A Real Man in My Life Ch. 01

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I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t get turned on to sex until well into my thirty eighth year, and it was through someone I’d never even considered.

I had been separated from my husband of almost nineteen years for about twelve months. Parker Wallace was a driven man, and had been since before we married. His father had been absent for most of his growing up, reappearing for brief periods following imprisonment and the odd occasion that his parents tried to make a go of it again. His Dad was a premier bullshit artist, and some days made a good living, sometimes none at all. He spent his time looking for ‘that deal’, the one that would put him and his family on easy street, not because he was good but because he was convinced that he was, and that it was his ‘turn’.

I’d met him just twice leading up to our wedding, and on both occasions he spoke of the wonderful present he was getting for us with a glint in his eye, something that would set us up for our life together. Parker said ‘Yeah, OK Dad.’ He knew him better than that.

At our wedding, his Dad was full of jovial bonhomie in his suit and tie, and it wasn’t until the next day when we were taking all of our gifts back to the house we were renting that I came across a white envelope marked ‘To Mr and Mrs Wallace, lots of love Dad.’ Inside was sixty five pound in cash, and I can still remember the denominations; one £20 note, two tenners and five £5 notes.

I wouldn’t have minded but my Mum and Dad had pretty much paid for the reception and given us three hundred pounds for incidentals.

I gave it to Parker, who just looked at it.

“Check the twenty,” he said, “It’s probably fake.”

Much as Parker disavowed his Dad, as the years went on, he gradually turned into him.

Like his Father before him Parker was a Spiv, a trader, a classic TV comedy style low life that hid behind a posh suit and a posh accent but always had an eye for the next deal, but because he was a director of his own company thought that made him a business man. Worse still, he had inherited his father’s self-belief, but had a good education and there was no way he was going to prison every couple of years like his Dad had. Parker got his first job in an estate agency and bought and sold houses and arranged mortgages, but he learned about humans and their rather erratic nature straight from his old man.

This self-belief was born when, as a boy, he found a fifty pence coin on the floor by a shop checkout and afterwards would always drop something and use that as an excuse to look for dropped coins. At fourteen while at a holiday park he found a wallet in a toilet stall and from then on would always search public toilet cubicles for wallets or cash and would occasionally find them. Money was where you looked for it, it seemed.

He had inherited his father’s biggest flaw (At least I thought it was) and that was ‘never give a sucker an even break’ and he had learned to take advantage of other people at an early age, be that their niceness, poor memory, gullibility or greed.

He would always take the cash from the found item and then throw what was left in the trash ‘so no one could take advantage of the credit cards’ – I do believe he felt this was a good thing. I pointed out that taking the cash was stealing.

“Should have taken better care of their possessions shouldn’t they,” was his standard response, “at least I’m not going to be screwing their credit cards like some people would. Anyway, they’ll claim it back on the insurance…”

Insurance, don’t get me started; he was riding in my brother’s car when he reversed into a low railing with the tiniest bump. Next thing I knew he was suing my brother for whiplash, again he insisted,

“I’m not suing your brother, I’m suing his insurance company, it’s not his money…”

My brother was a new driver and paying through the nose for his car insurance. Parker’s solicitor ‘settled’ for £279, for his loss of wages and the solicitor’s time. My brother’s excess on his car insurance was £250.

My Dad settled out of court and the insurance company, and the following Friday at Mum and Dad’s place he pinned Parker to the wall telling him in no uncertain terms that Parker and his children could freeze their arses of at a bus stop for all he cared from now on, he would never be welcome in his or any other member of his family’s cars ever again.

“But it’s the insurance company’s mon…”

He saw my Dad’s look and wisely shut up.

He was so mean that he once even took a coffee shop points card, which is strange, he doesn’t drink coffee; but he went into the nearest shop, asked how much was on the card, and spent the next few weeks going into the shop and buying tea until the £9 was used up.

He had to walk a mile to that franchise and back again, when he could have just made himself a mug in the office and saved himself the grief. But no, as far as he was concerned it was free, so he had to have it. He binned it once I told him how they were registered on line illegal bahis and someone that lost it could be tracking its use.

