Closed Door

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Part 26

Dear Diary, 

I’m not proud of myself.  I didn’t do anything wrong and they started it but that doesn’t mean that how I acted is anything to applaud.  But I think they are finally getting the point.  We’ll see.  I learned while dealing with Daniel to always hold back a little something just in case the promised improvements or resolutions never appear. 

“Excuse me Deputy, does that writ include my private residence?” 

“No ma’am, it does not.” 

“Then please tell that lawyer and his client’s father that their demands don’t mean a crock of burnt beans.  They got the writ to look inside the travel trailer that is the personal property and solely in the name of my cousin Cal Lowery.  They’ve looked inside.  Now it’s time for them to go.” 

“Now just one minute here …” Lily’s father blustered.  “I know my daughter’s belongings are here somewhere.  We have evidence that they were brought here but none showing they were removed.” 

The lawyer saw me grin and tried to shut the man up.  Too late.  “Ah, so the paparazzi wannabe was sent by you?  Good, I’ll file another complaint.  After all your pet lawyer was warned that he was trespassing on private property last time.  He was also warned my land is under surveillance by security cameras.  I have pictures that clearly show he disregarded the chain across the road as well as the no trespassing signs and private property signs.  I’ll also charge invasion of privacy and endangerment of an infant since when I approached this man he jumped in his car and peeled out so fast he threw rocks back in my direction and I was carrying my baby daughter at the time … and I have pictures of that as well.” 

I could almost hear both men swallow.  Then I put all politeness aside.  “You are finished on my property.  I don’t give a rat’s behind what you demand.  You’ve been given a copy of the video and a detailed inventory of what was removed.  The details include the origin of each item as well and who paid for them as well as copies of any pertinent receipts.  My cousin is a … detail oriented person and Lily knows that for a fact having been married to him for ten years.  I hate to remind you of your business but here it is … Florida is a no-fault divorce state; all it takes is one person declaring the marriage irretrievably broken.  Lily’s multiple affairs, dating back to the beginning of the marriage, is well within that definition.  And another interesting thing I’ve found out … Florida isn’t a community property state but a marital property state and strangely enough inherited property, gifts, and real estate, so long as it isn’t co-mingled with marital property after the marriage, isn’t considered marital property.  Cal always kept a separate insurance rider on the items he had inherited from his parents and that rider was in his name alone.  Ah, you didn’t realize that Mr. Lawyer?  How remiss of your client and her father to not inform you of that fact.  Now, unless you want things to really get nasty I suggest you back off.  

Lily’s father hissed like a snake.  “Listen you little …” 

“No, no, no.  None of that language now.  And you might want to calm down, you look like you are on the road to a stroke.  Like I said … nasty.”  Turning to the lawyer and smiling once again I said, “Allow me to give you a hint what I mean by nasty.  Computer files, date and time stamps.  Incriminating evidence about fidelity and medical procedures like … oh say … tubal ligation using her husband’s insurance but not informing him that the procedure had been done.” 

“That could be planted evidence Mrs. Corey.” 

“Are you really that naïve?  Don’t you remember me saying date and time stamped?  Looks like I’m going to have to be even more specific.  A two week period that was supposed to be a second honeymoon only your client cancelled on her husband on the day before they were supposed to sail because she preferred staying and inviting her parents down for two weeks so that her father could attend something at the convention center?  When her husband fussed that they’d probably lose the deposit money she cruelly suggested he take someone else … truly cruel and inhumane considering it was only a short time after she had been caught in an affair of unknown duration with an old high school flame for which they were in counseling to deal with?” 

“He got that money back, we’ve got the documentation to prove it.  He’ll need to return it to their joint account.” 

“Ah but you forget, Lily had asked her husband not to return until her parents had left since they didn’t get along.  We have captured facebook, twitter, and text entries to back that up despite the fact that you’ve tried to scrub the postings out.  I congratulate you, you are rather fast.”  Sotto voice I mumbled, “Bet your wife loves that.” 

Before he could give voice to his offended male warble I reminded him, “Cal needed money to live on after his wife cruelly restricted him from their shared home.  That money would not have kept him in a motel for two weeks.” 

“He wasn’t in a motel Mrs. Lowery, he was here.” 

I nodded, “Agreed.  Staying in his travel trailer that required fuel to operate the generator.  He also had to have fuel for his personal vehicle, food, and I don’t see anyone begrudging him renewing his fishing and boating license during that time so that he could entertain himself while his wife went shopping at the high end stores at International Plaza and attended several Gala events downtown in new gowns.” 

The Deputy said, “Folks this is really entertaining but it is obvious the writ has been served and executed.  Anything else can be hashed out in court.” 

I smiled.  “Court?  It doesn’t have to go that far unless Lily insists.  Mediation will do admirably.  It is apparent she has no interest in continuing the marriage based on her passed behavior.  We’ll just bring all of our documentation and the depositions by the counselors and ... Oh wait … don’t you want to hear …?” 

