Thanks to the Hip and Knee Doctor for editing assistance.
Janet and I had been married for twelve years. We had been sweethearts since we were ten years old. I was never interested in college, so I got an entry-level job at Desmond Engineering, as a draftsman right out of high school. Janet and I were married a year later and the next year we were the proud parents of twin girls: Bethany and Brittany. Things were rough for the first few years, but we watched our pennies and everything seemed to work out. I was still a draftsman, but at a few grade levels higher than when I started. The money was better, but still tight.
We had managed to save enough to buy a small house, and had two good cars. They weren't new, but they weren't junky. Janet always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so she never worked. We didn't need the extra money, so that was fine with me.
We were both healthy and in good shape. Janet was a little chunkier than when we married, but not much. She was just over five feet tall and had dark brown hair that she wore with bangs. She looked like a small Marie Osmond. I hadn't changed at all. I played right tackle on the high school football team, so I wasn't on the small side, but I wasn't flabby.
Billy Martin moved to Reading from Lancaster, about a year ago, and got a job at Desmond Engineering as a surveyor. Billy and I used to play football against each other, and we became immediate friends. He married his high school sweetheart also: a redhead named Sarah. Sarah and Janet became instant friends. They didn't have any children yet, but they were perfect baby sitters.
When we weren't at work Billy and I enjoyed each other's company. It was a pleasant break away from the wives. Of course Janet and Sarah were doing the same thing. They would shop together and go to parties and club meetings, while Billy and I watched the girls and the TV. Sarah had also gotten a job as a secretary at Gilbert Engineering, just outside of town.
I started noticing things about six months ago. There used to be one PTA meeting every month and now there was one every week. Sarah didn't have any kids but always went to the meetings with Janet. The frequency of Tupperware and Magic Chef parties seemed to increase monthly, but they never bought anything. They joined a book club, but never seemed to find time to read. On the weekends, they would go shopping for hours, but buy very little. Janet's collection of fancy underwear seemed to be growing, but I never got to enjoy any.
It started to eat at me. I never mentioned anything to Billy because he seemed to be oblivious to it. I didn't want to cause trouble, if there was noting going on.
About an hour after I put the girls to bed, Janet came home from a basket party of some sorts. She took a shower before Sarah picked her up and as soon as she got home, she took another one. That seemed odd to me. While she was in the shower I did a quick hamper check and found a set of black lace underwear. Now, who would wear black lace underwear to a basket party? I am not in the habit of checking my wife's panties, but I did tonight, and found the crouch to be damp and sticky. I put them in my pocket.
I have never gone through my wife's purse or wallet, until tonight. The only thing I was really interested in was her cell phone. Apparently, she felt pretty certain that I would not be snooping, because she had not deleted any calls for the last week. Most of the calls were to Sarah, but a large number of incoming and outgoing calls were to KC, KH, and KW. Of course I had no idea who they were, but quickly deduced that the C stood for cell, the H stood for home, and the W probably stood for work. I checked her address book and Sarah also had three numbers listed Sarah C, Sarah H and Sarah W. I was amazed at how well organized my wife had her phone. I looked at Sarah's work number and noticed it had an extension. I looked at the number for KW and it was the same number as the one for Sarah, but with a different extension.
It wasn't hard to figure out that Janet had been calling and getting calls from someone who worked with Sarah. It also wasn't hard to figure out that Sarah must have been the one that introduced Janet and the mysterious K. Gilbert Engineering was closed right now, so I took Janet's phone and called the KW number.
"Hello. You have reached the desk of Ken Sanders. I am not at my desk right now, but if you leave your name and number, I will get back to you as soon as I can."
I hung up right after the beep. That was far too easy.
"John, are you coming to bed?" Janet just poked her head around the doorway.
"I am near the end of this book. I'll be up as soon as I finish it, if I don't fall asleep on the couch." Of course, I had every intention of sleeping on the couch.