On buses, ferries, trains or in restaurants he’d hang back and look for coats or bags that had been left and do the same. Twice he was caught in the act but put on his best customer care smile and gleefully handed them over saying that he was just looking for ID or a phone number so he could contact them.

Once a kindly looking grey haired gent handed him a five pound note and thanked him for his trouble. Parker demurred, but allowed the old boy to convince him to take it, to buy something nice for me or the kids.

“Ah well,” he said, “the old fart only had twenty quid in it anyway, fiver will do.” He put it straight into his wallet – Parker never treated the wife and kids. He was under the impression that there was ‘my money’ and ‘his money’, not ‘our’ money, and it was bloody lucky that I was back working full time and on a very good salary, due to hard work, biding my time and always learning. I was the real wage earner but, you guessed it, I was never allowed to allude to it.

Two months before we split it rebounded on him, when during his interest in what turned out to be a a ‘Miss Selfridge’ shopping bag full of MacDonalds packaging the train pulled out of his station. He had to wait until the train, a limited stop, reached Swindon and he had to get the next train back, costing him the same fair he’d paid in the first place.

I laughed; he just said, “win a few, lose a few…”

I hated that aspect of him, which was strange as he thought it was a habit that should be encouraged and represented the true entrepreneurial spirit. I said that by his reckoning burglars, muggers, drug dealers and car thieves weren’t criminals, they were just small businessmen trying to make a living. He grinned, until I pointed out that when his Fiesta XR2 was stolen and burned out, it wasn’t a crime it was really a business opportunity for the car thief and perhaps he should have left the keys in to help out the entrepreneur that took it, thrashed it around, stole his gym bag with his £120 running shoes that he only ever walked in, his laptop and briefcase and left what remained as a smoking charred heap in the middle of the recreation ground. After all Parker would claim on the insurance…

Parker stopped smiling, because his XR2 was really old (a classic in his terms) the insurance company paid him out a pittance for it as insurance companies always do, giving him the book price not what he considered it worth. He had very little sense of humour…

We have three children, the blessing from our marriage. Gemma is a gorgeous eighteen year old brunette bombshell that is the spitting image of me at her age with lustrous hair, slim but curvaceous with my big brown doe eyes, with Parker’s high cheek bones. She could have been a fashion model but instead chose to concentrate on her studies and was waiting to hear her A’ level results so she could pick her University even though she had unconditional acceptances from four of them, and is going to be the most attractive school teacher in the South East one day. She has lots of good friends and tends to be a bit shy of boys knowing how difficult her father is with them.

My sixteen year old Tom is a lovely boy, with his father’s looks and my height (I’m taller than Parker but was never allowed to discuss it or even allude to it) and passed his father a year ago. Parker hates that as well.

Tom is bookish and the complete opposite of his Dad, choosing to take A’ levels in English, History, Sociology and Psychology. He wants to study one of those at University, and his father still wants to know what he thinks he’s going to do with a degree in rubbish like that. He has started hinting that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to afford to fund him (he’d never said that about his clever, attractive, popular daughter Gemma.)

Tom, bless him, told his Dad not to worry – he’d get a student loan; knowing his Dad for many years he patted his hand at the same time in a move to stop the inevitable ‘come and learn the business from me, I learned everything at the school of hard knocks and then the university of life’ speech.

Our youngest is Bradley, and by far and away his father’s son. A very precocious fourteen year old struggling to come to terms with his late puberty and the fact that sometimes you had to work to achieve something. Exams were pointless and unfair, after all he was way cleverer than everyone else in the class and he didn’t need an exam result to tell him that. He would be millionaire by his fortieth birthday and retire while his classmates and even his teacher would still be living in council houses. His classmates snarled and laughed with equal measure, while his teacher made him stay late for his impertinence and retake the exam. Bradley went straight to the top man like Dad would have done; straight to the headmaster to complain, after all surely it was the teachers fault he’d failed the exam. The illegal bahis siteleri headmaster was just as scathing of Bradley’s interpretation and put him on detention until the exam was passed to the same level that the rest of the class, every single one of them, had passed it. Bradley had a tantrum and stormed out, still convinced that you should get stuff because of how good you were without having to prove it – the headmaster called after him.

