The final moments of twenty-one years of marriage were disturbingly quiet, the only sound being the scratch of a pen across paper. Making it official, signing the death certificate for a promise of love and fidelity.

Frank felt a stab of pain shoot through his chest as he set the pen down. These days he didn’t think twice about that pain. Early on in the divorce he’d gone to his doctor who sent him out for all the tests. The results came back indicating he was healthy as a horse. The pain didn’t have a physical cause. It was all in his head, his doctor helpfully suggested.

Neither his physician nor his cardiologist could explain where the pain originated.

But Frank remembered when it began. To the second.

He slid the document to his lawyer as Frank’s signature was the last one needed to make it final. Taking a deep cleansing breath, he looked up and across the table at the slim 39 year old blond woman sitting stiffly in her chair, arms crossed under the impressively large fake breasts he’d paid for. At her request he’d paid for a series of ‘upgrades’ over the years, though each time he’d tried to argue that he thought she was ravishingly beautiful as she was. She would not be swayed in her demands so she got what she wanted. Slowly but surely she became a different woman.

Today, especially today, she bore no resemblance to the sweet smiling eighteen year old he’d fallen in love with and married.

Cold radiated from her beautiful blue eyes as she looked back at him with contempt, her overly plump lips turned down in a pouty frown.

“It’s over,” Frank said quietly.

Something flared in her eyes and she stood up quickly. He saw she was trembling. Was- was she frightened?

The gob of spit struck his left cheek then she spun on her high heels and stormed out of the meeting room, her long white blond hair bouncing perfectly over her shoulders. Her lawyer apologized quickly and rushed after his client.

Frank’s lawyer handed him a tissue which he used to clean his cheek.

“George, do you think I could have a moment alone?”

“Sure Frank. I’ll be in my office down the hall when you’re ready.”


His lawyer left the room and Frank turned his chair to face out the window. The view of New York’s skyline was pretty but he’d seen this view for over a year as he’d battled with his wife and her lawyer. He needed a change. A big one.

Frank was retiring from his job and leaving the city. Hell, he was crossing the country to get away from everything that reminded him of her. He was going to find himself a nice little bungalow within walking distance of a beach and he thought he’d make an attempt at writing that novel he felt floating around in the back of his mind.

He looked back to the hallway where Stephanie had walked away as fast as her tight pencil skirt and four inch stiletto heels would allow. She’d taken to dressing very young as she desperately fought back the years. She certainly had the body for the outfit, what with the nip and tuck and lipo then the personal trainers- another pang went through his chest.

The amount of money Stephanie required for her pursuit of eternal youth was staggering. Her new sugar daddy was paying those bills now.

He’d have been willing to go to a marriage councillor but she wanted the divorce. She’d lined up a new husband. A rich one that looked the other way when she…

Frank gave his head a shake. Stephanie was no longer his problem. He had to let it go. He had to get on with his life.

Looking out over the glittering lights he took stock of his current situation. He was a forty year old male in excellent health. OK, maybe he was a little soft around the middle. For the last decade his job had him trapped at his desk. His morning workouts and weekend cycling trips weren’t enough to completely combat the time he spent at his desk. His doctor had informed him he could stand to lose 15 pounds. Now he’d have time to dedicate to making his body hard and fit as it had once been.

He was now a divorcé. No kids. Not because he hadn’t wanted them but his wife hadn’t been able to carry a child to full term. Three miscarriages had been the limit he was able to endure as each time he’d almost lost her as well. He’d planned on getting a vasectomy but he discovered after the third miscarriage they’d removed her uterus to save her life. There’d been no point in the vasectomy after that.

He was 5′ 8″ with broad shoulders, had a full head of black hair, silvering at his temples now courtesy of his ex, and he had all of his teeth. He’d been told he had a nice smile but he hadn’t had a reason to show it for some time. With his square jaw and hawkish nose he knew he wasn’t pretty like the men Stephanie preferred to fu- no… don’t go there. He rubbed his chest and winced.

