Thanks to the Knee and Hip doctor for editing assistance.
There wasn't anything juvenile about us, except our actions. We were three grown men acting like a bunch of teenagers. It was a bad situation and we were trying our best not to let it eat us up. It is easy to become bitter and vengeful when your wife is cheating on you. It takes self-control to keep from blowing up. As long as the three of us stayed together, we could support each other.
So, which one of our wives were cheating? All of them. It came about over a six-month period. My wife, Loretta started the ball rolling and had no trouble getting Dora and Colleen to join in. By the time the three of us figured out what was going on, it was too late to save any of our marriages. None of us were interested in trying anyhow.
Things will all come to a head tonight. Amazingly, none of the wives are aware that we know what the hell is going on. We spent the last month getting things ready and we are actually excited about pulling it off.
Woody, Terry and I grew up together. We were born and raised in Womelsdorf and had originally expected to retire here. Unfortunately, things changed when the wives wandered. Tomorrow we would be leaving for our new life in Canada. Tonight we would have a final, juvenile fling. Why juvenile? Well, what we were planning to do was childish and inappropriate. We preferred this way of acting compared to being violent and vengeful.
It was Terry's idea to go to Canada. The three of us used to go there for fishing trips every summer. We always had a great time and often mentioned how neat it would be to live there full time. Of course we all were married and had kids. My two daughters were both married and gone. Terry had a son who was in the Air Force. Woody had two sons who were at college and a seventeen year old daughter, Caitlyn, who was still at home. Caitlyn would have been a problem until Woody found out that she was aware of what her mother was doing. She threatened to leave if he didn't do something about it. In the end, it was three guys going to Canada with one head-strong teenage girl. It might be complicated for a while, but we all agreed that we would somehow make it work.
Terry was a chef. Actually, he was a cook, as he didn't have any formal training, but just a lot of experience. He and Dora had owned a small family restaurant for the last ten years. Well, they did own a restaurant until Terry sold it last week, without Dora's knowledge. I am not sure how he worked it all out, but he walked away with slightly over a hundred thousand dollars in cash. When he added that to all of the money that he withdrew from the bank and cashed in his insurance policies, we had a nice, little, starting bundle.
Woody owned an auto repair shop with his brother Glenn, who had been trying to buy him out for years, so that was another easy hundred grand for the relocation kitty. He got almost half that much for his 1964 Vette. Today, he cleaned out all the bank accounts as well.
I was the only one of the bunch that went to college. I didn't have a business like the other guys, but I did have over a quarter million dollars in investments. I made a good salary as an electrical engineer and invested wisely. Even in the bad market, I was able to hold my own. It took a couple of weeks to get things liquidated, but now it was all done.
Our original goal was to get a fly-in fishing lodge, but somewhere along the line we mellowed out and settle for one that our guest could drive to. It ended up costing us almost five hundred thousand dollars, but we were happy. We had enough cash left over to get started and support ourselves for at least four years. If we made money, life would be even better.
We were all packed up and ready to go. Tomorrow morning, the three car caravan would leave for a new life in the Northern woods. Wow, it sound about as exciting as a 'Little House on the Prairie.'
Loretta worked in a claims office for one of the big insurance companies in the area. Some how or another she got close to her boss, Raymond Upright. In order to get together with Raymond in the evenings, she talked Dora and Colleen into covering for her. The girls would go out together for supper and some drinks, or to attend some type of home party, so that Loretta would have a chance to meet Raymond at his house. This went on for a couple of months and then Raymond arranged a date for Colleen. The girls didn't want to leave Dora out, so a couple weeks later, she had a steady escort also.
So as it stands now, every Wednesday evening the girls had a night out while us guys played poker. The three ladies and their paramours would spend their time having wild passionate sex in Raymond's suburban home. We never did figure out if there was any swapping going on, but that didn't seem important.
