Where There's Smoke Ch. 01byA.W. Root©
Friday afternoon! Tim was riding the bus home from work and feeling pretty good about life in general. He was debt free, had a stress free job that would allow him to start really saving some money, his golf game was improving each week and apart from a lack of sexual attention from his spouse, which was not unusual, things were pretty good. The last thing he expected was what happened when he walked in the door that Friday night in March.
As he neared the house, he noticed a Jaguar XJ6 parked just down the street. When he turned the corner, he noticed that their car was parked in the driveway. I guess we're going out for dinner was the thought that crossed his mind. When he entered through the back door, she was waiting in the dining room, a rather serious look on her face. Before he had a chance to say anything, she started talking.
"We have to talk, right now."
Her tone was even more serious than her look. Tim stopped in his tracks.
"OK, what is it that you want to talk about?"
She started slowly and he let her talk at her own speed without interruption.
"It's over. I can't handle this anymore. I want a divorce."
When he didn't immediately react, she continued.
"I've met someone. I really want to be with him. If we can agree on the property settlement, the divorce can be finalized in two months or less under the new laws. I would like to end this without a fight. Can we talk about it, please?"
A slow smile spread across his face. She had said please, a word she rarely used unless the subject was important to her. After a short pause, he answered.
"You seem to have given this some thought. Do you have a proposal or do we start from scratch?"
"I have a proposal." She said, handing him a small sheaf of papers. "I've written it all out. I think it's fair but we can discuss the details, if you like."
Tim accepted the paper and began to read. The basics of it were simple. She would move out immediately, leaving him the house and the car, both without any mortgages. She would retain the property in the mountains and would have first choice of the contents of the house, furniture, paintings, etc, leaving the remainder to him. She was also taking only her cat, leaving his. Each of them was to retain whatever money they had in their respective accounts, no alimony or other payment would be required.
Unless she completely stripped the house, which he doubted, this division almost split the property down the middle by value. It was too good a deal to pass up.
"It seems fair. If this is what you want, I won't argue about it. When did you intend to move out?"
"Actually, I was going to take a few things now and come back for the rest tomorrow, if that's all right with you."
"According to that, I get the car. Do you have transportation arranged?"
"Yes, he's parked just down the block waiting for me."
"I'll take the car now, then, and get out of your way. I'll also arrange to be gone all day tomorrow so you can pack without any trouble. You can have anything you want except those things that you know I consider to be mine. By the way, I would appreciate it if you would feed my cat tonight before you go. Goodbye."
Tim turned on his heel and walked out the back door. Once in the car, he turned in the opposite direction of the parked Jaguar, not wanting to see what her new man looked like. A block later, he started to laugh out loud. She actually thought I was going to give her an argument. Imagine that! I've been dreaming about this day for months. I need a drink. This is too good to be true.
When he returned home later that night, he found some of her clothes missing but that was all. Even her cat was still there. She did leave a message on the dining room table saying that they would be there about 9 am tomorrow and that they expected to file the divorce papers on Monday. He crumpled up the message and tossed it in the garbage. Before going to bed, he set his alarm for six am to be sure he was gone long before she arrived.
Saturday morning he awoke with the sun at 5:30 am. He turned off the alarm and started his regular morning ritual. He fed both cats, had breakfast, shaved and showered and was ready to leave by 7 am. He made sure her cat was inside the house before he left.
Loading his golf clubs into the car, he closed the gates behind him and drove off.
When he returned at 6 PM, he was surprised that she hadn't made off with the house itself. When he opened the back door, he was even more surprised. As he went from room to room, he began mentally taking inventory to determine exactly what she had taken. His cat, Tinker Bell, was still there, winding himself around Tim's feet as he walked.
For the most part, he discovered that she had stripped the walls of her paintings. It didn't appear that she took any furniture, which was amazing, but then her new beau probably had a houseful of furniture already. None of his personal belongings were missing. She had been very careful about that. She did take some of the silverware and glassware and all of the wine. Otherwise, it looked like she just walked away from it all. He was astounded!