He’d been told by a few women in his office that he was ‘a catch’. One had even expressed an interest in being the one to catch him when his divorce was finalized. He’d thanked them but he was in no emotional state to be thinking about getting into another relationship any time soon. Considering how destroyed he felt now, maybe ever.

He no longer had any ties to the city. They’d sold the Bed-Stuy townhouse and the cottage in Martha’s Vineyard. They’d split the money on those. After months of hostile meetings and spiteful delays it turned out that she didn’t want his money. She just wanted him to hurt. Now she was gone.

He stood up. It was time to move forward.

His partners were eager to buy him out at the company. George had the papers for him to sign in his office once the divorce was done so he’d have more than enough savings to retire and live very comfortably and then some. So that was what he was going to do.

Frank looked at the ring he was unconsciously rolling on his finger. It was just a simple gold band. Signifying his undying love and fidelity to the woman who poisoned both. With a sigh he pulled it off and dropped it in the trash on his way out.



Elyse quietly sat across the table from the screaming man. Her lawyer was telling him to lower his voice and his lawyer was tugging him back into his chair. That wasn’t an easy thing to do considering how big Michael was. The 28 year old professional football player stood 6′ 2″ and carried 230lbs on his big frame. Enraged he was a dangerous man. Elyse’s black eye was visible proof that she knew personally how dangerous he could be. It had been the second and final time he’d raised his hand to her. Five years of marriage, mostly happy, now flushed down the drain because of his substance abuse and subsequent physical abuse. She’d tried to get him help for the first but he wasn’t interested. Told her to fuck off and mind her own business in fact. When he began to get physically violent she knew she had to get out of their marriage. The police report on the second assault certainly helped expedite that.

The big man finally sat and glared at the divorce papers. He was paying for the abuse. A lump sum. Elyse had her own money and a good job so she didn’t want the financial ties to him which alimony would bring. Her lawyer had convinced her to make the amount count so she did. The lawyer was getting his piece of the pie so he was the only one in the room with a smile on his face.

The threat of her pressing assault charges and the prenup they’d signed before they got married was making everything so much simpler.

She saw Michael doing that thing with his eyes he always did before he began an attempt at bargaining.

“Sign the papers. We’re done,” she ground out between her teeth.

Michael’s eyes snapped to hers and she saw them go cold. He picked up the pen and signed. Then he stood and left.

Her lawyer picked up the document and followed Michael’s lawyer out of the room with a nod to her. Elyse found herself sitting alone. She finally allowed herself to cry. She’d been terrified of her husband but she needed him to sign. Now she was free of him.

When her tears stopped and her body finished shaking she composed herself as best she could and looked out the window at the twinkling lights of Los Angeles at dusk. It was pretty but she’d come to hate the city. It was Michael’s home town and where his team was based. Everything about the city reminded her of him so she was leaving. She’d put her house up for sale and was expecting to get it sold before the weekend as offers were already coming in. She was looking at a little house in a pretty neighborhood in a small town further up the coast and would be putting an offer on it as soon as the money from the divorce came through. She’d already worked out the logistics of working remotely from there. Her office was delighted to be able to keep her as she made them good money.

Not everyone supported her decision to leave. The group of ladies she hung out with at work unanimously said she was nuts and she’d be back within the year. Of course they’d also been keen for her to marry Michael.

They said she was too young at 32 to move to a town noted for its suitability for retirees. They didn’t understand she’d had too many years of living as the wife of a sports celebrity. He was four years younger than her and in their five years his enthusiasm for clubbing, partying, sports banquets, and road trips never waned. She’d joined him on a couple of those road trips and vowed never again. She was done with that!

