Morand was extremely nervous, as he'd never really been this close to a woman before. The only other time was when Chuck Berger, his high school bully, teased him by pushing him into the lead cheerleader so that he'd have to grab her or fall down. Everyone got a real kick out of that one.
Cheri, however, was nice and kind and didn't make Morand feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about anything.
Until afterwards when Morand expressed how he was feeling.
"I really like you, Cheri, I want to see you and be with you all the time."
"This just isn't that kind of relationship, hon," Cheri replied. "I just wanted to make you feel good for a night, I'm not looking to be with any man right now."
Morand was heartbroken and as she got dressed and left, and began to wonder what he was doing wrong with his life.
As the days went on, Morand continued to go to work, putting out fires and saving lives. He hadn't been back to the bar since that night, but he thought about Cheri every minute of every day. There was no way to be sure that she was doing the same.
That had to change. He HAD to see her again and tell her how he was feeling, to convince her to give him a chance.
"Where's Cheri?" Morand asked the complete stranger behind the bar.
"You mean the girl that worked here before me? Oh, she got fired. Guess she was caught sleeping with some customer upstairs. Can you imagine?? So, what would you like to drink?"
"Nothing," Morand mumbled as he made his way out of the bar.
He spent the next several weeks going to each of the bars in town, hoping against all hope to run into her again. He felt he had to make things right between them and was losing sleep every night that he didn't see her.
But not one bartender or patron had seen her. Morand had to face the fact that she was gone.
So the woman who had encouraged him to get his first tattoo was the inspiration for his second.
Life went on as normal, it was time to move on and put her out of his mind. Morand quickly worked his way up the Fireman ladder, making Chief in record time.
It was an easy thing to do, with no distractions like love keeping him back. Cheri hadn't even crossed his mind in months. Until...
Morand froze without even turning around. His heart stopped and then restarted, beating faster and heavier than he'd ever felt it before. She'd come back to him.
But what he saw when he turned around stopped his heart again.
"Cheri. What, what are you doing here?" he said, trying not to let his emotions get the better of him, barely registering what he was seeing.
"I'm sorry for not staying in touch, Morand, I really should have let you know. I was fired from the bar and went back home to Bridgeport to stay with my family. But, things have changed now and I needed to see you. To talk to you."
Morand just stared at her in silence. He had searched for her for so long and then worked even harder to put her out of his mind. Now she was here.
"This is Cecil. Your son."
"My... son? But we, only once?" It took a few moments for the anger to come, but when it did, it came on strong. "You were pregnant this whole time?? You had OUR child and didn't tell me?? It's been almost a YEAR! How could you keep this from me??" he raged.
"It's not like I PLANNED this, you know!" Cheri yelled back.
They were starting to attract an audience. Even Jess, who'd never seemed to like Morand much, seemed to show some sympathy towards the poor guy.
"I wanted to be with you, Cheri. I looked for you everywhere," Morand said quietly. "But it doesn't matter now. You're back, we can make this right. Raise our son like a real family."
"That's, not why I came back," she said, looking him square in the eye, trying to will him into seeing that there were no feelings there. "I came back because I got a job offer. I was working as a bartender at night for the money, but I really want to be a musician. I got signed with an agent in Bridgeport and am moving back there. He says having a kid is not good for my image, it makes me less marketable."
"So how are we supposed to raise our son?" Morand asked her.
"WE aren't," she said, as she handed the bundled infant over to the confused Morand.
As she walked out of the station, he wasn't sure if she was talking to him, or the baby.
Title / Madonna