Chapter 1

I wanted to make something of my life. I figured I would go into the armed services and get credits so I could get onto the G. I. bill when I got out. I knew I needed an education. One problem ... I had a girl friend, Connie Kline, and she objected strongly. We were in love weren't we ... and needed to be together?

"I know sweetheart, but I want to go on to college. I don't have any money to do that. I have no family now that my mom has died. I have finished high school and I do have good marks."

"But I love you, Rich, and I can't live without you. You can't just go off and leave me. Let me ask my parents if they will help."

I shook my head, knowing how they felt about me dating their daughter. Especially her mother, Louise, thought I didn't have any prospects at all, and I wasn't nearly good enough for Connie, her daughter. They had made that plain enough to me privately, just not in front of Connie.

She did ask, but she was shot down in no uncertain terms. "Connie, Rich Rumford doesn't even have a home. He has been living with a friend of his father's who took pity on his mother while she was sick. We won't say he is trash, but there is no way he can go anywhere. He'll be working at minimum wage the rest of his life."

Connie gave argument, but to no avail. The thing is that I could see their point. I didn't want to leave Connie either, but if we were to have a life, I needed to get an education and the armed services were the only way I could see to get one. I signed up and had two weeks to put my affairs in order.

I will say Sam and Louise Kline did let us spend time together. They knew we were young, that if I left now for an extended length of time, the odds were we would be too immature to handle a long distance relationship for long. They even let me spend time in her room when they were out for the evening, knowing Connie had been on the pill for at least three years. Her mother had made sure that Connie was well prepared to prevent a pregnancy.

Connie was young looking and I suppose emotionally immature as well, but I didn't know it at the time. She had a woman's body that was soft, cuddly, maybe with a few extra ounces of baby fat. She had beautiful dark brown hair, cut short. She had a sizable bosom, was meaty in the thighs, and was a very enjoyable person to be next to.

We swore undying love to each other as I made arrangements to leave for the induction center. Her father, whom I kind of liked and I would have gotten along with under different circumstances, shook my hand when I left. Not her mother, though.

The army was rough for me at first, but I took it without a whimper. I had volunteered hadn't I? I wrote Connie every night if I had time, and mail call would always produce a letter for me. One stretch after I had been in the service ten weeks, there was a three-day span when there wasn't a letter for me.

I was pulled out of formation and directed to make a call to Connie Kline and it was urgent. "Rich, I'm pregnant. Please get out of the army and come home and marry me?"

This threw me for a loop. "I can't do it at this time. What happened? I thought it was safe to have sex without you getting knocked up."

"Rich, I went off the pill when you told me you were thinking of going into the army. I wanted your baby and I planned for you to get me pregnant. Just tell the army you can't stay."

We hadn't discussed the possibility of her becoming pregnant. "Connie, it doesn't work that way. I signed up, which is a contract that I can't break. It is impossible to get out." This was a terrible mess and there wasn't anything I could do about it. "Have you told your parents?"

"I had to. I am beginning to get fat and have been throwing up every morning. "Please, can't you come home?"

"After basic I'll have a few days off. I'll come home then and we can get married. I'll have to come right back. We won't even have time for a honeymoon."

"Rich, it isn't fair. They can't do this to you."

"Yes they can and I can't do anything about it. Connie why didn't you ask me about this before you went off the pill?"

"I didn't know you can't get out once you get in. It's just a job isn't it?"

"It is more than that. I can get a few days in six weeks. Is your father there?"

"Yes."

"Let me speak to him, please." Connie was sobbing and I heard her tell her father I wouldn't come home. I explained how it was when he came on the line. I declared it wasn't because I wouldn't come home, it was because I couldn't. He understood. He didn't have very much to say about our situation. I could hear Connie's mother screaming orders and comments in the background.

"Connie, I'll call you back this evening. I have to get back to my unit. I want to talk to the chaplain before I call you and see what my options are. I'll call you this evening. I love you." Connie hung up. I realized she had not professed any love for me before the phone clicked. What a mess!

