I Didn't Know...byStangStar06©
Hi folks. This one is a bit different, but then maybe again it isn't. The reason why I think it's different is because I didn't make this one up. I also didn't read about this one on the net. This is a mostly true story. AlleyKat and I went to our first car show of the year, recently and an acquaintance of mine sat down and told me the whole story while people passed by and looked at our cars. He and his wife and daughter told me I could write the story. I did take a literary license and compress the evnts so they happened over a shorter time frame and I also took out a lot of drama involving his first wife coming back to haunt him, but it's absolutely true except for that. I should probably tell you though that his daughter's 04 GT now has similar rims and painted calipers to match her dad's 09 GT's. Thanks to Mikothebaby for her editing wizardry as usual and to AlleyKat for not insisting on new rims and calipers for her car after hearing this.
* * * * * *
"Mom, please slow down," I told her over the phone. With the way that she was crying and whining, I couldn't make out a word she was saying. "Mom, just put Don on the phone, let him explain it to me."
"He isn't here," she blubbered. "I don't know where he is. He should at least have told me if he was going out after work."
"Mom, I'll be right over," I said. "Don't do anything stupid until I get there."
I drove right over to the house I'd grown up in and had only been out of for the past year or so. Traffic was light and pulling into the driveway, I noticed two things right away. One was that this place, even more than my apartment, felt like home. The second was that my mom, in full freak out mode, was actually correct. Don wasn't home.
Before dealing with my mom I gave him a call. He answered right away. That told me something. Don should have been Mom's first call. If he wasn't answering her calls, that told me that there was something going on between them.
"Hey, D," I said cheerfully. My cheer wasn't an affectation. I loved talking to that man. The only thing fake about the call was what I called him. I didn't call him D for Donald. It was my own little secret. I called him D for what I wanted him to be. I called him D for the way I'd thought about him for most of my twenty two years. I called him D for what all of my friends thought he was.
"Hi Honey," he said. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said. "I'm like you. I'm always calm. It's mom who's freaking out. Maybe you should drop what you're doing and come home to calm her down."
"I can't do that Honey," he said. It left me in shock. Don had never failed to drop anything for either me or my mom, ever."
"I think that maybe her friend from last night at the restaurant is the person you should probably call. Can I call you back later, or just see you tomorrow at work?"
"Yep, I'll be home as soon as I'm done calming mom down. I'll call you when I get in. We need to talk more about next week anyway. There's something that I need to tell you," I said.
"Uhm..." he paused and it scared the living shit out of me. I thought for just a second that maybe Don had figured out the game I'd been playing with him for all of these years.
"Okay, call me when you get in. But call my cell phone, okay?" he said.
"Of course," I said smiling. "We have to keep this between us for at least another week. We don't want Mom to know."
"Uh, yeah," he said. His entire tone bothered me. And there was something else. There was something about his tone that scared me. It was as if Don was upset. I'd never known that to happen before. The man was unflappable. Even when we'd had a fire in the middle of the night, he'd been eerily calm. While mom and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off, he'd been as calm and organized as if it happened every day.
He'd assessed the situation and gotten us both out of the house and made several trips back in carrying all of their financial documents and most of my important belongings while dragging the garden hose into the house and almost putting the fire out himself before the fire department got there.
We lived in a hotel for three weeks while the house was fixed. I got a whole new wardrobe, but it wasn't that big a deal. Don had saved my laptop, and my favorite outfit and even my favorite games and teddy bear. He'd also rescued my mom's most cherished items. Unfortunately, there hadn't been time to save any of his own belongings.
When I cried after thinking about it, he'd laughed and told me that my mom and I were his favorite things in the house. I vowed to be just like him.
My mom on the other hand...If you look up Drama Queen in the dictionary, they have her picture next to the definition. I was sure that whatever she was going off about was probably not very serious.
I walked into the house and saw that it was a mess. My mom was laid out on the sofa like a dying swan. There were boxes of tissues all around her and she was sobbing uncontrollably.
"What's wrong Mom?" I asked.
"At work today, I found out that all of my years of faithful service to that damned company mean nothing," she whimpered.