Woody selected the Holiday Inn as a staging area. We waited at home until after the wives left for their night out. For some reason, they each drove their own car. I guess that was in case one of them wanted to leave early or stay late. Caitlyn was unhappy about having to wait for us at the motel, but we couldn't chance having her tagging along. We weren't planning anything too elaborate, but we could still get into trouble.
Woody and Terry were going straight back to the Holiday Inn, so they rode together. I wanted to see Loretta one last time before leaving, so I took my own car.
There were six cars parked outside of the Upright home. It looked like everyone had driven themselves. About a half hour after we got there one of the bedroom lights came on and then went back off. Shortly there after, the same thing happened in the other two bedrooms. Each of us had a set of side cutting pliers. It took less that two minutes to cut all of the valve stems on each of the cars. I had staked out the house the week before so I knew just where the electrical service box was. The individual breakers were inside, but the main panel was out side just above the meter. While I went up to the house Terry and Woody get the smoke flares ready. Terry had built ten smoke flares using PVC pipe. I didn't know what was in them other than salt peter and sugar. Terry tested them and they would burn between twenty and thirty minutes. They were big suckers. Woody went around the back of the house and Terry to the front.
When I saw the first bit of white smoke, I threw the main power switch. Using my mini-mag, I opened the box and popped out the main breaker. By the time I got to the car all ten of the smoke flares were going full blast. Most of them were white, but a few were orange and red. The house was completely engulfed in smoke as we left. I used my Trac phone to call two of the local TV stations on my way home.
It was at least an hour later when I heard a car door shut out front. Loretta looked like shit as she came into the house. I was sitting in front of the muted TV with a beer. It wasn't cold because I had the same one in my hand for the past thirty minutes.
"How was your evening darling?"
She put down her purse and kicked off her shoes.
"I had to take a cab home. The car has a flat."
"Why didn't you call me?" There was no answer.
"Do you want me to go get the car for you?"
"No, I'll take care of it in the morning. I am tired. I need a shower and I want to go to bed."
"Loretta, where are your earrings? You had the diamond solitaires on when you left the house."
Her hand went up to her ear and her mouth dropped open a little. I was expecting her to say that they were in her purse, but she didn't say anything.
"Let me guess. You took them off so that you wouldn't lose them in the bed. You left your purse in the living room, so you had to put the earrings on the nightstand. When the lights went out, you forgot the earrings in your rush to get out of the house. Is that about it?"
She gave me a quizzical look. "How did you know that the lights went out?"
I held up the master breaker that I pulled from the box.
"Oh God, No! You were there. Please, John, don't tell me that you were there."
I smiled and got out of the chair. "I wasn't alone. Terry and Woody were with me. We will be gone in the morning. We bought a shrimp boat down in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. I hope that you and Raymond will be very happy."
"John. Wait. Don't go. John. Can we talk? John."
I slammed the door behind me, and walked to the car.
I drove by the Upright house on the way to the motel. There were a couple of Black and White's, and four tow trucks, trying to get the cars out of there. I parked down the street and walked right into the garage. Nobody tried to stop me. The house was dark and it was empty. Using the mini-mag I checked the bedrooms. I found a pair of diamond earrings in the second one along with both of Loretta's wedding rings. I thought that it was interesting that she actually took off her rings before she committed adultery.
Ten minutes later I was at the Holiday Inn. Loretta had called the other wives and they were desperately trying to mend things.
According to Terry, Dora was crying so hysterically that he couldn't understand a word that she said. He turned his phone off.
Colleen on the other hand was not as emotional. All she did was demand that Woody come home immediately and explain himself. He turned his phone off also.
We had one room with two double beds reserved. Caitlyn was not crazy about sleeping in a room with three guys, but she was the last minute addition, so she had to endure it. We slept in our clothes and started out at five the next morning. We had reservations for the next night at Plattsburg. Woody promised Caitlyn that she could have a room of her own.
We were on the road about five hours when my cell phone rang. I forgot to turn it off. Caller ID showed that it was my eldest daughter, Sarah.
