You Don't Have To Do This

Discussion in 'KAW 12' started by TakeMeDown, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. TakeMeDown

    TakeMeDown Well-Known Member CAW Finalist KAW Winner CAW SS Winner

    You Don’t Have to Do This

    By: TakeMeDown



    Today

    The check is written. The last check she’ll ever write to her ex-husband. Maggie smiled brightly as she put the check in an envelope. She writes his name and address on the outside of the envelope, then her return address. With a Sharpie in big letters, writes, ALIMONY – last one, to the left of his name. Ten years and over $120,000 in alimony, finally, this was the end of her bleeding money to John.

    She’d finally managed to make her lawyer understand she was not backing down this time. She was going to court this time. She would not be cowed down this time. Her son was twenty now, in college. She’d found a way to save for him to get an Associate’s Degree, and would figure out how to get him a Bachelors. Her life insurance was paid, her will was prepared, her story written down and notarized. If he came after her now that his cash cow was gone, she would not back down.

    Her smile beaming from her, she walked to the mailbox to mail that last check.


    Ten years earlier

    A delivery of two dozen roses arrived at work. The message on the card was Happy Birthday Maggie, Love John. She wondered how much she’d just paid for this delivery. Maggie called home to thank John for the roses. On the same call, reminding him that she was going to a baby shower, after their dinner together.

    “I can’t believe you’re leaving your son on your birthday to go to a party.” John sneered.

    “I’m sorry John. The shower is for my great nephew. I’ll come home as soon as the presents have been opened. It won’t be late.” Maggie replied, trying to placate him. “I’ll see you at Chili’s at 5:00. Thank you again for the roses. They are beautiful. Bye.”

    At 3:30, Maggie took a call from her neighbor, Amy. “Maggie, have you talked to John?”

    “I did earlier, he sent me roses and we’re going to dinner tonight.”

    “He didn’t pick the kids up from school. The school called me at work. I left work and picked them up. I walked Michael home, and we had to pound on the door to get John to answer. Maggie, I think he’d been drinking. As soon as he answered the door, he backed away. But I still smelled liquor.”

    “He’s been dry for almost ten years Amy, he must not be feeling well. I’ll call home though, just to be sure everything is ok. Thanks for picking our kids up, I’m sure it won’t happen again.”

    After hanging up the phone with Amy, Maggie called home. John answered. “Hey John. I just wanted to be sure everything was ok.”

    “Did that nosy neighbor call you. I fell asleep. I can’t believe that bitch called you. Michael is home. They didn’t even wait at the school long.” John said.

    “I figured it was something like that. Amy was just concerned. These roses smell so good, John. Thank you again. I’ll see you in an hour.”

    Maggie arrived at Chili’s at 4:55, fully aware of the verbal repercussions she would hear if she weren’t there early. She walked into the restaurant and found John and Michael seated at a table near the front window. As she approached John, she kissed him then thanked him again for the roses. Maggie then walked around the table and bear hugged her son. She sat in the only open seat, with her back toward the window. To her right two families and their children were laughing and ordering dinner.

    “Michael, Amy said she had the chance to pick you up from school today. Did you have fun?” Maggie asked.

    “Why are you asking him about that Maggie? Can’t you just fucking leave it alone?” Sneered John. “I told you I overslept. That is the end of it. Don’t bring it up again.”

    Maggie looked at Michael, while John was talking. Michael lowered his eyes and wouldn’t look at her. No expression on his face.

    “John, are you sure you feel ok? You seem to be on edge, and your face is pale. Do you think we need to take you to the Doctor? We don’t want you to get sick again.”

    “I’m not sick and I’m not going to the fucking Doctor. Why is it, Maggie, every fucking time you open your mouth, you think something is wrong? Shut the fuck up about a Doctor.”

    “Please, John. There is no need to cuss in front of Michael.”

    “Oh, now I can’t even talk? Why, Maggie? Why can’t I even talk? What the fuck have I done now, that you don’t even want to hear my voice?”

    In an attempt to keep the conversation from escalating any further, Maggie said, “Michael, your Dad sent me two dozen beautiful roses today at work. Wasn’t that sweet. They are red. I’ve got them in the car, so we can enjoy them all weekend. Where do you think we should put them when we get home?” Maggie paused to see if she could get Michael to respond. When he didn’t, she continued. “How about on the table in front of the couch? Then we could see them from anywhere in the den.”

    “Will you just shut up Maggie. You just keep talking. Don’t you see he doesn’t want to hear you? I don’t want to hear you. Shut the fuck up.”

    “Excuse me, sir. I’m at the table next to you with my family and friends. Would you mind lowering your voice and not using the F-word. That isn’t a word I want my children to learn.”