I groaned as I realized that this was just another one of her teacup tempests and I'd been sucked in. "Okay Mom, start from the beginning," I said. I had no idea how my life was about to be uprooted.
"About three weeks ago," she tearfully began. "The company hired a trio of new account execs. They're all young and just out of college. They're selling a lot of products and breathing new life into the company. The old man loves them. No one else does though, they're driven and arrogant." She blew her nose loudly and then continued.
"Anyway, for the past week or so, one of them has been treating me really nicely. He's been complimenting me and telling me how beautiful and sexy I am and..." She stopped and had to look at me because I was rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
"What's so God damned funny?" she asked.
"Mom you're a forty two year old woman," I laughed.
"I'm the same age as Jennifer Aniston," she said.
"Yeah but Jennifer Aniston looks like she's thirty. You look like you're forty two on a good day," I said.
"Don always tells me that I'm beautiful too," she quipped. That was her last word on defense. She knew that if she said the magical word, "Don", I'd have to accept her logic, no matter how flawed it was.
"Yeah, but there's a reason for that," I said.
"What?" she asked.
"You'll find out someday," I said, smiling. I loved having a secret from her.
"Anyway, so Ted asked me to go out with him," she said. Suddenly alarm bells started going off in my head. The cheesy smile on my face evaporated.
"You didn't?" I asked.
"Of course I did," she said sadly. "I hadn't been out on a date in fourteen years. A young handsome man asked me to, so what was I supposed to do...?"
"Mom, please tell me he didn't take you to a restaurant," I begged.
"Yes he did," she said. "I had him take me to that little Italian place that Don always takes me to and..." She looked down at me on the floor, shaking my head as my dream evaporated before my eyes.
"Oh, you don't know the bad part yet," she said, oblivious to the source of my pain. "When I got to work this morning, he acted like nothing had happened between us. Then I noticed everyone in the office laughing."
"They all thought it was funny that a nearly fifty year old woman went out with a man who's the same age as her twenty two year old daughter?" I asked.
"No," she said, quietly. "They kept walking past his desk and laughing and then I noticed why. He had my panties hanging from the lamp on his desk. I did the dumbest thing I possibly could have done too. No one knew whose panties they were. But I was so embarrassed that I went and took them. Then, one of the other new guys came over to him and handed him some money. It was all for a bet. They'd bet each other two dollars over which one of them could score with one of the secretaries faster."
I was in shock, but she just kept talking. I really wanted her to shut up but she kept talking.
"I went to see my boss and explained it to him. I wanted to charge Ted with sexual harassment. He brought one of the women from HR down and we went over the whole situation. Ted had asked me to go out and I'd accepted. He'd asked me back to his place and I'd gone. He hadn't forced me to have sex with him. I guess I'd done it willingly. I wasn't drunk or drugged and he'd never used his position at work to influence me. In fact, he wasn't my superior or in a position of any authority over me. So I had no case." She started sobbing again.
"He hadn't even told anyone whose panties they were. I was upset about it all day and when I got home, Don wasn't here. I couldn't have told him about it anyway, though."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, I told Don that I was going out with the girls," she said. "So he decided to go to the movies. I told him not to go and see Iron Man 3 because we were going to see that together," she said. "But anyway, when I got home Don wasn't here and I just broke down and..."
"You, stupid BITCH!" I screamed as I realized what had happened.
"Terri, don't take that tone with me. I'm your mother," she snapped. "And I've been through a terrible ordeal. I've been humiliated and abused and the sex was awful. And I get home, expecting to find someone to baby me and..." I couldn't help it, I glared at her.
"Shut up Mother, just shut the fuck up," I snapped. But she wouldn't. She just kept talking and crying, so finally I slapped her, just to shock her into shutting up. She stood there holding her face and looking at me strangely.
"You have no idea how stupid you've been Mother," I snapped at her. "You're standing there talking about being humiliated and hurt and you really have no fucking clue of what you've done."
"You're taking that tone again, young lady," she said.
"Mom, you've destroyed our family," I hissed. I couldn't help it, I was starting to cry. I turned away from her then and pulled out my phone. I redialed his number. As soon as he answered the phone, I just started talking.