On the kitchen counter, he found a note along with her keys to both the house and the car. It simply stated the obvious; that whatever was left was his. She did thank him for making it easy for her. He folded the note carefully and placed it in his briefcase with other important papers. Then he fixed himself a drink and sat down to watch television. Two weeks later, he was divorced.
They had to get the paperwork completed to transfer the house and car titles to him, but she paid the fees for the transfers. All he had to do was agree, which he quickly did. It was all over. Time now to start again.
Saturday, golf day! It was the best day of the week for Tim. Playing golf was like a religion. He got such a charge out of hitting the ball, walking the green fairways, hearing the birds, and looking at the blue sky. It was fantastic! On this particular Saturday, he was playing in the last of the required competitions for his AGU handicap card and he had parred the course. His official handicap was now two and he could file his nomination papers for the Masters Games golf competition, a preliminary event to playing on the professional golf tour.
At 8:15 that evening, he turned on the television to watch a movie that was due to start at 8:30 and, just for fun, switched to the channel that showed the Lotto drawing live. Division 1, the top prize, was $3.4 million dollars this week and, as he watched, one of his numbers was drawn first. Tim watched closely as the numbers were flashed on the screen one at a time. In the next five minutes, all of his numbers were showing on the screen. He had won. He was now a millionaire, or almost anyway.
Each division of the Lotto allowed multiple winners to share the prize so he had to wait so find out just how much he had won. At 9:15, the Lotto Board called to inform him that the entire Division 1 prize was his. He was the sole winner. Since he had a registered card, there would be no delay and the check would be ready for him on Tuesday.
After confirming where to pick up the check, and asking for anonymity, he gently replaced the telephone handset and startled the cat out of a sound sleep with his shout.
On Monday, he arranged a meeting with his bank manager to set up the deposit instructions that would be followed the next day. He wanted some of the money wired to his US bank, the largest portion invested in 12 month CD's, and the balance placed in his interest bearing checking account, that being just over $1 million dollars. This was to allow him to easily spend some of the money just by writing a check.
On Tuesday morning, he picked up the check, deposited it in the bank, and then reported for work where he informed his boss that he would not be renewing his contract when it expired at the end of the month. When asked, he stated that he was pursuing his dreams of playing professional golf and that would occupy most of his waking hours.
He took time off on Tuesday afternoon to buy a new car. He had a passion for convertibles so he ended up with a Ford Capri, green with brown leather seats, trading in the Hyundai. He also ordered custom-made sheepskin seat covers and a matching steering wheel cover. The car, complete with the additional options, would be ready for him on Friday. From the car dealers, he went straight to the golf course. At the second hole, he decided that this would indeed be his new "job".
April moved slowly. Nick was impatient to end his job and took more and more time off that month. In the end, he instructed one of his fellow workers in the rudiments of his contract position, showed them the files of the detailed instructions, and left in the middle of the month.
He had discussed his ideas with his local golf pro and a program of practice, playing, and physical workouts was designed to assist him in getting into better physical shape for his chosen profession.
Each weekday started at sunrise. He drove to the golf club and practiced specific shots for two hours, then played a full 18 hole round, keeping detailed scoring records so the round could be reconstructed and problem shots isolated. Three afternoons a week he spent two hours in the health club working out under the watchful eye of a fitness instructor. The other two afternoons he swam and otherwise worked out in the pool. The evenings and weekends he was free to do as he pleased.
By the end of April, this course of action was beginning to pay off. He found that he had more energy as the days went by and began to look for things to do with himself in the evenings. He checked the local tenpin bowling club and found that the Friday night mixed league needed additional bowlers.
He promptly signed up and purchased a new ball, shoes, and bag from the pro shop at the lanes. His first night of bowling would be Friday, April 29th.
