When We Were Married Ch. 04DbyDanielQSteele1©
She walked back into the den, sat down on the couch, and stared at the pictures of Bill and the kids on the walls. When she couldn't see them anymore she realized she was crying. And she had no idea, exactly, what she wept for.
Friday, July 22, 2005 – 3 p.m.
I leaned back in my chair and examined the paperwork that Detective Heather McDonald had put before me. She was beaming.
"It was such a longshot, Mr. Maitland. I wouldn't have tried if you hadn't encouraged us and talked Sheriff Knight into freeing me up for this one. How did – why did you even suspect something like this?"
"Just a hunch. For a granny, Judy Johansen always struck me as a very hot lady for a 67-year-old. I had a hard time believing she was willing to spend the rest of her life caring for a sick, rich old man incapable of sex and not do anything to scratch that itch.
"In today's world, online matching and dating is the way a lot of people get together. It was just a case of putting the right kind of bait out. And it almost had to be somebody fairly close to the Orlando area if she was going to get together with them on a regular basis.
"But, I just had the idea. You're the one that spent God knows how much time on the case. Does Knight have any idea how much personal time without pay you put in?"
She blushed. She was a 53-year-old former vice and pedophile detective who could look 50-ish and hot, which was why she was perfect for the sting I wanted to run. Dirty blonde hair, a good-sized set of tits, just enough meat (curves) on her to let guys know she was no anorexic kid. She was, if not a MILF, definitely a classic GILF. (That's Grandmother I'd Like To Fuck.) BJ was the one who had first enlightened me as to what a MILF was after his mother and I split.
"No, and I really didn't want him to know if this was going to fall flat. He'd have been royally pissed to learn I was spending so much time on a pet project for anybody else, even you."
"Well, it paid off and you're going to get the credit and the headlines and I'll make sure that you do get official recognition."
She actually blushed. Even blushing made her look hot. I tried my level best not to fantasize about fucking her. I couldn't be this horny less than two-days after my romp with Aline, but damn, for an older lady, she was hot.
"Even so, Mr. Maitland, we can prove they were doing it, but that's a long way from proving she intended to murder her husband. A lot of women have affairs-"
She stopped in mid-sentence and I could read her mind without having any super powers.
"Don't be embarrassed, Heather. I get tired of people tiptoeing around it. I'm not that much of an ogre...I think. My wife is divorcing me, she was fucking around on me...no big deal. Happens a lot. We're getting divorced. And yes, I know a lot of women – and men –have affairs without bumping off their spouses...but....
"The hat trick here will be to find some evidence that will convince a jury that not only did she have the motive to kill her husband, but that she actually did. And if we can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, we have to make her look so bad that the jury will WANT to convict her."
She looked at me funny for a moment and then shook her head before getting up, in a way that made nice parts of her body jiggle.
"Mr. Maitland, let me say this with respect, I sure as hell hope you never get angry at me. I wouldn't want somebody like you coming after me."
"Just don't kill anybody and we'll get along fine."
She was about to turn and leave the office when she stopped.
"When is your divorce final?"
" September 19. Why?"
"It's just that...it's been a pleasure working with you. After the trial I'll go back to regular duties...probably never see you again. Which is kind of silly because there's no way a man like you would....have any interest in an old lady in her fifties."
I almost swallowed my tongue.
"Relax, I wasn't threatening your virtue or propositioning you. Just making a statement."
"I'm not threatened, Heather...just...flattered and surprised. I – uh...this has never happened to me before."
"Having an old lady tell you she was interested in you?"
"Having any women tell me or indicate in any way they were interested in me – that way."
"Because you're one of those guys that every women here knew never looked at another woman. Now, we expect you to look. Have you ever looked that way at me?"
"Not....not until this afternoon. Honestly."
"But you did this afternoon. You think you might be one of those guys that likes GILFs?"
I think my jaw actually dropped.
"Of course I know what a MILF is, and a GILF. It's flattering to get my age and realize you can still turn on younger men. Do I turn you on?"
I opened my mouth and shut it, then:
"I think you already know the answer to that, Heather. But right now I'm still married and you're a cop working with me on a sensitive case and even thinking that way is going to mess up my head. Can we just let it lie until....sometime later?"
