"You've some nerve."
Noah raised a bemused brow and motioned for Dylan to join him and Gill at the table. They were having lunch at a popular sushi restaurant when Dylan had stormed up to them. "I know you told her it was okay to go," he pulled up a chair and dropped heavily into it.
Gill and Noah exchanged amused looks and Gill pushed his beer in front of Dylan. "What I want to know is, how do you propose to gain anything from this?"
Noah didn’t respond, he lifted his beer took a sip and set the bottle down on the table, "She always listens to you," Dylan mumbled, "for once I wish you would just stay out of it."
"I know," Noah said quietly.
"We all know." Gill corrected.
Dylan stilled then shrugged, "I’m not following you, sorry if I don’t get the secret language that you two use," he picked up a pair of spare chopsticks and skewered a California roll and popped it into his mouth.
"Let me say it again, I know everything," Noah said this time slower with an edge to his voice.
"You naughty boy," Gill tried to joke.
Dylan paled, "Let me guess your best friend James filled you in. Does Georgina know?"
"No," Gill answered, "we thought we’d bestow that honor on you."
"You never did like me, did you?" Dylan asked trying to play the sympathy card.
"No," Gill shrugged, "sue me."
"And you," he shot at Noah accusingly, "how long have you been in love with Georgina, it’s pathetic. You really think after all this time she’d want to be with a nobody like you."
"Easy," Noah smiled thinly, "those lines won't work on me anymore."
"So you want me to tell her, what if I refuse?"
"Oh, I was so hoping that would be your answer," Gill laughed to himself, "you think I won't tell her? I’m gunning for it."
"I just bet you are," Dylan mumbled eating more and more sushi, "so everything works in your favor, does it?"
"I didn’t cheat on my wife," Dylan responded. Noah winced, "You did that. I won't let you do it to her."
"I am good for her." He defended himself.
"I’m really not interested in all of that," Noah said sounding bored.
"Are you going to allow him to do this," Dylan asked incredulously looking at Gill.
"Absolutely," Gill said with conviction.
Dylan nodded, "I see so much for friendship," he stood up hesitating awkwardly, then walked off down the street.
"That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside," Gill said raising his hand to order another drink, "do you think he’s going to tell her?"
"This is the guy who cheated on his wife," Noah reminded his friend.
Gill sighed, "We’re leaving tonight. I don’t suppose Georgina knows we’re going to Australia, does she?"
"It's none of her business, we need to do this. Jane was also our friend."
"Ditto," Gill said gravely, "do you think she’s going to be happy knowing that we’re doing this?"
"She doesn’t have to know," Noah responded, "Georgina is safe in Maryland, let's keep it that way."
"I can’t believe we’re in Australia," was the first thing Gill said rather morbidly when they were off the plane and in the rented car they had hired.
"Shut up and watch the GPS," Noah snapped, irritated by the summer heat and the fact that he hadn’t eaten a proper meal.
"Okay, so what’s the plan? We knock on Jane’s door and say what? The child support is here?" he laughed at his own joke, "I can’t believe you dragged me into this."
"I know what you mean, it suddenly seems really stupid, doesn’t it?"
Gill looked at him, "What the hell are you listening to me for? This is the best idea you’ve had in decades."
Noah grinned at his friend, "Well, thank you Sir."
"Okay, take this next off-ramp," Gill instructed, "tell me again why we didn’t tell Jane we were coming," Gill asked.
"Because knowing Jane she would just tell us not to come and say she was fine," Noah reminded him as they tried to find the way to Jane’s apartment.
Noah pulled the car to a stop in front of a modest block of apartments. "This is the home of a millionaire’s baby mama?" Gill whistled, "I can’t believe he would do this."
"Yeah, well we’ve established that he’s scum," Noah said gravely looking up in dismay at the apartments, "okay let's do this." He watched as Gill straightened his blazer and ran a hand through his hair. He shook his head and crossed the street.
