The phone rang sharply beside the sleeping head of Terry Gilson. He snapped awake.
"What the fuck?" he growled.
It rang again. He picked up the receiver.
"Hullo," he managed in a gravely, low cough.
"This is Sergeant Preston of the Yukon County Police Department. May I speak to Mrs. Turvey please?" barked the authoritative voice in Gilson's ear.
"Who is this?"
"Mr. Gilson, please put Mrs. Turvey on. This is a police emergency." Again, a clear and demanding tone.
"Minute," was Gilson's mumbled reply.
He passed the phone to the groggy, naked woman lying beside him.
"For you. It's the police," he said simply.
"What!" She grabbed the phone from his hand. "Hello?"
"Good morning my darling, faithless wife," came an overly cheerful greeting. "I hope you slept well last night after you and loverboy got through fucking."
"Oh my god, Mick? Mick, is that you?"
"You bet your sweet ass it is honeybunch. I just phoned to give you some information that you'll need."
"Mick ... Mick! Please," she tried.
"First, you can throw your house key away. It won't work any more. Oh, and I changed the code on the garage door opener too."
"Mick, please ... it isn't what you think," she cried.
"You don't know what I think, Sheila. But I didn't call to discuss it with you. I just called to tell you that your credit cards won't work any more, and you can pick up your clothes and toiletries in the plastic tubs behind the side gate anytime you like." The voice had turned as cold as ice.
"No! No! Mick, please ... don't do this ... please," my wife pleaded desperately.
"Too late, sweetbuns, I already have."
"But ... where will I go?" she cried.
"Well, in the immortal words of Rhett Butler ... frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." The receiver was slammed down in anger.
I had started the process several weeks earlier, but this morning was the critical moment. If I hadn't been so sure she was sleeping in Gilson's room, I wouldn't even have tried this stunt. I was surprised at how easily it worked and at how empty this moment felt. A cuckold's victory, I thought. Too little, too late.
I suppose it's appropriate to describe my situation. My name is Michael "Mick" Turvey. I am forty-three years old and I am employed as a sales representative for a building materials distributor. I've worked for this same company for over twenty years.
I married Sheila Pratt almost exactly twenty years ago. We were to "celebrate" our twentieth anniversary next month. I thought it was a good marriage, having produced two wonderful children. Our first, Angela, my angel, was born a year and a half after we were married, while Ben, our son, was born two years later.
I loved my wife and my children without reservation. They were my reason for being. No man could have been prouder of his family than I was. We lived in a modest home, but it held everything a family could want. A three bedroom split-level, it was our second home purchase and had been bought four years earlier. It wasn't new, but we had set about updating it and making it our own.
A new kitchen, then a finished basement with workshop for me and a large family room that the kids could use for their entertainment. A garage that we actually parked our cars inside, followed by new furniture for the living room and dining room. I thought we had the perfect life.
I met Sheila when we were both high school students in grade eleven. She was a good looking blonde and had a nice body, so it wasn't hard to notice her. She had tried out for cheerleader, but was unsuccessful. I played wide receiver on the football team and I thought we might be a nice match. I asked her out on a date just after school started in the fall, and she said yes.
We dated for several months and during that time Sheila matured into a really good looking young lady. Her breasts grew and the rest of her body seemed to be in sync with that. I wasn't the only one that noticed.
I thought we were going steady, but I guess I'd never really confirmed that with Sheila. The next thing I knew, our quarterback, Terry Gilson, asked her out and she said yes. I couldn't understand it. I thought we were "a couple," but obviously I was mistaken.
Gilson was the star of our team. He was a big, talented senior with a strong arm and a will to win that was unlike anything that I had ever encountered. As a quarterback, he was a coach's dream and a coach's nightmare. He had great talent and a fearless attitude, but he just couldn't follow orders. As the rest of the team recognized, Terry was not a team player. Terry was all about Terry.
