That Highway 60 Drive - Cover

That Highway 60 Drive

by Carter County

Copyright© 2011 by Carter County

Drama Story: Don't threaten his son and don't abuse his ex-wife or you won't like the cost of payback.

Tags: Romance   Drama  

I wasn't sure which genre to put this story in. I chose Loving Wives because, well you'll see if you read the story. There are no long drawn out sex scenes in this story. For those of you who want that type of story I suggest you read another author's work.

Comments and emails with constructive criticisms or critiques are welcome, requested, and appreciated. Of course accolades and praise are welcome and requested too.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I hope you enjoy the story.

I knew it was coming; in my heart I knew it. My mind tried to alleviate my feelings of dread but I knew. I had seen it coming for the last three months; maybe longer.

Robin set down across from me at the kitchen table and I knew what she was going to say before she opened her mouth to speak.

"Will, there's no easy way to say this," Robin began. "We've just been going through the motions for the last year. Neither of us is happy and the only thing we have in common is little William. I think we should separate and get a divorce."

Maybe I should have been angry to go along with the hurt of my marriage imploding. But I knew she was right; our lives revolved around our son not each other. What I felt most was a terrible sadness. Sadness for little William that our family was about to be torn apart. Sadness that I was going to be alone for the first time in five years. And sadness that someone I once couldn't live without was now just someone I saw every morning and evening.

Robin Adams and I met when her family moved in next door to mine. She was 17, the same age as me and just about the cutest girl I'd ever seen. My mother and father drug me over to help welcome the new family to the neighborhood.

"Ralph and Judy, this is our son William," my mother said.

I had been taught manners and I stepped forward to shake Mr. Adams' hand. "Will Stewart, it's a pleasure to meet you sir," I said just like I'd been taught. Turning to Judy I added, "Mrs. Adams." The perfect little gentleman I was.

"Robin come meet our neighbors," Mrs. Adams called up the stairs. "That's our daughter, she'll be right down."

My parents and I turned expectantly toward the stairs. Robin came bouncing, that's the only way to describe it, down the stairs and into the living room. Her smile lit up the room so much I actually turned to see who had turned on the lights.

I was 5' 10 and she couldn't have been more than an inch shorter. Her auburn hair flowed around her shoulders like some kind of commercial on TV. As she walked toward my parents, I could see that her eyes were a deep green. I was totally lost and in love.

"Hi, I'm Robin," she said to my folks. Having shaking both of their hands she turned to me. "Robin," she said.

I could only nod, I was speechless. Finally when my mother nudged me with her elbow I said, "Will." That was the extent of my witty conversation. What an idiot, I thought to myself. She thinks you're a moron.

Robin smiled again and stepped closer to me as our parents began to talk. "Meeting new people can be the pits, can't it?" She asked trying to make me feel better.

I had to laugh. "Yeah, especially when you get tongue tied," I answered with a smile.

The parents went into the kitchen for coffee. Robin snagged a couple of sodas and we sat in the family room. We found that we'd both be juniors at the same high school and we even had a couple of classes together. From that evening on we were an item.

Being the new girl and being so pretty, Robin got the rush from all the jocks at school. Every time one of them asked her out she turned them down. If they persisted she turned them down loudly, embarrassing them. Robin told them all that she was my girl.

Ralph my best friend and until then my constant companion asked, "What does she see in you? I mean she could have any guy at school but she hooks up with you."

He was only half kidding. I think he was jealous because I spent all my free time with Robin now instead of running with him.

"She's a sucker for my long dark hair and blue eyes. Robin craves my athletic build," I replied laughing. It was bull at least about my build. I was thin weighing 140 pounds.

"Yeah, well I think she was dropped on her head as a baby if she wants you," was his comeback.

Strange but after that day, Ralph and I didn't hang out very much. Of course, I didn't hang out very much with any of my old friends. I was always with Robin. She'd tell me to go run with my buddies if I wanted to; I just didn't want to. I preferred to be with her.

