I didn’t mean for it to happen. Sometimes things just get beyond our control and nothing you can do will change them.
My wife and I married young. I was twenty, and Kassie was just turning nineteen, but we’d been an item more or less since we were kids, and as cheesy as it sounds, we had a bond like you would only see in a fairy tale. Which makes what happened only more disheartening.
We were childhood friends turned high school sweethearts, and part of what made our relationship so strong was the fact we’d been there for each other through some pretty tough times. Kassie was a bright light for me when my parents divorced, and I helped to pick both her and her mother up when Kassie’s father, Jack, was killed in a car accident. But, I guess in the end, even the strongest bonds have their weaknesses.
The first ten years of our marriage were amazing. We both worked hard to put ourselves through college. I went into engineering, while Kassie went the distance with veterinarian school. By the time things began to change, she’d started her own practice specializing in horse medicine. She was good, and before long my wife was highly sought after in the racehorse community. This would open the door for Kassie to gain a lot of high-profile connections, and eventually lead to her having to travel all over the country on a regular basis.
Because of my career path, I couldn’t travel with my wife very often, and over time this arrangement began to cause a void between us. Kassie felt I was choosing my job over her. A supportive husband, she often said, would make a change for his wife’s dream. What she never considered, and what I was unable to convey to Kassie was that the very thing she accused me of doing to her, was exactly what she was doing to me. In her success, my wife had lost sight of the fact that marriage is a partnership and that it’s up to both spouses to compromise or make sacrifices, not just the one. The only saving grace that kept us together was Kassie’s mother, Beth.
When I would have trouble getting through to Kassie, her mother could always pick up the baton and get Kassie to see reason. Beth was the rare mother-in-law that could see things for what they were with an unbiased eye and take action decisively, even if it meant backing me over her own daughter; which started to happen more frequently towards the end. But despite her best efforts, the woman wasn’t a miracle worker. One evening as I was gathering my stuff up to head home from work, a woman approached me in the parking lot.
“Will Daniels?” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered somewhat cautiously.
“I’ve been hired to deliver these documents to you,” the woman continued as she handed me a manila envelope. “Off the record, I just want to say how sorry I am about this.”
I took the envelope, not immediately understanding what was happening.
“You have a good evening, Mr. Daniels,” she said as she turned and walked away.
As I watched her depart, a dreadful sense of realization began to dawn on me. In a daze, I opened the door and got in my truck, placing the unopened envelope on the passenger seat. I was certain what the documents were without the need to look; my wife of almost twelve years was divorcing me.
I spent the next several hours just driving around, thinking about how this all had gone down. Kassie had been gone for about two weeks, and everything about this trip had been different. She’d been extremely hard to contact. In fact, it had been a couple of days since I’d heard from her at all. In the past, Kassie would call around lunchtime, unless things were busy, and we always talked in the evening. This time, however, things had been more sporadic; and the few times we had talked, the conversation consisted mostly of silence on Kassie’s part. Unfortunately, all of that made perfect sense now. In her mind, Kassie had made a tough choice, and because the marriage was now over for her, she most likely felt there was no need to keep up any pretense.
It wasn’t so easy for me. I was certainly heartbroken, but I was furious as well. At one time, the two of us were closer than most married couples today ever thought about being. The fact that Kassie had timed all of this so that she’d be across the country when the other shoe dropped, felt like the ultimate slap in the face. The worst part was that despite all of this, I still loved her, and deep down I knew if she called in the next minute to tell me that she’d made a terrible mistake; I wouldn’t hesitate to take her back.
After a while, I decided I couldn’t put off going home anymore. It would be hard to go there, a place we’d built together, and even more so to sleep in the bed which we’d shared for a good part of our marriage. At least there was the guest room if need be, but would that even help? I pondered that and replayed the whole messy situation in my head as I started for the house.
Along the way, I contemplated calling my dad. I knew how hard it had been for him when my mom bonus veren siteler left, and he would understand what I was going through. But at the same time, the man had pushed so hard for Kassie and me not to make the same mistakes he and my mother had, and while Kassie and I had strived to follow his advice; in the end, we’d just made different ones instead. Feeling like I would only disappoint him, I began to set the phone down when it rang. It was Beth.
