The Contract Ch. 05bycurious2c©
The day of the funeral was a damp and dreary one. Samantha, my three kids and their spouses all stood there to one side of the coffin as the preacher droned on and on. This guy had never taken the time to get to know us, even though we had been members of his 'flock' for years, and now he was expounding on Becky's virtues and how she was going to heaven like he had known us forever. It sort of made me sick inside.
I had things on my mind this day too. Becky's lawyer had contacted me immediately after her passing to tell me a very eye-opening story. Deep inside I knew that Becky had meant well, but for her to have bought a hooker for her replacement as my wife was a bit much for me to handle. I hated her lawyer for having spilled the beans too.
He had called me up and made arrangements for the meeting then once there, he had talked on and on about Samantha and how she was an escort service girl...a pro, hired by Becky with a life insurance nest egg she had. How Becky had been able to hide that policy from me had me wondering just how much I did know about my late wife.
The kids had been there for me, and they all seemed to love Samantha...although I had to wonder too what they would think if they knew the whole story about her. I stood there holding the umbrella over Samantha and I still being the ever faithful and loving man. I was in a turmoil now, and I didn't know quite what to do.
In my mind I started to run over all the facts, as I knew them. The most obvious first fact was that Becky, my loving wife, had in fact paid a woman to pretend to love me...in order that I'd not be alone after this day.
The second fact was that Becky had paid this woman just over a million dollars to do so...with a contract that spelled out all the details in finite form.
The third fact was that Samantha was either a very great actress or she really did have some feelings for me. After all, she was still standing beside me when her part of the deal had been lived up to...almost. The money was to be paid out in four parts, the first quarter the day after tomorrow. Then for the rest of the next year from today she'd get another quarter until all four were paid out.
The last fact I had was the hardest for me to deal and cope with. This fact was the breaker for everything. Samantha had become so much a part of my life and of my kid's lives now; she fit in with us all. Not only that...I had fallen in love with her. Me...a faithful husband, loving only one woman in all these years, had fallen for another woman as my wife died. A woman that was or at least had been, a professional...escort.
After the service we all went to the house and tons of people came by paying their last respects. I was in the process of getting rather well oiled; drinking scotch like it was water. My oldest son was keeping an eye on me, and once in an while he'd slip up beside Samantha and they would both eye me over quite seriously.
I was getting on my lips drunk now and the drunker I got, the more everyone around me would come by and tell me they were headed out...and to take care. It was obvious that they wanted to be far away from me now, since I was more than likely going to have a come apart. I was stressing out, and had nobody I could trust to talk to anymore.
Everyone but the kids and Samantha were gone as I stumbled into the back yard to sit on the swing I had built for Becky so long ago. I hurt deep inside and couldn't get around how unfair life had turned out for Becky and me. Totally unfair. Sitting there I realized that I had no suicidal tendencies. I was questioning that when someone slipped in beside me in the swing.
"Hey there. You okay?"
"Hi Samantha. Just thinking...that's all. Did I ever tell you that I built this swing for Becky about fifteen years ago? I did. My own two hands. The whole thing."
"Becky told me about it. How you had started it and then had to change it several times because she was changing her mind all the time on what she wanted. She made it a very funny story."
"Becky told you that? This swing was the cause of our worst argument...for a long time. I had gotten angry when she kept changing her mind and almost lit into her hard...but just as I was about to I overheard her telling our daughter, who was three at the time, that daddy was the bestest husband in the whole world because he put up with mommies nonsense on this swing. After that, what could I do but keep on making the changes for her until she was satisfied?"
"You are a good man John. Becky really caught a good one when she caught you."
"Well, I was luckier. Becky was the catch of a lifetime. One could not ask for a better or more loving wife than she was."
I stopped talking, thinking about how Samantha had come to being here, and then having to ask myself if Becky could still fit that all encompassing bill I had just paraded out there. I suppose that in her own way, doing what she had done and how she had done it, was only the best she could do under the circumstances.
