Life is a Soap Opera Act 03byHLD©
Bailey felt like he had slapped her. Her heart started to race. It took her a moment to form the words. "What for?"
A sadness flashed across his eyes. It was as if he hated to even bring it up.
"I want you to take this to a lawyer or two and have them look at it," he said softly, knowing she was on the verge of slugging him.
"What if I refuse to sign it?" she dared to ask.
Gabriel took a deep breath. He looked like he was going to be sick. Still, he said the words anyway. "This is a showstopper, sweetheart. Please . . . take it to a lawyer and have them go over it with you. I'm sorry, but this is something I have to do."
Dazed, Bailey sat at the kitchen table staring at the document.
For the first—and last—time, she doubted Gabriel's love for her.
Numbly, she picked it up and drove home to see her parents. They went to see her lawyer/insurance agent and waited for the other shoe to drop.
They sat in silence as the minutes ticked away.
"This is the craziest damn thing I've ever seen," he said after a long time.
"What do you mean, Freddie?" her father sounded concerned. They had gone to high school together and their families had always been close.
"If he were my client, there's not a chance in hell that I'd ever let him sign this thing." The lawyer shook his head and tossed his glasses on to the thick stack of paper.
"Why not?" Bailey asked.
"Young lady, do you know what the purpose of a pre-nuptial agreement is?"
"To keep gold diggers from cleaning someone out." There was a bit of a harsh edge in her voice.
"Essentially, yes." Freddie said. "Do you know why he would want you to sign this?"
Bailey thought for a second, not liking the answer that kept coming up. "He thinks I'm after his money."
"Do you know why he would think that?"
She just shrugged.
The lawyer reached for a folder on his desk. "When I found out you were engaged, I did some research and checked out your boyfriend. When you showed up here today, I won a hundred bucks from the other lawyer across the street."
He turned the folder around and Bailey's eyes nearly popped out of her skull. It was filled with pictures and news articles, all dealing with Gabriel and Jeannie MacKenzie, as well as a few court documents including what looked like a divorce decree and bankruptcy filing.
"His first wife cleaned him out," Freddie said. "Not only did she take almost all of his money, but she left him with a mountain of debt that took about four years for him to get clear of. That's why he's being so cautious. Pre-nups protect the wealthier party from being preyed upon by the other. Tell me, Bailey, aside from your personal belongings—clothes, jewelry and all that—what do you own?"
She came up blank.
"Right now, you own a 1970 Buick Skylark Gran Sport convertible—and a mighty nice one at that—but you essentially have nothing," he continued. "You are contributing no assets to the marriage. What do you think your fiancée is worth? Give me a ballpark figure. Andy? Joanne? Anyone got a guess?"
There were no takers.
"All of his assets are listed right here: stocks, IRAs, pension fund, the house in the city, cars, cash . . . you name it. How much do you think he's got?" Freddie flipped through the document to one of the pages he had tabbed. Pointing to the bottom line, he said, "Gabriel MacKenzie's net worth is around eleven million. He's worked a lot, made some smart investments and it doesn't look like he really spends a lot of money. You may think he's spent the last two years doing nothing, but he and his financial advisor have done some really smart things and made a ton of dough. He doesn't have any vices . . . no drugs, no gambling, no whoring . . . none of the usual stuff you'd expect to see on the E! True Hollywood Story. Plus, he socked away a lot of his money in his mother's name so his wife couldn't spend it, and he got it back when she died. Smart guy."
"So he wants to protect what he's got?" Andy had a puzzled look on his face.
"That the thing," Freddie's voice trailed off for a second. "Most pre-nups preserve the relative wealth of each party in the event that the marriage dissolves. Let's say Gabriel has seventy percent of the assets and Bailey has thirty when they get married. If they got a divorce, they would divvy up their assets accordingly. So unless you won the lottery or made a bunch of money, to make a long story short, he'd get more than you in the settlement."
"So why would you advise him not to sign this?" Bailey breathed.
