Because I’ve found a massive backlog of fiction I once wrote. This one chronicles the end of Jonathan’s doomed-from-the-start marriage in the mid-to-late nineties.
Rain. Why the hell was it always raining when I got off the tour bus in LA? Could it not be sunny and nice out for once? Hell, I was coming home for the foreseeable future, at least the next year between recording an album and getting to the next tour. You’d think that it would at least have the decency to be at worst overcast.
I said goodbye to Ryan, who was catching a plane back to New York, as the last tour date had been in Oregon and hopped into the car. Chris had dropped it off earlier in the day, as I’d asked him to. Slimy asshole or not, he was still family. God only knows how much I hated this car – it was a Lincoln Towncar – bought for Tricia’s sensibilities not my own. Hell, even Kristen hated the damned car.
“If we’re going to be stuck driving a boat, can we at least have a Jag?” she’d said the last time the cursed piece of shit car had broken down on the side of the highway again.
I’d barely seen her over the past year and a bit – really, I’d barely been there her entire childhood. Between Torrent and my solo recordings, I’d been on tour more of her life than I’d been home. I was unsure how this child ever ended up being the semi-sensible person that was due to start at Vassar in the fall, especially with the mother that she’d been left at home with all of her life. Tricia and I’s marriage had been on the downswing for almost twenty years, and all I was really waiting for was the last straw on the camel’s back. Kristen was eighteen now, getting ready to head out on her own, and that made any dissolution a little easier – she could make her own decision as to who she wanted to stay with if forced that way.
I pulled the car out onto the freeway and turned on the wipers. Ah well, it suited my mood. I hated going home. Not because of Kristen, but more because of having to face Tricia again. Why I ever decided to marry her… to shut my parents up… that’s why.
Traffic was slower than hell, and I had time to think. Toying with the plain gold band on my left hand, my mind went back to my marriage. I’d never been happy in it. That was evident from day one. Looking at wedding pictures was painful – it was obvious that I was leathered and barely hanging on to standing up by a thread. I didn’t want to be there, and I didn’t want to be in this marriage much more than I had to. It was probably why I’d gone elsewhere looking for love as well. In twenty years there had been three affairs, kinda long term things that in the end went south as fast as they’d started. I’d never lied about them to Tricia when I’d been called on it. What was the point – make her more pissed off at me then she usually was? Like I needed that. Every day I was reminded that I wasn’t the man that she wanted. We didn’t even bother showing up together at events like music awards or other “industry” events. Usually I’d bring Kristen with me, if nothing else she enjoyed it and it was good press for me – being enough of a father to bring my daughter with me. It also helped that she was a red haired beauty that kept the young guys and I’ll admit, some of the older guy’s attention as well.
If I didn’t bring Kristen, I’d usually just show up with the guys, and never with any of the mistresses I’d had.
Turning off the highway to the gated community where the house was, I was waved through with a smile by Gord, the ever present security guard. The rain started pounding down and I sighed.
I resignedly drove through the streets, remembering as I came up to the house that Krist was off at an orientation session at Vassar this week, staying with Heather and Riley in New York. It would be just Tricia and I until Saturday night, when I was to pick up Krist from the airport. Planes made me nervous, and picking her up was usually a torture test. Pulling into the driveway, I noticed Chris’ car there, but mentally shrugged. He usually was there when I got home from recording in the studio, usually they were sitting at the dining room table having coffee when I came in the door. This probably wasn’t any different.
Pulling into the garage, along side my car – the classic sixty-seven Mustang Fastback that I’d restored a few years back. I looked longingly over at the car – I wished Chris had dropped that off rather than the boat, but Chris couldn’t drive stick, and that meant I was stuck driving a car that the devil himself must have created.
Taking my one bag from the back seat, I trotted upstairs into the house. I could hear something going on upstairs, but I wasn’t sure what the hell I was hearing. Tossing my bag in the hallway, and making my way upstairs silently, I wondered what exactly was going on. I walked down the hall to the bedroom, and as I came to the door, the realization of what was probably going on behind that door struck me.