It was a restless night. I kept trying to figure out what I had done wrong or what I could have done differently. It was a terrible waste of time and mental effort. Every time I redirected my thoughts to what I should be doing, they kept going back to what I should have done. I kept looking at the clock and it wasn't moving. All I knew for sure is that I was not going to accept any guilt for what happened or what was going to happen.
I awoke to the sounds of my two little angels getting their breakfast. Janet encouraged them to take care of themselves, rather than be waited on. It was a good idea and seemed to work. I stretched and scratched as my wife entered the room.
"You better hurry John, or you will be late for work."
"No problem. I am not going to work today."
"Why? You never miss work."
"Too many personal problems." I yawned and staggered towards the bathroom. I needed a shower. Janet looked a little perplexed.
When I got back, the girls had already left for school. I got a cup of coffee and sat across the table from my wife. Reluctantly, she looked up at me as if anticipating something, but not knowing what.
"Tell me about your affair." I didn't feel like beating around the bush, but I pretty much knew she was not just going to open up and bare her soul.
"Get serious, John. Is this why you have been moping around? Do you really think that I am cheating on you?"
"Yes. Now tell me about your affair."
"We have been married for twelve years John, why would you even think such a thing?"
"Janet I have things to do today and I have no intention of sitting here playing games with you. I will ask you one more time. Tell me about your affair."
My loving wife left out an exasperating sigh and leaned towards me. "John. It is all in your head. There is no affair."
"Well, I'd like to thank you for your honesty, but I can't now, can I?"
She leaned back in her chair, and sipped her coffee, as if she had taken control of the situation.
Can you answer a few easy questions for me?"
"Yes John, of course. What would you like to know?"
"Why do you go to PTA meetings every week when the secretary of the PTA says they only have monthly meetings and you haven't been to any for six months?"
"I am not sure what you are talking about?" She was a little less cocky.
"You and Sarah go to non-existing PTA meetings every Tuesday. Now why would you lie about something like that?"
Janet struggled with the question for a moment and then came up with an answer. "I am truly sorry John. Tuesday is lady's night at Rosie's Cantina and Sarah and I have going for the two-for-one margaritas. We didn't want you and Billy to think we were messing around, so we didn't tell you. It was a mistake and I am sorry. From now on, we will tell you."
"Nice try, Janet. You know of course I will be checking that out. I am sure Sarah will back you up, but how about the people at Rosie's?"
"John, you are making more out of this that it is."
"When you go out to your little Tupperware parties and such, why do you take a shower before you go and another one when you come home?"
She took her time again. "A lot of the women smoke at those parties. When I get home, I want to get the smell out of my hair. It's not a big deal, John."
"Why do you wear fancy underwear to go to these parties? You never wear the sexy stuff for me, except when it's a special night. Every evening you spend with these housewives, you wear your best. Why?"
"I don't have a good answer for that. I just want to feel dressed up when I go out sometimes."
I was starting to get the shits about her lies. It was time to end it. I was mad and it was difficult to control.
"These are the panties you wore last night." I tossed them on the table. " The crouch was damp when you came home and covered with something sticky. I know what the hell cum is, and I know it isn't mine. Don't you try and tell me you have a yeast infection or I swear I will hit you."
Janet was squirming in her chair at this point. She was trying not to look at me. No quick answer seemed to be coming.
"Damn it, Janet. Why did you come home wearing cum-stained panties last night? I want an answer."
"Stop it John. Just stop it! I can't take anymore of this. We have been married for twelve years. How can you treat me this way?"
The steady stream of lies and constant denial finally got to me. With all the force I could muster, I heaved my half-filled coffee cup across the room, shattering the front of the microwave oven.
There was no doubt this time that I got Janet's attention. I had never seen that expression on her face before, because she had never seen me mad before.
Leaning across the table I looked directly at her and spoke louder than I had before. "Who the hell is Ken Sanders?"
She pushed herself out of the chair and backed up to the sink, trying to get away from me.