    John looked up at the stranger and said “Mind your own business.”

    “My children are my business. You may not care what you do in front of your wife and son, but I do care what you say in front of mine.”

    John looked up again. “I’d suggest you go back to your table and leave me alone.”

    The server walked up and asked “Is there anything I can do here?”

    Maggie, seeing an opportunity to get out of the restaurant, silently moved her chair back from the table and helped Michael up from his chair. John, involved with the server and other diner, didn’t notice them moving away from the table. She could hear the trio talking, but was focused on getting to the door and leaving the restaurant.

    “Where are you going?” John asked her as she began to open the door.

    “I’m going to take Michael to the shower with me John. We’ll be home later.”

    “We haven’t even ordered dinner. Get back to the table.”

    “We can’t John, no. They’ll have sandwiches and other food at the baby shower, and I can pick Michael up McDonalds on the way. We need to head on to the shower, so we won’t be late.”

    John walked to his car and got in. He started the car, then pulled out of the parking spot. When he put the car in drive, he revved the engine. When he released the brake, he drove the car directly at Maggie and Michael. Maggie pulled Michael back until their backs were pressed to the front door of the restaurant. John peeled out of the parking lot, having missed them.

    “Baby, Daddy isn’t feeling well. I’m not sure why, but he isn’t. Let’s go get in the car, and we’ll talk about it some more, ok?” Maggie asked Michael.

    “Ok Mom.” Michael said.

    The manager and the man at the next table came out of the restaurant, looking at her and her son get in their car. They stood and watched, speaking and shaking their heads. They didn’t approach her.


    Nine years earlier

    Road Trip!! Maggie was excited to drive to Atlanta to visit her cousin, Joan. They had not seen each other in more than a year. This would be the first road trip for Michael, Maggie’s four-month old son. She and John would be driving down to help celebrate Joan and Ken’s purchase of a new home with their friends.

    The night of the party, Maggie put Michael in his pack and play upstairs in the guest bedroom, and waited until he fell asleep. The house was big enough, the party noises didn’t disrupt Michael as he slept. With the baby monitor turned on, Maggie closed the door and went downstairs. John was talking with Ken and some of their friends. The smile on Maggie’s face was genuine, she had known this Atlanta crowd for over ten years. And she’d missed them since she’d gotten married, and not able to make it to Atlanta to see them.

    The party was still going strong, around ten pm. “Maggie, I think John is drunk.” Joan whispered.

    “Nah, he hasn’t had anything to drink in over a year. He quit. We even talked about it being an opportunity, since we knew there would be drinking here. He said it wouldn’t.” Maggie said.

    “I’m just telling you what I saw. He put whiskey in that red solo cup, and a lot of it.”

    Maggie looked over to where John was sitting. He looked fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to check on him. “Thanks, Cuz. I’ll go talk to him.” With a squeeze to her cousins’ hand, Maggie turned and walked across the room.

    “Hey Babe, are you having fun?” Maggie asked as she sat next to John. “I checked on Michael earlier, he’s still sleeping like a rock.”

    John turned his head to look at Maggie, then nodded his head with an up and down motion.

    “It’s been fun catching up with everyone. Did you eat some of the shrimp? It was delicious. And the baked Bree was yummy.” Maggie gushed, trying to cover up John’s lack of response. “Can I get you another coke? I’m heading to the kitchen, I can bring you back one.”

    “No, I don’t need anything.” John said.

    “Want to go out onto the deck with me? Joan said she’d listen for Michael, if we wanted to get some air.”

    “No, I’m fine here.” John said.

    “Babe, are you ok?” Maggie asked.

    “I said I’m fine.”

    Maggie stood and then walked to the kitchen. Joan had been watching the interaction and followed her.

    “Well?” Joan questioned.

    “I don’t know. Something isn’t right, but he said he wouldn’t drink. He is very quiet.” Maggie answered. “I’m going to go out on the deck, just to get some air and think. I’ll be back soon.”

    Ken had set a telescope up on the deck earlier. The moon was full and the sky was full of stars. Looking over the deck, the pool lights glittered in the dark, below the deck, two flights down. The door opened and closed. John walked out.

    “I hate it here. These are your friends, why did I let you talk us into coming. I’m ready to leave.” John said.

    “We can’t leave John, we live four hours away. Michael is sleeping upstairs. Did something happen?” Maggie asked.

    “You talk to everyone. You can’t keep your mouth shut. You smile at every person you talk to. All the guys keep talking to you. They know you’re married. You have a four-month old son. Why are you coming on to them?”

    “What? John, don’t be silly. I’ve known these people for fifteen years. They’re our friends. I’ve just not seen them in a year, we ‘ve have a lot to catch up on.”

