I must thank Randi for the edit. She’s the best!
Tim Larson smiled and spoke to everyone he met as he strolled through the crowd with his daughter, Heather. He was far and away the best maintenance man in the company. As such, he spent a lot of his work time on the factory floor repairing and maintaining the complex and complicated machinery required in the manufacture of buffers and accessories. The Ferguson Family business employed well over four hundred people. Tim knew nearly all of them and he was liked by most.
The Ferguson Summer Picnic was a much anticipated annual event. Ferguson Manufacturing sponsored it in appreciation for the dedicated service of its employees. It was always held on the third Saturday in July, and attendance was usually robust. Free food, drinks and family oriented games were always in abundance.
The affair was held at a small amusement park that was leased by the company for the day. The kids enjoyed rides, ice cream, soda, games, a large swimming pool and even pony rides. The adults played volleyball, horseshoes and badminton, along with partaking in the food, beverages and the large pool.
“I’m apologizing to you in advance, Heather,” stated Tim as he glanced toward the small pavilion where Edgar Remington was holding court. “You can go wait in the car if you prefer. A fifteen year old shouldn’t hear or see the things that are about to be said and done.”
“I want to see it for myself,” replied Tim’s daughter. “Mom will put her own spin on it and make you the bad guy. I just need to be sure you’re seeing things as they really are.
“I admit Mom has been hard to live with lately, but it’s not easy to believe she’d treat you like so poorly, especially so openly. I’ve heard all the words you’ll be using. Do what you have to do.”
Tim nodded grimly as he started for the pavilion. Heather peeled off from his side and began working her way around to come up behind her mother. Edgar Remington was situated in the middle of the pavilion. He was well into a pompous diatribe about increasing production and reducing costs. Tim made his way through the gathering to approach to his wife. She was seated near Edgar and appeared to be hanging on his every word.
Tim noticed Mrs. Agnes Ferguson sitting off to the side, sipping a soft drink while she watched the proceedings. Her husband’s father had founded the company fifty years prior. Her husband, William, had assumed ownership twenty years ago and had nearly doubled the production, as well as profitability, of the company during his time at the helm.
Sadly, William Ferguson had suffered a massive heart attack and died the previous winter at the age of 56. Acting on the suggestion of her lawyers and business advisors, Agnes Ferguson had appointed Edgar Remington COO of the company. He had been a vice president in a Fortune 500 business and came highly recommended.
Tim had begun his own tenure at Ferguson Buffers about the time William Ferguson had taken over the reins of the business from his father. Tim was just two weeks out of high school when he began his career. He had established an excellent rapport with William (Bill) Ferguson over the years and greatly missed Bill’s steady hand at the helm.
Tim nodded to Mrs. Ferguson before he approached his wife, Mandy, and spoke softly. “Would you join me at the picnic for a little while? We could get a drink and play some volleyball.”
“Larson! We’re discussing business here. Why don’t you go drink some beer and throw horseshoes with your friends from the floor?” snapped Remington curtly.
“The floor” was the term used to describe the area of the company where the actual production work was done. People either worked in the office, or on the floor. Those working in the office often treated the folks who worked on the floor as lesser employees.
“We aren’t at work. This is a picnic and I’ll speak to my wife without interference from you,” replied Tim calmly as he fought down a much harsher response.
“I said we’re conducting business here,” repeated Remington.
“Tim, why don’t you go play some of the games with your friends,” suggested Mandy, concerned her husband was about to clash with their boss. “Edgar is going over some business proposals I’d like to hear.”
“Business proposals that don’t include the maintenance staff,” added Remington with a harsh laugh. “You wouldn’t understand the theory behind my ideas.”
“You’re not coming with me, Mandy? I won’t ask again,” warned Tim with a sinking feeling.
“I’m staying here, Tim. Why don’t you just go have fun with the other guys from the floor?” was Mandy’s cool response.
“Yeah, run along! We’re having a good business discussion and don’t need people from the floor listening in,” insisted Remington with an obvious sneer.
