Hi folks, this is just intended as a relatively short, fun peace for Thanksgiving so don't take it too seriously. This year I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my beautiful wife and daughter. My wonderful best friend and editor. StoriesOnline for letting me post stories. All of you great people who read them and of course Ford for making Mustangs. I hope you all have as much. SS06
A light rain had started to fall as we all gathered around the final resting place of a woman who meant something to all of us. I can't exactly say what that something was because it would be different in each case. Some of us had our eyes brimming with hot, salty tears and hearts full of sadness and sorrow over her passing. Others really weren't that concerned, but were here to support a loved one who was attending. I was here because I had to be, but on the other hand, I wanted to make sure the bitch wasn't pulling a trick. I wanted to see her in that box, see them at least close it, if not nail it shut. And I really wanted to see them lower her withered ass into the ground so I could put an end to that aspect of my life.
I also needed to be here for my kids. I really don't believe that either my son or my daughters really cared that much anymore. It's strange but we're among the most dry eyed of all of the attendees. I guess we're the ones who knew Heidi the best. As I look over the moderate sized grouping that is gathered around the open grave, I see some of the people who meet my gaze and smile or wave. I can feel their sympathy and I smile in response to their projected condolences.
I also see others, mostly men, but a few women who are afraid to meet my gaze and furtively look in any other direction other than towards me. I wish there was some way for me to let them know that my enmity towards them died with Heidi. I figure out how to do that at nearly the last moment. A small tanned hand slips inside of mine and gives me a reassuring squeeze. I'm in the front of the gathering so everyone can see what I do. I kneel down before the woman next to me squeezing my hand to reassure me of her love and press my head against her bulbous nearly eight and a half months pregnant stomach.
My daughters smile and happy, yet surprised murmurs go through the crowd. My simple gesture resonates through everyone there, reminding them of all of that shit we learned about the circle of life from that fucking Lion King movie. Whenever one goes out, another one comes in. I can't help but smile myself. Everyone else here is smiling, because they're thinking about death and new life being opposites.
I'm smiling because I didn't realize it at the time, but Heidi would have hated what I'd just done. The bitch is probably just inside the gates of hell, screaming for a chance to come back because for once, I took all of the attention off of her. This is supposed to be her day. It's supposed to be her last performance here on this earthly plane and now everyone is more interested in my baby than in Heidi's crusty dead ass.
I'm a mature adult. This baby will be my fourth. I had, as I've said, three children while I was married to Heidi. The others are all fully grown and out in the world. David stands next to me. My daughter Sarah is on his other side. And my daughter Sasha is further to my right.
I'm almost sixty years old, so over my lifespan, I've learned that you have to let some things go. By the time of her death, I no longer hated Heidi or resented her for making most of my life a waste. As I look at the three wonderful people that she and I brought into the world, I know I could never truly resent her because I love them with all of my heart and soul. I also understand that without Heidi, none of them would be the way they are.
So I let go all of my hatred and anger towards Heidi more than three years ago. Hatred and anger poison a person's life. Heidi is a non-factor in mine, so there was simply no reason to let any ill will towards her color my existence. I still wanted to see her serving as kibble to a giant three headed dog as she slowly roasted for all of eternity, but I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it.
The last time I saw Heidi alive was five months ago. We'd all gathered or in my case been summoned to a big family Thanksgiving dinner at my son David's house. I think back on that day and the events that led up to it as the minister begins his calming words.
It had been at sunset on a surprisingly warm November evening in Florida. That day and that night were nearly summer-like. It had been sunny and warm all week but not oppressively so. A solitary figure trudged purposefully down the beach. His shoulders were hunched, carrying a lot of tension. He was headed for two beach chairs which were the only feature breaking the pristine beauty of nature on a stretch of private beach.
The chairs weren't arranged in the manner one would expect. Although they were side to side and parallel and only inches apart, one faced east and the other west. In one chair, a gray haired but still hard bodied old man sat watching the waves. He occasionally got up and threw rocks at the ocean. He also looked dreamy eyed at a car in the driveway of a house only a few yards away from the chair he sometimes occupied.