Our team finished with a winning record that season, but I wondered how much better we might have been if Terry had stuck to the coach's script instead of making it up as he went along. For all his talent, he was undisciplined and very frustrating for the rest of us who slaved in his shadow.
Terry had often been heard to brag that he had fucked every cheerleader at least once. I was grateful that Sheila wasn't a cheerleader, but I wasn't sure that would protect her. There was no point in my being angry at Gilson. He was what he was, a relentless womanizer. He saw these young girls as meat on his plate and he intended to enjoy them. Nothing personal, just sex.
I was upset that Sheila had fallen for him, but I knew there was nothing I could do about it. Terry would be gone next year and Sheila and I would still be here. Perhaps there was still a chance for me. It didn't happen. I began dating Marylyn Urlacher. Since seating at our school was most often alphabetical, more often than not, Marylyn was seated behind me and had me in her sights.
Marylyn was a nice girl, but that wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted something more exciting, but that was asking too much of Miss Urlacher. We got along fine and I think she was impressed that a football player would be interested in her, but that was about the extent of it. I started searching around for a replacement in the spring.
In the meantime, Gilson had dumped Sheila in favor of some other girl and she was available once again. I thought about it, but considering how she had abandoned me, I decided to ignore her. By the end of the year, she had found someone else and I was sitting on the outside, once again.
Grade twelve was different. Roger Davidson had taken over as quarterback on our team and he proved to be everything Terry Gilson was not. He was a leader and the definitive team player. He sought us out to determine who could best do what. It ran through my thoughts more than once that this guy was coaching material in the making. He understood what it took to win, and to get the most out of what the team had to offer.
The result was wonderful. I was catching passes like never before and we were winning with regularity. The huddle was silent when Roger came into it, giving the play and making sure everyone knew the snap-count. It was all new to me. I loved it.
I continued avoiding Sheila, my ego still bruised from the Gilson affair. I wasn't really surprised when Roger started dating her. For all his talent and leadership, he was a quiet guy and hard not to like. In a strange way, I felt good about them. If I couldn't be with her, then Roger was my choice. I guess she felt the same way.
Sheila wasn't the smartest girl in school. In fact, she scraped through with a C average and graduated like so many of her classmates, into the workforce. She never had designs on college. She must have recognized her limitations. She took a job as a bank teller in the shopping centre.
I lost contact with her after graduation. I was on my way to college and already dreaming of playing football, drinking beer with the "boys," and dating only the loveliest girls who would be anxious to be with a "football hero." By Christmas, reality had set in. I was failing in three classes and while I had enjoyed every minute of my time on the football field, the rest of the campus experience was something less.
There was no line-up of girls waiting to date me. The beer was downtown and expensive on my limited budget. The classes were a pain and I was having a hard time understanding that the learning process was entirely up to me. There was no one to monitor me or make sure I attended class or completed my assignments. It was a very different world.
The marks posted on the board at the end of term were discouraging. I was in danger of flunking out. Well, I said to myself, no football and no girlfriends next semester. I might as well get down to it.
It wasn't easy. It was a whole new way of life for me. It was a struggle. I made it, but not by much. I had a year of college under my belt and I wondered if this was what I wanted to do for the next three years. If I was asking the question, it seemed clear to me that the answer was no.
I found a job in an office in the city and each morning, I got on the bus, put in my nine hours, got back on the bus and went home. Within a few months, I knew this couldn't be my future. I needed something more. I toughed it out for almost two years, but I was constantly looking for something better.
If you had asked me what my career would have been when I graduated from high school, I wouldn't have had a clue. I certainly wouldn't have included the category of sales. My vision of a salesman was someone who went door to door selling brushes or kitchenware or magazines. That definitely wasn't me.
I got another perspective when I saw what industrial sales was all about. It was knowing your product and showing people that it was a good, if not a better product than the one they were using, and then convincing them to buy it. More importantly, the technical side was something I could get excited about. It didn't take me long to understand that sales was about strategy. What did you have that the customer needed? Why would he want to buy it from you?
