Author's Note: This is a pretty simple betrayal and recovery story. However it's unique for me since this will be the first time I've attempted to write a graphically explicit sexual encounter. It's also the first time I've ever used one of the ladies found here on Literotica as one of the main characters. My thanks to Debbie for her very candid replies, they enabled me to create an authentic character with very real responses.
Thanks to dirty_debbie, findingmyvoice, Mostera1, and outofshadows for their beta reading and input. Also a special thanks to findingmyvoice for her editing. All of them helped this story turn out to be a hell of a lot better than when I first wrote it!
Birds flying low, you know how I feel.
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel.
Reeds driftin' by, and you know how I feel.
Feeling Good – written by Anthony Newly and Leslie Bricusse
Performed by Nina Simone' (1965) and various others including Joe Bonamassa
A strategy, that's what I need.
It's always important to have a plan, to know your next move.
From where I sat, perched high atop a hotel barstool, I could see three possible moves for the evening. I could go outside and call a cab. It could drive me back to my dreary home, back to a condo full of memories and broken unfulfilled promises. It was a place that showcased a woman's touch. From the new furniture and wall hangings to the freshly re-decorated interior, the house screamed of high class style. In short, the house reeked of Candice Whitmore.
I shuddered thinking about that option.
Another possibility would be to simply go back up to the private hotel suites that housed the unofficial reception portion of the evening. I'd survived the annual Ajax Corporation Christmas Party banquet. I'd shaken the right hands, kissed the right asses, and had generally made the type of impression expected of the newest and youngest director for the company.
Most of the older executives and spouses had now left, leaving it to the Millennials to celebrate. A few of Ajax's customers provided an unofficial party in some of the business suites. Those parties were more than a little over the top. I wondered if Ajax's management knew how much celebrating was going on upstairs. Actually I'm sure they did since they made sure to protect themselves from what happened at those parties.
I shook my head, deciding against the wild chaos that was brewing up there.
That left me with my third option, to sit here in this hotel bar with a glass of Dickel's, and claim this barstool, at least until I fell off of it. I knew at that point they'd send some bellhop who would wheel my inebriated ass up to my room and dump me inside.
Can't have guests sprawled out in the open now can we? I laughed to myself.
I was settling in with that intention when I heard a familiar voice behind me.
"Sven? What are you doing down here, man?"
I knew who it was first by his voice but also because he's the only one who calls me Sven. It was my best friend of four years and fellow employee, David Nasser.
Turning around I looked into the darkest brown eyes I've ever seen, I'd swear they're almost black. They always reminded me of a shark, appropriate since he was an Account Manager over in the Sales Department. I asked him once if they rolled back into his head when he made a sales call. He laughed and said only when he was closing the deal. I tended to believe him.
Of course, with his olive skin, Middle Eastern features, and natural good looks, they only enhanced his appearance. At least that's what the ladies in the office have told me.
Dave's almost a full inch taller than me, something he enjoys reminding me of, but has a very slight build. Black wavy hair, impeccably well-groomed and clean-shaven, and always dressed in the most stylish, European fashions completes the persona he shows to the world, but I know the real Dave. He's a pervert and a pussyhound, plain and simple.
"Sven? You still with us?" He laughed, bringing me out of my reverie.
I suppose I should introduce myself.
I'm Brandon Svensson, Director of Marketing for Ajax Corp. We provide custom shipping and mailing containers worldwide. If it doesn't fit in a standard Fed-Ex type of box then it's probably going to be shipped using one of our containers. We're in a wide variety of vertical markets, ranging from electronic components to distilleries to adult sex toys. Yeah, hell of a range isn't it?
Oh yeah, why Sven? Well beside the last name, my father was Swedish and my mother French so I've got the muscular, blockish build of a Viking and the brown curly hair and facial features of a Frenchman. Not too bad of a combination, I certainly could've done worse. Also I preferred Dave calling me Sven as opposed to his other favorite, d'Artagnan, due to my moustache and goatee.