"Dad. It's Sarah. What is going on between you and mom?"
"Is she there?"
"Yes, and she is a wreck. She said you won't let her explain anything."
"Did she explain it to you?"
"No. She just said you are being unreasonable and unfair. That is all I can get out of her."
"Sarah. Do me a favor. Look and see if your mother is wearing her wedding rings." There was a short pause.
"No. What does that mean?"
"Ask her where her wedding rings are?"
I heard a few muffled noises and then Sarah came back. "Dad. What the hell is going on? I ask about her rings and she burst out crying and ran out of the house. She drove away, but I don't recognize the car she is driving."
"When your mother is ready to tell you what happened, I will discuss it with you. Until then, I really have nothing more to say."
"I'll go by the house and see her later today."
I turned my phone off. I didn't need any more grief.
At noon today, each of the wives will be served with divorce papers. Raymond Upright will get some alienation of affection papers, as will Carl Wilcox and Dennis Roswell. Our mutual attorney, Seymour Schlamp, has promised to keep us updated on events, as long as he has a way to contact us. Seymour went to school with us and was proud to be included in our revenge efforts. It is really not revenge, just a way to get away from the problem.
Two days later we were settled in our new home. Hopefully our wives were expecting us to go Alabama. It would just be easier if no one came looking for us. Terry was excited about the kitchen, his new empire. Our new lodge closed for two weeks so that we could get familiar with things. A few of the old employees were staying with us during that time. Woody had his hands full. Between keeping the boat motors running and the lodge generators humming, he had very little free time. Caitlyn agreed to wait tables and do the housekeeping, but since she was not a part owner, she wanted to be paid. How could we refuse.
By the time our first guest arrived, we had everything ready. Terry had his menu planned out and his larder filled. Woody had all the boat motors tuned up. The overall management of the place was on my shoulders. I relished the challenge. Skilled fishing guides from the area, were anxiously waiting for the guests. What they earned depended on how successful their trips were. It was something we didn't have to concern ourselves with. Whenever I got the chance, I was working on the Website for the lodge. The better the Website, the easier it would be to keep the rooms filled. Terry, Woody and I were fisherman. When the fall arrived, we would have to start providing services for people that were interested in hunting. At this point, we had no idea what we were going to do. We decided to cross that bridge when we came to it.
Things at the lodge were going great. Things at home were not. Seymour called to give us an update. Dora was the only one of the wife's that signed and returned the divorce papers. She didn't want the divorce, but felt obligated to do anything that Terry asked her to do. She had however become a recluse. She stayed in the house most of the time and refused to talk with anyone.
Colleen had disappeared, along with Dennis Roswell. Seymour wasn't even able to serve them. No one knew where she was.
Seymour kept the worst news for last. Loretta refused to sign the divorce papers and Raymond Upright had moved into the house with her; our house. So much for my remorseful wife.
For the next few days, I was worthless around the lodge. Finally, Woody and Terry sat me down and insisted that I go back home and straighten things out. I didn't wait until morning. I woke up in the middle of the night, and started to drive South. It wasn't fair to the guys if I didn't do my share. I had to make things right.
Of course I crapped out about half way. I am not a marathon driver. I got a small room and called Seymour. I told him to sue Continental Paragon Insurance for one million dollars, with an out clause. If they fired both Loretta and Raymond, I would drop the suit. Seymour complained a little, because he knew which option they would be taking and he saw the big bucks flying out the window. I told him to bill me for the hours and serve the papers at noon tomorrow.
I was up and on the road early. By eight o'clock, I was sitting across from the house, out of sight. Ten minutes later the garage door opened and Loretta and Raymond left for work, together. It looked natural and it pissed me off. It was time for some more juvenile escapades.