I applied for a transfer to one of the operating branches and got an opportunity on the sales desk, an inside job. It was a start and the more I saw, the more I knew this was what I wanted to do.
I went to work, still without a car and still living at home. When I moved to the operating branch, nothing changed. I was a rookie with a small salary and a bus ride to and from work.
When I got my first paycheck, I decided to open a bank account. I had been living paycheck to paycheck up until then, and that had to change. I chose a bank near my bus stop for convenience and walked in. I went to the customer service desk and stopped in my tracks. The young woman who would soon serve me was Sheila Pratt.
I was a bit flustered, but since there were a couple of people ahead of me, I had a chance to calm down and think about what I wanted to say. I hadn't seen her for three years, but as I studied her, she was just as lovely as I remembered her.
It didn't take long for Sheila to look after the people in front of me, and then it was my turn.
"Hi Sheila," I said as I stepped forward.
She obviously didn't know I was in line and was surprised to see me in front of her.
"Hi Mick," she said after a moment's pause. "Uhhhmmm ... how can I help you?"
"I'd like to open an account. I need to deposit my paycheck."
"Oh ... Oh, sure. Let me get one of the staff to help you," she said, smiling.
"Yeah ... thanks ... good to see you again," I offered weakly.
"Yeah ... good to see you too." The smile was genuine, I thought.
A week later, I returned to the bank to pick up my blank printed checks and I saw Sheila again. This time she was walking about, delivering mail, I assumed. I watched her as I stood in line, wondering what was going on in her life. There was only one way to find out.
As I finished picking up my box of checks at the service counter, I looked around for Sheila and saw her standing at a side desk, apparently not busy. I walked over to her.
"Hi again," I said smiling.
"Hi, how are you," she asked. Her smile was the one I remembered from when we dated. It was genuine and honest and very engaging.
"I'm fine. I'm working at Polar Industries now. I'm on the sales desk," I offered.
"Good for you. Do you like it? Does it have a good future?" she asked, seemingly interested.
"Yeah. I like the company and the products they represent. I think I've lucked-out."
"Good, Mick. I'm glad to hear that."
"Uhhhmmm ... Sheila ... would you like to have a coffee ... or something ... with me?" I asked hesitantly. "We could catch up on what's been going on."
"Sure ... that would be nice ... I get off in a few minutes. Why don't you wait for me and we can go to the coffee shop next door," she suggested.
"Great," I said with what I knew was a big smile. "I'll be out front on the bench waiting."
That was the start of our reconnection and within a few dates, we were back where we had been. I was twenty-one and just starting out on what I hoped would be a career and Sheila was looking for a husband. I proposed in the spring of the following year and she accepted. We would be married a year later in May and both of us were excited about our future.
A year and a half after our wedding, Angela was born. She was "Daddy's girl" from the moment she arrived. When she was little, if she was upset or crying, I would pick her up and she would settle and smile at me and everything would be fine again. I always thought I wanted a son, but "Angie" was everything I could have wished for.
Our son, Ben, was born two years later and I was just as happy as any father could be. Sheila was Ben's special parent, while I was Angela's. It was a perfect family, I thought. Sheila often said the same to me. She was happy and satisfied with our life, she told me. We had our moments, but they never lasted long and I knew that I was one lucky guy. I had a beautiful wife and two wonderful children.
Just after Angie was born, I was given a sales territory and I was on "cloud nine." I took to it like a duck to water and within a couple of years I was earning nearly double the salary that I had started at.
Success breeds success and I was now earning much more than I ever expected when I started at Polar. After five years, we were able to buy our first home. It was a small bungalow, but it was all ours. Sheila spent hours and hours scouring magazines for just the right things. Angie and Ben had their input as well, but it was Sheila who chose the decor and the colors. I just stood back in admiration at the way my family had come together.
