Five days passed. Charles sat alone in his house. He spent a few days at the dealership mostly hiring back old employees who Gayle and Abernathy terminated. He didn’t have time to spend with Drake. He spent two evenings with Missy. She had good news; she was accepted as an intern at a local hospital.
Now reality seemed to settle in like the fog into a valley. He was not depressed. He was sullen. Something he had not really felt in years. As he looked back on his life with Gayle she was really the spark to his abundant success. He never wanted anything more than what was needed. He thought a thriving business of empire proportions, a mansion, a plane, yacht, and exotic vacations homes would validate him in Gayle’s eyes.
It was strange when he thought about it, Gayle was masterful in making her wishes seem like his. Indeed his passion was not in the marriage and Charles reasoned that is why it went largely unnoticed by him, for if one were passionate while the other not that would have been obvious.
They talked and smiled. It was more like a friendship. His passion was for his business.
He sat alone in the sunroom on a gloomy rainy morning. Drake rapped with his knuckle on the doorjamb of the sunroom.
Charles was entranced by the small beads of rain that pooled and streamed down like a raging river.
He turned. “Drake, have a seat.”
Drake sat in a white wicker chair next to Charles.
“How ya doin’, Dad,” Drake said.
“I’m doing good,” Charles said. “I think the dealership will do fine.”
“It’s a good place to buy a car,” Drake said.
“What brings you this way?” Charles said.
“It thought you’d like to know that Abernathy was talking a plea before they booked him,” Drake said. “He rolled on mom in a heart beat and she rolled on him on the second.”
“Did they give them a plea?” Charles said.
“Abernathy got 10 to 15 and Mom got 3 to 5,” Drake said.
“For some reason none of it matters to me one way or another,” Charles said.
“I really don’t think you mean that,” Drake said.
“Yeah, Son,” Charles said. “Something strange flashed in my mind; just an instant of something. I’m not sure what it was.”
“A lot of things have happened to you in the last few months,” Drake said. “I think it would be a good idea that you seek some sort of help.”
“What makes you say that?” Charles said.
“I lived with you and Mom for 18 years,” Drake said, “and I know you loved Mom and I know that while I was at home she loved you. Dad, you need to deal with it sometime or other and it will be best if you deal with it under the care of a professional.”
“Let me handle this in my own way,” Charles said. “I’ve done okay so far.”
“If nothing else Missy and I will be here for you,” Drake said.
“Where is Gayle staying?” Charles said. “Is she locked up?”
“She’s free on her own recognizant,” Drake said.
“How does that happen?” Charles said.
“She knows the judge,” Drake said. “His wife and Mom did a lot of charity work together.”
“How much time do you think she’ll really serve?” Charles said.
“Two years,” Drake said.
“What then for her?” Charles said.
“Do you care?” Drake said.
“Yeah,” Charles said, “but not enough to be there for her. That ship has sailed.”
“What then?” Drake said.
“I don’t know,” Charles said, “but she is your and Missy’s mother; I’ll do something.”
“You don’t have to,” Drake said.
“Yeah,” Charles said, “I have to.”
Drake gripped Charles shoulder.
“Where is she staying?” Charles said.
“With a friend,” Drake said.