I stopped by Kroger's and picked up a half dozen cans of red beets, and a package of rubber gloves. By that time my favorite oriental market was open. The first purchase was five pounds of what is commonly called stinky tofu. In the frozen food section I picked up five bags of frozen, skinny fish. I don't know what the real name is. We bought them for fish bait because they smelled so bad. We just called them skinny fish. The last thing I got was a couple of Durian fruit. Durian fruit is considered to be the worst smelling food in the world. I was sure that I could figure out some way to use this item.
Thirty minutes later I was back in my old house. I figured I had about three hours to do what had to be done. The first thing was to use the skinny fish before they started to thaw. All I needed was a common screw driver. I went from room to room and removed each electrical switch cover and wall socket. I dropped two skinny fish into the wall behind each fixture. It took me about ten minutes per room. An hour an a half later, I ran out of fish.
The stinky tofu was soft and mushy. It spread like butter. I used it on the top and bottom of the mattresses and on all the furniture cushions. The odor would permeate the fabric and could never be removed.
I had to use the cleaver in the kitchen, to cut the Durian fruit into pieces. Wow, did it smell rotten. I put a piece deep into each of the heating/air conditioning ducts in the house.
I walked around to inspect my work. I had carefully replaced all of the electrical fixture so that they could not figure out where the smell was coming from. Satisfied with my efforts, I dribbled red, beet juice on every rug in every room. No stain remover would be able to get it out. I was done inside the house. Before leaving, I went to the garage and opened the breaker panel. I removed each breaker and then the main. I pulled the panel out and with my trusty screwdriver undid each connection. It was an electricians nightmare, especially since I took the panel and breakers with me.
My work here was done. They can have the house now. In thirty minutes all hell would break lose at Continental Paragon. It was time to leave.
For some reason I felt that I should stop and see Dora. She let me in the house and offered me coffee. I felt obligated to accept. She asked how Terry was, but offered nothing more. We sat without speaking until I finished my coffee. I asked her if there was anything that I could do for her and she broke out crying, and left the room. As I walked to the door, she called out to me.
"John. Tell him for me. Please, tell him for me."
"Tell him what?"
She came back, crying again. I had a hard time understanding her. "I didn't fuck him, John. Tell Terry that I didn't fuck Carl. I did some other stuff, but I didn't fuck him."
"What do you mean other stuff?"
"You know. He kept badgering me. I had to do something to make him stop. I didn't even want to be there. Colleen and Loretta made me go. They thought that if I did it too, I wouldn't say anything. I felt trapped."
I just stood there. I didn't know what to say.
"Please. John. Tell Terry that I didn't fuck him. I love Terry and I am sorry I let Colleen and Loretta talk me in to going with them. I don't know what to do. Help me, John."
I felt worst than before I came. I nodded to her and left. She was truly remorseful for what she did, but did not know how to make it right.
Before starting back to the lodge, I stopped to see Sarah. She was no longer speaking to her mother. Loretta never told her what happened, but she found out somehow. When Sarah confronted Loretta, there was an argument, which had not yet been resolved. More damn grief.
I was just outside of Plattsburgh when my cell phone rang. It was Loretta. Sarah must have given her my number.
"John, you son-of-a-bitch. What the hell did you do?"
"Can you be a little more specific?"
"I got fired today. They said they had to either fire me or face a lawsuit. Your name was mentioned."
"That is terrible, darling. I was hoping that they would just pay me the million dollars. I guess we both lost out." It was hard not to laugh.
"That is not all of it. When I got home I found that the house had been trashed. There was no electricity and it smelled to high heaven. What did you do to my house?"
"It's not your house, Loretta. You refused to sign the divorce papers. It's our house. It is as much mine as yours, and I can do anything I want to it."
"I called the police. You are going to have to pay to have it fixed and face charges."
"Why don't you just get Raymond to fix it? He seems to better at taking care of things than I was."
"He would be happy to talk to you about that, John, especially since you got him fired too."
"I'll tell you what Loretta, the next time I am in town, I will give him a call."
