All in the Family


Annie was in shock. She just sat down on the porch and stared straight ahead. I got into my car and drove away. About an hour later my cell phone rang. I was sitting in the park. I looked at the display since I was in no mood to speak to Annie. It wasn't her so I answered it.

"Justin, how are you?" I recognized Uncle Dan's smooth voice. "I'm sure you're upset and you're right to be. This really is a very ugly incident, but it's nothing we can't get past. We can and we will work this out to everyone's satisfaction, I swear to you. You're an intelligent man, nephew. I'm sure we can work this out. "

"I don't think there's any working this out Judge," I said. "This is pretty much as worked out as it's going to get. I've already filed for the divorce and I have no other recourse."

"Of course you do," he said. "You can simply stop it, anytime you want to. Do you know what this has done to your wife?"

"I don't have a wife," I snapped. "The second she spread her legs for you and your brother and your nephew, my marriage ceased to exist."

"Justin, you have this whole thing wrong," he said. "You seem to believe that we stole Annie from you. Nothing could be further from the truth. You actually stole Annie from us. The family has kind of an interesting tradition, but trust me Annie was involved with us, no matter how wrong it is, long before she ever met you. In retrospect we probably should have stopped when she got serious about you. She did mention it several times...We'll save this talk for later. I don't want to say too much over the phone. Hang on a minute, Jack wants to talk to you...

"Justin, I'm so sorry..." was all Jack had a chance to say before I hung up.

A few seconds later the phone rang again. "Justin we were cut off," said the Judge.

"We weren't cut off," I snapped. I was really pissed now. For all of the time that I'd known the family, Jack had been literally my best friend of all of Annie's relatives. He and I had gone fishing together several times a year since I'd met Annie. Since I had no relatives, Jack had been my best man. As soon as I heard the sound of his fucking voice I wanted to strangle the bastard. He'd been the only one to really fuck Annie. And the thing that lingered in my mind after all of this was over, was the memory of the kiss they'd shared.

It was so intimate. It wasn't just the kind of kiss you give some guy you're sport fucking, it was a lovers' kiss. The kind of kiss you gave someone you shared a soul with. Besides being disgusted that he'd kissed his sister that way, I was jealous as hell. I wondered if my kisses meant anywhere near that level of love to Annie. If there was a special level of hell reserved for people who do the worst things you can imagine, I prayed that Jack would end up there.

"Well, I'll be in your area tomorrow," said the Judge. "Why don't we all meet for lunch to discuss this?"

"I see no reason to meet with you," I said.

"Justin, we can solve this problem to everyone's satisfaction," he said. "Look, I know how much you love my niece. You forget we've spent a considerable amount of time around each other. I've seen the way you look at her and the way she looks at you. In her case especially because it would have taken an extraordinary love to pull her away from her family. Did you know that Thom almost had to admit her to the hospital today? She refused to leave your porch. She's bitten all of her fingernails off and started pulling out her own hair. She's already told him, her own father to stay the fuck away from her. She also won't speak to me or her brother. The only way I was able to calm her down was to tell her that we'd all sit down tomorrow.

And Justin, my brother Thom is no fool either. You may have fooled Annie this morning, but Thom noticed that you were barely able to stand up. He told me that you had to go back inside the house to hide for a while so they wouldn't see how upset you were. Being away from her is killing the both of you.

We can fix this, I'm telling you. Maybe I can't pull the memory of what you saw out of your head, but I can replace it with some better ones. And I can assure you that it'll never happen again..."

Before he could say another word I cut in. "Yeah I'm sure it won't happen again," I said. "What that really means is you'll just go on fucking her, but you'll make sure you don't get caught again."

"Justin, you don't understand again," he said. "There will be no repeats of what you saw. Annie is disavowing her entire family. She's decided that if she has to pick her family or you, she's choosing you."

"Well, tell her not to count her chickens before they've hatched," I said. "She doesn't have that kind of choice to make. I'm off the table. There is no way we're getting back together. But just to show you that I'm not unreasonable, I'll go to lunch with you. I'll listen to whatever you have to say and then after I've heard it, if I'm not convinced and don't go for it, you help pave the way for my divorce. That way it can be over quicker and less painfully for everyone involved."

