Laird Visits His Father

“Tell me what you think of this opening line for my book, Time stole his most prized possession–his mind.” Mr. Pendlebury asked Laird. They were in his study. Laird had called him the night before to tell him he wanted to see him.

“Sounds good but I thought you were writing a book about genuine discourse.”

“I am but I’ve decided that it’s going to be fiction. The protagonist had a brilliant mind and was adept at discourse ethics but over time, his mind was becoming dull until it was ultimately ravaged by Dementia.”

“Poor man.”

“Yes, poor man indeed. When you’re my age and your mind is still functioning, you really have to give God thanks.”

“Yes, you do.”

“It’s good to see you, Laird,” his father said as he sat down behind the desk. “I was very sorry and extremely disappointed that I missed you the other day when you visited. I wish you would visit more often.”

“I’ve been very busy.”

“Yes, I know. Well, it’s good to see you now. Was there something important you needed to see me about?”

“I came to tell you some great news.”

“Really? What’s the great news?”

“I’m engaged to be married.”

His father stared at him. “You’re joking,” he said.

“On the contrary, I’m dead serious. I met a remarkable woman, fell in love with her and have asked her to marry me.”

“She must be a truly remarkable woman to be accomplish what Karson and I always thought was an impossible feat.”

“From the moment I met her, I was besotted but bloody fool that I am–“

“Watch your language, Laird.”

“Sorry, Dad. As I was saying, it took nearly losing her to another man for me to come to my senses and ask her to marry me.”

“You almost lost her to another man?”

“Well, as it turned out it was all misunderstanding on my part but it really shook me up.”

“So, who is this woman and when am I going to meet her?”

“Her name is Martina Shaw. She’s a Reflexologist and works at La bonne Touche. We met at the East India Club. She’s a friend of Emma Farwell.”

“Bradley’s wife?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me about the other man you thought you were going to lose her to.”

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Laird told him everything. “I didn’t keep our relationship a secret because I was ashamed or embarrassed. I’m Catholic and most of my constituents are Catholics and they don’t approve of sex outside of marriage.”

“That’s true. Sex outside of marriage is frowned upon by the church because it is condemned in the Bible.”

“I know but I couldn’t help myself. It’s darn near impossible to be around Martina and not want to…you know.”

“I know but I managed to do it with your mother. Some things are worth the wait.”

“Not all of us have your willpower, I’m afraid. Let me show you a photo of her so you may understand why it’s hard for me to restrain myself.” He took out his cell and brought up images of Martina. He showed his father one of his favorite photos of her.

Mr. Pendlebury looked at it. “She’s a very attractive woman,” he remarked. “She reminds me of a charming young lady your mother and I met years ago when we were vacationing in Antigua. She was working at the resort where we stayed.” He handed the cell back to Laird.

“So, you don’t mind that she’s–“

“Black? Of course not. And your mother wouldn’t have either.”

“Martina will be pleased to hear that.”

“So, have you two set a wedding date as yet?”

“Yes. November 19.”

“November 19 may seem like a long way off but based on how quickly the weeks are going by it will be here before you know. Do you have a church and place of venue lined up?”

“Yes.”

“Is your fiancée Catholic?”

“No. She’s Baptist.”

“Well, you wouldn’t be the first in the family to marry outside of your faith.”

“You mean Uncle Jared.”

“Yes. Your Aunt Margery is an Anglican.”

“As long as we believe in the same God, what does it matter?”

“It has as much to do with our traditions as it does with our beliefs. We’re Catholics for a reason. Anyway, congratulations, Laird. I wish you and your special lady all the happiness in the world.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“It’s a pity your mother and Karson aren’t here. They would have been so happy for you.”

Laird sighed. “Yes, they would have been.”

“Well, at least Antonia is still with us and she will be over the moon when I tell her the news. It’s too bad she isn’t here right now.”

Laird stood up. “Well, I’d better be going.”

“Aren’t you going to stay for lunch?”

“Sorry, Dad. I have other plans.”

His father rose to his feet. “Well, call me and let me know when you and Martina are available to have dinner with Antonia and me.”

“I will,” Laird promised. They hugged. “Goodbye, Dad.”

“Goodbye, Son.”

Laird left and his father returned to his desk to finish the outline for his story. That evening while they were having dinner, he said to Antonia, “Laird was here today.”

Her hand trembled slightly as she lifted the glass of wine to take a sip. “He was?”

“Yes. And he had some very exciting news.”

“He did?”

“Yes and you’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you.”

“Please tell me.”

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“Laird is engaged!”

She stared at him in shock. “Laird’s engaged?”

“Shocking isn’t it, but it’s true. He told me today when he stopped by and he showed me a photo of the bride-to-be. She’s a very attractive woman. I told him that we would love to have them join us for dinner when it’s convenient for them.”

Laird was engaged. She couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to believe it. The dreadful news made her lose her appetite. She pushed her plate away. “Who is she?”

“Her name is Martina. She works at La bonne Touche. They met at the East India Club. You’re not eating. What’s the matter?”

“I’m not hungry anymore.” She felt sick with jealousy. Who was this other woman and why hadn’t she heard about her before? Was this the news Laird wanted to share with his father when he visited the other day? Why hadn’t he told her? Granted, he probably wanted his father to know first. If he had stayed for dinner, he could have told them both but how could she have acted like she was happy for him when she wasn’t? Instead of congratulating him, she would have excused herself and locked herself in her room so she could cry her eyes out.

“Are you feeling all right?” Mr. Pendlebury asked her. “I told Laird that you would be over the moon to hear that he was getting married.”

She rose suddenly to her feet. “I-I wish him all the happiness in the world. Excuse me.” And she hurried out of the room.

Mr. Pendlebury stared at her empty chair, perplexed.

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