Authors: Karolyn James
Are you there?
you get the results, Sullivan?
The line was silent. Bobby didn
t need anymore suspense. His
entire life seemed to be nothing but suspense since the day he moved out of
house so Annie could make it
m not in the mood,
Then the official results were
read. It was all legal jargon but the bottom line was straight to the point.
Bobby had a brother.
t look at the paperwork anymore.
He called the lawyers and made them read it to him. He wanted it in simple
terms. Those simple terms were that Robert Strate was his father. There was no
doubt about it on the test. That meant Bobby, the man Sullivan had spoken to on
the phone a handful of times, was his brother. They had the same father but
When the news came, Sullivan did
what he felt was right and called Bobby right away. He wanted to be fair and
honest. He knew how it felt to have such shocking news. It was nothing short of
a punch to the stomach. It stole his breath over and over. What it all meant,
however, was that Henry Chasen, the man who raised Sullivan Chasen, was not his
Did Henry know that?
That was the question that hit
Sullivan on his ride from work. He parked his car in the garage and sat in the
car in silence for a few minutes. He tried to wrap his mind around it. There
was no good solution to it all. There was no way to feel about it, no matter
what. Someone ended up in pain.
Henry Chasen had been present for
the birth of Sullivan. Sullivan knew this because he remembered his father
sharing the story numerous times. Sullivan
mother woke in the middle of night in pain and Henry had ran through the house
trying to get everything together so fast that he ended up forgetting to put
his own shoes on. But if Henry was there, did he know the baby being born wasn
t his biological son? The
thought hurt Sullivan in a way he hadn
felt since his mother left them. It meant his mother had cheated on the man he
thought was his father. His mother knew there was a chance Sullivan wasn
s and yet she did nothing about it.
Or... there was the possibility that
Henry Chasen knew the truth but kept it from Sullivan and took it to his grave.
Maybe he didn
t mean to
take it to.
Sitting there, Sullivan had held
himself together pretty well. But when he referred to his father, to the man
who raised him, by his first name -
s when Sullivan felt the tears fill his eyes.
He never cried. He cried when his
father died and before that, maybe once in high school when he was hit in the
groin. But the emotion really got to Sullivan as he sat in his car. Having the
truth in front of him did nothing to answer questions that were now relevant.
It was quite amazing how one phone call could change everything Sullivan ever
The answer still remained the
biological father was alive in a small town in North Carolina called Ferry
Creek. From what he gathered from Bobby, his biological father was dying and
that he was waiting for Sullivan to come to Ferry Creek.
It was hard for him to accept, but
all he knew now was that Robert Strate was his father and he was on his
deathbed and wanted to meet Sullivan.
Sullivan took a deep breath, calmed
his nerves, and got out. He slammed the door and leaned against the car. The
smell of concrete and oil lingered in the parking garage. There was a cool
dampness to the garage and it was quiet and creepy.
It was there Sullivan told himself
t go... he wouldn
t do it. He wouldn
t go to Ferry Creek and he
t meet his birth father.
There was no way in hell he
do it. Why would he? What purpose would it serve? What would it prove? To stand
there at the deathbed of a man he didn
know. Even if it gave Robert Strate closure, what would that do for Sullivan?
Sullivan would stand there and watch this man die and that would be it. The man
was a stranger. And why the hell did he wait until now? If it was that
important to meet Sullivan now, why not before?
Sullivan made it to his condo a few
minutes later to find a woman standing in black laced lingerie, holding two
glasses of wine, and a wicked vixen grin on her face. She had one leg slightly
bent and had the most seductive face Sullivan had ever seen on a woman.
are you doing here?
d be more
Sullivan forced a smile and dropped
his briefcase. He stepped towards the woman and with the tips of his fingers,
he touched her bare shoulder.
She turned and sent an invisible
cloud of perfume into Sullivan
face. She even smelled seductive and delicious.
s all Sullivan labeled it as and
Steph was able to accept and respect it. She spent time hanging off his arm at
fancy dinner gatherings and nights out. They enjoyed each other
s company without the long term
effects of a relationship. For the past month, Steph had been in California
with a new modeling agency, working on a bunch of photo shoots. It seemed to be
s dream to
have a supermodel as a girlfriend or whatever, but Sullivan wasn
t sure how much of that image
mattered anymore. They had no connection with each other. If it wasn
t for show or sex, it was for
nothing. Not that Sullivan didn
like sex. What man or woman honestly didn
More so, what man would be able to look at Steph
long, perfect legs, perfect curly hair, big bright eyes, ample chest, and not
give anything to have one chance with her. That was Sullivan
s first thought the night he met
Steph and after spending more than he
care to ever admit on her, he now had her. Or at least in the sense of what he
wanted from her. Even that sounded wrong.
m sorry, but I had a rough day
t ever opened up to Steph before about anything in
his life that didn
revolve around big deals and big money. He wasn
sure whether she
care about his personal life other than where his bedroom was located.
Steph asked as she
returned from the bedroom wearing a thick, black robe.