Now though, I had the problem of figuring out if Samantha and I could be a couple...or if I even wanted to be. Our whole relationship had been started with lies and deceit. Samantha wasn't who she really said she was...well, what she had been, to be fair. Maybe she had changed. Maybe, at the end of things, her and Becky had become true best friends.
"Penny for your thoughts."
"I was just wondering when you were going to take off. I mean, Becky's gone now...your part in her deal is all over with, so you're free to fly away."
Samantha froze up and just stared at me. Then a tear started in one eye, and soon both eyes were running streams of tears.
"You know then."
A statement. Not a question. She had heard me and accepted it as fact that I knew all about the 'deal'.
"Yeah. Becky's lawyer called me the day after her death. He had quite a tale to talk about and he felt I needed to know about all that money that Becky foolishly threw into the hands of a hooker."
"I was never a hooker John. I was an escort. There is a difference...even though you may not think so. At first I was in it for the money...but after a while...I was in it for Becky. She was a special lady and I was lucky to have been able to call her a friend."
"So...I know this will sound selfish and all, but where exactly does that leave me?"
"Oh. I think I see now. You think that all that's happened up to now has been me just playing some kind of part then?"
"Yeah...you see, I have a million or so reasons to think that. That's what Becky paid you isn't it? A million dollars...to have me fall in love with you and keep me from dying off?"
"At first...but not now."
"Oh? What's changed then?"
"I...I...really fell in love with you John. Honestly...I did. I even told Becky that a while back. I told her that I had fallen in love with you...and that I was scared that you'd find out about my past and dump me like a hot potato. I was and have been afraid that this particular day would come...as it has."
"You love me? You can honestly sit there and tell me that you love me? You're not acting or working on my feelings to keep in my good graces so you get all the money?"
"Do you think that's why I'm still here John? Do you? If you think that then I guess that 'we' never did have a chance then did we?"
I saw the anger flash across her face as she said that. I had hit a nerve. That surprised me too.
"Well, what did you expect?"
"I figured that when you found out about the money that you'd come ask me about it...and I could tell you what I had planned for it. Instead, that creepy asshole lawyer double dealt me and went behind my back to spill the beans about it. Of course, he has no way of knowing what I had or did plan for that money either. Becky did since I told her. She was mad at me at first...but she soon came to understand my point. One day this would happen. She saw that I was right in doing what I did...and accepted it."
"What did you plan for the money then?"
"I won't tell you. Not now. It will keep until the time is right. Whenever you decide what it is you want, and how you are going to deal with this whole thing, I'll let you know about that money. For now all you need to know is that I love you John. I'm not lying and I'm not acting. The money has nothing to do with it and I'm speaking from my heart. I gave my heart over to you several months ago. I...who never have allowed myself that luxury...I fell I in love with you. God that's so fucked up too. I fell in love with a john named John."
"So now I'm supposed to believe that you truly love me? Our whole life together is started on lies and mis-directions...by my wife no less, and so now I'm supposed to think that you're telling me the truth?"
"I am...damnit. I do love you John. I do. I know that you probably hate me now...knowing what you do about my past and all. I haven't been a 'good' girl at all. I do have feelings though. I have always tried to act honestly with everyone I met. This whole thing with you and Becky...it started out as a business proposition but turned into the real deal more or less."
"I wish I could believe that Samantha. I really do. I know that I need to be alone to figure things out now. I want you to leave. Move out. I need the space. Maybe I'll figure out what it is I want and then we can see where we stand. Not right now though. I just don't know who you are now. Everything has changed. By the way...is Samantha really your name?"
She was gray in the face, tears falling freely. I had a hard time looking at her, so I just looked off across the yard as I said those hard things. I felt it was the right thing to do...for me...at that time. She sat there for a bit. Then she stood up and turned, walking away. Over her shoulder I heard her say;
"Yes. Samantha is my given name. The name my father gave me when I was born. I was named after my mother, who died in childbirth...my childbirth."
