Dreams Ch. 04byRomantic1©
Please read the previous chapter before starting this one. This story follows an increasing number of characters; thus, to reduce confusion the reader will find a 'list of the characters' at the end of each chapter with approximate ages and how they 'fit' into the plot. Enjoy.
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made of -- Chapter 4
Fran asked me to accompany her to the session with the mediator. Ed Harris, Esquire, was also with us. On the opposite side of the table was Carl, Fran's soon to be ex-husband, and a lawyer he'd engaged named John Norton. Michael Thornton, a lawyer, was also there in the role of court appointed mediator. This meeting was the first time Fran had seen Carl since the morning she moved out of the house after he abused and raped her.
At Ed Harris's suggestion, Fran said nothing other than to acknowledge the polite introductions to the other parties and a nod to Carl. I sat in the room off to the side as a friend of one petitioner.
The Mediator started the session explaining the role of each party, including his own. His job was to help the parties find a common ground from which the divorce settlement could be concluded amicably. He further explained there were a process and a time limitation, in this case before the end of the business day. Thornton also explained that he might state a position in order to get the parties to discuss or move towards a settlement. Perhaps more important, he stated that decorum was expected of all parties, and that full disclosure of information regarding the settlement was important. He explained that he would record the full session, and that the recording would be available to the presiding judge if and when a divorce settlement was placed before her or him for approval.
With that, he reached over and turned on the recorder. He then turned to Fran -- the complainant, and asked her to state her opening position. She looked at Ed Harris, and he nodded for her to proceed.
Fran began, "I'm Fran Drake and I'm thirty-eight years old. I've been married to Carl Drake a little over twelve years. About two years after we were married, sometime in the Fall of the year 2,000, Carl and I had an argument. He picked me up bodily and threw me down our cellar stairs, called me abusive names such as 'Bitch,' and walked away. I was bruised and sore for the month after."
"Also about that time, Carl started to get involved in bar fights on occasion. To my knowledge none of these were ever reported to the police, however, I have no doubt several tavern owners could attest to his unruliness. Also, he occasionally had an affair or one-night stand, although I have no evidence other than the word of friends that reported his behavior to me."
"After he started to abuse me he did it about four to eight times a year, Carl would slap me, hit me, kick me, shove me, or throw me to the floor in some way when he would want to fight. Up until two years ago, he had not raped me -- that is, used force to get me to have sexual intercourse with him against my will. Usually, he had been drinking and in my opinion he was drunk at the time. I know that is an arguable opinion, that's why I say in my opinion -- is that all right to do?"
Thornton said, "Yes. Just go on in your own words. Carl will have a chance to comment and make his own statement when you are through, you may comment on his statement, and he may comment on your comments."
Fran referred to her notes and continued, "I tried to avoid him when he was drunk or comply with his wishes for sex or other things up until two years ago. Two years ago I started to keep a journal because I realized in spite of my pleas and his promises to change, that I would always be in an abusive marriage with him. At that time, January 1, 2008, he came home in a drunken rage and raped me. He also beat me up so badly I had to miss work for a week while the bruises healed and until the limp I received from him was less noticeable. I begged him to not hit me in the face again, and also not to force himself on me sexually. He promised, but less than a month later he beat and raped me again."
"In the last two years, I have been beaten about once a month and raped sixteen times. The last time was about four weeks ago. Here are photographs of my bruises. In two of the photos my vagina is visible; you see the bruising around the area as well as blood seepage from his rape. A rape kit was not processed to verify semen. These photographs and my journal documenting the past two years are freely given to the court. I believe Mr. Harris has already provided these to the record in electronic form. Here are photocopies and photographs of these documents." Fran produced a large loose-leaf notebook that she pushed across the table to Mr. Thornton, the mediator.
"At the point after my last beating and rape I finally realized I could not proceed with the marriage, or even stand to be near or with Carl. I left our home, taking personal belongings and community items I believed I was entitled to. I made a list of those items and give that to the court as well under a tab in the notebook. I moved in with friends."
