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Unhappily Ever After: Part Four
Published Aug 20, 2011

Written By



Page 1 / 32

You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile ...
Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the seasick crocodile.

~ "Mr. Grinch," Thurl Ravenscroft

You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile ...
Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the seasick crocodile.

~ "Mr. Grinch," Thurl Ravenscroft
Tick tock, tick tock.

The clock on the wall ticked loudly away as Jo sat on the couch in awkward silence. Jared had gone back to drinking that sour-smelling beer, occasionally letting out an equally-smelly belch. He, also, had nothing to say.

"Thees place eez a sty," she said, finally. "You must truly be a peeg."

"I'm all beef, baby. One-hundred-percent USDA Prime."
"I am going to cleen up."

"Knock yourself out," he muttered.

Whatever he might think of Jo personally, he couldn't deny that she was an efficient housekeeper. Within fifteen minutes she had thrown out the moldy pot of stew, washed all of the dishes, and picked up all of his clothes.
She announced rather loudly that he lived like an animal and he shouted back that no one was making her stay and she claimed that he was utterly heartless, to trick her into coming to his house and to treat her this way and he insisted that she could leave any time she was ready and she cried and he went outside so he didn't have to hear her since there was nowhere else in the house he could get away from the sound of her voice. He fell asleep without realizing it, woke up in the middle of the night and found that she had locked him out. He considered pounding on the door, screaming at her through the glass, or going back to sleep and dealing with it in the morning. He did none of these things. Instead, Connor received another rude awakening at 1 a.m.


"What'd you do now?"

"Why are you assuming it's me?"

"Because it's always you."

"Very funny. She's locked me out on the balcony. Come let me back in."

"Fine, I got something I need to tell you anyway."
After Connor arrived, he took his brother to Hogan's. Jared looked around his old stomping grounds and scowled. "God. It's too damn bright in here. And why the hell'd they take down the 'Chewing Gum Hall of Fame!?'"

"Because it was a health hazard, not to mention completely disgusting," Connor suggested.

"It was classic."

"If by 'classic' you mean 'sickening,' then yes it was."
They seated themselves at a table. Coffee came out shortly. Jared continued to scowl at the clean bright surfaces as if they were some sort of personal affront. "I can't believe what they've done to the place …"

"All they did was make it safe for people to eat here, Jared. That's all." They started on big slices of pie.
"We need to talk."

"'Bout what?" Jared mumbled around his fork.

"You. You're in trouble."

"Who with?"

"That woman in your house. I've been doing some homework on her. Seems that she regularly marries into money and either gets a quickie divorce or hangs on like a leech until the money's all gone and then gets a divorce. She also seems to bring kids into the picture pretty early on."
"Ah, hell, then there's no problem. You're the one with all the dough, little bro."

"Wrong, wrong, wrong. You have money too. And you have it from the same source I do."

"Look here, Connor. It's too damn late at night to play games like this."

"THINK for a moment, Jared. Remember when Grandpa Kerrick died and Dad gave each of us a box during the reading of the will? Don't you remember what was in it?"

"Yeah, paper."
"You freakin' moron, those were savings bonds and stock certificates. Grandpa's owned stock in Proctor & Gamble since the Great Depression and those bonds are as old as we are. Go home and find that box, we need to go see the family accountant in the morning."

"We have a family accountant?"

Connor sighed. "I think I see why she likes you. If it doesn't have to do with alcohol or a skirt, you're completely oblivious!"
Connor brought Jared back home, reminded him to look for that mysterious box, and left again.

Jared thought momentarily about the box but soon realized that he had bigger problems. The washer had clogged, and had begun to leak all over the floor.

"You gotta be kidding me …" he muttered. He shook his head and half-dragged, half-shoved the heavy machine into the small bathroom. It dripped water the entire way. Once he shut the door and lay down on the stiff sofa, he forgot all about it.
When Jo woke up, she realized instantly that she had forgotten to wash the sheets. They smelled like cheap soap, cheap beer, cheap cologne. Which very distinctly reminded her of Jared. It was not an entirely unpleasant smell.