Robin did develop a strong friendship with two or three girls, but those friendships didn't interfere. We were devoted to each other for our whole senior year. Just before graduation we had two important dates in front of us.

Our graduation was in one week and our child would be born in about eight months. Apparently using some form of birth control only 95 percent of the time was not the best way to prevent pregnancy. Robin was terrified until I told her I wasn't going to leave her alone. I told her that whatever we decided to do I would be with her.

We told her parents together and then rode over to my house and told mine. As we finished telling my mother and father, the door bell rang. It was the Adams; they had followed us to my house. For the rest of the evening our parents debated, argued, and made suggestions about we should do.

Robin and I were sitting together listening to the conversation. After almost an hour, I'd had enough. I stood up and said rather loudly "Quiet". Actually it was more a yell.

"The first thing that's gonna happen is that Robin and I will get married." Turning to Robin I added, "If you want to that is."

Remember the good manners I'd been taught growing up? Well, another thing my Dad taught me was to face consequences of my actions.

"Maybe we were dumb not to take more precautions but that's past now. I can get a job at the auto plant and support Robin and our child." I stopped for a few seconds. "We'll have our family and make a life together."

The Adams resumed talking, both at the same time. My Mom joined in with her ideas. My Dad just looked at me and nodded.

Later, after Robin and her parents left, he pulled me out onto our front porch. "I'm facing conflicting emotions about your little bombshell tonight," he said. "On the one hand I'm surprised that you'd be dumb enough to forget what we talked about. On the other I'm proud of you for standing up and doing the right thing." He put his hand on my shoulder. "Of the two, I think the pride outshines the other." He patted my shoulder and went back into the house.

Our parents threw together a quick little wedding. The only people there were Robin and I and our parents. Robin's mother was sort of her matron of honor and my Dad was my best man. I guess the two sets of parents thought the damage had already been done and now that we were married it was okay for Robin and me to sleep together. They paid for a weekend at a fancy resort for our honeymoon.

Our son was born healthy and right on schedule with a minimum of fuss. According to Robin and her mother it was about as easy a birth as possible. Of course by this time I'd been working at the auto plant for over eight months. Jobs at the plant were hard to get but thanks to my Dad's contacts they hired me.

I worked hard; first because Robin and I needed the income and mostly because I didn't want to let my Dad down. He'd called in a lot of favors to get me the job. I must have been doing okay because I got a raise after three months and a promotion to the assembly line after six. We were now renting a two bedroom condo instead of being stuffed into a studio apartment.

Robin waited until son was two before she went to work. William's hair had a reddish tint at his birth and his eyes were blue. Now his hair was dark, almost black like mine and his eyes were big and brown again like mine. Robin's mother or my mine watched the little guy for us. They both said it was just to help us out but I think it was just an excuse to spend time with their grandchild.

Sometimes I had to work with a computer at my job and found I had a knack for it. Robin and I discussed it and I went to school three nights a week to learn about computers, both hardware and software. The classes were a lot of fun but they took time away from Robin and William.

After two years of study I got a part time job working for a new computer consulting firm. I worked mostly late afternoons after my factory shift, evenings, and weekends. Again more time away from my family, but the money was good. It was the middle of our fifth year of marriage when I noticed that Robin and I were living more as roommates than as husband and wife.

We would kiss each other on the cheek before going to work or when coming home to the condo. No more warm hugs. No more Love You special endearments; just bye Honey see you later. Our sex life dwindled down to two or three times a month but even then the old passion wasn't there. It was almost like we were doing something that was expected of us.

There were no big arguments or disagreements or even harsh words but the love that we'd had before and after William's birth wasn't there either. The sad part was that neither of us did anything to make things better. We just drifted on. I knew we couldn't continue like we were for much longer; Robin knew it too.

"Did you hear me Will?" Robin asked when I didn't respond to her. "I said I think we should separate and get a divorce," Robin repeated.