"Deal," he said. "Is Texas roadhouse still your favorite?"

"Yep," I said. "So let's not meet there. I don't want to have that place tainted by this bullshit. Let's go to Annie's favorite place. She knows where it is."

"So you'll meet the four of us there tomorrow at noon?" he asked.

"Yep," I said, smiling.

"Thank you Justin," he said and hung up the phone.

While I was on the phone with the smug bastard I'd thought about how I was going to get my revenge on Jack. I knew that I couldn't do anything to hurt Annie. As badly as she'd hurt me, I loved her too much to do anything to hurt her. It was taking all I had not to go running back to her and they all knew it. But I had to have revenge of a sort against Thom, Jack and the Judge. The Judge was simple, when this came out, his career was over with. He wouldn't be an important person anymore, just another lonely old man. His marriage would be over and his reputation destroyed.

I intended to make sure that there was at least one article in the papers about this and I'd be writing a letter to the Chicago Bar Association too. I still hadn't figured out what to do to Thom yet, but with Jack it was going to be balance. He'd torn up my marriage, so I'd tear up his.

That evening as I sat on my deck looking out at the moon, my phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize so I answered it.

"Please don't hang up on me Justin," she said. "I bought another phone just so I could hear your voice. You don't answer when I call you and you don't return any of my messages. Justin, I am so sorry. I have never hurt this bad in my entire life. I can't believe this is happening. Please, forgive me. We've haven't been together for that long, but I know that I'm supposed to finish out my life with you. I knew it from the instant we met. I'd give up anything to be with you. I'd do anything for you. In all of the time we've been together, I have never given you even a single second of regret. I was the perfect girlfriend and then became the perfect wife.

Justin, have you ever had to beg me for sex? Not once in all of our time together. Have you ever had to beg me for anything Justin? You never have. I don't care what we do. I'll do anything just to be with you. Why the fuck do you think I spend every Sunday in the fall, curled up on the couch beside you watching the Lions lose? It's because I love you Justin. Remember a couple of years ago when they went 0 and 16? They lost every fucking game the whole year, but you and I watched every fucking minute of it. You watched because win or lose the Lions are your team. I watched because I love every second we share."

I was trying to be cold and detached but my reserve was failing me. It was all I could do not to start crying myself as she spoke.

"Justin, in all of this time I've only screwed up once. So now I'm begging you, Justin. I only wish I was there with you now so you could look into my eyes and see me. You're probably out on the deck right now aren't you? You opened up the big gate in the back fence and brought your Mustang in the yard too, didn't you? You always do that when you're upset. Usually you pull me and that fucking car into the yard and just hold me, while you stare at that car. You've always said that there were only two things in life that could make you smile every time you see them, me and that damned car.

I know you so well Justin. You're drinking a Dos Equis and staring at the moon aren't you and wondering how everything got so fucked up so fast. I'm begging you Justin. Please, I love you more than you will ever understand. Just give me one more chance. You'll never regret it. I'd give up anything to be with you," she said.

"Even things that you never had to give up," I said. That finally shut her up.

"What are you talking about Justin?" she asked. "What didn't I have to give up?"

"Your son," I said. "I still don't fully understand what the fuck is going on there, but my people have been through the court records thoroughly. You've never been involved in a custody case, so why the fuck isn't Greg with you?"

There was nothing coming from the phone except for silence.

"You may as well tell me," I said. "I'll know soon enough anyway. And at this point, lies will hurt you far more than the truth will."

"I was in love and over my head," she said slowly. "It was only a few months before I met you. I couldn't be with the father because... Well for one thing he was already married...and there were other reasons. So I needed to get away from that situation. I didn't think I was ready to be a mother so I let his father raise him. His father's wife is a wonderful mother. She has all of those maternal instincts that I don't. She's a really beautiful person inside and way more beautiful than I am outside. But after a while I just wanted to see the baby. So I started going for visits and being back in Chicago drew me back into something I'd been trying to get out of."

"Annie, if you don't stop this double talk veiled bullshit and explain this to me in simple terms, right fucking now I'll hang up this fucking phone and we won't see each other until court. I won't even show up for the fucking lunch tomorrow," I snapped.

