I saw Emma Champignon today.  She seemed pretty cheerful for being lumbered with her father’s illegitimate children.  Her father had an affair with the town’s whore, Roxie Sharpe, who gave birth to twins which were then taken off her.  Emma’s father then adopted them and promptly died.  Poor Emma.  Anyway she mentioned Serena, a rather beautiful woman who had lived with Roxie for a while.  I’d heard she was a whore too but now she lived in Damien Tan’s family house and looked heavily pregnant.  I idly asked if she knew who the father is.  She actually chuckled and said ‘Why do you think she’s living there?’  I was shocked.  Damien Tan was the father?  Marla’s husband?  I couldn’t believe it.  I’d always believed that he was faithful to her.  Emma must have seen the shock in my face.  “You were married to Marla weren’t you?”  I nodded dumbly.  “I wouldn’t want to see her hurt.”  Emma just shrugged.  She didn’t seem to care about anything.  “He probably does love her.. Marla, I mean, but he apparently wants a boy or something – hence the three kids”.  “Three?”  “Yeah, Serena’s other two are girls”.  My mouth dropped open.  “She has two girls?”  Emma nodded.  “They’re Damien’s?”  “Without a doubt, I’d say”.  “Oh my God.  All this time I thought Damien was utterly faithful to Marla.”  Emma cocked her head at me.  “But you see Marla, don’t you?”  Emma had an annoying ability to shock me.  “What?  No!  I mean we meet for coffee sometimes but only to talk… Do people think we’re having an affair?”  “I don’t know about people.  I only assumed – wrongly, I’m sorry.  I know you and she still cared about one another after your divorce.”  “How do you know so much, Emma?”  She shrugged again.  “I keep my eyes and ears open.”  Just then her young half-brother, Antoine, called her.  She turned and waved to him “I gotta go.  The sprogs need feeding”.  Shocked again, that she would say such a thing “Aren’t you afraid he’ll hear you?”  She turned then shrugged “He’s gone inside.  Take care, Alex.”  And she turned back and followed Antoine inside.  I stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds then walked home.  My head was reeling from all the information and of who knew what.  I was afraid for Marla but what could I do?

After confiding in Robin I lay awake that night, still uncertain.  Emma seemed so sure that Damien was the father of Serena’s kids – at least the latest still unborn.  Robin thought that Serena living in his house proved nothing.  I didn’t know what to think.  And there was nothing I could do anyway.  I should talk to Marla – see if she suspects Damien of anything.  My mind whirred round and I soon fell asleep.

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