“You really are a complete asshole,” stated Tim clearly as he stood, turned from his wife and faced Remington. “The next good idea you have will be your first one. You’re the rudest bastard I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. You’ve really fucked up this company in record time.”
“What did you call me?” demanded a livid Remington.
“Try to pay closer attention,” answered Tim with a tight smile. “Asshole, rude, and bastard were my main points. I can come up with some more if you have trouble understanding those terms.”
Gasps escaped from several of those listening to the exchange. Tim Larsen had just called the company’s COO out in a very public manner!
“You must be drunk,” countered Remington, sensing that Tim Larson was not in any mood to accept his blustering authority. “I’ll forgive it this time out of respect for Mandy, but you’d better leave before I change my mind.”
“I haven’t had a single drink yet today,” retorted Tim softly. “With that excuse gone, why don’t you change that wishy-washy little mind of yours and go for option number two?”
“You want to get fired and thrown out of here?” responded Remington. “I can do that.”
“Actually, you can’t,” challenged Tim. “Not unless you’re willing and able to do the throwing. There’s no security working this affair, so you’re on your own, you chicken-shit prick. I’m sure everyone here would love to see you try to throw me out.”
“Tim! I’ll go with you,” broke in Mandy in a panic. “Please excuse Tim, Edgar. He’s been out of sorts lately. I think its stress.”
“The stress of finding out he’ll be expected to make half the payments on your new house?” goaded Remington. “He’ll have to work overtime and give up playing games with his buddies to pay his share. I can see where a situation like that would stress Timmy out.”
“The only stress I’m feeling at the moment is keeping my temper in check,” replied Tim as he measured Remington with his eyes. “I have this almost uncontrollable urge to bitch-slap the shit out of you, Remington.”
As he spoke, Tim balled his hands into fists and took a step toward the company COO. “How about you, Edgar? Are you feeling froggy?”
“You’re fired, Larson!” declared the backpedalling COO before hitting a chair with the back of his knees and tumbling over on his ass.
“What’s wrong with you?” demanded Tim’s wife as she hurried to help Remington back to his feet. “Don’t bother coming home until you’re ready to apologize to both Edgar and me!”
“Fair enough” replied Tim as his eyes searched the crowd of onlookers before nodding to a young man wearing Bermuda shorts and a New England Patriots shirt.
Tim Larson turned his back on his wife and Remington. As he began walking toward the parking lot, he heard the young man ask Mandy if she were Amanda Larson. Tim didn’t hear Mandy’s response, but the young man’s declaration of “You’ve been served” once again brought gasps from many of the spectators watching the demise of his marriage.
When Tim reached his truck, he began digging for his keys. As he pulled them from his pocket, Heather called to him.
“Dad, I have to stay with Mom. It looks like you were prepared for everything. Did you have one of your friends bring your truck so you wouldn’t have to ride home with Mom?”
“As a matter of fact, I did,” admitted Tim. “Your mother caught my attention with her plan to buy a new house and make me pay half. I suspected Remington was behind that idea. He pretty well confirmed it just now.
“She’s not the woman I married years ago and she’s certainly not a woman I would marry today. Nothing I do is good enough for her. She’s been after me to either work a lot more overtime or find a better job. I make enough money, especially when we add in your Mom’s income. I’m not going to spend the best years of my life kowtowing to an asshole like Remington, or a shrew like your mother!”
“It sounds like your mind is pretty well made up,” observed Heather before adding with her typical frankness. “For what it’s worth, I get it. Remington totally disrespected you, as did Mother. You don’t need that bullshit!”
“Thanks for the support, Heather. I have a place to live and I’ll be starting a new job next week. I’ll tell you all about it when the dust settles,” promised Tim. “Your mom is probably going to need your emotional support for the next few days.”
“You have that right,” agreed Heather. “Connie Dawson and Margie Olson were trying to calm her down. I’d better get back and give her a shoulder to cry on. Today was hard to watch, but I’m glad I was there to see how Mom and that dickhead treated you. She won’t be able to put a spin on it, at least not to me. Were you going to beat up Remington? He was really scared.”