The other chair was occupied by a woman. At twenty nine years old she was exactly half of his age. Their birthdays were within a day of each other as well. The man, me, was steely eyed although my eyes had faded during my long life to the point where they seem to be more gray than their former blue.
The woman's soulful brown eyes and calm disposition seemed to be the exact opposite of mine. Her large breasts and long legs surrounded a formerly flat tummy that was just to the point where someone with a sharp eye could tell something was going on there.
Her tanned skin came from her Mexican heritage more than any amount of sun. Her long, rich brown hair was tied back in a single pony-tail that if she were standing, would have just kissed the top of her luscious ass.
She was every bit as composed and motionless as I was frenetic and animated. Neither of us had noticed the figure dragging his feet angrily through the sand as he trudged towards us.
"James, we're supposed to be resting," she said in unaccented English.
"We are resting," I said. "We're not even doing anything."
"No, Honey. I'm not doing anything. You're doing laps back and forth between the water and your chair. You're throwing every piece of drift wood, rock and any other debris you find into the water where the tide just sweeps it back onto the beach. I'm getting tired just watching you."
I sat back down in my chair and the reason she'd arranged the chairs that way made sense. With us facing in opposite directions, we could look directly in each other's eyes from very close and kiss each other without moving very much.
With her concentrating on looking at me and at the book she was reading on her iPad, she didn't see the man until it was too late.
He, like me, was just shy of six feet tall. He was well muscled and probably twenty years younger than me. In fact, I knew for a fact that he was exactly twenty years, three months and fourteen days younger. I was calculating the exact date as his fist streaked towards my face.
It's a God damned shame to see some late thirties ruffian trying to hand out a beat down on a guy who's almost legally a senior citizen ... Hold that thought.
I had a second disadvantage because I was sitting while he was standing over me. I easily caught his flashing fist and hooked my leg behind his knees and spilled him to the beach. I immediately rolled on top of him and started wrestling with him. His rage and youth seemed to be stalemated by my superior strength, energy and experience. A battle like this would be determined only by the stamina of the combatants, normally.
The sound of a metallic click and words hissed through clenched teeth took all of the fight out of him.
"Eeeef ju move I weel put you brains in thees fucking sand," said Samantha angrily, as she pressed her gun into the side of his head. Just the sound of her gun, a custom .450 Automag, was frightening.
The man, my son, David, whom I hadn't seen in three years, went still immediately. Samantha bit one of her luscious lips and pressed the long barrel even more firmly against his head. David flinched as he saw nothing but death in her eyes.
Sam let out a string of curse words in pure Spanish and I started laughing. "Sam, don't shoot him," I said. "Besides having to clean up the beach and hide the body, we'd only have to go to a funeral. And the funeral would probably be in Michigan; it's cold as hell there now. I wouldn't want to even have my Mustang there now, let alone the three of us."
She looked at me strangely.
"Dave, did you notice that the more pissed off she gets, the more her language goes backwards? Before you showed up, she was speaking perfect English. Once you got her pissed, her Spanish accent got so thick it was crazy. At this rate, she'll be speaking Aztec in the next few minutes."
"Thees is ... This is David?" she asked. "Your son David?"
I nodded and smiled. "And you were going to shoot him."
"I still might," she said. But she moved the gun away from his head.
"So David," I said calmly. "Why'd you travel almost twelve hundred miles to take a poke at me? And how'd you find me anyway?"
"I got a really good PI. A lot of people say that she's the best. She's a friend of Uncle Chance and his girlfriend," he said. "Her name is..."
"Sarah Price," I finished for him. "She works for the Rios Agency, right."
Immediately Samantha started mumbling under her breath as she turned and picked up her chair. She turned the chair around so it was next to mine and then plopped herself down so angrily, that if the baby was further along she might've popped it out in that lounge chair. She continued cursing but switched to Spanish and started reading her book ... or pretending to.