She stood and stretched feeling every one of the bruises Michael left on her body. His last attack had been surprisingly violent. He’d carelessly left his cell phone on his dresser which rang as she passed by. She picked up the phone as the caller id was displaying a photo he’d obviously taken of the young redhead swallowing his cock down to the base. The tattoo he wore on his clean shaven groin just above his junk was unmistakable. She’d carried the cell to him in their living room and confronted him with the evidence of his fling. She’d told him she’d had enough and wanted a divorce. She barely saw the first punch coming for her eye and the others came after she was down. She was lucky to survive. She called the police when she woke alone on the floor. They brought the ambulance. She hadn’t been alone with Michael from that day on.

She left the meeting room and ducked into the ladies’ room to see how much of a disaster she’d made of her make-up. She stood before the mirror and sighed. Taking in her straight white blonde hair hanging to her shoulders she wondered if she should get it cut. Michael liked it this length. She frowned. Fuck him, she also liked it this length so it was staying.

She looked at her pale green eyes and saw the swelling was noticeably reduced on her black eye. She had, what did her friends call them when they teased her? Oh yes, ‘bedroom eyes’. It wasn’t intentional on her part. Her heavy lidded eyes combined with the natural upturn on her full wide sensual lips had gotten her into more uncomfortable situations than she cared to admit. She’d taken to wearing a pair of glasses with non-prescription lenses for meetings with clients. This did a good job of preventing these unintended miscommunications.

She was diligent about going to the gym so her 5′ 10″ body was reasonably fit. As Michael was a gym rat and had equipment at home she’d made good use of it. Her genes ensured she kept some of her curviness and unlike the bolt-ons that redhead slut on Michael’s phone had been showing off, her large breasts were natural.

Enough! He was the past. He could have all the sluts he wanted now. She had her own life to restart.

Again. It was divorce number two for her.

She fought off a resurgence of tears. She had such fucking awful taste in men! Always the jocks! Always the over confident, charming alpha men! Maybe it was because of her height that she was drawn to big men.

Derrick Chance had been her first husband. Her first mistake. Granted she’d been an innocent eighteen year old when she married him. She’d been infatuated with the 6′ 5″ professional basketball player. He was big, black and tremendously talented on the court and between the sheets. Her parents were mortified that their daughter, pure as the Nebraska snow of home, had shared her bed with one of ‘his kind’. They’d quickly disowned her and she hadn’t spoken with them since. They would have hated Michael as well she supposed.

She followed her new husband to Los Angeles as he’d signed a multiyear contract to play professionally. She learned a lot about what she liked and didn’t during her three years with Derrick. He had a voracious appetite for sex and she discovered that she did too. However, the thing she liked least was Derrick’s tendency to stuff his cock into any and every receptive hole when he was away from home. The availability of free pussy on the road was a temptation he made no effort to resist.

She walked away from that marriage wiser in many ways but terribly hurt by his cheating. Worse, he’d been the one to ask for the divorce as he said he didn’t love her anymore.

Elyse had stayed away from the dating scene for three years and only met Michael when her frustrated coworkers dragged her to a bar after work. There’d been a party for a group of players from his football team there. He was immediately mesmerized by her looks and intrigued by her resistance. When so many women practically threw themselves at him it was the woman who pulled away that drew his attention. He’d wooed her successfully over the course of two months and discovered he’d struck the jackpot the first night they’d had sex. She was uninhibited, energetic, and knew what she wanted. His career was taking off and he wanted her along for the ride in more ways than one.

As Elyse stared at her sad reflection she recalled how he’d promised to be true to her. She’d let him know how her first marriage had ended and he’d assured her that wouldn’t happen with him.

She dropped her head forward and closed her eyes. She allowed herself one final tear then she tugged her wedding band off. Leaving it on the counter she made her way outside to begin again.


Three weeks after he’d stepped out of his lawyer’s office Frank stood watching a delivery truck pull away from his new home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, a beautiful small community of artists and writers. And the occasional nosy neighbor.