What! What had she come to, when she would lie around sniffing a man's sheets?

Disgusted and embarrassed by her behavior, she quickly rose, stripped the bed, and went downstairs. At least she didn't have to face him. She'd heard him moving around in the middle of the night so he'd managed to get back in the house without her help and strangely, he hadn't come upstairs to yell at her.

Of course he hadn't come upstairs. Not when he had half-flooded the downstairs!

Horrified, Jo backed away from the scene before running to the neighbor's house.
Beverly stared at her as she tried to explain the problem without screaming or crying … and failed. "You 'ave to call Connor!"

"Connor? He's not going to be in his office until this afternoon. What do you want him for, anyway?"

"Well, I do not need 'eem - I need 'ees wife! The washing machine ees floodeeng and she probablement knows everytheeng about fixeeng theengs - after all, she is so mannish, and 'ave you SEEN 'er 'ands? They are just deesgraceful... she 'as probably never 'ad a manicure een 'er entire LIFE -"

But at this point Beverly had heard more than enough. She made a quick phone call and escorted Josephine back over to Jared's house.
She pointed to a distant spot on the horizon. "There Rosalind is now, I recognize her motorcycle."

"Motorcycle?! You see? She ees completement un-ladylike! Such a shame that one such as Connor ees trapped by 'er -"

"Ms. D'Haleine, a word to the wise. Rosalind's hands are scarred because she spends a lot of time breaking stones with her knuckles. If you're not as tough as a chunk of space rock, it's not in your best interests to make her angry. I have to go to work."
She got in her car and started the engine. The motorcyclist crossed paths with the sedan, slowed down, and they waved at each other. Apparently they knew each other fairly well.

Rosalind pulled up and climbed off. She didn't remove her helmet. Jo was quite certain that Rosalind was glaring at her from behind the mask.

"So," she began uncertainly, "thee washing machine ees broken."


"Can you... feex eet?"

A shrug.

They went inside.
"Good morning, Connor. Nice to see you again. And Jared! … I haven't seen you since you were fourteen. Good god, you're huge." The certified public accountant shook Jared's hand, which completely engulfed his own. "Well, sit down, boys. How are your folks?"

"Fine," Jared said automatically.

"Actually, Mom broke her hip about four months back."

"Really! I'm so sorry to hear that. Tell Eugenia I wish her all the best."

"Call her," Connor suggested. "She always asks me about you, Mr. Paulson. I keep having to explain I only see you once or twice a year, but you know how she is."
"Ha, izzat so? Alright then …" The elderly man tapped a button on the phone and quickly dialed a number that he obviously knew by heart. On the fourth ring the line connected and a creaky voice called, "Hellooooo?"

"Eugenia! Arnie Paulson, I'm here with your two boys."

"Arnie! Oh my goodness, what a surprise. You're with both boys? Who's in trouble? Jared, you're not in jail, are you?"

"Yes," Jared said, cracking wise. Connor gave him a dirty look. "No Ma, we're both fine."

"You couldn't possibly be fine! Not with Arnie having to call me!"
"It's okay, Geni! I was just calling because they're both here in my office, and I'm about to go over Jared's records with him so we can determine how much money he has to invest—"

"Invest? Jared, when have you ever cared about investing? Are you going to school now?"

"Yes," Jared lied quickly.

"No, Ma, I reminded him about it."

"Reminded him? What did you need to do that for, Connor?"

"Well, he—"
"I'm getting married, Ma," Jared announced proudly. The two other men in the room stared at him, stunned. The phone line went silent before Mrs. Eugenia Frio squawked, "Married!? Oh Jared sweetheart, that's WONDERFUL!"

"Yup! She's even Catholic."

"… well, I never! I'm so proud of you, Jared!"
" … Connor, I suppose you're still married to that Rosalind?"

"… yup."

