A small town girl finds success - Dedicated to the Dragon Ladies of Welding
“Great, I would like that” said Kent. “Sweetheart, isn’t that great? We can spend some time together” he said to Atari who was just beaming as she fell into his waiting arms.
Madeline went up to Carlisle and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you my friend for everything. You are a lifesaver and it will be so much easier for Adelaide to travel on a private jet rather than a commercial plane. I should have thought of that myself when I left San Francisco, but I wished to be less conspicuous. But look what happened anyway. I am now on national news. And I think it will be good news with my daughter’s and the Stevens men’s assistance. Even bad publicity helps sell my line” Madeline said.
After Carlisle and Kent had breakfast with Madeline and Atari, they left directly for Kent’s apartment. Everyone had decided to shower, and change clothes before going over to Adelaide’s house to meet the packing people who were to arrive at 1:00 pm.
Kent, who now had his Porsche, thanks to his father, decided to go directly to the hotel. He would take Atari to her parent’s home and meet the packers. This would allow Madeline to go to the hospital to be with Adelaide. The men had decided that the girls did not need the added stress of going to the Carlisle home.
In the meantime, once they showered and dressed, Atari met Madeline in her room. “Mother, would you mind explaining something to me? I really do not know a lot about our family but this entire thing is really confusing to me. Kent is six years older than I am so obviously Carlisle had married Susan at least twenty-three to twenty-four years earlier. You are three years younger than your sister and she is three years younger than Ken. It’s not the number of years I am concerned about, but it is obvious that Carlisle loves you and he would have been as old as Ken, my father. Did he just fall in love with you after he was married? You obviously did not attend high-school at the same time.”
“I can see where that would be confusing. You will recall my saying that my parents, your grandparents, were rather wealthy. Carlisle’s parents lived in our neighborhood. In fact, you saw how closely in proximity we lived to each other. Ken was his friend from the wrong side of the tracks and he spent a considerable amount of time at the Stevens’ home. The Stevens and the Dupree families were also inseparable. Both men were entrepreneurs, playing the stock market and buying businesses on a regular basis. We had residences in San Francisco, St Paul and Grand Forks. My father’s brother permanently stayed at the San Francisco apartment. And once father realized my uncle was gay, he sold his interest to him and would have nothing to do with him or the apartment.”
“Your grandfather was an executive for the Sugar Company while Horatio Stevens owned not only land under contract with the Sugar Company but also owned two trucking companies and two car dealerships.”
“Carlisle was an only son and spent a great deal of time with our family. He was friendly with Adelaide but had dated numerous other women in his day. Instead, Ken started seeing Adelaide who at the time was rather wild but she seemed to love Ken the best. I knew the two of them had been sleeping together, but because of a childhood illness, it was determined Adelaide could not have children. That in itself was a relief since she seemed extremely promiscuous.”
“By this time, Horatio Stevens and other investors built a factory to build snowmobiles. It was his hope that Carlisle would take the business over after he graduated from college. By this time Carlisle had met Sandra at college and had brought her home to meet his parents. And, it was his intent to give Sandra a ring during the holidays. All the neighbors, business associates and friends were invited to the gala event.”
“Adelaide and Ken were dating, of course, and were invited as was I. I didn’t date anyone because I did not wish to remain in the area in the event someone became serious about me. I was determined to become a fashion designer and move to a larger city. Yet it is not how I expected it to happen. I had designed and sewn a special holiday gown for the event. I arrived at the Stevens home with my father and mother. As it was when I was a child, Carlisle could not keep his eyes off me and it was evident by his friends’ comments. It was fortunate that he was watching over me that specific evening, however. Adelaide had become inebriated and father became very angry at her actions and sent her home. However, Ken did not leave.”
“Ken asked me for a dance and I refused because I felt he was as inebriated as Adelaide had been. He started to use force to drag me out to the dance floor when Carlisle came forward and said “This young lady promised me this dance.”
“This aggravated Ken who then asked Sandra to dance with him. She, of course, declined because he was not the type of individual she would associate with. Soon he went storming out of the house. It was then that Carlisle introduced me to Sandra. She realized that I was a neighbor and not a threat to her relationship with Carlisle so we spoke for some length. It was then that Horatio went to the microphone and stated he was pleased that Carlisle had chosen Sandra to be his wife. Carlisle then knelt to the floor with his ring box in hand asking her to marry him.”
