Tara hadn’t gotten far with her painting when Eva called her for dinner. Tara was very quiet during dinner. Finally, Allen asked, “Tara, is everything all right?”
“I was wondering. How long have you known about Jaime’s son?”
“Jaime came and told me about it after the results of the paternity test came back four years ago. You see, Jaime had dated Melody for about two years and she wanted him to marry her and work for her daddy in the pharmaceutical company. Her daddy wanted to groom him to take over the company some day. He figured since he didn’t have a male heir, he’d be happy to groom his son-in-law, and, of course there would be a prenuptial agreement so that in the event of a divorce, the son-in-law would have no claim to the pharmaceutical company. When Jaime decided he didn’t want to work for daddy or the pharmaceutical company, Daddy decided Jaime wasn’t good enough for his little girl. Jaime was okay with that because he had already figured out that Melody was demanding, and he didn’t want to marry someone like that. So he broke things off with Melody. A year later, Jaime met you. He was absolutely crazy about you. You made him so happy. Then he got the job at Jacobson’s Mergers and he thought he had everything he wanted. He married you, and three years later Melody contacted him about Hunter. Apparently, Jaime gave in to temptation one night after a fancy party at the Fleming Mansion, and Hunter was conceived. Jaime hadn’t known that Melody was pregnant when he broke things off with her. I don’t know why she waited until Hunter was six to decide to contact Jaime, but Jaime said that Melody wanted Hunter’s father to be a part of his life. She wanted Jaime to marry her so they could be a family, but Jaime told her he was already married and had no intention of divorcing his wife. I know that Jaime took his responsibility for Hunter seriously, and I have no doubt that Melody took advantage of that. I do suspect, however, that her marriage certificate is a fake. I am quite certain that Jaime was not polygamist, and I am absolutely certain that Jaime loved you.”
“So, why didn’t Jaime ever tell me about Hunter?”
“I have no doubt there were two reasons for that: 1) he was afraid of losing you, and 2) he was trying to protect you. He didn’t want you to have to be hounded and abused by Melody. I had encouraged him, on more than one occasion to tell you about Hunter. I also believe that, though Melody didn’t want him to have children with you to take away from Hunter’s inheritance, the main reason Jaime didn’t have children with you was, again, to protect you from the abuse Melody would have tried to inflict upon you and your child.”
“So you really don’t think he was really married to Melody?”
“No, I really don’t think he was, and I intend to look into it.”
“Thank you, Allen. I really don’t know what I’d do without you and Eva right now.”
“We’re happy we can be here for you, dear.” Eva patted Tara’s hand.
Tara returned to her studio, hoping that Allen was right. She returned to her painting.
When she finally finished, she had painted a picture of Jaime; Jaime smiling with love in his eyes the way she remembered him in their happy times. She looked at the painting, longing for him to hold her in his arms again. She smiled wanly at the painting and then went to her room, prepared for bed, and holding Jaime’s shirt close, cried herself to sleep.