He arrived at the bowling alley to find a beehive of activity. Players on several of the lanes were already throwing their warm up balls. The league took up the first sixteen lanes. Tim searched the group and found the league secretary, whom he had met the day he signed up, and started walking towards Lane 10.
Suddenly, he could not move. Just by chance, his eyes found and locked with the most gorgeous blue eyes this side of the ocean. She had just thrown a ball and was returning to the seating area when she looked his way. In that split second, when their eyes met from 40 feet apart, the entire world seemed to disappear, leaving just the two of them staring at each other.
Tim could hardly breathe. He was suddenly aware that his eyes seemed to have a similar effect on her and she walked straight into the scorer's table on her way back to her seat. That accident caused her to look away and break the line of sight contact, returning the world to normal. Tim was astonished to find that a look from that far away could be so devastating. He had to find out more about this woman but he also had to be subtle. He was sure she would think he was a nut if he just told her what had happened to him.
As casually as possible, after being introduced to his teammates, Tim began the task of identifying the blue eyed angel. First, he determined which team she was on. Then it was a simple matter of watching the overhead scoreboard when the session got under way to find her first name. Armed with this information, he checked the posted position roster to find her surname. It turned out that she was Kathy O'Riley.
According to the position roster, her team would be playing against his team next week. He was then content to watch her bowl the remainder of the evening, noting that she didn't pay any particular attention to any one person. Either she was single or her husband/boyfriend didn't bowl on this league. Which was it?
In the middle of the third game, Tim's new teammate Diane was standing next to him at the back of the seating area.
"She's pretty cute, huh?"
"Who do you mean?"
"You know very well who I mean, Kathy O'Riley. You've been watching her like a hawk all night."
"Am I that obvious?"
"Not really. It's just that she has been watching you for the same reason. Kathy certainly seems to be taken with you. We have already had several conversations about you. What did you do to her?"
"Are you serious? You've been talking to her about me?"
"Yep. Kathy lives in my apartment building and we usually ride here together. She's been at me since you first arrived. She blames you for her sore knee and yes; she is single and unattached. Widowed, actually, about three years ago. I told her that you were also available. Is that OK?"
"Fine." Tim mumbled in reply as he watched Kathy walk along the laneway.
As she was leaving at the end of the evening, Diane stepped close to Tim and almost whispered to him.
"She's driving tonight so I have to go but I'll drive next week if you get my drift."
Tim looked up from changing his shoes at the grinning Diane and smiled.
"Thanks, Diane, I'll try to remember that."
"Somehow I think you will. Bye."
Tim was in a much better mood when he left the bowling alley that night. Although he was alone, there was a definite possibility of meeting the blue eyed Kathy O"Riley the next week. The week fairly flew by and Tim was at the lanes early the following Friday.
When Diane and Kathy arrived, Diane made a point of formally introducing them to each other, then turned away to let nature take it's course. Tim and Diane made eye contact as they shook hands to acknowledge their introduction. They were immediately at ease with each other, except for his wild desire to rip her clothes off and make love to her right there. Keeping his hands to himself was the most difficult part of the night. Although conversation came easily to them, Tim noticed that Kathy seemed to be extremely fidgety, always looking at her hands or sitting on them.
He wondered idly if she was having the same problem as he was, but then dismissed the thought. He couldn't be turning her on that much.
Midway through the second game, Tim asked Kathy if she would like to join him for a bite to eat after they're bowling was over. When she said yes and smiled, Tim could hardly contain his joy. Her smile started in her eyes and lit up her whole face as well as his whole world. For the rest of the evening, Tim floated on air.
At one point, he did mention to Diane that she would not have a passenger on the ride home and Diane only nodded. When their games were finished and their balls and shoes packed away, Tim and Kathy walked to the door hand in hand. He put their bowling bags in the trunk of his car, then unlocked the passenger door and held it open for her.
