Eye Opening Trip Ch. 01bySW_MO_Hermit©
My daughter in law felt like she needed a companion to drive from her post in Washington State to her new duty station in Oklahoma. She and my son are both in the Army and he was in Ranger school. He couldn't get leave to help her so guess whom she called on? Right. Me. I didn't really want to spend the money and besides a 25-year-old military officer should be able to drive all by herself across the country shouldn't she? Well, I had decided to tell her I wouldn't do it when my wife entered the conversation.
In fact, my wife entered the conversation with a roar. She was ANGRY and said to me, "Damn it Jim. What the hell's wrong with you? Your Daughter in Law asked for help and you refused her. You need to be more compassionate and helpful for our children. Besides, you've been whining about wanting to travel more. You know I'm out of vacation and can't go so this is a godsend for you. You get the whole trip for the cost of a one-way plane ticket. How can you beat that?"
"OK, OK, I'll make the reservations and tell Jen I have changed my mind." In no time I had a flight into Seattle so we could make the drive together. When I called Jennifer back, she became very happy instantly.
I suppose I was still a little upset and also drowsy the next morning when my wife dropped me at the airport. I didn't even notice that I did not receive a kiss or good-bye hug. She just let me out and drove off. Huh, I thought. She must still be pissed at me. I thought I saw Ann watching from the non-secure area of the airport as I boarded the plane. I finally decided I was mistaken because she had to hurry from the airport to get to work on time.
When I finally got to Seattle, my daughter in law met me with a hug, and then said, "Jim Ann called a few minutes ago to see if you had made it OK. She wants me to call her back before we leave so she knows you arrived safely."
"Ok, let's go." I said as I got into her Highlander. "I'll give her a call later this evening after we get out of this traffic. I can hardly hear over the freeway noise."
"No, I promised to call as soon as you got here and we were on the road." She said. As she was talking, she was dialing her cell. When I heard Ann answer I said, "Here, let me talk to her and calm her down."
As I was reaching for the phone Jen said, "Hi Ann. Well, he's here safely and we just pulled out of the airport heading home. Hold on, Jim wants to talk to you."
Jennifer got a strange look on her face and said, "She said she didn't have time to talk right then and she would see us when we got back. She just hung up on me Jim. I'm sorry. Do you want to call her back?"
I took my cell out and tried to call my wife several times on her phone, then tried her office phone. She answered and almost snarled, "What do you want? I told Jen I didn't have time to talk right now. I'll see you when you get home." then she hung up.
I looked at the phone a minute then said, "What the FUCK?"
Jen looked at me briefly then asked what was wrong and I told her. She just said, "Well, maybe she is having a bad day. You know how stressed she probably is what with her bank being taken over by the FDIC. Just relax and we can figure things out later."
Well, we got to visiting and catching up on things as we drove and I didn't try to talk to Ann again that day. By the time we stopped for the night it was so late I decided not to call again.
The next night, I called home four times beginning 30 minutes after she should have been home from work and continuing until 11 p.m. There was never an answer and I left two messages on the machine. The next night was a repeat of the first. In between two of the calls I tried to call one of the women Ann worked with. I got her husband. He seemed sort of upset and worried, and then finally said Ann, his wife and "some of the girls" had decided to go out for a while.
About thirty minutes later I got a phone call but when I answered, there was no one there. I didn't recognize the number. I called back and things got even stranger. The woman who answered didn't know me and said she had never called. As I kept pressing and asking for my wife she got more and more angry then finally hung up. I just shrugged and decided it had been a wrong number she had called and it was an honest mistake. About the time I decided that, Jen got a call on her phone. It was the same number. When she asked who it was, they said "Its Ann Jen. Who did you think it was?"
Jen said, "Sorry Ann, I didn't recognize your voice. You have Jim worried, here, talk to him." She handed me the phone but when I took it, whoever was there had hung up. Stranger and stranger!
That night at supper, Jen looked at me with a haunted expression on her face and said, "Jim. Last night when you were worrying about Ann I thought you were just over reacting but now I don't know. This is sure some strange goings on. I'm starting to get worried too."
