Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
It wasn't completely dark in the room, but the curtains were closed and I only had one lamp on. I guess I could have been watching TV or drinking, but I just didn't feel like it. I showered and shaved before putting on my most comfortable clothes. It was going to be a long night and I wanted to be prepared. It was important for me to stay sober, even if I wanted to get dead drunk.
I had experienced quite a busy day and I was dead tired. As I sat there on the couch, I tried to figure out where I had gone wrong and then I decided that I hadn't. She had cheated and it was her fault, not mine. However, I was the one who would be paying for it. It didn't matter what happened it was a done deal.
Twelve years of marriage down the drain. Fortunately, there were no kids involved. Natalie had a bad miscarriage the first time that she gotten pregnant, three years ago, and that ended any chances for a family. We were both upset about the tragedy, but I never imagined that it would end up with her having an affair.
I kept checking the clock. Who would get here first? Would it be my cheating wife or someone from one of the many agencies responsible for peace and serenity in the DC area? It might be the FBI, the CIA, the local or state police, or even the Homeland Security. A cold beer would sure taste good right now.
The farmhouse in Warrenton was far enough away from the city that it allowed me to not be bothered with too much of the political crap. A year after the miscarriage, Natalie got a job as a publicity agent for a political lobbying firm and had to travel across the beltway everyday. She complained about it a little, but the excitement of the work seemed to offset any inconvenience.
Natalie was excited about her new job at first and enjoyed telling me about all of the interesting people she had been in contact with during her workdays. I always listened and paid attention. It was at a point during the second year that I noticed that there was a certain contact who she regularly had, who she never mentioned. It was an individual that we both knew and were actually friends with. The fact that she avoided any discussion about him was troubling.
Malcolm Eugene Heard was one of the Senators from our home state of Indiana. Natalie and I went to the University of Indiana with Malcolm and his wife Sonja. As Malcolm rose in the political arena, we sort of drifted apart, but we still exchanged Christmas cards. Natalie's company was responsible for providing publicity for Malcolm's campaign and for his contacts with his constituents back home. Over the last year, I had seen several photos of the Senator in the papers and magazines where Natalie could be seen in the background. There were a few short TV clips where he was meeting people and she would be standing close by while smiling. She would have been invisible to most people under these circumstances, but not to me. She had never once mentioned having seen Malcolm or having talked to him. I certainly felt that this was unusual.
I worked at home and rarely went into the DC area. I had a small, but successful business managing retirement accounts for companies with less than 100 employees. Most of my competitors wanted to concentrate on the larger clients, so I had an open field. I wasn't making a lot of money, but I was comfortable and I enjoyed my work, especially since I could conduct the entire operation at home with no office staff.
It was easy to make myself paranoid about the whole situation. It was harder to verify if something was actually was going on, or if it was my imagination. A private detective was out of the question. There was no way I could afford to hire someone to get the lowdown on a US Senator.
In desperation, I bought three, small, hand-held GPS units. They had a battery life of eleven hours and would record everywhere that Natalie drove to during her work day. Most of the driving was to the beltway and around it until she hit Alexandria. There was no way that I could use the devices to actually follower her, but I didn't want to do that in DC traffic anyhow. I figured that I could use one of them each day for three days and then use the weekend to follow the bread crumbs. If she was cheating, then maybe something would show up.
Of course, the GPS units worked far better than I had anticipated. The first three days that I used them, she stopped twice at the Executive Suite Apartments near Reston. I had no trouble at all verifying that Suite 214 was leased by US Senator Malcolm Heard. I didn't know how long she had stayed there, but that really didn't matter.
I guess I could have confronted her with my new-found information and allowed her the opportunity to give me an explanation, but I never did.
For the next few days, I left home after Natalie did and drove to Reston. I found a quiet, out of the way spot, and got comfortable. On the second day, Malcolm arrived in a large black Mercedes. Ten minutes later, Natalie showed up. It was over two hours until they came out and left separately. My marriage was over. It was time for planning.
Three different companies made offers to buy my small business. I quietly put the money into a long-term, off-shore account. The house mortgage was more than the current appraisal, so I decided that I could walk away from it. Nothing else seemed to matter.
They had met twice on Tuesday, so I used that as a planning point. I spent all day on Monday printing letters and address labels. There were over two hundred stamped envelopes ready to go out by four o'clock.
Everything went off as planned the next day, which also happened to be today. First, I attached a bright orange smoke flare to Malcolm's ignition and then I carefully cut each of Natalie's valve stems. Malcolm's car wouldn't be destroyed, but it would be unusable until it was cleaned. Before returning home, I mailed all of the envelopes. Phase one was completed.
Natalie arrived home before any of the Federal Agents that I was expecting. She took off her coat as she walked into the room. Her purse went on the side table with a resounding plop. I noticed a slight glance, but she said nothing.
Finally she sat directly across from me and sighed.
"I had to get one of the girls from work to give me a ride home."
I didn't say or do anything.
"That was a pretty drastic thing to do, Robert."
How did she know that it was me? It could have been a vandal, or someone with a political grudge. I didn't respond.
"You could have said something. Why did you have to do that?"
"Why didn't Malcolm give you a ride home?"
"You know damn well, why. We had to get both cars towed."
"Sorry if I caused you any inconvenience."
"There were police there, and reporters. Two TV crews showed up."
"I know. I called them."
"You son-of-a-bitch. That was horrible and inconsiderate.
Malcolm is up for re-election. If they find out what really happened, it will kill his chances."
"I hope so."
She seemed to be trying not to cry. It wasn't working.
"Natalie, what was I supposed to do? You were cheating on me with someone that I thought was still a friend. Does Sonja know what is going on?"
"No. Of course not. Hopefully, she still doesn't know. They have three children, Robert. Do you have any idea what this would do to their family?"
"Oh, that is nothing. Things are going to get far worse over the next few days."
"How can they get worse? Nothing could be worse than this."
"Well, for starters, the police will be here for me shortly."
"Why? Neither Malcolm nor myself ever mentioned your name."
"How did he explain it to the authorities?"
"He just said it was somebody who didn't agree with his political views."
Well, that sort of screwed up my plan before it got started. I was expecting to be dragged down to some sort of interrogation facility and worked over.
"Robert, do you want to talk about this? Do I get a chance to explain what happened?"
"No!" I got up and walked to the kitchen. If the police were not coming, then I was going to have a beer. "Natalie, I don't want to know what you did, why you did it, or when you did it. It doesn't matter. You can move out, or you can stay. I simply don't give a damn, but please, don't even try to justify it." I walked out to the front porch. It was chilly for this time of year. The beer tasted good, but coffee would have been better. I had no plan for reconciliation and no idea why she did what she did. I didn't want to know.
When I went back in, Natalie had gone to the bedroom and closed the door. I got another beer and sat back down on the sofa. It was going to be a long night.
About an hour later, my wife returned to the living room. It was evident that she had been crying. She gingerly sat on the chair closest to me and started to wring her hands.
"Robert. What did you mean when you said things were going to get worse?"
"I sent a letter to Sonja today. I also sent two hundred and twenty-one copies of the letter to every newspaper, radio, and TV station in the area. Every member of the US Senate got a copy as well as the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security. Everybody in both of our families got one and every name on our Christmas card list. Each commentator on FOX TV got their own letter. Your boss and everyone you work with also got one."
"Oh, God no! What kind of letter? Who do you think is going to believe an accusation from a crazy man? Do you really have rock solid proof that anything was going on, or are you still guessing? You are going to look like a fool, Robert."
.... There is more of this story ...