I was in a funk the rest of the day. I found out I had to wait until after basic training was over before I could make Connie my wife. Needless to say things were strained between us and I didn't hear "I love you" too many times in the following weeks. It was hard not to blame Connie, but damn it, she had to take some blame for the situation. She should take it all, but I didn't go there.

I threw myself into the training, just to keep my mind off what was going on at home. I did make it home at the completion of basic training. I had eleven days to get married and to assure my new bride I still loved her. It was difficult with her mother blaming me for everything. I finally asked the person I had stayed with after my mother's death if I could use my old room for a few days. He welcomed both me and my bride.

Connie was my dependent now and I told her she would be receiving an allotment as my wife. She wasn't happy with how much she would be getting so I said I would send as much of my pay as I could every month.

Her personality had changed too. Before I decided to make the army my career, she had been happy and bubbly. Now it seemed as if all she did was whine. She saw her friends and some were off to college or had jobs. Their lives were much better than Connie's could ever be and she envied them their freedom. This made us argue even more. "Connie, I'll be home for good in twenty more months. Four months of my hitch have gone by already."

"But I'm fat and getting fatter." Sometimes I didn't feel sorry for her. I felt sorry for myself. My life had never been a happy one, but I had hopes that someday it would be. As they say, hope springs eternal.

When I returned to the service I had little hope remaining for a better or happier life. At least I didn't have to listen to her mother berate me any longer. Even Connie's father got sick of listening to his wife.

"Shut to hell up, Louise. You are making a bad situation worse." I had a feeling Connie would become more like her mother. I hadn't realized this when I was just dating her. My eyes were open now. I began to think I might make the service my career.

The United States was in a period of peace. Our troops were deployed all over the world. When I had a chance, I transferred to the engineers and shortly thereafter I had orders for Germany. I was going to be there for a year at least. Connie was due to birth our baby in two months and I managed another three days at home before leaving. It wasn't a happy time.

Connie was uncomfortable and it seemed all she did was whine or cry. It was planned that eventually she and the baby would join me in Germany. I was confident that if I had her with me we would fall in love like we were before she got pregnant.

Connie birthed a beautiful baby girl and we named her Corrine. I went about exploring what it would take to bring both to Germany to live with me. I was surprised that she seemed cool to the idea now, but I didn't make too much of it. It would take a while to organize and it would be costly.

I did get a letter once a week and at least once a month a snapshot of Corrine. For Christmas she sent me a video tape of her and Corrine. I wore it out watching my wife and child. That lasted until the baby was two months old, and by then I had to beg to see a picture so I could track Corrine as she developed.

I received a letter in the middle of January that her father and mother were divorcing. I called Connie for details. "Rich, you know Mom is loud and opinionated. Dad has always let her do and say anything she wanted to. For some reason he says he can't live with her any longer and has moved out of the house. Mom told him good riddance and has filed for a divorce. She is going to take him for all she can. He now lives in a cheap one bedroom apartment."

"You didn't see this coming?"

"Not at all. Dad has never said too much, just going to work every day and coming home at night. He is an accountant as you know. He has given Mom a good comfortable life, but she never has been too thrilled with the way he provided for her. I don't believe they were particularly happy. Mom expected a lot and she wasn't too terribly thankful. Dad for a long time went on doing his duty, but being an accountant isn't too exciting, I guess. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis for him."

"So you and your mom must be living in the house. Do you see your dad at all?"

"Sometimes I leave Corrine with him when Mom and I go out in the evening."

"You go out in the evening? I didn't know that."

"Of course I do. You don't expect me to stay home and care for the baby all of the time do you?"

"I never gave it any thought. I suppose I thought you must. Do you ever go out alone?"

"I go out once a week with some of our old classmates for dinner and sometimes for a drink. You aren't here, and I have to have some fun." Connie was getting a little belligerent. Was it from guilt? I dropped the subject and finally said goodbye. At least Connie wasn't whining any longer, but then I didn't feel as close to her as I did before either.