"At Mr. Harris's suggestion we got a restraining order and also had my husband served with divorce papers which to date he has not signed. I believe he violated the restraining order once about a week after it was served when he came onto the property were I am now living. He also went and hung out where I work, apparently hoping to confront me. In the violation, he was seen by my friends and by the police. My understanding is that he was arrested for that violation, as well as for the domestic abuse claim I filed with the local police."
"I wish for Carl Drake, currently my husband, to sign the divorce decree as issued to him a month or so ago. I also wish that he never see me again or attempt to contact me or my employer or my friends ever again. There is no love in the marriage; it is time to end it. This ends my statement."
Harris nodded to mediator indicating that he had no additional words to her statement.
Thornton asked for fifteen minutes in which he, Carl, and Carl's attorney could scan the photographs, journal, and list of personal belongings removed from the home. Thornton set a timer; when it went off, he turned to Carl and said, "You may make your statement now."
Carl said, "Yeah, we had a rocky marriage. In my opinion many marriages are like that so I don't think ours was any different from normal. I also believe it was my right as a husband to have sex with my wife. She cut me off, so I had to assert my rights. I admit I have a drinking problem, however, Mr. Norton has helped me sign up for Alcoholics Anonymous, and I believe I will be a success in that program. I don't want to sign the papers; I want to stay married to Frannie. I think she should come back, and bring the car and the TV set too."
A long silence ensured. Thornton waited at least a minute before he asked, "Mr. Drake, is that the extent of your statement? Mr. Norton do you want to add anything?"
Norton shook his head.
Thornton asked Norton, "Are you representing him in the criminal abuse case as well?"
Norton, "Yes. A court date has not yet been set. Mr. Drake pleaded not guilty and posted bail. We expect that hearing to be in about three weeks."
Thornton asked, "I don't see it in the court documents; how much money does Mr. Drake make each year?"
"And Mrs. Drake?"
Fran responded, "$85,000. Carl told me we needed all of it to maintain our life style."
"And what are the operating expenses for the house -- mortgage, utilities, food, and such?"
After a silence, Carl said, "$25,000"
"Did Mrs. Drake have an allowance or keep some of her money?"
Carl said, "I gave her a hundred a week for an allowance; sometimes more if she needed to buy clothes or cosmetics."
"Mr. Drake, where did the rest of the money go?"
Carl was reluctant to answer. He whispered to his attorney. Finally, he answered, casting an eye at the audio recorder in the center of the mahogany table. "Sometimes I gamble. I've sort of had a string of bad luck."
Thornton studied Carl for a moment. Fran looked shocked; this was clearly something she'd not known. In an audible whisper to Ed Harris she said, "I didn't know he gambled too."
Thornton made some notes and thanked both parties. He said, "Mrs. Drake do you want to respond to Mr. Drakes opening comment?"
Fran took a deep breath and started, "Violence against women cannot be justified by any measure or any agreement, including a marriage license. I lied to myself for almost twelve years; I broke trust with myself because I tried to make it all right that it was happening in my life. Now I have trouble trusting myself and others because of that betrayal -- the betrayal of myself and the agreement I had with myself to never put myself in jeopardy."
She continued, "We did not have a normal marriage. Normal marriages don't have drunks, wife beaters, gamblers -- something I did not know about until a moment ago, or philanderers in them. Carl was all of these and more. I made a bad choice of partners. I fell in love, but that love has long since been eclipsed by fear and a burning desire to get on with my life without Carl." Fran nodded to show her statement had ended.
After a silence Thornton turned to Carl and asked, "Any comment?"
"Mr. Drake, what provisions of the divorce papers served on you make you unwilling to sign them?"
Carl looked at Fran with venom dripping from his expression. He said, "Fuck the bitch. I just wanted to give her a hard time. I'll sign the fucking papers."
John Norton, Carl's attorney, looked surprised. The two went into a whispering session for a minute. At the end of the time, Carl picked up a pen on the table and signed the papers that were in front of him. He roughly shoved them at Fran and said, "There bitch! You got it all."
Norton spoke up, "In exchange for this signing, it is our hope that Mrs. Drake will drop the domestic abuse charges she filed with the police. Mr. Drake, in this proceeding, pledges not to pursue or harass her or her friends and associates as well."
