Caller ID Ch. 12byKathi©
The house was deathly silent all the next day. Marvin did not have office hours on Friday and he spent the day puttering around the house until it came time for the one o'clock call.
Sitting in the darkness of his playroom he played with his empty beer bottle and waited for the light to light on his phone. The first indication that the telephone tryst was about to start was the little beam of light shining through the razor blade slot. He watched the "Ext. in use" letters appear out of the darkness and he could hear the little beep, beep, of the phone buttons being pushed. There was silence from the bathroom and he figured she must be listening to the weather report. He waited for a few seconds and gently pushed the "Talk" button on the phone to be greeted by the expected Weather Girl's voice.
They listened to the report repeat itself twice and he was getting his hopes up that Roberto wouldn't call when he heard the buzz-buzz sound.
Maggie immediately switched over and quietly said, "Hello."
"Moggie," came the voice he didn't want to hear. "Moggie, il mio bello, I miss you. Will you soon come?"
"Yes," she whispered. "I'm leaving early tonight. I'll have my cell phone so call me if you get there before I do. OK?"
"Si, Moggie. Moggie, I have someone with me."
"With you? Who?" she said in alarm.
"My father's driver from Consulate. It is big trip."
"Does he know anything?"
"No, no. He good friend, amico. He help me."
"Are you sure?"
"Si. No worry. Remember by the airport. OK?"
"Arrivederci, ti amo."
The light blinked out and he heard her hiding her infidelity as she erased the number.
Peeking through the slot he watched her remove her birth control pill disk from the case and punch out today's pill. She counted them carefully before she put them back into her cosmetic bag and hid it in the drawer of her vanity.
He spent the rest of the day trying to detect anything unusual in Maggie's actions or demeanor. Except for her coldness towards him he couldn't see anything that would make him think she felt guilty about what she was about to do.
"Again!" he added.
Marvin couldn't stand hanging around so he made up a story about going to the lumberyard to pick up something and when he got back she was already gone on her trip.
Megan was waiting for him when he pulled into the garage.
"I'm sorry daddy, she left."
"Sweetheart, this has nothing to do with you, remember that. It has nothing to do with us. She made her own decision."
"Do you think she will be back?"
"Yes, I'm sure of that. Apparently this is something she feels that she must do regardless of what happens to our family."
Megan threw herself into his arms.
He hugged her and said, "Find Jessica and we'll go out and get some ice cream. OK?"
The ringing phone woke Marvin up from a deep sleep. He had tossed and turned for hours while he tried to figure out what they were going to do and he still had not figured out an answer when he finally dozed off.
"Dr. Phillips?" the voice came over the phone.
"Uh, yes," he replied.
"Dr. Marvin Phillips?"
"Yes, who is this?"
"Dr. Phillips, this is Sgt. Bradley S. Moore of the South Carolina Highway Patrol."
Marvin's blood ran cold and he sat bolt upright in the bed.
"Yes! What is it? What's happened?"
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this but there has been an accident and your wife, Margaret, was injured. I'm sorry."
"An accident! Where? When?"
"Dr. Phillips, I am calling from just outside of your house will you meet me at your front door? I'll explain everything to you. I'm sorry."
The two troopers had been very gentle and sympathetic when they sat him down and explained that Maggie and two men had been killed in the crash of a conversion van just before the Georgia State line. The van apparently overturned several times but the driver was wearing a seat belt and he survived only to die in the hospital a short time later. Maggie and a young man were apparently riding in the back of the van without benefit of seatbelts and were pronounced dead at the scene.
The funeral was quickly arranged and Maggie was buried on Tuesday. There were hundreds of people at the viewing since she was well known both at the college and at the high schools. Several young girls from the teams had to be treated for hysteria during the viewing and during the ceremonies and at Jessica's insistence she was buried with a soccer ball along side of her body in her coffin.
People were curious as to why she was in the van with Roberto in the first place. Marvin avoided their questions and did not respond in any way. Some good intentioned friends mentioned the possibility of a civil lawsuit but a lawyer friend at the funeral indicated that it would get them nowhere since Roberto was protected under Diplomatic Immunity. The Consulate refused to comment on the accident except to acknowledge that a driver, and the son of a Consular officer were the two males killed in the accident. Marvin was glad that there would not be any further inquiry into the accident so that no more information and speculation would surface to become fodder for gossip.
Marvin and the girls were finally left alone on Tuesday evening. Their friends and family had all left them to their grief and Marvin and Megan were quietly sitting around the pool lost in their own thoughts when the doorbell chimed.
"Will you get it sweetheart? I don't know if I want to talk to anybody right now."
Megan came back followed by the same State Trooper that had informed him of the accident. He was carrying a plastic bag and what looked like Maggie's suitcase.
"Dr. Phillips, may I speak with you please," he asked.
Marvin told Megan to stay outside and he went into the living room with the trooper.
"Sir, we finally got permission to search the vehicle and to gather your wife's belongings. Working with diplomats is frustrating. There are some details of the accident that were not made public. Would you like to hear them?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Sir, here are your wife's belongings. Her suitcase and the clothes that we found in the vehicle."
"Clothes? You mean the clothes she was wearing?"
"Uh, no sir. She was not wearing any clothes."
"No clothes?" I don't understand.
"Sir, neither was the young man we found with her."
Marvin looked at him in wonder until the information sank in and awareness dawned on his face.
The trooper went on, "The older gentleman was driving. He was dressed."
Marvin slowly nodded.
"I'm sorry sir. I thought you might like to know. Good day and I am sorry for your loss."
Marvin dumped the contents of the plastic bag out onto the sofa. Maggie's purse, only one of her sandals, a sundress and a peach colored bra and panty set lay spread out over the sofa. He sifted through them and then he picked them up and, except for the purse, he stuffed them back into the bag.
Megan's hand on his arm and her voice broke into his thoughts.
"Daddy, are you all right?"
"Yes, sweetheart," he replied and held her close. "Yes, we'll be OK."
"Daddy," she hesitated. "I heard what he said."
"Let's pretend we didn't hear that and we mustn't ever let Jessica or anyone else know. OK?"
"OK, daddy. I love you."
"I love you too. Will you help me carry your mot...this stuff up to the guest room? We'll have to decide what we are going to do with her things some other time. I don't feel up to it right now."
The telephone rang as they moved towards the stairs. Marvin put the suitcase down and picked up the telephone.
"Dr. Phillips? This is SavDrugs calling. Your office has been closed for the last few days and we didn't know how to get in touch with you so I looked up your home number in our file. I hope you don't mind."
"No, that's all right. What can I do for you?"
"We had a request to refill a prescription on Friday and there are no refills left. Will you authorize one for the patient?"
"What is it for? Tylenol with codeine?"
"Uh, no Doctor. It's for Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, birth control pills."
Marvin's knees almost gave out and he leaned against the doorframe.
"Who is it for?" he asked knowing that he knew the answer.
"A Margaret Phillips. Shall I go ahead and refill it?"
"No, don't bother. She won't be needing them any more. Thank you, goodbye."