Family Guy Reduxbychilleywilley©
Family Guy Redux, I Handed Her the Divorce Papers and Everything Went Downhill.
Cpete wrote Family Guy, a more or less predictable cheating wife story. With cpete's permission I have bowdlerized the first part of his story almost beyond recognition as a lead in to my idea of an ending. I have kept the character of Mark, who's not too bright as cpete created him, but his wife now has 20 IQ points on him, and the story heads off in a different direction. You really should read the Family Guy, and then this one, and if you don't like this one, don't blame cpete. Oh, in this story the cheating wife wins!
Dawnj was kind enough to edit it.
Family Guy Redux
My wife, Amanda, was trying to hold back her tears as we left my youngest son's dorm, walking across the campus to the parking lot. We were hot and sweaty, having just moved him in, and now Amanda was snuffling, as was our next door neighbor Kathy, whose boy was rooming with our son.
"I can't believe that now all of our boys are grown up and moved out!"
Our neighbor, Kathy, sighed as she pulled a tissue out of her purse in feminine sympathy.
My wife, Amanda, accepted one of the tissues.
"Yes it's hard to believe," Amanda said, as she dabbed at her eyes. "It's the end of a big part of our lives, isn't it. Like 'the rest of our lives' sort of decisions don't revolve so much around the kids."
Kate stunned us with
"Don't be surprised when the 'for sale' sign goes up next door, I'm selling the house."
Amanda indicated her sympathy with:
"I wondered why you didn't do it years ago; you killed yourself keeping up that barn."
I only half listened to them. My mind was on my own big decision. I had a few doubts about "pulling the trigger" now that it come time to do it. My plans were almost a decade in the making. Was the timing right? Did it need to be done at all?"
Amanda made a move to clasp my hand. I avoided this by reaching into my pocket to pull out the car keys, even though we were still quite a distance away from my SUV.
"Mark it's OK." Amanda spoke. "I know how you feel."
'If only you did.' I thought, as my mind drifted back to past and the moment that started all this.
I knew our marriage ended years ago. We had just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary; I grabbed the mail, pleased to see a padded envelope among the junk mail and bills. I had been the winning bidder of a bunch of baseball cards on eBay, and the delivery was overdue.
I ripped open the padded envelope and pulled out a bulging manila envelope with a letter.
"Damn!" I muttered, opening up the attached letter. You don't normally get a letter with e bay purchases. I hope I did not get burned on this thing."
I hope this note finds you in good health and spirits.
I have recently come to grips and admitted my addiction to alcohol. I have no money and no family, but with the help of my higher power and sponsor, I am in a group home for substance abuse persons. I am now clean and sober for 90 days.
As part of my twelve step program, I have made a list of all persons I have harmed, and am trying to make amends to them all.
In your case, I am more than willing to try direct amends, but I don't know how. As I only now, with my newfound sobriety, have come to regret our actions. Yet I do not wish to cause you any emotional injury or strife in your life.
Although I feel cowardly, the best I can do is ask you for forgiveness, and if you wish, promise never to contact you again.
Do with the enclosed what you will. In my present circumstances, I am lacking privacy, and do not want something so personal to be seen by others. The memories they bring show how empty my life alone has been, but I can't keep them and I do not have the courage to destroy them.
Warm Regards Always
"What the hell" I said out loud, turning the now ripped padded envelope to look at its front. I now saw it was addressed to Amanda. "Josh? Regret our actions? That's a pregnant statement if I ever heard one!"
The only Josh I knew was our former neighbors' son, one of those 30+ year old losers who lived in his parents basement. Drunk most of the time, he claimed to be running a photography business. Josh was a decade older than us. He was what a "Slinky" is, not really good for anything, but brought a smile to your face when falling down the stairs. The family sold the place and moved away some years ago, taking Josh with them. Money troubles I was told.
I tore open the envelope, and pulled out a bunch of pictures. The first few showed a decade plus younger Amanda in some cheesecake poses. She was dressed in a clingy blouse and shorts. The outfit looked familiar. They were probably in chronological order, and I shuffled through them following a progression of Amanda going from cheesecake, to topless, to nude, to pornographic naked. As Amanda's apparel dwindled, my blood pressure rose. The last sequence of photos had Amanda with a penis in her mouth and having intercourse in various positions.