"For the last god-damned time. Who the hell is Ken Sanders?"
"A friend, just a friend." She was scared to death as the words came out of her mouth.
"Did you have sex with him?"
"Yes. Yes, I had sex with him."
"Did you have sex with him last night?"
"Yes. Yes, I did. Stop this John. Please, stop this. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Just stop, please."
She was standing by the sink, bawling like crazy. I got a cup from the cabinet and poured myself a fresh coffee. As I started to sit down, Janet's cell phone rang.
Her eyes darted from me to the phone and back to me. "It's from Ken. I think we better answer it. I pushed the speaker option and answered the call.
"Good morning, Sugar. I just got to work and saw that you tried to call me at my work number last night. Did you leave something at the house?"
Janet, or should I say Sugar, seemed mortified. There was a moment of silence.
"Janet. Are you there? Is something wrong?"
She looked at me with a petrified expression. I nodded at her to answer.
"Ken. Ken." She hesitated. "Ken, my husband is here. He knows about us. He has the phone on speaker."
He didn't hang up, but he didn't answer either. I felt obligated to let him off the hook.
"Ken, good buddy, I have a few things that I have to do this morning, but I promise to come see you this afternoon. Maybe you should put 911 on your speed-dial." I ended the call and put the phone back in my pocket. Janet just stood by the sink, in her bathrobe, shaking.
"I have to go now. I have one more question. What is the name of the guy that Sarah is seeing?"
"John, no, please don't make me..."
The second cup flew across the room and smashed in to tile wall behind the sink. She jumped back and couldn't talk fast enough. "Calvin. Calvin Bostic."
"I will be back this afternoon. Have all of your things moved out before then. My mother will stay with the girls until we can make other arrangements. Anything that you can't get into your car, I will deliver for you. Let my mother know where you will be. Don't call me."
She didn't move or say another thing as I walked out the door.
Of course I had no idea what to do next. I decided to go by the office and see Billy. I thought of him as a friend and felt that he should know what was going on. It was pretty easy to figure out that Sarah met Calvin at work and got to be friends with him. Ken was probably a friend of Calvin's who needed a date. Maybe I was oversimplifying it a little, but I felt it was close enough.
Billy wasn't in the office. He was out at a site setting some stakes or something like that. I called him on his cell.
"Billy, I hate to bother you, but I have bad news."
"Is somebody hurt?"
"Not yet, but they are going to be."
"What the hell are you talking about, John?"
"Janet and Sarah have gotten themselves a couple of boyfriends. On all those nights that they were supposed to be going to meetings and Tupperware parties, they were really getting together with them."
"Are you sure? I don't believe you John. It sounds like some kind of bullshit to me."
"Ask Sarah about a guy named Calvin Bostic. He works at Gilbert with her. I think she introduced Janet to another guy from there also."
"Shit, are you sure? Damn it John. I know Calvin Bostic. We were in the same graduating class."
"How about a guy named Ken Sanders?"
"Yeah, him too. Tall skinny fellow."
"Billy, I figure that Janet is going to give Sarah a heads up as soon as she can. Janet gave me a whole line of crap this morning before I pinned her down. I am sure you will get the same run-around from Sarah."
Billy hung up the phone, and I went to personnel to request a short vacation. I didn't feel like working right now. It only took ten minute to shift what work that I had on-going to another draftsman.
About that time, Janet's cell phone rang. Caller ID showed that it was Sarah.
"Janet, what the hell is going on? I just got a call from Billy. He is coming to the office. I think somebody told him something." I didn't answer her.
"Janet? Are you there? This is not a good time to be playing games."
"Hi, Sarah. This is John. I had to borrow Janet's cell phone this morning. Mine was dead. What are you talking about Sarah? What exactly did somebody tell Billy?" I couldn't help myself. I felt mean and nasty at that moment.
"I'm sorry John. I thought I was calling Janet. I'll try and get her at home."