The conversation was getting a little redundant. I was glad to hear that everything went well, but I really didn't want to talk to her any more. I never bothered to say goodbye, I just turned the phone off.
I was hoping to be back at the lodge by breakfast.
Things seemed to run smoothly while I was gone, except for one slight problem.
"Caitlyn, where the hell is your father?"
"Hi John. Welcome back. Dad will only be gone for a couple of days. He had a small problem that he had to take care of in Vegas."
"Yeah. He had to borrow a little of the working cash for the trip. He told me to tell you not to worry."
"How much working cash?"
"What the hell does he need ten thousand dollars for?"
"I am not sure, but I think it has something to do with mom."
"Oh crap. Where is Terry?"
"In the kitchen, getting ready for lunch."
Well other than the fact that one of the partners ran off with a big chunk of our operating capital, things seemed to be all right. Terry was busy, but seemed to have everything under control. He had figured out that it was easier to put out a small buffet every day than to let the guests order from the menu. It was working for him and there were no complaints from the lodgers.
"John. Welcome back. How was the trip?"
"It was a lot of fun, actually. I was glad that I went."
"I guess you know that Woody is gone?"
"Caitlyn gave me a quick rundown, but she didn't seem to know much."
"Colleen is in trouble. She called Seymour, and asked if he could get in touch with Woody. It seems that Dennis skipped out on her, after running up a nice sized bill at the MGM grand. The hotel had her arrested for defrauding an innkeeper. The bill was just over ten grand. They are holding her in the local jail, until the bill is paid. She is looking at some jail time if nothing is done soon."
"You are not telling me that Woody is going to use our money to paid the hotel bill for Colleen and her boyfriend?"
"I don't think so. He was smiling when he left. He might have something up his sleeve."
"Boy, I sure hope so. We might need that money for the winter."
"He got a round trip ticket, and should be back this evening."
I was turning to leave when I remembered my visit to Dora.
"Terry, I saw Dora while I was home. She is not doing well."
"Tough shit. After what they did to us, I don't have any sympathy for her or the others."
"I am not sure, but I think it might have been different with Dora."
"Different how? A cheater is a cheater. It can't be undone."
"Loretta and Colleen might have pressured her into joining them. I don't think she wanted to, but felt forced into it."
"Is that what she told you?"
"Not exactly, but she did want me to make sure to tell you that she didn't screw the guy."
"Then what the hell was she doing there?"
I didn't answer him. There was a short pause in the conversation before he started to put two and two together.
"Oh crap. Don't tell me. She wasn't screwing him, but she was sucking his cock. That's great. Just wonderful."
"She said that she had to do something, and that was all she could think of. She insisted that I tell you that she didn't fuck him. Apparently, Loretta and Colleen had really put the screws to her."
I could tell that Terry was upset. "I am sorry, John, but as far as I am concerned, sucking a guys cock is just as bad as screwing him. She shouldn't have been there in the first place."
I left him alone to brood. I think I understood what was going on in his head, but I have to admit that I don't know what I would do under the same circumstances.
It only took me a few hours to get the days business done. I had to figure out how we could make money over the winter months. We had the fishing season covered, but needed a little more. We were not interested in competing with the hunting camps and unanimously rejected anything to do with snow mobiles. My research was interrupted by a new guest.
Amanda Freese was a striking woman. Boy, is that a trite phrase. I was kicking myself for even thinking it. She was in her mid forties, with short dark hair and a perpetual tan. She wasn't a beauty, but her posture and demeanor compensated for it.
"You are the new owner I assume?"
"One of them. How can I help you?"
"I can pretty well take care of myself. I am Amanda Freese. I have been coming here regularly for the past few years and I am hoping to continue to do so. I hope you haven't changed too many things, because I hate change."
"If there are any changes that you do not like, just let me know."
"I will, I assure you."
I felt that she was trying to bait me a little, but I was unsure of her purpose in doing so. It was my responsibility to keep her happy, but I had no intention of allowing her to shit on me.