“Hey kiddo,” she said with sorrow through the phone. “How’re you doing?”
“To be honest, Beth, it could be better,” I told her with forced humor.
She didn’t say anything for what felt like a long while, but then, “I reckon it could. Will, honey, I’d like for us to talk. Can you come by?”
I thought about it for a bit. “I don’t know,” I said finally. “Do you really think that’s a good idea? Things have kind of changed a bit.”
“Bullshit,” Beth spat. “Things between us will never change, and if you’re worried about Kassie, don’t. I was blindsided by all of this just as much as you were, and I’m willing to bet between the two of us, I was the only one she gave the benefit of a phone call to.”
“You’re right about that,” I said bitterly. “I haven’t even heard from her in two days.”
“I figured as much,” Beth responded. “But as I said, don’t worry about Kassie calling or showing up here. We had it out pretty good when she told me earlier today what she’d done. After that ass-chewing, I doubt she’ll be coming around me anytime soon.”
I did genuinely laugh at that.
“I’m sure it was pretty bad,” I told Beth grinning.
“Oh, it was,” she said with a chuckle. “Trust me on that. You know I’d never agree with what Kassie’s pulling, Will. But we’ll talk more about that when you get here. Okay?”
“Alright,” I told her. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
As I pulled into Beth’s driveway a few minutes later, I still had my reservations about being there. In no way did I question her intentions. She’d been the closest thing to a mother I’d had for most of my life, but the whole situation with Kassie could get messy, and Beth wouldn’t hesitate to back the person she felt was in the right. Unfortunately, in this case, it would put her at odds with her own daughter, and I did not want that. But I couldn’t deny that talking to her had made me feel better.
I parked the truck, got out, walked up the steps, and then knocked. After a brief moment, the door swung open to reveal Beth staring at me with her hands on her hips.
“Will Daniels, don’t think just because you and my daughter are on the outs that you have to start knocking on this door. It’s always open to you.”
“Yes ma’am. I won’t let it happen again.” I told the woman as the first genuine smile in hours touched my face.
Beth stepped aside to allow me in. “I’m not playing,” she said firmly. “Regardless of what happens between you and Kassie, nothing changes with us. Understand?”
“I’d like to make that promise, Beth,” I replied unhappily. “But you and I both know that there’s a lot of uncertainty with these situations.”
Beth dismissed the thought with a wave of her hand. “Oh, bull,” she said, motioning me to sit down. “There are a lot of things in life that’re uncertain, Will. Most people just choose to give up when things get tough; like my dear daughter. Kassie made this bed, and now she can lay in it, but that don’t mean the rest of us have to join her.”
I laughed cynically. “You make it sound so easy. I saw what happened with my parent’s divorce and how it affected everyone around them.”
As she sat down across from me, I saw the muscles tense in Beth’s jaw. “That maybe so,” she said firmly. “But that was them. You can either choose to follow suit, or you can pick yourself up, stand tall, and fight for what you hold dear. In the meantime, if you’re worried about things between me and Kassie, don’t. Whether this thing goes through or not, that girl no longer has any bearing in what goes on between me and you. She’s my daughter, and I love her, but I know which battle is the right one to fight.”
Letting out a huge sigh, I leaned back with my hands on the back of my head. “I know you’re right, Beth,” I told her. “I just wish I knew what went wrong. We were so close.”
She laid a comforting hand on my leg. “Will, sometimes people just change, and unfortunately, even the strongest bonds don’t always hold up to it. But let’s be honest, this has been coming for a while.”
“Maybe,” I replied with frustration. “But do you want to know what sucks? Despite all of it, I still love Kassie.”
“Oh, honey, I know you do,” Beth said sorrowfully. “That’s one thing I’ve never questioned; how much you love my daughter. You and I both know though, Kassie has always been a go-getter, and sometimes when people like that get a taste of something that they can’t get enough of; it goes right to their head.”
Looking at the woman with questioning eyes I asked, “You don’t think bedava bahis there’s someone else do you?”