We celebrated our tenth anniversary in that same house and more than thirty people came to our anniversary party. I was proud of my accomplishments, but even more proud of my family. My children were well-behaved and doing fine in school. My wife was a model homemaker and mother. Both sets of parents thought the sun and the moon revolved around us. What more could I possibly want?
When Angie reached fourteen, her menstrual periods began. At first, Sheila was happy to help Angie understand what was happening and how to deal with it. That seemed to be fine for a few weeks and then I noticed a change. Angie didn't seem to be as close to her mother as she had been. It wasn't an overt change, but to me, as close as I was to my daughter, it was noticeable.
I couldn't find any reason for this shift in attitude, and discussing it with Sheila turned out to be frustrating. She didn't want to address or even acknowledge the change. She claimed it was my imagination and a male's inability to comprehend female psychology. I was still concerned, but since it didn't seem to affect the rest of the family, I let it slide.
Ben always seemed to be on an even keel. He and his mother were very close and while I loved him just as much as Angie, I knew that in the event of a serious problem, he would go to his mother first for help. That didn't bother me at all. In all families, alliances are formed with parents and they were to be acknowledged and respected.
I continued to rise in the sales ranks thanks to my success and while I knew that sales management was perhaps not what I was cut out for, I would have at least liked to have been considered for an opportunity. I had the most productive and profitable territory and I wondered what it took to make the next step. It eventually dawned on me that there needed to be a vacancy to be filled before that opportunity could arise.
Not long after Angie entered high school, Sheila came to me and asked me if I would be OK with her going back to work. She had been a stay-at-home soccer-mom for sixteen years and felt she wanted to do something with her days besides washing, ironing and sewing. I couldn't think of any reason why not, but I asked her to make sure whatever she chose didn't interfere with the children's lives and our ability to enjoy our free time together. She assured me it wouldn't.
After a couple of months looking, she found a job in a car dealership as a receptionist. It wasn't full time and that suited both of us. She would be there mornings from nine to one, Monday to Saturday. Since I played golf on Saturday morning, I thought that schedule would be fine. It didn't pay much, but we weren't starving and her extra income could be used as "vacation money." If it satisfied her, it satisfied me.
Our lives went on for another couple of years until one day when Sheila came home with a disturbing announcement.
"Guess what, Mick," she said, not without some trepidation.
"Terry Gilson's back in town," she said, carefully watching for my reaction.
"Oh ... what brings him back?"
"You know his dad's a big-shot businessman. Terry is now the assistant general manager at his dad's dealership," she said, still not being as nonchalant as she would like to appear.
"And what dealership would that be?" I asked, knowing full well the answer.
"Uh ... ours ... I mean ... where I work, Century Ford," she stammered.
"So ... what does that mean for you?" I asked, beginning to see something else creep into the picture.
"Uhhhmmm ... I'm going to be ... I mean ... I've been asked to ... take the job as his assistant," she finally managed.
"Wow. That's quite a step. From part-time receptionist to assistant to the assistant general manager. I didn't realize they had such a large staff." I'm sure my tone was snarky and I didn't try to disguise it.
"You don't sound very happy," she ventured.
"I'm not. You dated Gilson. I played with him. We both know what kind of guy he is. He used to brag about all his conquests. Is your name still on his list?" It was a cheap shot and I knew it the moment it was out of my mouth.
"That's a horrible thing to say. Are you telling me you don't trust me?" she demanded.
I had to scramble. "No ... I'm telling you I don't trust him."
Her face went red and for the first time in a long, long while, she was very angry.
"Mick, you take that back. You have no right to accuse me of anything and furthermore, you have just told me that I can't be trusted," she spat.
"I made no such statement. I said I don't trust him. I said we both know what kind of snake he is. It may be twenty years later, but leopards don't change their spots." I made sure she understood I wasn't backing down one inch.