Pretty Boy and Lily’s father were ignoring me and the deputy was trying not to grin.  He looked at me and said quietly, “Tell Cal I’m sorry.” 

“I’m sure he knows.  You have a job to do just like he does.  You don’t get to pick and choose your assignments.” 

After everyone left I walked into the house to find Cal on the phone.  He was pale and surprised but still scowling. I stood behind him listening.  “No Lily, I’m … I’m not coming home.  You don’t want a marriage, not a real one built on trust and mutual respect.  I never blamed you for not wanting children so don’t try and hold that over my head.  I just can’t take never knowing if I’m going to come home to find some man sleeping in the bed that was supposed to only be shared by the two of us.  I won’t take it anymore, you’ve burnt that bridge for the last time; I’m not rebuilding it again.” 

I could hear some jibber jabber on the other end. 

“If you want to know what is up with Aria call and ask her yourself.  No, she’s not being mean.  As a matter of fact she was the only one that supported us working things out and staying together.” 

More jibber jabber. 

“No, I really haven’t talked to her about what has been going on.  It’s been our problem, she’s had enough of her own to come to terms with.” 

Jibber Jabber Squawk 

“Of course she knows now.  It’s no secret.  She probably heard some of it from Trish and Amaris.  I think she even called Josh when I was so out of it in the beginning, that’s what he said anyway.  Wouldn’t you want another witness if you were trying to decide what to believe and what not to believe?” 

Squawk Squawk Jibber 

“You’re the one that told her you didn’t want to see her gain … and called Feena a spawn for God’s sake.  Even then she didn’t turn on you, you know how she is about family.  I mean she stuck by Daniel until the very end.” 

Squawk Jabber Squawk. 

“I didn’t say you were like Daniel.  Look if you are going to act like this I’m going to hang up.” 

Jabber Jabber Jibber 

“Yes I’ve got a lawyer.” 

Jibber Jabber 

“She will introduce herself after she finishes going over all of our financial papers.” 

Squawk Squawk Squawk Squawk 

“What did you think was going to happen?  You sent your dad and one of his pet monkeys after me.  Of course I got my own lawyer and it is standard procedure to go over all financial records to start sorting things out.  If we are going to do this, we’re going to do it the right way so neither of us can complain we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be.” 

I tapped Cal on the shoulder making him jump.  I carefully took the cellphone out of his hand while Lily’s voice blew through the speaker comparing Cal to things that were anatomically impossible in nature. 

“Lily?  Aria here.  I don’t think it is healthy for you and Cal to speak to one another directly right now.  You appear to be emotionally overwrought now that the consequences of your actions are setting in and obviously aren’t thinking about the ramifications of your words.  I already spoke to your lawyer and put it on the table.  Items that are non-marital property will be retained by the parties that they belong to … you’ll keep your grandmother’s jewelry and Cal retains ownership of his grandmother’s antique brooch collection that was kept in your safety deposit box.”  I held the phone away from my ear from a moment before saying, “Don’t shout.  It won’t change a thing and it makes you sound vulgar.  Yes Cal emptied his belongings out of the box, he isn’t stupid and is well aware of how lawyers work.  Now as I was saying, Cal retains the items that were inherited specifically in his name and insured in his personal name and you can keep the few items that came to you by direct inheritance.  He has decided, at this time, to not make any claims against the gifts that you received as a couple from your marriage like the car you drive and the china and crystal that you got as wedding presents.  Cal will keep his truck and the other pieces of marital property that has already been removed from the home.” 

“What about all my pain and suffering?!  Huh?!  I will definitely be getting alimony.” 

“Fuhgetaboutit Lily.”  I had always wanted to say that.  “You have no children together.  You make at least as much as Cal does and a little more when you calculate in commissions.  You are the one that had the multiple affairs and if you want to push this I’ll suggest to Cal’s lawyer that your adultery may be grounds to have you paying Cal alimony.” 

Her screech nearly broke my ear drum.  When I could hear again it was the dulcet tones of Pretty Boy.  “Poor Lily is completely overcome with emotions.” 

“I just bet she is.” 

“I’m sure we can avoid all sorts of unpleasantness if we put our minds to smoothing the way between Lily and Cal.” 

“I’m sure we can too Blondie, by the way does Fabio do your hair?”  When he was done sounding like he’d coughed up a hairball I said, “Look, have her sign what Cal’s lawyer sends over.  If Lily won’t do it, tell her to get another lawyer because she won’t get a better deal.  I wasn’t kidding about incriminating evidence.  Her father might want to consider keeping a low profile too.  Some of these files are … uh … let’s call them interesting and leave it at that.  The cop friend of Cal’s that is doing the forensic investigation on the hard drive is almost to the point where he’s going to be ethically required to turn them over to the DA’s office and you know what a mess that could turn into.  Face it, Lily had her chance and she blew it.  And I wasn’t kidding about the alimony either and you know these days an adulterous spouse can make the whole divorce proceedings get very, very sticky.  Pictures, depositions, no telling what would come out in the wash.” 