"Uhm, Dad," asked David. "What is she so upset about?"
"Rios is her uncle," I said. "Sarah is one of her best friends. I guess they had no way of knowing that you were looking for me. I rarely use my full name down here so I doubt that Sarah even put two and two together."
"So why did you come all this way?" I asked again.
"Dad, things are rough at home," he began. "And Mom ... it's not good. She's just not right in the head. She hasn't been since you left. It's just been one thing after another. And now they've diagnosed her with some type of mystery disease. I'm not sure whether Mom knows what it is and just won't tell us, or that they don't know what it is."
I shrugged my shoulders. I also put on the greatest acting performance of my life. Both David and Samantha were staring at me; each for their own reasons.
"I'm not a doctor David," I said. "I have a small but successful business here. Technically, I should already be into my early retirement but I have to work still. Life is more expensive down here than it was in Michigan. I have to work long enough to make sure that my wife and kid or kids are well looked after when I'm gone."
"You're not going anywhere," quipped Sam under her breath.
"I meant when I die, miss nosey smart ass," I said.
"And I meant what I said too," she smirked. "Even God knows that you belong to me. He has to keep his hands off of you until I'm ready to let you go."
David looked at us strangely.
"So I just don't see what I can do..." I said. " ... Or how any of that has anything to do with me."
"What about all of that bullshit you taught us growing up?" he said tersely. "What about accepting your responsibilities and doing the right thing?" he said even louder. "I came down here to talk to you about coming home so we could be a family again. I wanted you to come back to help Mom through whatever she's going through. None of us have a clue why you just vanished while Mom was injured. You disappeared without a fucking trace or any reason and left her penniless."
Samantha started cursing in Spanish again and I started laughing.
"So you really don't know?" I laughed.
"Don't know what?" he spat. "That the man I looked up to for most of my life and wanted to be like ran out on his wife without a word so he could come down to Miami and hang out with women who are younger than his children. You're down here, living in luxury, pretending to be married, when your real-life wife is suffering and your kids have to work harder to support her."
"What a Bitch," I spat.
"What a beetch," echoed Sam.
David got up angrily. "Don't talk about my mother," he said. Before he was fully on his feet, Sam had her gun trained on him again.
"God damn the two of you," I said. "Sam, put your gun away and David, come into the house. We need to talk. After we're done talking, you'll probably agree with me that your Mom is a bitch."
"Beetch," echoed Sam.
"And what if I don't agree?" he asked.
"Then I'll go back to Michigan with you," I said.
We went through the house and out onto the small deck behind it. Sam brought beers out to us.
"First off," I began. "Who told you that I left your mother penniless?"
"She did," he said. "In fact, she's been living with my wife and me since you left and we've had to..."
I was rolling around on the floor laughing. Anger filled his face and his eyes. "Dad, don't you take anything serious?" he yelled.
"Why are you getting mad at me," I asked. "You're a chip off the old block, you know." I left him sitting there on the deck. I went into my office and brought out a stack of papers. I handed them to him.
"What am I looking at?" he asked.
"You're looking at the file for the sale of the house that we used to live in," I said. "When I left I arranged for your mother to get the house. The house sold for a little over four hundred thousand dollars. The check was made out to her. Here's a picture of the canceled check. So if I left her penniless, what did she do with all of the money?"
"She never ... she said..." he sputtered.
"Welcome to the club," I said. "Your mother is the type of person who's always there when SHE needs YOU. With me leaving, she needed someone else to take care of her. You fit the bill. Of course, if you knew that she had close to a half million dollars, you'd have expected her to get her own place, so she needed to be broke and homeless. I'm guessing that's why she told you she was broke."
"Dad, how did you get these papers?" he asked.
"They had to give me the details of the transaction since I gave her the house as part of our divorce settlement."
"You're divorced?" he asked.
"Of course," I said. "I couldn't have married Sam if I wasn't."
"But Mom said..." he began.