“I’ll plead the fifth on that question,” answered Tim with a grin as he climbed into his pickup. “Luckily, it never reached that point. Take care of your mom, Sweetheart.”
Mandy spent the half hour after being served divorce papers crying in the ladies room. Heather remained close but was not as sympathetic as her mother felt the situation warranted.
Heather did walk with her to the parking lot. Mandy fought desperately to smile at everyone she met, although she was certain many of them were enjoying her misery.
“That was quite a stunt your father pulled today,” spat Mandy as soon as she and Heather were safely pulling onto the highway. “He’ll be fired. You know that, right? He’s going to be looking for a home and a job, all because of his foolish pride. The funny thing is, he’d be making a better living if he actually had any real pride. Instead, he goes golfing and fishing.”
“He goes to all of my softball and basketball games. He attends every school event I’m involved in. My friends all think he’s the best father ever,” was Heather’s immediate reply. “Why did you leave us to go listen to that airbag brag about how smart he is, anyway?”
“He’s my boss and he wanted to go over some ideas with people from the office. I’m in charge of marketing, so I was pretty much expected to attend his impromptu meeting. It was quite interesting until your father ruined it.”
“It was a company picnic! Even I know you don’t conduct business at a company picnic. Mr. Remington was taking advantage of employees who were there to relax and have a good time.”
“It sounds like you’ve been listening to your father,” complained Mandy. “You’re too young to understand finances. People have to work hard to get ahead. Your father really isn’t a very hard worker. He likes to drift along, taking the easiest path, having a good time and not worrying about tomorrow.”
“That’s pretty much what that Remington said to Dad. You seem to share his opinion. Quite a coincidence, isn’t it?” asked Heather sarcastically.
“It really isn’t. Everyone in the office knows that your father constantly refuses overtime. He could bring home a lot more money. His family could be living in a bigger, nicer house ... with a pool.”
“How did Mr. Remington know your idea about having Dad come up with half the mortgage payment on a new house?” questioned Heather.
Mandy glanced at her daughter before responding. “We may have discussed that at some point. I really don’t remember, but it’s been on my mind a lot, so I might have asked for his input. Mr. Remington is a financial expert.”
“Why isn’t he smart enough to resist throwing out personal information in a public setting? He totally disrespected Dad today,” insisted Heather.
“Maybe your father hasn’t done anything to gain his respect,” replied Mandy immediately. “Mr. Remington is a take charge sort of man and doesn’t respect people who slack off.”
“He seemed to respect Dad when he started for him with his fists clenched. He backed up so fast he fell over the chair. That was funny!”
“It wasn’t funny. Your father was out of control and Mr. Remington was trying to prevent an ugly scene, like a man in his position should,” defended Mandy.
“If he didn’t want an ugly scene, he shouldn’t have antagonized Dad like he did,” pointed out Heather. “He was trying to demean your husband and you went along with it. I’m proud of Dad for standing up to him. Your boss came close to getting his ass kicked today.”
“Maybe. Edgar’s in pretty good shape. He spends a lot of time in the gym. It was a good thing Edgar refused to fight,” stated Mandy.
“Why was I served divorce papers in a way as to maximize my humiliation? Your father had the entire thing planned. It takes time to get papers drawn up and find someone to serve them,” reasoned Mandy.
“That’s true,” agreed her daughter. “Dad had to think about it long enough to go out and find a place to live and a new job. That must have taken some time.”
“Your father found a new job? And a new place to live already?” marveled Heather’s mother. “He might be serious about the divorce.”
“Do you think?” responded Heather. “I doubt he’s coming back. He hates Remington and doesn’t seem to like you very much, anymore.”
“He’s all pissed off because I wanted a bigger house for our family and I expected him to pay his fair share! That’s pretty damned childish, not to mention irresponsible.”
