It's All About Faith Pt. 10bythornapple©
by Phillip Johnson
Chapter One Hundred Sixty
Buck found Kali still dressed and half lying on the couch. He went over to her and sat her up, dropped onto the couch and then brought her back across his lap. "You okay, hon," he asked?
"I'm okay. I just wanted to be in here where it's warm and comfortable. How are you doing, Buck? You have an awful lot on your mind right now."
"Yeah I have. Damn, I hope I did the right thing."
"I really believe you did. If I was your wife and you came to me with that, I'd say buy it, so that's why I say that."
"So you really see Nita and me drifting apart?"
"I'm afraid I do. Not because of this argument. That's all understandable and can be worked out. I don't know, maybe I'm nuts. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Could we just talk about something else?"
It wasn't long before Buck was sitting at the table drawing some sketches of how the land could best be used. Mitch's ten acres were at the back of the development and he had to keep that in mind as he drew different rectangles and then put in homes and streets. Then he'd put that aside and draw a new one with a different layout. Kali finally went over to him bent down and kissed his cheek. "Honey, let's go to bed. I'm sure you'll think much more clearly in the morning. You look so tired right now." They went to bed and held and kissed and lay close to each other, but lovemaking was far from Buck's mind right then. Buck didn't last ten minutes before he was sound asleep.
When he woke in the morning, it was like no time had passed. He opened his eyes and saw Kali looking at him. With a smile she said, "Morning, hon."
"Morning. Kind of died last night didn't I."
"You hardly moved all night. Coffee is ready."
"You've been up?"
Long enough to make coffee and come back to bed for a few minutes, oh and it's raining." Buck was just sitting up when she said that, but he dropped back down and said, "Oh shit. That field will be a muddy mess and we don't have raingear. I have to get the acreage staked off today."
"Then I suggest we take Wendy's car and go to Ethel's for breakfast, and then buy raingear as we get the tools we'll need. Have you figured out how you want to shape the land?"
"I think so. There are so many options, but I'm going with one that will allow development in six sections. Ten properties per section, more if some of them are apartments." They took quick showers, dressed and made their run to Renovo and back. The rain had all but stopped, but it was still going to be a muddy mess as they plodded around measuring, staking, and tying string to the stakes." Then it was back to the apartment, strip and leave their muddy shoes and gear outside and went in for another shower.
There was a message waiting so Kali hit the button and heard Anita said, "I'm on my way up to get you two, and I should be there by three o'clock," and that was followed by the click of the disconnection. That was the total message. No, I'm sorry, or even any pleasantries.
Kali looked at Buck and said, "Well, she's either still very mad, or she's embarrassed by her actions. One thing for sure, she won't arrive smiling and jovial."
Buck was stuffing his dirty clothes into his small suitcase when Anita came into the apartment and he heard Anita say, "Hi, Kali." Her voice didn't sound cheerful, but there wasn't that note of bitterness he expected to hear either. Rather than go right out, he stood there pretending to finish what he was doing as Anita asked Kali, "Where's Buck?"
"In the bedroom getting ready to go home."
"Buck," she called out, "I'm here." Again her voice sounded neutral so he said, "Be there in a sec, Nita." He paused for another moment and then went out bag in hand. "I'm as ready as I'll get," again no small talk. They locked the apartment and headed home with Buck in the backseat, content to look out of the window and not talk. Kali and Anita shared some conversation because Anita wasn't mad at Kali, but overall it was a quiet ride home. They stopped in Wilkes-Barre for dinner, and then dropped Kali off at her apartment and in a short time they were home. It was time for their discussion because what Anita had done had to be discussed.
Buck unloaded his bag in the laundry room and put the suitcase in the cupboard behind him. He found Anita sitting in the chair in the living room so he sat on the couch and said, "Well, let's get on with this, Nita."
"Buck, before anything is said, I have to apologize for leaving you stranded there. That was childish of me and I'm sorry."
"Thank you, so let's put that behind us. The real issue is the land as I see it."