Two months later the battalion received orders to go out to one of the former USSR states to build an airport for our government. I couldn't pronounce the name of the country, but it ended in "stan." It involved a treaty that would benefit both governments. I had ten days stateside, and I decided to surprise my wife. I would finally get to see my child. She would be six months old now.

I reached town when it was just a little late for the evening meal. I stopped into a small restaurant. My father-in-law was sitting in a booth. I was surprised and he was too when I slid into the seat across from him. "Hi Sam, long time."

"By God, it's Rich. What are you doing here? I didn't know you were coming home. Are you out of the service?"

"No, not yet. I have a few months more to go. I'm being transferred and will be gone until my stint is up."

"How did you get home?"

"I had a chance to grab a seat on an Air Force transport. I have seven days before I have to report back in Germany. I hear you are living by yourself now."

"I am. I found out Louise had a long-term friend so I moved out. She doesn't like it and she isn't getting as much from me as she expected. I'm living poor, but I don't really have to. Keep that under your hat. I took two years to set it up as I knew when I left her she would go after more than her share of the assets. I have made sure some of them are where she can't get her cheating hands on them. She will get the house, though."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I'm fine and healthier than I have been for several years. I'm a lot happier too."

"Is Connie home? I want to see my baby."

"I don't think so. Not tonight anyway, because Louise usually watches Corrine on Wednesdays. Connie will be out with friends tonight. It is Louise's night to howl on Thursday, and both go out together on Friday and I take care of the baby."

"Any idea where I can find Connie?"

Sam was silent and then said, "Let's see; right now she would be having drinks at The Pub. She has a card that says she is old enough to drink."

"Does she drink with anyone special or just hang out with a group?"

Sam peered across at me. "Maybe special to her, but not to you. Do you remember a Matt Forbes? I think he must be a couple years older than Connie. His father is owner of Forbes Ford."

"I remember him slightly. What time will Connie be coming home?"

"Seven."

"Seven? It is almost seven now."

"Seven tomorrow morning. She sleeps over." He paused before going on. "Rich, I hate that I have to be the one to tell you this. How Connie has been behaving is one of the reasons I moved out on my wife. Louise condones this and in fact I believe she encourages it."

I didn't say anything because I was thinking. It came to me that this was the reason Connie hadn't wanted to move to Germany and be with me. Well I'd work through this the same way I always did with the disappointments that came into my life. "Do you have a spare bed I can sleep in tonight?"

"I have a big soft one on a couch in front of the TV. It's yours to use if you want. You're not going to confront Connie tonight are you?"

"No. Do you still speak to Louise? What I mean ... I thought I would like to have you with me when I meet Connie. She evidently has breakfast at home with Corrine. Right?"

"You got it. I'll call in and leave a message that I won't be in to work tomorrow."

"Thanks Sam, I appreciate it."

We didn't talk about my wife ... or his for that matter. He asked me about what it was like being in the service. He was interested in how I was trained. "I don't even know what you do."

"I'm a heavy equipment operator in an engineer battalion. I can run any big earthmover or grader. I am qualified to operate a Euclid belly dump, although I don't care for it much."

"What's a belly dump?"

"It's a machine to move dirt. If you have land with high spots and low spots it is the fastest way to move dirt from one place to another. It has a tractor to pull the machine. It is like a big scoop and dumper that loads material and dumps it wherever you want it. It saves picking it up and loading it with a shovel onto a truck and then going some place to dump the truck. It is pretty much automatic and saves a lot of time."

"Sounds like you're having fun."

I grinned, "Not always. We'll be working in 100 degree heat and it is dusty as hell. Sometime if you go by a construction sight somewhere they are building a road, stop and watch. It is amazing."

"Any future for you in civilian life in what you are learning in the service?"

"I hope so. There are all kinds of applications. Strip mining uses the same equipment. Actually any large construction operation utilizes all the ones I am familiar with. I'm doing more to look to the future too. I'm taking classes in business management from a correspondence school. I study when I'm not working."