“I’m not trying to defend Dad, but did he even want a bigger house?” asked Heather. “He always acted pretty happy where we are. I like how close we live to the high school and shopping. You decided we had to move into a bigger home and Dad had to spend most of his earnings to pay his share. Why would you think he’d ever go along with that?”
“You really are naïve about finances and relationships,” responded her exasperated mother. “We’re looked up to in the community, or at least I am. It’s important that we appear successful. Just because I earn twice as much as your father, it doesn’t mean I should be paying for everything while he goes golfing and fishing.”
“Why’s that, Mom?”
“Why?” repeated Heather’s mom in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Dad never complains about stuff you buy. I’ve gone shopping with you so I know how much you can spend in an afternoon. I’m just wondering why you feel Dad shouldn’t feel free to do things he enjoys.”
“Maybe because I’m the one paying for everything!” exclaimed Mandy.
“I have a lot of friends with moms who don’t work at all. They shop, get massages, and even go golfing without earning a dime. Is that fair?”
“Of course! They gave up their careers to raise a family for their husbands,” reasoned Mandy. “Husbands owe it to their wives to support them in a comfortable manner.”
Heather had long ago learned her mother could not be pushed into something she strongly resisted, but she could be carefully led. Ideas had to be given time and nurtured slowly. Heather had planted the seeds and would have to wait to see if they would fall upon the rocks or flourish.
“Is Remington your boyfriend?” suddenly blurted Heather. “You two seem awfully comfortable with each other.”
“What? Of course not! Edgar is an eligible bachelor. He dates all kinds of beautiful women. He’s not interested in me.”
“That kind of sounds like you’re interested in him,” stated Heather. “I just hope you don’t start dating him too soon. It’ll look like you were having an affair with him while you were married to Dad.”
“I have no romantic interest in Edgar, nor any other man,” replied Mandy. “I don’t see myself dating anyone for a long time. That’s assuming your father and I will actually get a divorce. It’s possible he’ll come to his senses and apologize. He might even beg me to forgive him.”
Heather looked at her mother like she had two heads. “On what planet are you living? You and Remington are obviously interested in each other, and Dad will never apologize. He didn’t do anything wrong!”
“Humiliating me in public is pretty damn wrong in my book!” snapped Mandy. “I don’t understand how you can defend him. All that drama must have been embarrassing for you, too.”
“Yeah, it sure was. Especially the part where you turned down Dad’s offer to go enjoy the festivities so you could stay and listen to Remington’s bullshit! That was very embarrassing.”
Mandy turned into her driveway and noticed Tim’s garage door was open. He never had room for his truck in the garage. It was always packed full of tools, and his numerous toys. He kept his golf bag, two kayaks, camping and fishing equipment and the riding lawn mower stored on his side of the garage, much to the consternation of Mandy.
The lawn mower and a few garden tools were all that remained on Tim’s side. It was even swept clean. Mother and daughter both stopped to take in the scene. Tim’s departure was now manifesting itself in obvious ways.
“I wonder how much furniture he took?” was all Mandy said as she opened the door to the kitchen. A quick perusal of the house revealed other than his clothes, Tim had taken very little from the home.
“At least he left the expensive living room furniture and my bedroom set,” observed Mandy. “We’ll see if he tries to come back and take some of the good furniture.”
“I think Dad already took everything he wanted,” suggested Heather. “He never really liked any of the furniture we have since you gave his favorite chair to your cousin.”
“That chair didn’t go with anything. It had to go,” explained Mandy. “He never complained when I gave it away.”
“He told you it was his favorite chair and he’d like to keep it,” recalled Heather. “You told him to get over it. You also warned him to never sweat or wear his work clothes when he sat on the furniture. Hadn’t you noticed how he always brought in a kitchen chair when he wanted to watch TV?”
“Of course I noticed, but that was just Tim being stubborn. He was trying to make me feel bad by being passive aggressive,” insisted Mandy. “I know all his tricks.”
Yeah, I guess you do,” agreed Heather. “How’s that working out for you?”
