A Son's Lost Honor
Mitch Wilder's quest to get his wife back turns into an obsession. He becomes desperate when more of his lies are unveiled. When he catches Claire with her lover, Mitch becomes violent. And the only way he's stopped...is with a bullet.
Claire Lester-Wilder was Bob Marshall's first wife. And for twenty years he's hidden his real feelings for her. But when he sees her likeness in a magazine, old memories surface. He risks his own marriage with Sue and the wrath of Mitch Wilder to get Claire back.
When Darren Hoffman tells his drunken father where to find his wife, he’s unprepared for the backlash it causes. Things go from bad to worse after he’s seduced by a hooker. Darren fears he may lose his wife over it.
Snow was coming down hard and fast when Mitch Wilder looked up at the building on Dundas Street in London, Ontario. Glad his so-called wife wasn't with him. She threatened to handcuff him and drag him to the psychiatrist's if he didn't go this time. He finally gave in when he realized he couldn't put it off any longer. If he didn't get help now he might succeed the next time he tried to commit suicide.
He couldn't pinpoint when depression took over his mind, his body...his life. All he knew was, he hit bottom when Claire left him just before Christmas in '67. They'd only been married for two months. He’d been in love with her all his life, still loved her. Mitch let out a snort as he closed the door on his pickup truck. One of the reasons he married her, was to keep his stepbrother away from her. That's when he tried to kill himself the first time, when she moved in with Tom. The second time was when Tom caught him with one of his mistresses.
His fault, Mitch knew, it was always his fault. If only he could keep his pecker in his pants, Claire would still be with him. He tried to live life normally after she left him, but he now knew he couldn't keep up with his lifestyle, anymore. Things were beginning to fall apart around him. He needed to get better, and it was only the first thing that needed to be done. Mitch wanted to get some semblance of his life together for his son, Darren's, wedding next summer. His son's, not Claire's. A son he fathered with one of Claire's best friends, Kathy Hoffman, who had been dead for fifteen years.
He thought about last weekend. He spent it with Claire. It was his attempt to get her back. She still wouldn't let him move in with her, even after they'd stayed most of the time in bed. “Don't think about her now,” he admonished himself. Because, every time he did, he'd get a hard-on. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever met, and had the perfect body, so sensual, so tantalizing, and so many curves. She was the one who grabbed him by the heart so strongly that it choked him.
Mitch willed his mind to concentrate on mundane things as he walked across the icy parking lot, so his own body could cool down. He pulled a piece of paper out of his coat pocket and checked the address one last time. The two-story building at the back of the lot was all windows. Mitch sighed before he pushed open the glass door and walked into the lobby. After he checked the list of names on the wall, he headed down the hall to his right. He stepped into a waiting area and gave the receptionist there his name.
“The doctor will be right with you, Mr. Wilder,” she said, after he filled out a bunch of forms.
While he waited, he picked up a magazine and noticed last Friday's date on the cover. October 24th, 1969. It was only ten minutes later when he was ushered into the room. It surprised him that the doctor was female, that his estranged wife would even consider making him an appointment with a woman. Especially with a long-legged gorgeous brunette. The doctor asked him all kinds of questions, examined him and gave him another prescription to take with the Paxil he was already on. His doctor, Dr. Marsh, refused to up the dosage on the antidepressants for him anymore.
He left the building at five-fifteen, drove a few blocks north onto Oxford Street and turned left. There, he pulled into a driveway of a two-story red brick house and turned off the ignition in his pickup truck. Inside this house was only one of the reasons why his wife left him.
Mitch spent the weekend in London with Linda, who stuck with him for over twenty years. She almost left him when he married Claire. The only reason she stayed was because he told her that Claire's mother was on her deathbed and that her only daughter was to inherit a lot of money. Mitch was to wheedle that money away from her. He and Linda were supposed to go to Hawaii then. Except, Claire's mother had been dead for ages. It was easy to lie to Linda, because he only saw her once or twice a month.
And nobody knew about her until Claire caught him with her. He remembered the day when Claire walked into her kitchen and found Linda there, wearing one of his shirts, and nothing else. He ran out of the bedroom with only his briefs on after Linda screamed. She dropped two cups of hot coffee on the floor, which splattered all over her legs. She still had scars on them from being scalded. Claire keyed Linda's little red 1968 MGB. He paid to have it re-painted.
Linda was perfect for him. She didn't demand anything from him because she knew he couldn't deliver any more than he had. Except more of his time. As far as Mitch could tell, he was the only one she saw. She was in love with him, he knew; although she would never admit it. He preferred that. He didn't want confessions of love. Mitch watched her sleep in the wee hours of the morning and brushed her auburn hair from her face. She snuggled in closer.