"Jack is the father," she said quickly. "I fell in love with my own brother. I was a twenty year old virgin. When I was younger no one liked me because I was tall and skinny and had no boobs and I dyed my hair all kinds of weird colors. I'd never had sex, period. I thought I was going to die a virgin. I'm not going to tell you the specifics of it, but I got drunk and so did Jack. Anyway we ended up having sex and I loved it. I knew it was wrong, but I didn't care. I wanted it so badly. I knew that Jack was married and I loved Dawn too, but I just didn't care. I clung to it like a non-swimmer latches onto a life preserver in the middle of the ocean.

Before I knew it, it wasn't just sex. I was in love with my own fucking brother. And he couldn't get enough of me. He wanted to fuck me all the time. He couldn't divorce Dawn for a number of reasons. He works for her father and his career would be ruined. The disgrace to the family is another reason and in Illinois we'd lose custody of Greg without a doubt and they still have a lot of laws against incest on the books that are prosecutable offenses.

I was getting out of control and then I discovered that I was pregnant. My father and Uncle Dan knew about it. I guess my father was just looking out for me, but Uncle Dan was trying to protect the family and his precious reputation. They both wanted me to get an abortion, but I refused. Jack didn't say anything one way or the other, so I never knew what the fuck he wanted. All I knew was that I was upset with him for not standing up for me or our baby.

So after I had the baby, Jack told Dawn that I wasn't ready to be a mom and that they'd take care of Greg until I was. Greg calls Dawn Mommy, so it's only natural that he'd call Jack Daddy. Dawn has no idea that Jack actually is his father. Sometimes I feel so sorry for her. She's one of the nicest people I know. She doesn't deserve all of this bullshit in her life. She didn't ask for any of it."

That was all I could take, I hung the phone up right then. She tried calling back but I just wouldn't pick it up. The nerve of that bitch. How could she sit there and tell me that Dawn didn't deserve any of what she was getting. What about me? Did I deserve it? All I'd done was to be the best fucking husband I could be.

She called me ten times in a row. Finally I just picked up the phone and screamed into it, "Why the fuck did you marry me, if you weren't in love with me? Did I deserve that?"

"Because Justin, I do love you," she said very softly. "I love you more every day that God sends and that's the truth. What we have is so special. I know that you would die for me and I would for you. Jack was my first and that's hard to resist, but I swear, if I had to, I would kill my brother for you. I should have stopped sleeping with him a long time ago but it was like a drug. I just couldn't help it. I swear I'll never do it again." My cell phone chirped letting me know that I had another call.

"Perhaps I'll see you at lunch later," I said. "And I hung up.

"Justin," said Jack from the phone.

"What the fuck do you want, Jack," I asked.

"Man, I just want you to know how sorry I am," he said. "If there was any way for this not to have happened I'd do it."

"You mean any way for you not to have gotten caught so you could still fuck Annie?" I said.

"Man, none of this is Annie's fault. I'm the one who started her doing this. And I'm the one who keeps after her. You have to understand, my sex life with Dawn leaves a lot to be desired. And I'm like every other man on the planet. I need sex on a regular basis. Right now I don't know what I'm going to do. You don't know how lucky you are. Annie told me that you guys do it every God damned night. Dawn will barely let me touch her. I made some mistakes early on in our relationship. I love her very much, I'd do anything for her, but we just don't have a lot of sex.

Anyway you don't have to worry anymore, Annie will never touch me again and she's already told me that. She's tried to quit several times before this, but I know how to push all of her buttons and I pushed them a lot..."

That was all of his bullshit that I could listen to. I hung up the phone and turned it off.

I slept well that night, as well as I could, considering the circumstances. The next morning I was up early and at the airport before 8 a.m. I caught the first flight to Chicago and rented the v6 Mustang again. I drove straight to Jack's house. I knocked on the door and waited as Dawn came to the door.

"Hi Justin," she said smiling. "Why are you here? Jack told me that you and Annie are having problems. I thought he was in Michigan trying to help you solve them."

