Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostępny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacji Legimi na:
By M.R. Leenysman
Copyright 2017, M.R. Leenysman
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Five years after I married Emily Schneider, her parents passed away. Before their probate was completed, she unexpectedly disappeared, taking our two-year-old daughter Sarah and $10,000 of our savings with her. She left a note saying that only the prospect of never seeing her parents again had kept her from leaving sooner and now that they were gone, so was she. She promised that I would never find her.
Absolutely nothing I tried to do for the first year after her disappearance was able to locate them, including private detectives and charging Emily with parental kidnapping to get the police and FBI involved. I suspected that she’d gone overseas, but couldn’t even find evidence of that.
I finally had to file for a Divorce by Publication. After proving to a judge that I’d made my best effort to locate Emily, I had to publish an announcement of my intent to divorce her in a local paper, where she had 30 days to respond. She didn’t. Six months later, the marriage was over, with the judge also ruling that I would have sole custody of Sarah, if I could ever locate her.
Our assets were still ordered to be divided in half, leaving me unable to keep our house, which was sold, while I moved into an apartment.
After Emily’s disappearance, her inheritance from her parents was placed into a trust in her name, with Sarah as a contingent beneficiary and me as trustee. A special provision said that if 20 years were to pass without either of them returning, the money would go to me, as Sarah’s heir. That was 2001. I could never bring myself to pursue having Emily declared dead, because I’d have to declare Sarah dead alongside her. I’m simply not that greedy.
I met and then married Katie O’Hara in November 2003, her children Andy and Karen being eight and six at the time. Sarah’s fifth birthday was a month after the wedding. Katie had already gotten her tubes tied during Karen’s delivery, since she and her late husband had only wanted two kids, so we had no children together. I moved into their home, but it remained in Katie’s name, her will passing it to her kids.
I tried to be the best step-dad I could, but still ached to find Sarah and continued paying private detectives to search again once per year to no avail.
That marriage lasted until Karen graduated from high school in 2015, when Katie unilaterally declared that we had drifted apart and we chose to end things amicably. Both kids were on campus before the divorce was final. The house was off-limits in the divorce, since it wasn’t community property. I bought a one-bedroom condo, in better shape financially than when I entered the marriage, but not able to afford anything bigger without borrowing against retirement funds.
There was no question of custody over Andy and Karen, since they were both over 18. They kept in touch and we settled into a routine of a Friday night dinner together when they were home, whether eating out or at my condo, sometimes followed by one or more movies. They jokingly referred to it as “visitation”, even though it wasn’t.
Because I’d only gotten a one bedroom condo, I picked up an air mattress, so that on occasions when they wanted to spend the night, one could sleep on the couch and the other on the air mattress, usually after a movie marathon. Those Friday nights during the summer of 2016 helped me feel like I still had a family.
I went back to the dating world, somewhat successful in getting women into bed with me, but none of the relationships lasted more than a couple of months. The last had ended in March of 2017.
Andy graduated with high honors from college that May, landing his first job in San Jose, California. The very first Friday of the summer, the first time Karen would spend the night at my condo without her brother there, she kissed me right after dinner. Deeply, like a lover, nipping my lower lip between her teeth as she pulled back, looking for my reaction.
“What the hell, Karen?” I asked, slipping from her grasp, arousal fighting with surprise. “You’re my daughter.”