I was saved by a per-nuptial when I divorced Emily. I had to divorce her because she was sleeping regularly with her boss. Incidentally his name was also Mike. That didn't help but the pre-nuptial did. I was a rich guy after my father died suddenly, but I was also a very busy guy. My dad ran a huge construction company and I was a mid-level manager in his company - learning the tricks of the trade before taking things over from him. After his death I suddenly became the boss and had to learn everything quickly to ensure that the business did not suffer. I spent close to six months on the road meeting all the suppliers and clients so that I could become as familiar a face to them as my father was. In the whole deal my marriage suffered. We were married for about 12 years then and had a 10 year old daughter Teresa who was the centre of the universe for me. I found out about Emily's indiscretion in the most mundane manner - back home early without announcement.
The divorce was quick and I lost the custody of Teresa. It was long back and that is the reason why you find so little emotion in my narration. I never remarried because I knew I was going to work hard if I was to run the company properly and would not have much time for family life. Emily married Mike, the second and settled. They were not rich by my standards but did all right. They did all right by me too, till such time as Emily turned into a bitch and made my meetings with Teresa next to impossible. Teresa was enrolled in every kind of activity possible - Piano lessons on Monday, Softball practice on Tuesday and Thursday, Dancing lessons on Wednesday and Saturday, tennis lessons on Sunday and it was impossible to meet her without making her miss one thing or the other. Every time I made her miss something Emily went on and on about how selfish I was and how I was not thinking about Teresa's Future.
I backed out and distanced myself from Emily and Teresa. I sent her a letter through my attorney stating that in light of the fact that I was being painted as a villain for taking her away from her activities, I was leaving the matter of visitations totally in Emily's hand. I would be available for a visitation every time either Emily or Teresa called me, but would not make any plans on my own. I just wanted my four days in a month with Teresa. As time went by, my visitations with Teresa were down to one day a month and in the last four years I have seen her about 8 times in all. I stopped paying child support when Teresa turned 18. I did not have to stop it but I just knew that Teresa was interested in a relationship with me either. She was her mother's daughter and had clearly denounced me as her dad. None of her friends knew me and I certainly did not meet the young man she was going to marry before the cards were printed.
Yesterday Teresa turned up at my door step with a card in her hand inviting me to her marriage. I told her that I would be there and asked if I was supposed to walk her down the aisle. She told me in a quite matter-of-fact manner that she wanted her Pops to walk her down the aisle not her dad. Last night was not the most peaceful night I've had.
I got up in the morning and decided to do something that I never thought about in the last 10 years - turn into a vengeful bastard. I can tell you here that when a very rich man makes up his mind to fuck up the lives for a not so rich man - he can generally do it, especially if the very rich man has nothing to lose. I called in my lawyer and asked him to set up a company within the next week which would run a chain of flower shops (the business that Mike the 2nd was in) and open a flurry of shops right next to each and every shop he owned. I also instructed him to keep the prices of the flowers exactly half of what Mike's shop was offering. I told him that I wanted all the shops open by mid next week. Then I called my interior decoration department head and my PR division head and asked them to step up on this. I wanted the shops to look dazzling and I wanted the Media blitzkrieg to be unprecedented.
Then I called my security division chief and asked him to create a dossier on the groom-to-be in the next 24 hours. I asked my accountants for the name of the bank where the child support checks were deposited. It was likely that Mike had his business account with them too. A few phone calls later I knew that Mike had taken a large advance on his account just a few days prior. It was to facilitate the marriage of my former daughter, no doubt. That would mean that he would not be able to pump in any new cash into his business any time soon. I called my HR division and asked them to poach the best employees of Mike's shops at double their current salaries. Mike was going to be a very busy man in the next few days.
The new company was established in the name of a friend of mine from Nevada and its head quarter was registered in Nevada as well. No body would be able to tie the company with me without looking deep, something that Mike will be too busy to do. The groom-to-be was a nice young man with a huge student-loan on his head. He worked as a realtor and had, in the past, handled a few of my construction sites as well. I did not want to ruin the life of Teresa.
Mike was off balance the very first day of the opening of my new shops. He suddenly was short-staffed and more importantly short-customered. Openings of my shops with one major Hollywood star attending each opening was all over page 3 of all news papers. It was three days into the game that the shit hit the fan. I woke up in the morning to find my ex-wife and my former daughter at my doorsteps.
"What the fuck have you done?" shouted Emily as soon as she entered the house. I could see that Teresa was also looking very glum.
"What are you talking about? I said that I would come to the wedding, I did nothing to upset Teresa." I actually had no clue what she was talking about, so I played dumb.
"You know what I am talking about you bastard. Why did you open up a a chain of shops right next to Mike's? Why are you selling flowers at half the price of what it costs for you to buy them?"
"What shops are you talking about?"
"The shops that you opened in the name of that no-good pauper friend of yours - Steve. You did not think I would remember the bum? He is an orthodontist and at that too a bad one. Why are you doing this after 10 years of not caring at all?"
I knew the game was up but I had not done anything illegal yet. I decided to show my fangs.
"And why should that concern you? I have a right to open any business I feel like and see at any price as I feel like. In fact this company is one of my charity foundations where I am offering the public flowers at cheaper rates so that they can show love and respect for those they care about. If you can find anything illegal in this - sue me."
Teresa spoke for the first time - "Pops had a heart attack in the morning. The way things are moving, he would be out of business in the next one month. You have taken everything away from him because you have money. I hate you. How could you do this him? You know mom and I depend on him for support."
I turned to her spoke, I was not angry anymore. After all these years of silence and hurt I was feeling sad for the first time. "Truly spoken, I have money and I have taken away his business from him but tell me how is it any different from what he did. Why did you not grow up to hate him?"
"Pop has never done a bad thing in his whole life." She shot back.
"No, he has never done a bad thing in his whole life. When he slept with my wife - he was doing something every morally upright man does. You say that I have money and he does not and I am using it to take his business away. He had time and I did not and he used it to take my wife and my daughter away from me, how was that different? But of course, what I am doing is beyond disgust and what he did was the thing sainthood is made for. You say you and your mom depended on him and I took that away from you and you hate me for it, I depended on my wife at a time when my father had died and more than 1200 employees were looking at me and he took her away from me, why don't you hate your Pop for it?"
Teresa looked away.
"Why do you bring this up after 10 years?" Emily asked, more politely now.
"Because, I am fucking tired of being the bad guy for nothing. If I am going to be painted as a villain I bloody well will be one. I should have fought tooth and nail for Teresa instead of thinking that you would best by her. I should have raised hell when you denied me chances to meet and see my only reason to smile, my daughter. Instead I backed down and thought that it was best if I did not destroy her childhood by making life difficult for you. I should have ruined the bastard who cuckolded me so that he would be on the roads and you would have no choice but to stay with me and keep my Teresa with me. I should have filed for full custody when you refused to let me take Teresa with me on that holiday to France even though it was turn to spend summer holiday with her." I looked at her with the disgust I was feeling for her at this time.
Teresa spoke up, "You never had the time for me. I was starved for affection, after a while it became clear to me that you had divorced me as well, along with mom and it was only then I took Pop as a father and pushed you out of my mind. I met you at times because mom told me that if I refused to meet you there would be legal repercussions. She said you would file a case against her. I only met you out of fear not out of love."