"Just ask yourself this," I continued. "How does a part-time receptionist go from being in an entry-level position to assistant to the boss's son in one move? I'd like to know," I demanded.
"Because I have the talent to do the job," she snapped back. "Terry said I was a natural for it. You don't think I have the ability, do you?" she challenged.
"I wouldn't know. I don't work there. But one thing I do know, this whole deal smells of typical Gilson. He's setting you up and you had better be very careful, my dear." I was standing directly in front of her now. She couldn't fail to understand my concerns and my suspicions of Terry Gilson's motives. I could only hope my message had hit home.
"You're jealous. You don't want me to succeed because it will make you look bad. That's what this is about ... you're jealous," she taunted.
The argument was going nowhere and she wasn't listening. I let out a large sigh, turned and went down to the basement to get a cold beer and do a bit of thinking. I had no illusions about Gilson's motives. He saw an attractive woman that he thought he could have with little effort. Who cared if she was married? He probably remembered me from high school and considered me no particular obstacle. I would be keeping a close eye on this situation, of that I was certain.
It took a week before we were back on calm water in the household. My argument with Sheila was overheard by our children, unfortunately. It would have been hard not to hear us since we had both raised our voices. As always, when things calmed down, Angie came to see me when I was alone.
"Hi Dad, you OK?"
"Hi Angie ... yeah, I'm OK," I lied.
"I couldn't help but hear the argument," she admitted. "Who is this guy Gilson?"
"Someone your mother dated in high school. He was our quarterback and I played with him for a year. I was trying to warn your mother. He's not a nice guy and doesn't respect women very much," I said sadly.
"I don't think you were telling Mom what she wanted to hear," she said softly.
"No ... I suppose not. I think she sees this as a big opportunity and an important job. She'll likely be going from part-time to full time, so I suppose there's going to be some changes in our routine," I suggested.
"It's OK, Dad, I can help with the meals and laundry and stuff. I guess she'll be making a lot more money now, won't she?"
"I guess. We didn't get into that. I'm just going to have to wait and see, Angie. I hope this doesn't turn out to be a big mistake for your mom," I said, putting my arm around her shoulder and pulling her close. "I just hope it all turns out OK."
As I suspected, it was a full-time job and the salary was more than double her previous earnings, so in that regard, she was being paid properly for her role. I had doubts about the job, however. When I carefully asked Sheila what she did all day, she was vague but what I heard made it sound very unstructured. If I was to interpret what she was telling me it would appear that she was to come running when Gilson called.
As time when on, I became less and less concerned about her job. She left for work each morning just before nine and was home shortly after five in the afternoon. No overtime, no special assignments, just a routine job.
As a result, we really didn't have to sacrifice a lot. My hours were longer than hers and I was often home after six, having left most mornings at seven. I was gone before anyone else was up and so my family time was confined to evenings and weekends.
Our sex life had never been what I would describe as "red hot." That just wasn't Sheila. We had sex, a couple of times a week usually, but it was plain vanilla stuff. She wouldn't give me oral sex, although she said she enjoyed it when I gave her that treat. She didn't particularly care for doggy-style, so that wasn't a regular feature.
By and large, it was me giving her oral stimulation to get things going and then her on top until we were almost done and I would flip her over and finish. It wasn't terrible, but a little variety can go a long way. I tried to get her interested in some role playing and other things that were a bit different, but she just wasn't interested. Since we were having sex twice a week, I really couldn't complain.
After Gilson arrived on the scene, I was careful to note any changes in our sex life, but there was nothing out of the ordinary at all. It was pretty much what we had been doing all along.
I've always tried to get along with the neighbors. Life's a lot easier that way. The McDonalds on the one side of us were quiet people and quite a bit older. Their children were grown and gone and we didn't have much in common with them. We were polite and we helped each other if needed, but otherwise we weren't close.