"I filed for a divorce. Your mother refused to sign the papers. She refused to come to any of the meetings. She refused to come to court. They issued a warrant for her. She ignored it and most cops aren't going to serve a warrant on a fifty five year old woman. No one knew where she was. Now I know that she was hiding in your house. One of the reasons I moved here is because it's one of the states that allow divorces in absentia. You can file all of the paperwork and if the person you're trying to divorce refuses to answer, the clock starts ticking. After a certain period of time, the divorce is granted whether they agree or not because the court looks at it as if both lives have gone on separately for enough time for both parties to have accepted things. I could have given her nothing, but I gave her the house anyway."
Dave was angry again. "Dad, she didn't tell us anything," he said.
"Dave, your mom has always been like that. Everything is always about her. She needs to be the center of attention. Look at the rest of the file."
"What are these three envelopes," he asked.
"When I left, you and Kelly were still working in Alaska," I said. "You were on the road constantly and I couldn't get a hold of you. Your sisters were still in college and I didn't want to bother them. When I sent the information about the divorce to your mom, I also sent her those three envelopes for the three of you. There was a check in each one for you and your sisters. When the envelopes came back, the checks were missing but everything was still intact."
"How much were the checks for?" he asked.
"Ten thousand dollars," I said. David jumped off of my deck onto the grass below and went and kicked the tree in the middle of the yard as hard as he could.
"I just figured that the three of you had decided that right or wrong, she was your mother and you'd side with her in the divorce. I guess it just seemed like I was on my own. None of you ever called me or wrote," I said. "Not for my birthday, or Christmas or even Father's Day. I just assumed that you didn't want to hear from me."
"So you seem to be doing well," he said looking around. "And she's beautiful. Are you really married?"
"Yep," I said. "I've never known anyone like her. She is all the things I only hoped your mom would someday become."
"But Dad she's ... how old is she?" he asked changing his tactic.
"She just turned twenty nine," I said. "Normally she's really sweet, but she is very protective of me. And besides that she's pregnant. It's a boy."
"So I finally get the little brother I wanted, but I have to wait until I'm thirty eight," he smirked. "And my new step mom is almost ten years younger than I am. Holy shit, she's younger than Sarah and Sasha too. How long have the two of you been together?"
"Two years," said Sam, coming out from the house with more beer and some snacks on a tray.
"Fuck," he screamed. "Sorry ma'am. I just ... I feel like Keanu Reeves when he found out that he'd lived his entire God damned life in the matrix. Half of me is wishing that I hadn't come down here. Every time you open your mouth another lie that Mom told me falls out. She made it seem like you probably ran off with your secretary. When we ran into your old secretary, Carol Brady, we attacked her and demanded that she tell us where you were. We were lucky she didn't press charges on us."
"It's Samantha or Sam," she said.
"Dad, I have no idea of how I'm going to explain any of this to Sarah and Sasha. They were expecting to drag you kicking and screaming back to Michigan so you could atone for your actions and be there to stand by Mom during her crisis," he said.
"Don't bother," I said. "Don't tell them anything yet."
"But why?" he asked. "They deserve to know."
"I agree," I said. "That's why I'm coming to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. We'll let all of the lies out. Can you try to keep the guest list to just the five of us?"
"Six," said Sam.
"Kelly makes seven. I can't have dinner at my house without my wife being there. Justin will make eight," he said.
"Why the fuck would Justin be there?" I snapped. David was shocked because all of this time I'd remained calm. Even when he tried to punch me out I hadn't lost my temper."
"Dad, he was Sarah's boyfriend when you left. They're married now. He's not the brother in law I'd have wanted, but Sarah likes him and that's all that counts," he said.
I nodded my head. "Yeah," I said. "Make sure old Justin is there too."
Three days later, I was already pissed as I pulled the Mustang into David's driveway. It was cold and blustery in Michigan. Samantha didn't like it. She'd lived in Florida all of her life. She preferred the warmer temperatures of the southern states. I'd bought her a beautiful new fur coat and I was sure that everyone would laugh at her. It was forty five degrees outside and she was wrapped in a full length fur coat as if she was going to the Arctic Circle.