“We’ll be fine, even if your father doesn’t come crawling back,” replied Mandy, even as she winced at her daughter’s remark. “I make enough to support us. We really don’t need his income.”
“That’s curious, since you constantly harped at him about how he needed to make more money. I’m pretty confused about all of this now.”
“I was just trying to spur him into being more responsible,” answered Mandy, as much to herself as to Heather. “I wanted to be able to be proud of him.”
“It’s probably for the best that you guys are getting divorced,” observed Heather. “Dad doesn’t seem to like you very much, anymore. You’re ashamed of him and you have Remington acting pretty interested. This just might work out for the best for all of us.”
“You’re not worried about living with just one parent? Tim ran out on you as well as me. Remember that,” cautioned Mandy.
“Mom, I’ve been pretty much living with just one parent for the past year. Dad won’t stop seeing me, going to my games, or taking me on his camping and fishing trips,” replied Heather confidently as she disappeared into her room.
Mandy stood staring at her daughter’s bedroom door as she mulled over her last statement. It was bad enough that Tim didn’t appreciate how hard she worked for her family, but it seemed his attitude had rubbed off on Heather. He had always played the good dad to Mandy’s bad mother. Heather and Tim both knew she had too much work to be able to attend many of Heather’s ball games or her school functions. She was the marketing director for Ferguson Buffers and a lot of people depended on her!
After leaving the company picnic, Tim had driven 34 miles to a sprawling camp ground in a very rural and wooded part of the state. He had reached an agreement with the owners to be their version of a Swiss Army Knife. His job was to keep the buildings and equipment maintained and running. He was also expected to occasionally serve as a guide for floats down a nearby river or overnight hikes into the local mountains. His pay was a little better than he earned at Ferguson, plus he was given a winterized two bedroom cabin in which to live.
Tim spent his first week repairing or tuning up the motorbikes, four-wheelers, and tractors used at the campground. The second week was spent repairing plumbing and electrical problems in the cabins. He guided two float trips down the river the following week while maintaining the sprawling property.
Tim had lots of time to think as he worked on the equipment. He regretted not seeing Heather as often as he’d like. He grudgingly admitted to himself that he was lonely. He was surprised how much he missed his wife. Mandy was still a beautiful woman with a great figure. It was no surprise Remington was interested in her.
Divorcing Mandy would leave the door open for Remington, but Tim had no control over that. He knew for a certainty he could no longer live with a wife who didn’t respect him and had pretty much fallen out of love with him. She viewed him as a detriment to the marriage, rather than an asset.
It was unfortunate that Heather would have a broken family, but Tim felt strongly about being a good role model for his daughter. If he kept taking the shit Mandy was heaping on him, Heather might follow her mother’s example and become a ball-busting bitch in later life. It was important she realize men would not accept that kind of treatment. When she found a husband, she needed to treat him with respect. That was the lesson Tim hoped Heather would gain from his failed marriage.
Working outside in the summer was a perk Tim enjoyed. As the weeks went on, he became a leaner, more tanned version of his former self. Whenever he saw Heather, she commented on how great he looked. He let his hair grow longer since he no longer felt compelled to keep it in the short style Mandy wanted. He enjoyed his job and met a lot of interesting people from all walks of life.
He was helping two beautiful young women prepare supplies for a float trip when he saw Mandy’s BMW pull into the campground and stop near the pickup he was loading. She was dropping Heather off to spend the weekend with Tim.
Heather jumped out of the car and ran over and gave him a big hug. “Dad! You look all tanned and buff like that. Have you stopped wearing shirts completely?”
“I wear them for meals,” laughed Tim as he hugged his daughter. “Heather, meet Kim and Lisa. They’re guests here. We’re getting ready to go on a float trip on the river. You’ll be coming with us.”
Heather turned her attention to the beautiful blonde women next to her father. They were dressed in shorts and halter tops, and their tops were full ... to overflowing!
“I wouldn’t want to interfere with your plans,” replied Heather as she considered how her father must be attracted to the beautiful women he was going to accompany.