"For the first five years, it's a pretty standard pre-nup. You waive claim to any of the assets he brings into the marriage and vice-versa. Meaning that car of yours stays yours. Any of the money made or assets gained—regardless of who the earner is—while you are married would be divided 50/50. It's all here in legalese, but that's essentially what it says," Freddie put his glasses back on and flipped to another tab. "Then we get to the interesting part. After five years, you, Bailey, are specifically entitled to an increasing share of his wealth. This is why his lawyer probably went nuts. Most of the time, this is the stuff people fight about for months on end. It makes people like me very rich with lots of billable hours, but it's never written up this way from the beginning."
"Because if you're a gold digger, he's essentially inviting you to divorce him after five years," Freddie said. The jaws on all the Crawfords dropped. "Oh, it gets better. If you make it to ten years, you are fully entitled to half of his assets going in to the marriage. He's making it very easy for you to clean him out before you turn thirty. That's why if I were his lawyer, I'd either walk away or make him sign a big stack of 'against professional advice' forms before drafting this thing."
Bailey sat back in her chair, shocked.
"The only thing you specifically waive any claim on is his apartment in New York," the other man said. "It probably has something to do with keeping his rent subsidy. Of the rest . . . You could take him for everything else if you wanted, including that house you're living in, his retirement and a four thousand square foot 'cabin' out in Lake Tahoe."
The four sat in silence for a few moments.
"Bailey . . . I'm going to say this as your friend, not your lawyer. I think he's head over heels in love with you. The way this thing is built, he's protecting himself if you do turn out to be someone who's just after him to make a quick buck. But down the road . . . he's exposing himself to the potential for a financial catastrophe. He's betting that you're really in it for love. Even if you decide to leave him in a few years, he's willing to spell out the ways he's going to take care of you now rather than let a divorce court do it down the road, where he would probably win."
"What about kids?" she asked. "What does it say about our children?"
"Pre-nups don't cover children," Freddie shook his head. "The courts have consistently thrown out pre-nuptial custody agreements since the court considers the welfare of the children first, financial and other considerations second and those interests cannot be considered before the children are born."
"You think I should sign it," Bailey said. It wasn't a question.
"Hell. Yes. And that's speaking as your lawyer," Freddie replied. "Gabriel is looking out for you on this one. He's doing a smart thing in protecting himself in the short term, but down the road, you're coming out the winner."
"I, Bailey Dawn Crawford, take you, Gabriel Jonathan MacKenzie, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, as long as we both shall live. I promise to be your partner and your spouse. I will seek comfort in you and lend you my strength. I give you my heart and my body and my soul. I will love you without reservation and I will accept your unconditional love. I will be your devoted and faithful wife for ever and ever."
As she said the words, Bailey felt a peace come over her. She looked into Gabe's eyes and saw his love for her.
Everything else faded away: the minister, her sister and her parents, their families and the church that was packed to the gills. All she saw was Gabriel. Her angel. Her husband.
Her hands shook as she placed the ring on his finger.
She didn't remember the rest of the ceremony. All she knew was that when it was over, the minister announced them as "Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel MacKenzie."
The wedding was the biggest thing to hit Washington County since the Blizzard of '96. They had the ceremony in her hometown because Gabe knew how important it was to her for all of her family and friends to be there. It was also a whole lot less expensive than having it in New York.
When they started planning, Gabe and Bailey told her parents in no uncertain terms that they were footing the bill for their own wedding. He had more than enough money to cover things; Andy and Joanne did not. Instead, they said that any money her folks were going to spend should be put into a trust fund for their grandchildren. As a point of pride, Andy insisted on paying for the rehearsal dinner and covering some of the minor expenses.
Gabe and Bailey settled on a reasonable budget and then he turned her loose. Bailey made sure to use as many local vendors as possible and since she was related to or familiar with most of them, she found that many things were either discounted or comped outright. She didn't even mind paying more at the florist or for invitations because it meant that the money would be staying in Washington County, not going to some shop in the city or across the country.
It was officially the biggest party ever held in the county. Aside from the visiting celebs from The Sun Also Sets and the fact that half the county was invited, it turned out to be a de facto holiday. They got married in her church but had to hold the reception at an old plantation house that doubled as the Women's Club, a nice restaurant and sometimes hosted meetings for the United Steelworkers Local 1394.