The reason that I was pissed wasn't the weather. Being born in Michigan, I knew what to expect. It was the car. I'd envisioned a chance to totally thrash a Hertz Mustang GT-H. Everyone knows the history of the car. Back in the sixties Hertz had Ford build a fleet of special high powered Mustangs that they could rent out to customers. People went crazy over them. There are all kinds of things that happened. Some of the customers would rent the Mustangs and take them to the drag strip. Others had been caught renting the cars and swapping out the high performance power plants and turning the cars back in with a far more mundane motor.
A couple of years after Ford introduced the retro styled Mustang in 2005; they did a new version of the GT-H. I figured that right off of the plane I'd get one. I knew that the car couldn't compete with my 2012 Boss 302, but I really wanted the chance to drive one. The Hertz office outside of Detroit Metro airport was open, but they didn't have any GT-H models on their list of cars. The only Mustang they had was a v6. And it was a frigging convertible. I just knew by that omen that this wasn't going to be a good trip.
As Sam shivered in what she perceived as cold, I wrapped an arm around her and we headed for the door. Before we even got onto the porch, the door opened and a small bundle of energy exploded from the house and launched itself at me. Being almost sixty, it's a good thing I'm in great shape because I had to struggle to maintain my balance. My daughter had almost knocked me backwards down the cement stairs. I walked through the doorway and into David's house, carrying Sarah, who had attached herself to me like a leech. During that entire walk into the warm house, Sarah's feet never touched the ground. Sam stood watching the scene with amusement on her face.
As Sarah continued to hug and kiss me, my far more cynical daughter, Sasha, spoke up.
"Way to go Sarah," she said. "I'm glad to see you're still playing hard to get about forgiving him. I'm really sure that your behavior will let him know how wrong he was." Her sarcasm made me smile.
Sarah stopped hugging me long enough to look over her shoulder at her sister and extend her middle finger skyward. "Fuck you. My daddy's home," she said.
At that point, the two sisters looked around the room as David came in with his wife Kelly. David smiled, then ignored me and immediately introduced Kelly to Samantha. Kelly seemed really interested in Sam's nearly floor length coat. She elbowed Dave in the ribs and pointed to the coat.
"Don't even start," he quipped. "Those things cost a hell of a lot of money to begin with. And the more animals they have to kill the more they cost."
"Just what are you saying hubby?" asked Kelly, putting a hand on one of her generous hips.
"Well, in Sam's case, they probably killed twenty or thirty minks to make that coat. I'd say it retailed for about four or five grand. In your case, we'd have to mortgage the house and it would put minks on the endangered species list."
Sam's sharp intake of air and the way her eyes widened conveyed her shock at the way David had spoken to Kelly.
"We're about the same size," lied Sam quickly. "You can probably fit this one."
"I like her," smiled Kelly. "Honey, I probably couldn't get my hand into that little coat. I know I'm a big girl, but trust me; Dave wouldn't have it any other way. And I guarantee you, within ten minutes of you guys leaving tonight and his mom going to sleep, Dave will have his lips and tongue all over my fat ass. And he'll be loving it."
After hearing the exchange between the two women, everyone in the room was suddenly interested in Sam. Dave walked over to her and pretended to pat her down for weapons. Then he held his arms out wide and Sam walked into them and gave him a hug. Dave led us into the living room despite the fact that both of my daughters were obviously curious about who and what Samantha was.
It didn't surprise me to see the two of them sitting in a room together. Although seeing Heidi seated demurely on the sofa with her feet up, while Justin sat on the other side of the room watching or pretending to watch a college football game wasn't believable.
As we all came into the room, Kelly announced that she had to check on the turkey and headed for the kitchen. She looked around to see if anyone was interested in joining her and only Sam took the bait.
"You stay here and get accustomed to the house for a while Honey," said Kelly. "I was expecting one of these freeloaders to do it."
