“Your honour, my client has no desire to be divorced and requests that the court mandate counselling. She feels that the marriage is strong enough to get over this mishap with a little help.”
That was her lawyer speaking. Her, being my soon to be - if I had anything to do with it - ex-wife Julie.
My lawyer stood. “Your honour, a twelve-month affair with multiple men, resulting in the birth of a child is hardly a mishap, especially when the DNA proves that said child does not belong to my client. We feel that there Is no benefit in prolonging this fiasco of a marriage any longer. Counselling is not going to change anything.”
“It is precisely because of the child that I am inclined to order counselling,” said the judge” A child needs a stable home to grow…”
“If you think I’m bringing up that cheating bitch’s bastard...” I said loudly. My lawyer winced.
The judge banged his gavel hard.
“One more word and I will hold you in contempt of court,” he yelled at me.
“I am ordering one month of counselling. Two sessions per week. You WILL attend, Mr. Steadman, or else.” He glowered at me for a moment, then banged his gavel again. “That is all.”
Julie, my soon to be ex-wife, looked smug as I entered the counsellor’s office.
“I’m Dr. Sullivan, but you may call me Gerald. May I call you Brian?” he smiled at me.
“No, you may not. You may address me as Mr. Steadman”
“Brian there’s no need...” started Julie
“And you, bitch, may not address me at all,” I snapped at her.
“I think we need to settle down,” said Dr. Sullivan. “Please Mr Steadman Take a seat.” He indicated one of the chairs set side by side in front of his desk. I moved the chair a good six feet away from the chair Julie was sitting in and flopped down into it. Gerald Sighed.
“Ok then,” he began. I didn’t hear anything more as I pulled out a set of air pods and put them in and started to listen to music from my phone. Gerald just stared at me and then started speaking to Julie. I couldn’t hear what he was saying to her as I just continued to play with my phone while listening to the music. After about 15 minutes I saw Julie stand up. She glared at me and stomped out of his office.
I took out my air pods.
“Ok Doctor, good session. See you Thursday?”
“I’m cancelling the sessions and sending my report to the judge.”
I left the office.
The judge was not pleased.
“Give me one reason why I should not hold your client in contempt,” he growled at my lawyer.
“Your honour, you ordered my client to attend the sessions. He attended the first session in accordance with the order. It was the counsellor who called off the rest of the sessions.”
“The counsellors report clearly states that he made no attempt to engage in the session. He put in headphones and ignored them for the entire time,” The judge responded.
“The order was that he attend,” my lawyer returned. “He attended. Given that the counsellor felt that there was no benefit in continuing I would like to request that you grant the divorce according to the petition.”
“Not on your life,” The judge said. “I am ordering 4 weeks of counselling. Mr Steadman WILL attend, and he WILL participate.”
The office was set up in exactly the same format as before when I arrived. Two chairs about a foot apart faced the doctors desk. He sat behind it. The desk was bare barring a yellow legal pad and a picture of a pretty woman I would guesstimate in her mid-thirties and a child that looked about 6 years old.
“Mr. Steadman,” the doctor said. “Please, take a seat.”
Once again, I started to move the chair. Julie put her hand out to stop me and I jumped back.
“I’m giving you both notice that any and all physical contact will be construed as an attack on my person and will be responded to with appropriate force,” I said.
Julie gasped pulling back. I went back to moving the chair and then sat in it. Once again, I got out my phone.
“Mr Steadman. The judge ordered that you participate in the session.”
“I know,” I said. “I am using my phone to record the session to prove my participation. My lawyer says that some counsellors have been known to have their own agendas. Since my soon to be ex-wife has already been seeing you for some time, I feel that you may have already developed a relationship with her that might work against me.”
“And if I do not wish you to record the sessions?” the Doctor asked.
“Then I will go back to court and request a different counsellor,” I said. “I have that option. The only reason I didn’t do that already was it would cause even more delays.”
“Julie, how do you feel about the sessions being recorded?” he looked at her.
“Whatever,” she said waving her hand. “Can we just start?”
“Ok then,” Gerald said. “What I would like to do to start.”
“Before we start,” I interrupted him. “Can I ask a question?”
“Of course,” he said. “You can ask questions at any time. I may ask you to hold off asking at certain points in the process but right now ask away.” He smiled at me encouragingly.
