What can I say? I was blindsided. My wife Maggie had just laid a big bombshell on me ... make that two big bombshells on me.
"Mac, we need to talk." She said as I came in from work. She was still dressed in her business suit from where she worked as an accountant. I was dressed in my coveralls from where I worked, overseeing my chocolate business.
I'm Angus 'Mac' MacDougall, and my wife is Margaret Sullivan-MacDougall. Yes, she hyphenates her last name. Pretty pretentious, if you ask me. But whatever. She goes by Maggie. I'm of Scottish descent, and she's of Irish descent. Of course, that should have been my first clue that we weren't really compatible, but shit! I was in love with her golden blonde hair and green eyes and rockin' body at first sight!
We'd met ten years earlier when I'd just gotten out of the Army and we started college together. She was 18, and I was 22. I was using the G.I. Bill to get a culinary degree, and she was going for, of course, the aforementioned Accounting degree. For some odd reason, we hit it off.
It was probably that she was a chocolate connoisseur, and I wanted to make chocolate candy and cookies and basically anything chocolate, come to think of it. My Mom had a thing for chocolate, and so did a lot of women. It was a seller's market, with chocolate always in high demand.
While most businesses do most of their sales at Christmas time, chocolateers can make bank all year 'round. Christmas, of course, but also Valentine's Day, Easter, Independence Day, etc. et al. Valentine's Day is in a dead heat with Christmas for chocolate demand, and my little chocolate shop/factory does better business at Valentines than Christmas, most years.
Oh, and I HATE my first name. Angus. Seriously, mom? You HAD to go and name me fuckin' Angus?! I introduce myself as Mac to everyone. NOBODY calls me Angus, not even my wife. Ok, Mom and Dad call me Angus, but ONLY when they're pissed off at me. Every other time, I'm Mac.
So Maggie had just told me that we needed to talk. I tensed up immediately, since EVERY GUY ON EARTH knows what those four words mean when strung together in a sentence. We know it and fear it. "We need to talk" has been the forerunner of break-ups and Divorces since the dawn of time.
So it was with a sense of impending doom that I sat down at he table and looked at her. I knew my world was about to come crumbling down around me. 10 years together. 8 of those happily married. Well, I had been happily married. I had believed the same of Maggie. I flashed through the possible reasons for what she was about to say.
Sex? No way! We had sex on a regular basis, usually 4 or 5 times a week, and marathon sessions at that! I NEVER failed to get her off multiple earthshattering times. We had a great sex life!
Money? Not likely. I was pulling down 6 figures a year net, close to a quarter mill after everything was settled with overhead, payroll for my employees, taxes, etcetera. We were doing very well here. Our combined income was close to $375K a year. We were NOT hurting.
Lack of Love? Not on my part. I loved her with all my heart and soul! Had she fallen out of love with me somewhere along the way? Hell, we'd just been talking about starting a family a week ago!
She interrupted my reverie by pushing the dreaded manila envelope across the kitchen table to me as I sat down.
"Maggie, please tell me this isn't what I think it is." I looked at her, and her face was a studied mask that betrayed nothing.
"I'm sorry, Mac." She said softly. "I should have talked to you before, but I want a divorce."
"Why?" I asked with far more calm in my voice than I was feeling at that moment.
"It's complicated." She hedged, looking away.
"You met someone else." I must have been in shock, since I still hadn't flown into a rage.
"Yes." She said even more softly, barely whispering.
"How long?" I asked. God, what was wrong with me?! I should have been standing and seething, pacing back and forth as I called her everything but a Child of God. I should have been threatening the Asshole for whom she was trading me in! I should have felt something other than total numbness!
"8 months." She said.
I closed my eyes. "8 months." I repeated. "You've been cheating on me for 8 fuckin' months, and the first I hear about it is that you want a Divorce." I shrugged. "I suppose you're going to take me to the cleaners in court. Since Alienation of Affection isn't looked kindly upon here in California, I'm left with very little recourse, here."
"No, Mac." She said as she shook her head slowly. "Your business is yours. Not mine. The house is mine by inheritance from my grandparents, but I will give you a few days to vacate. After you've found your own place, of course. I'll be seeking marginal alimony for a while, until I remarry. Nothing bank breaking, though.
