Remember Harry from "It's the thought that counts" who tried to get Jim to join his swing club? Remember his wife, Barbara who showed Cathy her mistakes in the second chapter? Well, this is their story.
Once again, I warn the macho, "torch the bitch" crowd, you're not going to like this story so please pass it by.
The morning sun was still young, yet it was already turning an uncomfortably warm evening into another damned hot July day in the midwest. Seeing the brown patches of grass in his front lawn didn't put Harry in any better of a mood as he backed out of his drive.
His car's magnificent sound system played his favorite music and the air conditioning was on full blast as he started his daily commute to the office. In spite of his comfortable surroundings, Harry couldn't help but become more agitated. The more he thought, the more agitated he became.
For the last week or two now his wife, Barbara, had been acting strange ... distant even, like she was really pissed at him for something but he could not figure out what it could be. Hell, he thought, they hadn't even had sex in a couple of weeks. Isn't that just like a woman, he said to himself, when they're pissed the first thing they do is cut you off in the bedroom. Well the joke is on her, he smirked. Next week is the swing party, I'll get all the ass I can handle there.
All of a sudden it hit him. That's what she's pissed about!
Barbara was still pissed about him going over Jim and Cathy's house to talk to Jim about joining their swing club, but hell, that was Cathy's idea, why should he be blamed for it. That had to be it though, it was the only thing he could think of.
"Good morning Donna," he said as he passed his secretary on the way into his office.
Donna was a very attractive woman, tall, slender, late twenties, long blond hair, just the way he liked them. The problem, as he saw it, she was happily married, but then she was just a fantasy anyway. Harry would never really do anything behind Barbara's back, he sure wished he could get Donna and her husband to a swing party though. Boy would he love that!
Harry had to get ready for Ted Cooper, a client with whom he had a luncheon meeting. He needed to bring himself up to date with the client's file. Just as he started reading, his secretary's voice came over the intercom.
"Harry there's a Mr. Anderson here. He says he needs to speak with you a moment."
Harry thought for a second, Mr. Anderson, he didn't know a Mr. Anderson. "Does he have an appointment, Donna?" he asked.
"No, but he says it's important and will only take a minute."
"I'm busy right now Donna, tell him to make an appointment for later in the week," he said wanting to get back to his client's file.
"Yes Sir," said Donna clicking the intercom off.
"Harry," Donna said over the intercom again. This time sounding a little sheepish.
"Yes Donna," Harry sighed showing his impatience now.
"I'm sorry to bother you again, but Mr. Anderson says he'll wait out here until you have time to see him."
"What!" he said getting aggravated now. "Who the hell..."
He stopped himself. He was yelling at Donna and it wasn't her fault. "What's it about?"
"He says it's personal."
"Personal? Oh alright," he said, still obviously ticked off, "show him in."
A few seconds later Donna opened his office door and showed Mr. Anderson inside. Harry looked at him trying to figure out if he knew the guy or not.
"Mr. Simco, Mr. Harry Simco?" he asked.
"Yes," said Harry.
Mr. Anderson took a large manila envelope from his briefcase and handed to Harry. "You've been served," he said. With that he turned and started to leave.
"Served!" yelled Harry. "What do mean served, served with what, by who? ... hey, wait a minute you ... come back here," he yelled getting up from his desk.
Harry rushed past a shocked Donna and into the outer office catching the guy and grabbing his sleeve. "Hey, wait just a damn minute," he said.
Mr. Anderson turned and jerked his arm away from Harry's grip. "I'm just the process server buddy," he said abruptly, "you got a problem, see a lawyer." He turned and walked out the door and into a waiting elevator.
Harry stood there staring at the unopened envelope he still had in his hand.
"Harry, is something wrong?" Donna was sorry now she let Mr. Anderson badger her into seeing Harry.
"I don't know," said Harry, "somebody is evidently suing me for something."
Harry turned and headed back into his office. "No calls until I say different," he told Donna as he walked by her desk.