"You don't spend time in a bar?"

"No. There are hundreds of soldiers that have acquired the habit, but I'm not one of them. As long as they can make formation in the morning they are happy. I thought for awhile I might make the service a career, but I have changed my mind."

"You seem pretty focused to me."

"I suppose I am. I have had a poor start in life. If it is going to change, then it is me who has to make the change. I know Connie is your daughter, but she has held me back some. I'll face that in the morning. I'll be arranging for an attorney as soon as possible."

Sam understood. "I hate the thought of a divorce, but when that is the only option you should do it as soon as possible. I should have divorced Louise years ago, and I kept thinking our marriage would get better. I thought she would change, but she never did. When I realized this, I took the steps. I have three months to go and then I'm a free man."

"It takes six months to get a divorce?"

"In your circumstances you might try to have the divorce moved up. I would say you had grounds."

"Do you know any divorce lawyers?"

"Try to get Sarah Hazelton, whom I know well. She is the best in town. She was tied up when I needed an attorney, but she may be free now. Use my name. It may help."

"Sam, why are you helping me? This might get nasty."

"Hey, I love my daughter, but she is going to have to learn not to listen to Louise. She never should have gotten pregnant for the reason she did. A baby should be planned. I feel you have been the victim here. Rich, I promise I will take care of the baby no matter what Connie does or doesn't do."

"Thanks Sam. Maybe some day I can give you a hand."

I did sleep and Sam woke me up to take a shower and shave. We got into Sam's car and drove to his former home. He produced a key and we walked into the kitchen. Sam went about putting coffee on. It was half past six when Louise came down the stairs.

She spotted him first. "What are you doing here, Sam?" He just indicated with his head to me sitting off to one side. Louise stared at me. She didn't say anything. I knew she was thinking furiously, though. "Why'd you bring him here?"

"I could have sent him over to Matt Forbes' house last night. I figured it would be better to tackle it this morning."

"Let me call Connie. She should know what to expect."

"No, you sit. The only reason you want to call her is to make sure she takes a shower before facing her husband. I'll pour coffee, and you had better sit down and drink it."

"It's my house. I'll call anyone I want to."

"It isn't yours yet. Three months more and I won't set foot in it. Sit." My coffee cup was empty so I got up to pour coffee. Louise looked me over. She saw some changes in my physique. I had been tall, but ultra thin. Now though, I had bulked up and was tan as an Indian. I had the regulation haircut and I suppose I was a little intimidating. So be it.

I set a cup of coffee before Louise and she glared at me. "There you go, Mother Kline. Sam does make good coffee. Better than what I am used to. You have been well, I hope. Connie wrote me that you two were getting divorced. That's sad. Ordinarily I don't believe in divorce, but sometimes it is for the best. When Connie arrives, would you go with Sam and he will buy you breakfast?"

"I'll stay. You have no right to tell me what to do."

"No, I guess I don't. I'll ask Connie to tell you. She and I need some alone time. I need her to show me my daughter. Corrine is six months old and I haven't met her yet."

"I can show her to you."

"No, I think it is up to the mother to show their baby to the father. We'll wait." We sat quietly, just glancing at the clock. It was five after seven when we heard a car stop in the street out front. I watched through the kitchen window as the couple in the car kissed. Connie got out laughing and shook her breasts at the driver. This was something she used to do with me, so her habits hadn't changed that much.

Connie had slimmed down since I saw her last. She was still more than well endowed with breasts, but she must have worked hard to get rid of the extra pounds she had put on while carrying the baby. I could tell her hips and legs had shrunk as well.

She came in, saw her father and said before entering the kitchen, "Dad, wait ten minutes and then pour me coffee. I have to take a shower." She looked in and saw her mother sitting at the table with a scared look on her face. She glanced at her father who had an amused look on his. Then she realized there was someone else present and she faced my way.

"Good morning, sweetheart. It has been months since I saw you last. You're looking lovely today. Do you have a kiss for your husband? I saw someone get one a few minutes ago. Do you have any left?"