"That's a big one that's for sure." She was looking at him and there wasn't an edge to her voice so perhaps they could have a calm discussion about everything.
"Nita, have you thought anymore about what I said about not having any time to consult you?"
"Yes. I think Faith was just being Faith and just showing her power over you, or at least that no doubt was her perception of what happened. If they are there tomorrow to survey the farm, I'd be very surprised."
"But remember, we had no way of knowing that. My only option was to say yes I'll take it, or no I'll pass. I asked her for fifty acres and even that was more than would be needed, but that's the number that jumped into my mind right then. I'd have been just as happy with fifteen acres, just enough to put a few more houses on. My hope and plan is to just develop a small square of that land and then sell the rest. Of course if that square did great I'd want to do one more section before selling out."
"But don't you see, you are gambling not just with your money, but our money. I'm an equal partner in this mess that I didn't want. We were doing fine as we were. We're far from poor you know."
"So you think you can sell that property just as it is for twice what you paid for it."
"I already have an offer," but he wasn't going to tell her it was from Mitch. "I'm smart enough to know that wouldn't happen overnight, but it's worth more than that even."
"Buck, I want a divorce." Buck just sat there looking at her. "I'm sorry. I still love you, but not enough anymore. You've changed."
"Don't look now, but so have you. You've changed a lot in fact. I still love you too, Nita, but now that the shock has passed, I have to say I'm not that surprised."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because you've been seeing handsome Doug, and I mean behind my back. Seeing him and not telling me in advance or even after the fact. Here and other places." He didn't know about the other places part, but he decided to throw that in and see what she said. It was her turn to be surprised. She studied him and then looked away as she tried to decide what to say in response. "Nita, look at how our lives have changed. We go to Phoenix Lane and at the drop of a hat we fuck other people. No romance, no checking with each other. Oh, we might be together, so it isn't a secret, but there is no hesitation. I'm just as guilty of that as you are and it's taking its toll on both of us. How in the hell can we continue to live that way and not experience big changes in the way we think and respond to others?"
"Buck, what do you mean I've been seeing Doug?"
"Nita, it wasn't hard to spot. Even Kali figured it out and was going to tell Doug it was over between them."
"Then why didn't you say something?"
Buck was dancing on a thin line between truth and lies. "I hadn't decided what to say or do. I wanted to talk to Kali about it, just on the off chance I could be wrong, but of course I wasn't." He wanted her to believe he knew everything in the hopes she might share more information with him. "When we were swapping with Layla and Mitch, I was sure that if we got a divorce, it would be so we could marry them and, for Layla and me at least, that came fairly close to happening. We weathered that, but not without cost. It was just one more pull, one more thing to nudge us farther apart. At the time, we blew it off as a grand experiment that we survived and moved on with no damage done. We were wrong, of course."
"Buck, I'm sorry. I really am."
He wiped tears from his eyes and asked her, "So how do you want to go about this?"
"I don't know. That damn land purchase really complicates thing though."
"So that's part of the reason you got so raving mad. You were afraid that would utterly destroy your plans, yours and Doug's." She didn't deny that. "So you knew even then that you were going to divorce me."
"No, I didn't know then."
"Nita, you had to be very close to it, because that happened less than forty eight hours ago and I don't think you came up with this idea and acted on it in that short span of time."
There was a defensive tone in her voice as she replied, "No, of course not. I've been thinking about it for months, but I hadn't decided." Now she was crying as she let her tears slip down her cheek and said, "Buck, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. We've done so much together, shared, and endured so much together. But we both know you and Kali will be together soon."
"We may be, but I just don't know right now." Buck's head was tipped back against the high backed couch and he looked at the ceiling. There was no hope of thinking clearly and making objective decisions at that point.
"Buck, neither of us has to hurry and move out. We need time to sort this out and come to an agreement on the property and money and so forth."
