Tony didn't mind altering his lunch plans when his father, Ed, asked to meet him. That meant lunch at Antonucci's Steakhouse. And besides, his old man was pretty good company who didn't mind knocking back a couple of beers with the meal.
Twelve years earlier, when Tony was in high school, Ed had remarried. While his new wife, Theresa, seemed okay before the marriage, she quickly made it clear with her attitude that she couldn't wait for Tony to graduate and move out - for good. For Tony, the feeling was mutual but poor Ed was caught in the middle. Theresa had been a part-time accountant for the business Ed had started a few years earlier.
Now that the business was a success and they were married, she now had claim to half of it. Ed might of have divorced her but it would mean tearing apart everything he had worked to create. He was still going to do it but Tony had talked him out of it, reasoning that since he no longer lived at home, there was no problem. Poor Ed felt horrible about his son being alienated from his home but Tony liked being out on his own.
In a way, Ed still loved Theresa - she had a way of worming herself into his heart. While Tony was in college, Ed covered the tuition and made sure his son was living in something better than an off-campus flophouse. Even after Tony graduated, he still sent his son the occasional fat check simply because he felt like it.
Theresa had tried to stop it but realized she had gone too far when Ed finally put his foot down.
"For reasons I'm still not comfortable with," the usually mild-mannered man growled, making Theresa take a step backward. "I've allowed you far too much latitude. Don't ever think you can interfere with me and Tony anymore."
When Tony got to Antonucci's, Ed was already seated in a booth. That in itself was odd since Ed, a gregarious type, usually preferred a table. They did the usual chatter - mostly sports - but Tony could tell something was weighing on his father. When the last bites of steak had vanished, Ed spoke directly.
"I need your help with something," Ed confided.
"Sure, anything," Tony replied - really meaning it.
Ed took a deep breath and explained.
"About ten years ago - just when you were going off to college, I was feeling resentful toward your stepmother. You were moving out - okay for college - but she was damned near doing victory laps around the house. Anyway, I was in Buffalo on business and decided to get back at her with a one-night stand.
Where it gets complicated was that I really liked the girl. And every time I went to Buffalo - you know I'm there at least ten times a year - I kept seeing her. Then things got complicated with her."
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Monday, January 29, 2018