"I heard you," I replied, sad that it had come to this. But I knew she was right. Still I couldn't let it go without at least trying. "We could get counseling," I suggested. "I could cut back on my hours so we'd have more time for each other."

Robin had tears in her eyes and she shook her head no. "Counseling won't help because you've done nothing wrong. All you've ever done is take care of first me and then William."

She took my hands in hers, the tears now trickling down her cheeks. "I love you for taking care of me, for not running away when I got pregnant. I love you for working as hard as you do to provide for us but ... I'm not in love with you." Robin paused for a few seconds. "We should be a couple but we're two individuals sharing a love for our son. Looking me in the eye, she continued, "I know it sounds strange but do you understand what I mean?"

I nodded and squeezed her hand. "I saw this coming, because I feel the same way. I love William, I love that you are such a good mother and take care of me too ... but I feel if it wasn't for William we wouldn't have gotten married. Or if we had, we wouldn't have stayed together this long."

We stared at each other for a minute and then I pulled her onto my lap and hugged her. She put her arms around my neck and her head on my shoulder. I held her as she cried; I shed tears of my own. After several minutes Robin stood up.

"Please get a lawyer and I'll agree to any division of property that you want. The only thing I insist on is primary custody of William." Robin paused and added, "I think a boy his age needs his mother but I'll agree to almost any kind of visitation rights for you."

"I don't want to get a couple of legal sharks into this," I replied. "They'll want us to do things that will hurt each other. All they care about is their fee. Make a list of what you need and I'll look it over. If there're any problems we'll find a compromise. Then we can get one attorney to draw up the paper work."

We both went in to look at our 5 year old sleeping. As we stood in the doorway of his room, Robin leaned up against me and I put my arm around her.

"I'm so sorry Will," she said sadly.

"I know, I am too," I replied. Taking a deep breath I added, "I'm not sorry about having William though."

Robin smiled for the first time that evening. "No, we can't be sorry to have him in our lives."

The next day I postponed my evening meeting with a client and went home early. Maybe if I'd done this more often we wouldn't be splitting up, I thought. No, it would have just put off the ending and made things harder on William. Robin gave me a timid smile when I got home. She fixed dinner and I played with William; something I hadn't done enough over the last two or three years.

After dinner Robin put William to bed and I tucked him in. When he was sleeping Robin handed me her list. We sat at the kitchen table and I read it. I finished reading and looked up at her. She was sitting with an expectant look on her face.

"I can't agree to this," I said shaking my head. I could see the surprised look on her face and she started to speak. I held up my hand to stop her. "Let's go over this item by item and reach a compromise," I suggested. She sort of slumped back in her chair and nodded.

"Okay. You didn't ask for any of the savings or checking accounts. I won't agree to that. You'll take all of the savings and half of the checking account." She opened her mouth and I added, "No arguments please."

Robin smiled, leaned forward and asked. "Any other changes?"

I nodded and continued. "You'll take my car; it's newer and has fewer miles on it. I want you driving something I can trust not to leave you two stranded somewhere. As far as child support," I began.

She leaned even farther closer, waiting for a zinger.

"Three hundred a month isn't acceptable." Hesitating for a couple of seconds I said, "I think five hundred a month is closer to what's fair." I didn't wait for her response. "You haven't suggested anything about visitation."

Robin shook her head. "I thought you could see William as often as you want to. As long as it doesn't interfere with school, I mean."

"Thank you for that Robin." I smiled at her. "It's one of the things the courts will demand be spelled out. So lets' say this. I'll get William two weekends a month and three two week stretches every summer. School vacation is usually 2 and half months, that's ten weeks. I'll take him the first two weeks and we'll alternate for the rest of the summer." I sat back, finished with my adjustments. "Do you agree to my changes?"

"But the child support, that's too much," Robin said. "You can't afford that."