“It wouldn’t be any problem,” insisted the girl introduced to her as Kim. “There are two kayaks and they’re both made for two people. We have a couple tubes, as well. We’d love to have you. We’ll loan you one of our swimsuits if you didn’t bring one.”
“Thanks! I appreciate the offer but I have my own suit with me. I don’t think I could wear a top like yours and keep it up. You both have amazing figures!”
“Don’t worry about that. We won’t have our tops on for long,” responded the woman named Lisa.
“I don’t think Dad would let me take mine off. He’s kind of old fashioned,” replied Heather as she teased her father.
“I don’t know about that. He didn’t seem to mind when we took our tops off on the trip yesterday. Did we upset you, Tim?” asked Lisa with a knowing grin.
“Not in the least, but Heather will be keeping the important parts covered when she goes with us. She’s fifteen, which is far too young for that sort of thing,” answered Tim with a grin and a wink to Lisa.
“So it’ll be okay with you when I’m eighteen?” taunted Heather.
“You’ll be making most of your own decisions by then, so I’d say as long as you’re safe and don’t wind up all over the internet, it would be up to you,” responded Tim seriously.
“Her mother will have something to say about that!” declared Mandy as she moved to stand in front of Tim. “I really don’t think she should be going with these two if they’re going to be naked. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t either.”
“You must be the wife who decided to trade up,” interrupted Kim. “Tim’s a perfect gentleman, not to mention great eye candy, but we’ll keep our tops on if it’ll make you feel better.”
Mandy had been listening to Kim, but she was looking at Tim. He really did look great. His longer hair gave him a boyish charm while his toned and tanned shoulders and chest were ample evidence he was all man. Had he changed that much, or was he always so attractive?
The two women nodded to each other and then moved to each side of Tim and pressed their ample chests against his arms. That action forced even more tit flesh to bulge over the flimsy tops.
“We’ll take good care of your husband and daughter,” promised Kim as she pretended to not notice the look Mandy was giving her. “You must be in a hurry. I bet you have some important work to go over with your suave boss.”
Mandy’s temper flared when she realized Tim had told the women about Edgar. It was a safe bet he made their relationship out to be less than professional. She had an angry retort on the tip of her tongue, but kept it to herself as she returned to her car.
As she drove to the Ferguson Buffers offices, Mandy considered her situation. Her own daughter had asked her if Edgar was her boyfriend the very same day she had been served with divorce papers. Sue Jenson from accounting had suggested that Mandy was free to date Edgar openly since Tim had filed. Even Edgar had been behaving differently since the company picnic. He was now constantly touching her back and complimenting her appearance, along with berating Tim at every opportunity.
Everyone assumed that she and Edgar were either an item, or soon would be. Mandy admired Edgar’s success as well as his command of every situation. She admitted to herself that Edgar was a very distinguished looking man, but she had never felt any urge to forsake her marital vows to be with him.
She told herself while Tim was truly an underachiever; he also had a lot of good qualities. He was an excellent father. He was handsome and it appeared he was becoming even more so. He was always respectful to Mandy’s parents and other relatives. He was never drunk, didn’t do drugs and Mandy was certain he had always remained faithful.
Mandy recalled how her father had been as upset as she had ever seen him when Heather explained to her parents that Tim had filed for divorce. After a few probing questions, Heather explained how Mandy wanted a new house and insisted Tim pay half the mortgage from his paycheck.
“What in hell are you thinking?” demanded her father angrily. “That man paid for the last two years of your college and your advanced business degree. He’s the best father I’ve ever seen. That includes me! He’s honest, faithful, clean, neat and he always treated you like a goddamn queen!
“Is that the problem? Was he too easy going? You lost respect for him because he always let you have your way? Is there another man in the picture? Is that it?” demanded Mandy’s father with suspicion.
Mandy shook her head in the negative, so her dad immediately turned his attention to Heather. “What have you seen or heard, Heather?”