Beth thought momentarily. “That’s not something I can honestly say,” she said unsurely. “And not something you should be worrying about right now. Will, the best thing for you at this point is to begin the process of acceptance. This doesn’t have to be the end of your life, just the end of this part of it. Don’t let one person’s selfishness ruin you for someone more deserving in the future. Okay?”
“Alright,” I told Beth trying my best to smile.
“Good,” she said as her own smile crossed her lips. “Now, I don’t know what all you’ve been up to before you came over here, but I bet you haven’t eaten a thing, so you’re going to follow me into that kitchen and keep me company while I fix us something to eat. Come on.”
Not wanting to risk another chastisement from her, I stood and then did as the woman had instructed. I took a seat at Beth’s kitchen table as she began buzzing around the room gathering things for the meal. As I watched her go about the task, I thought about everything she’d said. She was right. I didn’t have to let the end of my and Kassie’s marriage be the end for me. There were other women out there. Maybe I could even find someone like Beth. This thought caused me to look more closely at the woman herself.
There had always been a running joke between her and Kassie about how the two of them could pass as sisters rather than mother and daughter. The two women both shared the same strawberry blonde hair, and their athletic builds were similar with Beth being only slightly thicker, but that only added to the woman’s attractiveness. In fact, despite being in her mid-fifties, Beth was still a very beautiful woman.
Where the two of them differed was in personality. Typically, Kassie could be a kind and loving person, but she could be stubborn, hot-headed, and even cold as well; especially when it came to getting something she wanted. Beth, on the other hand, had none of these traits. In all the years I’d known her, never once had I heard the woman say an unkind thing about anyone unless they deserved it. The woman was always warm and loving to the people she cared for and treated everyone else in much the same way.
As I watched her work on dinner, I found myself wishing the daughter and mother could switch places. This whole situation wouldn’t be happening if Beth were the one I’d married, but then realizing what I was thinking, I pushed the thought out of my head. The woman was just being good to me, and it was wrong to think of her in that way. I knew my mind wasn’t in a good place, but that was no excuse, so I made every attempt to focus it on other things.
A short time later, dinner was prepared and laid out on the table. Beth put a few things in the sink to soak, and then she sat down across from me.
“It’s not much,” she said humbly. “But it’ll have to do.”
I scanned the spread. “It’s plenty,” I told her gratefully. “You shouldn’t have gone to the trouble though.”
She smiled at me, my mind taking mental note of how much like Kassie’s it was. “It was no trouble at all,” Beth assured. “Besides, I think today has been rough on both of us; you especially. It’s the least I can do. Now dig in.”
We spent the next while eating and talking about menial things. Throughout the meal, much to my frustration, my mind kept wandering back to its earlier thoughts regarding Beth, and each time I would force them away. But, every time the woman did or said something that reminded me of Kassie, the feelings only came thundering back.
Once the meal was finished, I helped Beth with the dishes and decided it was best I head home.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” she said when I told her. “But I don’t think you need to be alone tonight, Will. People tend to get themselves in trouble when they’re left to their own devices after going through trauma, and I don’t want to see you go home and drown your sorrows in a six-pack. Why don’t you just stay here tonight? At least that away if you insist on a drink, I can keep an eye on you.”
She stood awaiting my answer with a look on her face that said don’t test me. At least if I went home I’d be able to keep certain thoughts at bay, even if I did drink myself to a stupor to numb the pain. But, at the same time, I really didn’t want to be alone; especially in the house my wife and I had shared. I was just going to have to man up one way or another.
“Well, I guess I can stay,” I told her finally. “Are you sure it won’t put you out too much, Beth?”
She shook her head. “Nonsense,” she affirmed. “Good company is always good medicine, and we can both use a dose I think. Now, you go have a seat on the couch and make yourself at home while I go fix us a drink. Then, we’ll find something good to watch on TV that’ll hopefully take our minds off the situation at hand. Go on.”
I went, and a few minutes later, Beth returned to the living room carrying deneme bonus two large mugs. “I don’t usually keep liquor in the house,” she explained. “But I have plenty of beer, so I hope you don’t mind a michelada.”
“Not at all,” I told her, accepting the offered mug.