"I don't think you should bother her right now. She is really busy getting all her stuff packed. She doesn't have time to chat."
"What do you mean by 'getting her stuff packed'?"
"She is going to be moving back in with her parents for a while."
The pause at the other end of the line was hilarious. I was smiling as I imagined all the scenarios that were going through Sarah's head.
"I think it might be more important for you to tell Calvin that Billy is on the way over. He could probably use the head start."
"Oh God, No! This can't be happening. No! No!" She hung up on me: the nerve of that woman.
We only had one credit card, so canceling it was no problem. We also had an ATM/debit card. It took me five minutes to change the pin number. I had no idea what to do with the checking account, so I just ignored it for now. I needed it to pay the utilities and other bills, anyhow. I was just hoping that Janet did not take any checks with her.
The cell phone rang again, but this time it was mine. Billy had chased Calvin Bostic out of the Gilbert building and caught him in the parking lot. He was in jail and wanted me to tell his brother, in Lancaster, to come up and post bail for him. I called his brother. There was nothing else I could do for Billy, so I went to Taco Bell.
After lunch, I stopped by to see my Mom and Dad. I explained everything to them. Mom was more than willing to watch the girls for a while. During the week, she would stay at my place and on the weekends the twins would stay with them. Now it was time to visit Ken Sanders.
The guys in the drafting department at Gilbert couldn't wait to tell me about Billy's visit that morning. The drafting department overlooks the parking lot and they saw all the action. Billy caught Calvin before he could reach his BMW. He threw him over the hood of one of the cars and began smashing his face. The security guards followed them out and tried to pull Billy off with no success. Finally, one of them hit Billy in the neck with a taser. He was still out when they stuck him in the police car. They had to haul Calvin away in an EMT vehicle.
One of the guys showed me the cubicle where Ken Sanders worked. It was empty. Seems like old Ken suddenly quit this morning.
We went by Sarah's desk and she was not there either, but it looked as if she still worked there. Ten minutes later, I had Ken's home address and I was headed for the parking lot.
It was a small ranch house with no garage. There was a white Lexus in the driveway with the trunk and back doors open. As I walked up to the door, Ken Sanders was coming out with an armload of clothing. He dropped everything and rushed back into the house as soon as he saw me. I stumbled over the stuff he dropped and managed to see him going out the back, as I entered. I had to laugh at his reaction. Hell I wasn't like Billy. I was a nice guy.
It looked like the type of place that was rented fully furnished. That's why he didn't have a truck. In another ten minutes, he would have been done and out of town. I was looking forward to having a chat with Ken, but didn't feel like chasing him to do it. I looked around the room for anything interesting and got a few nice surprises. The first thing I picked up was his cell phone. It was on a desk in the living room beside a folder containing his passport and some personal papers. On the dining room table was a nice little laptop computer. I couldn't find anything else, so I gathered up the few goodies that I had, and left.
I didn't want to do anything that could be considered criminal, so I resisted the impulse to trash his car. It was beautiful. I imagine that taking items from the house was a crime, but hell, he left the door open, and anybody could have picked them up. Unable to fully control myself, I let the air out of just one of his tires. He would have to empty the truck to get to the spare, and I am sure he would be doing it with one eye on the street, looking for me. I'll get him later. He got the message.
I swung by the jail to see Billy. His brother was there and they were busy doing legal stuff, so I just waved at him and smiled. It looked like he had everything under control.
Mom was already at the house and had supper started. We chatted a little and then I took the stuff I picked up at Ken's into the den where I kept my computer and stuff. Before I could get to look at anything, Beth and Brit got home from school. I decided it would be better to tell them what was going on before they asked. I didn't get the chance.
"Hi Dad. What's nana doing here? Where is mom?" Bethany beat me to the punch.
"Your mom and I have decided to take a little break from each other. She will be staying at her parents place, for a while."
Brittany started smiling and Beth rolled her eyes and moaned.