To Sullivan, she looked better that
way. Covered up. Leaving more to the imagination, knowing that when it came
time to see, it would make the feelings all that much better. But he would
never admit that Steph, not to a woman who made a lot of money stripping as far
down as she could without being naked.
He grabbed a wine glass off the
counter and drank from it. He faced the kitchen and as much as he wanted the
company - just to clear his mind for a minute - he really wished Steph would
leave. If he had known she had planned on being there he would have called to
tell her to leave. Or maybe had Beverly call and make up some kind of excuse.
Steph touched Sullivan
s shoulders and squeezed. She
was just as tall as him. She pressed her lips to his neck and kissed him, then
gently nuzzled her nose to his ear.
Sullivan looked back at Steph and
smiled. Damn, she was beautiful.
t worry about it. Family issues.
I think everyone has those, right?
hands touched Sullivan
pants at his belt. She came around and started to tease Sullivan with her
hands. Sullivan was a man and that meant he was already getting hard.
around and let me help you,
Then you can
buy me an expensive dinner and we can come back and you can help me.
Her hand cupped him and Sullivan
started to turn. Halfway turned, an object caught Sullivan
s eye. A small picture on a side
wall in his living room. Sullivan wasn
a man of pictures as much as he was a man of art. Someone had been hired to
decorate the condo when Sullivan bought it. But the picture on the wall was an
important one. It was a picture of Sullivan and his father -
They were at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a building Sullivan had bought, torn
down, and rebuilt. Sullivan hated ceremonies but he remembered his father
asking him to see what it was all about. What it was like to open the building.
To experience Sullivan
life. So Sullivan gave his father the scissors that day and in the first (and
only) speech he
d give at
such a ceremony, he thanked his father for being the man he was.
Someone had snapped a picture and
it was the only picture that hung in Sullivan
entire condo. And of course that was the place his eyes went to. Even with
s hands all over him
- pulling his shirt out, unbuttoning his shirt one button at a time, rubbing
him up and down - Sullivan stared at the picture. He then clamped his hands on Steph
s wrists and stopped her. When
he looked at her, she was pissed.
do you mean you can
just flew in and came here. To see you.
Do you need money or something?
Steph said. She
backed up and slapped Sullivan across the face.
He tucked his shirt back in and
fixed his pants. In the meantime, Steph scrambled into the bedroom to change
her clothes. He could hear her purposely making more noise than needed, knowing
she wanted him to rush to the bedroom and apologize.
But face it, Sullivan didn
t care at that point.
just found out one of the most important parts of his life was a complete lie.
The last thing he needed was to deal with some woman who offered nothing to him
except her body. Her stunning body, yes, but that didn
Sullivan walked to the picture and
took it off on the wall. He stared at it for a few seconds, his thumb rubbing
against the glass, his mind traveling somewhere else. Steph came from the
bedroom. She had a bag on her arm and a purse in her hand. She was dressed in a
shirt and pants and she looked beautiful.
"You look beautiful like
that," Sullivan said.
"You're an ass," Steph
said. "I'm leaving. I'm going to Boston."
"Good," Sullivan said.
"I won't be around for a while."
"What happened? Did you fall
"No," Sullivan said.
"I'm sorry if I've hurt you, Steph."
"Least you could do is call
for someone to pick up my bags."
Steph let out an annoyed sigh and
then left the condo. As far as Sullivan knew, it was probably the last time. Maybe
he should have said more. Steph drove him nuts. His mind and his pants could
never agree on what to do, and she cost a fortune to keep happy.
After making a call for someone to
help Steph, Sullivan went back to his own little hell. He took the picture of
his father -
or the man he thought was his father
- and went to the
kitchen. He looked at the bottle of wine. Steph had come in and helped herself
to opening a three hundred dollar bottle of wine. Sullivan sipped the wine but
it wouldn't cut it. Not tonight. He tipped the wine bottle over into the sink
and then turned, eyes up, looking at the top cabinet. That's where the good
Sullivan helped himself to a bottle
of scotch, drinking from the bottle, holding the picture of his father, thinking
After an hour, Sullivan caught
himself murmuring to himself. He decided to call and just be honest with Bobby.
He didn't want to mess around or waste time. Waste his time. Waste Bobby's
time. Waste Robert Strate's time.
Sullivan dialed for Bobby and
When Bobby's voicemail picked up,
Sullivan left a message.
"Bobby, it's Sullivan. I
can't do it. I just can't do it. I'm sorry."
The next morning Sullivan woke on
the couch wearing the same suit he left work in. He sat up and he couldn't
figure out what hurt worse. His back from the couch or his head from the
scotch. The bottle was still on the table in front of him and the sight of it
brought the night rushing back to Sullivan.
All those thoughts.
Sullivan rubbed his face and
He stood and went to the kitchen
for a glass of water.
Next came a shower. The hot shower
felt great on his body but did nothing for his mind. All he could think about
was what Bobby would do or say when he heard the voicemail. It bothered
Sullivan that he was worried about Bobby's feelings. This was a guy he never
met in his life. Sure, they were brothers, but what in the hell did that