You could tell some of the pictures were taken by the guy holding the camera because they were at odd angles, some with Amanda looking up into the camera lens, winking, with a dick in her mouth and a smile on her face, well to the extent she could smile with her lips around a penis. Others were taken from a camera mounted on a tripod from three different locations. My wife having him in missionary, doggie and cowgirl style, were off center, but in focus. Clearly no condoms, and from the changes in haircuts and makeup, taken over an extended time. In several she looked a little pregnant.
I walked into my home office and took a picture off my desk. It was a photo of her with our first son and his maybe three month old brother, she was wearing the same outfit. Now I had a date to go with the pictures.
I dropped into the chair at my desk. I felt faint; it was as if all the blood had left my head.
"How long had Amanda been screwing around on me?" I pondered out loud.
Looking through the sex pictures, her hair was various lengths, so at least several months, and in some her breasts were quite full, and her belly somewhat rounded. Carrying a child?
Suddenly a horrible thought crossed my mind. "What if the boys were not mine!"
I grabbed the most recent picture of my "Loving" wife and the boys dressed in baseball uniforms. Both boys favored their mother Amanda in looks, and looked to have my build and jawline, but what does that prove?
"YOU CHEATING BITCH!" I yelled into the empty house, slamming my fist on the desktop.
Wild thoughts ran thru my mind, I would kill her, leave her, get any kind of revenge on her. The boys were 9 & 11, shit! She'd get custody and I'd be a visiting father. There were no solutions, just more problems and questions. The weight of the discovery washed over me, and drained me. I was just so tired, weary. It took a massive effort just to drag myself up the stairs and collapse onto the bed. Try as I might, I couldn't still my mind. I pled sick at dinner, and stayed in the bedroom.
The next morning I was at the kitchen table, staring at my wife's back as she busied herself at the counter and the sink. After a restless night's sleep, I felt a strange calm, almost numbness. Everything was the same in the house; it all looked normal, smelled normal, Amanda hadn't changed, but it was as if someone had showed me all a magician's tricks. I was no long in awe of her, and questioned her every move and motive.
"Amanda do you remember Josh?" I asked.
I could not see Amanda's face, but her shoulders stiffened a moment before answering.
"Josh? Our old neighbor? I haven't heard that name in years, did he do something to get himself in the paper?"
"I was thinking about Josh and his photography stuff. He was always running around taking pictures of neighborhood kids. You think he was a pedophile or something?"
There was relief in Amanda's voice as she replied with concern. "Good god no! Don't tell me he's in the paper for that!"
"He's not in the paper at all. How do you know he's not some sort of sex offender..." I trailed off
Amanda wiped her hands on a dishrag before calling the boys for breakfast. "Of course I don't know any such thing. Once I saw a very hung over Josh waving goodbye to a woman leaving the house, so at least he likes women, and I never heard a hint in the neighborhood about children."
"Sounds like you knew Josh pretty well Amanda." I questioned. "You miss him?"
"Never really knew him. He took some portraits of the family, you wouldn't sit for any, so you're absent in them...that was about it. We got a much better deal when Kathy moved in. It's like she and I are twin moms!"
Kathy, our good neighbor was a single mother. The life insurance money from her husband's death in the line of duty went to buy Josh's house when his parents sold it. Our kids were the same age and Kathy and the boys became part of the family, sharing me as the father.
An unhandy single mom like Kathy couldn't maintain her house, so Amanda volunteered me as a "house-husband" which I didn't mind. She was a fun person, easy on the eyes, a real MILF, but I certainly didn't do or even hint about anything improper. Dad had taught us to be a man of our word, and I keep my vows, just like he did.
Amanda came over and gave me a playful slap on the shoulder.
"Mark, you get jealous at the drop of the hat! It's silly! Josh was a drunk and a bum, who's only virtue, was he could take good portraits when he was sober."
"The guilty dog barks first Amanda. Do I have any reason to be jealous?"
Amanda sat down at the table, looked me in the eye and lied.
"Of course not! she said.
