Wrestling With Life's Cruel Irony Ch. 04bycdhawkeye96a©
With the pending birth of their own child the young couple gave little attention to the affairs of their parents. Jeff was also concerned about Royce who for several weeks complained of a lack of energy. After some pushing from Jeff he had a doctor's appointment scheduled when he got back from a planning conference.
The early panic that Pam had in those first days gave way to thoughtful investigation and design. Early Jeff reminded her that impetuous desires or hysteria would gain them little and may even make things worse if Doris was wrong about Vince being Jeff's father. Clearly they wanted to do confront their parents, but their rationale nature reminded them that the die regarding their baby had been cast and could not be changed. Pam agreed with Jeff that they needed to be sure of Jeff's parenthood before they leveled any accusations.
When Pam wanted to be more rash, her husband coolly reminded her to think of the long game. He reminded her that impetuous desires often complicate matters. Though he often calmed her, there were moments when the emotions controlled Jeff too. And when they flared she reminded him of what he had said to her. Ultimately they kept themselves in check knowing that the investigator needed time and that it would take time to confirm what Pam heard.
They had started to talk about the investigator's latest verbal report and the results of the DNA test the evening Pam went into labor. As Mike's firm past work had been involved in paternity disputes Jeff asked the firm to arrange for a medical clinic run by one of Mike's fraternity brothers to compare his DNA against the hair follicle DNA of his mother, Royce and Vince. The clinic was willing to make it a priority and Mike just received the results. The greatest challenge for the young couple was to visit their parents and secure hair follicles from combs and brushes. It took two tries to secure a lab acceptable sample from Vince.
Vince apologized for not being able to give positive news, but 87% chance that Vince was Jeff's biological father. Mike felt much better when Jeff responded, "fatherhood is not about contributing DNA. It is about all that one does to guide and raise one's children. Royce is my father, not Vince."
Mike noted that his team had discovered that Doris was not the only woman with whom Vince was having an affair. There was evidence that he was having affairs with at least two other women and with as many as seven women in the last five years. Pam expressed became enraged when Jeff told her that news. She just started to express some sympathy and understanding toward Doris when she cried out that her water broke.
Within the hour they were at the hospital. The early hours their son was born.
The first week of October Pam rested at home with her newborn son. Tara, her mother arrived that morning to help her daughter for two weeks. Doris offered to help but the young couple politely told her they were fine. Truth was that neither desired for Doris in their home at the moment as they were still uncertain about their feelings and plan.
After Thanksgiving Pam would be back in the classroom with Royce Jeffery William being cared for by a woman who lived down the street. The school said she did not need to return to work that early, but she was ready to do so. She missed her students and had only known them four and a half weeks when she took maternity leave. Waiting until February or March would make her feel like she was their substitute teacher.
The warmth of the early afternoon inviting drew Pam with Royce into the backyard. Looking upon her son on the blanket she became melancholy. Child birth was painful, but looking at the wondrous life that emerged from within her made the process well worth it. Since Royce's birth she had wept that she was not going to have another child. Yet her head reminded her that she would detest herself if something was wrong with a second or third child. Though all appeared well with young Royce, a fear that something yet could surface in the coming years played on her mind. The chances were not high but they still lurked in her thoughts.
What further disturbed her was that Jeff gained evidence from a private eye that Doris had been visiting Vince once or twice a month. The investigator's last verbal synopsis three days after she got home from the hospital indicated Doris was trying to refuse him but Vince was holding something over Doris. Apparently the investigator recorded two conversations between Vince and Jill, the other woman he was seeing. Mike said that the conversation would prove to be very revealing once they read the transcript. He also had on tape the sound of Doris being hit several times. The news was not great. The full report, including transcripts and tapes, arrived just before noon in three large envelopes.
