Liars and Thieves
©2013. All Rights Reserved Bliss Addison
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, excepting brief quotes to be used in reviews.
Sadie Gillespie – St. Francis of Assisi Cemetery
I made my way up the hill, passing row after row of grave sites. At the top, I read the markers – O'Connell, Duplessis, Forestell, Jones, Jones and Ferguson. My feet sank into spongy ground as I wandered to the next monument. The inscription read – Augustus (Gus) L. Gillespie 1923 – 2012.
"Hi there," I said and crouched beside my father-in-law's grave. "I can't believe it's been nearly four years." Though there was no one around to overhear, I kept my voice low. "It feels strange being in Orillia with you not here."
I peered at the darkening sky, reliving the moment we were told of his passing, the ice storm, Iris's call begging Graham not to travel, and the decision that would haunt Graham and me till our last hour.
My feelings confused me. How could my heart ache and my eyes water for a man who caused me such hurt?
"I'm desperate to put the past behind me. Sometimes, I think I have. Then something happens, or something's said and the hurt and the humiliation we suffered comes pouring back. Then I'm unforgiving and angry.
"Why couldn't you see through Carolee and Andrew's lies? Forty years, Dad. Forty years of being ridiculed and hated. Did you ever once consider our feelings? You told lies about us, too." I paused to take a breath. "I shouldn't rag on you too much. They duped me, as well. Our pride – yours and mine - was our Achilles' heel and they exploited our weakness.
"Your death opened my eyes to what was really going on in Orillia with Mom, Carolee and Andrew. I spent a lot of time since your passing wondering whether you'd be alive today if I'd handled things differently. At the least, you'd have been spared some pain. "
I stared at the plots beside Gus’s grave.
"No one seems to know whether it was Andrew’s choice not to be buried next to you or if Carolee made the decision for him because of her falling out with Mom. No matter, I suppose. What's done is done." My finger traced a circle in the cold, damp earth as I stared into the tree line above his headstone. "I still can’t believe Mom saw Carolee for what she is. The old saying about giving someone enough rope is true, or as you liked to say, what goes around, comes around."
I sighed and looked at my watch. "I should go. I'm picking up supper and Graham will be wondering what's taking me so long."
Placing a kiss on the tips of my fingers, I pressed them against the ground. "I forgive you, Dad. In spite of the bad blood between us, I liked having you in my life. It was always you I came to Orillia to see. I wish I'd told you that while you were alive." I choked on a sob and tears blurred my vision when I thought about the emotional abuse he suffered.
"I'm sorry you thought death was your only option. If I'd known your plan, I would have convinced you that life is worth the fight. I'm also sorry I caught on too late to Andrew and Carolee's scheme. I would have found a way to stop them."
I stood. "I'll visit again if I’m ever back in Orillia."
Other than knowing my brother-in-law's grave sat next to the caretaker's shed in the new part of the cemetery, I didn't have a clue where Carolee had laid Andrew to rest.
It turned out his plot was easy to locate. Carolee had been generous with the monument and the epitaph.
A precious one from us has gone.
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home, which never can be filled.
"Hi, Andrew." Visions of him and Carolee and Graham and me in our high school years flashed in my mind. Smiling, happy faces that lingered.
"The scales were tipped in your favor to make sure you inherited everything and look where it got you. I'd like to think the scheme was Carolee's and you had no recourse but to play along. That wasn't the case, was it?"
I thought about Carolee and the lies that were told. "She said you married your high school sweetheart. We both know the truth behind that, don't we?
"We were all friends once. We had some fun times together, didn't we? Then everything changed. If you hadn't married Carolee, would you have chosen more wisely? If I hadn't kept mum all those years about your scheming, would you be alive today? Did you know me so well? At any time I could have gone to your father with what I knew, or did you think your ingenious plan would go unnoticed by Graham and me? I have to admit, it took me awhile to catch on to your duplicity."