Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
There is no sex in this story. Sorry
I should have known better. I wanted it so bad that I let it cloud my judgment. A guy like me never gets a girl like Marsha. Maybe in the movies but not in real life.
Three years ago Marsha started work in the office of SSA, that is; Safety and Security Affiliates. All of the male employees were aware of her presence, mainly because she was a notch above the other office girls. She wasn't smarter or better educated, but prettier and sexier. She didn't wear a wedding ring.
My infatuation with her quickly waned because I immediately knew that she was totally out of my league. Hell I wasn't even in a league. The only girls, or woman, that I ever had any relationships with, were the ones that charged by the hour. I wasn't a virgin, but that was only because I worked up the courage on several occasions to approach one of the less ferocious looking ladies of the night. Actually, I found a few of the younger ones attractive, but all they wanted from me was my money. I couldn't even find a whore that would want to spend any one-on-one time with me, if there was no cash involved.
I was raised by a single mother. I never met my father. I guess that might have something to do with my lack of social skills with the ladies. My mother noticed the problem and really tried to help me. I spent almost two years going to ballroom dance classes with her, but all I got out of it was the ability to dance. I still lacked the confidence and courage to meet and relate to the opposite sex.
After I finished school, my mother married and moved to Florida. We talk several times a year, but that is the only contact that I have had with her.
I liked working for SSA because it didn't require me to interface with too many people. My days were spent inspecting fire detection and alarm systems. The company was also active in installing security systems, which I had no interest or involvement in whatsoever.
After work, I had no social life. In the evenings, I enjoyed working through logic problems and had subscriptions to all of the puzzle magazines. Although I had a home computer, I only used it when I had to. Most of my meals came out of the microwave oven. I was a fussy eater, and I guess that is why I never weighed over 150 pounds; light for my height, but healthy.
I didn't even own a suit, because I never needed one. During the day, I wore my work Dickies that were supplied by the company. I even wore them on the weekends when I wasn't working. There was a land line phone at the house, and I had a company cell phone. The cell phone had unlimited minutes, so I used it whenever I called my mother.
Contacts bothered my eyes, so I always wore glasses. They were not stylish, cool ones, but rather practical; as a nerd would wear. Actually, I think I was a nerd.
My interactions with people were always within careful limits. I didn't piss people off and I didn't excite them either. I had no opinions that were worth sharing, and I was the world's worst joke teller.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what I had to offer the world, you can fully understand why I was surprised and stunned when Marsha Trent started casually chatting with me, on a daily basis. I was not the only one to notice her interest and after a few short weeks, I was getting teased about it, from the other office girls and some of the guys. I was flattered, but confused.
I remember how it all started.
"Dennis? Could you please do me a small favor?"
I was sitting at one of the tables in the break room having lunch. I assumed that she wanted to borrow a chair or ask me to move to another table. "Sure. Anything."
"Would you sit with me while I eat lunch?"
All I could do was nod. A few minutes later I was still trying to figure out what was going on. Other employees noticed and a few quiet comments were made. As was my nature, I did not speak. There was nothing that I could say that wouldn't make me look like an idiot, so I kept my mouth shut.
"I hope you don't mind, but this is a lot easier for me."
She seemed to be arranging herself before answering, as if she was getting ready to give a prepared speech. At that point I should have realized what was going on.
"When I come in for a break or to have lunch, some of the other guys always sit with me. It makes me uncomfortable. They are either making crude remarks or undressing me with their eyes. It is better being with you."
Well, I didn't know if that was a compliment or an insult. I felt a little defensive.
"That is understandable. You are an extremely attractive woman and any man that didn't fantasize about you would be brain dead."
"Do you fantasize about me?"
"A little, but I try not to let it show."
"And you do an excellent job of it. That is why I need to sit with you. As long as I am with you, the other guys won't bother me."
That didn't make sense at all. There was nothing intimidating about me. How in the world would my presence discourage a low-life from making a remark or from even leering at her?
I finished eating and sat silently until she was done. Nobody bothered us, but we got a few unusual glances. As I got up to leave, she touched my arm.
"Can you sit with me again tomorrow?"
I smiled, nodded, and walked away confused.
A week later we started having conversations. It was difficult for me, but she made it a lot easier. I discovered that she was a single mother with two girls in grade school. Her working shift corresponded with their school hours. She never mentioned a husband, ex-husband, or father figure. I was too lame to ask.
My spirits were up, and I felt normal for a change. A regular guy was getting to spend time with a gorgeous girl on a routine basis. I didn't care that it was lunch in a company break room.
Our contacts grew more frequent and I started to feel comfortable with her. At the same time I was feeling uneasy. Something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. After a few weeks she invited me to her home to met the girls and have supper.
Brandy and Brenda were cute little things, but a little too well-mannered for my taste. Children under ten are supposed to be rambunctious and noisy. I felt as if I was spending the afternoon with 'Stepford' children. Actually, Marsha was a little like a 'Stepford' wife. They were perfect; too perfect.
Marsha and I started to go on little outings together. Of course the girls were always with us. We hit all of the parks, zoos and other similar attractions within a day's drive. The more time that I spent with the girls, the more relaxed they became. Before I knew it I was looking forward to seeing them every chance that I got.