The reception was outdoors and the weather was just right. They were up to their eyeballs in food and guests. Bailey wanted everyone to have a good time and spared no expense. Still, she came in under the budget she and Gabe had set.
Chuck and Michael were Gabe's groomsmen. Bailey had April and Kimmy stand up for her. Morgan was away at aviation electronics school, but sent her love anyway.
As far as Bailey was concerned, the wedding was perfect. Her dress was elegant but not ostentatious. Her mother's best friend did her hair and make-up. The only job Gabe insisted on filling himself was the photographer. They took pictures separately before the ceremony and together afterwards.
Gabriel looked so handsome, even next to his brother. She danced first with her husband, then with her father, but she only had eyes for Gabe.
They cut the cake, did the garter belt thing and bouquet toss. As it was meant to be, Bailey was the center of attention and she loved it. She stopped feeling self-conscious about her big boobs, not-so-flat belly and her round hips. She wasn't hiding behind her bangs or under over-sized sweatshirts anymore. She felt beautiful because to the one person in the world whose opinion mattered most, she was.
As they drove off in the limo, Bailey took her husband's hand and kissed him. "I love you, Gabe MacKenzie."
His hands cupped her face and he pulled her to him. She felt lightheaded as his lips met hers. He gave her a succession of soft pecks. "And I love you, Bailey MacKenzie."
She giggled, loving the way her new name sounded.
It was dark when they left the reception, and by all indications, the party was still going strong. They drove back to his mother's house—their house—and necked in the limo. Bailey was a little buzzed on the champagne at the reception.
When they arrived home, the driver got out, handed Gabriel a package and left them there. Chuck had a check to cover the expenses at the reception and arrangements had been made to bring all of their gifts and stuff up to the house the next day.
"I've got something for you," Bailey said with a seductive look in her eyes.
"And I've got something for you, too." They kissed once more as the limo drove off.
Gabriel took her hand and they went inside. She wanted to jump him, but Gabe seemed like he was up to something. To be fair, she had a surprise of her own planned.
They went into the kitchen and Gabe set his package down on the table. Then opened the fridge and found a bottle of champagne and two flutes. After popping the cork, he poured them each a glass.
"To us." The crystal flutes clinked together.
She downed hers in one swallow and Gabe filled her glass again. She batted her eyes at him and did her best Scarlett O'Hara. "Are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me, Mr. MacKenzie?"
"Why yes I am, Miss Bailey," he said in a much better Rhett Butler.
"Well I do declare," she slurred. "My husband had best not find out about this. I am a married woman, you know."
They both giggled and she kissed him eagerly. She started to nibble on his lip when he pulled away.
Bailey let out a disappointed sigh which quickly turned to curiosity when Gabe pushed the wrapped package towards her. She raised her eyebrow but he said nothing.
Slipping the wrapping paper off, she opened the box and found a photo album. Thumbing through the pages, she saw a gazillion pictures from earlier in the day. There were none from the reception, but everything at the church.
She marveled at how handsome her husband was.
"Who took these?"
"My photographers," Gabe said with a wry smile.
Bailey spent the next several minutes flipping through the album. When she got to the last page, she found a card with her name on it. She slipped the envelope open and a check fell out.
Her eyes widened in disbelief.
"What the hell is this?"
"My wedding gift to you," he said and took her in his arms.
Try as she might, her mouth wouldn't form any words.
"I sold exclusive rights to our wedding photos to one of those celebrity-chaser magazines. I may be buried somewhere near the bottom of the C-list, but there's still someone out there willing to pay for pictures of our wedding." He kissed her hungrily. "It's not Brangelina or Tom-Kat money, but it's better than nothing."
"Better than nothing", my ass! Bailey thought. This is more than my parents make in a year!
Plus, they were taken by professionals and came out amazing.
Bailey was eager to kiss him back. His hands went to her backside and she pulled back. She had something planned and needed to calm herself down before her lust took over.
"Go into the bedroom and wait a minute for me," she said seductively. "And put your bow tie back on. I love a man in a tuxedo."