I had a sick, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I said, "Ann has been acting strange for about two months but this is the worst I have seen. I just laid the problem to the work pressure but now I don't. I'm starting to think something else is going on. I need to think a while. I'm going over to the bar."
Jen started to follow me but I held up my hand to stop her and shook my head no. She slowly, reluctantly left. As soon as I was sure she was gone, I walked into the hotel lobby and began making phone calls. I was afraid. If what I was beginning to suspect was going on really was, I could call the wrong person and tip my hand but I had to trust someone. Who should that be?
After much soul searching, I remembered a friend I hadn't talked to in several weeks. He was an old retired Army man like I was and I had helped him a lot when his wife stepped out on him. Jack had just gotten married again and I decided he would not be a likely candidate for my wife to be with so I called in some favors.
"Jack I am starting to suspect Ann is cheating on me. She has been acting very strange the last couple of months and couldn't wait to get me out of the country this week. Can you round up some help and keep track of Ann? If she is seeing someone maybe you can catch them and get some pictures. I'll be back Tomorrow night. I would like to see you Friday or sometime this weekend at the latest if you come up with anything."
I tried to call Ann again that night at home also and got no answer. Finally, about 11 p.m. she called me and said, "Jim why are you being such an asshole? You act like you don't trust me at all. I'm tired of you trying to check up on me like I was a teenager. You're out of the damn Army so stop being so controlling and checking up on me. Do you have any idea how embarrassed I was when you called Bonnies' husband checking on me? Just to put your suspicions to rest, I have either been out with Bonnie or the girls or with my family every time you tried to call me. Call them if you don't believe me. Now I'm tired and I'm going to bed. We'll talk about this more when you get home."
After that little lecture I was seething with anger but held my tongue. I merely told her, "I was worried about you honey. You have never been so hard to find at home and I was afraid something had happened to you. Besides, when we were younger you always wanted me to call every night I was on a trip unless I was in the field."
"Well yeah," she said. "I did then but that was when I didn't know where you were. I know you are with Jen so it doesn't matter now."
Oh, how I wanted to jump on that statement because most of the time I traveled (except for deployments) she knew exactly which post I was on and what I was doing but this time we had no planned itinerary. She was even more in the dark than she used to be as far as my whereabouts were concerned. I couldn't say that though because she hung up after the last diatribe and once again didn't even say I love you.
When we arrived at our house Thursday, we were later than expected so she was angry with us for causing her to have to hold supper. Needless to say, I got a cool welcome and no loving when we went to bed. Friday she left for work without even giving me a kiss. She didn't get home Friday night until after 10 p.m. Neither Jennifer nor I got any call warning us she would be late either.
Saturday, about 4 p.m. Ann disappeared into the master suite and I heard the shower running. Soon, she came out dressed nicely in a short dress and announced to Jen and I that she had to go to a baby shower and would be back late. "Don't wait up for me you two. They said they were having wine and finger food so we may party a long time." She never asked Jen if she wanted to go. As far as I remembered, she had never told either of us she even had plans. Jen and I both found this to be very strange.
I have no idea when Ann got home or came to bed. I don't think anything short of a bomb could have awakened her Sunday morning. About 9 a.m. Jack came by the house. He looked very depressed and I feared the worst. "Jim could you come help me a few minutes? I got my ole truck stuck to the frame in a mud hole and I need you to help pull it out. I wouldn't bother you knowing you just got back but Sandy is still at church."
"OK," I said. Let me tell Ann and get my boots."
When we were out of sight of the house Jack looked at me and heaved a deep sigh. I could tell from the look on his face it was bad news. "Jim. There is an envelope in the glove box. I guess you need it but you aren't going to like it much. Looks like Ann is taking care of two of those assholes she is working with. I don't know how long it has been going on but it went on every night we watched her and until nearly 3 a.m. this morning. Jim, I'm really sorry. Now, come on over to my place so we can have a beer and get you muddy. We don't want her to suspect something until you get your ducks in a row."