    “I think its more than that. Why do you always do this? Why must you ruin every party we go to.” John said as he approached Maggie. His voice rising, he pushed Maggie against the deck rail. “Why do you do this?!? Why can’t you just stay home. You don’t need these people.” John’s hands circled Maggie’s waist, as he began screaming at her and lifting her up. “I hate it when you do this to me. You act like I’m not even here. Like we aren’t married. I hate it. I hate you.”

    Joan had been watching from inside, when she saw John follow Maggie outside. She motioned Ken to come over. Ken, being an ex-MP, walked outside, just as John had Maggie lifted to the top of the deck railing.

    “John, buddy, what’s going on? Can you put Maggie down please?” Ken asked.

    “Go inside, this is between her and me.” John said, as he was fighting to keep Maggie subdued and lifted.

    “John, hey buddy, let’s talk about this a sec. Why’ve you got Maggie up that high. She’s going to fall over the railing if you’re not careful. I came out here because I heard Michael crying. Sounds like he’s hungry, and Maggie’s the one with the milk jugs. Your son’s hungry and needs his Mother. Maggie, can you go inside and feed Michael, he needs you.”

    “She’s not going anywhere. Well, maybe down.” John sneered. He moved one hand to Maggie’s throat.

    “Now buddy, you know you don’t want to do that. If you get her much higher, I’m going to have to step in. Won’t you let her feet touch the ground. Come on man, Michael’s crying and needs his Mom.” Ken patiently said.

    “Stay back Ken. This is between her and me.” Sliding her further over the ledge. Maggie’s hands wrapped tightly around the banister.

    More of the bigger guys had come out to the porch quietly, at Joan’s urging. Fanning out on either side of Ken, waiting for the chance to grab John and keep Maggie from going over the railing. “John, I’m not going to let you kill your wife. I’m asking you for the last time to put her down. Down on this side man, not the other side.” Ken said as he took a step forward. John looked back at Maggie, grimaced and tried lifting her over. Ken and four of his friends grabbed John, pulled him away from the railing. Maggie didn’t let go of the rail until the guys had John away from her. She stepped down as John was put to the ground face down. It took four of the guys to keep John down.

    The police arrived minutes later. It took them twenty minutes to get John into the car, still screaming and kicking.

    More than a year earlier

    The dress was borrowed. The makeup applied. A wedding planned in sixteen days. Sixteen days of nausea. Morning sickness that lasted long past noon.

    My Father's eyes have tears in them. I watch one slip over the rim and slide down between his cheek. Another quickly follows from the other eye, until there is a glistening patch.

    "Maggie, you don't have to do this.", as he pulls me into his embrace. His strong arms wrapped around me, sharing his strength.

    Maggie holds onto her Father, absorbing the strength from him. She steels her back and pulls away. Her eyes have tears in them. But, none escape. Her makeup is flawless and she can't take the chance of not looking perfect. Her hair, coiffed into an updo with baby's breath strategically placed around the flowered headdress, the veil tipped over the back of her head. Her off white dress, borrowed.

    "Daddy, I'm pregnant. I don't want my child born without two married parents. I've already screwed up by getting pregnant. I can't screw that up too."

    "Your Mom and I will help. Please Maggie, you don't have to do this."

    "Come on Dad, we have to go." Taking his arm, they begin the long walk down the aisle.

    Maggie feels the judgement from both sides of the aisle, as she and her Dad are walking down the aisle. She looks toward her future husband, John. Knowing she can't cry, but she wants to burst out in tears. Trapped. Don't cry, keep your shoulders back, don't embarrass him. There'll be hell to pay tonight if you don't make him proud.

    Listen to yourself girl, Maggie heard a voice inside her head say. Think about a year from now. Ten, even twenty years from now. You’re bracing yourself to marry a man who isn’t going to treat you well. Who’s going to hurt you. Who’s going to hurt your children. You just told yourself to not cry, what he’d do to you if you did. Tonight, on your wedding night. You don’t have to do this. YOU. DON’T. HAVE. TO. DO. THIS. It was as if she’d had a time machine, and her future life flashed through her mind.

    Her Dad slowed down as he feels her steps slow. "Maggie?"

    "Daddy", Maggie said, stopping in the aisle, not ten feet from John. "Daddy, I was raised to be a Southern Lady. I've already messed that up, my whole life I’ve messed that up." Looking up at her Dad, seeing the tears still glistening on his cheeks, she let her own tear fall. "It may be hard, but if I marry John, he'll hurt me. Not just the separation from my family and his words, he'll hurt me."

    "Baby, please, you don't have to marry him."

    "I don't, Daddy. I'm not going to. But, I am going to explain to my guests. Go sit with Mom. I need to do this."