He was still looking at the ceiling as he said, "I can't believe we're having this conversation. I'm going for a walk to see if some cool air will help me to think. I'll be back in a little bit," and he went out through the front door and disappeared down the sidewalk.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
Buck and Anita never did lose their temper with each other over the coming days. She finally admitted that her reaction to Buck's announcement to her about buying the acreage, was fueled by how it would complicate, and possibly delay, going through with the divorce, but it was much later before she would admit that she and Doug planned to be married. They continued to live together as they sorted through possessions and finances, but Buck now used the guest room instead of them sharing a bed.
Anita told Layla and Mitch, and the two women had some heated conversation over that, but in the end, Layla had to admit that what Nita was doing wasn't any different than what the four of them had planned to do at one point.
The thing that helped Buck over the next couple of weeks was talking to Mitch almost every night about what could and should be done with the land that Buck now owned.
At first, when Buck told Kali about the divorce she cried, because she thought she might be the cause of it, or at least a major contributor, but she and Anita finally talked and they worked that out. Buck had lunch with Kali and they talked about where Buck was going to live, because it was decided that Anita would get the house and contents, and Buck would have the acreage and future profits from it. That meant that Buck could lose his ass, or come out of it in good shape, and it could be a long time before he would know which it would be. As he and Kali talked she said, "I wish I could tell you to come live with me, Buck, but I don't think that would be a good idea until you better know your feelings. You and I have shared too much, and without a doubt that would interfere with your decision making."
"I know. That idea came to me early on and I'm still not sure it would be a bad idea, but hearing you say it that way, I can't argue with you."
"Do you really think the divorce thing came about because of her being with Doug?"
"I doubt I'll ever know for sure, hon. I know she cares for him a lot. I know you were right that day when you said Nita and I were drifting apart. I know that things in our past damaged our relationship more than we ever realized or would admit to each other or ourselves. I really don't think it was any one thing, is what I'm saying I guess. She did love Mitch, and she still does, but not as intensely now. That took a toll on her.
"So you and I being together in Discovery, contributed to the divorce too then."
"I'm sure it did. She put on one hell of a brave face. I was in awe of her strength. But now I'm convinced she was trying to bury her feelings and pretend it never happened. Now add those damages to her issues with Mitch. It had to pile up on her. I loved you just a little too much. Had she known how much I really did love you, it would have been over right then."
"So you don't love me that much now, is that what you're saying?"
"I love you every bit as much Kali, but I'm trying to keep that separate from what's going on right now. Life for me just isn't a whole lot of fun right now."
"Buck, I love you. That means that I love you just as much right now when you're down. That means I want to be here for you and help you however I can."
"I love you too, Kali. I guess I better go, because I have to come up with a place to live until things settle down and I know more about where life is taking me."
"Buck, maybe you could stay with Brenda or Carly. I mean just for a...I don't know, maybe a few weeks."
"Kali are you aware of what you're saying? Have you forgotten about everything: Me with Brenda, me with Carly and so on?"
"Well, maybe not Brenda."
"I can't believe you. You don't think it's a bad idea for me to stay with Carly?"
"Buck, I'm just trying to help and I can't come up with anything else."
"I really care for Carly and I miss seeing her, but that wouldn't be a good idea. You and I both know we'd end up making love and sitting in front of the TV and talking the evenings away."
"Okay, maybe that wasn't such a good idea."
"I'll come up with something, hon. It isn't like Anita is kicking me out right away. I need to be out of there, but I do have a little time." They shared a light kiss then and Buck headed back toward Scranton and his office at the plumbing shop.
He was just out of Wilkes-Barre when he got a call on his cell phone. "This is Buck."
"Hi Buck, it's Faith."
"Well I'll be damned, how are you?"
It was like he could hear the smile in her voice. "I'm fine."
"I thought you were leaving the area."
"I haven't decided. I just had to get out of that house. I don't need that much real estate and I was sick of dealing with the farm. I don't need any of that so why put myself through that grief."
"I take it the rest of the land sale went well."
"Some aspects of it are still to be settled, but everything is coming together."
"Faith, thank you very much for selling me that property, all I needed were a few acres, but I couldn't say no to the hundred either."
"I was very impressed by how quickly you made that decision. I know that's a lot of money for you."
"I'm glad to have it, but that decision contributed to my getting a divorce."