You ever heard of crying in your beer? Well, I did it that day as I tried to decide what to do and how to do it. I wanted to hurt the bitch like she hurt me. I wanted to beat the living crap out of the two assholes she was fucking and I wanted to keep all the money and investments we had. We talked. I got the name of a good attorney. I went home drunk on my ass and had a valid excuse not to do anything with good old, faithful old Ann. HA.
Monday morning, Ann left for work on time and shortly after, Jen left for her new post. I got busy and called the attorney Jack recommended. He sounded OK and I got an appointment for the following day. I had known him in high school so felt pretty confident I could work with him. I am not one of those forgive and forget type of guys so I knew already, no matter what Ann said, we were done. All I needed to do was figure out how to keep as many of our assets as I could.
I started gathering all the information and documents the attorney said I would need for our meeting. I also began trying to hide some of our savings. The first thing I did was write some large checks to the friends that had helped catch Ann. They had already agreed to give most of the money back when the divorce was over. I managed to hide $25000.00 that way. I Was afraid to give them more in case the Judge and Ann's attorney would accuse me of sheltering money from the divorce. We had decided we could justify that amount. There was no way to know how long we had watched Ann before they caught her. There was also no way to verify the out of pocket expense the guys went to.
After Ann left for work the next morning-without a good-bye kiss I might add-I left for my appointment with the attorney. The news wasn't the best but he thought he could protect the family farm where we lived and my pension. Ann had a large 401K. My attorney thought if we let her keep her 401K she wouldn't be able to get any of my military pension. We were going to let her have the small vacation home we had on a lake in place of her getting any of the farm. That only left our brokerage and bank accounts. There wasn't much way to protect them that would be legal.
I told John (the attorney) "Go ahead and prepare the documents. Don't serve them until I tell you to though."
John asked, "Why wait Jim?"
"Oh, I need to talk to some people first. I don't want them to know the circumstances before hand."
Being an attorney, he felt constrained to remind of the law. He said, "Jim it wouldn't be wise to do anything illegal such as injure the wife or her male friends. You do know hiding money is illegal also don't you?"
I just grinned at him and said; "Now you know I am a law abiding citizen and something like that would never cross my mind."
"Oh, no. I'm sure it wouldn't but I seem to remember a high school senior that totally fucked up the car and the face of a young man that moved in on his steady girl back in 1970. As I recall, he looked a lot like you so, in case I wasn't mistaken about the identity I just thought I would mention the legalities."
We both laughed as I slapped him on the back. "Sure John. You've done your job. Catch ya later." I said as I left his office.
My mind recalled that fateful night as I walked back to my truck. John had driven me home because I was hurt pretty badly. I had just barely managed to beat the bastard that had stolen my girl at that party. Allen had been the starting quarterback for the team and we were celebrating our win of the district championship. I had caught him talking to Donna several times over the course of the school year. Before the night of the party I had done nothing but warn him away from her. I did tell Donna that if I ever caught her with someone else it was over. She obviously either didn't believe me or thought she wouldn't get caught.
When I caught them that night she was laying on a blanket, her skirt around her waist. Her panties were missing and I could see the sperm draining from her well-fucked cunt. She was begging Allen not to leave yet and he was standing tightening his belt when I confronted them. Damn, what a fight. When we were done, he was the loser and we were surrounded by most of the people at the party. Donna was sitting on the blanket crying as John helped me off the "battlefield". That was the last time I ever spoke to Donna. A few weeks later she mailed my promise ring back to me.
When Ann returned from work that day she found me on the patio. I was drinking Glenlivet and staring across the small stream that runs alongside our yard. I guess she had decided to play the good wife because she gave me a hug and sat in a chair beside me. "Why are you drinking your good stuff so early?"
I looked at her and said, "Just thinking back to high school and my first love. I caught her cheating on me and dumped her after I beat the hell out of the football player I caught her fucking. I guess she was like most women. They think they either won't get caught cheating or if they get caught they can keep their husband and lover too. I don't know. I was just wondering why someone who said they loved a person would cheat and think they and their lovers should suffer no retribution."
