The next day, after a long, hard day at work, Victor went home glad that, so far, none of the children had any idea what was going on.
No sooner had he entered the living room than Nikki told him, “We need to talk.”
“About what?” Victor asked tiredly as he sat on the couch.
“We need to tell the children what’s going on. We need to tell them about your heart problems.”
“What do you mean we have to tell them what’s going on? Why? For heaven’s sake, Nikki, they’re happy, why do we have to tell them what’s going on? Why ruin things for them?Why?”
“Victor, we can’t keep this from them.”
“Why worry them unnecessarily?” Victor asked naively.
“Unnecessarily?” Nikki repeated completely unable to understand why he was still refusing to tell their children what they both knew they had a right to know.
“Yes, Nikki, what good is it going to do them to know about this? They can’t do anything about it. We both know that, so why tell them? Why do that when we both know what will happen?” Victor asked, not giving an inch on the issue.
“Oh really? We know what will happen? That’s news to me, considering neither Nicholas nor Victoria has a single clue what’s going on because we haven’t told them anything! Why are you being so damned pig headed?!”
“Pig headed?” Victor repeated indignantly.
“Yes, that’s exactly what you’re being; pig headed! damn it, Victor, you’re so caught up in protecting everyone, even though we don’t need your protection, that you can’t see what’s best for your family! It’s either that, or you don’t want to, I don’t know which!”
“WHAT?! I don’t believe this. I don’t believe what I’m hearing! Nikki, I’m trying to do what’s best for our family! I’m trying to keep Nicholas, Victoria and Abby from getting hurt, for heaven’s sake, why can’t you understand that?!” Victor bellowed, infuriated by having to explain himself once again, when all he wanted was for the turmoil that his life had become to disappear so he could just be happy with his family.
“Victor, you and I both know if we keep this from them they’ll be devastated! Is that what you want? I know that’s not what you want!” Nikki tried her best to reason with him, although that was becoming increasingly difficult!
“Of course that isn’t what I want, of course it isn’t! Nikki, come on, they’ll be devastated if I tell them now. They’ve already been through so much, especially Abby. Besides that, look at what this is doing to you. Look at what it’s doing to us!” Victor reasoned, trying his best to get her to see that he was only trying to protect his children and her. ‘I’m not doing anybody any good! They’re better off not knowing, and so was Nikki! She’s going through hell because of me!’ Victor thought to himself angrily!
“Victor, I know you don’t want to hurt the children, you’d never do that. But, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you don’t tell them! They’ll be completely blind-sided and heartbroken that we kept them in the dark. Can you honestly tell me that would be better than being honest with them and dealing with whatever may come of it?” Nikki softly yet firmly reasoned.
“What if you’re wrong?” Victor asked, finally voicing one of the many questions that had haunted him since he’d first found out about his health problems.
“I’m not!” Nikki answered, her voice full of conviction as she stood in front of him.
Running his fingers through his hair, Victor answered, his voice barely a whisper, “You’re right, they need to know. They have the right to know.”
“You won’t regret this!” Nikki softly reassured.
“I really hope not!” Victor replied completely unconvinced.
Picking up the phone, he called Nick first. “Hi, I’m glad I caught you. Do me a favour and come to the main house right after work and bring Sharon and the children. I…Your mother and I have something we need to talk to you about.”
“What’s going on? Is something going on with Mom, or the pregnancy? Is there something wrong? Is there something going on with you?” he asked hoping his instincts were wrong this time and there wasn’t anything wrong with either of his parents.
“No, my boy, there is nothing wrong with your mother or the pregnancy. Just get here as quickly as you can, we’ll discuss it then,” Victor reassured him before hanging up and calling Vicki.
“Dad, what’s going on? Why all the mystery? What’s wrong?” Vicki asked, hoping her earlier instincts had failed her for once, although she somehow knew that wasn’t the case! ‘He’s keeping something from me! Whatever it is, it has everything to do with his health! Damn it, why doesn’t he stop this cloak and dagger garbage! Why doesn’t he just tell me what the hell’s going on? I’m not a child, I deserve to know what’s going on !’
“My sweetheart, I don’t want to get into it over the phone. Kindly just get here as soon as you can.” With that, Victor hung up.
Convinced there was much more going on than she ever dreamed of, Victoria tore out of the building and ran straight to her car. From there, she peeled out of the parking lot.
Meanwhile at the ranch, Victor paced the living room. ‘What have I done? Why did I do that? Now I’ve got both Nicholas and Victoria worried-which is precisely what I wanted to avoid in the first place!’
Reading his mind, Nikki walked up to him and with a hand on his shoulder and reassured him. “You made the right decision!”
“Really? Why doesn’t it feel that way?” he asked sarcastically.
“Nikki, how do I do this? How do I do something I know will tear their world apart, how do I do that?”
“At this point, I really don’t think you have a choice,” Nikki replied honestly.
“Tell me about it! I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t!” Victor agreed bitterly. “Victor, I understand that this is difficult, but you need to tell them!”
“You know, when we divorced, I swore I would never hurt our children like that ever again. And here I am getting ready to do it all over again, for God’s sake! What kind of father does this to his kids, Nikki, what kind of father does this?”
“One who’s just trying to do the best he can with what he’s got,” Nikki replied, trying her best to reassure him.
After dinner was over and the dishes had been cleared, everyone gathered in the living room, anxiously waiting to be told why they’d all been called there.
“Dad, what’s going on?” Vicki asked cautiously, fearfully.
“Yeah, what’s the big secret?” Nick asked suspicious. Victor stayed silent for a few moments as he stood in the living room in front of one of the chairs and looked around the room at his family’s faces and wondered how he’d be able to tell them the only thing he wished he’d never have to.
It was Nikki walking over to him, and slipping her hand in his, giving it a reassuring squeeze that gave him the strength to tell them what needed to be said.
“There really isn’t any easy way to tell you this,” Victor began hesitantly.
“Just say it!” Vicki snapped impatiently.
“Victoria, this is hard enough on your father without you rushing him; now be quiet and let him talk!” Nikki scolded her, effectively stunning everyone in the room.
“If I didn’t know there was something going on, I do now. What is it?” Nick asked becoming fearful.
“Yeah, you’re scaring me, Dad,” Vicki whispered trying to ignore her stomach as it lurched.
Nikki nodded imperceptibly, silently telling him to go on and tell them what they all needed to know.
“I’m dying,” he finally whispered, barely audible as his legs gave out on him and he slumped onto the chair.