She turned on the television, and after a short search, Beth settled on a film called River of No Return, starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. It wasn’t something I’d seen before. In fact, I’d never seen anything with Marilyn Monroe, but apparently, Beth had and was a fan of the woman. After a little while, I could see why; Marilyn was a classic beauty and had the acting chops to go with it. As we continued to watch, I found myself admiring the gorgeous actress more and more. I also found myself comparing her beauty to that of the woman sitting next to me.
As if she’d read my mind, I heard Beth say, “They sure don’t make them like that anymore, Will, Do they?”
“I think they do,” I replied grinning while giving her a quick wink.
Beth’s face reddened as she looked away. “Oh stop that,” she said slightly embarrassed. “I’m just an old lady who’s way past her prime.”
“That’s not true, Beth,” I argued. “You can still turn plenty of heads. I’ve seen it.”
The blush on Beth’s face deepened. “Maybe if you’d used that silver tongue on my daughter more, she’d of softened up a little more,” the woman told me with a wink of her own.
“Oh, I tried,” I assured her. “Kassie just wasn’t always too receptive of it.”
“Well, that’s on her,” Beth said matter-of-factly. “She’ll find out one of these days what it’s like having and then losing a good thing. I, on the other hand, appreciate a good compliment, even if it’s said just to humor me.”
“I wasn’t just humoring you, Beth,” I told her seriously. “To be honest, you’re still a very beautiful woman, inside and out. Kassie might have your looks, but if she were half the woman you are, our marriage wouldn’t be failing.”
Beth looked at me like she wanted to say something in response but then shook her head. “I think the drinks are working on us a little too much,” she said eventually with forced humor. “Maybe we should just finish the movie.”
I knew there’d been something left unsaid, and wanted to tell Beth to it was okay to say it, but I decided not to push. Instead, we sat mostly in silence while the rest of the film ran its course, only talking to one another to comment on the movie or some other small thing. In the meantime, the idea that what I said had crossed a line hung over me like a black shroud.
When the movie was over, Beth turned the television off and then placed her hands awkwardly in her lap. “Well, Will, I should probably get the guestroom fixed up for you,” she said timidly while quickly getting to her feet. “I’ll be right back.”
“Let me help you, Beth,” I insisted while standing up.
She shook her head. “It’s okay. It’ll only take me a few minutes.”
She turned and walked down the hallway. I watched momentarily as the woman disappeared into the room, and then I followed after her. Beth was pulling bedding out of the closet as I entered the room.
“I told you to stay put,” she said smiling.
“Beth, you made me dinner and have been waiting on me all evening,” I told her firmly. “The least I can do is help you make my bed.”
“Alright,” the woman said reluctantly. “Grab a corner then.”
Taking hold of the sheet, I helped her stretch it over the mattress while making small talk in the process. As we worked, I couldn’t help but feel there was some sort of nervous tension between the two of us, and I wondered more than ever if I’d made things awkward somehow.
When we finished a few minutes later, the two of us stood looking down at the made bed. “There you go, Will,” Beth said. “All set. Now, I better let you get ready for bed, while I’ll go do the same.”
She turned to leave the room, but I stopped her. “Beth wait,” I said taking hold of her hand. “I want to apologize for what I said earlier. Maybe I was letting the drink affect me, and it made things strange between us.”
Beth squeezed my hand. “Oh, honey, there’s nothing for you to be sorry about, especially when it makes someone feel good about themselves, and believe me, you did just that; maybe a little too much even. That being said, everything between us is perfectly fine. I promise.”
Putting her arms around me, Beth hugged me tight and then held me by the shoulders at arm’s length. With a smile, she said, “Everything’ll be fine, but we really should get to bed. In the morning we’ll have a good breakfast, and then I’ll send you off to work, hopefully in better spirits than I found you tonight.”
This brought a huge smile to my face, and as I stood there looking at the woman, the feelings I’d felt for Beth all evening overwhelmed me. Before I realized what I was doing, I pulled her into my arms and kissed her.
The surprise of my actions caught Beth off guard, causing a moment’s hesitation from her, but then I felt the woman relax; her lips parting to receive my tongue as it probed forward into her mouth. After what felt like a long time, Beth placed her hands on my chest, and then gently pushed away from me; breaking contact.