"Damn dude, what are you doing down here?" he said, pulling up a seat beside me at the bar.
I lifted my glass of rye whiskey and looked at him.
"That's a rhetorical question right?"
He grinned from ear-to-ear. It was his norm. I realized I've never met anyone who smiled more than my best friend. Hell, he smiled even when he was being an ass!
"Dude, you've got to find a way to move on."
"I'm working on it," I lied.
"Bullshit!" he laughed. "Sitting down here slowly getting drunk isn't moving on."
"I'm reevaluating my options," I said, grinning sadly.
"Oh shit! You're not turning to the darkside are you? Damn, I should've sold you my sister's used Prius! You're in love with me aren't you?"
I snorted causing the alcohol to go up my nose. The burn brought tears to my eyes as my friend laughed his ass off.
"You wish," I was finally able to croak.
"Nah," he said with that damn perpetual grin. "I keep telling you, dude, you're not my type. You've got an extra piece of equipment that just doesn't do a thing for me."
"Asshole," I replied.
"Nope, I'm pretty sure you got one of those even though you are full of shit most of the time. I was talking about the other side of the coin. Now what the hell are you doing down here, bro?"
"Plotting out my strategy."
"Oh please," Dave groaned, "like you did when you cancelled your own party a week ago? Who the hell cancels their own thirtieth birthday party? I know you're still in mourning but dammit, dude, you got to find a way to move on somehow."
I just stared at the amber liquid in front of me.
"You know that bridge is burned, right? I know Candice would jump at the chance to get you back but do you really want to go through all the shit of trying to rebuild a trusting, loving relationship with someone like that?"
I continued to stare at my drink, admitting we both knew the answer to that question. An amazing thing happens when the love of your life shits all over you, your rose-colored glasses come off. Things you'd always overlooked are now glaring flaws.
Yes, I'd put Candice on a bit of a pedestal. I think all lovers do that early in their relationships even though we know they can't stay up there for long. But it's always an ice cold dose of reality when our lover not only falls off the pedestal but then proceeds to pick up said pedestal and beat the shit out of us with it, leaving only our bloodied hearts and hemorrhaging memories in their wake.
"Besides," Dave laughed, bringing back from my psychobabble musings, "I'm pretty sure her family wouldn't be happy about seeing you two back together."
"And whose fault is that?"
My best friend grinned evilly.
"Well I'm fairly certain I won't be getting a Christmas card from them, either!"
"You think?" I snorted.
He was silent for a minute before he answered. His voice was calm but serious.
"You know I've already apologized for that. Brandon, I was just—"
"Dave," I interrupted, "it's okay, and I don't blame you for anything. I know you were protecting me, watching my back."
"That's right," he said, his grin reappearing. "And that's what I'm doing now as well. We need to go upstairs and loosen up. Hey missing your birthday party is one thing but missing having Melanie from accounting flashing those huge tits of hers is another!"
We both laughed. Being flashed by Melanie was quite a sight and had become a holiday tradition.
"It's also possible Sarah might be convinced to give you a birthday lap dance."
"In your dreams," I snorted, "only in your perverted dreams."
"Yeah," Dave said, smiling evilly and sat there obviously envisioning the fantasy.
"Why don't you just ask her out, you perv?" I laughed. "You fantasize about her all the time. Are you scared she'll turn you down?"
"Dude, I'm in sales. I'm used to rejection. No, I'd be more afraid of her agreeing to go out with me."
I stared at him in obvious confusion.
"She'd probably hurt me," he laughed, "and in ways I can only dream of!"
"She's probably more likely to sacrifice you on some black altar to a dark god!"
"Well," he grinned, "there is that!"
We both laughed.
"Listen dude, you do what you need to do," Dave said as he stood up. "However if you do choose to join the land of the living and go upstairs, I guarantee it'll be memorable!"
"Okay, I'll consider it."
"Try considering it before you have another one of those," he said, pointing at my drink. "We wouldn't want you seeing double."