I don't remember how it happened exactly, but one night after about four months, I found myself in bed with her. When I play the events of the night back in my head, it always comes out the same way. I didn't do a thing to initiate it. She took the lead and seemed to control everything; the place, the time, and what we did. Now, I am not complaining. It was the first time that I got any without having to pay for it. I can't say that it was wild passionate sex, but it was the real thing. After the first night, we started to enjoy ourselves on a regular basis. At least I was enjoying myself. I was never sure about her.
Marsha had small breasts, and even after having two children, they were still fairly perky. Of course you have to remember that I am not an expert about such things. She didn't shave like the girls in the porno movies. Every time that I got to watch her walk to the bathroom naked was a thrill. My life had suddenly taken a very different turn, but something wasn't right.
To everyone's amazement, Marsha and I married two months later. It was a small ceremony. My mother flew up from Florida to meet the daughter-in-law that I believe, she never expected to have. I paid for her ticket. Most of the people that attended the wedding were from work. Marsha's mother, in Mount Carmel, was not able to make it. I had never met her or any other members of Marsha's family. She never talked about them.
We found a small house to rent, just until I could get a twenty percent down payment saved up. I was always cautious when it came to financial matters. Marsha no longer had to work, and became a stay-at-home mom. We had sex on a regular basis which I always enjoyed. For some reason, Marsha always insisted that we use a condom. I had a perfect wife, with two perfect daughters. It was like the twilight zone.
After the first year, I had figured that things would mellow out for me, but that never happened. Every day was the same, and the longer it went on the more paranoid I became. I would sit quietly some evenings and try and figure out what was wrong. The problem was that nothing was wrong. Marsha was a great wife, a great mother, and a wonderful partner. I started to think that I was going nuts. I was messing with my own mind and I couldn't stop. Why? Why was this happening to me. Why did I insist on ruining my own life.
The best part of the marriage was the time that I got to spend with the girls. I think that they enjoyed it as much as I did.
I am a logical person. I like to analyze things and draw conclusions. It is my nature. There was no reason why I couldn't look at this situation and figure some things out. I had no intention of turning into some type of prying busybody, but I would have to start paying attention and looking into things.
I made a mental list of questions that needed to be resolved. Why had I never met any of Marsha's family? What was she really doing when she went to visit her mother in Mount Caramel several times a month? Why was the father of the girls such a mysterious figure? The one question that I needed answered first, was what she kept in the small locked file box on the shelf in her clothes closet? The only time I had seen her with it was when she registered the girls for school. I didn't even know where she kept the key.
Finding out what was in the locked box would be my first step. It was a logic problem; a real-life logic problem. All of a sudden, I found myself looking forward to something and not making myself paranoid. My attitude changed for the better.
Marsha had a standing hair dressers appointment at the Elegance Chic every Tuesday morning. It was an extremely expensive salon, but I never saw it come up on the charge cards. I guessed that she was paying it with cash, but she never seemed to have a lot of cash on hand and I saw no evidence of any unusual cash withdrawals. Of course, I had no real idea of what a visit to the hair dressers should cost. So I had no point of reference. It just seemed odd.
I had no trouble swinging by the house in the middle of the morning on Tuesday. I waited until just after she left to go into the house. While I was standing in front of the closet, I started to worry that she might have a 'tell' placed on or near the box. I thought about it for a few moments and then discarded the notion. She was confident in her position in the house and that her box would not be bothered. After all, I was the good guy. I was the one that she could trust. I would not pry under any circumstances.
I carefully took the box down and started working on the lock. It was a simple flat key with some very basic notches. It took less than two minutes to open it. Inside I found her birth certificate. There was nothing special there. She also put our marriage license in the box. There were a few newspaper clippings and some photographs. One of them was her high school prom picture. She was as pretty then as she was now. Her date from the prom looked familiar, but I couldn't place him.
The last things in the box were the two birth certificates for the girls. They were both born at the Pottsville Hospital, but the most interesting thing was the name of the father. Hamilton Ryder was listed as the father of both Brandy and Brenda. Now I recognized the guy in Marsha's prom picture.
Hamilton Ryder was a State Assemblyman and had been selected to run for the United States House of Representatives seat at the next election. He was good looking and charismatic. The women voters all loved him and the men admired him. He was a shoo-in to be elected. He was married to Emily Wilcox, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the Northeastern part of the state. Some people had said that Hamilton's rise in the political world was based on the support that he got from his father-in-law.
Emily Wilcox was a paradox. Their marriage was a big deal, and at the time was in all of the newspapers and several magazines. When they got married, she was a dowdy, mousy little thing. Over the years she seemed to change, and not for the better. At some point, she dyed her hair blond and started to wear it in styles that did not seem to fit her. Her make-up slowly became a little over the top. Too much rouge, too much plucking, and too much lipstick. The worst thing that changed was her attire and her boobs. It looked like she had gone from being normal to a pair of grotesque double D's. The whole thing was a little sad. Her personality did not fit her appearance. I had often wondered if she knew that people were laughing behind her back. Of course it was not my affair, so I didn't wonder too much; until today.