"I will come in later then," said Sam politely. Her nervousness made her accent more apparent and instantly every eye in the room was on her, except for, of course, mine and Dave's. Hearing Sam speak even pried my ex-wife's eyes off of me.
Justin had locked his eyes on her from the second she entered the room. He appraised her from the top of her pretty head to the bottom of her coat.
My ex looked at me with genuine fear in her eyes. I smiled at her and shook my head.
"Hello Jim," she said. "No hug for me? It's the holiday. David even hugged his friend."
"She's not his friend," I said acidly. "Besides, I heard you were sick. If I hugged you the way I want to you probably wouldn't be able to breathe."
"You always did hug me like that," she said. "You always squeezed the shit out of me and I loved it."
"It really wasn't that hard," I deadpanned. "You always were full of shit."
"I always felt the best when you wrapped your arms around me and let me know just how much you loved me," she said, without losing a beat.
"Yeah but now I'd be wrapping my hands around your throat and letting you know something else," I said.
"I was hoping we could put the past behind us," said Heidi, sounding even more frail than she had only minutes before. I was sure that like everything else about Heidi, the affectation of infirmity was an act.
"Dad if ... Sam isn't David's friend, who is she?" asked Sarah.
Even Justin looked up to hear the answer to that question. Unfortunately, he and everyone else had to wait as Kelly re-appeared with a tray of beers. She handed me a chilled Dos Equis Amber. Then she gave Justin a bottle of Dos Equis as well. She gave Sarah and Heidi glasses of what appeared to be white wine and a cup of tea to Sasha.
She handed Dave a bottle that appeared to be some sort of local home brew. As she turned away from him, he reached out to swat her in her ass. She quickly moved away and turned back to him.
"Unh Unh," she smirked. "No booty for you."
"Hey, how come I don't get to pick what I want to drink?" asked Justin.
"You can," said Kelly sweetly. "As soon as you get a job and pay for something, anything Justin, just pay for one thing." He glared at her angrily.
"Sam, what would you like to drink? Maybe white wine or are you a beer drinker like me?" she asked.
"I can't really have alcohol," said Sam quietly.
"Worried about doing something unladylike?" asked Kelly.
"No, just pregnant," smiled Sam.
That made everyone in the room turn to look at her again. I was sure that a line of drool dropped from Justin's mouth. Sarah and Sasha's expressions immediately changed. I have no idea why women are always more accepting of other women when they're pregnant, but suddenly my daughters were in Sam's fan club without even knowing why she was there.
"That's great," said Sasha. "Congratulations. Are you still involved with the father?"
"Very much so," smiled Sam. "I love him like there's no tomorrow."
The girls both cooed affectionately, even the cynical Sasha. Heidi on the other hand, set her lips just a bit harder.
"So Sam," said Sarah. "If you're not my stupid brother's friend, are you his colleague from work or something like that?"
Dave just smiled stupidly not knowing what to say, so I helped out.
"Sarah, Honey, Sam has the same relationship with Dave that she has with you and Sasha."
"What's that?" asked Justin, of all people. He looked in my eyes and realized that he shouldn't have spoken and quickly looked away but the question was out there.
"She's his stepmother," I said, crossing the room and taking her coat. We sat down on the sofa opposite the one that Heidi sat on as every jaw in the room dropped.
"But Daddy, you can't be married to her. You're still married to Mom," said Sarah.
"So Heidi, you never told the kids that we're divorced?" I asked.
Every eye in the room turned towards Heidi, who looked at me with evil intentions.
"It just didn't seem to be the right time," she said, with a shit eating grin on her face. "I didn't want to upset them with news that our family was probably breaking up."
"That makes sense," I said. "Is that why you didn't tell them that you stole their money too?"
"She did what?" asked Sasha.
"I ... I ... I wanted to hold onto their money until they were old enough to be responsible with it," stammered Heidi.
"Everyone in the room who's under thirty raise your hand," I said.
The only hand in the room that went up was Sam's.