He grinned knowingly at me. It was evident I hadn't followed his warped reasoning.
"Seeing four of Melanie's huge hooters could permanently scar even the most diehard tit man!"
"Listen Brandon," he quipped as he started walking away. "I'll save you a spot up there. And dude ... stop checking out my ass!"
His laughter trailed behind him as he left the bar.
I caught myself laughing along with him. He was a pain at times but he was a good friend. I'm not sure how I would've gotten through these last few months without his help and smart ass quips and comments. There was no question the last three and a half months had been the darkest times of my life.
I met Candice three years ago. I'd been with Ajax for a year and she'd recently passed her bar exam and was working for a local law firm.
At six foot two, beautiful face, long golden hair and a willowy, athletic body, she easily stood out in any crowd. Actually she'd played collegiate volleyball before going to law school. The first time she peered at me with those sea green eyes and flashed that smile, I was hooked.
Besides her good looks, Candice Whitmore has the ability to come into a room and dominate it. She's charming but aggressive, funny but tenacious, sexy as hell but intelligent ... and was insatiable behind closed doors!
Our sex life resembled workouts and there were many times I'd felt like I'd barely survived a CrossFit session. Not that I was complaining, I was usually sore and bruised, but never complaining!
We dated a couple years before I asked her to marry me. I would've asked her earlier but to be honest her family intimidated the hell out of me. No matter what anyone tells you when you marry your spouse, you inherit their relationships with their family members. If your spouse has strained relations with their family then that's what you'll start with. If they have a close family then you better get prepared for them to be a part of your everyday life. Candice's family was very tightly meshed.
To make things worse, it was a family full of lawyers.
Besides Candice, her father, older brother, and sister-in-law were lawyers as well. The Whitmores were well known and well thought of in South Florida. I found Candice's father, Conrad, somewhat arrogant but that could've been because no father thinks anyone is good enough for his little girl. He was also a high profile defense attorney, so his attitude seemed to come with the job as well.
Rachel, Candice's mother, was a sweetheart and was the only one who welcomed me with open arms into the family. She was also the only one who wasn't a lawyer. Rachel was a tall beauty that was only slightly shorter than Candice. She seemed to be the glue that held their family together.
Candice's older brother, Brad, was a real asshole. Where Conrad has an elitist arrogant air about him, Brad is just a condescending prick. He's a corporate lawyer and was lucky he worked for his daddy's firm because his peers at any other firm would've killed him by now.
To complete the Whitmore & Associates roster there was Meredith, Brad's wife. A real estate attorney, she rounded out the family well. Describing Meredith is actually easy. Think of a seven foot tall redheaded Amazon with huge tits. Now shrink that image into a five foot tall ball of fire, mix in a high IQ and the personality of a barracuda and you have Meredith Whitmore. No question she could easily hold her own within the family.
Even with a family that belonged on reality TV, I couldn't envision my life without Candice, so I proposed. When she accepted it began the most memorable summer of my life. We got engaged in May and, thanks to Meredith, had moved into our condo by July. July was also the month when I received my promotion. I was absolutely soaring high. Little did I know by September my world would come crashing down.
When I accepted the promotion I knew I'd need to work extra hours initially. What I hadn't planned was the amount needed. I knew it really bothered Candice but there wasn't a lot I could do about it for those first several months. Things were tense between us when all our dreams melted like wax too near a flame that Labor Day weekend.
Candice's family was holding a large party that Sunday evening. Conrad was planning something and it was important for the entire family to be there. Unfortunately the Friday before the holiday we had a major print advertisement meltdown. I'd been pushing so hard and so fast that I'd missed something on the blue line. Luckily the printer caught it but it required I go to the printers Saturday and see if we could find a workaround.
Because of the holidays, changing our flights in and out of Miami was impossible. Candice was livid! She informed me she was still going to fly out Friday, with or without me. I apologized but also reminded her of the many times her job had caused us to miss dates and events over the past couple of years. We'd missed multiple events due to late nights she'd had to work because of some case her firm was handling.