“Have you fucked her yet?” Julie gasped, but it didn’t seem to faze Gerald.
“No. Julie and I have not had, nor will we have, any kind of sexual contact,” he said mildly. “It would not be appropriate even if I were not already very happily married. Does that answer your question?”
I nodded. I believed him. Although he must have been one of the few men that Julie had met in the last year, not to have fucked her.
“OK Then. Then as I was saying what I would like to do to start is to set our expectations. Since I have already spoken to Julie on a few occasions I would like for her to outline what she would like to achieve in these sessions and what her desired outcome would be. I would ask that while she is talking, you refrain from comments and questions until the end. Once Julie has told us what she hopes to achieve, I will ask you to do the same.
I refrained from comment.
I didn’t look at Julie as she began to speak.
“First of all, Brian…,” she began
“DO NOT Speak to me,” I growled.
“Talk to me, Julie,” said Gerald. “Tell me what you would like Mr Steadman to hear.”
“I wanted him to hear how sorry I am that I hurt him. I know what I did was wrong it was just that he spent so much time at work and on his business trips I was lonely. I realise how much I hurt him and If I could possibly go back and change the past, I would give anything to do it. I love him more than anything else in the world. I know we can get past this if he would just give me a chance, I would show him that I can be the best wife a man could ever want. We could bring our child up together and give him a wonderful life, maybe even a brother or sister. I want us to be together. I know we can do it. We can get past this I know we can.”
Gerald smiled at Julie.
“Ok, thank you Julie. Now you Bria.. I mean Mr Steadman, what would you like to say.”
I glared at him.
“I would like to see the cheating festering CUNT getting gang raped, catching a rare and incurable STD and dying a slow and painful death,” I said.
Julie burst into tears and ran from the room.
“That was not helpful,” Gerald remarked.
“I do not want to be helpful. That bitch whored around for a year with half the men in the city, got herself pregnant and tried to pass the baby off as mine. If I hadn’t already been suspicious and asked for a DNA test, I would even now be stuck with paying child support for some other fuckers kid. Tell me Doc, how exactly should I be acting?”
“It’s natural to be angry, but you need to look past the anger at what you had,” he replied.
“Do you actually know what the fuck you are talking about?” I snapped. “Have you ever had the love of your life, the person you have entrusted with your heart and soul, and who you would literally die to protect, shit on you so completely that you question your own sanity? When I found what was going on I wanted to die. I seriously considered taking my own life. How could someone who professes to love someone hurt them so badly that they are driven to suicide?
“Also did you notice that she has never once said that she was sorry for what she did. Not for fucking all those men, not for all the lies time after time, not for getting herself knocked up and not even being able to guess who the fucking father is? The only thing certain is that it wasn’t the person who SHOULD have been giving her a child. ME!!!
“So, since you have NO FUCKING IDEA how it feels to be in my position, don’t sit there with your sanctimonious fucking smile and your book learning and tell me I must look past my anger. Right now, my anger is all I have. Just let me get the cheating cunt out of my life and try and rebuild something from the pieces she left me with.
“Does that count as participation?” I snarled at him as I left his office.
When I got home, I decided to do a little preparation for the next session maybe I might be able to prove my point.
“I asked Julie to allow us to have this session without her,” Gerald said as I entered his office the following week. “I feel that we may be able to achieve more on a one to one basis to start with”
“As long as this still counts against the court ordered counselling, I am more than happy not to have to be in the same room as that bitch.” I sat down, placing the A4 envelope I was carrying on my lap.
“Can we try and refrain from name calling please, it is not constructive and just gets in the way.”
“I don’t want to be constructive. I just want to get through these sessions and get that cheating cunt out of my life for good. I never wanted these sessions. She is just determined to cause me as much suffering as she can. She doesn’t want the divorce because the Pre-Nup leaves her with nothing so she is trying to force me into taking her back. It ain’t happening.”
“And what about the child. He is an innocent. Surely, he should not be punished for…”
“He is not my problem or my concern. By your rationale I should be taking on board every waif and stray that couldn’t keep her legs closed and got knocked up. Those kids have nothing to do with me and neither does this one.”