“Dad felt Mom was way too impressed with the guy running Ferguson Buffers now. She was always talking about him and how smart and good looking he is. He calls Mom a lot. They talk for a long time.”
“Now that Heather mentions it, I noticed you seemed pretty enamored with that guy. You mentioned him a few times at our July 4th gathering,” recalled Mandy’s mother in a concerned tone.
“Dear, have you been unfaithful?” managed her mother before letting out a big sob.
“Mom! Of course not! I’ve never cheated on Tim and I never would. I just wanted him to be more responsible and work harder to support his family,” explained Mandy. “I never stopped loving him. He’s the one who filed for divorce!”
“After you drove him to it,” spat her father. “You manage to get a good husband and you decide he’s not good enough! How much money do you need? I know you draw a damned healthy wage.”
“That’s not the point, Dad,” insisted Mandy. “He should want Heather and me to be proud of him. He’s content being a maintenance man! How do you think it makes Heather and me feel when people ask us what Tim does?”
“Wait a minute!” interjected Heather with passion. “I’m really proud of Dad. All my friends think he’s the best father possible. They all like him. He’s always at all my games and school functions. Don’t drag me into this.”
Mandy shot her daughter a menacing look before explaining to her father, “Dad, he’s capable of a lot more. He’s smart, strong, good looking and personable. He’d go a long ways if he just tried.”
“I see,” stated Mandy’s father as he seemingly nodded his head in agreement. “Your husband is intelligent, personable and handsome, so naturally you need to drive him away to enable yourself to find the holy grail of husbands. I bet there are a lot of women out there who would be quite willing to “settle” for Tim’s good looks and personality.”
“You should see how the other girls’ moms act when Dad’s around, Grandpa. The single moms have been especially friendly ever since they heard he and Mom are getting a divorce,” recounted Heather.
“I’m the real wage earner in the family, yet everyone thinks Tim is the cat’s pajamas,” complained Mandy bitterly. “He wouldn’t look so good to everyone if we had to live in a hovel and eat ramen noodles!”
“Tim brings home more than I ever did. We raised three kids and did okay,” pointed out her father. “You just wouldn’t be driving that Beamer and wearing new clothes all the time. Your mom had to make do now and then, and she never once complained. She stuck by me, even when I screwed up and did things that hurt us financially. I was the luckiest guy in the world when she agreed to marry me.”
“I’m not Mom, okay? I want more than the minimum. One of the things I want is a husband I can be proud to have at my side,” replied Mandy even as she marveled at how much her parents loved each other.
At the campground, Lisa and Kim had released Tim’s arms as soon as Mandy had driven off. The two women then began laughing heartily. Heather looked at them in confusion.
“Lisa and I are in a committed relationship,” explained Kim. “We didn’t go on a float trip with your dad yesterday and he’s never laid his eyes on our “girls”, unless he was peeking through our window last night.”
“You really had Mom going,” stated Heather with a chuckle. “She doesn’t act like a woman who wants a divorce, does she?”
“Your dad’s pretty hot, for a man,” declared Lisa. “Your mom’s an attractive woman, but what’s she thinking? Tim’s a great guy.”
When Mandy arrived at Ferguson Buffers for her Saturday meeting, she was surprised to see the parking lot held only one car. It was Edgar’s.
“Where is everyone?” asked Mandy as she entered the meeting room.
“I cancelled the meeting. I notified the others last night. I thought it would be a great time for us to get to know each other a little better.”
“Edgar, this is not the time or place for personal matters,” replied an annoyed Mandy. “I drove all the way here on a Saturday morning for a meeting you cancelled yesterday? I have things to do at home.”
“You said your daughter is spending the weekend with her loser father, so I thought it would be a perfect time for us to connect,” reasoned Remington as he placed his hand on Mandy’s back and proceeded to rub her shoulders gently.
“I’ve scheduled us to attend a conference in Chicago in two weeks, continued Remington. “I thought we could save the company some money by renting only one room. The conference will be Saturday morning, but we could leave Friday afternoon and come back Monday morning. It would give us a romantic working weekend.”