"I win, HA, HA. I win. I told you so." Brit was gloating about something and her sister was frowning.
"What's going on? What is so funny?"
Brittany volunteered to explain. "Beth and I had a bet. I said that mom was cheating on you and she said it would never happen. It looks like I won."
"I never said anything about your mother cheating."
"We are not stupid, dad, and don't treat us like children. We know what is going on, I just didn't want to admit it. Brit is right. Mom is cheating on you."
"How did you know this? I just found out."
"You are a little slow, dad, and a little too trusting." Brit put her arm around my shoulder. It felt odd: a twelve-year old girl trying to comfort her father.
"One Saturday when mom and Sarah said that they were going shopping at King-of-Prussia, mom wouldn't let Brit and I go along. She said it was a grown-up shopping day and she would make it up to us later. When we got to school on Monday, a couple of the kids said they saw her with a guy at Knoebel's Grove. We called them liars, but one of the girls had a cell phone picture. It seemed pretty cut and dry. I thought there must be an explanation, but Brit said she was cheating."
"Why didn't you say something to me?" They both just shrugged.
"A couple weeks later, Tracey Mercer's parents saw Sarah, mom, and two guys at TGI Friday's in Allentown ... They told Tracey about it, when they got home."
I sat there dumbfounded. Thank goodness nana called us for supper. We didn't discuss the problem during dinner and I excused myself before desert came. Fortunately, the twins decided to drop the subject for the rest of the night. I was relieved.
I just started to look through Ken's laptop when his cell phone rang. It was a text message.
"DK SRY 4 SNAFU. LY J" (Dear Ken, sorry for the problems. Love Janet)
I am not the world's greatest at text messaging: in fact I am pretty bad, but I had no trouble reading this one. It came from Sarah's cell phone, which meant that Sarah and Janet were together. I couldn't resist the temptation.
"TA J" (Thanks a lot. John)
Now she knew that I had Ken's cell phone.
I spent the next couple of hours looking through files and folders on Ken's computer. There were no e-mails between Janet and Ken, but there were a few between Ken and some old friends in Lancaster that were interesting. I was astonished by what I read, and definitely did not like it. Janet and I had been together almost our whole life, and now I found out that I never really knew her. She seemed to have bonded better with Ken in less than a year than she did with me in almost twenty. While I was replacing the printer cartridge, I noticed that I was crying. That is not something that I normally do. She hurt me with her cheating and now I felt salt in the wounds. Maybe it was from my tears.
I printed out several e-mails and a dozen pictures. I would have done more photos, but I ran out of the expensive paper. There were no pornographic pictures or even anything racy. They were all fit for mixed company. Beth stuck her nose in the door and asked if she could call her mother. I didn't feel that I could refuse.
My mother was with the twins while they talked to Janet and overheard everything. She wasn't eavesdropping, but it appeared that the girls weren't trying to hide anything. Mom told me later that they did not cut Janet any slack, and blamed the entire problem on her. The conversation lasted less than five minutes.
The e-mails were extremely interesting. Ken had applied for and was hired as an engineer for an alternative power project in Spain. His starting date was in six weeks. Apparently, he had not given notice at Gilbert that he was leaving. I am sure that Sarah knew, but nobody else there mentioned it. He had all the papers ready for the trip, except I had his passport. I am sure he could get a replacement, but he better hurry if he wanted to make his start date. I guess he could always go to the police and report that I pilfered it, but I didn't think he would do that. He hadn't made any plane reservations yet.
One of the e-mail's to a close friend explained a lot of things. Janet was planning on getting a divorce after she joined Ken in Spain. She realized that I would never allow her to take the girls out of the country, so she was going to have me declared an unfit father. The letter didn't go into a lot of detail as to how she was going to accomplish this, but indicated that it would be severe enough to deny me visitation rights with the twins, or custody. Now, that was downright mean. Ken was the one writing this letter so it was all hearsay. I would have liked to have something original from Janet describing it, but I had to make do with what I had. I printed out several copies of this letter.