"Dawn, can you sit down and talk to me for a while," I said. She was holding onto a small boy. He had to be about 5 and he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I don't know how Dawn couldn't see Jack in him. Maybe it was because when she looked at him all she saw was Annie. She probably assumed that he looked like Jack because Annie was Jack's sister.

Then I looked at Dawn. The woman was beautiful. She had long foamy blond hair and big blue eyes. Her body was a few pounds overweight, but they were good pounds, God Damn were they good pounds. Her waist was trim and tight. But she had large boobs and the roundest ass you've ever seen. Sure if you were into the skinny model type you might think she was a touch big, but the average guy would be all over her in a heartbeat.

"Dawn, this is going to be hard," I said. "For a long time you and I have been kept in the dark about a lot of things. First off, did Jack tell you the nature of the problem I'm supposedly having with Annie?"

"No, he just said that you guys had broken up and he, his Dad and the Judge were going to get you two back together. I asked him what it was about but he said it was just a misunderstanding."

"He was right Dawn. It was a misunderstanding," I said. "You see when I married Annie I thought she understood that we were supposed to be faithful to each other. Apparently she didn't see things the way I did."

"You mean she cheated on you, don't you?" said Dawn. "I don't have trouble believing that. It must run in the family. Jack has cheated on me more than once too. I've already told him that if he does it again we're through. There are some days that I can't stand to even look at him. But then I see how he is with Greg and I try to forgive him. It was so nice of him to take Greg in."

"Not nearly as nice as you think, Dawn," I said. She looked at me in surprise.

"You know don't you?" she asked. I was told never to tell you.

"Dawn, it's you who doesn't know," I said. "You think you're a part of a big secret but honey, the wool has been pulled over your eyes too. You think the secret is that Greg is Annie's child. That part of it is true. But the real secret is who the father is."

"You know who his father is?" she asked. "Annie wouldn't ever tell me."

"Dawn, you're married to him," I said. Her face just fell, she started crying and looking back and forth between me and the little boy. It was as if all of the pieces just fell apart all at once. Perhaps in her heart she'd always known. Maybe it was how similar certain aspects and characteristics were between Greg and Jack. Maybe it was the likeness of their expressions or a hundred other things but she knew. And I think she'd known in her heart for a long time, she'd just needed to hear the words to make the final step.

"That's only a part of this," I said. "A couple of days ago, I caught Annie having sex with Jack, Thom and The Judge. I'm divorcing her. I have video to prove it. That's what all of this is about. I just wanted to let you know the truth behind all of this, before they spun it to make it seem like I was making it up or doing something wrong. Actually I don't care how they spin it. I just want to get away from this whole God damn family." I pulled out my phone and showed her the original copy of the video.

She turned her head away. I knew what she'd just seen. The kiss between Annie and Jack after he'd fucked her the first time.

"Justin, are you really divorcing her?" she asked.

"I have no choice," I said.

"Justin, I don't know what to do but I can't take this anymore. I warned Jack that if I caught him again, we were through. Can I come with you?" This wasn't part of my plans at all, but looking at her I was struck by Annie's words. Dawn didn't deserve any of this. I nodded my head.

"Okay, let me pack a few things. I'm going to need to bring at least a few of Greg's favorite toys," she said.

"You're bringing their son with you?" I snapped. This was incredulous.

"I'm his mother in every way that counts," she snapped back. "I've been with him since he was less than a week old. Annie visits him for 10 minutes once or sometimes twice a month. Every time I've left Jack over his cheating or the things he's said about me, I've taken Greg with me. If he can't come with us, I'll understand your reasons for it, but Justin, he's only a little boy, barely more than a baby. He's just as much a victim as you or I am. If my baby can't come with us, I'll just go somewhere else."

I'd always seen Dawn as being beautiful but vapid. This was another side of her. She defended that little boy like a bear defending her cub. She was even more beautiful all fired up. As Dawn packed, I made a phone call. A friend of mine was getting a divorce and was selling his cabin in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I'd been there a few times and the place was great. He agreed to let me use it for a few weeks. I think that he was hoping I'd buy it since the place had been on the market for months and he'd had very few people who even wanted to take a look at it. The real estate market in Michigan was terrible. Especially in places that were far away from the major cities and subject to be snowed in for much of the winter.

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