They were able to enter the building without any hassle and were standing in front of Jane’s door. "Knock," Gill prompted.
"You knock," Noah said tersely suddenly nervous.
"Oh, for God’s sake," Gill pushed him aside and rapped on the door.
"You’ll scare the baby," Noah said bleakly.
"She’s four years old," Gill reminded him but knocked quieter.
They heard commotion on the other side of the door and then the door was opened. A tired but still beautiful Jane stood on the other side.
"Oh my God," she yelped and flung open the door throwing herself first at Gill and then at Noah, "you guys are crazy," she ushered them in, "this is amazing. I can’t believe you’re here," she hugged them again.
"Hey," Gill laughed, "talk about a welcome," he shot Noah a quizzical expression.
"I just didn’t expect all of you," Jane enthused.
"Sorry for dropping in like this - we were here on business," Noah lied, "we really wanted to see you and Gabby," he looked around as if expecting to see the child.
"Well, this is great. First Georgina and then you guys."
They both froze, "Georgina was here," Gill said going white, "our Georgina?"
"Who else?" Jane said confused, "you both look great by the way. I heard you’re engaged Gill," she was moving around the room clearing up toys and clothes, "let me get you a drink," she said suddenly and then went into the kitchen, "is wine fine," she called out to them.
"Perfect," Gill said because Noah still had a dumbfounded look on his face, "okay this is unexpected," Gill told him, "but it doesn’t change why we are here. You will just have to ask Georgina about it when we get back."
"Ask me about what?" Noah whipped around. The front door had just opened and there she was with a child in her arms. She didn’t look surprised to see them. In fact she all but ignored them as she set the little girl down on the rug and pulled some toys around her.
"Gill," she said standing up to embrace him, "what are you two doing here?" she didn’t hug Noah, only looked at him and then away concentrating on the child.
"Oh, we were here on business."
"Really?" she said in disbelief, "okay, I’m sure it’s close to state business."
Noah didn’t move he seemed glued to the floor. Gill rolled his eyes and pasted a good-natured smile on his face, "And what are you doing here?" he said eying the familiarity between her and the child.
"Oh, I came to make peace with Jane for stealing her husband and low and behold…" she trailed off, "but I gather you knew as much," she eyed Noah again.
"Oh, you’re back," Jane said coming back into the room, "did she enjoy her walk?"
"Yes, she was good this time. I think she’s getting used to it," Georgina spoke to Jane directly. The two men suddenly felt like they were intruding. She handed Noah and Gill their drinks. They all but downed the wine, "I see you two are still as enthusiastic as ever," Jane laughed, "we should take you two out," she winked at Georgina, "I had a babysitter for Gabby, anyway."
"That sounds great," Gill said on behalf of the two of them.
"Great," Georgina clapped her hands, "I think we have a lot of catching up to do."
She picked Gabby up, "I’ll go leave her with Kylie."
"Let me grab her bag," Noah and Gill moved to one side watching the two women work. They obviously had been doing this for a while.
"Kylie lives next door," Jane explained when Georgina had left, "she loves Gabby," she added.
"That’s great," Noah mumbled.
Georgina was quiet as she walked beside him. Gill and Jane were ahead chatting away. Georgina felt that there were no words to describe how angry she was at the man beside her. She loved this man but he had kept something from her and she didn’t understand why. She opened and then closed her mouth. No words just anger and pain.
"Look," Noah stopped and turned to face her, "I know you must think the worst of me…" he trailed off seeing the hurt in her eyes, "Georgina I never meant to hurt you."
"No, you just decided to keep the most important thing from me," she said, her voice strangely calm.
They began walking again, trying to catch up with Gill and Jane who were turning the corner. "I just thought it should have come from Dylan, that was the right thing to do."
"But I don’t care about Dylan," she stormed suddenly walking ahead of him, "it's you who I expected the truth from. You were supposed to be better than all of us."
"I think you think too highly off me."
"Obviously," she snapped, "well, don’t worry not anymore."