"Like I said, Josh was just a harmless drunk. He was always taking pictures of everything. He probably could have been a really good photographer if he wasn't drinking all the time. His parents asked me to try to talk to him, get him into AA. Didn't work, though."
I leaned back in my chair and said nothing.
Amanda looked up for a second from her coffee mug and I thought she would resume with Josh, but she changed the subject.
"Weren't those the days, Mark. We'd just started out. You were working two jobs and going to school, me with babies in diapers, your mom so sick. But we had fun, didn't we. You could come home ready to drop, but you'd land with Mr. Woody up in the air! I had to get myself off first, because you'd be so tired you'd shag, shoot and snooze! "
"I don't think it's proper to talk of such things like that."
Amanda gave me a funny look, and heaved herself up.
"Well so much for the good old days, I'm going out and weed the gardens."
I was going to follow her and have it out with her when the boys noisily invading the kitchen. I got them their snack, listened to their prattle, and shooed them outside to play. I silently headed up the stairs as I mentally tossed reconciliation out the window. I knew the anger I felt toward Amanda would pass, but the trust would never return. Find one rat, and there's others you didn't see.
"Mark you sure you want to do this?" My brother Eric asked the next day. We were in his office, and he finished looking over the photos, letter, and the DNA testing that proved my younger boy wasn't mine.
Eric was my adopted brother; my folks looked after Eric "for a few days" when his mother died. Eric just stayed with us. I know now that it was a financial burden to our working class family. When I asked my mother years later how she did it, she just waved me off with "Slice the bread a little thinner, put some more water in the soup. Children come first!"
My father was never one to turn away a person in need. While a religious man, Dad felt faith was in actions, not litanies, and had no use for the organized religions he knew about. He always ended all our supper prayers with "...next time let there be more instead of less around the table, and Lord protect us from your followers.".
Eric, always seeing the worst, said dad meant more food on the plates, but he was just ragging me, I knew dad was talking about more family and friends around the table.
Eric worked his way through law school, graduating at the top his class, and right off was minting money, engaged to the love of his life who was also a lawyer at the same firm. That is until he saw her bent over a conference table, having intercourse with one of the senior partner. It took a while, but word got out about her, so she had to quit, and the only work she could find was as a public defender at damn little money.
Eric didn't act right away. He stayed at the firm for almost a year and a half, collecting his bonuses and perks. Then after cashing out, he led a couple of other attorneys in an exodus. Taking most of the bigger clients with them. The old firm never recovered going bust two years later.
Eric shuffled my paperwork in a folder.
"Mark, I think you're still in shock. Take a deep breath and get this in perspective. She's a good woman, good mother, and you get along well with her. You two are friends."
"You mean like you did?" I said with sarcasm "You and Dad are my personal heroes, look how good you handled that event at your original law firm."
"Bro: There are only winners and losers in this world. Heroes are scattered equally among them, You get to choose to be a winner hero or a looser hero. Listen Mark. I wasn't married, no mortgage, and I didn't have children. You and your wife are good folks, but most people have a hard time seeing beyond themselves. We only see how we're treated and aren't on the lookout for the effects our actions have on others."
"What are you, fucking Yoda now Eric?" I rolled my eyes. "I want out! My revenge will be that cheating bitch getting squat, and everyone knowing what she did to me. I don't want Amanda to think she can screw around on me and plead hormone induced amnesia, like I'm some Damn fool!"
"Ok Mark, so you want to be a loser hero. Go at her up the center and take the hits, fuck up the boys and their future and get spit out of the divorce courts. Stupid! Stupid! Think for a god dam minute. It's usually better to ignore the emotional response and plan your actions. I know it's not instantly gratifying, but in the long run it's the way to win. Think about what you really want and then create a plan to make it happen. T. Boon Pickens said, "A fool with a plan beats a genius with none every time." Take it from someone who has been there."
"Screw her! I want out!"
"I don't do family law, but an old friend of mine from the old firm is a real shark. Now you're sure you want to do this? I'm telling you, you'll rue the day!"
"Make the call Eric."
