Spring turned in to early summer and Janet and Eddie were still going strong. They fell into a comfortable routine and Janet was able to really relax into the relationship. Her fears and doubts about herself and Eddie were fading into the background and she could see the possibility of a future together. She had wedding on the brain as she helped Hannah and Emily plan their big days. She knew Eddie wasn't ready and there weren't together that long but she hoped that one day soon he would be.
"Eddie come on, we are going to be late!" Janet called out from the kitchen, aggravated. It was Eddie's 30th birthday. Phil had planned a birthday dinner at Gelson and then they were going to head to Sully's. Eddie knew everyone was going to be there, Ronnie had slipped during the week when they were installing the new windows at Murph's.
"It's fine Jem, its just dinner with Phys and Pizza Girl." Eddie hated that he was getting older and would have preferred, the whole day be ignored. Janet was in a bit of a panic, everyone was there waiting for them to arrive. Nick, Ronnie, Owen and Allison, Ikey, Hannah and even Ray was showing up.
"You know how Phil gets, come on. How long does it take to not shave and put on jeans?" Eddie emerged from the bedroom and Janet was taken aback. He was clean shaven, wearing dark jeans and a light weight grey sweater. She felt a knot in her stomach as she looked him over, sometimes she had to remind her self that this beautiful man was in love with her.
"Wow, baby you look great… no plaid in sight…"
"I am wearing plaid underwear." Eddie said suggestively "We could just skip dinner and stay here, I could get my real present."
For a second Janet almost gave in. "No way, we are going. Come on." Janet was trying to muster her own resolve.
"You know you don't look so bad yourself, you should wear a dress more often." Janet was wearing a simple, black and red patterned wrap dress. " Especially one that shows off that much cleavage. Happy Birthday to me!" Eddie wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her neck and collarbone. Janet struggled to pull away but Eddie just held her tighter. "Come on baby, we can be a little late."
"Come on Eddie, you are not playing fair. Phil is really excited about this." Eddie frowned like a child and released her.
"Fine! Lets go."
Eddie did his best to play surprised but Janet saw right through him. They all gathered around him, in the entry way at Gelson. Patting his back, punching his shoulder. There were hugs and kisses from the ladies.
"Come on everybody, dinner is ready and waiting." Phil waved everyone into the dining room and Janet Pulled Eddie back.
"You are a horrible lair Mr. Latekka, I can see right through you. Who blabbed?"
"Ronnie, it wasn't his fault. I knew something was brewing." He grabbed her and kissed her before he went to join their friends leaving her breathless and with a smile on her face.
"So how are the wedding plans going Emily?" Alison asked between bites of the perfectly cooked beef tenderloin that Phil had made.
"Uh, good. I mean it so much planning a wedding, I had no freaking idea. Hannah and I have been comparing notes. Right Hannah Jane?"
"Uh, Yeah Pizza Girl, its not at easy as it looks. We set the date finally, October 21st, so that's half the battle." Ray reached over and wrapped his hand around Hannah's "And Janet's been a big help!"
"She sure has, when you get married you are going to be an expert." Pizza girl chirped. Janet blushed slightly, she and Eddie had been together for almost six months, and they had never discussed marriage or even living together. Despite the fact that Eddie spent every night at her place.
"When are you going to make an honest woman out of Janet here?" Ray asked through gritted teeth but trying to be nice. Eddie shot him a look of death.
"Ray." Janet implored.
"I don't know Janet, Ray is asking a very good question." Owen teased "You are not getting any younger Eddie, tonight proves that."
"Well, thanks Owen for reminding me how old I am." Eddie took a long swig from his beer, never taking his eyes off of Ray. "And Ray why don't you get your girl down the aisle first and then you can worry about mine." Eddie got in his one last dig and Janet grabbed his knee, hoping he would not go on.
"Time for cake! Who wants cake?" Phil called out, trying to break the tension.