Unfortunately, we had the worst fight of our relationship the night she flew out.
That next day I was able the work with our printer and find a workable solution. It looked like my professional ass was saved. It also looked like, with a little luck, my personal ass might be in luck as well. I still might arrive in time to make the Whitmore party.
I caught a redeye flight to Orlando, the closest I could get. So, with the sun dawning over the beautiful state of Florida, I was standing at baggage claim waiting to see if my suitcase would join me for the weekend or if I was going to become a temporary nudist. The odds were still in my favor although my luggage going to New York or Cuba was still a possibility.
My suitcase did arrive, however it was on the next flight two hours later. I guess fate was setting me up because had my suitcase been on time or if I'd decided to come back and get it later, things might've been different.
Two hours after I'd arrived, I was on the road, in a rental car, making the three hour trip to Coconut Grove, just north of Miami. The Whitmores lived in a private gated community that had access to its own private sliver of beach. When I arrived, I was welcomed by Rachel with a huge hug, Conrad with a firm handshake, and a rebuff by Brad.
"About damn time you got here," he sneered. "She's been biting all our heads off!"
Rachel confirmed Candice had been on a rampage. The family had sent her to the beach with Meredith to sunbath, to drink some Cosmos, and to chill! They were hoping she'd be in a better mood for the party that evening. Rachel told me to go get them for lunch.
I laughed and told her I'd be the sacrificial lamb. Maybe since I'd finally showed up it would help, at least that's what I was hoping. I knew I'd probably do a lot of apologizing but since it was a big night for her family I'd bite the bullet this time.
It was a short walk to the tiny strip of sand that passed as a beach. Even though most of it was covered with little blotches of grass, it was nice to have a private access to the ocean. The community was primarily affluent elderly residents who didn't frequent the beach very often but there were several grass covered dunes that provided an additional level of privacy if needed.
When I didn't initially see them laying out with the half dozen or so other individuals, I suspected they were behind one of the dunes. I smiled to myself as I approached a particularly secluded spot and pulled out my cell phone.
If Candice and Meredith were there then they'd probably be sunbathing topless. I laughed to myself imagining the flailing of two beautiful women as they tried to cover themselves. I'd seen my future sister-in-law topless before and it was quite ... impressive. I smiled diabolically as my heart raced. A tent protruded from my Dockers.
As I approached the dune I could hear voices. Actually what I could hear were whispers, moans, and the sounds of someone in the throes of passion.
My heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to burst out of my chest.
I prayed it wasn't Candice but images of her and Meredith picking up a couple of guys and having sex were flooding my mind. While I didn't really care if Meredith was cheating on Brad, honestly I didn't really like either of them, the thought that Candice would do that to me twisted my heart.
It was time to decide, fight or flight.
I knew I had to see for myself. I took a deep breath and slowly snuck around the dune. I figured if it was only one guy, I would confront them. If it was two or more guys, I'd just get my proof and leave.
Using my cell to record video, I inched forward towards what I feared would be the end of my relationship with Candice. When I came up on them I realized I was both right and wrong. I was right, what I saw changed my relationship but I was wrong about most everything else.
My fiancée was on all fours with her exquisite thong covered ass in the air. Her beautiful face was buried between the legs of her sister-in-law. She evidently was doing a good job since Meredith was panting her encouragement
"Oh god, Candy," Meredith breathlessly moaned, "Yes ... yes ... just like that. Oh shit, oh shit!"
Then Meredith let out a low guttural moan broken by sharp gasps as her orgasm ebbed and flowed. When she finally came down off her sexual ride, she throatily laughed.
Candice slowly snaked up her body until she was nuzzling into Meredith's large breasts.
"Oh shit that was good," Meredith whispered. "Babygirl, no one does that to me better than you!"
Then the woman I'd planned to spend the rest of my life with, love of my life looked deep into her sister-in-law's eyes and giggled like a little girl.