    Her father, kissed her cheek, then turned and sat next to her Mother on the second pew. Maggie walked to John. John who looked so angry. "John, I can't marry you. I'll explain to our guests, if you'd like to leave before I make the announcement."

    "You bitch, you will not embarrass me like this. Turn around, face the preacher and take my hand."

    "John, I'm not going to marry you. If you want to leave before I say something, now is the time. Otherwise, you can stand here with me."

    With a firm yank on her arm, he turned Maggie toward the preacher and said, "Start this now."

    Maggie began speaking, clear and loud. "Thank you for coming today. I'm sorry, there will be no wedding. Please accept my apology for the change in our plans and for inconveniencing you today."

    John looked at her with the look she'd seen too often in their time together, and she knew she would be dead in ten years if she'd married him. Maggie walked down the aisle, by herself, to a new future. A smile beaming from her as if she was walking to the alter to marry the man of her dreams.
     
  2. A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM

    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM Tom's Blonde Soulmate CAW Winner KAW Winner

    WOW! That was something else! WAY TO GO, MAGGIE!

    TMD - you have set the bar awfully high! That's what it's all about - a very happy ending!

    Oh, I know of so many women and girls who wouldn't have the courage or strength to make that decision and have lived to regret their choice!
     
  3. RedCzar

    RedCzar Well-Known Member 2-Time KAW Winner

    This was excellent! I love how you handled the transitions of time. Here I was thinking the whole thing was flashbacks, when in fact... Nicely done!
     
  4. Tickletongue

    Tickletongue Active Member

    Wow! I feel for Maggie and Michael.
     
  5. Nothing in this surprised me but your dialogue held my attention until the end.
     
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  6. A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM

    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM Tom's Blonde Soulmate CAW Winner KAW Winner

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  7. bistander

    bistander Well-Known Member Multi-CAW Finalist KAW Winner

    I loved the story, it held my attention all the way through, but I got confused at the end because I hadn't gotten it yet. I'm slow, what can I say. Great job even if my bulb was dim today.
    thank you for coming to Sam's party.
     
  8. Uncle B

    Uncle B Well-Known Member 3-Time CAW Winner

    I got that we were working in reverse, but I didn't know what we were doing at first. When she told her father that she couldn't screw this up too, I felt like we were just going to see where it all started. I was glad to see she backed out.

    Clever twist.
     
  9. Little Miss K

    Little Miss K Naughty but Nice 3-Time CAW Winner CAW SS Winner

    Good for her! :)

    I don't even like Cher, but I kept hearing If I Could Turn Back Time while reading this one. :D

    There are so many people (women and men) who could benefit from being able to see where a relationship would lead before they got themselves in too deep. As a child of an abusive jerk whom I have never met, it did raise one question...

    How did Michael's life turn out? Was it better without his parents fighting? Did he know his father? Was he better off without him? :confused: (maybe those are my own questions about life) :oops:

    Thank you for a story that raises these types of thoughts. :)


    PS... I think it all worked out for the best. ;)
     
  10. A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM

    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM Tom's Blonde Soulmate CAW Winner KAW Winner

    trophy.gif

    Takemedown, it gives me great please to present this 1st place trophy to you! Your story, 'You Don't Have To Do This' was fantastic!

    Enjoy the victory! You earned it!

    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
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  11. TakeMeDown

    TakeMeDown Well-Known Member CAW Finalist KAW Winner CAW SS Winner

    Wow. With all of the talent displayed in this contest, I’m thrilled. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Now, to learn more so RedCzar and I can get the next KAW planned. Happy Halloween!!
     
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  12. RedCzar

    RedCzar Well-Known Member 2-Time KAW Winner

    Okay now that this is over I'll add a couple little things. I loved the "backwards" trick. I thought we kept going backward, backward, and then we would pop back to where we were at the beginning. But NO. I was very pleasantly surprised.
    If I had any little tweak, I would put the part where he'd ready to throw her off the deck at the beginning. I know it makes the most sense for the flow of the story to have that big event right before the twist of the story, but it doesn't necessarily make sense to me for HER timeline. If she thought he would try to kill her at two, three, five years, why would she stay for ten or fifteen? She'd say no way right there.
    SO... I thought I would consider putting that event right at the beginning. It would immediately give me more reason to hate this guy. (which I already do, regardless). It was just a thought. Even if you kept the whole thing as is, and then added a similar event at the beginning, it would really establish our feelings against him, AND show that this guy is never gonna change.
    All that said, leave it just the way it is. lol
     
  13. Ben Bitten

    Ben Bitten Well-Known Member

    Scary as Hell & I'm sure that we all "Wish she hadn't"
     
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