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Climbing the Ladder - Climbing Higher

Michael Loucks

Book 3 - Climbing Higher

The adrenaline rush had made me slightly light-headed and nauseated, but I recovered quickly and picked up the phone, which had clattered to the floor when I'd dropped it.


"Sorry," I said. "I dropped the phone. I'm not sure what to say."

"I've made a real mess of things and I don't know what to do."

"I'm not sure, either," I replied. "Let me think about it, please."

"You promised you wouldn't tell anyone!" Bev said frantically.

"I won't. Let me call you in a few days, OK?"

"But I can't talk if my parents are home!"

"Then we need to find a way to talk soon. Figure something out, please."

"I will."

"It's OK to call me at work to arrange a time to talk."

"Thanks for being here for me, Jonny," Bev said. "I'll call you soon."

We said 'goodbye', I hung up, and took some time to take stock of the situation.

I had given my word to Bev, and my word was my bond, but given my mom's relationship with Glen, I wasn't sure I could keep the information from her. I had no idea how she'd react, but no matter what, I couldn't let her marry Glen without knowing he'd not only slept with Bev, but was also Heather's dad.

I did some quick math in my head and thought back to what I knew. Glen had started at Goshen in August 1981, Bev had become pregnant in September 1981, and had given birth in June 1982. My mom had started working at the High School in July 1982, had met Glen at some point after that, and they'd had their first date around the beginning of October 1982.

On the plus side, that meant Glen's relationship with Bev had been over for a year when he started seeing my mom. That was, though, the only plus I could see. He was a teacher, he was something like thirty years older than she was, and he'd gotten her pregnant. I had to assume the circumstances were as Bev had said -- that she'd been on the Pill and had taken it religiously.

A thought crossed my mind that I actually couldn't trust anything Bev had said about what had happened from the time I told her I was moving until, well, I actually wasn't sure I could trust anything she'd said about her relationships. That concerned me, and before I could move forward with her, we'd have to sit down and talk. In a sense, I didn't care about who or what, but lies and deceit were a massive obstacle to overcome.

Thinking further about it, though, it might be the case that Bev hadn't actually deceived me. If she'd been positive that Bob Leahy was Heather's dad, then the only thing she'd done with regard to me was conceal that she'd had a relationship with my mom's future fiancé. If Heather weren't in the picture, that wouldn't matter, so long as the relationship wasn't continuing. Ultimately, who Bev had sex with was her business, not anyone else's.

As I analyzed the situation further, I felt Glen had to suspect that Heather might be his, as I was positive that my mom would have told him about what had happened. I tried to think about how I would respond, and considered my reaction to the fact that Huifen might have been pregnant. If she had been, and had chosen to have the baby, I would absolutely have stepped up and taken responsibility. What that meant would have been negotiated between Huifen and me, with the best interests of the baby paramount.

But what if one of the other girls turned up pregnant? With very few exceptions, they weren't monogamous, and I wasn't expecting them to be, as I sure wasn't. If one of the girls who hadn't made a point of saying she was only sleeping with me discovered she was pregnant, it would be far more complicated. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Glen might suspect, but couldn't know, because it was entirely possible Bev had been with other guys. Again, that was her business, except with regard to naming Heather's dad.

Of course, she didn't have to name him, and could simply forego child support, but I wondered how her parents would react to that. She was living at home and her parents were paying for school, and that put her in a position where they could pressure her. Following the same path my mom had followed was not easy, and I had no idea if Bev had friends who could take her in, and then how would she make ends meet while raising Heather and trying to finish her degree.

In the end, everything depended on what Bev chose to do, and I could only offer suggestions and support with one caveat -- I felt strongly my mom had to know. And that presented me with a dilemma of which 'right thing' to do -- honor my relationship with my mom, or my word to Bev. Doing both would be possible if Bev either allowed me to tell my mom or told my mom herself. If that didn't happen, I'd have a tough choice to make.

Despite my conversation with Bianca earlier, I begged off being together, as I simply wasn't in the mood.

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