Mom was falling asleep watching Leno, so I sent her up to our bedroom. The girls were already in bed. I fell asleep on the couch with four empty beer bottles on the coffee table.
I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon. Mom always put out a good breakfast. The girls were finishing their cereal when I made it to the table. I had to endure a few good-natured digs before I could get started on my eggs. The conversation was light, until it was time for the bus.
"Girls, I am afraid that your mother is going to try and separate us. She is planning on having me identified as an unfit parent so that she can have you all to herself. I have no problem with shared custody, if that will make the two of you happy, but I will not give up my right to see you and be with you. I don't want you to have to choose sides, but I want you to know what is going on. Be careful and don't listen to any lies."
"Dad, we are smarter than you think. Don't worry about anything. We love mom, but we are not going to let her screw you or us." Brittany was smiling and Beth gave me a thumbs-up as they walked out the door.
Mom filled my cup and sat down with one of her own. "Relax, John. Everybody is on your side."
After showering and shaving, I put on some clothing that was a little better than I normally wear. I felt a little odd when I left the house because I had three cell phones with me. I made a mental note to get a charger for the cell phone that I got from Ken. I probably wouldn't need it, but it I'd rather be prepared.
I signed in at the Family Services Office and waited for a caseworker to call me. I was embarrassed when I finally got called, because I happened to know the lady that came out to help me.
"John Terrell. I haven't seen you in over ten years. What have you been up to?"
Jody Mitchell was easy to remember. In high school she was one of the Goth girls. The Goths had their own little group and stuck together. They were ostracized by most of the other kids, especially the jocks, including me. She looked normal now, but all I will always remember her by is pink streaked hair, black lipstick, and dark eye makeup. The funny thing about the Goths, is that you could never tell if they were into drugs, sexual deviations, or witchcraft. As far as Jody was concerned, it was probably none of those, but you always believed the most outrageous. The nameplate of her desk read "J. Mitchell." so I assumed she never married. Twelve years ago, I could understand that, but today she looked...
"John. What can I do for you?" My train of through was broken by her question.
I found myself stammering a little. "You look great, Jody."
She laughed at my awkwardness. "Do you mean compared to what I used to look like?"
Now I was embarrassed. "I guess, but I didn't mean to imply anything."
"Relax, John. I was half way through college when I realized I was smart enough to face the world as who I was, without the fake façade. I have been, what you would call, "normal," for almost ten years."
"I'm a lot more comfortable with "normal" than before. Damn it, but that sounds patronizing. I have a hard time keeping my foot out of my mouth. You will have to excuse me."
"Forget it. Now, why are you here?"
"Before we start, I need to ask you a question. Do you have a file or report on me? Anything at all?"
Her fingers danced across the keys like a piano player. "Nothing here, John. You did marry Janet Wilcox, is that correct?"
"Nothing under her name either. It looks like the two of you are feeding your kids and not beating them. You do have kids, right?"
"Yeah. We have twelve year old twin girls, Bethany and Brittany."
"Okay. Now, can we get down to the problem that brought you here?"
"Jody, this is a little far-fetched and I know it might seem hard to believe, but my wife is planning on leaving me and wants to takes the girls with her."
"It's not hard to believe, John. We see it all the time."
"Doesn't she have to have cause to do something like that?"
"Usually when the mother comes to us she has documentation or something to prove the accusation."
"You just checked, and there is nothing there now. Right?"
"That's right, John, but how do I know you are not setting me up, because you did something and she hasn't got around to reporting it yet. Maybe she is getting medical information or police reports before she comes to our office. Just because we aren't showing anything in our computer, doesn't mean you didn't do anything."
"What you are saying is that I can't win."
"No, I am not saying that. Why do you think she is going to do something like this?"
I had no intention of showing anyone the e-mail that Ken had sent, but now I felt that I had no choice. I had to ask myself, why I made the copies if I wasn't intending on giving them to anybody. I slid one across the desk to Jody. "Where did you get this?"