The Romanos on our other side were quite different. Their children were younger and Angie often babysat for them the first few years we were there. We really got along well with them and we often had backyard barbeques and card parties at each other's house. Jimmy and Felicia were probably our best friends.
Jimmy was an accountant and worked at the big GM dealer in town. I had forgotten that, but when he brought home a loaner van with the dealership's name all over the side of it, I was reminded.
Late one Sunday morning, Jimmy was out trimming the lawn before cutting it and I strolled over to talk to him for a minute.
"Hey Jimmy, how's it goin'," I began.
"Aw ... you know ... usual stuff. OK I guess," he grinned.
"Yeah ... same here. Say, I had a question for you." I was trying to make it sound casual.
"You work in a big dealership. Does the general manager usually have an assistant? I mean like an assistant general manager?"
"Yeah, in a bigger dealership there's usually someone designated to back up the boss when he isn't around."
"Would that assistant have an assistant, like say, a 'girl friday'?"
He looked at me kind of strangely and then I saw some lights go on. His face went funny and he looked very uncomfortable. "Uhhhmmm ... not usually," he finally said.
"I didn't think so," I said with a nod. "Thanks, Jimmy." I turned and headed back to the house. Suspicions confirmed.
"Mick," he called after me. I stopped and turned around as he walked toward me. "I know what you're thinking. I know some people there. Let me see what I can find out on the Q.T." he said in a quiet voice.
I looked at him for what seemed to be a long time and then nodded. "Thanks again."
I'm not really sure why, after all this time, I had asked Jimmy that question. Maybe I was afraid of the answer. There wasn't a hint of anything going on, but I suppose it had been nagging at me, and for that matter it still was. Jimmy knew who Sheila worked for and what her job title was, but he never said a word about it to either of us. I had just put him on the spot, and he had responded as I expected a good friend would.
Despite the fact that Sheila no longer worked on Saturday morning, I continued to play golf early. The Saturday following my talk with Jimmy dawned cool and windy, but at least it wasn't raining. I played with our usual foursome and none of us played very well. The wind intensified the cold and none of us was very comfortable. We were universally happy to finish the round and get to the clubhouse.
As we usually did, we met at the 19th Hole after changing, and the winners would have a drink on the losers. My partner and I were buying today. As I walked into the lounge, I saw Jimmy Romano sitting by himself at a table near the TV. He was nursing a drink and I walked over to see him.
"I didn't know you played golf," I said with a smile.
"I don't ... you know me better than that," he laughed.
"What brings you here?" I asked, almost guessing the answer.
"I wanted to talk to you ... in private," he said, suddenly serious.
I nodded. I was pretty sure what this was about.
"Give me a minute to settle up with the winners and I'll be right back," I promised.
It didn't take long to buy a drink for the boys and explain I had to beg off to see someone. I was back at Jimmy's table within five minutes.
"So, I can only assume you've heard something about my question the other day," I said as I leaned back in my chair.
"Yeah. I wish it was better news, Mick. I really do," he said sadly, having a hard time looking me in the eye.
"Give it to me straight, Jimmy. I can handle it," I said with more confidence than I felt at that moment.
"Well, Gilson must be the most unpopular guy in that dealership. The people I talked to consider him to be a leech on the side of the business and completely useless. He walks around and general pisses-off everyone that he comes in contact with. He doesn't have anything to do because no one wants him to do anything. He'd just screw it up, as apparently he's already demonstrated on more than one occasion." Jimmy stopped and took a pull on his drink.
"No surprise, I guess," I said, still trying to remain calm. "So where does Sheila fit in?"
He looked at me with the most hang-dog look I can ever remember seeing on him. He really didn't want to tell me what he was about to tell me.
"Sheila sits around his office most of the day, types a letter now and then and gets him coffee. The only time she moves quickly is when Gilson's old man shows up and she quickly disappears into the parts department or the employee lounge. When the old man leaves, things go back to normal," Jimmy related.
"Sounds like old man Gilson doesn't know about Sheila and her mystery job," I said sullenly.