A week later, I was in an upscale, corner office downtown, Mr. Lawyer "the Shark" was looking over my last three years tax returns, paternity tests, and two pages of what I wanted out of the divorce. I was surprised how little he wanted to see.
He took off his reading glasses before speaking.
"You said that other than that, you have a happy home? Kids doing well in school, no daggers flying between you and Amamda?"
I nodded in agreement
Then Forget about it! Leave it behind you!"
I was shocked at hearing those words coming out of the heavy set lawyer who was supposed to be such a killer shark.
"Mark, I know you and Eric are brothers, so I am going to give it to you straight. You'll screw up your family. Forget about it."
It took a moment for me to speak.
"You mean I should just act like it never happened! Smile knowing I got screwed and am raising her love child."
Mr. Shark leaned back in his chair.
"Yep, unless you have video of your wife Amanda force feeding your kids Red Bull as toddlers, and making them fight each other for prize money."
He pointed at me.
"Presently you have a nice looking wife, for the last ten years you've been happy together, respect one another, reasonable relationship, home and two nice kids, but look at the opportunity at you feet! With a little more work, you can have a crappy apartment, no money, part time kids who have no college in their future, and...and the wife can fuck her new male friends in your house. I am talking alimony from you, child support from you, more than half your earnings and savings."
I was stunned. "Amanda has a job, why should I pay child support for a kid not even mine!"
"Mark I'll take your money if you want to proceed but let me tell you about the facts and the law. What your wife makes at that picayune part time hair salon job does not come close to your income. So alimony is a given. As far as child support for a child not yours, it doesn't matter."
"But what...what if I find out Amanda knew it wasn't my son all along? That is fraud, right?"
"Your wife could take out a full page add in the New York Times announcing to the whole world you were not the father, and she knew all along, and you would still have to pay child support."
I interrupted him. "I can at least try to get some back money from my cheating wife's boyfriend, right?"
"From the letter you showed me, he probably hasn't any money. Forget it.
I slumped back in my chair as he continued.
"Ask yourself if the cost of a man's pride is higher than half of his assets, plus spousal and child support. And, making all this public won't give you your self respect back, or restore your reputation. Look, you work hard, but add apartment rent, and you two can't begin to carry the house. Your kids suffer, you suffer, your wife suffers? Try a Marriage Counselor to help you get past this."
"I swear that is NOT going to happen to me" I said through gritted teeth.
"Fuck!" I said under my breath.
"It's cheaper to keep her." Mr. Big said philosophically. "Extramarital affairs is an issue that 68% of all married people will have to deal with during their marriage. You have children involved, so that changes the whole dynamic. Children of divorce have a much higher rate of substance abuse, promiscuity, depression, and anger issues. Hell, the only truth in a divorce is that there are no real winners. However, absent abuse, in all cases among the losers are the children. Big time losers. You hate your kids?
Suddenly, I had a flashback to the day I told my Father we were expecting a child.
"Mark," Dad had said. "Many men are fathers, but fewer fathers are men. To be a man who is a father, your first, last, and only priority is your children. If there is not enough food, you go hungry. Not enough shelter, you endure the cold. If there ain't enough money, you do without. Most important is strength. You must be strong at all times for your family, and I am not talking about some blowhard show that buckles when the going gets tough. You must not only show strength, but also be strong enough to seek out, and accept help when needed. You will never know how strong you are, until strength is all you have.
Son, you will often be wrong, but you can never be in doubt. This is expected and accepted as a true Man. Your efforts will rarely be appreciated, or acknowledged, most times ridiculed, but a real true man does not do this for accolades or praise, he does this for his family, for his children, because he is a true and real MAN."
I jumped out of the chair like a shot, and extended my hand to Mr. Bigshot. "Thank you for all your time. I certainly got a heck of a legal education. But I do not think I will be using your services right now. What do I owe you for your efforts?"
He smiled a really warm smile as he stood to shake my hand.
"No charge Mark, I owe your brother a few favors. I've given you good advice, I'm glad your reconsidering. Seriously, call me anytime, my door is always open to you. I mean that!"
Two days later I met Eric for lunch.
"Eric, after you caught your fiancée with your mentor, why didn't you quit right away? Why stay for almost a year/"