"Okay Harry. I'm sorry," she said, but Harry was already back in his office with the door closed.
He sat down at his desk. His palms were sweating as he started to open the envelope. He had never been sued before. He pulled out the paperwork and started to read, 'In the matter of ... WHAT!" he yelled out loud, "Barbara Simco versus Harry Simco? What the fuck..."
Harry pulled his smart phone out and yelled at it to call home. A second later he heard his home phone ringing but no one answered it. Finally it went to voice mail. He disconnected and now told his phone to call Barbara, directing the call to her cell phone but it just went to voice mail as well.
Harry was totally shocked and bewildered. He leaned back in his chair as all his strength seem to leave his body. He heard a faint knock on his door.
"Harry," Donna poked her head through the doorway, "is everything alright?" she asked.
"Barbara," he said looking straight ahead with a blank stare, "she's divorcing me."
"What?" Donna was as surprised as he was. "No, that can't be," she said.
Harry tossed the paperwork to the far side of his desk. Donna walked over and looked at it. "I can't believe it, Harry, why?"
"I wish I knew," he said. "She's been acting strange for the last couple of weeks but I just thought she was pissed over something I told a neighbor, but that can't be it. She certainly wouldn't divorce me over something like that."
Donna was glancing through the lawsuit. "Harry, here is the name and number of her lawyer, why don't I get him on the phone for you."
"Yeah, that's a good idea," he said, "maybe he can tell me what the hell this is all about."
A few minutes later Donna had the lawyer on the phone. Harry didn't want to sound like a raving lunatic so he made sure he spoke in a normal, calm voice.
The lawyer explained Barbara was seeking a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences. She would agree to selling the house and splitting the proceeds but she also wanted two years of financial maintenance to give her time to complete the degree in marketing she never finished and find a job.
"What irreconcilable differences?" Harry asked. "This is out of the blue. I have no idea what the hell she's talking about."
"Mr. Simco," the lawyer spoke, "your wife states that for some time now, you've been forcing her to participate in swing parties."
"Forcing her? I never forced her, she went willingly."
"Not according to Ms. Simco, she says she has told you on numerous occasions that she didn't want to go but you kept pressuring her until she finally capitulated."
"Well I, ah, I may have..."
"Mr. Simco," the lawyer interrupted, "I would advise you to seek counsel. For your own benefit I think it would be wise to agree to her terms. Otherwise, I have advised Ms. Simco she could change the grounds for the divorce to read mental cruelty and seek much more in damages."
"Fuck you!" Harry yelled, now losing his cool.
"Mr. Simco, I will not tolerate..." he realized Harry hung up and he was speaking into a dead line.
"Donna," he bellowed, "cancel all my appoints for the day, I've got to get home and talk to Barbara. This is crazy."
Donna could hear him through the wall but hit the intercom to answer him back. "Even Mr. Cooper?" she asked. "He's supposed to be here in another hour."
"Yeah even Mr. Cooper," he said already closing up his briefcase, "I know it's short notice but I can't help it. I've got to find out what this is all about. See if you can get a hold of Cooper before he leaves his office. Tell him I suddenly got deathly ill, in fact, tell everyone that. I've got to get out of here. I'll call you later."
Harry rushed out of the building and was headed home.
By the time he reached his driveway Harry's mind was mush. He could think of only one reason why she would leave him and it wasn't because of the damn swinger parties, she's seeing another man, he thought. He ran up the front steps and tried to open the door but it was locked. He fumbled with his keys briefly as he unlocked the door. He was calling Barbara's name before he was even in the house.
"Barbara!" He went to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up to the second floor. "Barbara!" There was no answer. He quickly walked through the rest of the house calling her name but still there was no answer.
As he reached for his cell phone again, Harry's stunned reaction was now turning into anger at the thought of his wife leaving him. What's the hell is wrong with her, he thought as he addressed his phone, "call Barbara."
.... There is more of this story ...