To be honest, I was shocked they didn't notice me. Even though they were wrapped up in their lust I would've thought they would've heard my heart break. I know I did.
Somehow I was able to breathe again and I slowly backed away from my oncoming nightmare. I'm not sure how I made it back to the house, but before I knew it I was face-to-face with my never to be mother-in-law. Concern was written across her face.
"Brandon honey, what's wrong?" she said, bringing me out of my fog. "Where are the girls?"
"On the beach," I croaked, my emotions starting to well up. "They'll be up ... shortly."
Rachel peered into my eyes as they slowly began to fill with tears.
"I'm sorry," I said softly, "I need to leave."
"Make sure you're back in time to get ready for the party, son," Conrad's voice came from behind me.
I turned and stared at him. I saw his expression morph from a stern, concerned look to a confused, worried one.
"I think that would be a very bad idea, sir. You need family there tonight. Please tell Candice I'll talk to her later. My apologies for having to leave."
I burst out of their house before they could bombard me with questions. I'd actually made it an hour on the road to Orlando before my cell started buzzing. I'd already found that I couldn't get a flight home out of Orlando but had secured one out of Tampa. I'd have to wait several hours but it would still get me home.
After the third call, I decided to answer.
"Hello?" I said coldly.
"Brandon?" Candice asked calmly. "Baby, where are you?"
"Headed back home."
I could hear her voice slightly waver.
"But why? You know Daddy needs the entire family there tonight."
"Candice, I think we both know that after what I saw, I won't be joining your family."
"Baby, I don't understand. I'm not sure what you thought you saw or heard but—"
"Candice stop," I snapped.
I'll gave her credit, she didn't falter in the first rule of law, deny, deny, deny.
"Brandon, we need to sit down and discuss what it was you thought you saw or heard."
"Well Candy, what I saw was my ex-fiancée with her ass in the air, eating out her sister-in-law! So tell me Babygirl, have you removed all those red curly hairs from between your teeth?"
I heard a loud gasp.
"Baby please," she said softly her voice beginning to break, "Please talk to me before you do anything."
"Wow, I'm sure I could've begged you for the same thing, couldn't I have?" I snapped.
"Please, Candice," I said mockingly, "Baby, I love you so much! Please talk to me before you do anything stupid!"
She didn't have any reply but a stifled sob.
"Looks like neither one of us gets want they wanted though does it?" I growled. "Go back to your family, Candice. Start trying to figure out how you can spin this so you don't lose more than you already have."
"No! It's not like you think!" she cried. "It was just—"
I hung up before I heard any more denials.
As I drove, my cellphone buzzed constantly until I turned it off. When I reached Tampa I turned my phone back on to find nineteen missed calls. Eleven were from Candice, four from Meredith, one from Rachel and three from Conrad.
As I was looking at my cell, it buzzed again. Without thinking I answered.
"Brandon?" barked the obviously frustrated voice of Candice's father.
"Yes sir," I replied calmly.
"What the hell happened? Candice has been up in her old bedroom with the door locked and bawling her eyes out. She hasn't done that since she was in high school! What the hell did you say to her?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Whitmore, but what I told her is that the marriage is off."
"Off?" he shouted, "Dammit, why?"
"I'm sorry, sir, but that'll need to come from Candice."
Conrad was silent for a moment before clicking out of daddy mode and into lawyer mode.
"Now son, don't go and do something we'll all regret. I'm sure we can all sit down and work through this."
"I doubt that, sir. Your daughter already has done something very stupid. Listen, Mr. Whitmore, I need to catch my flight so I need to hang up."
"Flight? What flight?"
"I'm flying back home tonight."
"Tonight?" he yelled. "God dammit, what the hell happened down there?"
"I'm sorry sir, even if I told you chances are you wouldn't believe me without proof. Please tell Candice we'll deal with everything when she gets back. Mr. Whitmore, I really do hope tonight goes better for your family than this afternoon has. Goodbye sir."