Walking down the sidewalk towards him came one such neighbor. She lived two doors up the street from his place. He’d only been in his new home for about a week but already he’d had three visits from Beverly Stoddart. Her husband Rick had been driving them by on their way home the first time. She’d made him stop and she got out to say hello. Rick had simply waved at him from the car, drove into his driveway and went inside. The anti-social Stoddart. Beverly made up for her husband by being overly social.

“Good morning Beverly!” he said smiling to the petite brunette. She had to be in her fifties but she seemed to take care of herself. She couldn’t have been more than 5′ 1″ and he’d almost mistaken her for a child when he’d first seen her due to her size. Her husband Rick looked his age and then some. Earlier in the week Frank had spotted him standing on his deck enjoying a cigar and the foul stench had drifted downhill to Frank’s deck driving him inside.

“It’s a lovely morning indeed Frank! What did you get?” she asked peering at the large, plain cardboard boxes. Then she spotted the mattress in its plastic bag. “A new bed? Didn’t you bring any furniture with you?”

“Yes, a new bed. I only brought my clothes and a few boxes of personal items. No furniture. That stuff sold with the house. Neither of us wanted any reminders,” he said unconsciously crossing his arms.

Beverly had already drawn out of him that he was recently divorced, he was from New York City, and he was retired. He was doing his best to keep her curiosity at bay for anything juicier.

“You poor dear!” Beverly said as she patted his forearm. Then she left her hand resting on his arm.

That was something else about Beverly. She was a toucher. It made him a little uncomfortable that she seemed to need to touch him when she talked with him. He did his best to ignore it.

“I’ll get stuff as I need it. I won’t mind living in a minimalist way for a while. It’s actually refreshing without all the clutter. The bed though, that I needed.”

“Do you need any help getting all this inside? Why didn’t the delivery people do it?” Beverly said looking at the boxes and obviously itching to get inside his home.

“No, that’s alright. I asked them to leave it here. I want to do this myself and I’d better get to it!” he said as he gently pulled away from her grip with a smile.

She had a little frown on her face but she quickly covered it up with a smile.

A moving van turned onto their street and made its way up the hill. Beverly and Frank both paused to look as the truck came to a stop across the street from his place.

“Oh! Our other new neighbor is arriving! How exciting! Having two homes right across from each other sold within days of each other! It’s so nice to have new faces in the neighborhood!” Beverly gushed.

The truck shut off its engine but no one got out as the owner hadn’t arrived yet. Frank turned to the task of moving the bed parts inside. He had an assembly job to do.

Beverly remained outside, saying she was keeping an eye on the boxes but really she was just waiting to see the new neighbor.

The day was warmer than usual and Frank was getting overheated from lifting all the awkward boxes (it really was a two person job) so he went to his bedroom and switched his shirt to a sleeveless tank top. He went back outside to get the mattress. Not surprisingly Beverly was talking with the delivery men.

Just then a sporty little silver car pulled around the corner and came up the street to park in the driveway across from his. Curiosity got the better of him so he stopped to see who his new neighbor was.

The door opened and long slim legs unfolded themselves out onto the driveway. Next he saw the blond hair then she was standing next to the car looking back at him.

For just a second Frank swore it was Stephanie standing across the street scowling back at him. Shocked, it felt like a slap and he staggered back a step. His ankle caught on the mattress he was holding up and he lost his balance, falling backwards. Luckily he fell onto the mattress which went down with a loud thump.

Frank could hear the delivery men laughing and his face burned with embarrassment. Lifting his head he scowled at them but that just made them laugh harder. He was still a little unnerved by the woman’s resemblance to his ex so he struggled to his feet and carried the mattress inside. He shut the door behind him. He had an assembly job to do.


The drive to Carmel had been truly lovely. Once she’d escaped the hellish traffic of LA that is. Elyse managed to calm down once she’d gotten to the relatively empty roads north of the sprawling city. She’d actually made up most of the lost time during the long drive up the coast. And no tickets!

She’d just visited the realtor’s office and had her keys. As she drove through the quaint neighborhoods towards her new home she felt a thrill run through her body. She was home! Here was her new start!