I looked at Ann while I was saying that and decided the old saying was true. I watched her face literally turn white, and then she flushed dark red and yelled at me. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? Do you still think I did something wrong while you were gone? I was lonesome and spent the evenings with friends and my family. Is that so wrong? Now get over it." She got up and started into the house.
I waited until she got a few feet from me then I said, "I wasn't thinking too much about that right now, but since you bring it up, I know something wasn't right. If I do find out something went on you know we're through don't you? You've told me several times if you ever caught me cheating it was over and if you remember I told you the same thing."
Ann stopped just outside the house a minute and didn't even turn to look at me. "You sound pretty sure of yourself. If you really think I did something wrong why don't you show me the proof?" She walked on into the house without saying anything else. I got a pretty poor sandwich for supper that night. I wonder if Ann was angry with me?
Over the next few days I pulled some cash from the bank several times, keeping it below the amount that had to be reported to the Feds. Things were still rough at home and I was suffering badly from that well-known male ailment-lack of nookie.
Finally on a Monday as Ann was leaving for work I walked up to the car door as she was getting in. I said, "Oh, I almost forgot honey. I saw an add on the net yesterday for a dirt cheep hotel and flight to Vegas so I booked it. I'm going to Vegas for a couple of days. I'll be back Friday evening. Do you mind?" This wasn't too unusual because I usually go gambling three or four times a year. What was unusual was not telling her several days in advance.
Ann stopped and her face brightened as she turned to me. "No honey. I don't mind. In fact we probably need to get away from each other for a while. We've both been on edge lately. Have fun and don't lose too much." She turned back to her car, got in and left without so much as a wave or kiss again.
Before I hit the road I stopped by and gave Jack another large check made out to Jack's Investigations as payment for more surveillance on Ann. While I was gone, I managed to "lose" another $20000 in Vegas. I even managed to find enough receipts people had thrown away to shelter another large chunk of change. I "bought" everything from clothes to boots to hats. I even picked up some used show tickets and so forth to document my more than usual expenses.
I had managed to "spend or lose" almost all our cash savings so decided to quit while I was ahead. I hated to lose half the investments but sure didn't want to go overboard and get myself into trouble.
I was scheduled to return home on a Friday and knew Ann planned to be "out with the girls" that evening like normal. I really returned Thursday evening so I could get started on a project early Friday. I had instructed my attorney to file the divorce and have Ann served just before noon that day. I made it a point to get to her office before the process server and was comfortably in a chair visiting with her boss (and, surprise, surprise, one of her lovers) when she was served. To say they were surprised to see me would be an understatement. They normally left the office at noon to start the "girls night out" early but they couldn't leave with me there.
I could see Ann's desk through her boss's door and she was glaring at me as we talked. I was waiting on the process server to get to her desk before I made my planned on statement to her boss. When she was served Ann got white, then screamed "You Son of a Bitch" and stood to start toward her boss's office and me.
When he heard her scream, Brice (Ann's boss) got up and started around his desk. I moved to stop him just as the process server came into his office. After he identified him, good old Brice got his papers also-Alienation of affection lawsuit and a copy of the suit being filed against the Bank for not enforcing the non-fraternization clause in their employee handbook.
Brice was white as a sheet. As Ann came into his office cursing at me he just collapsed into his chair. I looked at them and as I was saying my final words to them we heard another commotion in the rear of the office.
"Well, I'll be on my way now. I bet you three have a lot to talk about at your night out tonight. I have a couple of lovely ladies I need to see now. Oh, by the way Ann. All your things should be in the garage when you get there tonight or tomorrow. The guys and I packed and moved them this morning. Your keys won't work but I did leave the garage open for you."
I reached into my briefcase and pulled a packet of all the investigation reports and threw them onto Brice's desk. "This is a copy for your files. I have two more like it to deliver to those ladies I told you I was going to visit. Have a nice day." I then turned and walked from the office and, hopefully from my cheating wife's life forever.