While I waited for my flight, I scanned through the voice messages. Candice tried just about everything to get me to call her back; questioning, demanding, reasoning, and finally pleading and crying.
When I got to our condo I felt an overwhelming need to get drunk. Fearing my judgement was already skewed, I called Dave. He came over, picked me up and watched over me as I drank myself into oblivion.
I spilled everything that had happened. I'm sure I probably did it three or four times during the evening, in between the I love you man and your my bestest friend lovefests. Yes, I'm a sentimental drunk. I also remember showing him the video several times as well.
The next morning, okay it was more like afternoon, I woke up and began preparing for my life without Candice. There was only one major problem ... I was having a problem seeing a life without her!
That started a three-month spiral down the road of depression. Of course, my wonderful trip into hell was highlighted by visits and calls by the Whitmore family members.
The first visit was of course from Candice. She came home Monday night to an empty condo since I'd temporarily moved in with Dave. Her call to me when she found the place empty told me she was more than a little upset. I agreed to come over to the condo and meet with her the next night.
When I got there she'd pulled out all the stops; dinner, wine, candlelight. She was even dressed in a sexy dress. No question she looked incredible. However my greeting ended any thoughts of her winning me back with sex.
"Candice, you shouldn't have," I said when I stepped into the condo and saw everything she'd done.
"Baby, I needed to begin to show you how sorry I am. I–"
"No Candice," I interrupted, "what I meant was you shouldn't have because it's not going to work. We're done ... period."
"That's bullshit, Brandon, and you know it! Yes, I was angry and I made a mistake. A huge mistake! But I love you and you love me so we're going to find a way to work through this."
"Still claiming it was only a one-time thing?"
She looked away for only a brief moment.
"Speaking of bullshit, we both know that isn't the case. Right, Babygirl?"
I saw her blanch before she was back on the attack.
"Brandon, I'm not completely sure what you thought you saw but it wasn't what you seem to think it was."
"Really?" I sneered. "Would you like to see the video I took?"
Her body froze like a deer in headlights before she let out a gasp and staggered to a chair.
"Oh god, Brandon, no!"
"Oh yes! It isn't very long but it's very eye opening."
Candice sat, shaking her head.
"Please Brandon," she sobbed not daring to look at me. "Please."
My own eyes began to water, watching the girl I'd loved squirm in her own demise.
"No," I said softly. "We're done. We weren't even engaged more than four months and you're already cheating on me. The fact it was with another woman and was your sister-in-law is something I still haven't even begun to get my head around!
"I'll let you figure out what we want to do about the condo. Thanks to Meredith ... damn now that's funny ... thanks to Meredith our relationship is over but she did get us a hell of deal on this condo! The way she set it up makes it cheaper to live here than rent an apartment for half the space. Since neither of us has much money invested in it it'll be simple for one of us to buy out the other."
"I don't want us to be over," she said softly. "I'm sorry, Brandon, it was just a mistake."
"No," I said coldly, "I don't believe that. A mistake would be a one time, unplanned event. I don't think you planned it but it sure as hell didn't take you long to make it happen when you got there! I think opportunity presented itself and you jumped on it. And I sure as hell don't believe it was a one-time thing!"
Candice sat there sobbing, staring at the floor.
"Just let me know what you decide to do about the condo," I said, turning to leave.
"Brandon, please don't do this to us," she said, wiping her tears away. "I love you."
I looked back at her and bit my tongue. Looking at her, the tears began to come and I knew I needed to leave quickly.
"I seriously doubt that Candice," I choked. "You did this to us and if that's your definition of love ... I sure don't want it!"
I left quickly, shutting the door as she called out my name. It was disturbing, stepping into my future without her. I'd always planned on growing old with her. Sharing the highs and lows but always being together. Now I was ... alone.
A few days later I moved back into the condo since Candice had moved out. She'd left me a message stating she was going back home until we'd worked things out. I wasn't sure what her next move would be.
It didn't take long before I found out. A few days later I received an enlightening phone call.