“Mother and Father seemed upset and I know the reason was that they had tried to match Adelaide and Carlisle together for some time. They had not approved of Ken, but it was not because Ken did not have money, but they felt he had no future. He seemed to be happy in his failures.”
“After the proposal, I decided to leave the party and check in on Adelaide. I said my goodbyes to those I knew or had met and thanked the Stevens for the wonderful party. As I left through the back door, I was grabbed and muffled. I was dragged to the Carlisle utility and storage shed where I was thrown to the ground. Although I fought, Ken was stronger. I was a virgin and I pleaded with him but it did not work. As I started to scream, he hit me almost knocking me out. I no longer could fight him and he had his way with me. He then left me lying on the floor, fortunately with my fur coat but my dress had been ripped into shreds. I was in dire pain and was bleeding from the nose. I also suffered pain and some bleeding to my virginal area where he had forced himself on me and I was too weak to get up. I just went into a fetal position on the floor unable to move. ”
“For some reason Carlisle came to the utility shed to pick up a gift he had hidden for Sandra’s father. At least that is what he told me. Upon seeing me on the floor in a fetal position sobbing, he came to my aid. He held me and found paper towels to wipe my bloodied nose. He then picked me up after wrapping me in my coat and brought me to my house.”
“Since Adelaide was sprawled out on the living room couch, she did not hear us. He took me directly to my room and ran a bath for me. He told me that I should try to clean up in the bath and he would get my parents. In those days, police officers did not protect females who were raped and there were no rape kits. He brought me my robe and took me into the bath and then left after he was assured I was okay.”
“Soon thereafter my parents arrived. Instead of consoling me or contacting the police, my mother and father blamed me for my being raped by Ken. They said that Adelaide and I had asked for what happened to us. They stated that both of us were enticing Ken by hanging around him all of the time.”
“I remember crying throughout the night and I did not wish to leave my room the following day. Adelaide did not believe me either and said I probably threw myself at Ken. Finally later that afternoon when my parents took Adelaide to another party in the neighborhood, I elected to go to the lower level of the house and get something to eat. It was then that Carlisle checked in with me.”
“I don’t know why, but I told him everything and as I cried he held me tightly, kissing my bruises. He said that he would never have another thing to do with Ken. He was sorry that my parents would have blamed me. One could see his anger but also his love and compassion for me. He said that he had admired me throughout the years but knew I was too young to go out with him due to the age difference. He realized that I never paid attention to him or anyone else. It angered him that my first introduction to sex was brutalization. He told me that if there was ever anything he could do for me all I would need to do would be to ask. He also said that he would be having words with his former friend Ken.”
“It wasn’t long and I found out that I was pregnant with you. My parents were livid and my father made an arrangement with my uncle to have both I and Adelaide move to San Francisco where I would have the baby. He was embarrassed and said he did not wish to see either one of us again. That is when they decided to spend time in Paris. I know my uncle was paid handsomely for taking us in because he was given the deed to the apartment, without making further payments. He was also given additional money to support the two of us for at least a year.”
“My parents virtually deleted our names from their wills and made certain that all of their business ventures would be given to charity as well as to a few fortunate business associates. We were in San Francisco for approximately a year, when the news arrived that my parents and Carlisle’s parents were killed in a plane crash in Europe. Fortunately provisions were made for us to attend the funeral and both Adelaide and I were provided $50,000 each to assist us with our education. At that time, the money was more than sufficient to secure a bachelor’s degree or more. At least my parents saw fit to provide us with an education.”
“When we arrived Carlisle picked us up at the airport. My uncle and his partner also stayed at our parent’s house with us. By this time Carlisle knew of the plight of my sister and me and felt badly that my parents had not placed any faith in us. As an only son of his father’s empire, his fate was one in which everything had been willed to him.”
“You stayed in San Francisco with a friend of my uncles because you were so very young. It was then that Ken apologized to me and he talked Adelaide into marrying him.”
