do anymore... But those kids.... they mean more to me than my life. If suffering through this intolerable marriage with you keeps them happy and oblivious...well, I'll find a way to tolerate it. But do not for one second think that I am oblivious to anything. For once Jon, admit the truth. This time it can't be denied. What's that saying? ...The proof is in the pudding. Well let's say I got a good taste tonight."
Jon had no justified response. He just wanted her to shut up so he could think. "Just stop Dorothea, you're embarrassing yourself." As if he could be that lucky.
"I'm embarrassing myself am I? You are the one with the illegitimate child and you think I am embarrassing myself? I don't think so!"
"Don't you fucking dare say that shit to me. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about?" With Jon's raised voice and colourful language Dot was glad that the children were asleep in the other wing of the house.
"Oh come on Jon." Dot wasn't sure if her husband was being difficult just to irritate her or if he was truly in denial. "I am not blind. It's obvious. All you have to do is look at her. And I assume when you were upstairs you weren't discussing the weather."
"It's none of your fucking business what we were discussing. As far as she's concerned you're on a need to know basis. And right now I don't think you need to know shit." Jon heard the words come out of his mouth – need to know - and realized immediately that they were an echo of what the girl had said to him earlier. If he wasn't so irate he may have found it amusing. "You just do what you're best at baby. Keep your nose out of my business and everything'll be fine."
"Fine Jon,... have it your way. But know this one thing" Dot stood before him now only inches away, an icy stare frozen in place, her forefinger poking him in the chest. If this mess you've created in any way touches our kids... God fucking help you. Because I can promise you this, no soul here on earth will have a chance."
Jon fisted his hand at his sides to prevent himself from slapping her hand away. Instead he took several steps backwards, in the direction of the bathroom. "Don't even go there Dorothea. You don't have anything to be fucking threatening me for, so you know this one thing... nothing and I mean nothing will touch those children but if you want to start making idle threats in an attempt to take me down,...well, when I am through with you, you won't have so much as a pot to piss in."
Dot ignored his threat. She had heard it all before. It had been a long time since things were right in their marriage. "I know what I saw Jon. And when you are ready to be honest with yourself, you will know it too!"
"I don't give a fuck what you fucking think you saw. Like I said...need to know, baby. So just shut your mouth. It has nothing to do with you!"
Jon spun and took the two remaining steps that would find him in the sanctuary of the bathroom. He slammed and latched the door behind him, then stood in the middle of the room seething. He couldn't even close his eyes...every time he did he saw red. He now knew the meaning of the saying. He moved to the vanity and leaned on it with still fisted hands - the skin over his knuckles strained and white – looking down into the basin. He took several deep cleansing breaths in an attempt to abate his anger. Slowly he began to calm down.
It was several long minutes before Jon could look up into mirror in their bathroom. He feared what he might see there, afraid to see the monster he knew he became in a fit of rage, a monster that seemed to rear its ugly head more and more often lately in relation to his wife. He wondered when exactly things had gotten so bad.
When Jon finally did look into the mirror, the inconsequential thing he noticed first surprised him. His hand found the old faded tattoo on his left arm. Gina had always called him her Superman... the tattoo was kind of a tribute to her in an oblique kind of a way. Absently, the thoughts of Gina evolved into thoughts of Frankie.
Jon stared intently at the face before him in the mirror. The girls face flashed in his mind's eye as he studied his own features, so similar yet so very different from hers. There was no doubt in his mind that she was Gina's daughter. That was a given. But could she really be his? The image of her piercing blue eyes assailed him - his piercing blue eyes, only in a female face. He thought of his daughter...his other daughter Stephanie and then startled abruptly as he realised his thought pattern...other daughter...he had more than one. He knew then without a shadow of a doubt... Frankie was his!