"Georgina please. It wasn’t my place."
"I suppose you thought you were being honorable."
"Well, yes," he admitted sheepishly and she tried not to be taken in by how great he looked in his jeans and white shirt.
"But that gets us nowhere, does it. He’s still a cheating bastard and you’re the man who didn’t tell me the truth."
Noah threw his hands up in the air, "I don’t know how to win with you."
"Well, there you have it," she returned, "there is no winning, stalemate."
"You still haven’t explained to me what you’re doing here!"
"Like you have a right," she tossed back. They had entered a busy Mexican restaurant. Gill and Jane had already secured a table and Jane was ordering a jig of margaritas.
Noah sat down beside Gill, he felt safer beside his friend. Georgina’s anger was something he hadn’t anticipated and he was scared to death that he wouldn’t be able to make things right.
"So guys, tell me the truth what are you two doing here? I know how busy you are, so I’m grateful but come on out with the truth."
"We’re here to negotiate terms of child support," Noah said bluntly. Gill stared at him like he was from another planet.
"Excuse my friend he grew up in a boardroom," he turned to Jane, "but yes what he said..."
"So you’re here on behalf of my cheating husband?" Georgina winced.
"Not exactly," Noah looked at her, studying her reaction.
"You’re both sweet but I can’t take your money."
"You can, we have plenty. Don’t know what to do with it," Gill joked.
Jane bit her lip, the margaritas had arrived and everyone took a long welcome sip. It was hot and both men were starving, "Look I am a nurse, I don’t make a whole lot but it’s enough for now barely…" she trailed off and looked down at the table. It was obvious the subject upset her.
"It's only fair that Dylan should pay child support," Georgina argued, "what man does that?" She accused hotly.
"Okay," Gill held his hands up, "it's me Gill, not Dylan."
"I don’t think he’s going to pay child support," Noah added darkly, "it's not who he is."
"I suppose you’re right people are who they are, it's stupid of us to expect any better from them." She shrugged and looked away.
Gill rolled his eyes and "Are you being serious right now?" she looked back at him, "you can be angry all you like but point that finger somewhere else," he lit a cigarette, "let's not forget that you’re not exactly innocent in this whole thing."
Georgina turned red and turned her face to look at the bar area.
"Am I missing something here?" Jane interrupted the silence that had ensued.
"Yeah, men will be men." Georgina snapped and stood up in a huff and walked out the door.
"Let me," Noah said to Jane who had risen.
He found her standing by the curb smoking a cigarette.
"I don’t want to hear your excuses," she told him before he could speak.
"I didn’t come here to apologize to you," he said quietly, "in fact I didn’t even come here for you. You just happen to be here. I am here for Jane and so is Gill," he took the cigarette from her, "I came to tell you to stop making this about you, so I can help Jane. I’m sure you don’t mind that, do you?" she paused and surveyed him suddenly embarrassed, "whatever issues you have with me, leave them at the door. You can always have a go at me when we’re back home. Right now I need you to show some semblance of humanity," he took a drag of the cigarette and handed it back to her. Then he walked back into the restaurant.
"She’ll be right in," he told the others, "can we please order something to eat, I’m starving."
Georgina did come back in but she was quieter. She listened to the arguments that Noah and Gill made with admiration.
"Whether you agree or not," Gill finished, "we’re opening that trust for Gabby, it will be there when she needs it and lucky you because you have the two of us to manage it for her," Gill sat back satisfied with his argument.
"They don’t mess around, do they?" Jane said to Georgina, it was easy to see she was relieved that the decision had been taken out of her hands.
Georgina smiled warmly, "No they’re really good, aren’t they?"
"So that’s a 'yes' then," Noah said when Jane stood up to give both him and Gill a hug.
"Thank you," she shook her head, "I can’t believe that you two would do this for her when her own father…" she left the rest unsaid, "you have to meet her properly before you leave, I think she needs to know you."
"We’d love to," they said in unison.