“Since I wished to use the money I had been given in the will for my education, Adelaide said that she would use the money to purchase a house in the area where Ken was working at the Stevens’ factory. It was then that my uncle negotiated a contract with Ken and Adelaide for you to be raised by them since you were Ken’s daughter. Adelaide agreed because she could not conceive a child. The contract stated that they would have full custody and that it would not be revealed to you until your 18th birthday that I was your mother. By that time you could make your own decisions.”
“Carlisle witnessed the paperwork so he knew exactly what was transpiring. With the help of Carlisle, Ken and Adelaide then travelled to San Francisco and were married. Everyone was told that Adelaide had you out of wedlock and of course, that Ken was the father and finally came to his senses. No one questioned the matter.”
“My uncle’s partner was in the fashion industry and assisted me in my career. They and their close friends became my family. My legacy of $50,000 and a place to live assisted me greatly in those earlier years” she continued.
“When my uncle passed away, he had willed the apartment to me. His partner had purchased another home on Nob Hill before my uncle’s death. Through the years, I helped his partner with his business affairs and one day, after earning much recognition for my designs in New York and Paris, he provided me with my own fashion house. He was extremely wealthy and I could not believe his kindness. He remained my family member and I looked after him when he became ill. When he passed away, his home was willed to me and that is where I currently reside. So you see, Atari, I had some wonderful breaks in spite of the hardships which were bestowed on me as a young woman.”
“But mother, have you ever had anyone in your life?” Atari asked.
“No, in fact my family members in San Francisco felt I probably was a lesbian. Yet I did not date either men or women but essentially worked myself to success. I could never find someone that I would be interested in. In fact, even though I went out on dinner dates with men, if they ever became serious, I had commitment issues and ran away” Madeline concluded.
“Are you still wishing you were with Carlisle Stevens?” she asked.
“Darling, that will never happen. He is married to Sandra and although there have been some close encounters, we have been wise enough to not act on our passions” she replied.
It was then that Kent arrived. He apologized for being late, but because of his father’s situation, he had been dropped off at his parent’s home after he and his father had left the hospital. He not only picked up his car, but picked up personals and clothing for his father, who had decided to move into his apartment for a while.
Kent said it should be interesting living with his father but that obviously he was still upset at his mother for her actions and he had to agree with him. Apparently after hearing a newscast, his mother now was upset that the media made Gigi St. Claire look like a scorned female but placing you in the limelight, Madeline. And she stated some things to both of us which she should not have said. Father left in a storm, not even being able to pick up his own items.”
“I’m sorry Kent that this has happened. Uh, I believe you two better go. You have fifteen minutes before the packers arrive” Madeline stated. “And my sister will be wondering whether I have abandoned her.”
“You know, Madeline, we can take all of the items on the plane. In that way, you will not have to pay UPS for the shipments” he offered.
“I think this will be easier on Adelaide. Anyway, I have already made the arrangements for the shipments with UPS. I really hate having to be responsible for the belongings. If it had been furnishings I would have called in a mover. By the way, I am intending to deed the apartment to you Atari and Adelaide will remain with me. Each of you will need time to get adjusted to the city so we will remain together for a month or two, however. That way if you and Kent would wish to stay at the apartment instead of my home, it is fully furnished. You will only need to change the linins if my cleaning service has not handled it. I have left it in tact without leasing it because it is used for my guests now.”
Soon Madeline was on her way to the hospital and Kent and Atari were driving toward her previous residence.
The packing crew was already waiting at the house. After Atari apologized for not having also been early, she took them to her room where she instructed them as to which items should be packed. She and Kent then went to Adelaide’s bedroom and started placing her personal items such as photographs, paperwork, books and knick knacks on to the bed for the packers to box. They would place her clothing also into her luggage carriers and take them to the hotel.
Since the house was in both her and Ken’s name, most likely if Adelaide secured a divorce, Ken would have to pay her for her portion of the equity. Kent checked every nook and cranny for items he thought were Adelaide’s but inquired of Atari before placing the items on the bed. The packers did an excellent job and were finished packing by the time Madeline arrived.
It was then that Sandra and Gigi arrived. They stormed in the house uninvited. Sandra asked Kent to apologize to Gigi. She told him that he needed to make a statement to the media stipulating that Gigi was not some crazed female. He refused and stood his ground that obviously if the media had made such a comment it was because of what Gigi stated in the interview.