"Oh, James. How old is this girl? I can't believe you got a woman who's younger than your daughters pregnant," said Heidi.
"Fuck that," snapped Sasha. "We'll get back to that later. Let's talk about this money thing and this divorce."
Heidi started coughing. "I think I need to go and take my medicine," she said, struggling to get to her feet.
"It looks more like you're trying to leave the room to avoid taking your medicine," I quipped.
Heidi sat back down and folded her arms across her chest. "Fine," she said angrily. "Your father ran off for no reason, while I was hospitalized. There was no explanation and no reason, he just left. A few weeks later, I got a packet from a messenger. There were divorce papers inside. I refused to sign them and I refused to even acknowledge them. Your father and I will be married forever. We've always been together and we always will."
"He also sent a letter to each of you. They contained contact information in case you wanted to get in touch with him and a check for each of you. I thought that if I didn't give you the letters, your father wouldn't hear from you and he'd have to come home. I knew that even if he was angry at me he couldn't stay away from his children."
"I can believe that. It almost makes sense except for one fact," I said. "The checks were cashed and deposited into one of your accounts. So basically, you stole their money."
"I'm sorry," whined Heidi. "I'm an old woman. I'm alone. I figured that I might need money in an emergency. If they never knew about the money they'd never miss it."
"How much money were the checks for?" asked Sarah.
"Ten thousand dollars each," said Heidi.
"Ten thousand God damned dollars!" screamed Sasha. She looked at her mother as if she wanted to strangle her.
Kelly walked into the room to hear what all of the screaming was about.
"He left me penniless and alone baby," said Heidi, reaching towards Sasha to calm her down. I just smiled and shook my head and started laughing.
"What's so fucking funny Dad," asked Sasha.
"Your mother just can't seem to stop lying," I said. "Maybe it just slipped her mind."
"What slipped her mind?" hissed Sasha.
"The house," I said casually.
"Get back to the money, Dad," said Sasha. "I could have already gone back to school for my MBA. That money could have made a big assed difference in my life. I could have my fucking supervisor's job right now. But I'm sitting here listening to how my father, who for the past three years I thought was the son of Satan, didn't really abandon me. And that my mother basically screwed me."
"Sorry, Honey," I said. "I loved your mother like there was no other woman in the world. As angry and hurt as I was, I'd never have left her with nothing. Before I left I arranged the sale of the house and left her all of the money."
"Daddy, we already know about that," said Sarah. "Mom told us there was a lot of damage to the house and the mortgage was underwater. After paying off the taxes on it and the realtor; she got less than five thousand dollars and most of that went to take care of her medical bills."
I just shook my head and smiled. "There were no medical bills," I said. "Your mom was out of the hospital and in an assisted care facility because after her treatment, they thought I was too old to do some of the things she needed to have happen on a daily basis. Most of her needs couldn't be done in-home. That too was paid for."
"And she got a little bit more money for the house than she told you," I said.
"Uhm, can we talk about this after dinner," interrupted Kelly.
"Honey, you're going to want to hear this," said Dave. "I've seen the canceled check. How much did you get for the house mom?"
"A little more than four hundred thousand dollars," said Heidi quietly. "But I was gonna..."
"You got how much?" asked Kelly. "Why the hell are you in my house? We decided not to have a child because you've parked your old gray ass in our spare room. We don't charge you rent. You don't help out and we've been waiting on you, hand and fucking foot. Money is really tight for us. I couldn't get a job because we had to have someone here to take care of you and all of this time you've been sitting on a pile of money."
By this time, Kelly was leaning over Heidi menacingly. Sasha and Sarah were right beside her.
"Maybe we should wait till dinner is over to continue this," I said smiling.
A few minutes later, we were all gathered around the table. It looked like a scene from one of those fifties era holiday movies. It was lightly snowing outside and I knew that meant that I'd probably need to leave even earlier than we'd planned to get to the airport. Driving a Mustang in snow was going to be interesting. My Boss 302 had not only, never seen snow, it had never heard of it. Shit, I didn't even drive it in the rain. The fact that the car we'd rented was a v6 meant nothing. It still put out more than three hundred horsepower.