"Luc Boudreau has been my regular guide. I assume he is still available?"
"I am going to spend the rest of the day getting settled in. Can you make sure that Luc is here in the morning?"
"No problem, Mrs. Freese."
Luc Boudreau was more than happy to tell me about Amanda Freese. For some reason, she took a shine to him. He was no better or worse than the other guides, but he refused to take any guff from her. He said that she seemed to like that. The only thing that she was interested in was pike fishing. That was odd, because she came from Burlington. There was plenty of pike in Lake Champaign. She had no reason to drive herself to our place. Luc wasn't sure, but thought that she was divorced. She had a son, who only came with her on one trip. He hated spending time on the lake, so she never brought him back with her. She was a great tipper and it appeared that she was Luc's favorite guest.
Pike fishing was an unusual choice for a woman. It wasn't exactly exciting. Hooking and landing a pike are sort of like snagging a log. She never kept any of them. It was strictly catch and release. There was something fascinating about her. I was looking forward to her stay with us.
Some time in the middle of the night Woody had returned. When I came downstairs, he was halfway thought breakfast and seemed happy to see me.
"Tell me the bad news, Woody. How much did your trip to Vegas end up costing us?"
Woody was sort of quietly laughing as Caitlyn poured me a cup of coffee.
"Just plane fare, John. Round trip excursion fares to Las Vegas are pretty cheap. I took a wad of cash with me so that I could flash it in front of Colleen. It worked perfectly."
Woody had finished his meal and pushed the plate aside. "They were holding Colleen until she could pay the hotel bill that she and dickhead had run up. He skipped out on her, but she wasn't smart enough to realize what was going on. When she repaid the $9700, plus court costs and a penalty, she would be released. I showed her the money and promised to take care of everything as soon as she signed the divorce papers. I never saw her move so fast."
"I thought you said it didn't cost us anything?"
"John, I am not that stupid. I took the signed papers and walked right out of the court house. I am sure it was several hours, until she realized that I had screwed her just as bad as Dennis did. I mailed the signed papers to Seymour and caught the next plane back to Montreal."
"You are a rotten son-of-a-bitch, Woody."
"Yeah, I know, and I feel great."
When Caitlyn came over to refill the coffee, I asked her to bring me some breakfast. She said it would take a little while because Terry was gone. Now what the hell was going on?
Caitlyn was better in the kitchen than I was, so I helped out by waiting tables so that she could concentrate on the cooking. Luckily the breakfast crowd was staggered over several hours. I cleaned up in the kitchen while Caitlyn got all of the housekeeping duties taken care. The lunch buffet went a little smoother. It was easier to be a busboy than a waiter. Caitlyn did a great job again in preparing the meal. There was no doubt that we needed more help.
Luc Boudreau was waiting in my office after lunch. It was not a good sign because I didn't want to lose him as a guide.
"Mister Mercer, I just need a minute of your time."
"Is something wrong, Luc? If so, I'll do what ever I can to fix it."
"Nothing is wrong, but I am concerned about Miss Amanda."
"She is asking a lot of questions. She never does that. She is getting annoyed with me because I can not answer most of them. I don't want her mad at me."
"What kind of questions?"
"Mostly about you and why you bought the lodge. She asked me where you came from and about your wife. I can't answer any of these questions."
"She never did that before?"
"Hell, no. She never even talked to me before, except about the pike."
"She was asking a lot of question about the young girl; the one who does the housekeeping."
"Caitlyn? Why would she be asking about her?"
Luc just shrugged his shoulders. He felt uncomfortable about the whole situation, so I thanked him and he quickly left. He seemed relieved and satisfied about the conversation.
Woody took care of supper. He set up some grills on the front porch and we had all the guests cook their own steaks. The weather was cool and balmy, but everybody seemed to enjoy it, even Amanda Freese. Beans, Cole Slaw and garlic toast were an easy accompaniment.
