Time to Pay
By Anna NaMaus
The story of a philandering husband and his wife's revenge. In this Chapter Jenny finds out exactly what her husband is up to and gets some advice.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
I’d been at Davenport’s for three years and married to Michael for four when my world began to fall apart. If I am honest with myself, I’d had my suspicions for a long time but, as always, I buried them under a blanket of excuses. Until the day I found a lipstick mark around the fly on his boxer shorts. It certainly wasn’t my lipstick, I have never worn purple, it doesn’t suit my complexion. Equally certain is that it didn’t get there by accident. I have tried to work out a way, you do things like that when you’re desperate not to get hurt and I was desperate. There is no way that it was an accident and that meant my husband had gone back to his old ways and was cheating on me. Again.
The incident must have played on my mind more than I thought it had because I found myself being called into Doctor Davenport’s office at work. In three year’s I had never actually met the woman in charge, rumour had it that she spent most of her time at a country estate where they did weird experiments on men. I never believed that, one of the girls I worked with told me it was a sanctuary for abused women. That idea makes a lot more sense to me.
I was told to arrive at her office at eleven and when I got there I knocked on Dr Davenport's office door.
"Come in Dear" called a voice from within.
Before I even had a chance to push on the door it swung open to reveal a well-dressed, well-groomed blonde-haired lady that I knew to be in her fifties but looked much younger. Doctor Davenport smiled when I walked in, I’d expected some sort of cold hard-faced business woman, but Doctor Davenport wasn’t like that at all, she was…nice.
"Sit down Jenny" she told me. I did, the tone of her voice, while it remained friendly made me feel a little nervous. "Your work hasn't been up to normal standards this last few days, is there something wrong?"
It was what I had feared and I sighed before answering, "Well, things aren't quite right at home but I am trying not to let it interfere with my work. Honestly I am."
I am still young and obviously have a lot to learn about people so I was surprised when Doctor Davenport leaned across the desk and placed her hand on mine.
"What is it, Dear?" she asked, sounding as though she really cared.
"It's Michael, my husband. I think he's having an affair."
"Oh,” the Doctor frowned what makes you think that?"
I told her about the lipstick and Michael’s past history, tears beginning to run down my cheeks as I did. Doctor Davenport listened intently, occasionally making notes on a pad of paper. At the end of the story she didn't speak to me straight away, instead she pressed a button on her desk and spoke into a microphone on her desk.
"Do you know if Danni is on the property at the moment, Cynthia?"
"According to the security logs she got in about fifteen minutes ago Madam. Would you like me to find her?"
"Yes please, Cynthia, and send her up to see me immediately."
"Oh and Cynthia could you get somebody to bring up some tea and cakes, enough for four please, I think I'd like you to join us as well."
"Yes Madam. I'll be as quick as I can."
Releasing the button on the intercom Dr. Davenport turned her attention back to me.
"I think the first thing we need to do is to find out if he really is having an affair or if there is an innocent explanation for all of this."
"Do you think there could be?" Even after everything a brief spark of hope flared in my chest.
"I'm sorry Dear, but no. I don't. But it is important to make sure. You wouldn't want to be wrong with something like this."
The brief spark was extinguished and the tears began to flow once again.
The woman called Danni came in about five minutes later closely followed by another woman with a tray of tea and cakes, that I assumed must be Cynthia.
Danni was a tall woman with short dark hair, tipped with bright blue. There was an air about her that immediately made me like her. I’d never connected to anybody the way I did to that girl, not even Michael. I knew, not thought, knew that she could help me.
Doctor Davenport introduced the two women and Danni told us that we were very lucky because someone called Mary had baked the cakes. They were very nice and made the whole situation a little surreal. I was in my boss’s office with three women I had never met, pouring out my problems and enjoying tea and cake.
Danni and Cynthia listened as the Doctor outlined what I had told her, asking me only a couple of questions.
“What can I do?” asked Danni when the Doctor had finished.
“I want you to follow Michael,” replied Doctor Davenport, “find out who this mystery woman is and bring us proof. If you need help take Emily, Angelina is working on a missing girl case at the minute.” Danni nodded, and asked if she could visit my house one day when Michael was out so that she could get some photographs. Of course, I agreed and arranged for her to come over the following day.
The meeting with Dr Davenport and the others seemed to help me get my mind in order. When Danni turned up the next day she asked me what I intended to do if she found proof of Michael having an affair.
“I’ll divorce him,” I told her.
“There’s no chance of you forgiving him and taking him back?” asked Danni.
“Not this time,” I replied, “I might have done it before we were married but not now.”
Danni had smiled at that, I don’t know whether it was a supportive smile or an ‘I’ve heard that before’ smile but I took support from it.
I didn’t see Danni again for almost two weeks and there was no smile from her when I opened the door upon her return. We went into the living room and she handed me a brown envelope.
“I’m sorry Jen,” she said, “there is no easy way to say this. Your husband is not just having one affair, he’s having several.”
People talk about being hit by an invisible sledgehammer and I never understood what they meant until that moment. All of a sudden, my chest seemed to explode into pain and I couldn’t breathe. Danni helped me over to a chair and sat me down before heading into the kitchen, I heard the tap go on and water sloshing into the kettle.
“Where do you keep the mugs?” she shouted.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to take control.
“In the cupboard above the kettle,” I managed, “so are the teabags.”
Danni responded with “Got ’em,” and the next thing I heard was the clink of crockery and the sound of boiling water. Once again, I closed my eyes and I rested my head on the back of the chair.