As her mother was weeding the floral garden on the other side of the yard, her heart wept inwardly for her mother as she opened the envelope marked summary report and photographs. To the appearance of outsiders, her parents seemed to have a happy marriage. What happened behind closed doors was something different. Vince who seemed so charming and spoke of his love for his wife to others when she was near to hear was demanding and manipulative when dealing with his children and wife. Though he never physically abused them he achieved his goals through other means. He yelled at them, withheld privileges and belittled them when they did or said something that displeased him. She learned early that it was better to just please him. Now unknown to her mother she had the evidence in her hand of her father's dalliances.
In the days since telling Jeffery the news he had helped her to understand that she needed to tell her mother about Vince's affair with Doris. She was fearful of the consequences but knew if she did not that she too was participating in her father's cheating. That said, Jeff said she should not rush to tell her mother until they had the evidence and as many facts as responsibly possible. With the envelope in hand she felt uncomfortable because the when to do it was near. Pam needed to figure a way to tell her after all she could not just come out and say as if it was a casual matter, "so what do you think about dad having mistresses?"
Tara had been an affectionate mother, freely sacrificing for her children and constantly attentive to their needs. She was not a saint in the religious sense. She rarely attended church and did not hold to some of the traditional tenants of the church. Yet in her daughter's eyes Tara was a saint. She rarely had a negative word to say about others. She admired that her mother's capacity to be self-controlled, to be slow to anger while quick to forgive. She feared those traits would be her undoing and Vince when confronted would twist things. She feared that Tara would forgive her husband and he would return to his old habits of cheating.
What Pam did not know was that when Pam was that Tara had discovered her husband was having an affair with a woman from work. Tara thought they had worked things out, but eleven years ago she had doubts. She had doubts that he would keep his promise not to have another affair. She questioned why she left herself financially vulnerable to being dependant upon him.
When she first discovered his unfaithfulness she feared she could not afford to live without him. She could not imagine what her life would be like. So when he promised to be faithful, she accepted it. For personal peace and for the sake of the children she did not seek proof. In the last six years Tara's doubts increased each year but she lacked the evidence. For the last three years Tara was conflicted as to whether she really wanted to know for once she knew she would be faced with a decision. Since she was a young teen one of her greatest fears had been to find herself living alone. Now with her two children married is she divorced her husband she would be alone and that the fear of loneliness was more powerful than the desire to know the truth about Vince. She found herself explaining away items like the long strands of hair she found as hairs from their dog, or whether his position really did demand that he be away from home two or three nights a month. So for years Tara had been living in a state of willful ignorance.
Yet, Tara had been preparing herself just in case. Unknown to her husband she had inherited from a grand-uncle a nice sum eleven years before. The $83,000 had been invested and net income from two small apartment buildings she also inherited from him was also going into the account. With a modest amount being added directly from her paycheck her invests had become more robust. Being the money manager for the family, her husband was unaware that she now had just over $458,000.
If Pam had known about her mother's suspicions and the investment account she would have been less reluctant to talk with her mother. It was with great sorrow that Pam read the report. Her sorrow was not over about her father's cheating, she had accepted that in August. Her sorrow was how she learned that her father had been abusing Doris and the pain she would bring to her mother's life. Her downcast spirit was increased because she still did not know how to start the conversation with her mother.
An hour later, Tara emerged from the house with two glasses of lemonade. Seeing a downcast look on her daughter's face Tara asked, "what's wrong dear? You look like you are carrying the world on your shoulders."
"Its nothing," she replied to her mother as her mother's eyes fell upon the three thick envelops. Tara saw the letter head resting to the side was from an investigation firm. Tara noticed another multi-page document in her daughter's hand.
"Pam, I know that look. The last time I saw that look was when you wondered how you would ever make it through experimental psychology. Do not tell me it is nothing!"
Pam looked down. What could she say to her mother? This was the chance to tell her but as she had not planned on telling her mother this soon she did not know how to start. She felt nervous so she obfuscated matters by responding, "It's nothing really, just a little husband and wife thing."