As the eight of us went into the dining room, only three of us weren't pissed. Justin kept talking about how hungry he was and Sam and I weren't used to going this long without kissing each other.
I grabbed her and planted one on her while we walked towards the table.
"You sit at the head of the table, Dad," said Kelly.
I sat down at the table and suddenly there was a problem. Both Sam and Heidi were trying to sit down in the seat to my left.
"Mom, why don't you sit on the other side?" said Kelly who clearly didn't want any problems at her table. "You'll both be right next to dad."
"The left side is the side with the heart line," snapped Heidi. "I should get to sit there because I'm the woman he loved for most of his life. She's just some bimbo he knocked up. As soon as he takes care of her financially, she'll hit the high schools and find someone her own age."
"I always sit next to him and I will for as long as we live," said Sam quietly. "It seems funny that only a few minutes ago you were coughing and barely able to stand, but you're standing here wrestling with me over a chair." Everyone looked at Heidi, who again just smiled and started coughing heavily.
"I guess I don't know my own strength," she said. She hobbled around to the other side of the table. She leaned against the table as if she could barely hold herself up. She got to her place and looked at me.
"Can you help me to my seat, sweetheart?" she asked. Sam grumbled at Heidi calling me sweetheart.
"Sure," I said pointing at the chair beside me. "There's your seat"
"Really, Mother," sighed Sasha. "I know you think we're stupid, but we're not THAT stupid."
"Here, Mom," said David. He walked over to her and pretended to hand her something. Everyone looked at him strangely.
"I had to give her the Oscar she earned for that performance," he laughed.
Everyone sat down. Sam sat on my left, holding my hand as always. Heidi sat on my right. Sarah was next to Sam with Sasha right beside her. David was at the other end of the table with his wife, Kelly, on his left. Justin sat beside Kelly, directly across from Sarah with Heidi on his left. As I looked around the table I shook my head.
"What's wrong Dad?" asked Kelly.
"We'll talk about it later," I said. In my head was the thought that every man there had the woman he loved to his left; poor Sarah.
"Okay folks," I said. "Stand up." Everyone stood except for Heidi who struggled to get to her feet. Sasha rolled her eyes at her mother's antics. I asked God to bless the table and most of the people around it and I thanked him for bringing most of us back together. I gave thanks to Dave for providing all of the food we were about to eat and bringing us all back together. I gave thanks for Kelly for preparing the food and making their home a comfortable place for us to get together. But also, for making my son happy and being like another daughter to me too. I gave thanks to both of my daughters for being the beautiful young women they were and for allowing me back into their hearts and lives. I hinted to Sasha that she needed to get her ass in gear and get me a God damned grandchild.
"Dad, Sarah is the one who's married," she laughed. I snorted and continued.
Finally, I gave thanks for Sam, the love of my life, for filling my life and my heart with love and letting me know that I still had the capacity for love in my life. Then I sat down.
"What about Justin, Daddy?" asked Sarah. "I never got the chance to tell you that we're married." I just rolled my eyes and snorted. Justin's face fell. Sarah didn't say anything but she looked at me and then back to Justin.
"What about me, Honey?" asked Heidi. Kelly put her head down and shook it. I think everyone knew what was coming.
I turned to my ex and smiled. "Heidi, you make me thankful that I got the fuck out of Michigan and found a better life. You also make me thankful that God, in his wisdom, didn't give us three legs. Because if he did, and I only needed two legs to walk, then my third foot would be so far up your ass that every time you opened your mouth, you'd smell my toes."
The bitch was bullet proof though. She came right back and it cost her. "As I recall it," she began. "For most of our lives, I thought you did have three legs. And that third one usually was pretty far up inside of me. And yep, a lot of times, it did get pretty far up my ass. But most of the time, it was all the way up my pussy and into my womb. We used to fuck like..."