"Anita and I are getting a divorce, Faith."
"Oh God, I'm so sorry to hear that."
"What will happen now?"
"Well right now I'm trying to decide what to do about a place to live. I hate to sign a lease until I have a better idea of where things are going, but I'll have to do something soon. Right now I'm living in the guest room at home."
"So you and Anita aren't fighting?"
"Not really, no, but it's an awkward situation to say the least."
"I'm sure it is."
"So you're selling the whole farm, however many thousand acres it is?"
"Most of it. I'm going to lease out one section, simply because, like you, I don't know what I'll be doing in the future or where I'll end up. I'm trying to rediscover my life too. Buck, I don't mean this to sound like I'm sure it will, but I'm looking for what I want to do. I don't need to work or get involved in business. I still have the warehousing enterprise, but that's as much for fun as anything else. My God, I sold over four thousand acres of good farmland, so pick a number and do the math."
"I don't think my calculator goes that high, Faith."
She laughed and said, "I know. I leave all of that to my accountant and investment people to worry about now. I proved that I'm not as clever with money as Max was."
"You did your best, Faith. Your problem was you thought like a woman and not a business person. You did what you what you wanted to see done. That's all you were guilty of."
"That cost me many millions of dollars and a quite a few friends."
"I know. Have you been back to...well, what is now Phoenix Lane?"
"No. I've been by it a couple of times, but I wouldn't be very welcome there."
"I don't think you'd be thrown out. I didn't get the impression that Jim and Delia hold any hard feelings against you, and I know Wendy doesn't and of course Rae...sorry, Roberta thinks the world of you. Quite a few of the new residents don't even know you."
"Just the same, it's no place for me now. I've talked to Wendy a few times, and of course, Peggy, and they've told me about the changes. It sounds like things are going well, considering where it was headed before."
"Just don't keep beating yourself up over it, Faith. It's all in the past, and I still say the chances of Discovery surviving long term as a town were nil. The population would age and desires and needs would change. Outside influences would invade it, because it's impossible to keep secrets like that." Buck was back at his plumbing shop, but he sat there and continued to talk to Faith.
"Buck, I assume you plan to develop the land that you bought then?"
"Well at least some of it, enough to cover my investment, and of course, make me a few dollars at least."
"So you don't intend to do a full development then."
"I can't see it happening. The odds of having sixty or more units occupied in a reasonable time are unrealistic. I'll go a little ways and then wait to decide. I just need enough profit to replace my hundred grand and cover the cost of the infrastructure."
"It was nice to talk to you again."
"It was good to hear from you, Faith, thanks for calling."
"Bye, Buck." He closed the phone and just sat there with a crooked smile on his face. Poor Faith. Still rich, but now not very happy from the sounds of it. She almost sounded like she had lost all of her so called friends. Like she really was being forced to examine where she was and where she wanted to be. For that matter, maybe even who she wanted to be.
When Buck got home he told Anita about his call from Faith and how she sounded. "Buck, do you suppose she was trying to get something started between you two?"
"I really didn't get that feeling. Like I said, she sounded a little down if anything. I think she's trying to find out who her friends are now, or at least who she can talk to without being verbally assaulted. She's being punished for doing what she thought was right and what would make the people of Discovery happy. Sadly, she got the opposite effect in the end."
"You going to go see her?"
"I do want to see her one of these days, but no, I'm not going to go running to wherever she is to see her. In fact, when I see her it will be at a restaurant somewhere."
"Someplace safe and neutral."
"Exactly. Nita, I'll be moving soon. I looked at an apartment today and I'm trying to talk them into a three month lease, but either way I have to get on with this."
"It's okay, Nita."
She started to tear up again as she said, "I was so certain that you would end up at Kali's by now."
"She said that wouldn't be a smart thing to do and I have to agree with her. My mind is so screwed up right now that I can't trust myself to make those decisions."
"But you love her, you've said that many times."
"I love you too. I love Layla and...I better go take care of a few things." Then he stopped and asked her, "Why haven't you been with Doug?"