Jimmy just nodded. He paused then and I could tell there was more.
"Spit it out Jimmy. I won't bite," I promised.
"The two of them go out to lunch about twice a week. They leave just before noon and don't get back until two or two-thirty."
"Since she's been there?" I said, finally jolted.
"No. It started after a few months" he suggested. "One of their smart-aleck sales guys followed them one day. They went to the Carlton Inn over on Banner Road.
"That's a long way to go for lunch," I suggested.
"Mick ... the Carlton doesn't have a restaurant," he said in almost a whisper.
I felt everything inside me contract. I was locked in place with no ability to move. I heard my breath exhaust as I worked to gain some sense of order in my thoughts. Even though I had suspected this might be happening, I wasn't ready for it. I can't think how long it took before I could form a coherent thought.
"I'm sorry Mick. I really didn't want to be the guy who..." he trailed off.
"I know," I managed in a strangled croak. "I didn't want to hear it either."
I had another drink with Jimmy and we reminisced about the good times our families had enjoyed together. There were a lot of happy memories, but it felt like we were saying goodbye to each other in some way. I think we both now knew that things would never be the same again. I felt that pain in my gut, and it hurt.
I started to drive home, steeling myself to face Sheila and wondering how I would deal with this revelation. I had been strangely calm with Jimmy and it felt odd that I would be able to cope with this devastating news. I tried to think of any scenario that would make their noon visits to the Carlton something other than sexual, but I knew that wasn't remotely likely. What it appeared to be on the surface was what it was.
I didn't really start to get angry until I was half-way home from the golf club. I had been dealing with a thousand random thoughts all at once and my emotions were in turmoil before it all began to distill down to one ugly fact. She had cheated on me and she had cheated many, many times. I was a fool, even though I knew the possibility was there. She had made me a fool and she didn't even blink an eye or feel the slightest twinge of guilt. Day after day, she made me a cuckold. It was then, with that understanding that the anger began to build.
I pride myself in being a rational thinker and not one prone to reckless action. I pulled over to the curb a few blocks from home because I knew I was in no fit condition to walk into my house and confront Sheila. Moreover, that might not be the smartest thing to do. In fact, I was pretty sure it wasn't.
If I thought this was just a one-time fling, I might be able to get past it and we could go on with our lives. But it wasn't. I had been going on for a year by the sound of things. All the while, Sheila was playing the part of the happy housewife with her loving family. It was a very high order of deceit. As I sat in my idling car, I decided that it called for a very high order of payback.
I would act as normally as I could manage, but on Monday I would begin a process to end this charade and exact my revenge. I was determined I was going to do as much damage as I could to Terry Gilson and Sheila Pratt Turvey. I would do this by the book and legally, but I would do everything possible to destroy both of them.
The rest of the weekend was an exercise in excruciating politeness on my part. I was tightly wound, not allowing my anger and frustration to spill out over my family. Time enough for that when I had all the pieces of the puzzle in place. I was counting the hours until Monday morning.
When Monday finally came, I arose earlier than usual and was out of the house well before seven. I knew I had several hours before I could begin the process of dealing with my problem, but I wanted out of our house that morning as soon as possible. I knew my sales manager, Larry Coleman, would be in the office already and I needed to talk to him about taking some time to look after my "problem."
Our conversation took over a half hour. I knew he had figured out what might be going on in my family life when I explained what I wanted in terms of leave, and happily he was understanding and agreed. He was a good guy and I liked working with him.
Just after nine that morning, I phoned David Mournay, our family lawyer and asked for his advice on a "family matter." I knew that wasn't his expertise and I wasn't surprised when he steered me to Lydia Pancratz. I had met Lydia in passing once or twice and I had heard that she was a very good divorce lawyer. She would be expensive, but right now, the cost was the last thing on my mind.
I got an appointment with Lydia late that afternoon. I knew I would be late, so I called home to leave a message. Angie picked up the phone and that surprised me.