Tara's mind jumped all over that statement. As a nurse she had known of too many abusive situations where the wife downplayed the first signs of abuse. Women who have over dominating fathers tend to marry men who are abusers. An envelope and letter from an investigator suggested something entirely different.
"Is he having an affair?" Tara asked.
Pam quickly came to her husband's defense by affirming that Jeff was a faithful husband who treated her like a queen. Tara knew from her own marriage that what the public face could be far different than the private face. Tara told her that it was okay to admit that they had difficulties and she would not think worse of her. Tara pressed her about the document from an investigation firm. Pam had enough and in anger replied, "this is a report about Vince and Doris and some woman named Jill Lander."
In confusion Tara asked "what about Jill, Vince and Doris?"
"You know Jill Lander?"
Tara laughed, "She's an old high school friend of your father's and is some type of executive at your father's company. She is in town once a month and your father has business meetings with her about a new plant opening in California. One of the longest nights in my life was the night he took me to one of their all night dinner meetings. Thank goodness he has not insisted I attend another."
With a note of frustration because her mother had missed the point Pam replied, "this report is not about my husband cheating. My husband loves me and his son with every fiber of his being. He is a generous caring man. Jeff it fully unlike his biological father." Her daughter's tone angered Tara.
"That is an unkind thing to say about Royce" Tara snapped back. "Why would you name your son after him if you have such a low view of him?"
"I said, his biological father. That is not Royce."
The statement silenced Tara for a moment. With a look of confusion on Tara's face she uttered, "biological father?"
Tossing the report at her mother she said, "go ahead and read it. It will tell you that your husband has been having one affair after another throughout your marriage. Jeff and I arranged for the report when we learned that your husband is my husband's biological father. We hired this investigator to find out more and had DNA tests to be sure" she uttered firmly while shaking the report in her mother's face. Tara crumbled into a chair as her daughter continued.
In anger Pam continued. "It's all there! DNA test results, names and other information. What is most damning is that the Friday after Royce was born your husband was out drinking heavily because he was upset we did not include his name in the baby's name. When the investigator kept buying him drinks your husband bragged about the forty-three women he has bedded since he married you. He even bragged about being with two of your bridesmaids two days before your wedding."
Tara's anger grew as Pam continued uncontrolled. Her pent up anger drove her. "Twenty-six women were married or engaged. Vince is a monster mom. A detestable man I cannot love or respect. I am ashamed to have his genes in me. He said to the investigator that he has fathered five children with these women. The firm tracked down these women and each of the children. That means I have four other siblings besides Jeff. The youngest is a six year old brother in Huntington, Indiana. I have an eleven year old sister living about ten blocks from me. My word mom, she could be in one of my classes next year. What am I to say to her or act around her knowing that she is my half-sister?"
"Jill is an old girlfriend that he never left behind. She has three kids, two by Vince. The oldest is a son three years younger than me attending Ball State and his eighteen years old daughter is in her first year at Northwestern. I cannot believe that you never caught on that he had this secret life. You will read that it is not just married women your husband targets. He also goes after high school girls who have just turned eighteen. He bragged to the investigator that he has had seven high school girls in the last four years. The only positive about these high school girls is that he has not knocked any of the up."
"There is much more here and you wonder why I would not honor him by giving my son his name. In my mind and heart I have renounced him as my father. I am going to expose him. I want you and the rest of the family, including grandmamma to know that he is a low life who has manipulated others and besmirched his marriage. I still cannot believe you have not known any of this. You must be so blind or naive!"
Tara's anger overflowed and shouted for her daughter to stop. She got up and walked five feet away and then suddenly in tremendous anger she screamed, "he gave me his word. He has broken his promise. I am such a fool." Then she stormed into the house.