"I took it off a computer that I obtained illegally. I know it can't be used for any legal reason, but it is some sort of proof of what is going on. The word conspiracy comes to mind, but I don't know the legal definition of it. I wanted to talk to you, or somebody in this office, because I didn't know what to do. I don't know how to protect myself, and my daughters, from something like this, and I can't afford a lawyer."
Jody Mitchell relaxed back into her chair. I watched her and did not blink. She rocked back and forth a few times and leaned towards me. "Can you come back tomorrow morning?"
"Fine. I will see you then. Can I keep this copy of the e-mail?"
I nodded 'yes, ' and turned to walk out the door. "It was nice to see you, John."
I smiled and she smiled back. I forgot the Goth girl and saw the new Jody.
I didn't know any lawyers and I didn't know any people who knew lawyers, so I had to pick one out of the telephone book. I knew that she was planning on divorcing me, but under the circumstances things could change. I didn't want to take that chance. I wasn't sure what our financial picture would look like in the next few days or weeks, so I got the lawyer to quote me a price for the whole package up front, and I paid it in cash. I told him to do it the quickest, and easiest way he knew. If she wanted the house, she could have it. With the property depreciation, it was worth less than the mortgage. The other thing I insisted on was joint custody of the twins, at a minimum. I would take full custody, if he could swing it. I would pay child support, but no alimony.
On the way to lunch, I got a call from Billy. He needed a place to stay and of course I offered to put him up. We met at Taco Bell for the gourmet lunch combo. He had a silly grin on his face when I walked up.
"I know you can't be that happy. What happened?"
"A friend of mine, who works at Community General Hospital, gave me a little update on Calvin. Sarah went over there to visit with him. While she was there, Calvin's wife walked in with her two kids. Sarah had no idea that she was being played. It got so messy, that the hospital security people had to escort Sarah out. I went by Gilbert to talk to her, and she was no longer there: she had quit. I guess she must be at home right now, but I am not sure."
"Why wasn't his wife living up here with him?
"I don't know."
"Why wasn't he going home to his wife and kids on the weekends?"
"Don't know that either. To be honest with you, I don't give a shit."
Billy took a week off from work, so he could get things straightened out. I didn't know where he was going to sleep since my mom was staying at the house also, but we decided we would figure something out. He was going to swing by his place to try and pick up some clothing and his personal stuff, just in case Sarah was not there. He decided he didn't want to talk to her after all. I was headed for my insurance agent, but I never made it, because the cell phone rang again.
"John, It's Cameron Wilcox. Can you come over to the house for a while, so we can try and sort things out? Janet is a wreck and her mother isn't helping."
"Who is going to be there?"
"The three of us, and Janet's sister, Carla."
"I am not sure what you hope to accomplish, but I'll be there in about twenty minutes."
It was a somber group. I took my folder of goodies in with me, and I declined the coffee. "Who wants to start?"
"John, Janet seems to think that you are over reacting a little. She claims that you were raging mad, and forced her to say things that were not true in order to calm you down. She claims that she did nothing wrong and you have no right to throw her out."
I got the distinct impression that my dear wife had related a very sanitized version of what happened to her parents. I can understand why she would not want to admit her infidelity to them, but resented the fact that she shifted the blame to me. "What do you want me to do Cameron, prove that she is a liar or admit that I made a mistake?"
"I would just like to see a few facts so we can understand things a little better."
"What did she tell you about her boy friend?"
"She claims that she didn't have a boy friend. She just had a few drinks with some friends that Sarah worked with, and that you misinterpreted it."
"Cameron, in the last month she had over eighty telephone conversations with this casual friend. How many times did she call you and her mother in the last month?"
They both looked over at Janet. She looked at her feet instead of at them.
"Does that sound like a casual friend that she meets occasionally for drinks?"