"Hey Angie, what you doin' home?"
"Teacher Development Day," she said with a hint of derision. "Ever notice how they are always on Fridays or Mondays?"
"Yeah, I noticed. Listen, I have an appointment late this afternoon and I won't be home until about seven I'm guessing. Let Mom know, OK?"
"Sure, Dad. Say ... you OK?" she asked in a curious voice.
"Yeah, sure ... why do you ask?"
"I dunno ... you didn't seem yourself this weekend. You're not sick or something, are you?"
"Nope," I lied, "I'm fine. Must be that over-active imagination of yours," I laughed.
We signed off and I hung up, wondering if Sheila had noticed my unusual behavior as well. She hadn't said anything, but maybe she was being cagey. I'd have to watch that. I didn't want to tip my hand too soon.
The meeting with Lydia was a shock in many ways. To begin with, no matter what the reason, in a divorce, Sheila would get half of everything; the house, the cars, everything. The only good news was that her income was such that I probably wouldn't have to pay alimony if I could prove infidelity. Based on her reckless behavior, I doubted that I would have too much trouble getting proof.
As far as the children were concerned, I would have to prove abuse or neglect or some other heinous crime to obtain custody. In this jurisdiction, the children were almost always awarded to the mother. Angie was eighteen, so she could make her own decision, but Ben was only sixteen and he would have to be with his mother for almost two years. I didn't feel good about that, but Lydia said I probably wouldn't be able to change it. It's just the way the system worked.
That's when things got interesting. Lydia knew my overriding desire was to punish both Sheila and Gilson and she said she could help. Since Gilson was her boss, I could sue both him and the company he worked for as co-respondents in the divorce. In other words, since so many people knew about their little game and did nothing to stop or report it, we could sue them for some very large dollars. Better yet, none of that money would go to Sheila.
Lydia said she would do some research on Century Ford and start the paperwork for divorce proceedings. At this point, the reason for the divorce was left open. It was my decision whether it would be Irreconcilable Differences or Infidelity. Lydia suggested that since their liaisons were so predictable, it wouldn't be too difficult or expensive to get some photographic evidence to cement the case. I told her I'd think about it.
When I arrived home that evening, I was greeted by a happy Sheila, telling me my dinner was in the oven and she had poured a glass of wine for me. I was immediately suspicious. This wasn't normal behavior for her. I went upstairs and changed, washed and came down for my meal.
As I sat down at the table, Sheila sat as well, also with a glass of wine.
"I have some interesting news, Mick," she began with a big smile.
"I've been invited to the regional dealer convention next month in Marysville," she said proudly.
"Really? Just you?" I asked, almost knowing the answer before I asked it.
"Well ... no ... Terry and Kurt Jenkins will be going too," she said with some nervousness.
"Oh ... I see. And how long is this convention?"
"Uhhhmmm ... three days. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I would be back on Sunday." The nervousness was now fully apparent.
"Hummph ... sounds like you're looking forward to it," I baited.
"Yes ... it will be my very first convention. I'm sure I'll learn a lot." She had changed in an instant. She was now back to the happy enthusiasm of a minute ago.
"Yes ... I'm sure you will," I replied with just a hint of sarcasm. As my mind caught up with my emotions, I began to recognize that this might be the opportunity that I was looking for. She was almost setting herself up to be caught.
"Then ... it's OK with you?" she asked tentatively.
"Yes, dear. It's OK with me. I trust you. I know you wouldn't do anything ... improper," I said with as straight a face as I could manage.
I saw the flush on her face for just a moment before she rose, leaned over the table, kissed me.
"Thank you, Mick."
I finished my meal in silence as Sheila went back to the living room and some mindless TV show. I found it odd that I wasn't upset or angry or anything. I was numb. I had just granted my wife permission to leave town for three days and fuck some asshole that I hated, and I felt nothing.