"Sure. Call me when you need to talk again...about anything, okay?"
As she was stepping outside, Cheryl buzzed me.
"Debbie is out here, Mr. Maitland. Do you want to see her?"
"Do I have to answer that honestly? Just ask her what she wants."
I heard her through the phone.
"I'd like to find out why he's scaring our son to death?"
"Tell Cheryl to let me in, Bill, before I create a scene out here."
A moment later she was in my office. Why do evil, poison things, always look so good? And why, after more than three months of pretty much successfully avoiding any contact with her, had she made it her mission to get in my face every time I turned around.
"What is this about scaring BJ?"
She put her hands palms out on the desk and leaned toward me. Naturally her blouse bulged outward and I had to fight to keep my hands at my side.
"Why the hell did you tell him you loved him, the way you did?"
"What? I told him I loved him. He's my son."
"And how many times in the last few years have you told him that? And talked about never knowing when you're going to die? And talked about your dead father's last words to you? And wanting him to remember you when you're gone?
"He called me almost in tears and you'll probably be getting a call from your mother if she ever hears about what the call involved. He thinks you're either dying or going to kill yourself. He said he'd come back to talk to you if I thought it would do- any good.
"Is something wrong? I might not be on the top of your hit parade right now, but I'm still your wife. And I'm the mother of your children. If something bad is happening, I'd like to know to figure out how I'm going to handle it."
"Oh shit, I guess I need to call him again. It's nothing, Debbie, at least what you're thinking. I'm not dying. I'm not planning on checking myself out."
"Alright. When I was on the Bonne Chance, the cruise, I met a guy. He was a priest, named Dunleavy. He was just – one of those people you seem to click with. He tried to help me with – some personal problems. And I learned a little bit about his life. He had been in love with a girl before he became a priest and – she died. He still carried her photo with him. And then, he was killed yesterday."
"Dunleavy? That priest that was on the news? The one who was shot down in Rwanda?"
"The same. I said goodbye to him when I was leaving the ship yesterday morning. The last thing he said was he was on his way to Rwanda to try to stop some more killing. And then, with no warning, they shot down his plane."
"That's sad, but why...?"
"Because I know he wasn't planning on dying last night. Just like I'm not planning on dying. But it's like that Garth Brooks song, 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' You never know when you wake up in the morning if you're going to be here that night. I already talked to Kelly last night and she knows how I feel about her. Now BJ does."
"And how do you feel about me?"
Friday, August 19– 11 a.m.
Debbie rose along with Joyce Linder at her table. Across from them Bill and Lew Walters stood as Circuit Judge Katherine Holden's entered her courtroom. She was a tall woman in her 50s. Not a beauty, but there was grace and confidence there. Debbie thought she would a good model for aging. If there was ever any graceful way to age.
"Mr. Maitland, Mrs. Maitland. I'm sorry to see you here. I had hoped you two would find a way to reconcile."
Debbie had met the judge, and her longtime, on and off-again companion Judge Herman Herring, at various social events over the years. She liked both of
them. The gossip she'd always heard was that Herring was a staunch Catholic and married to another staunch Catholic who would never grant him a divorce. He could never remarry and so he and Holden could never be legal. But they had seemed to really care for each other.
Bill just shook his head. After a moment Debbie did too.
"I gather from your attorneys neither one of you had any interest in counseling?"
Both shook their heads.
"And Ms. Linder, I'm told your client has voluntarily relinquished any interest in support or maintenance, even after a nearly 20 year marriage. Her husband earns substantially more than Mrs. Maitland."
Lew stepped in smoothly, saying, "But Mr. Maitland has agreed to generous child support for both children which will continue for another four years, has agreed to keep up insurance on both and to help with their college educational expenses.
"Also, your honor, Mrs. Maitland voluntarily agreed that it was in the best interests of both parties not to push for support. While Mr. Maitland earns more, Mrs. Maitland will, in her new position with the Public Defender's Office, earn a substantial income."