Sandra then started condemning Carlisle and told Kent obviously was as stubborn as his father. She said that if his father did not come to his senses that she would seek a divorce and then Carlisle would find out how expensive it would be for him.
She did not stop with Kent but attacked Madeline as well. She told her it was all her fault because she knew she had been sleeping with her husband throughout the years. In fact she indicated that the night Carlisle had asked her to marry him, he only stared at her. And she asked Madeline how many times she had met her husband on business trips.
Madeline fervently denied those accusations and told Sandra that Carlisle had always been true only to her. She stated that Sandra should go to Carlisle and apologize to him because if that was the reason for her anger toward him, it was totally unfounded.
By this time Kent was angry and although his fists were clenched he held his composure. “Really mother, you are accusing father for having an affair when you have been sleeping with Jon St. Claire?” Kent asked.
“What do you mean Kent? I have done no such thing” she responded as Gigi’s eyes now were wide open with wonder and shock.
“Mother, I always though it was father’s fault because he was never at home. But I find that he has always been working with his companies, knowing you were never satisfied except with the money and things he could provide for you. I never saw you giving him loving glances or even comforting him. Your marriage affected me as to my feelings about women. Obviously, I never knew what a loving relationship could be like until I met Madeline and Atari”.
“What? You are now sticking up for Madeline? She is a whore.” At that moment Madeline excused herself and left the room. There was no need for her to defend something which was so ridiculous to begin with.
Atari stood in the room as did Gigi while Kent continued. “I came home more than once in the last month to find Jon leaving the house in the afternoons. And, I waited until his car left to enter the house to find you in a bath robe. It seemed strange to me to see your hair a mess and to not have a stitch of makeup on. After all, you would not even allow dad to kiss you because it would mess up your make-up or your hair. I kept it to myself until now. That is because I could see father contain his passions when he saw Madeline. They have never been together from what I know and you, obviously, are not the one to point fingers at anyone for their infidelities, mainly lack thereof.”
“Well I never. Jon has always been a close friend.” Noticing the upset look on Gigi’s face, she turned to her stating “Honestly Gigi, this is not the way it is.”
Gigi then started screaming at Sandra stating that her mother thought her father was having an affair with someone, but she did not know who. She thought the Stevens were close friends but now that Kent brought it up, it seemed as though her father always excused himself to assist her in the kitchen, leaving her mother and Kent’s father in the living room with her.
Sandra became extremely agitated and in anger accidently admitted her affair with Jon. She stated that Betsy St. Clair did not treat him well and didn’t care whether she and her husband had sex. She said that her own husband was never home and admitted finally that she and Jon fell in love.
Kent threw his hands up in the air and said “There you have it. Mother, did you ever care for father?”
“Well, our parents were happy with our union but it seemed as though we did not have anything to talk about and our interests were not the same. He is a good provider and he has always given me everything I ever wanted but I guess you are correct, I was never really happy or in love with him. Yet as far as Jon is concerned, it just happened.”
At this point Gigi began to sob and Atari tried to comfort her. She moved away and grabbed her cell phone to call her mother. Sandra told Gigi to hang the phone up because Betsy did not need to hear about the affair in this manner. The packers who were uncomfortable with the conversations decided to leave the house for a much needed break. They found Madeline in the kitchen as they left for the back door. She paid them and walked them out, while calling UPS to pick up the boxes.
Sandra stormed out of the house making her way toward her car. She called Madeline a few choice words and then made her way out of the drive. It was then that Betsy arrived to pick Gigi up. One could see that she had been crying. Gigi ran up to console her, when Jon arrived. He did not even acknowledge anyone but placed his focus on his wife and their daughter.
“Betsy, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I love you and Gigi. It just happened and Sandra made it convenient. I don’t love her and she was just a good f…” he said.
“That does not help me Jon since I obviously was not enough for you” she replied.
“Betsy, let’s go home and talk about this. I do not wish to lose you. You know that I love you” he said. By this time, the neighbors were looking out of their windows peering at the activity outside.
“No Jon, I think it was my family’s money that you have loved. If you left me you would have to depend on Sandra getting a good divorce settlement which would be nowhere near the type of money you now have because of my family” Betsy stated.