Samantha walked out at that point. Out of my life and into that limbo land that people can disappear to. I was lost now doubly. I had fallen in love with her, and driven her out of my life. That old fucker lawyer, I really wished he would have kept all his 'important information' to himself as he should have. I had gone from deeply in love with my wife to falling in love with another woman, at my late wife's insistence, to not being sure what the hell was going on in my life anymore.
I spent the next month alone. The kids stopped by when they could, all worried about me and asking where Samantha was. One day I had enough and unwound on my daughter. She had come over and was almost pissed off at me for having chased Samantha away.
"Yeah? I chased her away you say? Listen up little girl...Samantha isn't the person you think she is. She's not exactly...let's just say that her past kind of stinks a bit. Your mother put her up to some kind of stupid deal and it all fell apart after your mom died."
"It wasn't some kind of stupid deal dad. I know all about it...mom told me. Samantha was an escort. Mom hired her to keep you from doing the stupid thing...YOU...doing the STUPID THING. God daddy, sometimes you make me so mad."
"Well, DUH...Samantha came and told me a few months ago. She wanted me to know the truth in case anything happened between you two. She was upset because she felt you would find out and cop an attitude about her past...even though mom didn't think so. Mom wasn't thinking straight about anything by then and I went to talk to her. She spilled the whole thing out to me. Dad...can't you see that Samantha loves you? Can't you see that she's the next best thing that ever happened to you nest to mom? Can't you see that you are the luckiest man in the world having a wife that thought so much of you that she went out and found someone for you to love after she was gone? Then you go and fuck it all up. What's the matter with you? Can't you be happy at all anymore? Have you lost your mind?"
"Have you lost your mind little girl? Samantha was or is still, a hooker...an escort...a paid pro. She provided 'services' to an unknown number of men. She was paid to put out. You know that and you can be okay with all that? I thought I raised you better than that."
"Ohhh...you asshole dad. How dare you demean Samantha's love for you. Or moms for that matter. Did you know that her and mom loved each other like best friends? Did you know that Samantha gave that money away long before mom got real sick? Did you know that Samantha set that money up in a trust fund for us kids and our kids too? She did that because she loved you...you worthless ass."
I had never had my daughter so mad at me ever before. She was yelling at me holding nothing back. She was truly angry with me. Sticking up for Samantha. I was beyond reason now. My mind must have been lost a long time ago. The whole world had gone mad. Even my daughter had known about the hooker that was paid to fall in love with me and agreed that it had been a good thing to do?
"What? I should be happy that your mom was able to find a hooker for me then? It was never about sex you know. It was about sharing my life with the person I loved. Having your mom be there with me. Sex wasn't what it was about. And where do you get off calling me worthless?"
"So you think that Samantha was thinking only of the money and doing you for sex? God you're a stupid man at times dad. Very stupid. For your information, any man that would treat a woman who loved him like you did is a worthless ass."
"What did you mean she gave that money up to you kids anyway? The lawyer told me it was sent to her account as ordered on the contract."
"Jesus dad...haven't you ever heard of a brokerage account? About having a broker set up a trust account using money from other sources? Haven't you ever heard about other people setting up accounts for people like Samantha did? Daddy, sometimes you are the stupidest man I know. She loves you and you drove her away. You had a second chance at love, and mom helped to set you up with it...and then you go and blow it like this. I can't believe you."
"I'll bet your brothers don't think that way."
"What? Dad, mom told them after she told me. They accepted it long before I did. It took me a bit before I could accept that Samantha was on the level about things. After I saw that she was, I accepted her fully and without reservation. Why can't you do the same? She loves you...in spite of yourself. You have to go find her dad...you have to."
"I won't. I can't and I won't."
Nothing settled, my daughter left. Alone I sat and brooded. I thought it strange that my daughter had chosen to call me a worthless asshole...just as someone else had not so long ago. I wondered how that had come about? How had my daughter decided to use just that phrase when calling me a name? I was torn between looking for Samantha and not. I was also thinking about my original plan now too. It would be so much easier to just call it quits. No more pain, suffering, or damnable kids calling me names.
