The Way it Was

For a little while, the marriage of Frank and Frances Goren was perfect. Frances was head over heels in love with her big handsome husband. God, he was good-looking! He had these sapphire blue eyes that made her melt every time he looked at her in that certain special way. So what if he had cheated while they were dating? It was only natural that girls would throw themselves at her handsome hunk. But now that they were married, things would be different. And even if Frank still had a roving eye, it was normal, he was a guy. All guys did that. She had all the confidence in the world that she could hold him, there was a reason that Frank had married her. For his part, Frank considered himself the luckiest guy in the world when he made the dark and exotic looking Frances his wife. She was definitely a looker with her dark wavy hair and big gorgeous brown eyes, and just an incredibly beautiful face. Not to mention a figure that just would not quit. He made a lot of guys unhappy when he married her, and he didn't hesitate to rub it in to them every chance he got. Just another way to build himself up in the eyes of his acquaintances.

Then, after about a year, little Frankie was born. It was a very easy birth, a relatively short labor for a first child, only seven hours. Frances was so happy, she had a beautiful baby boy—and she had maintained her figure, something most of her friends were unable to do after their pregnancies. This was very important to her.

Frank was a bit of an egotist, and both were so impressed with their new baby boy that they named him after them both. Big Frank looked lovingly at his wife and child. "Damn, honey, you did good!" he told her proudly. "I think he looks just like me, don't you think?"

Frances looked at her new baby, who was dozing comfortably in his mother's arms. "I think so, too," she said. "He'll be just like you, I know it."

Frank leaned in to her. "So when are we gonna be able to do it again?"

"Frank!" Frances laughed, feigning shock. "The doctor said we had to wait a few weeks, at least." She looked at him with those big doe eyes. "Aren't I worth waiting for?"

Frank was hugely disappointed. "Of course. It's just that…damn it, I missed you, y'know? You know how I love doing it with you."

"Well you're just going to have to wait." She knew she still had it, and it felt good to make him wait, to leave her husband craving and wanting her so badly. Frances was actually feeling a little smug, and Frank knew it. The only thing was, Frank wasn't into waiting. It had been a month now, and he didn't feel like waiting for his smug little wife. He was pissed. If she couldn't, or wouldn't, provide for him, he knew a certain little someone who would.

The night Frankie was born was the first time he cheated on her since they were married. It certainly wouldn't be the last. It was the start of a whole new side to the marriage of Frank and Frances Goren.

XXX

Little Frankie was close to two and a half (and the apple of his parents' eyes) when his mother became pregnant again. It surprised the hell out of big Frank—he and Frances had been doing a lot of fighting, and not a lot of making up. Sure, there had been that one time, and it only took one, but still…it was just not as likely as he would have hoped—if he had even wanted another child at all.

Frances was surprised too, and fearful. Surely this baby had to be her husband's…it couldn't possibly be Mark's…but God! What if it is? She had only been with Mark those few times…actually more then she had spent with her no good cheating husband, she thought with dismay. And the timing…Oh God! If she was actually this far along… Well, no matter if it was or not, she was telling Frank it was his. She had no desire to set him off again.

The birth of little Bobby was quite a bit different from that of Frankie. Bobby was a bigger baby and had somehow become breeched, twenty hours of hard labor resulting in a Caesarian birth. Frances vowed never again. Not only had the birth been difficult, but the surgery marred her once perfect body. She was every bit the egotist her husband was, and couldn't help feeling a little resentment at the scarring the birth had caused to her figure. She was in pain physically, and little Bobby was restless—she was glad they took him back to the nursery at night.

Visiting his wife and new baby in the hospital, Frank looked down at the new little curly-haired baby, searching for any signs. Signs that this child might not be his.

"Do you want to hold him?" Frances asked. She wasn't exactly sure herself whose child it was, and was desperate to form a bond between father and son.

Frank refused. "He doesn't look like me at all," he stated. "Frankie looks like me."

"Well, one of them has to look like me," Frances said, hoping he would buy it. "And don't forget, babies change a lot. He could change and look like you--overnight."

Only if his father looks exactly like me, Frank thought bitterly.

XXX

Their first couple of weeks was a disaster. Frances and Frank were both stressed, and the baby seemed to pick up on the tension. Bobby seemed to never sleep. His sleep time seemed to consist of short thirty-minute naps, then he'd be awake, and crying. All night long. Frances didn't know what to do for him, or with him. Frankie had never been like this, little Frankie had been a perfect baby. Frank could remember having to wake little Frankie up to show him off to visitors. Not Bobby. This child never slept. Nothing seemed to work, Bobby and his parents were all up all night long. Both Frances and Frank were exhausted and even more on edge. They continued to fight all the time.

"Jesus Christ!" Frank said angrily, "Can't you shut that little fucker up?"

"I'm trying!" Frances said. "I've tried everything! Rocking him, feeding him, changing him—I don't know what else to do!"

"All I know is you better shut him up, or—"

"Or what?" Frances challenged. "What are you gonna do? Hit him again?!"

"What? I never--"

"Oh, don't even try to deny it! I've seen it, when you think I'm sleeping, you hit him! It never helps, you know, it only makes him cry even more!"

"I only hit him on the ass! For Christ's sake! He has a goddamn diaper on, it didn't hurt him!"

"You don't know! And I've seen you hit him on the back, too! Hard! You could have hurt him!"

"That was an accident! I was mad! I meant to hit his ass. I was just trying to calm him down. All I know is I gotta get some sleep!"

Frances was upset. "What about me? I never get any sleep either, when am I supposed to get some sleep?"

Frank looked at her like she was a moron. "When the kids are asleep. Joe says that's when his wife sleeps."

Now Frances looked at him like he was the moron. "That's the point, Frank! He. Never. Sleeps!"

Bobby was in his crib, crying so hard that he wasn't taking any breaths. Frances grabbed him up, shaking him a little to make him take a breath. "Come on, Bobby, breathe baby…" Finally Bobby took a sobbing breath. She held him, bouncing him to try and soothe him. Little Frankie was awake now, and in their room, crying and upset that his Mommy and Daddy were fighting.

"Just great!" Frances screamed, as Frankie held on to her nightgown and Bobby continued crying in her arms. "Now look what you did! They're both awake."

"Christ!" Frank exploded. "You take care of them! I'm going downstairs, I gotta work in the morning!" He grabbed a pillow and was reaching for a blanket, when Frances shoved him unexpectedly with her free hand.

"Why can't you help out at all? You're the father!"

Frank snorted. He wanted so badly to tell her of his suspicions, that Bobby wasn't his. His pride wouldn't let him, however. How bad would it be if his friends found out this kid wasn't his? No one was going to know.

"And you're the mother! It's your job to take care of them."

"And what is your job, Frank? Shacking up with that little floozy? Or anything that even moves? Is that your job?" She pushed him again.

It took everything Frank had in him not to hit her. "Fuck this!" Frank said. "I'm outta here." With that, he went down the stairs and out the door, with Frances screaming after him, calling him everything she could think of.

Crying, Frances worked her way over to the rocker, with Frankie still holding on to her. She sat down and pulled Frankie into her lap. After a while, Bobby quit crying, having exhausted himself, finally falling asleep, and Frances lulled Frankie back to sleep. She put them both back in their beds, then went to her own bed and shakily picked the phone up from the nightstand. God, she hoped he was home.

After a few rings, he picked up. "It's two a.m." he said gruffly, "This better be good."

"Hello, Mark?" she said, "Thank God you're in town!"

"Bambi?" Mark Brady was no longer concerned with being awakened. Oh, yeah! This will be good!, he thought.