“Edgar, this is all so sudden! I need time to think about this,” replied Mandy as she struggled to think of a proper response.
“Of course,” crooned Remington. “You think it over, but plan on spending that weekend with me in Chicago. You’ll love it. I know how to show a lady a good time, if you know what I mean.”
Mandy was almost in tears as she drove home. Her life was crumbling around her. Tim felt betrayed, as well as disrespected, so he was divorcing her. Heather was entirely too blasé about the divorce. She had implied that she had only had one parent for some time, meaning Mandy had not been much of a mother. Her parents were disgusted with her treatment of Tim. Everyone seemed to think Tim was a good guy and an excellent husband.
Edgar had just stated his intentions of sleeping with her on a business trip scheduled in two weeks. It turned out Tim was right about him! He had been telling her to keep Remington at arm’s length because he wanted to get into her pants.
Tim was having the time of his life. He had escorted two incredibly sexy women on a float trip where they had removed their tops and flaunted their big breasts in front of him. He might even be sleeping with both of them, maybe at the same time! The very thought made Mandy queasy.
If Tim had been able to get over her so quickly, why shouldn’t she enjoy being romanced by Edgar in Chicago? He was handsome and very successful. He was the kind of man Mandy had envisioned for a husband. Then Mandy began to worry about what Heather would think when she found out her mother was involved with Remington, especially after all her denials.
Things had gotten complicated since Tim had decided he’d rather be divorced than be married to Mandy on her terms. Why couldn’t he just make more money and support his family better? As that thought entered her mind, Mandy remembered how Heather had questioned her about why she wanted Tim to work so hard when she made enough money to support the family.
Mandy’s own father had stated that Tim was a good husband and the best father ever. She never realized the high esteem in which her family held Tim. They didn’t seem to care he was a maintenance man in the same company where she was the marketing director. Why couldn’t they understand how awkward that made things?
Tim dropped Heather back home Sunday night. She came through the door smiling and obviously contented with her weekend. Seeing her daughter so happy caused Mandy to become depressed again. Why was having a daughter who adored her father so upsetting? Shouldn’t Mandy be happy about their relationship?
“Is your father in too big a hurry to get back to his big-boobed girlfriends to stop in for a few minutes? It wouldn’t hurt if he spoke to me now and then,” complained Mandy. “We do have a daughter together.”
Heather sensed her mother’s mood and decided to keep her miserable. Maybe she would begin to see what a catch Tim really was.
“Dad did act pretty impressed with Lisa and Kim. I know he didn’t sleep with them last night because my bedroom door was open and I would have heard him leave and come back in. He wouldn’t dare bring them to the cabin while I was there. He knows how noisy you were when you made love. I doubt Kim and Lisa are the quiet, retiring types in bed.”
“I never made any sounds you could hear!” replied Mandy indignantly.
“Not in the last year or so, but you used to wail and moan pretty loudly when I was younger,” recalled Heather. “I didn’t mind. I thought it was pretty cool that my mom and dad loved each other so much.”
“Well, I’m sorry if we disturbed you,” apologized Mandy. “I didn’t realize you could hear me.”
“Mom! I was fine with it, really! One time Sarah stayed for a sleepover and she heard you squealing. She thought it was great that my folks were so in love. Her parents are divorced.
“Lisa and Kim were a lot of fun. I really liked them. They treated me like a younger sister and we really hit it off,” admitted Heather with a grin.
“Speaking of things coming off, did they keep their tops on at least?” quizzed Mandy.
“It’s a pretty isolated stretch of river, so no one actually saw them topless. They were covered up when we reached our stopping point,” replied Heather, choosing her words carefully to make it sound like the two beautiful women were topless in front of Tim.
Things began to unravel even more for Mandy during the following work week. One of the most profitable and productive machines on the floor stopped working properly on Monday afternoon. It would run, but the quality of the product it produced was well below specifications.