The evening went on , and everyone was spread out drinking and talking and laughing. Janet was sitting on the sofa with Phil deep in conversation. Eddie watched her from across the room. Marriage, it was never something he really thought about but he knew it was something that she wanted. What he loved about Janet is that she never pushed him to do something unless he was ready. Was he ready? He couldn't imagine his life without her, and when he thought about his life ten years down the road, on his 40th Birthday. He saw Janet there, and his children with bright blue eyes and mops of curly brown hair. He smiled thinking about it.
In the midst of the party Ray's cell phone rang, he excused himself. Janet noticed the concerned look spread across his face. She excused her self from Phil and followed Ray into the kitchen. She found him leaning against the counter with his head in his hands.
"Ray?" He didn't respond, so she took a few steps closer. "Goose, what goes on?" She rested her hands on his shoulders and he looked up at her with pained eyes.
Eddie, watched her walk into the kitchen, and after a few minutes he realized that Ray was gone too. An uneasy feeling washed over him and he made his way though the dining room, to the kitchen doorway.
"Ray, I don't think I can do this." Janet's voice was strained. "Not again."
"Look at me duck, we can do this together. You and Me. Its going to be OK" Ray wrapped his arms around her and she slacked against him. "I love you Duck." his voice was soft and tender.
"I love you too Goose."
Eddie stood there watching. He felt like he had been slapped in the face. This was even worse then when he found Rory in bed with another guy.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN HERE?' Eddie roared. Ray and Janet both jumped breaking their embrace.
"Eddie, please calm down." She begged him, wiping away the tears that stained her face. Eddie took two large steps and was in Ray's face.
"Back off Latekka. You have no idea what you are doing right now." Janet grabbed Eddies arm, but he pushed her away.
The noise from the kitchen drew the attention of the party. Owen and Hannah went to go and see what was going on.
"So how long Ray? How long have you been screwing Janet!"
"Eddie!" Janet cried out. Ray pushed Eddie back, only making him more angry.
"Ray what going on here?" Hannah looked on watching the beginning of a would be alpha battle.
"Tell her, Ray." Eddie voice was seething "Tell her, about you and Janet." Ray looked at Janet, his eyes filled with question hers filled with tears "Don't you look at her you bastard!"
"Ray, what is Eddie taking about?" Hannah was starting to panic.
"I just walked in on them, in each others arms professing their love for each other. That is what's going on Hannah Jane."
"Ray?" Hannah's voice was breaking "Janet?"
"Hannah Jane, I can explain…"
"What do you have to explain about you and my best friend?" Hannah was yelling now and the rest of the guests had gathered into the kitchen.
Janet broke down and was crying, Ray gently put his hand on her shoulder and whispered something in her ear. She nodded and that was the final straw for Eddie. He charged at Ray and punched him square in the jaw, knocking him off balance but not to the ground. Ray quickly retaliated and swung back, clipping Eddie in the mouth. Owen quickly grabbed Eddie by both of his arms and Janet put herself in front of Ray. Nick quickly came to her side and pushed Ray back. He and Eddie were both rabid with anger.
"Both of you STOP IT!" Janet screamed out "Eddie, Ray is my brother!" Her words stunned the whole room to a shocked silence. Ray's entire body relaxed as the words came out of her mouth and Eddie looked at her, not sure he really heard what she said. She saw the question in his face. She walked right up to him, looking him dead in his eyes.
"Ray is my half brother." She said slowly. Owen released Eddie from his grasp.
"What." Hannah and Eddie said in unison. This is what she had tried to avoid for the last thirteen years of her life. The public acknowledgement that Sully was not her birth father. Tears streamed down her face and Ray stood behind her with his hands firmly on her shoulders.
"You heard me. Everyone heard me. Michael and my mom, there were high school sweethearts. She left town and Michael married Ray's mother. When my mom came back for her fathers funeral, they had a night together. A few days later she met Sully, but she was already pregnant with me." Janet straightened up, wiped away her tears and drew on a strength that she hadn't used in years. "You guys remember that blood type test we did in the 6th grade?" She looked around the room to nodding heads. " Well mine didn't match, I couldn't have the blood type I have with my parents blood types. So I asked my mom and she told me the truth."