As she slipped past him to enter the car, she leaned forward a quickly kissed him on the lips, as though it was something she had done many times before. Tim licked his lips in amazement as he walked around to the driver's side of the car. For Kathy, it was the boldest thing she had ever done in her life and she was thrilled beyond reason. The impulse to kiss him was so sudden and so overwhelming that she had given in to it. It seemed to take forever for him to walk around the car and get into the driver's seat so she could determine the effect, if any, her kiss had on him.
Once seated, he asked if the Southbank Parklands was an OK place to go and she quickly agreed. She couldn't miss the brilliant smile that lit up his face and her heart seemed to skip several beats. A short time later, they were parked in the lot opposite the food concessions. They walked hand in hand, grinning at each other like a pair of silly kids. Tim guided them to a restaurant that had an outdoor seating area next to the river. After they ordered their drinks, he sat back and let her talk about whatever came into her mind.
Kathy was eager to tell him whatever he wanted to know. She told him about parts of her childhood, then her move to Australia, her marriage and the boating accident that had ended it. When Tim expressed sorrow about the accident, Kathy said it wasn't necessary. While the accident itself wasn't nice, their marriage had really ended some time before that. They simply were not compatible, an unfortunate fact they discovered after about a year. From that point on, it was more like sharing space than being married.
Tim took over the conversation at that point. Glossing over the details of his early life in the US, his marriage and subsequent divorce.
He empathized with her concerning her compatibility problem. He explained that he suffered the same mistake and had only recently resolved the matter.
"It seems that Americans and Australians don't always get along very well."
"Amen to that."
From that point on, the discussion took a decidedly personal tone, each of them in turn asking and answering questions about hobbies, sports, entertainment, and even sexual preferences to a degree. An eavesdropper would have set their compatibility factor at about 98%. At 2 am, they were asked to leave as the restaurant was closing for the evening.
On the walk to the car, Tim put his arm around her shoulder and she leaned her head on his shoulder. They each had accepted the closeness that was already apparent to outside observers. When he unlocked the door to the car, Kathy stepped close to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and initiated a wet, hot kiss. Tim responded instantly by wrapping his arms around her.
He returned her kiss with a passion of his own. In just a few seconds, Kathy was whimpering as she pressed her body against his as hard as she could. She gripped him harder as her sounds turned to moans. Suddenly she screamed into his mouth, her body becoming rigid for several long seconds before collapsing against him.
"Oh, my God! Do you always do that to a girl?"
"No. You're the first. Are you OK?"
"Yes, thank you, better than I have been in a long time."
She held him tightly for a few moments longer, then began to slide into her seat. When he was seated in the driver's seat, he asked the universal question, your place or mine.
"I think I'd be more comfortable at my place, that is, if you don't mind."
"Not at all."
Tim leaned over and began rummaging through the contents of the glove box.
"What are you looking for?"
"Condoms. Otherwise I'll have to stop on the way."
"Do you have a special reason for using them?"
"No. I just thought you might like the extra protection. I'm clean and I've had a vasectomy so there's no danger to you at all."
"I understand and thank you, but I can't get pregnant anymore. I've had a hysterectomy and I'm clean as well. Would you mind terribly if we didn't use one? I have some not-so-fond memories in that regard."
"Kathy, you are marvelous."
Tim leaned towards her as he said these words and kissed her gently. The instant his lips met hers, the urgency she felt just moments ago came flooding back and Kathy's tongue invaded his mouth demanding completion. Tim broke off the kiss after only a few seconds and started the car. Fifteen minutes later they were parked in front of her apartment building.
He retrieved her bowling ball from the trunk and they walked to the door. She unlocked the security door and let them in, then closed the door again before moving down the corridor to her apartment door. She unlocked the apartment door, switched on the light, and then moved aside to let him enter. He placed the bowling ball on the floor next to the door while she was closing it. They turned to each other and there was fire in their kiss. Mouths open, tongues lashing, hands roaming each other's bodies, the atmosphere was pure lust. When the kiss ended, Kathy whispered in his ear.