"I had something to tell you last night too," I replied. "I've been promoted to full time with a bigger salary at the consulting firm. I'll have to quit at the auto plant but it's a big step forward. I was worried about putting in more hours with the new job but now I'll be on my own so it's not a problem."

My Dad had a friend, Richard Kline, who is an attorney and we used him for the divorce; it was so cut and dried he only charged us $250.00. Court was a formality and in three months our divorce was final.

Every other weekend I picked up William and played Dad. I know it was hard on the little guy but between Robin and I we made sure he knew we still loved him and that he had two parents that needed him; just not two that lived together. Robin and I would have coffee and talk when I brought William home. Once in awhile I stayed overnight with Robin and William, sleeping in a spare bedroom. I don't know long we would have gone on like that but it was bound to come to an end. Robin met someone she became interested in, a guy named Clifford Sims. I was hurt but realized that she, and probably me too, needed to move on. We still had coffee most of the time when I brought William home but I stop having overnights at Robin's place.

Robin dated Clifford for a year and then told me that she was going to marry him. She said he was really good with William. "Clifford said to tell you that he wasn't trying to take your place with William but would only give him another person who loved him," Robin told me. It had been two years since our divorce.

"I guess this means no more coffee," I said smiling to hide the way I was hurting. "Hope you'll be happy Robin. You deserve it." I hugged her, kissed her cheek and left.

Shortly after they married Clifford, as he demanded to be called, was transferred by his employer to a town about two hours drive away. Robin and William of course moved with him. It made my weekends a little more difficult but I didn't mind, I still got to see and spend time with my son.

Things went good for a year after Robin moved. I would make the Highway 60 drive for two hours and pick up William on Friday afternoon. I would spend the weekend entertaining him and being entertained by him. Then I would make the four hour round trip to take him home. The first weekend of the month I would give him an envelope with the check for child support to give to Robin.

We'd found that my walking William to the door sometimes caused a little tension in their household so I didn't' go to the door anymore. Robin would come out onto the porch of their house and wave at me when I dropped William off. A few times she wouldn't look up she would just wave. I never thought anything about it until the end of that summer.

The last two week session of the summer with my son was just about over. I had bought a little summer place on a lake and William and I were getting in one more day of fishing before I took him home.

"Dad, do I have to go back to Clifford's?"

"Don't you want to see your mom?"

"Well ... yeah. But I don't want to see Clifford," he replied.

"Why's that William?"

"He told me I have to call him Dad. He's not my Dad, you are," William said in an angry voice.

"When did he say you had to call him Dad?"

"For the last month, he's told me I should and just before you picked me up this time he said when I came back I had to call him Dad. He said that if I didn't I would be punished."

"What does your mom say about it?" I asked trying to mask the anger I was feeling. Threaten my son, not a good move on your part Clifford, I thought.

William hesitated as if afraid. After a minute or so he said, "Mom doesn't say much to Clifford." William was sitting on the front bench in the small boat and turned to look at me. "Mom cries a lot and sometimes she has marks on her face and arms. She tells me the marks were caused when she walked into something or fell down but I know Clifford is hitting her."

I was ... shocked is the word I guess. Robin had never been the type to back down; she'd always stood up for herself.

"The last time you gave me the envelope for Mom, Clifford grabbed it out of her hands," William continued. "When she said that it was for me, he slapped her and said he'd decide who it was for."

"Damn," I said softly. "Why didn't you tell me sooner about Clifford hitting you mother?"

"I didn't want to cause trouble between you and Mom. I thought you might be mad at her for letting Clifford take the envelope."

"Listen William," I said as I turned him completely around to face me. "The envelope's not important. Clifford hitting your mom is." He nodded and sort of hung his head.

"Look at me," I softly ordered. William raised his head, "You did the right thing to tell me about it. You did good son. William's smile lit up the whole lake and he jumped into my lap hugging me. "Take it easy son, you'll capsize the boat," I chuckled but hugged him right back. "Let's plan on you staying with me a little longer, at least until I've had a chance to talk to your mom."

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