He thought about all the lies he'd told in his life. The people in his hometown didn't even know half of his story. That's why he would disappear for years on end. When he married Claire, he thought he'd be able to settle down. Keeping her away from Tom wasn't the only reason he married her. Claire was the love of his life. It seemed to him that no matter who he was with, he couldn't get her off his mind.
Mitch sighed and rolled over to face the wall. Claire ended up with Tom anyway. She moved out on Tom after she found out his secret and Mitch wanted her back. A tear slid down Mitch's face. She still didn't want him, not permanently. He didn't blame her. She knew he would never settle down. Why would she take him back when had a different woman every night?
Next morning, Bob Marshall asked his wife, Sue, to watch the grill when his twenty-year-old son walked into Port Shetland's only diner. Justin looked awful, as far as Bob was concerned. His son's eyes were dark from lack of sleep. “Amy's called here at least three times this morning,” Bob said. He guided Justin with a light touch on his arm to sit on the rickety old stool in the back. “Our phone has been ringing day and night at home. I don't think she's found out where you've been all weekend, though.”
“Sorry, Dad.” Justin set his elbows on his knees. “I'm pretty sure she's been screwing Billy Thurgood. I should have listened to you and Todd.”
Bob leaned against the big freezer. “I hope you have more sense than I did, son.”
Justin looked up at his dad. “I know. I always swore I wouldn't live the way you did with Mom. But I realize how hard it is now.”
“Look, Justin. I stayed with Julie for as long as I did because of you and your twin sister. And I'm glad I did now because I don't think I'd have the relationship I do with you and Lily Marie if I had left then.”
Justin nodded. “Yeah, but I have serious doubts that the kid Amy is carrying is mine. And I wonder if the first one was mine, too.”
“I don't care who the first one belonged to. You weren't getting married at eighteen. And I didn't like that you eloped at twenty. You have your whole life ahead of you, there was no rush to get married. I'm glad her father made her get an abortion the first time, he should have insisted on it this time, too.” Bob let out a big sigh. “You've only been married for three months, Justin. But it's better you do something about it now. Don't let things drag out like I did. If the kid is yours, then I'm sure you will do the right thing and help support it. Sue and I will help.”
“Oh, I already thought about that. And if it isn't, Amy will not get one cent for it.”
“What are you going to do?”
Justin shrugged. “Move out.”
Bob shook his head. “You realize, Mitch gave the apartment to you for a year as a wedding gift.” He crossed his arms in front of him. “I'm sure he'll let you stay there for free, but I'll make sure he won't let her.” That whiny little bitch won't get it.
Justin nodded. “I guess I better go talk to her, get it over with.” He stood and got a hug from his father.
“How was your stay at Tom's?” Bob asked as he stepped back.
“All right.” Justin smiled. “Those guys are nuts.”
Bob let out a harrumph. “It still gives me the willies.”
“Ah, they're just two guys who love each other, Dad.”
Justin lifted his shoulders. “They're happier than I am right now.”
“It still isn't natural, you know.” Bob slapped Justin on the back. “Go deal with your wife, son. Sue and I will hold down the fort here. Just keep us informed. And I expect you back at work on Wednesday.”
Twenty-two-year old Darren Hoffman walked down the hall in Western University the next day and ran into one of the Baxter twins. They were supposed to be identical, but Todd and Justin could tell them apart. Darren still hadn't figured out how they did it. Even his fiancée, Lily Marie Marshall, could tell them apart. Melissa had been her best friend since kindergarten. The twin stopped in front of him.
“Hey, Darren. You sure have a load. Want to get a drink at the cafeteria?”
Darren hefted his books. “Only if you tell me which one you are.”
“Melissa,” she answered and fell in step with him.
Good. Melissa was the quiet one, the tame one. The one Justin had the hots for. Jody was wilder and more suited to his cousin, Todd. He wished Todd stuck with her and didn't go back to Becky Thurgood. She already had a reputation for being easy, even before he took her out one summer. He had a bet on with his buddies to see how many times he could screw her. That was all she was good for. But she got clingy after a while and he got sick of her. That's when he started to hit her, bite hard during sex and just treated her rotten. It still unnerved him as to how rough he did get with her.
He knew Becky was afraid of him. She still crossed the street to get away from him. Or she would leave a room he walked into. He was the one who'd started calling her the slut. It gave her a bad name in town.
“Let's sit here.” Melissa set her books on a table. “Hot or cold?”
“What?” Darren forced his mind to pay attention. He dumped his books on a chair and looked around in the cafeteria. “I'll get it. What would you like?”