"What's this bullshit I'm hearing about you threatening to release a video?" Conrad Whitmore bellowed. "I'll be damned if I let some snot-nosed, little shit try to ruin my family's name!"
"I'll have the police down on your ass before—"
He paused to take a breath and I pressed my advantage.
"Mr. Whitmore," I said calmly, "I never threatened to release anything. I've no intention of trying to embarrass Candice, Meredith or your family."
"Meredith? Why would it embarrass my daughter-in-law?"
It figures, I thought to myself, once a lawyer always a lawyer.
"Sir, what did Candice and Meredith tell you I saw?
"You didn't see anything," he started then calmed himself.
"They told us you'd probably overheard Candice talking about one of her old boyfriends. Candice said she'd admitted she'd had sex with him six months ago while the two of you were dating. She said she'd been very descriptive of the encounter and that it would be very embarrassing to everyone, including the ex-boyfriend and his family, if that information ever got out. They were sure you'd overheard their conversation and got upset. That's why you'd called off the wedding."
"No sir," I sighed. "That's creative but not what I saw."
I sighed again, trying to decide if I really wanted to open this can of worms. Unfortunately, Candice hadn't left me many options.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Whitmore, but what I saw on the beach that day was my ex-fiancée giving oral sex to her sister-in-law."
The phone went eerily silent. For a moment I wasn't sure if he was still there. He was.
"That's a lie!" he yelled. "That's utter bullshit and if you've told anybody that pack of lies I'll sue your ass for slander! I'll make your life a living hell! I'll—"
I disconnected. I figured he wouldn't believe me without proof but I'd hoped he would've confronted Candice or Meredith before attacking me. I guess the best defense is a strong offense.
It didn't take long for the Whitmores to mount their attack. A few days later I was called into the Ajax Corp's legal offices. They informed me they'd been contacted concerning a pending slander lawsuit involving me. Their questioning implied I'd been talking to other Ajax employees, namely Dave.
I gave them a brief, vague overview of what was going on. I informed them the break-up had revolved around a potentially embarrassing situation and this was an attempt to cover the family's asses. They agreed but told me to contact an attorney anyway.
My attorney informed me of two other legal actions being taken involving me as well. First, there was a pre-emptive push to quash any pictures or videos involving the Whitmore family. On top of that, the financial structure involving our condo was now under review. He asked about the video and I gave it to him. He then asked about copies and I told him I didn't have any. He told me the case would never go to trial because if it did the video would become public in order to disprove slander and that was exactly what the Whitmores didn't want.
I'll say this for my lawyer he was straight to the point and told me although this would never go to trial, I could be legally harassed. He stated they could string this out for quite a while and that would mean my legal costs would begin adding up. It was possible, but not probable, I would have to renegotiate the financing of the condo and that could be costly. It was also highly probable they would continue to contact Ajax and continue to be a general nuisance. Whether it was fair or not, they would try to poison my relationship with my own company.
I was stunned. I would win all these battles but to do so I'd have to fight each one. That would cost me time and money.
When Dave came over that night I was depressed and angry. I'd tried to do the right thing but the stink of my failed relationship was following me. Dave listened to me as I poured out my frustrations and surprisingly he didn't have any smart ass replies.
I wallowed in my legal misery for another week before my lawyer called and told me everything had been dropped. I was both surprised and elated. Dave and I went out and celebrated!
With my legal ordeal behind me I was able to concentrate on my work and try to begin getting over Candice. Truthfully her actions over the past month made it easier but I still harbored some deep feelings for her.
A week later, those feeling were tested again.
When I first got the message I was apprehensive to return it. Of all the Whitmores, Rachel was the only one I was hesitant to meet with face-to-face. Out of respect I called her back and arranged a time to meet with her. She was flying in and out the same day, so I took the afternoon off and picked her up at the airport.