“Mr Wallace? If you walk out of school now you can leave your tie, jumper and blazer by the door as you’ll be rendering yourself expelled,” Bradley stopped in his tracks at the door, the headmaster lifted a pile of beige folders on his desk, “I have dozens of young people that are just dying to come to this school, and will take your place and do the work that is expected of them.” There was a pause, “Well Mr Wallace?”

Bradley went back to the classroom and did so for the next five school nights until he managed to get a low ‘C’ grade that got him off of the hook. He bitched every night mind you, sooooo unfair.

As well as the rights and wrongs of modern secondary education he had strong view on life in general and specifically on the breakdown of his parents’ relationship, based on his own innate sense of right and wrong born of his maturity, experience and a specific moral philosophy born from these, AND the amount of smartphones, tablets, laptops, consoles and expensive things that his father bought him whenever he asked for them.

Bradley tried to spread his wealth of knowledge and experience to his elder siblings based on his developed philosophy. Cool stuff is good, money buys cool stuff ergo money must be good.

Extrapolating that principle further he postulated that if you agree with a man with money you get cool stuff; cool stuff is also good – simple; Mum doesn’t give him cool stuff ergo Mum must be an ungrateful bitch who drove Dad away by her lack of faith in a man that just happened to be extremely good friends with a much younger blonde with huge tits and long legs and spent nights in the same hotel rooms as her, even in the town he actually lived in. Gemma and Tom both continued to treat Bradley with the contempt that siblings normally keep for each other, only slightly worse.

All three had been to the local Catholic Church schools courtesy of enough visits to our local Anglican church to convince them that we were religious enough. This was also matched by Parker’s regular cheques from his financial services company to both churches and the primary and secondary schools, so when we went to an open evening Parker was quite well known to the board of Governors and he was his usual charming self and quite soon Gemma was being presented with her first school blazer. Parker had a habit of being charming and a bit scary; there was, ‘I love your school and what it does for our community and our children,’ with a suggestion of ‘I’ve already paid into your school and it’s time for me to collect’; how he managed to insert some chill into a discussion about children’s church based education is still beyond me. Once Gemma and Tom had left the cheques stopped, hence the Headmaster’s willingness to see ‘that disruptive, immature, idiot Wallace boy’ out the door with minimum effort from him.

I know this was the case because I was a member of a symposium of local secondary school managers and my opposite number at that school knew me and my three children, warning me that Bradley was ‘starting to sail a bit close to the wind’.

I thanked her for her candor and honesty, agreeing and apologising for Bradley’s immaturity and idiocy, promising her that he was getting treated for the for the developmental delay but not the idiocy, that was down to his Dad.

Despite Bradley’s views, our break-up was based on Parker’s bad temper and what he considered was me not making enough effort. He never stopped telling me how grateful I should be for all of his hard work, while he seemed to forget that at the same time, I was raising his children almost single handed, keeping his house immaculately I might add, but more than that I also worked full time, earning the real regular cash money that paid the mortgage and bought the groceries during those countless times when his occasionally off the wall projects didn’t pay off and the credit cards were already close to their limits.

Parker’s tantrums were aggressive but not violent. And that’s what they were – tantrums. He’d have a bad day and things wouldn’t go how he wanted or expected. He couldn’t blame himself after all, that was never an option. Parker hardly ever kept an employee more than a year, simply because most of them were self-employed and while initially the money looked quite good, he was such an arsehole that even the most committed would walk out on him.

He came home with a black eye once, saying that he’d caught it on a cupboard door at work. I was to find out later that one of his ‘can’t fail’ jobs had gone completely belly-up and Parker had lost a couple canlı bahis siteleri of grand into the bargain.

One of his ‘guys’ was silly enough to say ‘I told you so’ and Parker went spare, throwing the young man’s desk over and damaging his Iaptop into the bargain.

“Get out!” Parker screamed.

“You owe me a month’s wages!” said the angry man.

“I’ll consider that payment for your incompetence!”