Fran looked at Ed Harris; he nodded in the affirmative. Harris spoke and said, "We will drop the charges, however, we reserve the right to reinstate any and all charges of this or any other kind should any part of this agreement -- written and verbal, be violated. The restraining order shall remain in effect for its duration of six months and may be renewed by us if there is concern for Mrs. Drake's safety and well-being."
Carl rose and walked out of the room leave everyone else hoping this was the end of a bad situation. The whole proceeding had taken forty-five minutes.
Although he'd done so before, Harris explained that the papers, transcript of the mediation session, and all photos and notes would be provided to the court for approval of the divorce. He thought he could get it fast tracked for a signature. After that, because of the mediation session, the divorce was a done deal.
Fran asked about changing back to her maiden name -- Tilman. He said he'd start the paperwork for the change as well as filing the right papers for her. Name changes usually went a little faster.
I took Fran to lunch and then we went home and went swimming. I thought she was all right, but a little edgy and anxious until we got in the pool. After she was soaking wet, she turned to me and broke into a sob. She cried and cried, deep racking sobs into my shoulder and chest as I held her, our nakedness only a hallmark of the intimacy between the two of us.
I made Fran lie down and nap later in the afternoon, figuring any sleep -- if it would come to her -- would isolate her from the morning session and the tension she'd been carrying inside her all these weeks.
Fran had broken a sacred agreement -- a marriage agreement that was supposed to last forever. Accordingly, she'd betrayed herself and Carl. She lied to herself for over a decade. Now, in the face of the broken agreement, she was deeply affected and wounded, even as she had to wound Carl in order to break away and save herself and save her soul. She'd had to change, and finally she'd stepped up to that change.
I hugged Fran when she came down in late afternoon. Everyone except the Whites were there and also expressed their love to her. The Whites had gone south to Florida to oversee some work on their new home.
That night, I put Tom and Dave up to cuddle Fran to sleep -- no sex! Both took on the challenge willingly. I chose the two of them for the sensitivity and compassion for Fran's situation.
A month later, Ed Harris called and talked to Fran for about ten minutes. The divorce had been awarded as well as the name change -- same judge. That night we had a big cake with a heart that just said, "We Love You Fran Tilman." There was a lot of hugging and kissing ... and, later in the evening, a lot of making love.
The family got very comfortable with themselves over the autumn months. Fran fit right in more and more as each day went by, and much to my surprise came out of the shell I discovered she had been living in the whole time I knew her. A new strength appeared in her along with self-confidence and strength. She had backbone now.
The family, as we'd come to call ourselves, talked several times about how we changed partners amongst ourselves -- to make love and to sleep. We also talked about how often to hold 'Orgy Nights.' We all felt it was important to maintain loving and sexual relations with each other rather than 'couple up.' Thus, there was a lot of switching around.
As for our 'Orgy Nights,' we decided that at least once a month we needed an all out sexual feast where any one of us could try old or new perversions that came to mind in a setting where all of us were participating. With Fran's delicate psyche we'd put things on hold for a while. Now that the divorce was final, we all wanted to restart our sex play.
Fran had not participated in group sex with more than Tom and me until her divorce came along. In some ways she didn't have the strength, and also, we didn't want to shock her with how unbridled some of our sex play could be.
I asked her one-day, "Fran, our family sometimes has sex in a group setting ... with lots of switching around, and doubling and tripling up. I'm sensitive to your feelings, and also perhaps your upbringing. We were thinking of a session this weekend. How do you feel about joining us?"
A smile spread across Fran's face. She asked, "Gangbang kind of sex? DP? Anything goes?"
"Yes, usually." I started to sense from her enthusiasm that she might actually be up for this.
Fran said, "Oh, I'm in. I can hardly wait."
I was surprised at how quickly she was rebounding from her situation with Carl. I guess the freedom from that oppression was exactly what she needed to bloom.
Accordingly, a few of us broadcast the word within the family that we'd have an orgy in two weeks. This would give people time to plan, as well as some of us to think about making a little more of a party of the event than we had in the past.
