Family Lies Chapter 10: Settlement

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 10: Settlement work in progress by Iris Carden

Emily was really not ready for another call from Jack, but calls from Jack usually came when she wasn’t ready for them. It was probably because she was never really ready for them.

Jack was angry.  When was he not angry?

“Why did you tell the police I was threatening you and trying to get money from you?”

“I didn’t tell them you were. Someone is threatening me and trying to extort money from me. The first time, as soon as I’ve heard from them, I heard from you as well. So the police are investigating who might want money from me, and who would threaten to kill me to get it.”

“Well, I never threatened you.”

“I didn’t tell them you did.  I did tell them I heard from you after I got the first message, and, like the person who sent the message, you wanted money from me.”

“You’ve got all that money and you keep it to yourself, of course I’m going to ask for money from you. It’s not fair that you don’t share it with me.”

Emily sighed, “That’s the wonder of divorce.  You don’t get what’s mine now. And if you weren’t behind the threats and the extortion attempts, I’m sure the police will work that out and stop bothering you. If you’re having trouble understanding why they have to investigate, one of your daughters was here when one of the threats was thrown on a rock through the window. Don’t worry, she wasn’t hurt.”

“Maybe you should just give them the money they’re looking for. Then none of the girls would be in danger. But you’re too selfish to do that. You would risk the girls’ safety so you can keep all your money.”

“That’s not in the least true.  So what is this call about? Are you just wanting to rant about police doing their job? Is there something else? You want me to buy a luxury car or a yacht or something stupid for you? You spent all your money and need someone to pay your bills? You’ve found another way to use the kids or grandkids as a means of trying to get money out of me? What is it? Just spit it out, because I’ve already had pretty much all I can take today!”

“I was talking to Geoff at work about this whole police thing, and you accusing me of trying to get money from you.”

“Oh and what brilliant, enlightened, thing did Geoff have to say about the matter? Leave it to the police to work out? Answer questions honestly and you won’t have a problem? What?”

“Well he said, I should already have half your money.”

“On really? I can’t wait for the justification for this.”

“He said when you get divorced you each get half the money. So I should have half your money.”

“Did you happen to mention to him that when we got divorced, you took all the money we had between us? That I did not, in fact, have any money then?”

“He said women hide money all the time in divorces, and you were probably rich all along.”

“You know I got my money from a lotto win, years after we were divorced.  You know that. I know you know that because that’s when I gave the girls their money, and then you turned up asking for a share and I laughed at you. You can’t backdate it. If you took it to a court, they’d laugh at you.”

“I trust Geoff.  He’s a good bloke, and he’s really smart.  He thinks I should get a lawyer and take you to court.”

“Well, you do that. Seriously.  And when we pull out all the records and bank statements from the time and everything, the court will probably decide you owe me money, because Geoff is right about one thing, we should have gone to court for a property settlement, even with the little we had.  It’s my fault we didn’t.  I was just so desperate to be free of you, I didn’t care what it cost, and that meant the kids and I had to scrounge and struggle, and it was so much harder than it should have been, especially since you continued running up debts in my name, until I cancelled everything you had access to. So sure, let’s go to court.  I’ll give you my solicitor’s contact details and your solicitor can call her. In the meantime, I’ll grab the file with all the bank statements and everything, because, as you know, I never throw out anything.” Emily was shaking with both fatigue and anger.

“Geoff says I’ll definitely win. So, maybe I will do it, and you can pay me everything you owe me.”

“Well Geoff is clearly not a divorce lawyer, and is also probably not very smart. Since he’s apparently male, you will listen to what he says instead of anything I might say, so you do whatever you think you need to. You do realise, that carrying on about this is exactly the kind of thing that makes the police consider you a suspect.”

“Only because you lie to them and tell them I’m a suspect. I bet it’s all a lie, that no-one threatened you and this is all to get me in trouble.”

“Ah yes, I’m threatened, and it’s about you.  I wondered when that would happen. No I wouldn’t lie to get you in trouble.  The only time I even think about you is when you call, because you really don’t matter to me at all. You’re just a part of my history, and the girls are the only part of that that I don’t regret.”

“I don’t think about you either.”

“That’s why you call me twice a week.  Why don’t you get on with your life? Find someone else to make miserable?”

Jack hung up.

After this call, Emily now was certain Jack was not U. N. Known.  He didn’t have the brains for it, and if someone else had suggested it, he would have felt compelled to tell her or the girls what he was doing and whose idea it was.  He always called someone to tell them whatever silly thing his workmates had suggested he do.

Emily took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.  She was utterly exhausted.  It was going to be another day she went to bed for the night in the mid afternoon.

Before she could do that, she called Jessica, in case Jack found a solicitor stupid, or poorly informed, enough to take his case.

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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