“Ginger Ale, please.”
Darren purchased two Ginger Ales and sat down in the hard-plastic seat across from her.
“Did you take Economics 101?” Melissa asked as she took the can he handed her.
“Yep. It's difficult, isn't it?”
“Can you help me with it, I'm stuck on this one part?”
“Sure, come over after supper.”
“Won't Lily Marie be at work?”
Darren narrowed his eyes. “I'm not my dad, you know?”
“I know. I just meant that she might get jealous, or Jody might start something.”
“Why would Jody start anything? We'll just be studying.”
“Because she's pissed at Todd for going back to Becky. I don't get it, though. She's the one who keeps messing with his head. First, she'll go out with him, the next day, she'll dump him, so she can screw someone else. Then, when she's had enough of that guy she goes after Todd again.”
“Well, first of all, you should know that Lily Marie isn't the jealous type. She trusts us together, you being her best friend. And I will never do anything to hurt her.” He took a drink before he continued. “And I was hoping Todd would stick with Jody. You know how I feel about his first choice of girls.”
“Yeah, we all know how you treated Be---”
“Don't say it, Melissa.”
“Okay, I was just teasing.”
That evening, Darren jumped up when Lily Marie walked into his house. “Hey there, sweetheart,” he said as he helped her with her coat. “Just in time, we're about done.”
Lily Marie gave him a kiss before she walked into the living room. “Hi, Melissa,” she said then dropped down on the couch. “He talking your ear off?”
Melissa shook her head. “No, but he's helped me quite a bit with this stupid stuff.”
“It'll come easier,” Darren told her. “Now that you've grasped the concept.” He sat beside Lily Marie, put his arm around her and glanced down at the engagement ring on her hand. “How was work tonight?”
“Fine,” she said then turned to Melissa. “Justin kicked Amy out.”
Darren watched Melissa pack up her books. Her face had turned crimson. “There's your chance, Melissa,” he said. “I know he likes you, a lot.”
Lily Marie hit him. “Don't tease her, she just got back with JT.”
“I'm not.” He pretended great injury and held his stomach. “I know how they feel about each other.” He turned to Melissa. “Isn't that right? You have the hots for Justin, don't you?”
Melissa finally looked at him. “I'm going out with JT.”
After Melissa left, Darren took Lily Marie into his arms. “I love you, chick.”
“I love you, Darren.”
She smiled at him with her bright blue eyes with gold flecks in them he loved so much. Her blond hair reached to her waist, he twisted it in his hand. He kissed her softly and reached up under her T-shirt to take hold of a breast. Lily Marie moaned and pressed into him. “God, you turn me on,” he told her after their lips parted. She looked at him through liquid eyes.
“I need you, Darren,” she said as she lifted his T-shirt over his head. He stood there while she ran her hands over his chest. He undid his jeans. She licked her lips and reached down inside. Darren gritted his teeth as the fiery sensation ran through his organ. Lily Marie closed her eyes and massaged him. He got harder, the need more urgent.
He almost collapsed when she took her hand out. Darren watched while she shed her clothes. He marveled at her body. “Man, you're so beautiful,” he croaked while reaching in between her legs.
“Ooh,” she whispered. He massaged her womanhood, licked a nipple and felt her sway into him.
“I can't hold back.” Darren led her to the couch where she stretched out and reached for him. He dropped his pants and stopped just short of entry and sucked on a breast. She lifted her hips, he pushed his growing manhood inside her. Her legs wrapped around him. He pumped in and all the way out, re-entered and teased her until she was near crazy with need. Then he plunged in and rode her until they both came together in one glorious shuddering detonation.
A day later, Darren finally caught up to his old man. They were sitting in his kitchen. He didn't have to ask where Mitch spent the last three nights. Darren knew he was at his mistress's place in London. The redhead Claire caught him with. The woman his father refused to give up.
“Why should I let Linda go?” Mitch asked him. “It's not like Claire's at home waiting for me.”
“How can you expect her to even consider taking you back when you still have mistresses?” Darren shook his head as he popped the top off his beer. “How many do you have in Hamilton?”
Mitch's left eyebrow rose. “You expect me to become a monk? Are you going to follow me around like Tom does?”
“Tom follows you around?” Darren snickered. “Well, I guess I know where to go to get a straight answer, don't I?”
“Look, Darren,” Mitch said, after he took a drink of his beer. “You know I spend most of my time in Hamilton, that's where the head office is. And I don't intend to spend it alone.”
Darren shook his head. “How many mistresses do you have now, Dad?”
“Not counting Claire, just two.”
“Just two, down from what?”