A look of horror crossed her features. "Rich. Oh my God, you're supposed to be in Germany."

"I'm on vacation, Connie, and I was able to catch a flight home to see my wife and baby. I wanted to surprise you, but I seem to be the one who got surprised. Send your parents off to breakfast and we'll talk."

I could see Connie had matured in the last few months, just as I had. "Mom, Dad, do as Rich says. He and I do have to talk and we might as well get it over with." We waited for Louise and Sam to leave. Louise wanted a minute to talk to Connie, but was just waved off.

Connie poured coffee. I watched her. The last time I had seen her, she was seven months pregnant. Her breasts were fuller after having the baby, but she was prettier than I remembered. She was bordering on being beautiful.

"Rich, I'm sorry you had to see me kiss Matt. I have to tell you I have been kissing him a lot lately. More than kissing too. It is so difficult to deal with things when your husband is so far away.

"Dad thinks I am a slut and Mom keeps telling me I deserve to have a better life than being married to you. My big mistake was having a baby when I did and I went about it the wrong way by thinking it would keep you with me. But then I love Corrine more than anything. I was going to tell you about Matt and me the first time I saw you.

"I did think I would have time to be clean when I met you and I'm sorry I'm not. To be honest, I have just returned from a night of wonderful sex with someone I have come to love. It has happened and I can't change how I feel about Matt. If I hadn't got pregnant we never would have married and I would be free to follow my heart."

"You swore your heart was mine when we married. You made a vow to love me forever and be faithful."

"I admit I broke all of that and have been unfaithful. Face it, Rich I'm sorry, but there is nothing I can do about it."

"Connie, I haven't seen our baby yet. Tell me if Corrine is going to be a part of my life."

"No, she is not."

I stared at her not believing what I was hearing. I was being rejected out of hand. I was supporting both Connie and Corrine with nothing to show for it. I put it to her. "I get nothing for what I'm having taken out of my pay every month then?"

"Rich, I need to live and the baby needs stuff. Can't we continue as we are for awhile longer? It hasn't hurt you. You don't have to spend much money while you are in the service."

"In other words I'm screwed over no matter what I do? I have a wife who is fucking some well-to-do bastard who goes around seducing married women. I have a kid that I wasn't prepared for and I have to support you both. I have never thought of revenge, but it would seem called for in this instance."

"What do you mean?"

"I can go into court and charge you with adultery. That should take care of you. I doubt I can get custody of my child, but her mother will always be known as a slut. I think I can get witnesses to the fact that you are sleeping over in another man's house while I am off protecting my country. I wonder if when the story gets out, how many Fords Forbes will lose sales on."

"You wouldn't?"

"Try me."

"Why."

"Connie, look at me. My life has been shitty so far. I lost both of my parents at an early age, but I continued on in my studies. Finally I find someone who thinks she loves me and whom I love dearly. I put in place a plan to give her everything she wants out of life, but she goes and screws it all up because she is too impatient and tries to manipulate the system.

"When she finds she can't do that, she whines about it and goes out and spreads her legs, never thinking about the one who loved her. Does that about sum it up?" Connie was looking guilty and defiant at the same time.

"You know, I see this all the time with the soldiers I work with. They all handle it differently. Some of them go home and kill the boy friend. Others come home and kill their wife and sometimes their kids as well. I know of two soldiers who took themselves out, because they hurt that badly.

"I wouldn't do any of those things, but I might name you and your adulterous lover for what you are. I pity Forbes because he was enticed into your clutches the same way I was. I'm paying for loving you and he will too. He just doesn't know how much yet."

"Rich, I don't know you when you are like this. I can understand that you are bitter, but I will do everything in my power to stop you from blackening my name ... Matt's name too. Remember that."

"Okay, we know about where we stand. I'm going to see a lawyer this afternoon. You can expect divorce papers shortly. One of my vacation days is most gone already. May I see my daughter? I can hear her fussing."