That was the last I saw of my daughter for two months. My sons would call once in a while, but my daughter stayed out of my life. It hurt. I was sitting in my dark living room one night, just brooding when the phone rang.
"Is this John?"
"There's a lot of John's in the world, but I happen to be one...yes."
"Do you know Samantha?"
"Who is this? What do you want?"
I was angry. I wondered just who would call me up this late and want to ask questions like this. I wasn't in the mood to talk about neither Samantha nor my Becky either. I just wanted to be left alone.
"I am probably the closest friend Samantha has. I'm worried about her. I know that her troubles all started when she took some kind of deal from your wife...and that after your wife Becky died it all fell apart. I wanted to talk to you about her. Samantha I mean."
"Maybe I don't want or need to talk about Samantha."
"Maybe you should get your head out of your...I'm sorry. Look, can I come over to your place and talk to you...or can we meet somewhere where we can talk?"
"You know where I live?"
"Yes. Samantha told me when she first went to live with you guys. She wanted someone to know where she was. Someone she knew she could trust that is."
She hadn't come right out and said it, but by the inflection in her voice I knew that she had pointed that last part at me. I guess she thought I was not a trustworthy person. If I hadn't been in such a shitty mood I could have laughed at that. Me, untrustworthy. Me, who hadn't lied to anyone forever...not to be trusted. "Well, you might as well save your breath...I don't care what happens to her now."
"God...you are a heartless bastard. I can't see what your Becky ever saw in you. She must have been blind. Very blind. Samantha is a great person, and deserving of far better than the likes of you."
"Well, at least you think so."
"Yeah? Well your sons and daughter think so too. They've been trying to get in touch with her for days now. She won't return their calls and refuses to talk about anything to do with you or your family to me either."
"My sons and daughter were in touch with her?"
"Until just lately. I'm worried sick about her and you are the only person I know of that has a chance in hell of being able to talk to her. Look, I know you must hate her for lying to you and everything. You have to remember though, it was your wife that wanted her there...for your own good."
"Fine...come over and do your best. I will warn you though, I'm not going to be easy to convince of anything doing with her now."
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes."
She was there in ten. The pounding on the door woke me out of my trance. I found that I was looking on the mantle over the fireplace at a picture of Becky and I and Samantha in the first days Samantha had come into our lives. I found myself asking why I hadn't tossed that picture out yet?
"Come in...I'm sorry, I don't know your name."
"Susan. I am the lady that takes care of...um...business for Sam...and a few others."
"NO. I am not a madam. I am a business agent. It is all a percentage deal arranged beforehand. I take in the calls for...escorts, and then I put them in touch with the girls...after I've screened them. It is a very high-class operation, and matter of fact, we have strong repeat business, and rarely take on new customers. It makes it safer for all involved."
"Screen customers? You really do that?"
"Yes. We require STD tests annually from them, in addition to making certain of their backgrounds and attitudes. We don't want people who are into pain or that type of stuff, and we also want to make sure that they aren't messing around on the side with hookers or someone who could get STD's started. I'm very thorough. Your wife, Becky had to talk a blue streak to even get in the door. She was quite secretive about what the deal was entirely, but she told me enough to let me know which girl would possibly be interested in a long-term deal. Since she was looking, I made her go through the testing and everything first."
"You really did?"
"Damn straight I did. Sam and the other girls are my friends in addition to being my bread and butter. No way will I let them into a situation where they could catch something or get hurt."
"How would you have been paid for this long term deal?"
"Sam had made arrangements, matter of fact, she paid my percentage a couple of months ago. I'm thinking that she won't get the full money from the deal now though since you kicked her out. I have tried to get her to take it back...the percentage...she refuses. She also refuses to work anymore too. She just sits at home...and mopes around."
"She quit working then?"
"She had told me that she was in love with a man...and planned on living the rest of her life with him. Then...that rat bastard kicked her out. Right after a funeral."