Gathering Royce into her arms Pam too went inside and noticed that her mother was picking up the phone. There was a tense moment between mother and daughter when Pam commanded her to put down the phone. Breathing deeply Pam asked her mother not to confront Vince rashly. She told her mother that time would come to divorce him but they needed to expose him and Doris. She particularly wanted to target Vince and show him as despicable slim. She pleaded with her mother to make no decision until she heard her out. She asked her to wait for her to change the baby.
Ten minutes later after changing the baby's diaper Pam returned to find her mother sitting in the kitchen drinking a beer. Pam sat quietly beside her mother. After a few minutes of silence Tara said she should never have taken her husband back. She was angry at not leaving him. She again said she was a fool to dismiss her suspicions. It was evident from her comments about Jill that Tara knew her from many years before but did not know about the two of them having an affair. Pam lashed out at Doris saying that their friendship was at an end and she would never speak to her again. She said that if Jeff was not going to tell Royce that she would do so when she got home.
After allowing her mother to yell and vent for nearly fifteen minutes Pam realized that she needed to control herself. She calmly and quietly said, "Mom, there is much more than just your husband's cheating at stake here. He is destroying and using woman. If we act too soon he will be divorced yes but he will escape...he will just be more available to seduce other woman. Also remember this involves my husband and me. If you act too quickly, details of my marriage will become part of the court record. That could legal difficulties and if it does not, we will still be looked at with suspicion by our friends and neighbors. Why would we want to do that by acting in haste? Yes we will satisfy our anger but end up with a truck load of unnecessary pain in the process."
"Mom, please take a few days to read this report and to listen to what I have planned. Please allow your head to guide you rather than your emotions. We will extract our justice but to do so will take a few months. I hope that you promise not do anything that will bring harm to my marriage! I had the same view of Doris, but as I came to know about Vince's scheming and blackmailing I started to think less harshly about her. Her unloving actions need to be revealed, but I do not know what to do. The report and transcripts should help us."
Tara stared blankly past her daughter. Emotionally drained, Tara weakly nodded her head. A calmed and emotionally exhausted mother and daughter heard Royce crying. After feeding the baby they shared openly with each other. Calmly Tara listened to her daughter's affirming that she and Jeff were going to remain married. She listened to how they wanted to expose Vince for his true self and that the report was going to help give them information to that end.
Tara nodded when her daughter said she and Jeff wanted to be careful. Tara made it clear that as this was her husband the plan was going to be her revenge, not theirs. They were welcome to help her and she would be willing to gain their help, but it was going to be her plan. Looking her daughter in the eyes she firmly stated that if her daughter and Jeff could accept that this was going to her plan and done her way then they needed to get a life.
Pam took a deep breath and smiled that she and Jeff hoped her mother would take control but not act prematurely. She went on to say that as Jeff was going to tell Royce that all there plans could go up in smoke. Tara agreed that Royce needed to be told, the sooner the better, but that it did not need to be that day given Royce's medical condition.
Tara then said, that if it looked like Royce's health was going to take a negative turn that she may tell him for she did not want him to die thinking that his wife was a fraud. Pam nodded that she understood her mother's feelings even if she did not agree with her. It was not an issue she was going to argue at the moment.
Both women spent the rest of the day reading the report again and again. They kept drawing to each other's attention something the other missed. They read the transcripts as they listened to the recordings. Mother and daughter had time to digest undisturbed what they were reading as Jeff flew out that morning for a contractor supply convention for three days.
The next after noon their reading of the report and listening to the tapes continued. One tape caused both women to fight tears. Vince verbally abused Jeff's mother repeatedly. They both gasped when it sounded like someone being hit. At one point he boldly proclaimed, "bitch you are mine as long as I want. You are going to be do what I want. I have told you for years I can destroy you. You know I will do it. A call to a PTA gossip and you will become the laughing stock of the whole community. If your son and Pam ever find out what you have done they will disown you. You will not only be divorced but be all alone. I am sick and tired with you fighting me. You know you like it, so get down there and take care of her."