"Did Sully know?" Hannah asked still stunned, this was mirroring her internal conflict over Sam's real father.
"No, he never knew, it would have killed him."
"Yes, he knows." Ray interceded "When he got sick six years ago and retired, he made up a new will and Janet was in it. He told me the truth, why he wanted me to take piano lessons from her mom, why he always told me to look after Janet. But the moment I found out she was my sister, she has been my family. And just now I got a phone call that our father is dying."
The room was shell shocked and for Eddie everything clicked onto place. Ray being so mad at Matt, calling her duck, doing the work at her house. It all made sense.
"Why keep it a secret then?" Eddie finally spoke
"I didn't want Sully to know, or Shane and Claire. I didn't want to be fodder for the ridge rumor mill. I didn't want to mar my mother's memory. And I didn't want to deal with ANOTHER thing. "Janet's resolve started to break again and Eddie took a step towards her, her instinct kicked in and she took a step away from him towards Ray who as always had her back.. She looked at Eddie with anger in her eyes.
"Oh my God!" Hannah blurted out "That's why you were such a mess in the 6th grade, I remember you that summer. This is why?"
"Yes, Hannah. Yes. I had a very hard time, not because Michael was my father but because of the lies. I didn't know who I could trust. It was the lies that hurt me the most" Janet was speaking to Hannah more about Sam then she was about herself.
"Janet." Eddie said trying to get a read on what she was feeling.
"Eddie don't, just don't. You just accused me of cheating on you, betraying my best friend, carrying on an affair for years. Do you really think that is who I am. That I am capable of something like that?"
"Well no, but you were the one keeping all these secrets."
"Secrets are not lies Eddie. So then you think I am a whore and a liar? Why are you even with me then. I mean its obvious that you don't want to marry me so…"
"I never said that…"
"Yeah, you did. You never answered Ray's question at dinner, you just turned it into a pissing match You came in here making a scene, yelling like an animal. I would never cheat on you, I would never lie to you. I am not Rory!"
"No, you're not." There was acid in his tone and Janet knew what he was implying. She slapped him hard across his face. The sound echoed in the now silent room.
"And there it is Eddie. There it is." Janet walked out of the room and threw on her jacket. Eddie turned to go after her but Ray grabbed his arm.
"Don't even think about it Latekka." Ray spat out. Eddie body tensed and he pull away from Ray. Owen quickly grabbed Eddie other arm.
"Buddy, he is right. You should just leave her alone." Eddie looked at his old friend, and saw the disappointment in his eyes. Shame and regret washed over Eddie.
"I'll go" Nick offered, he shot Eddie a disgusted look and walked out of the room. He ran after her and caught up quickly.
"Janet, let me drive you home." She turned to him, tears streaming down her face and his heart broke for her. He put his arms around her.
"I know Janet I know. I am so sorry. Come on let me take you home." Nicky had know the truth about Janet and the Cataldo's. She had told him a six years ago, when Ray told her he knew the truth. It a long night of political debate and drinks with some of his friends. He knew how important it was for it to remain a secret and Eddie blowing it up tonight was the worst possible outcome.
Hours later Janet was calm. She and Nick and talked about everything that happened. And as always her had a way of making thing seem better then they were. She was asleep on his shoulder when Nick heard a knock at her front door.
"Great, fucking great." He muttered to himself. He gently moved Janet, trying not to wake her and opened her front door.
"Eddie…"He said in a judgmental tone.
"I know, Nicky I know. Owen just read me the riot act. Is she ok?"
"No, she's not but she is sleeping. What the fuck were you thinking? You had no right to do what you did. I get that what you saw was questionable, but you always jump to anger and punches."
"I know, trust me I know. I overreacted."
"That is a huge understatement Eddie and what you said about Rory…" Nick shook his head.