“Why are you so determined that there is only one outcome from this. You obviously loved her a great deal. All that feeling does not go away overnight. Your anger is masking it just now but once that settles, and trust me it will, you will find that there are still feelings that you can build on, feelings that you can use to restore your relationship. Even make it stronger.” That smile was back again. I wanted to punch him. It was time to give him a taste of his own medicine.
I indicated the picture on his desk.
“You have a nice family,” I said. “Been married long?”
“We’re not here to discuss my…”
“Eleven years, if my sources are correct. Childhood sweetheart, married just out of college. Waited to have kids and then little Ethan came along. What is he nine now, that picture must have been taken a couple of years ago.”
“How did you…” he started
“But did you know, that your darling Cheryl has her own secrets?” I continued “Did you know perchance that when she says she is at Pilates class on a Wednesday afternoon, while you are working, she is actually at the Motel 8 on Patterson, fucking her personal trainer?”
“That is completely ridiculous,” he stuttered, but I could see he was unsure. He had gone very pale.
“Really?” I said pulling a number of photographs out of the envelope.
I slapped them on his desk one by one. They showed a pretty slender woman entering a hotel room with a young musclebound man. He had his arm around her waist and they were gazing lovingly at each other.
I pulled out a DVD and slapped that on his desk also. “There is footage from inside the room also if you want actual proof of what they were getting up to. It’s pretty graphic so I wouldn’t watch it if I were you. I made that mistake when I got my PI report. Those images will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
He looked like he might throw up.
“Oh, and one more thing,” I said “Ethan”
“No,” He said quietly. “Please god NO!”
I pulled a DNA report from the envelope.
“It appears that the fitness instructor is not the first. I guess he would be too young to have fathered Ethan, but whoever the father is, It Isn’t you.” I said quietly.
He stood and ran into what I assumed was a bathroom off his office. I heard him vomiting noisily into the toilet.
“Now do you understand?” I asked him when he dropped into his chair once again. Tears were streaming down his face.
He looked at me with dead eyes.
“Now do you see the pain that she caused me, and why I have to get her out of my life?”
He nodded listlessly.
“Good,” I said. “Now there is just one more thing you need to know.”
He looked at me with dread in his face.
“There’s more?” he asked piteously.
“It’s all fake!” I replied. “None of what I just showed you is true. As far as I know your wife is as loving and faithful as you thought she was and Ethan is your son.”
“But the photo’s?” he said
“Photoshop. Amazing what you can do with some facebook posts and a little time and effort” I replied grimly “if you had them examined by anyone who was remotely competent they would tell you that they are all fakes.” I got some more photos out of the envelope. “But to prove It, here are the originals I created them from.”
His face was starting to colour now and I wondered if he were about to attack me.
“The DVD?” he asked
“The DNA Report?”
“It’s actually the DNA report about the cheating cunt’s baby. I just changed the names and dates.
He sat there stunned for a few minutes, fresh tears were starting to trickle down his face.
“Why would you do that. What did you think you could possibly achieve by wrecking my marriage and my life?” He asked.
“That was not my intention. That is why I told you almost immediately it was all fake. I never wanted you or your family to suffer permanent harm. I just wanted you, for once, to actually understand the pain I went through, the feelings of loss and anger and hurt. You had it for a few minutes. I am still experiencing it. Your short term misery is my life now, and going forward. Forcing me to sit here with that bitch, listening to her spout her shit about how she loves me and wants me back just means I have to keep living the pain over and over and over again. There are laws about cruel and unusual punishment. Why do they not apply in this case? I just want to move on, try to pick up the little I have left and get on with my life. Why can you, and the courts, not let me do that?”
I gathered together all the documents from the table and put them back into the envelope.
“I will leave this with you to dispose of,” I said. “I am actually sorry to have had to do this, but I needed you to understand.”
I left his office.
“Your honour I have the report from the court mandated counselling that my client was instructed to attend.” My lawyer once again addressed the Judge.
“I have a copy,” growled the Judge. “It appears that the counsellor feels even after only three sessions of the mandated eight, that this marriage is beyond saving, and that for the wellbeing of all concerned, including the child, the best course would be to allow it’s dissolution.”
“Yes your honour, I would request that you order the divorce be completed as per the petition.”
The judge looked at me for a long second. I stared straight ahead, not wishing to make eye contact.