"No you can't. I'm going to prevent you from seeing her if I can. Why don't you leave and don't come back. The only time I want to see you, is if we have to meet in divorce court."

"I guess that is it for us. Connie, I wish I had never met you. You are a beautiful person outside, even if you are rotten inside." I walked out the door. Sam and Louise were just pulling in.

Louise jumped out of her car as Sam got into the one he was driving as she headed into the house. "How did it go, Rich?"

"I'm going for a divorce, Sam. That makes me think I'm about to get screwed again. Point me to that law office if you will."

Sam knew this Sarah Hazelton. She was a pleasant faced woman of fifty-five, Sam's age. He and she had gone together at one time. "Sarah, my daughter is married to Rich Rumford here. They have been married short of a year. Rich joined the military and eventually planned to get married.

"Two months after Rich went into the service. Connie came to us and told us Rich needed to marry her as she was pregnant. He came home as soon a he could to get things settled. He wasn't too thrilled with the idea, but Louise and I warned him that he had better. We found out Connie had gotten pregnant on purpose so Rich would marry her, thinking this would get him out of the army.

"Of course things don't work that way as his duty was to the military, not to some person who wanted him home. Louise and I practically forced him into marrying her. She has had the baby, a cute little girl. Rich hasn't even seen her. This is the first time he has been home since she was born, and now Connie won't let him see her. She says she will prevent him from ever seeing the baby.

"There is more. Connie has been going out and she is screwing around with another man. Louise and I take care of the baby when she stays over at the man's house.

"Additionally, all of the time since Rich was married he has been sending Connie an allotment as his wife, and as soon as the baby was born, she got support for the child. He surprised her by coming home last night and has found out what his wife is. He confronted her this morning. He needs a divorce."

"Sam, why are you so involved?"

"Because, Sarah, Connie is beginning to act just like her mother and God forbid Rich has to go through what I have had to."

"Okay Sam, I don't usually let anyone get involved except the principal who is seeking the divorce. Why don't you go out and sit in the waiting room. I'll be asking Rich questions and that will let me decide how to proceed." It took me almost two hours to repeat what Sam had told Sarah. She asked questions, and as soon as I answered one, she asked another.

I even repeated, word for word the best I could, what I had said to Connie this morning. I was being interrogated, but when she finished I read on her face that Sarah had something in mind to lighten my burden.

"Sam, come back in for a moment. Tell me just what Louise said to Rich when he came home just before the two had the marriage ceremony."

"Louise threatened to have him locked up and kept there so he couldn't get back to his base on time. Why does this make any difference?"

"How about if the marriage was dissolved entirely? How would you feel about that? But then it might be a little difficult for Connie, having a child and never having been married."

"How can that be? I was at the wedding."

"I'm talking annulment. First Connie fraudulently got Rich to marry her by getting pregnant on purpose without his consent. He knew this would destroy his future so he would have avoided making her pregnant. Louise, and maybe you, threatened him if he didn't marry her. Two of the conditions allowed to grant an annulment are fraud and force. I think this will fly, but if it doesn't then we can still go for a divorce."

"Is that possible?"

"Anything is possible. Rich still might have to pay child support. That would be up to the judge who acts on the petition. He won't have to pay alimony or treat Connie as a dependent. Annulments are most usually retroactive so Rich would be free of her. As far as the baby is concerned, he doesn't have any great desire to father her, but is willing do his duty if it is required.

"Rich, come back here tomorrow afternoon. I'll have all of the paperwork ready for your signature. That will be about all you will have to do, as I can do the rest through depositions. I might have to send you some paperwork for your signature, but we will know by then if we will be successful. Go somewhere and relax. Hell, go get drunk if you want to."

I laughed, "I don't drink. Actually I won't be of legal age for another year and half."

"Oh, to be that young again." Sarah waved us out.

When we arrived back at Sam's apartment, a man stepped out of a car that was parked at the curb. "Richard Rumford, do you currently reside in Germany while serving in the military?"

