Long Cold Winter: Chapter Twenty-Nine

“Mom was a member of a network of diehard ex-groupies. It was sort of like a support group for those who had lived the lifestyle. She kept a list of all those who claimed to have been with you. Several had children, but not all. She researched each claim, marking out those who were found to be lying. Seems you were a very hot commodity back in the day.” The young girl’s words stung, but he knew it was all true. “She hoped one day I would finally meet you. But not this way. She hoped that she would be able to visit you again and introduce me. But she died before she had that chance.”

He looked at her from across the desk. He had moved their conversation from the foyer to his office. “Do you still have her list?” He opened a drawer and pulled out his little black book. “I would like to help narrow it down. And, there might be some in this book that your mother never heard from.”

He handed the book to her. She opened it, then looked up at him. “You kept records?”

He smiled sheepishly. “You don’t expect me to not safeguard myself, do you?”

She smiled back. “I see. You kept records so you knew when a possible child of yours actually came along.”

He nodded. “That book was never intended for any other use. There will be no tell-all sex book or blackmail. I merely kept a record so I knew who I had been with, and who I had not. that way, if a lawsuit ever arose, I could quickly weed out the liars and the frauds. At the same time, it gave me an idea of who I should look for and who I shouldn’t. The only women I never wrote in there were my ex-wives. They got their alimony and child support. Just not as much as they thought they would. And those children ended up being raised by me anyway.”

She looked through the book. “Some of these names I don’t recognize.”

He looked away. “There are backing vocalists and female musicians on that list as well as groupies. And a few actresses and models. But I found them to be too shallow to have much to do with. I mean the models. They’re all about beauty, not necessarily brains. They fear stretch marks and old age. It destroys their career.”

He saw a smile flicker across her lips. He watched her go through the book and compare it to the list. Every now and then, she marked out another name. Or corrected a date.

This was the first time he had ever been this open about this part of his past. Yes, he had been with hundreds of women. And not just in the States. He’d sowed a few wild oats across the pond as well. and In South America. At certain times in his life, a woman was a woman. Nothing else mattered except the comfort they could bring for that single night.

He was amazed that he’d never contracted any diseases, but he had remained healthy through it all. But, then, he was picky. He always had been. Especially then.

He broke the silence. “The musicians probably never mention being with me. I don’t know. Many of the models are long since married and out of the business. The actresses are a different matter. I was just a stop in their journey to fame. They have probably long forgotten me.”

She looked up. “I know of only ten kids from those who are on your list. But that doesn’t mean anything. There could be more. Especially from the European and South American women. But that is just speculation, and those that I don’t know about might have but aren’t saying.”

He smiled at her awkwardness. “In other words, you are saying that you know of ten other children, but that there could be more.”

She nodded. “Yes.”

He looked at the birth certificate she had handed him at the door. “Sandra Marie Ellis. Beautiful name. You are definitely your mother’s daughter. And mine. I see a lot of me in you. Especially the younger me.

“But we will have to do a paternity test just so the rest of my family knows for certain. My sisters tend not to take my word for things, even though I have the records. I hope you don’t mind.”

She shook her head. “I don’t mind. I understand fully how it can be. And I figured this might have to be done.”

He took her hand in his. “I am glad you came forward. I wish the others would too. I want my whole family accounted for. I want all my children to know me. But not just as the rock star that slept with their mother. I want them to feel like a part of my family.”

She rose and walked around the desk to hug her father. “I can put out word for you if you want.”

He nodded. “But don’t do it in a generic manner. Seek these women on the list out. Send the messages directly to them. Or their families. Please.”

She smiled sweetly. “I will.” She straightened up and headed for the office door. “I can see why mom loved you so much. You are such a kind and gentle person.”

He felt a tear in the corner of his eye. “If it is any consolation to you, I loved your mother as well. That was why I didn’t ask her for anything more than what she gave me. I didn’t want to make her give up her freedom. they say that if you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it is the real thing.”

He watched her leave. Her mother had given him more than he had ever asked. She had given him a daughter. He only hoped that they could bond over the coming days. And he hoped that she could help him find the rest of her brothers and sisters. If there were any others.

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