"She's still not Catholic, is she? And a criminal, too! There wasn't another woman in the ENITRE town you liked? Couldn't you have married that nice Bebe girl? Wasn't SHE Catholic?"

Connor ground his teeth. "… yes. She was also psycho."
"Oh, pish tosh! What girl isn't a little crazy when it comes to love?"

Mrs. Frio went on praising her elder son for his good judgment and intelligence in making this choice, even though there was clearly no judgment involved in this decision and Jared had never done an intelligent thing in his entire life. Connor fumed. Jared smirked. And Arnie Paulson continued to work on the accounting spreadsheets.
Two hours later the brothers were on their way out of the door and waiting for the elevator. Connor was still furious, but Jared was feeling mighty smug. Harold and Eugenia Frio had long been utterly scandalized that their younger son had gotten married first; Connor had always gotten everything done long before the notion ever took root in the space between Jared's ears. But this new move was clearly going to get him his parents' approval—not that it was going to be exactly hard to get. Their parents disliked their first daughter-in-law so thoroughly that the standard for Jared was 1) female and 2) young enough to give them grandchildren. And Josephine D'Haleine would fit that bill just fine. It was really too bad that he couldn't stand her, but who said his marriage had to be happy? "I think you need to consider a pre-nuptial agreement," Connor said suddenly.

"What for?"

"Jared, think. This woman gets married, gets pregnant, and gets divorced, not always in that order. If you're going to marry someone like that, at least make sure that the kids she's having belong to you."

"We're not having any kids."

"Maybe you should discuss that with her while you're helping her pick out her wedding gown."
"Alright, I think we've seen enough of each other to last a while. Get lost."

"You're the one who keeps calling ME," Connor reminded him before taking the stairs.
Jared called into work. When they asked him why he promptly said he had a hangover. Then he went straight to Eugi's and thought all of this over in between shots while he kicked the bartender's butt at shuffleboard. He hadn't known that they were both sorta rich! That would explain why his brother was able to take all of those trips overseas whenever he wanted. Maybe he shouldn't have spread those rumors that Connor was on the take at work.

… oh well.
He played a few rounds of darts, danced for a while, told a bunch of wild lies, and drank some more—made a complete nuisance of himself, to be exact. It was only when he tried to leave for the evening that the floor rushed up to meet him and things got a little ugly. There was a hand on his shoulder helping him up; it belonged to his baby momma, aka his boss. Crap.

After a few moments of confirming that yes, he had been drinking, and yes, he was now trying to go home, she helped him to a seat, walked across the dance floor and tapped a guy's shoulder. It couldn't be—oh hell, it was.
"Really?" Jared slurred.

"I was about to ask myself the same damn thing," Connor snapped.
Connor brought Jared home shortly before nine, which mean that he had been out of the house for almost twelve hours. Jared figured that Jo would probably have cleaned up by now, and he was right. Apparently she had resolved the issue with the washing machine, as it was humming away. The puddles had been mopped up. The empty beer cans were all in a sack of trash, along with the empty beer bottles, and the empty beer-can boxes. There had clearly been some attempt at redecorating, which he promptly ripped down and threw away into the trash alongside his bottle collection.

He was gonna have a talk with her about all of this nonsense.
But when he made it upstairs and found her collapsed on the bed, worn out from housework, he softened a very little. Maybe they could have that talk in the morning or something. He slipped her shoes off, scooted her away from the edge, and took her cold hands in his own. She snuggled up to him instantly.

"Oh mon chér, tu es tellement beau... Mmm... Jared."

"Goddamn Pig Latin," he muttered as he went to sleep.

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starsky524Apr 13, 2012

Omg!!! I knew Aerith came from a rich family but I would've NEVER guessed that Daniel was her fiancé!!!!1!!! SQUEEEE!!!! I wanna see the next one!!!

jubeauty2003Sep 6, 2011


Audrey May VIPSep 5, 2011

Oh, so this is where Jared and Jo are!  \:\)  

urm0mAug 27, 2011

Aww true love at it's finest eh \;\)

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