Woody and Caitlyn were cleaning up and I noticed Amada Freese sitting by the fireplace with a glass of red wine. It wasn't really cold enough for a good fire, but the small one looked pleasant.
"May I join you?"
She didn't say anything, but shifted over on the couch to make more room. It was a good sign. I had no idea what I was going to say next.
"Did Luc come to see you?" She anticipated my visit.
"Did you tell him to?"
"Not really, but I primed the pump a little, so to speak."
"You baited him?"
"In a fashion. It became obvious that Luc did not know any more about you and your staff that I did. I would feel awkward approaching you directly, so I was hoping that he could get you interested enough to come to me."
"You are a very devious woman? Is there a purpose in your madness?"
She finished her wine and laughed a little. I reached out my hand for the empty, which she readily gave me. A few moments later, I returned with the bottle and two glasses.
"Now that you don't feel awkward anymore, are there any questions that want answered?"
"I'll make you a deal. I get to ask you a question for everyone that you ask me."
"That's not fair. I am entitled to my privacy, but you are not."
"Would you rather just sit her and enjoy the wine and the fire?"
"No. I want some answers."
"You are very argumentative."
"Yes I am. Are you married?"
"No fair. You snuck in a question when I wasn't looking."
I don't know if it was the wine or the banter, but we were both getting comfortable.
"I am, or shall I say, I was. I am presently in the process of getting divorced."
She nodded when I answered and took a sip of wine.
"My turn. Are you divorced?"
"You asked that question backwards."
"Yes, I know. I am an optimist."
"I have been divorced for nine years and I have an eighteen year old son."
"I have two daughters, married and gone."
"I didn't ask."
It was a strange conversation and it continued for over an hour. I was forced to open another bottle of wine before we finished. Amanda finally excused herself because Luc was expecting her at 6am, and she proudly announced that she was never late.
I was looking forward to spending more time with her.
The next morning brought several unexpected surprises. Woody and I came down for breakfast together and were surprised that our new waitress was none other than Dora. Woody and I smiled at each other as we said good morning to her. Neither of us made any smart assed comments and tried our best to act as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. At one point I caught Dora looking at me and she silently said "thank you". I just nodded.
Later that morning Seymour called. Loretta had agreed to sign the divorce papers with one stipulation: She wanted to be free and clear of all liability connected to the house and that I would take over sole ownership. The house was trashed, but it still had good bones. I told him to go for it. I was six hundred miles away, but felt certain that I could figure something out. It was nice to see some positive results coming from a silly, childish prank. What truly amazed me is that she wasn't trying to get any of the assets that had been accumulated. She only knew about half of them, but it was odd that she was more than willing to walk away without demanding anything.
Terry stuck his nose in at the office and gave me a wink, but nothing more. He was a better man than I was, and I felt good for him.
Amanda Freese took the afternoon off from her fishing. She was in the main lodge area with Caitlyn. I glanced in at them a few times trying to get a feel for what was going on. Caitlyn seemed a bit agitated with the older woman at times, indicating that they were disagreeing about something, but she didn't walk away.
I had a difficult time concentrating the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to talk with Terry to find out what happened that put him back together with Dora. I was hoping to chat with Luc a little to see if the mysterious Mrs. Freese had said anything during her morning fishing. What was going on between Amanda and Caitlyn. I was dying to call Loretta just to let her vent a little and silently gloat. I felt sure that Dora wanted to talk to me, but without being obvious. Damn it, I was turning into the worlds biggest busybody. All of a sudden I found myself laughing at the stupidity of everything that was going on.
Woody popped in with a couple of cold beers and broke the spell. Terry was bitching because we used all the steaks and screwed up his menu for the rest of the week. That beer sure tasted good. Woody and I decided that we would not ask Terry about what was going on with Dora. When he was ready, he would tell us.
Shortly after Woody left, Luc stopped in just to let me know that Mrs. Freese had been in a great mood that morning. She didn't catch many fish, but didn't seem upset about it. He gave me a smile and a wink when he left. I was not sure what that meant.