No one was speaking as I took out Ken's cell phone. "Carla, can you read text messages? This is one that was sent to her casual friend right after I threw her out. Why don't you read it to everyone."
"Dear Ken, sorry for the problems. Love Janet." Carla handed the phone back to me.
"Does that sound like a casual friend?"
Janet had her hands in front of her face. Cameron was slowly shaking his head.
"A couple of weeks ago, Janet and her friend Sarah told everyone they were going shopping at the King of Prussia mall. The twins begged to go along, but their mother said "no'. Here are a few pictures that were taken on that trip." I handed Cameron six photos, which he looked at and passed to Martha and Carla.
"That doesn't look like King of Prussia. That looks like Knoebel's Grove. Damn it, Janet what is going on?"
Martha had been quiet up to that point. "Janet, in every picture you are hanging on to this man's arm for dear life. That is not what you do with friends. It appears that the fellow in these pictures, Ken, I assume, is far more than a friend. What were you trying to pull here?"
The tears were flowing slowly and quietly. This was not what she was hoping for. She wasn't expecting the pictures.
"Here are a few more of the same. I think two of them are from the Olive Garden and one looks like Red Lobster. I have several more. Fortunately, my loving wife has her clothing on in all of them."
"I think we have seen enough, John. I am sorry that we had to call you over here for this." Cameron seemed upset over the way he was deceived.
As I got up, Janet was leaving the room, bawling like a baby. We never got to discuss the stains on her underwear. I guess at that point it was not necessary.
Cameron walked me to the door. "John, I am sorry that we can't undo what has been done, but I guarantee you that it will not be ignored." He shook my hand as I left.
Mom and Billy had a roll-a-way bed set up in the den when I got home. It wasn't actually a den, just a small extra room that I kept the computer in. Billy had a pile of extra clothes that he got from his house, stacked up in the corner. Sarah wasn't at home when he stopped by.
The most interesting thing waiting for me when I got home was the mail. Actually, it wasn't waiting for me, it was for Janet: a nice official envelope from the passport department. I knew that I was not supposed to open it, but I couldn't help myself. It was of course a passport, but more exactly it was a family passport. The picture was of Janet and the two girls. I remembered when the girls told me that they had a picture taken, but I never imagined it was for this purpose. Of course there was no passport for me in the envelope.
I immediately called Cameron and told him to tell Janet that it had arrived. If she wanted her passport, all she had to do was send Ken to the house to pick it up. I would only give it to Ken. Normally, I would have been at work when the mail arrived. I never would have known she got it. Cameron informed me that they asked Janet to find someplace else to stay. They had no idea where she was going to go. It appeared that they were slightly pissed at their daughter. He did promise to tell her about the passport.
The supper conversation was interesting and it mostly involved the girls.
"A lady from Family Services came to see us at school today." Bethany said with a coy little smile.
"Would you like to expand on that a little? Did she speak to you together, or separately?"
"Both of us at one time. Her name was Jody. She said the two of you went to high school together."
"We went to the same high school, at the same time, but we weren't together."
I got a frown from Brit for being a smart ass. "Pay attention, dad,"
"What did she want to talk to you about?"
"You. All she talked about was you. Beth and I both agreed that she liked you."
"You got that from a short conversation?"
"She talked to us for over an hour. We missed gym and part of geography."
They were both talking at the same time and I was having trouble keeping up. Dinner was interrupted by a phone call from Carla. She wanted to talk.
I met Janet's sister at McDonald's. We took a corner table with two very hot coffees.
"John, Janet asked me to try and explain what was going on. She couldn't do it herself."
"This might sound stupid, but if I have any questions, how will you answer them?"
"I don't think I can. All I can do is talk and have you listen. I am sure I will get some of it screwed up anyhow, because most of it sounded like gibberish when she told it to me."
"You are setting me up so that you can tell me that you have no answers: just excuses and justifications."
"I always knew you were smart, John."
"Let's get it over with. I have other things to do."