A week before the event, Josh raised an interesting question to the group over dinner when most of us were there, "Is our little fuck fest limited to just family or could one of us bring an outsider?"
Tom asked, "Say more? And how would you know they'd be our kind of person?"
I snickered to myself about what his question implied, yet I was curious how Josh would respond.
"Well, I've met this really hot woman through my work. She single, mid-thirties, and well built. She was a client, but the deal is long completed. Anyway, she sent up some signals when I helped her buy her home, but nothing happened then. Now she's asking again."
Peter said, "Are you think bringing her to an eight-person orgy is a good first date?" We all laughed.
Dave said, "It's going to be a ten-person orgy. Greg and Linda are flying in Friday afternoon. He said they wouldn't miss this for anything."
Josh smiled and said; "I'd feel her out about how she feels about something like this. She's a very warm person and I think she'd add some further spice to our party. Somehow I know she'd not only accept, but it would also excite her beyond her imagination."
"Does this dish have a name?"
I said, "I think you should bring her by for drinks with us before you spring the Big Kahuna on her. Peter's right; a ten-person orgy is not a good first date. Some of us might worry about how far to go with her and such."
Tom muttered something about unexpected and undiscussed boundaries.
Fran said, "On the same basis, there's a guy I work with that I always thought was really cool and sexy. He's married, but still we flirted a lot -- so much in fact that I was sure I could have had a romp with him. I've met his wife and she's the same way, and I even thought she might have been coming on to me at the company cookout in May."
We looked at each other and no one seemed to object. There were even some smiles around the circle that our orgy would have some new ass in it.
Tom posed, "Anyone else we should invite?"
Dave said flatly, "Mark Hendricks?"
Peter and Tom snapped to look at Dave. I'd heard the name around work, and knew there some sort of story there, but people didn't talk about it. Mar and Beth had the same kind of puzzled look that I did.
Dave said with a little more passion, "He's an older guy -- late forties. His wife had an aneurysm blow up in her brain that almost killed her. She's not quite a vegetable, but she doesn't know who Mark is, can't walk, make love, or care for herself, and he spends a lot of time arranging for her care. I think he recently moved her from his house to a facility of some kind. It's a sad story that's been going on for about four years."
"Do you think he'd fit in? What about his guilt feelings if he did anything like this?"
Dave smiled and said, "I'm guessing this guy needs to get laid in the worst way. He does have a good sense of humor, even about his situation."
Tom said, "Invite him to the party before the party and let's see what we think."
Mar suddenly jumped up and said, "Hey, can I invite Walt -- my brother. He's up on all of this." I smiled; her brother was a hunk, and I hoped he'd come.
Beth was quick on that comment: "What about my family? You know what happened with them and me. They'd love this sort of thing -- Bill, my step father; Debbie, my mom; Kate, my younger sister -- who you'll all just love; and Brian, my younger brother."
I added a few more, "Can we invite Duke and his friends -- Steve and Aaron? They've already been with us and we had fun."
Thus, Wednesday evening, after work, we hosted a "Hump Day" party at the house. The weather cooperated and it was a lovely warm autumn day, with the hint of the coming chill in the air.
Almost everyone we invited came. Greg and Linda even flew up a week early to meet the potential new players, and to reconnect with the family. So there was the ten of us from the intentional family, plus Tara Emery, Josh's friend; Alan and Karen Vessy, Fran's friends through work; Mark Hendricks; Walt, Mar's brother; and Bill, Debbie, Kate, and Brian Cariola, Beth's parents, sister, and brother. Duke, Steve, and Aaron couldn't make the Hump Day party, and Duke told me only he and Aaron could make the Saturday night orgy a week later. Thus, if everyone showed up for Saturday night, we'd have twenty one of us.
I trusted my friends before, and after meeting the new arrivals I trusted them even more. The folks I didn't know were all nice and loving people, each with interesting personalities that blended so nicely with ours. I noted there was a lot of laughing and touching going on; we were that way normally, yet extending the behavior to the newbies seemed a good yardstick for how they might behave in a more intimate setting. They all seemed to enjoy, and they all reciprocated, even extending the conduct with hugs and kisses for special comments and introductions to new people they hadn't yet met.