Love Still Isn’t Easy: Chapter 2
There were only two people in the world more upset than I was when we all left Victor Madden’s house that day. It should have been a beautiful day. Sookie had never looked more radiant. I’m not usually the sentimental type, but even I was moved when I saw her in the dress. She was positively glowing. When Eric was late I knew that something must be terribly wrong. He could not have been more devoted to her and I knew that nothing would keep him from marrying her. But of course, I was wrong.
When I saw Arlene’s face my blood ran cold. I didn’t recognize her for an instant. The last time I saw her in school, she was a blonde. I remembered seeing her glued to Eric’s neck on that sofa, wondering why he wasted himself on such trash. I’d seen Sookie’s pained expression as she watched Arlene throw herself at Eric. I told Eric that Sookie had left the party and I think Arlene told me to fuck off or something like that. I’m not sure how much time he actually spent with her, but I was certain that he was sleeping with her. So when she appeared at his wedding with a little blond boy in tow, I knew what was happening. I estimated the boy’s age and then counted backwards and my heart broke for them both.
I grabbed Sookie’s hand and wished I could help her, and then I ran downstairs to speak to Eric.
After the success of Eric’s first film, he had so many offers. I didn’t blame him one bit when he took the one that promised the most money. And then I was grateful when he offered me a job as associate producer. I knew that once we had established our names a bit more, we could make the kinds of films closer to our hearts. This film was all about making money.
Once we started shooting, the days were long of course, but Sookie was a real trooper about that. She never complained even though she rarely saw him. But I saw him every day and knew how hard he worked and was certain that he had not fathered that second child. Even if there was any doubt about his devotion to Sookie—and there wasn’t—he never had the time. I know, I know—it only takes twenty minutes, but really, he’s just not like that.
So, I was more than skeptical when Arlene claimed that her unborn child was Eric’s as well. The little boy—Eric, Junior—now he could have easily been Eric’s. He was the right age and looked maybe a little like Eric. At least he had blond hair.
All I could do was assure them both that I was there for them. I loved them both and wanted nothing more than a happy ending to their story. But the more Arlene Fowler interfered in their lives, the less optimistic I was about their rosy future.
I must be a horrible person. I wanted to be happy that I had a son, but I couldn’t do it. I felt terrible about it, but all I felt towards the boy was pity. He was an innocent and it made my skin crawl when she spoke freely in front of him about his parentage. I watched him lower his eyes and felt sorry for him that he had Arlene for a mother and now me for a father. He had done nothing to deserve this.
I honestly don’t remember how many times I slept with Arlene in school. She was kind of a semi-regular for me, so it was definitely more than once, but I know that I never had unprotected sex with her because I didn’t have unprotected sex with anyone. I may have been ridiculously promiscuous, but I wasn’t stupid. But I also knew that condoms weren’t 100% failsafe, and I don’t remember discussing other forms of birth control with Arlene so I had no idea whether or not she was on the pill or using any other method of birth control.
The day that I got my clean bill of health from the student clinic at USC, I breathed a mountain of relief that my foolish past wouldn’t interfere with my relationship with Sookie. I was sorry that I had behaved like such a complete ass in school and thanked my lucky stars that there were no permanent repercussions. But I thanked those lucky stars too soon.
Arlene claimed that she didn’t tell me about the pregnancy when we were in school because she was with some other guy and he was willing to move in with her and be a father to the baby. But then when that didn’t work out, she tried to find me. By then I was in L.A. although she had no idea. It wasn’t until she read about my upcoming wedding in a tabloid that she knew where to look for me. Why she chose the dramatic entrance at my wedding is beyond me though. Surely there was a more tasteful way to break the news to me. Why did she have to ruin Sookie’s wedding day as well? I was trying to be an adult about all this, but I was finding it hard not to hate Arlene Fowler.