I sighed. "Do I know him?" I asked at length.
"If you harm him in any way, you'll end up in jail." She said unnecessarily. Not that I didn't want to fuck him up, but I didn't want to lose my business, either.
"I know that. I think I have a right to know who's been horning me for the past 8 months, though." I shrugged.
"Reginald Pennington." She said, holding her head up straight. Son of a bitch! That, friends, was bombshell #2. I HATED him already, even before this.
Ok, now I was fuckin' angry! I closed my eyes and took deep breaths to calm myself. Reginald FUCKHEAD Pennington. Blonde, blue eyed, mega-rich from Old Money, Hitler's ideal for the "master race", you name it. Oh, and ultra-snobby with a racist bigoted streak a mile wide, too.
I had warned Maggie about him after we had dinner with him to discuss some of the charities we were all involved with at the time. She'd laughed off my warning and told me he was harmless. Yeah, right! Harmless like a fuckin' rattlesnake!
We'd met him at a charity event in our community, and even then I didn't like the way he'd been looking at Maggie. He looked at me with disdain, and looked at her with pure lust in his eyes.
My anger barely under control, I finally managed to look Maggie in the eyes again. "Well, I guess there isn't much I can do about it, then." I shrugged as nonchalantly as I could.
"I wish it hadn't come to this, Mac." She smiled sadly, which I knew was an act. She was just trying to "ease" my pain. I saw through it for what it really was, though.
"That's a lie, Mags." I said evenly. My brain was now working on a plan. "But whatever. I'm not going to contest the divorce, as long as it is what you say it is. I'll have my lawyer go over the papers with me before I sign them, you know."
She nodded. "I wouldn't expect anything less, Mac. Just so you know, it wasn't anything you did or didn't do. Reginald and I just clicked on a soul level. I really do love you, but I'm in love with him. I'm really sorry it has to be this way, Mac."
What a load of bullshit! She was "in love" with his money. His family is worth billions. The night of the charity ball we'd attended, he'd danced too close to Maggie, and as they separated, I noticed him adjusting himself after she was coming back to our table. I knew for a fact that he didn't have enough to satisfy her in bed. I almost missed the fact that he had a hard-on under his tight slacks until he adjusted it. I had to, as I did then, suppress a laugh at the fact that at least cock-wise, Maggie was trading way down from my 7 1/2 inch Beast with the cut head and the 2 1/2 inch width.
But since I didn't want to rock the boat quite yet, I just said "I'm sorry too."
Well, after that little talk, she handed me the manila envelope. "You'll be officially served in the morning, Mac. I'll meet you with my lawyer at Tim's office. This is just a preview of what I want from the settlement." She's referring to Tim Grayson, my best bud since grade school, and my lawyer in all things since I started MacDougall's Chocolate Factory.
"You know what? Get rid of the alimony, and you have a done deal. Reggie is rich. You don't need my money, do you?" I knew it was a longshot, but shit! She owed me that at the very least!
She seemed to think about it. Hell, if she went for it, I might not even go through with the plan that had already semi-formed in my head.
"No, Mac. I need something from all of this. After all, I did waste 10 years of my life with you." Oh HELL NO! That statement right there, that our entire marriage, indeed our entire time together while dating and being engaged, had just been a waste of her time, galvanized me. I looked at the proposed alimony, and raised one eyebrow. She wanted $2200 a month in alimony for two years, or until she remarried, whichever came first. That was about half of what I made per month after overhead and paying my workers. I could live on it, and I had more than enough saved in my personal savings account.
I pretended to think about it. "Fine. I guess that it will be worth it in the end." I shrugged finally. "I'm going to pack now. I'm leaving tonight."
And I did. I packed my suitcase and suit bag with my clothes, toiletries, and all that shit. I also packed my extensive music CD collection that included everything from Marty Robbins to Metallica to Mozart. Yeah, it encompassed all those genres. Hell, I even had some Sir Mixalot in there just for shits and grins.
I loaded it all into Bullitt, my 1968 Mustang Fastback 390 GT, and left out of there. I was gone in less than an hour, and calling Kat on my cellphone as soon as I was on the road.
"Hey, Mac. What's up?" Kat answered on the second ring.
.... There is more of this story ...