"And the people in the Twin Towers voluntarily jumped," Joyce Linder said bitterly under her breath. Debbie looked at her, and noted that she'd lost weight. Her face showed new lines. Lew had warned her that most women didn't end up happily after spending time with his partner Norm, but like most women, she'd had to find out the hard way.
Holden glanced at both attorneys, then focused on Debbie.
"And that is your uncoerced decision, Mrs. Maitland?"
She didn't want to, but she stared without blinking into Bill's eyes. She was being screwed over, and not in the fun way, but she'd survive. And he could have hurt her a lot more with the emails if he'd wanted to.
"Yes, your honor. It was my decision completely. I don't need or want Bill's support. I can take care of myself."
Holden looked down at the papers in front of her. Then at Bill.
"I've known you and your wife almost from the first day I came on this bench, Mr. Maitland. Strictly aside from any professional or philosophic feelings I might have about divorce, I have to say I'm sorry it came to this."
"So am I, your honor, so am I. But sometimes..... we'll both survive. Life goes on."
"Your divorce is hereby granted."
She turned to her bailiff and said, "Please call in the next case."
Bill walked out of the courtroom first without looking back while Lew stayed to talk to Joyce Linder. Debbie walked up behind him. He had lost weight. Even in casual clothes, he looked better than he had even a month before. He moved differently, younger than she remembered.
"After 20 years together, you just walk away, without a word?"
He turned back to her and she was shocked to see his eyes gleaming.
"What am I supposed to say, Debbie? It was great fun, but it was just one of those things? Thanks for the memories? Thank you for falling in love with another guy? Thank you for betraying me? Thank you for tearing my heart out? What exactly am I supposed to say here?"
"You could say you're sorry."
"I'm sorry? I'm sorry? You are unbelievable. You bitch."
"I know a lot of it is my fault. But you really don't think you share any of the blame?"
"No, I know it's my fault. I was stupid enough to think that being a good husband and loving my wife and working my ass off for her and my kids for my entire life entitled me to some loyalty. I was foolish."
"So if I'd been willing to just rub your paycheck all over my naked body I should have been happy with the life you gave me?"
"Oh, don't go there, Debbie. You-"
He bit his lip.
"I don't want to do this, Debbie. I spent more than four months doing my best to stay away from you because I must have known deep down that not only were you going to shit on me, but you were going to try to make me believe I deserved it. Maybe I wasn't the husband you wanted, or needed, but I loved you from the days at UF. I still love you, which I think, you bitch, you know deep down."
"You loved me so much that you spent every fucking waking minute that you could away from me and the kids? That's how you showed your great love? And you let yourself get so fucking flabby that I couldn't stand to have you touch me? Until we split and then, you son of a bitch, you start working out and slimming down and getting hot.
" I know that fucking slut of Edwards is after you. Or are you fucking her already? And I've heard about that bitch Jessica. And how about on that cruise? You bang any widows or divorces on that one? I think sometimes that Clarice was right about you all along. You stopped caring about how you looked for me because you were getting all you wanted at the office? Was she right?"
Before she could react he was on her, pushing her backward until she hit the door leading back into Holden's courtroom. He held her arms up over her head. He had moved so quickly she hadn't had time to resist. And when she tried to push back he held her without straining.
"You're talking about your fucking crazy aunt Clarice? You think I didn't know all the crap she was spewing about me? What good would it have done me to argue or deny anything. You were so stupid you didn't realize all that crap came from being dumped by that asshole cheating husband of hers? And you judge me by what he did? How the hell could you have so little faith in me, you stupid fucking cunt. I put my life on the line for you and you listen to your crazy aunt instead of talking to me?"
Then Lew was pulling him off of her and she realized he had banged her head into the wooden door and that she'd bitten into her lip when she hit her head. She looked down and saw blood dripping from her lip.
Linder touched her shoulder and said, "Are you alright, Debbie? My God, he assaulted you right outside the courtroom.
Glaring at Bill, who was being pulled back by Lew, she said, "How damned arrogant can you get? Mr. Maitland, you may think you're hot shit in here, but you don't have the right to lay hands on your wife, assault her in front of everyone!"
Lew almost threw Bill behind him as he slipped between the couple.