“Until recently, I had three. That's down from the five I had in my prime.”
“Are you bragging, or what?”
Mitch leaned his elbow on the kitchen table. “You asked me.”
Darren sat back in his seat. “I know about Blondie.”
Color bloomed on Mitch's cheeks. “So?”
“I've seen your truck at the Golden Oak Motel.”
“How do you know I'm there for Blondie?”
“Everybody knows, Dad. You've been hiring her for years.”
Mitch shrugged. “I like her.”
“No wonder you have such a reputation. I don't know what possessed Claire into marrying you in the first place.”
“I have a way with women.” Mitch grinned. “What can I say?”
“Geezas, Dad. No wonder I get weird looks. People are waiting to see if I'll follow in your footsteps.” Darren brushed his long black hair out of his eyes. His ponytail reached to the center of his back. “Ever since you decided you had a son a year-and-a-half ago.”
“I didn't decide, Darren. Your mother was adamant you weren't mine.”
Darren's mother died when he was seven. He had a picture of her in the living room that was taken a month after she was diagnosed with cancer. “Yeah, I know, Bob and Joe forced it out of you.”
Mitch sat back in his seat. “What do you want from me, Darren? I've always been this way. I don't know how to change to meet your high standards.”
“Not that you want to change.”
Mitch rubbed his temple. “Look. I went to the psychiatrist. The first thing I must deal with is my depression. After that, we'll see.”
Darren blew out a lung full of air. “Okay, I guess it's a start.”
They drank their beers in silence for a bit. Then, Mitch said, “How's university?”
“Good. I'm taking human behavior, now.”
“So, that's why you're on my ass. I don't fit in any category, is that it?”
Darren narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, you do. It's called horny.”
Tom Fleming watched his stepbrother walk into the office through his open door the next morning. Mitch glanced at the young man who was filing papers before he shut the door to Tom's office. They called the smaller office in Port Shetland Tom's because he was there most of the time. Mitch ran the bigger one in Hamilton, but often sent work down to Tom. They each had their own office at both places and shared secretaries. They inherited The Great Lakes Shipping Company from their old man. Mitch was the big boss and ran the company eight years before Tom joined him. It wasn’t what either wanted, but if Tom didn't work there the company would be lost to them. Mitch made the offer sweet enough, so Tom quit teaching.
“What happened to Barb?” Mitch asked. He pulled out a chair and sat in it, leaning an elbow on the desk.
“You.” Tom set down the document he was reading.
Mitch's left eyebrow went up. Tom shrugged as if to say, 'enough said.' Mitch screws Tom's secretary, secretary loses out.
“Who's that out there, then?” Mitch thumbed toward the door. “One of your kind?”
Tom shook his head. “He's straight and too young. Should be safe from both of us. Right?” They eyed each other before Tom continued. “His name is Kevin Sloan.”
“Does Kevin Sloan know how to make coffee?”
Tom pushed a button on his phone, asked for two cups of coffee to be brought in and then sat back.
“You didn't tell him to put cream and sugar in mine.” Mitch was about to get up when the door opened. Kevin set a cup in front of each man and stood back. Mitch looked down at his cup.
“It's not poisoned,” Tom said.
Mitch blew into the cup before he took a sip. “How did he know what to put in here?”
“Ask him. He's standing right there?”
Mitch looked over at the new secretary. Kevin smiled at him with even white teeth. “Tom told me how you like it, Mr. Wilder.” He stuck out a hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Mitch shook the hand. “How did you know I'm Mr. Wilder?”
“Tom told me to watch for a well-dressed man who will walk in here like he owns the place, ignore me and act cocky.”
Mitch laughed. “You aren't afraid to say what you think.”
Kevin grinned. “Is there anything else?” He looked from Mitch to Tom.
“Not at the moment,” Tom told him. “Thanks, Kevin.”
They watched Kevin shut the door behind him. Mitch turned back to Tom. “I like him.”
Tom watched Mitch drink his coffee, knew his brother started to feel guilty.
“Listen, Tom,” Mitch said after a few sips. “About Barb...”
Tom put up a hand. “I should have known in the first place, Mitch. Female, alone in here, you.”
Mitch had the decency to look embarrassed. “I'm sorry, Tom. She was good at her job.”
“Well, you screwed her twice, then, didn't you?” Tom looked up at the pictures on his wall. Three big freighters that harbored in Hamilton hung in expensive frames. Mitch looked after those. Two pictures of smaller freighters hung on the opposite wall, the ones that were Tom's responsibility.
“I'm not seeing her anymore,” Mitch said.
Tom looked down at his brother. “It doesn't really matter, does it?”