"It just came out I didn't mean it, I was just so amped up. I was so angry and overwhelmed."
"You need to think before you act Eddie, you are not eighteen anymore. You should have talked to her, when you got home like an adult. She is so upset, she didn't want it to get out about Michael and her mom and now we all know. I remember her being mad when Ray found out"
"Wait, you remember… You knew, she told you?" Eddie was surprised and angry that she would tell Nick but never think to tell him. Nick was kicking himself, realizing that he over spoke.
"yes, she told me many years ago. After Ray found out, she needed someone to talk to and at the time I wasn't in the Ridge. Look that's not really the point…" Nick was losing his temper.
"What is the point…" Eddie crossed his arms across his chest.
"Nick… Eddie?" His body stiffened as he her voice call out from the sofa. She got up and walked towards them. Her eyes were puffy and her voice was raw. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to… I needed to see you… and tell you how sorry I am." Eddie was pleading.
"Nick, thank you for being here for me tonight, but Eddie and I need to talk." She smiled at him and as much as he didn't want to leave her alone, he gave her a hug and kissed her on the top of her head.
"You know where I am if you need me. Ok." He shot Eddie a dirty look before he left.
"Janet I am so very sorry."
"I never meant to accuse you…"
"And I am sorry that you had to tell everyone about you and Ray."
"Eddie, I cant talk anymore. I need sleep. I am still mad as hell at you and I don't know when that's going to go away but tonight I need my best friend and you are it. Not that you acted like it tonight, but I don't know how to sleep without you next to me. So lets just go to bed and we can deal with everything else later."
When morning came, Eddie woke to find Janet gone. And all that was left was a note.
Went to Boston with Ray to see Michael.
He could tell by her clipped tone that she was still angry, very angry. He laid back in her bed and pulled a pillow over his head wondering of he was ever going to be able to fix the mess he had made.
"You ok Duck?" Ray asked when they were finally on the highway.
"Yeah, as ok as I can be. How was Hannah last night?"
"Hannah, well Hannah told me that Nick is Sam's father. That's what Hannah did." A look of shock spread across Janet's face, surprising Ray. "What you didn't know?"
"Ray, I had suspected but Hannah always maintained that Gavin was his dad. I never really pushed it, considering the secret I was keeping. It was not my place to judge. Are you OK?"
"No, I am not ok. she is going to tell Nick today, she doesn't want any more secrets. And deep down I know I am going to lose her, its just a matter of time now."
"Ray, she loves you."
"Yeah but she loves him too, she always has. And I just want to crush him, and send him back to NY."
"What will that do Ray, you will win her by default, that's not winning at all. You need to step away.."
"Be the better man Ray, you and I both know that she is going to chose Nick. You knew the day he came back. So be the good guy, and walk away. I love you and if you don't you are going to bring a world of hurt down on yourself. Hannah and Nick are just meant to be."
"I love her Janet, I really love her."
"I know you do, which I am telling you, don't make her choose. Don't put her and Sam through all of that." Ray nodded, understanding where Janet was coming from, why delay the inevitable.
"What about you and Latekka?"
"What about it?"
"You're in the same place I am, you are waiting for him to change and that's not going to happen. Like I have been waiting for Hannah to fall out of love with Nick."
"Its not the same thing."
"It is, he is never going to love you the way you deserve. And you saw how he reacted when I brought up marriage. And then his temper, he pushed you last night. I wanted to kill him."
"No Janet no excuses. You are waiting for him to grow up and I am telling you its not going to happen. He may be thirty but he still acts like he is eighteen. The fights, living with Farmer, sitting in the bar all those years banging what ever he could. Yeah sure he stopped when you guys got together but has he said one thing to you about commitment?"
"No, he hasn't."
"And he is at your place every night right?" Janet nodded "But his mail goes to his place and most of his stuff is still there?"
"Yes Ray! YES. Ok, you made your point. You and me suck at the love thing Ok."
"Maybe we just pick the wrong people to love."