Amanda Freese always sat by herself during mealtime. I tried to avoid casual contact with the guests, but tonight I decided to impose on the mystery woman. Actually she wasn't that much of a mystery anymore, just interesting.
"May I join you?"
"Of course. I haven't ordered yet."
"You didn't go out this afternoon."
"No. I wanted to talk to Caitlyn. I should have asked her father for permission first, but I was hoping to keep it casual."
"How did that work out for you?"
"Not too well I am afraid. I wasn't able to explain things the way that I should have. I just hope that I didn't botch it up too bad."
Dora interrupted the conversation to take our supper order. We picked one of three entrees and the rest of the meal was prix fixe. Terry knew how to keep things simple.
"What exactly were you trying to do?"
"I told you last night that I had a son."
"You mentioned it, but you did not elaborate."
"Jason is very smart, good looking and physically healthy, but he has one problem. He has been mentally abused by his father since he was a baby. Although he has always excelled at everything he attempted his father was never satisfied. The constant browbeating and belittling left him with no self esteem and no confidence. He stutters and shies away from contact with other people, adult and his same age."
"I assume that is what prompted the divorce?"
"Absolutely. I also have a restraining order that prevents his father from contacting him even after he became of legal age. I have good lawyers."
The conversation stopped momentarily as Dora served our food.
"Luc had said that Jason came here to the lodge with you on one occasion."
"Yes. I was hoping that it would help him relax, but he hated the lake and hated the fishing. Since then, he has stayed with my sister when I come up."
Do you feel bad about leaving him alone?"
"Yes, but I think it is necessary. I don't want him to be totally dependent upon me. At some point, he will have to be on his own. I try to stay away a little longer each time to condition him. Unfortunately, leaving him with my sister isn't helping much."
"I think I see where this is going, but why Caitlyn?"
"She is the same age as Jason. She seems to be posed and confident. She works hard. Other than that, I don't know much about her. She is attractive and people seem to feel comfortable around her."
"What is it exactly that you were expecting her to do for you, or should I say for Jason?"
"All I want her to do was spent some one-on-one time with him. I was hoping that I could being him here for a few weeks and that maybe he would open up some. He is scheduled to start at Princeton in six weeks. In his present condition, he will not be able to go. I spent thousand of dollars on professional therapists and it was all wasted."
"That is pretty much to expect in two weeks."
"I have to try something."
"I noticed that Caitlyn did not appear to be too responsive."
"She promised to think about it, but I am afraid it doesn't look too promising."
"Would you like to talk to Woody?"
"I was hoping that you would be able to do that for me."
"I am a good judge of people. Unfortunately, I allowed my father to select my husband for me. I will never make that mistake again."
"I'll see what I can do. Are you having desert?"
"I will, if you join me."
I found Caitlyn and Woody out on the porch. It was chilly, but beautiful.
"Can I interrupt?"
"By all means. Caitlyn and I were waiting for you do come out. How was your supper?"
"Interesting. Your beautiful daughter was the topic of our dinner discussion."
"That is what we were hoping."
"Uncle John, she pissed me off. I can't tell if she wants me to be a babysitter or a prostitute." I wasn't really her uncle, but she got used to calling me that years ago and it seemed to stick.
"There is a big difference between those two options."
"Well I am not crazy about either one of the choices."
"Is that how she presented it to you, or did come to that conclusion?"
Caitlyn waited a moment before replying. "No, I just assumed that was what she was getting at. In any event, I have no intention of spending my time with a retard."
"Wow baby! Bad choice of words." Woody seemed a little annoyed with his daughters insensitivity.
"Well I don't know how else to describe him. Mrs. Freese tried to explain what was wrong with him and I really didn't pay attention. My mind was jumping all around."
"Caitlyn he is starting at Princeton in a couple months. He is not stupid or retarded. In fact, as I understand it, he is pretty damn smart."