*When Delta and Jordan fell in love, both had already been around the block, so to speak.
At age 22, Delta, prodded by her mother, married her “childhood sweetheart”—that’s how Delta’s mom characterized him—divorcing him three years later when it was determined the young man was unable to get her pregnant, thus, robbing Delta’s mother of grandbabies.
Jordan’s 10 year union, on the other hand, produced four “lil’ crumb snatchers,” as he lovingly referred to his two boys and twin girls. “Irreconcilable differences” is what the divorce papers called his former wife’s penchant for infidelity whenever Jordan’s airline pilot job took him away.
After their marriages, Jordan and Delta, both battle-scarred veterans of dead end relationships and bad dates, had pretty much given up on love when they met one sunny fall day at Southern California’s Santa Monica Pier.
Delta, in jeans and a faded red hoodie, her dark hair up, had stepped away from her group of friends and was standing alone at a pier railing, gazing wistfully out at the Pacific Ocean.
“Sharks?” Jordan asked regarding the creatures frolicking in the distance, already knowing the answer.
“Dolphins,” Delta replied. “I used to want to be one when I was a child.”
The subsequent chat, brief, was pleasant enough–and Jordan was tall and handsome enough—that when he asked for a way to reach her, Delta responded with her E-mail address.
The friendship caught fire, and after little more than a year of dating, the two, both in their early 40s, were married.
Unlike Jordan’s first wife, indifferent and aloof, Delta, a psychiatric counselor at a Los Angeles mental health facility, had a simple and warm way with people, a quality Jordan loved.
Delta, meanwhile, adored her new husband’s gentle manliness. She was equally taken by his kids. Matt, 18, Jerold, 16, Lauren and Lorianne both 15, immediately welcomed her into their life and home. Delta was of particular help to Matt, introspective beyond his years but who, in heading off to college, felt he was abandoning his siblings.
And then there was Dion.
Jordan’s friend since their childhoods back in D.C., the never-married, childless and rugged Dion helped Jordan through the pain of his divorce.
The veteran L.A. fireman was the only person besides the kids’ mother and Jordan’s mom that Jordan trusted with his children.
It went unspoken that any woman seriously interested in Jordan had to unofficially be approved by Dion. When it was clear that Dion and Delta got along, friends and family breathed a sigh of relief.
Delta came with her own prerequisites, mainly that she and Jordan have one biological child of their own. “Of course,” he promised.
And so during the second year of their marriage, Delta was elated to call Jordan during his lay-over in Memphis with news she was pregnant.
“Yes, really,” Delta said, her smile heard through the phone.
“You don’t sound too happy….”
“I’m just thinking you can’t rely on some little kit, baby, you need to get to a doctor to make sure.”
Delta did this. Her hopes were confirmed.
Two days later Jordan returned home. That night, after the kids were asleep, Delta sat her husband on the loveseat in their bedroom to discuss plans for the new family member. Matt’s room, once he was gone, would make a perfect nursery, Delta said. They could paint it, and….Jordan stopped her.
“I need to be honest with you,” he said, his usually sturdy voice quivering a bit. “The child you are carrying is not mine.”
“What are you talking about?” Delta said, laughing. “Here’s how it works, Jordy: we have sex, I get pregnant and….”
Jordan explained that the moment he saw her on the pier, he knew she was the one. Physical attraction was one thing, but equally entrancing was the easy, trusting way in which she spoke to him, a stranger.
Later on, when Delta made clear her desire for a child, in order to keep her, Jordan lied.
“I love my kids,” he said. “But I didn’t love my first wife enough to risk more children, and it seemed like just LOOKING at her, she’d get pregnant.”
And so after the arrival of the twins, Jordan had a vasectomy.
He took her hands. “So you see, even though we’ve been having plenty sex, GREAT sex, I KNOW this is not my child. I need the truth.”
Delta went from somber to hysterics. “No. NO. NO! This is not happening.” Jordan held her through a hard cry, her heart-rending shrill threatening to wake the house. Finally she calmed enough to speak.