I know this might sound strange but I think I fell asleep because when I opened my eyes again Danni was sat on the couch with a mug in her hand and a second mug was sat on the coffee table.
“Did I…?” I began.
“Don’t worry about it,” she answered, “your brain just shut down for a moment to sort things out. It’s very common with abuse victims.”
“What? Michael never abused me.” I was shocked at the thought of myself as an abuse victim and denied it to myself as well as her.
“As far as I’m concerned you are.” She put her mug on the table and leaned forward, “I’m not saying he hit you or anything like that…”
“Good, because he didn’t.” I interrupted her anger beginning to take the place of sorrow. Danni backed down.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. With my job I see a lot of women that have been abused, both physically and mentally. That’s what this is, a form of mental abuse. Tell me why did you carry on seeing Michael when he cheated on you at university?”
“I don’t know, he made me feel good about myself, you know? Made me feel special. It wasn’t easy growing up the way I did, and there weren’t exactly hundreds of guys knocking on my door.”
“Really? I find it hard to believe that a bright, good looking girl didn’t have men interested.”
“Yeah but I’m not that good looking, I mean I don’t think I’m ugly or anything more of a plain Jane type. Or ‘Plain Jen’ as Michael used to say. Of course, he was only joking, but many a true word said in jest and all that.” Danni frowned at me, a real brow furrow. “What?”
She shook her head, “It’s nothing Jen,” she smiled at me, “like I said I’ve worked with too many abused women, maybe I’m just jumping at shadows.”
I had assumed that Danni worked at the laboratory somewhere but when I asked her she shook her head and laughed.
“God no,” she said, “I know absolutely nothing about science stuff. Despite Ms. Davenport’s best efforts, she seems to think I’m going to take over the family business one day.”
“So what do you do?” I asked.
“Oh I still work for her, just on the other side of the business. I work at the Sanctuary. That’s how I know about abuse, I deal with it every day. Some of it a worse than the rest but none of it good.”
As she spoke I saw the envelope sitting on the table still unopened, right next to my mug of tea. I picked it up and lifted the flap, there was a sheath of photographs inside so I slid them out.
Five 10x6 black and white photographs with the face of Michael smiling up at me in every single one. Of course, a photograph of your husband shouldn’t make you feel that angry, but that was precisely how I felt. Any trace of sorrow or self-pity vanished with what I saw. Michael was accompanied by a woman in every photo and it was never me, in fact it was never the same woman twice. Five photographs, five different women and five compromising positions.
Everybody that knows me would have expected me to be in floods of tears at the degree of this latest betrayal but I was too angry to be upset. In fact, I was probably too angry to even be described as angry. I was so mad that I don’t think I was really capable of rational thought. Danni tried to calm me down, she made more tea made all the right sympathetic noises and got nowhere. All I could see was the man that I had given my life to making a fool of me over and over again. I wanted to hurt him and I wanted to make him suffer, just like I had suffered for seven years. Seven years I had let this man manipulate me, convince me that he loved me, keep me as his pet at home just in case the latest bimbo couldn’t put out.
Maybe I was wrong, maybe I was so angry that I was finally capable of rational thought. Maybe, for the first time in years I was seeing things clearly. I thought of the tales I had heard about the Sanctuary, about the experiments and I asked Danni if she could help me get my revenge.
“We can give you sanctuary, keep you away from him and we can help you with one of the best lawyers around to sort out your divorce. With what we have here you could take him for pretty much everything he has now and most of what he’ll get for the rest of his life.” She paused and looked me in the eyes. “But that’s all. Ms. Davenport said we can’t get involved with a revenge mission. Despite the fact that she did herself.”
My interest was piqued. “Did what?” I asked.
“Well, not many people know this but Mr Davenport had an affair or two when they were married. When the Doc found out she was so angry she took revenge.”
“But I thought Mr Davenport was killed in a plane crash.” I replied, puzzled.
“So they say.” Was the enigmatic reply that served only to frustrate me.
I screamed at her, “Danni.”
She did a theatrical sigh and then told me that Mr Davenport was still alive and well and living at the sanctuary. She explained that he was no longer Mr Davenport and described a few of the things that the Doctor had done to turn Martin Davenport into Mary Shannon.
“Of course, they are a couple still and very much in love. Sometimes we accept our transformations if they are handled properly. If you handle it differently you can make it a real punishment. I’ve seen that done too.”
Something stuck out in what she said and my new, angry, super mind jumped on it.
“Wait you said we,” I shouted, “we accept our transformations. Are you…? I mean were you…?”
She nodded and laughed at my indecision, “I was transformed by Ms. Davenport as a punishment for some previous indiscretions,” she admitted.
“Wow, you look amazing. God Billie would be so jealous and she started transitioning as a young teenager.”
For a while we got off the subject of Michael and talked about my sister. It helped to calm me down a lot and we even managed to go out for lunch at a little café near to my house. Danni left me in the café after settling the bill. But as she left she placed a Davenport Pharmaceuticals key card on the table. I had one of my own, it let me into my lab and logged me into my computer. I looked at her questioningly.
“This is an anonymous master card that I have just dropped without noticing.” She told me. “It will get you through any door and into any computer file in the complex. If there is anything there that will help you do what you need to do you are welcome to it. But if you get caught you’re on your own. I can’t be involved in anything like this, it would cause problems for too many good people. Do you understand?”
I nodded and thanked her, she smiled and wished me luck. Then she left. A few minutes later so did I.
To be continued...
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