“Hmmm.  I’ll … relay … your talking points to my client.” 

“Do that Fab Jr.  Just make sure she understands that this stuff getting out isn’t going to do her career or her father’s reputation as a businessman any good.  Yours either for that matter.” 

I clicked end and then handed it back to Cal who just stood there looking at me.  Finally he said, “Forensic investigation of the hard drive?  Incriminating evidence?” 

I shrugged.  “Papa always said that words have power; that it isn’t what you know so much as what they think you know.” 

“Aria that’s a pretty big, dang bluff girl.” 

“Yeah, maybe … but a reasonable one.  I learned a few things after ... during ... look a good bluff will save you some pain and suffering.  The way it goes is Lily's father made his money in construction.  Big construction.  I looked it up.  There’s been a few problems here and there with the buildings and things his name has been attached to.  Some complaints in the public database for Florida licensed companies.  A couple of news articles in local papers pointing out some shady connections.  Nothing spectacular.  But where there is smoke, maybe there is fire.  Maybe Lily knows about it, maybe she doesn’t.  Maybe her father isn’t sure either and can’t remember if he or his wife used your computer or not the various times they’ve stayed at the house.” 

Cal snapped, “Who do you think you are?!  Perry Mason?  This isn’t a game Aria, this is my life.” 

“No kidding,” I said, trying to not snap back.  “And you’ve put up with her crap absolutely long enough.  Isn’t that what you said to me when I’d feel guilty over having to make hard decisions about Daniel?  I never got a chance to resolve anything with him.  If you think his death changed that think again.  I don’t want that for you Cal … I don’t even want it for Lily.  Daddy and Papa always said …” 

Cal covered his face with his hands and flopped down on the sofa.  “Oh here we go.  What bit of Biblical wisdom did they impart over this situation?” 

I hit him with one of the small fuzzy sofa pillows leaving fur balls stuck in the bristles of his crew cut.  “They said a pig wearing lipstick is still just a pig.” 

He gave me a surprised look.  “What the heck is that supposed to mean?” 

“It means that you’ve done everything you can to keep this marriage going.  Ten years Cal … for ten years and most of those willingly in and out of couples counseling committing to try and fix what’s been wrong. At least willing and committed on your part.  You forgave her at least two other times for infidelity that I know of.  You’ve worked hard and long at the marriage.  No, you weren’t perfect but you never stopped trying.  She did.  Maybe it wasn’t always like this but it is now.  She’s cruel.  She’s torn your heart and mind up.  I more than most know that at some point you have to stop beating on yourself because the other person won’t or can’t be the person they need to be.” 

“Yeah but you didn’t turn your back on Daniel.  You still wear your wedding ring.  You kept the name Lowery instead of going back to Corces.  You still won’t stand for people to say bad things about him.” 

“That’s because Daniel was sick … literally sick … holes in his brain sick.  I made a vow … in sickness and in health.  And despite that I didn’t use it as an excuse to go sneaking around committing adultery.  There was no get out of jail free card for me.  My wedding vows meant that I promised if Daniel couldn’t make decisions for himself that I’d do it and do my best to care for him no matter what since he was mentally unfit to do it for himself.  And just because he’s dead doesn’t mean I’m not responsible to his memory … but not for his sake any longer but for Feena’s.  She’s going to need to figuratively meet her father one day … not just the sick man he turned into but the boy he used to be.  She needs to understand consequences and that we have free will up to the point we destroy ourselves.  You don’t have to go through that.  Lily isn’t sick.” 

“But …” 

“No buts Cal.  I’m how much younger than you?  But on this it feels like I’m way older.  You’re a … God help you … you’re a romantic.  I had the romance beat out of me.  I love you and Lily, you’re family.  I saw something in your marriage that I wanted but knew I’d never have after a point.  You two were my friends, my confidants, you literally saved my life and Feena’s too.  I see what you see and hurt with you … you could have made it, you could have had forever, the good kind.  But like you and she kept telling me back then, it takes two.  You gave it your all, for whatever reason Lily chose not to.  The more often she stopped giving the less she was inclined to start it back up.  Lily abandoned you and turned her back on her vows and she doesn’t have a single excuse for it … not the first time, not the second, not the third.  She …” 

“All right already.  I get it.  I … I get it.”  He sighed and slowly rubbed the bristle on top of his head.  “How big a mess did they make of the trailer?” 

“You don’t want to know.  Just go upstairs and crash tonight.  You said yourself you start swings tomorrow.” 

He opened his mouth to say something then just turned and climbed slowly up the stairs looking far older than his thirty-one years.


1 comment:

  1. Kathy glad to see you adding to this story, hope to see more soon thanks for all of you time and for sharing your gift of story telling with us.