As Always first things first. I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement. I'll add that we don't always see eye to eye, so I take full responsibility for any cock-ups in this story.
The idea for this short story came from reading stories by two other writers, my friend Dynamite Jacks "Babysittin' Blues" and Dr_Knows "All My children" both enjoyable reads. The story bears no real resemblance to either story but I thought the reader might like to know what sent my mind off in this particular direction.
This can't be happening.
It was a day like any other. I'd been out of the office visiting the different sites where my building crews were working. I run a small building maintenance business. We had in the past done some new builds, but finding suitable sites had become a real pain in the arse. Repairs and the odd extension to private houses turned the money over quicker.
Anyway, as I arrived back at the office, some guy is waiting for me. He stood up as I entered the room and asked me, "Are you Mr. Steven George Best Harding?"
"Yes, I am," I replied.
I got a feeling I knew what was coming next. We have the odd dissatisfied customer and it wasn't unusual for folks to sue over it. Normally we managed to sort things out amicably. So amicably in fact that it wasn't unusual for those same moaners to come back to have another job done. So, you see, I wasn't particularly bothered. There was no way I was going to let whatever this was about go to court.
"I have a summons here for you sir. You are cited as co-respondent in the divorce of Mr. and Mrs. Powers and I have another summons issued in the name of Mr. Powers charging you with alienation of his wife's affections. And then there is a third claiming back payment of child support for the two children that Mr. Powers claims you sired."
With that the guy slapped three envelopes into my hand and walked out of the office. I didn't say anything other than to confirm my name; I was just too shocked to say anything else.
My secretary/receptionist Jean came around her desk, took me by the arm, lead me into my office and pushed me down into my chair. Then Jean picked up the phone and called my solicitor.
"Manny, get you arse over here to Steve's office, now! The shit has hit the fan big time. He's going to need you."
Manny must had said something back to Jean.
"I don't give a monkey's arse what you're doing, you big lump of lard. Get yourself over here now and start earning that bloody retainer Steve pays you or I'll personally cut your bloody balls off."
Jean doesn't mince her words. That's why I had her running the office. I employ a rough crowd. None of the guys would ever dare to talk back to her, Manny amongst them.
"Stay there, boss. I'm going to make a cup of tea, then we'll see what all this shit is about."
I suppose I'd better tell you a little about myself. I'm Steve George Best Harding. (My dad was into football. No, I never was - I couldn't kick a ball straight if my life depended on it). I'm thirty-five years old and have been married to my Annette, the oldest of three sisters for the last fifteen of them.
We've got two children, Rebecca, who's five, and Christina, who's four years old. No, we didn't plan on waiting all that long to have children; we started trying to have a baby from the first day of our honeymoon and, boy, did we try. But it turned out Annette had some internal abnormality - don't ask me, I'm not a bloody gynaecologist; I didn't understand a word of it.
It was nothing they couldn't get around; the end result was that Annette wouldn't be able to conceive in the normal manner. Once the problem was diagnosed, things were fairly easily rectified. The doctors just pointed us in the direction of the nearest IVF treatment centre. After a few months of messing around, an implant finally took and Rebecca popped into the world nine months later. As soon as possible after the birth, Annette went back to the clinic where they implanted a couple more embryos and Christina soon joined our happy little family.
Annette and I still enjoy a... um, hectic sex life. I think Annette reckons we are going to prove the doctors wrong one-day. Hey, I'm happy to help her, although it can be quite tiring sometimes. Although it could be Annette just enjoys sex. I know I do.
The problem that I had by then was that Annette is what you might call very possessive and extremely jealous. Christ, it took years for her to get used to the idea of Jean working with me. Jean and Annette are great friends but if Annette got the wrong idea she'd go bloody bonkers.
But now, I had her sister's husband claiming that I was the father of his two small children and apparently actively suing me over it. Shit, if Annette got wind of this she would bloody kill her sister and me.
Jean, of course, realised the implications of the solicitor's visit. Jean knows Annette and me intimately. She also knew that it was all smoke, that there was no way I would ever cheat on Annette, but the slightest hint to Annette and God knows what would happen.
I think I sat in my office in a state of shock. Jean returned with a couple of mugs of tea. Then she opened the three envelopes and read the contents, huffing and puffing as she did so.
"Jesus, that's bloody impossible," she suddenly exclaimed. "Steve, you haven't done anything I don't know about, have you?"
I looked at her.
"There's a bloody DNA test here that claims to prove you are the father of Emma's twins."
"No bloody way. What do you think - I've got a bleeding death wish or something?" I replied.
"It doesn't make sense. It's got to be a mistake." Jean commented as she looked through the rest of the papers. "They say here that Malcolm Powers is definitely not the father of either of the children. Look, they must have got the samples mixed up. How the hell did they get a sample from you anyway?"
"Buggered if I know. But they can get DNA from cigarette ends and off beer glasses and things nowadays, can't they? That's what the police do, isn't it?" I suggested.
"No, damn it. I know where he got it. Remember a few of months back Malcolm was on about that bone marrow donor register. Didn't he talk you into going on it? Something about leukaemia and bone marrow donations."
"Shit, yes, I remember. He conned most of us at the golf club into signing up for it."
"The crafty bastard! He must have been looking for a DNA match. Did you mention it to Annette or anyone at home?" Jean asked.
"I don't think so. There was nothing to it. They just took a blood sample that's all. I figured I wouldn't tell Annette about it unless I got called to make a donation. But I doubted that would ever happen."
"Well, that's where the bastard got what he thinks is your DNA, from that bloody blood sample, but they must have gotten the samples mixed up somewhere along the line."
Just then Manny arrived and quickly Jean filled him in on what had happened. Manny being Manny and a solicitor to boot immediately assumed I was guilty. Why do solicitors assume that everyone is as sleazy and devious as they are?
Manny started harping on about hiding my financial assets so that Annette wouldn't be able to take me to the cleaners in the divorce settlement. Manny knew Annette just as well as Jean did.
"Look, Manny, I'm not the father of those kid's. I've never shag... um, sorry Jean... slept with Emma or anyone else come to that, since I started going with Annette."
"Well, that's not what this DNA report says," countered Manny as he thumbed through the papers.
"Well, they've messed it up and got the samples mixed up or something," I shouted at him angrily.