"I do." I knew what was coming. Connie had solidified her intent to keep me away from Corrine. This was a restraining order warning me that I couldn't go anywhere near Connie and especially have nothing to do with an infant, named Corrine Rumford. I accepted the order and went into the apartment. "What are you going to do about that?"

"Nothing. I am going to call Sarah though, to inform her of this. I had no intention of pushing to see Corrine. She may soon be out of my life anyway. This order is for six months. When I get out of the service in another year, I don't plan on settling here."

"Rich, I want to keep in touch with you so let me know where you land. I may just move to the same place. Louise will be out of my life and I assume Connie won't want me around. She might even hate me, I don't know. She did you wrong and even if she is my daughter I can't live with something like that."

"Thanks, Sam, I appreciate you befriending me."

"I'm thanking you as well. I need a friend as much as you do. I'm in an unexciting job. My marriage has gone south after twenty-five years. I'm getting on toward fifty-five, which sucks. I haven't been happy at all since I found out that Louise was stepping out on me and has been for several years.

"The thing is I feel better right now than I did a year ago. I finally got me some balls and dumped her so that has perked me up. I'm probably better off than you. You are stuck in the military and can't see to things when they need it."

"Whoa, Sam, I wanted the military for a reason and it is paying off. I like what I'm doing and I am studying all the time. When I get out, I will have completed some of my associate's degree in business management. I think I can complete it when I get back to the States. Connie has been a problem, but you are helping me get through that. I'm doing okay, and as I say, I needed a friend, and that's what you are."

"Where are you locating when you get released?"

"Not sure yet. One of the truck drivers in my battalion is from somewhere in the Northwest United States, this side of the Tetons. Her family owns a construction company, building roads, etc. From what I gather their equipment isn't as big as what I have been using, but I could downsize if need be."

"How come he is in the army if his family is involved in construction?"

"I don't know. Besides, the driver isn't a he. I really know nothing about her. I think she mentioned she has two kids. She has their pictures taped to the dashboard of her vehicle. She is a tough one. You ought to hear her when some guy comes onto her. I sometimes draw her for transport and I don't see her other than that."

"Find out more about her family would you? Maybe they need an accountant. Connie isn't going to be happy with me for siding with you, and Louise is out of my life."

"I will if she is posted to the same place I am. Let's get some sleep. Divorcing an unfaithful wife is tiring."

"You got that right."

My appointment with Sarah was in the afternoon. She called Sam's apartment at nine as we were just leaving for a late breakfast. She wanted to talk to me. "Rich, I contacted the court and they have a clerk available to take your deposition. This will make everything legal and I believe I have drawn a judge who is fair. I think the annulment will go through without too big a hassle.

"Anyway, there will be no problem with your returning to your battalion in Germany. Can you be at the courthouse at eleven this morning?"

"Yes, I can. I'll see you there." Sam said he would go along and back me up if he was needed. It turned out to be a good move, because he did have to answer a question about what was said when I was coerced into marrying Connie.

"Rich, you are free to go back to your unit at anytime. Everything is in my hands and I have all the facts I need."

"Good, my only friend here is Sam and we have made some plans to get together when I am released from the service. The people who I stayed with after my parents died have moved from town so I won't be seeing them. With the restraining order in place, I'd just as soon leave now so I won't inadvertently go against it. Better to leave town."

"Wise move."

When we reached his apartment, I made sure Sam had my address so he could write to me. I may have wanted a divorce, but that didn't mean I wasn't still interested in both Connie and Corrine. In the back of my mind if I had seen my daughter, I might have made different choices concerning her. I also knew I would be far away and there wasn't much I could do until I got out of the military. It was better to leave it for a later date.

I looked at my hand and realized that I still wore my wedding ring. I borrowed a side cutter from Sam's tool box and after removing the ring I cut a piece out of it. I threw the little section away. Never again would it be a full circle. I put the broken ring into an envelope with Connie's address on it and dropped it into the mail box.

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Story tagged with:
Romantic / Heterosexual /