"We have to have our talk in person," I said. "I want you to come to my place. Go there now. I'll be alone, I swear it. We need to talk, now."
He agreed and I turned back to look angrily at my mother. "You're obviously not going to be any help in this," she said. She picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"I wonder why Don hasn't called to tell me he's going to be late?" she asked stupidly.
"Probably because he isn't coming home," I snapped.
"What are you talking about Theresa," she asked.
"Mom, Don saw you last night at the restaurant with your guy," I said. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Oh!" she said. "Well that complicates things a bit. So he knows I kind of fibbed or let him believe that I was going out with the girls. It'll take more than one lie to get him really angry with me though. But it's not like there's anything going on between Don and I."
"Is it too late for me to sign up for another mother?" I asked no one in particular.
"Seriously, Don and I..." she began.
"Just shut the fuck up mother," I hissed.
"Terri what..." she began.
"Mom, you're probably going to end up divorced over this," I said, shaking my head.
"Terri, don't be stupid," she laughed. "Don and I can't get divorced. We're not married."
"Mom you're the one who's stupid," I said. "I grew up in this house. Since I was seven years old, Don has been my Dad and all of my friends..."
"Donald is not your father," she laughed.
"I didn't say he was my father," I said. "I said he was my dad. My FATHER used to beat the shit out of YOU in front of me. My FATHER barely knew my fucking name when we left, and I was seven years old. My FATHER threw us out in the cold in the middle of winter without even coats to keep us warm. "
"I didn't think that you remembered any of that?" she said.
"Oh yeah, I forgot all about a man who was in and out of jail for the whole time I knew him. Four years ago, when I turned eighteen he got out of jail and then got killed trying to rob someone. You and Don talked about it and decided not to tell me. You could have though because I didn't care. I didn't tell you about the other things either. I didn't tell you that I knew that Donald used to stay awake holding you when you woke up in the middle of the night screaming about my FATHER ass raping you or forcing you to fuck his friends either."
She looked at me in shock.
"I was lucky Mom," I said. "All of the shitty memories were pushed out of my psyche by better ones. I have memories of vacations at Disney world. I have memories of spectacular birthday parties and swing sets in the yard. I have memories of my Dad showing up at every school event, smiling and bursting with pride even when I was awful."
"My fourth grade play when I forgot my one line and froze...He whispered it just loud enough to get me back on track. When I was terrible at things, my Dad encouraged me and made me feel better. When I was good, he praised me. He was always so proud of every little thing I did. Maybe my FATHER never gave a damn about me, but my DAD got into fistfights over bad calls at my softball games."
"I guess I never realized that you felt that way," she said. She had tears running down her cheeks. "I guess that perhaps he is a father figure for you. But Don and I don't have that kind of relationship. We're just housemates. I'm a strong, independent, modern woman. After your father...I've never wanted a permanent relationship again and..."
I just started laughing. "Mom, we were homeless, with no money in the middle of winter when he found us and took us in. He got you your fucking job. Do you pay any rent here?"
"Uhm, no but..." she began.
"Mom, where do you sleep?" I asked.
"Well, we have an arrangement...We're both healthy adults and we need sex, but there are no emotional attachments and..."
"Bullshit," I snapped. "There are three bedrooms in this house. You moved into his room after only six months. You could have moved back into the guest room whenever you wanted to. Whenever you're ready to go to sleep, you drag him in there with you. And as far as the sex thing goes, you like whatever he does to you. The average married couple has sex once or twice a week. You two were a lot more active."
"We still are," she quipped. "In fact, that's probably what I need to wipe out the bad memories of sex with Ted. He treated me like a whore and..." She stopped when she saw me shaking my head.
"You still don't get it Mom," I said. "It's over. You've destroyed our family."
"What family?" she asked. "Me, my daughter and our housemate. That's not a family."
"Mom, God damn it you're stupid. Wake the fuck up," I yelled. "In our state they have this thing called common law marriages. You and Don have cohabitated for a lot longer than the seven years necessary to establish one. And if you'd get your head out of your ass, you'd realized something else. All of your friends call Don your man, don't they?"
