Elyse Walton hung up the telephone after speaking with her accountant. A wave of nausea hit her gut and she felt faint. She took a deep breath and walked slowly over to the chaise lounge to sit for a moment. It did not seem possible, but it had just been confirmed. How could her husband have made so many bad decisions with their finances? And how could she have been so stupid to let him get away with it. She believed his confession now, the one he reported last night when he said they were broke.
Elyse looked at her watch. Normally at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, she trekked over to the DIH office to catch up on the paper work that came with her post, and handle those other items she needed kept confidential, such as meeting with her private investigator about her husband’s shenanigans. She knew he had a roaming eye, but never did she imagine she would have to worry about the money, too.
It had been a crazy week, and she was already dealing with the terrible behavior of her two daughters. The youngest, dealing with a marijuana charge, wanted her to use her connections to make it disappear. It was not the first time, and although she had promised it would never happen again, it had. Her older daughter’s problems were bigger and she needed help dealing with them. They couldn’t be tackled with one simple phone call. Ghastly as it was to imagine, the girl had filmed herself having sex with her latest boyfriend, and wanted it to go viral…on purpose! The posh women’s college she attended on the Main Line, expelled her instantly even though they had paid handsomely to get her on the acceptance list. The stupid girl did not seem to care about her reputation or the family name that she’d tarnished.
She tried to talk to her husband about the mess of both of their daughters last night, but he came home with his own topic of conversation.
“We’re out of money and I want a divorce,” he’d said as if he told her the car needed gas. The words flowed as easily.
Elyse stared at him for a moment, wondering what she ever saw in him. He was a shallow man, and one without strength or conviction. He was self-absorbed and possibly a sociopath. How could she have she loved him once, when they met all those years ago and believe he was handsome and clever? Her parents resisted her choice in a husband, wanting her to marry Clark Rayner, a fine man from an upstanding family, and not some unknown from off the street. Elyse despised Clark, and refused her father’s wishes, telling them he looked too much like a horse with his long thin face and zero personality. She stood up to both parents, exclaiming she would make her own decisions, thank you very much! She’d been paying the price ever since. She knew her mother would cut her off from the family’s fortune if she divorced. If possible, that woman worried more about scandal and the family name, than Elyse had. There had never been a divorce on her side of the family, and Elyse knew she could not be the first, or she would be cut off and have to fend for herself. God knows, her no good husband could not support them.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“In a nut shell, I’ve made some bad investments, I lost a bundle, and now there’s no reason to hang around.”
Elyse cringed at the sound of his voice and the words coming out of his mouth. What would she do if he did leave her?
“So, you would walk away from your daughters and let them starve,” she said, trying to lay on the guilt.
He laughed. “Hardly. Your mother will take care of them.”
“Not if we divorce, she won’t, and you know that. She’ll cut us off.”
He thought for a few moments, and shrugged. “You know, it’s still not worth it. I don’t’ want to be married to you anymore.”
Elyse laughed. “We haven’t been married in the traditional sense in years,” she said. “Are you prepared to go out and get a job you’ll have to do well at to keep? Think about that for a moment, won’t you?”
“If I stay, it’s going to cost you, you know. Big time.”
Elyse rolled her eyes. “It always does,” she said, with a bit of a snarl. She hated giving into his horrible demands, and she hated the sight of him. Still, she had no choice. He held the power until her mother croaked – and at 87, she was still going strong – she had to put up with him. “Look, why don’t you go to Atlantic City for the weekend, and I’ll deal with the situation.”
Her husband laughed. “You’ll need to talk to your mother and have her release more cash,” he said. “The accountant can’t do a thing without cash.”
“Then that’s what I’ll do,” Elyse replied, pacing the room. “But you can’t be around when I do. I’ll have to tell her I’m the one who made the bad investment, so I’ll need details.”
“Call the damn accountant if you want details,” he snapped. “It’s not my problem. ”
“It is if you want to keep eating,” she snapped back. “And forget the divorce talk, at least until…”
“Yeah, I know, until the old broad dies. That can’t be soon enough for me.”
Elyse finally lost her temper. “Don’t you dare act like this is a burden on you. How do you plan to support yourself if you divorce me? You won’t get anything if we don’t have anything. My future inheritance won’t count. My mother has that tied up so tight we’ll never see a penny of it if you walk out now.”
He looked at her with a defeated look then headed towards the door. She knew he realized she was right, and that was rather unfortunate. They were both stuck.