“Betsy, that is not true . I had no intention of being with Susan. I promise you, I will break it off immediately and do whatever you want” Jon said.
“So that’s all you feel about me after all these years, Jon. Well you can just go to hell”, Sandra stated as she entered her vehicle and sped away.
“And what were you planning on telling me, Jon,” Carlisle said. He had been standing in the entryway of the house with Madeline and had heard the entire conversation. “I thought I saw you nibbling on her ear when the two of you were dancing at the Rusty Pail but I thought, oh, its nothing, believing you were as faithful as I was.”
“Carlisle, I am so sorry. I really didn’t think it would hurt anyone. I do not love your wife. I only met her needs since you weren’t around” he said. At this point, Kent placed his hand on his father’s chest restraining him so that he would not deck Jon. Carlisle’s eyes glared at Jon in anger but he held his composure.
“So how long has this been going on, Jon?” he asked with his voice straining tranquility.
Jon did not answer but Betsy said “You may not admit it but I suspect this has been going on for some ten years…right Jon?”
“Yes, Bets but I did not think anyone would find out. I love you and with Sandra and me, it was only sex.”
Kent then suggested that Jon leave the area before his father and he did something they would be sorry for. Gigi was still sobbing so hard she was having difficulty breathing. Atari took her into the house and to the bathroom to place some cold water on her face. She had her breathe into a paper bag so she did not totally hyperventilate herself to death.
Jon asked Betsy to join him. Betsy told him that he should remove his belongings from her home and find another place to live. She told him that he would have four hours in which to pack and be out of the house. It was her intent to secure a restraining order and ultimately she would be securing a divorce. Betsy then dialed her attorney and told him she required him to meet with her within a half-hour, at his office.
She thanked Atari for attending to Gigi who had stopped crying but who now appeared to be in shock. She then apologized to both Madeline and Atari for the disservice they did by contacting the media.
Carlisle hugged Betsy and told her that if she needed anything, she would only need to call him and he would assist her. When she inquired what he intended to do, he stated he would probably follow suit in asking Sandra for a divorce. He said “I like you cannot live a lie. I could never sleep with her again especially when she has indicated that she has never been happy with me but only desired the money I could provide her”.
“Ditto” Betsy exclaimed. Obviously we both have a similar situation and now that I know what he is like, I and Gigi will probably move back to Florida to be with my family after we sell the house. If Jon wishes to retain the company, he will have to buy it from me, which I do not feel he will be able to afford. I have a pre-nuptial agreement that he signed and he has not yet been married to me for 25 years to share my fortune. He only will receive a whopping $250,000. It’s too bad for him because he only had a year to go. I rather doubt if he has ever saved a dime. And if dad has anything to say about it, most likely the company will be sold.
“I’m sorry for both of us Betsy. This is not the way to end up but it is probably for the better. Each of us needs to find happiness and it is obvious, neither of us has found it as of yet” Carlisle stated.
“You’re right, Carlisle. I totally agree with you. We each need to find our happiness and obviously the time is now” she said. “It may even give Gigi insight into what is more important in life. Money certainly does not buy love.”
It was then that Gigi went up to Kent and apologized for everything. She told him that she understood why he loved Atari so much. She stated that after seeing what happened to her parents, she realized she probably would not have loved him in the manner in which she sees the love Atari has for him. He thanked her and hugged her before she left with her mother.
Carlisle told Kent that he would need to talk to him as to the disposition of the business. He stated he would call in his attorneys to be at the office in the morning. “But for tonight, I need to be with my loved ones and that includes you Atari, and Madeline. Let’s go to one of the local restaurants for dinner and then maybe we could just spend a quiet night together at the hotel” he concluded.
“Dad, I don’t know about you, but I would like to be alone with Atari after dinner. There are some things we also need to discuss. And I would imagine you may desire a private conversation with Madeline as well” he said. His father just grinned and gave him a wink.
“By the way son, how did you know that your mother was seeing Jon Carlisle?” he asked.
“Father, I was uncertain at first but it became more evident as his visits were frequented. Yet, I was not certain because I had not actually seen the two of them together. I only knew for certain when seeing mother’s expressions and admission” Kent stated.
Karin A Fleischhaker-Griffin