Motive, means, and opportunity – Some background

I’m working on a novella which may boringly be called “Motive, Means and Opportunity” where I will present a chunk of information from which you if you want to, can become the armchair detective.

This might give some clues to the players, and the events.

So, the question is, how did I find myself in such a situation.

It came down to choices, as it always does.

And, from the very moment I met Wendy Mauson, I knew life with her, if it came to pass, would be interesting.

She was a popular girl; one of the cheer squad that made their presence felt at most sports.  Her usual boyfriend was Garry Frobish, star quarterback and mainstay of the football team.  I played basketball, after a fashion, because I had not had the necessary growth spurt in those vital teen years, I found myself relegated to guard, of which there were many.

How did we meet?  By accident.  Garry, Wendy, and I were all at the same party, Garry made a mistake, they had a huge fight, and I was there.  It was not one of those right time right-place events, she just picked me as the most level-headed of those on offer that night.  But, I had no illusions, and whilst it was on again and off again over the next year, her real interest, and love of her life was Garry.

So, how did I finish up with Wendy?  Wendy and Garry came together as a couple at the prom, and it looked like it was a perfect match.  Until he got her pregnant, she wouldn’t get rid of the baby and he dumped her.  Who was next, me.  Did I know she was pregnant?  No.  That I discovered much later, at a hospital in tragic circumstances.

But, blissfully ignorant, and universally loved by her family, we were married.  And not long after a son, Dale, was born.

I should have recognised the signs in the few months after the birth, where she was rather self-absorbed for a time.  Had I investigated it, I would have discovered that she had been seeing Garry again, but that, too, wasn’t discovered until much later too.

But despite the ups and downs, we managed to get along as a family once she settled into the idea of being a mother until Dale was old enough to go to school.  Then she went back to work, in the office of the company that was owned by Garry’s parents.

I thought it a coincidence, but, like I said, she managed to keep it all under a shroud of secrecy for many years.

Until the unlikely happened, as it always does.  Secrets are not secrets if more than one person knows about it, and if there are more, well, it doesn’t take long for it to become common knowledge.

One of Dale’s friends told him, under the category of ‘can you keep a secret’, that my wife and Garry were ‘old’ friends, and that it had been going on for years.  How this ‘friend’ knew about it was never explained, but it turned out to be true.

I spoke to her about it, and she assured me that, yes, they did meet, but it was not like ‘that’.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt but followed her a few times observing them together, and it seemed to be as she said.

Then Dale was killed.  It was a senseless accident that in any other situation would have seen him walk away with just a few scratches.   He was rushed to the hospital and since he was a rare blood type, they tested me, and his mother.  Neither of us was a match, which seemed odd.  But even when they found a donor, in actual fact Garry, though I didn’t know it at the time, it was too late.  In fact, when I identified the body, there was not a mark on him.  He had sustained a slight bump to the head which activated an aneurysm.

A week after, when we had the funeral, and everyone came, commiserated, and left, the doctor remained.  An old basketball friend, he gave me a piece of paper and told me to read it later.  I did.  DNA proved that Dale was Garry and Wendy’s son, not mine.

Even then, I was willing to let it go.  Wendy had taken Dale’s death hard and decided the only way she could recover was to go away for a while.  And not with me.  Not a surprise, because we had been arguing a lot, over money, and the way she spent it like it was water, and I thought she had found someone else, and that was who she was going away with.

But, taking her sister was supposed to throw me off the scent.

I guess if you were going to try and continue hiding a secret relationship, you would take steps to prevent the other from finding out.  Perhaps her grief had got in the way and clouded her thinking, or she was just in a hurry to leave.

Three weeks later, a phone bill arrived at home, for a phone I certainly didn’t have, so it had to be hers.  On it were calls and texts to two numbers, one was Garry’s, the other to a man who was simply a code name.  Whilst she had left me numbers of the places she was staying, and with instructions only to call if someone was dying, I did try once, and a man answered.

I put two and two together.

And kept it to myself.  Along with all of the evidence, which consisted of a number of accounts, one from a hotel, several from car rental companies and a rental agreement for a flat, one that cost a considerable amount each month, and, when I checked through the finances, which I left her in charge of, I discovered large discrepancies in what she said we had, and what was there.

And, with all the accounts from her recovery ‘holiday’ put on the ‘no limit’ credit card which had to be paid, it took what was left.  I was left with the choice of going bankrupt or selling assets.  I did the latter, first the condominium in Bermuda, and then the lakeside holiday shack by the lake up country.  We rarely used either, so I took the gamble she wouldn’t find out.

Then she came back, I handed the accounts back to her and said nothing.  As far as she was aware, the main accounts had sufficient funds to pay the bills, and any money I’d earned in her absence had been squirrelled away.

Perhaps, by that time, I could see the end was nigh.

As it was when Garry was found murdered and set off the chain of events that saw me being implicated in his murder, by Wendy, but for reasons she thought I didn’t know about.

That was about to change when I was summoned to a meeting at her lawyer’s office.  I didn’t know she personally had one.  Then, there was a lot about Wendy I knew nothing about.

© Charles Heath 2019-2023

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