Marsha shouldn't notice that the box was moved or opened. I was quite careful. I really didn't believed that she accessed the box too often. From what I know now, I didn't see why she would. Actually, it would have made more sense for her to keep the box at her mother's house.
So now I knew a little more than I had known before. Marsha had been friends with Hamilton Ryder in high school and she was the mother of two of his children. Actually, they were his only two, because he had none with Emily. It was interesting that Marsha put his name on the birth certificates. Under the circumstances, it seemed like something he would not want.
I was a good husband that evening as usual. I complimented my wife on her hair and asked the girls how school went. For the first time, I felt like a phony. It was a game. Marsha knew what the game was, and had been playing it for over a year now. Since I was new, I had to develop my own strategy, of some sort. Just the word 'strategy' implied that it would be long-term. I wasn't happy with that, but had no short-term, tactical plan in mind.
That evening, as my 'Stepford' family was watching TV, I ordered a Bug GPS Tracker from E-bay, a 'Buy-It-Now' for $139 with free shipping. I decided that it would be interesting to find out where Marsha was going when she went to visit her mother. The new tracker would go well with my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx. This was going to be fun. As a defensive move, I set up some new bank accounts to start protecting my few assets.
The next day, I quietly took two weeks of sick leave. The company was more than happy to see me take it for monetary reasons. Marsha never really made any friends at SSA, so I didn't have to worry about her finding out that I wasn't at work. Later that morning, I stopped in to see Seymour Schlamp. Seymour and I went to high school together. We were two of the 'out' kids who built a friendship based on not being part of the crowd. Seymour got a law degree, but had no job. He was on the state, county, and city lists, waiting for somebody to die, so that there would be a job opening. In the mean time he was supporting himself, and his mother, by doing mainly automobile renewals and transfers. He also did some notary work and wills. I needed some legal advice and Seymour was more than happy to help. We spent an hour together, and when I left, he was excited as a kid with a new puppy.
I drove over towards Allentown and had lunch at a McDonald's. They had free Wi-Fi and I had my laptop. An hour later, I had all sorts of data and information about Hamilton Ryder. Most of what I got was political rhetoric, but mixed in with it was some information that I could use. I also ended up with a long list of addresses that I would need later.
While I was surfing, I ran across an ad for a travel trade show that was being held in Philadelphia over the weekend. Marsha and the kids were going to visit her mother Friday after school, so I decided that the trade show looked good.
After supper that evening, I did something that I had never done before. While Marsha was taking her evening shower, I took it upon myself to look through her purse. I had never considered violating her privacy like this before, but now we were playing a game. Everything looked normal and I was about to close up when I noticed something. Marsha used tampons when she had her period, but in the bottom of her purse was a small sachet like bag with Kotex printed on it. Like any normal man, I avoided handling it. I picked it up and gingerly opened it to find an old Nokia cell phone. It only took me a minute to figure out that it was a prepaid cell phone with T-Mobile service. There was only one number in the call log. The phone was turned off when I found it, so I left it the same way. I would have no trouble finding out who owned that number. I think I already knew.
Seymour was in a good mood. He had several folders laid out on his desk in a neat row. He seemed anxious for me to sit down so that he could show me what he had done.
"Dennis, I know that you said you wanted a simple divorce, but under the circumstances you have some pretty good grounds for an annulment. The nice thing about that is that Marsha cannot contest it and there is no division of assets. You each keep what you brought into the marriage."
"Are you sure? That would make things a lot easier."
"A lot faster also." Seymour pushed the first folder aside.
"I had no trouble getting copies of the girls birth certificates. Legally, Hamilton Ryder doesn't owe you any support for taking care of the girls. If it went to court, we would get creamed in the first five minutes. However the court of public opinion will have a field day with it. I suggest that we file for it and make sure that the media is fully aware of it. That will be your responsibility."
"Why? I am paying you."
"For legal services, Dennis. If I get caught participating in a smear campaign, especially against a public official, my potential career as a lawyer is over before it is started."
"All right. What do I have to do?"
"It is all printed out on this top sheet. Memorize the instructions carefully and then burn the paper."
"That is a joke, right?" I heard a groan from across the desk.
"Yeah. Sorry, but I was just trying to make things a little easier."
The next folder was an alienation of affection charge against Hamilton. Seymour didn't feel that this one would fly either, but it could be valuable in the same manner the previous folder was.
The next one related to the recovery of expenses for supporting Marsha for the last year. It had nothing to do with the girls or his paternity for them.
The last folder was not directly connected to me in any way, but was a petition to have charges brought against Hamilton Ryder on six different civil violations that were very remotely related to situation. In one of them, Seymour was actually charging Hamilton Ryder with prostitution. He was claiming that Hamilton forced Marsha to trade sex for room and board for herself and the girls. It was another long shot, which he had absolutely no chance of winning, but that would get a lot of saucy publicity.
There were still a few holes that needed to be plugged including at least one example of proof of any clandestine relationship between the two of them. I hope that that one would be taken care of this weekend.