"Let's not get hysterical, Joyce. There's no assault here. Bill and Debbie were arguing and he pushed her away from him. That's not assault.:
"The hell it isn't. If there had been a bailiff or a cop out here, I'd be having him arrested right now."
Two attorneys and their clients had stopped in the hallway and were staring. Lew stepped closer to Debbie and ignoring Joyce, said, "He wasn't assaulting you, was he Debbie? Think about how you answer, because if you say the wrong thing, Bill could lose his job...and other things could happen...things you don't want to happen. Think before you speak."
She wanted to send the son of a bitch to jail, cost him his job...how had this happened? How had everything gone to hell in a few seconds? She had been angry at him, for letting everything go without even pretending to care...but...she hadn't planned this. This was that anger Dr. Teller had been trying to figure out for the past month.
But, she thought about the implied threat Lew had leveled. A moment brought her back to rational thinking. She still couldn't afford to have the emails released. And, from a practical standpoint, she had just left a tenured position at UNF to launch into a risky new administrative career. She couldn't take the chance of jeopardizing Bill's job. She still had two kids and she still wanted college for both of them.
"I'm fine," she told a glaring Joyce. "I slipped and Bill tried to catch me but couldn't stop me from banging my head against the door. That's when I bit my lip."
"Oh, for God's sake. I don't know why you're doing this, but I'm an officer of the court and I'm not going to let him get away with manhandling you."
Lew stepped in again.
"There were no other witnesses except you and me and I'm going to say that you were wrong. All you'll do is stir up a shitstorm, and with my word against yours, nothing is going to happen. And your client doesn't want you to do anything. How are you going to justify going forward, Joyce? Look, don't let your...feelings about what happened with Norm...color your feelings about every man. I told you to be careful."
"This isn't about Norm, the son of a bitch, the fucking uncaring bastard. How can you stand to be his partner, his friend?"
"Because he's not interested in fucking me, nor me him. I know what he is, but you went into it with your eyes open."
"Let it go, Joyce, please. It's my fault. Bill was trying to walk away. I went after him. And he didn't hurt me. Please don't do anything."
She stared at Debbie for a minute, then at Lew and finally at Bill.
"I'm leaving, Debbie. I'll send you the paperwork. And Maitland, you need to get yourself into an anger management class before you step into something your friends can't clean up."
When she had left, Lew grabbed Bill's shoulder and said, "Let's get out of here before she changes her mind. And please, stay the hell away from Debbie for awhile...at least until you both cool off."
Debbie stepped between them, dabbing the blood off her lips.
"I'm sorry, Bill. That's not what I intended. I just wanted to....close it out right. But...."
"There is no way to close it out right. What we had got ripped apart and right now I'm bleeding and I'm not safe to be around you. And you need to get some help, because I think Clarice might have made you crazy too. I'm not insulting you. I seriously think there's something wrong with you."
Then he let Lew pull him away. All the dreams of a civilized parting, remembering the good years, and it ended like this. She thought, "maybe he's right. Maybe I am crazy. I know he makes me crazy."
Friday, August 19– 12:30 p.m.
I had to go back to work to prepare for Judy Johansen, the killer granny, trial beginning the next week, but Lew was like a damned pit bull. He wouldn't let go.
Finally, to get him out of my office, I said, "Okay, for God's sake, let me get back to work. It's only another day. But if you won't leave, we'll hit Pelicans tonight. I should be through by six or seven. Give me an hour and a half to hit the gym. Let's say 9 p.m. I'll meet you there."
As he walked out of my office I took a moment to put my head into my hands and take a deep breath. It still felt like it should be pitch black with thunder and lighting and black ravens circling overhead. Something that had been very good, my world in reality, had come to an end today. I was going to live and make another life and another world for myself, but a good one had died.
And it was just another day. It should be more. I felt like I should load a boat with the relics of my marriage, and if I could make myself, Debbie's blonde body, push it off shore like the old Vikings and have a really good marshmallow roast.
I'd have to settle for getting drunk with Lew tonight. Of course he'd try to get me laid. I didn't need or want that. Twenty years of mostly happy times in a mostly happy marriage deserved a night or two of remembrance and mourning. But he would try. He was a better friend than I deserved.