With a wink, she retreated into the guest suite to change, fully aware of her husband's eyes on her backside as she walked away.
Gabriel lit some candles around the bedroom and turned the sheets down on the bed. He was the luckiest guy in the world. He was married to the most beautiful woman God ever placed in His creation and had found love again.
The minutes passed slowly, but soon enough he heard Bailey approach. He turned his head and saw his bride standing in the doorway.
His cock jerked in his pants. His eyes got wide. His heart started to pound.
Illuminated in the soft glow of the candles, Bailey had changed from her bridal gown into his dream wedding dress. She wore a white cupless corset. Her breasts were exposed for him to see, their nipples pointing right out at him. A lace garter belt held up thigh-high stockings.
She wore no panties over her freshly-shaved pussy. His eyes ran down her body. Over her soft, round hips. Past her shapely legs to her high-heels.
Then back up, lingering on her breasts. A heart-shaped white gold pendant hung from a lace choker. Her hair was still pulled back, but Bailey had put on a thin veil that fell down past her shoulders.
In her hands, Bailey held a small bouquet of flowers. She stood there expectantly, a far cry from the shy girl Gabe met almost a year and a half before.
"You are so beautiful," he said once he found his voice. Bailey blushed.
Gabe walked over to where she stood. He walked around her one time, his eyes devouring her form.
With one motion, he picked her up and cradled her in his arms. She kissed him right behind the ear and he stepped over the threshold into their bedroom. Carrying her the short distance across the room, he set her down on the edge of the bed.
She surprised him by standing. Placing the flowers on the nightstand, she took his hands and looked into his eyes.
Her big brown orbs were filled with love. She smiled contentedly.
"I, Bailey Dawn Crawford, take you, Gabriel Jonathan MacKenzie, to be my husband. I will be your loving wife, your gourmet chef, your steady business partner and your willing whore. I promise not to nag you or ask you to run an errand during a football game. Oh, and the blowjobs don't stop now that we're married. We're going to fuck like rabbits and I'm going to bear your children. I'm going to grow old with you and I will love you every day for the rest of my life."
The pair of them laughed. Gabe brought his wife's hands to his lips and he kissed them.
"I, Gabriel Jonathan MacKenzie, take you, Bailey Dawn Crawford, to be my wife. I will be your strength and your light. I will not take you for granted when times are good, and I will not shut down and withdraw when things get bad. Every day, I will tell you two things: that I love you and that you are the most beautiful woman in the world. I will be your loving husband, the father of your children and I will grow old with you. I promise lots of foreplay, cuddling and I will never ask you for a threesome."
Gabe took his wife in his arms. They kissed, softly at first, then more passionately. His hands roamed her body. His fingertips left a trail of goosebumps all over her body.
She made no move to undress him. Apparently, she was really turned on by a man in a tuxedo!
His hands cupped her ass and he lifted her back up on the bed. Her eyes were level with his.
Bailey moaned as he kissed across her face to her ear. She gasped when he hit that spot just right.
Using his tongue, Gabe traced the nerve that runs down the side of her neck causing her to squeal with delight.
All the while, he kneaded her breasts. They were so big. So soft. When he rolled her nipples between his fingers, she thrust her chest forward and had to bite her lip to keep from screaming.
Gabe's lips sucked on her collarbone, just as she liked. Then he kissed his way into the valley between her breasts. Bailey's fingers ran through his hair and she pulled him into her cleavage.
"Oh, god, Gabe," she moaned. "That feels so good."
He suckled on her nipples for a long time. When he wasn't kissing one of her breasts, he was squeezing or pressing his palm against it.
"I'm gonna fuck your brains out tonight," she promised.
"Not before I eat you out," Gabe countered.
Bailey giggled. "Then get eating because I need some wedding night cock!"
He couldn't help it. Gabriel burst out laughing. It was the kind of rich, hearty laughter that was shared among friends and lovers. He knew Bailey was a cheap date, and she had easily consumed enough champagne to be flying like a kite.
But in her eyes, he saw the corner of her heart that was reserved specifically for him. Her face was flush with excitement. As was the rest of her. Bailey's nipples were crinkled up and her labia were swollen in anticipation.