"That's only because they're all married and..." she began.
"Have you ever once corrected them when they do it?" I asked. She shook her head.
"That new woman from your job," I said. "The woman who was hitting on Don, then she tried to kiss him under the Mistletoe at the Christmas party last year. Why was it that you tried to start a fight with her again?"
"Okay, maybe I do have feelings for Donald but only because..."
"Mom, do you want to see things with Don end? I mean how long do you see the two of you staying together? You have a job and you don't need to take care of me anymore. Why are you still here? Why haven't you moved out on your own? I mean you're a strong, independent, modern woman right? You don't need a man to take care of you, right?" She just looked at me.
"Mom, who washes your back when you shower? Who rubs your feet after a hard day at work?" I asked. "Mom is it Ted that had you screaming, "fuck me," in the middle of the night when you thought I was asleep?"
"Mom, I know this will come as a blow to you, but you've been in love with Donald for more than fourteen years. You haven't tried to find someone to marry before this because you've already been married for since before you got the court to grant you a divorce from my deadbeat, jailbird FATHER." She nodded her head as if she could finally see it.
"What you also don't know Mother is that Don loves you too. I think he always has. And that's why this is so bad. He's wanted to tell you for the longest but he was afraid to because you're always going off about how strong and independent you are. I think you've listened to your feminist friends a bit too much Mother. It's really easy to be strong and independent when you've got a good man behind you. I wish I had a way to show you how badly you've fucked things up..." I went upstairs, dragging her with me.
"Terri slow down," she said. I went through all of Don's drawers until I found it. Then I handed it to her. Her eyes got huge as they focused on the small box and more tears ran down her cheeks.
"Is this?" she asked. I nodded.
"Next week is the anniversary of our family," I said. Fourteen years ago, Monday, Don found us. He wanted to ask you to marry him for real. He wanted to make us a real legal family. For some reason, that mattered to him. I think he wanted to be able to tell YOU how he feels about you, instead of just telling me how he feels about you."
She got the biggest dumbest smile on her face then. I took the ring back before she could even open the box.
"So I'll just talk to him," she said. "Me lying about a dinner date isn't a reason for us to break up."
"Mom, he saw you in a restaurant that the two of you go to together. You lied about going out with friends and you stayed out all night with a man. Put yourself in his shoes. The woman you love had sex with another man. You cheated on him. After fourteen fucking years, you cheated on him. You destroyed our family. Do you even know why Don was single when you met?"
She looked at me with a blank face. "He'd just gotten over a divorce," I said. "And it was really fucking nasty. Don had been in the army. He'd been overseas in desert storm. He had to stay over there after the war to help clean up and police the area so he was gone for almost a year. When he got home, his parents were helping his wife with his son. They talked about how much the baby looked like him.
His wife had fooled them into thinking that she'd visited him a couple of times and gotten pregnant. I had to laugh when he told me about the conversation he had with his dad, before he divorced his wife.
"His dad told him that he was blessed to have a strong healthy son. He just wished that Don could have been there for the birth. Don told him he wished even more that he'd been there for the conception. The divorce was nasty. Don's wife tried everything she could to keep him. She swore the baby was his all the way until the DNA results came back. Even then she swore that it would never happen again. The judge took a dim view of women who defrauded service men. He let Don have the divorce without any alimony or child support. His wife begged Don for another chance but she'd just hurt him too bad. According to Don, the guy who actually was the baby's father just disappeared. Don pretty much stayed away from women after that until you came along. And now with what you did..."
If I thought my mother had been crying when I first got there, it was nothing to compare to how she reacted when she realized what she'd done.
After leaving my mom still crying on the sofa and calling Don over and over, I drove back to my apartment. I pulled into my parking spot and saw Don's Mustang GT in one of the visitor's spots. I was shocked. Don had swapped out his rims and brake calipers. His red GT now had black rims with red details on them and his brake calipers were the same shade of red as the car's body panels. I was pissed immediately. If Don was putting money into the car, it meant that he was probably going to keep it for another year.