“My incompetence? You fucking idiot, this was your crack from start to finish and your fuck up, pay me and I’ll go!”

“Get out!” Parker screamed again. But this time his hysterics didn’t phase the man in the way it normally did with the other young men that Parker employed.

“Or what?” said the man leaning forward of his much shorter employer.

“Get…” Parker stuttered.

“Yeah yeah, you already said that, and then I said ‘or what’. What if I don’t get out?” The young man stepped into Parker’s personal space, “Watcha gonna do Mr Wallace? Shout at me again?” The young man slapped Parker, hard.

Parker recovered and swallowed,

“I’ll… call the police…”

“Brilliant idea, yeah let’s call the police!” The man reached into his jacket and withdrew his mobile, “999 isn’t it,” the man pressed three nines and held his finger over the dial button. “Ready?”

“Wait…” said Parker. While he considered much of what he did to be legit, he really didn’t want anyone looking too closely at what he had going on that was for bloody sure.

The young man picked up his laptop, now with a large crack across the screen from Parker’s tantrum of throwing desk top stuff around,

“That’ll cost you £500 Mr Wallace, plus what you owe me for last month. Tell you what let’s make it a round £3,000 and I’ll walk away quietly and not tell anyone what’s going on here.” Parker hissed through his teeth. “That’s just made it £4,000 Mr Wallace.”

Parker reached into his pocket for his cheque book, “no chance, I’ve heard about the cheques that you write Mr Wallace, I’ll take the cash out of the safe please.”

Parker always kept a large sum of cash in what he thought was his secret safe, he was amazed that someone else knew about it. “Yeah, I’m just as fucking sneaky as you are, £4,500 now Mr Wallace.”

“Four and I never hear from you again.”

“Done,” said the man.

Parker tried all kind of nasty things in the next few days and reported the man for criminal damage. The police asked to see the office CCTV but Parker had switched it off some weeks back when he’d had a similar issue with another employee and it showed him in the wrong, so the police just said that they couldn’t take any further action and he was working up to a tantrum when the detective said that he could still pop round and see what was going on. Parker apologised and disconnected the call.

In our twenty year relationship I don’t think he ever put his hands up to admit a problem or apologise to me, the kids or my family for the fuck up’s, disappointments or broken promises he caused on such a regular basis.

He’d rather lash out at the next nearest person, which in the office was one of his contacts or his staff while at home it was me, and I confess as the years went on I was waiting for slap around the face, but it never came. Mind you I think that’s because he was scared of my Dad. I know this, as my Dad told me once that a teenage Gemma had confessed to her Gramps that Daddy sometimes loses his temper with Mummy.

Dad had said nothing but took him to one side at a cousins wedding after he ranted at me for having a joke with my brother that he didn’t understand. He asked him if everything was OK; Parker asked why it shouldn’t have been. Dad laughed and put his arm around his son-in-law’s shoulder and walked to a large window.

“I get the feeling…” he said given Parker a gentle shake, “I have the feeling that you have started to lose your temper with Natalie.” Parker made to open his mouth but my Dad shush-shush-shushed him and raised a finger, “Now I’m sure Natalie isn’t perfect and it’s not my place to take sides Parker, but,” he grinned, “so help me you so much as lay a finger on her or my grandchildren, they’ll have to spend three months gluing what’s left of you back together so they have a piece big enough to do a DNA test on.” He grinned in that wonderful way my Dad has about him and squeezed Parker making him wince.

My Dad has always been the nicest person ever, but he does confess he knows lots of people that aren’t. My wonderful Dad had been a Sergeant Major in the Royal Marines and had travelled the world with them, retiring after 28 years man and boy to live on his pension and his part-time job at the local magistrates’ court as an usher.

Mind you, I often believe that the later lack of violence at the end of our relationship was mostly down to Gemma and Tom and their almost magical appearance in any room that we’d be arguing in just at the right time; especially Tom. He’d amble into the kitchen his face buried in a book just as his father was getting to the spitting, snarling part of his temper tantrum and reach blindly for a cupboard door handle or the fridge, get his drink, or his biscuit, or whatever else he’d came into whichever room it was, most often the kitchen.

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