We decided to grab a quick lunch and then go back to the condo for our discussion. Once back in the condo, the atmosphere changed from the polite, casual conversation to a much more somber mood. When we were seated and each had a glass of wine, she cleared her throat.
"Thank you, Brandon," she said softly with a sad smile. "Thank you for making a part of this day trip a pleasant experience."
"I've always enjoyed spending time around you, Rachel. I'm sorry we probably won't be doing much of this in the future."
"No," she sighed sadly, "I believe you're right. Shall we get down to the unpleasantness that's at the heart of my visit?"
I nodded. I felt a twinge of regret as I looked at her. She was a very attractive woman and in her I saw a reflection of what Candice would probably look like in twenty-five years. The odds were she'd still be beautiful.
"I wanted to let you know that, we've withdrawn all legal actions involving you. I can't speak officially for the family, Brandon, but personally I'm so sorry we've put you through this."
"Thank you, Rachel. That means a lot. I'm disappointed that the rest of the family doesn't feel that way."
"Well, after you left that day, things fell apart when Candice and Meredith returned from the beach. When they found out you'd gone down to the beach and had come back upset enough to leave, they were very concerned. Your call with Candice set off the fireworks. Candice became an emotional basket case and Meredith was cussing like a sailor.
"I know Conrad hadn't told anyone but he was looking to announce his entrance into the political arena that night. The drama and chaos of that afternoon has caused him to delay his announcement."
"I'm sorry things didn't work out the way he was hoping. I can honestly say I know how he feels."
"Yes," she said softly, "I'm sure you do."
"I guess I don't understand why the attack on me then. I didn't bring this on your family, Rachel."
"I'm ashamed to say that was due primarily to Conrad and Candice's relationship. Conrad has always been overly protective of her. When she told her father about the video he went ballistic. He took it as a personal attack on her and the family.
"It was as if you'd threatened to intentionally smear us. Then after his call to you, things changed. He'd reverted back to the cold, professional Conrad I'd seen countless times before.
"Then after that meeting two weekends ago..."
She looked at me as if waiting for some kind of reaction. Unfortunately all she could read was my confusion since that was what I was feeling.
"You don't know about the meeting?"
"No," I said, shaking my head. "What meeting was that?"
She stared at me for a moment then peered into my eyes.
"Brandon, do you still have that video you took?"
"No, I left a copy with my lawyer and then erased the original."
"And you didn't make any other copies?"
"No, of course not."
"So you didn't send your representative to meet with Conrad and the others a week and a half ago?" she said, fighting back a smile.
"No!" I exclaimed, "I never told my lawyer to meet with your family!"
"I'm pretty sure he wasn't your attorney. I believe his last name Nash, Nashua or something like that."
"Yes, I believe that's right. Candice didn't say anything but she seemed to know him. I take it you didn't send him?"
"No," I groaned, fearing what had transpired. "He's my best friend."
Rachel stifled a laugh.
"I told them you hadn't sent him but no one believed me. Well no one but Brad."
"Well thank you. I'm kind of surprised Brad—"
"Don't be," she said in a disgusted tone. "He said he didn't think you were that smart. I'm sorry."
"Figures," I smirked.
"Whatever the intent, your friend made quite the impression. Conrad said he'd make a very good lawyer, an ambulance chaser, but still a lawyer."
I couldn't help but chuckle at that thought.
"Apparently he showed them a copy of your video. It had quite the effect. Instead of focusing on you as the bad guy, my family had to look at themselves. It's been very tense in our home since then."
"I'm sorry, Rachel. I should've suspected he would keep a copy for himself when I showed it to him. I promise you, I didn't give him one."
"It's okay, Brandon. I never saw the video. I've unfortunately heard a few things about it though"
I watched as she braced herself.
"Is it true?" she said softly, "Did you really catch Candice and Meredith having sex with each other?"
"I'm afraid so," I said gently.
"And is that what's on the video?"
She lowered her head and fought back a sob. Instinctively I got up and sat beside her placing my arm around her. She leaned against me her face and hands on my chest as I cradled her.