Ah Jesus no. Not in my house… not in that damned bed…
I pushed open the door. Sure enough, there was Chris and Tricia, bodies entwined, and a look of adoration on her face when she looked at him that certainly never had been on her face with me.
“Jesus Christ.” I cursed loudly, and the two of them stopped mid-act, twin looks of shock on their faces.
“Jonathan….” Tricia said, quickly pushing Chris away, and pulling a bed sheet around herself as she tried to get up and explain away this entire thing.
“Tricia, save it. Chris – I thought you’d at least have the decency to take her to your place if you were going to fuck her brains out. Y’know, it saves on incidents like this and…” I just stopped. What was the point. Just get out of here. You asked for something like this Jonny-boy, now you’ve got it.
I turned on my heel and started back down the stairs, grabbing my bag along the way, and taking the keys to the Mustang as I went.
“Tricia, I’ll be talking to Marc tomorrow, If Ryan calls before I get to where I’m going, then tell him I’ll call him back, if you can face him.” I called over my shoulder to her as I headed back out to the garage. She was standing at the top of the stairs, a shocked look still on her face, and Chris right behind her. “I’ll pick up Krist on Saturday still, and well… see ya.”
I opened the car door and threw my stuff in, then jumped in myself. Pressing the button on the remote opener, I fired up the car, and revved it a few times, reveling in the sound of the engine. I turned on the CD player I’d had discreetly installed, and it flipped automatically to the last CD I’d been on – funnily enough it was Warrant, and the song perfect for the occasion – I Saw Red As soon as the garage door was up, I sped out of the driveway, and took off down the street, tires squealing and smoking. By the time I got to the highway, I had taken off my wedding band and threw it on the dash. Damn that felt good – freeing even. My itinerary for tomorrow had just taken a nice sharp turn. First off, call the lawyer, second off, find a place to live for the foreseeable future. One nice thing about having been smart with my money was I knew I had enough to buy a house outright. Oakland sounded good to me. Still close to everything but far enough away from L.A. that I wouldn’t have to face either of them.
Christ Ryan, you should be home by now….
“Ry! Fuck, what took you so long?”
“Jon? What the hell are you doing calling me tonight?”
“Yeah, well… got some news for you. I’m not at home, and it’s all finally come out.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few, I could hear him curse under his breath and sigh.
“You finally caught them together? Jesus. You in the house still?”
“Ry, do I look that sodding stupid? I’m at a hotel for tonight, going to the lawyer tomorrow and house hunting after that.”
I heard Heather in the background, evidently Ryan had gone more pale than his usual pinkish skin tone and she was worried about his blood sugar. He covered the phone, and I could hear muted conversation that it wasn’t his blood sugar and to get Krist, as I’d need to talk to her.
“Ryan, don’t bring her into this yet. I don’t want to ruin her week. She’s probably happier than a clam at Vassar right now, and I don’t want to ruin that. She can find that out when she gets home.”
He sighed again.
“Jon, you really know how to pick ’em you know that. You know I’ve never liked Tricia, and neither has Heather. Next time you pick a chick to get involved with, please make it one less… well… like her!”
We talked for a long while, which was unusual, Ryan was normally a man of very few words, and he’d evidently been storing these up for a while. It was decided that Ryan and Heather would try to get on the same flight as Kristen, Riley would go to his Uncle Dave’s in Rhode Island for the week, and they were coming down to help out.
“Thanks Ry, you and Heather are more like family to me than my own family here. Look – it’s past midnight your time, I’m going to call it a night here and hit the hay. Take care of yourself and see you on the weekend.”
After the pleasantries had been exchanged, we hung up and flopped back on the hotel bed. This was it – I was swearing off women for as long as it took to get my head screwed on right so I didn’t pick another Tricia.