It all began on a Friday evening three months earlier, while Jordan was on flight assignment. Dion had dropped by with gourmet ice cream and chocolate chip cookies just as the family finished dinner. The girls chose a movie. Dion stayed and they watched as much of it as they could before, one by one, the kids began fading.
“And then Dion…” Delta paused before continuing: “Baby, I love you,” she said, aiming to assuage the coming confession. “So very much. But I get lonely without you. I never thought I’d miss you so much–your presence, your conversation, your holding me….”
“Before you go any further,” Jordan interrupted, putting his right index finger over Delta’s lips, “I need to tell you something. You know how close Dion and I are. He’s family. I trust him with the children and my life.
“What you also need to know—-and please, try to understand this, baby—is that my relationship with Dion goes deeper. For much of my adult life, Dion has also been my lover.
“When my ex found out, she hated me for it and hated Dion, too. I don’t blame her. I regret you found out this way; I planned to tell you. But because of how I feel about Dion, I can live with him being the father of this child.”
Delta’s eyes went wide, like she’d seen a ghost. And then, as if in a trance–or more likely, as if she just had to get what she wanted to say out of her system—she continued her sentence right where Jordan had interrupted it.
“…And then Dion left and I had sex with Matt.”
“I’m so sorry, Jordan. I was missing you. Matt is the closest thing to you and your love.”
As Jordan struggled to breathe, Delta continued: The relationship with her stepson began with their talks about him leaving for college. Once, while Jordan was away, Matt’s anxiety was so strong that Delta woke one morning to find Matt in their bedroom, swaddled in a blanket on the floor at the foot of their bed.
Over the days, the more Delta and Matt discussed his feelings and concerns, the more the conversations turned from Matt’s anxiety to he and Delta as people– their likes, dislikes, outlooks on the world and pop culture interests.
Even when Jordan was home, Delta would catch Matt stealing glimpses of her bosom. He would compliment a particular hairstyle or clothing. Delta wrote it off to a boy’s fascination with the female anatomy; what she couldn’t write off was her raw, perverted passion.
After a particularly emotional talk, a consoling hug led to a kiss. She was the one who took it further. Delta had sex with the lean and powerful Matt three times—twice in Jordan and Delta’s bed after everyone had gone to sleep and once on a Saturday afternoon while Jerold was out playing basketball and the twins attended a birthday party.
Delta now knew the one time they didn’t use the condoms she’d purchased is when she got pregnant. After that third time, both Delta and Matt agreed that what they’d done was wrong, and that it must stop.
“Matthew was a virgin,” she lamented, holding her head in her hands, “and I took that. Dear god, what have I done.”
“I’ll tell you what you’ve done,” Jordan blurted angrily. “You fucked my son!” Delta began to cry again.
Both had shared dark secrets. Both admitted truths that were devastating in the hurt, pain and anger caused. The two held one another for what seemed an hour without uttering a single syllable.
And then Delta’s myriad of emotions, afloat somewhere in the ether, were brought crashing to earth with Jordan’s single pronouncement: “Dion is going to flip.”
Months later, in the large yet cozy living room of the home she shared with Jordan and the children, Delta and her mother sat deep in the massive, comfy couch, surrounded by the rest of the kids as Jordan and Dion, in chairs, looked on.
Delta’s satisfied mother cradled Jonathan, the family’s newest addition and her first biological grandchild. She kissed the baby and then motioned for Matt, home on holiday from University, to come closer.
“Let me show you how to do this,” she said, placing the bundle of human innocence in a smiling Matt’s arms. “You might as well learn now how to hold a baby, for when you have kids of your own.”
It was decided that Matt could never know that his youngest brother was also his son. Only Delta, Jordan and Dion knew that complicated, mortifying truth. There was enough shame to go around.
The Twisted was created by Steven Ivory, a veteran journalist, essayist and author who writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via STEVRIVORY@AOL.COM