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Starting Over

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Andrew Anderson entered the conference room in the courthouse with his attorney, Jennifer Portofino. They were the first ones to arrive and set about finding chairs to wait on the other participants in the conference. Jennifer placed her notebook computer on the table, booted it, and pulled several folders from her briefcase.

While the computer was loading, Jennifer looked over at Andrew and smiled. She said, “Relax, Andy. You know we have them at a disadvantage. I’m positive this conference will end pleasantly and satisfactorily for you. If it doesn’t we still can go through with the lawsuit. We have two hours before court convenes. The pressure will all be on them. If they don’t offer a satisfactory settlement we’ll let the jury decide on your case. You have all the boss cards in that game.”

The door to the room opened and one of the most beautiful women Andrew had ever seen strutted angrily into the room followed by a tall arrogant looking man in an Armani suit. The woman’s lips compressed as she glared at Andrew. Her eyes constricted as her angry glare bored through him. She pulled out a chair as far from Andrew as possible and sat down. Harold and Dolores Stevens had been Andy’s friends since grade school. Of course, Dolores’s name had not been Stevens at that time.

Her attorney smiled and moved to stand beside Jennifer. He held his hand out for her to shake as he said, “Good morning, Ms. Portofino. After she shook his hand he turned toward Andrew and held his hand out to him also, then continued talking. He said, “And good morning to you also, Mr. Anderson.”

“I think we have a settlement proposal this time that will satisfy all the conditions you have laid out in previous conversations. My client has reluctantly agreed to your demands for complete ownership of the property in Florida as you demanded.” He pulled a folder from his briefcase and handed it to Jennifer before continuing, “As you can see, Ms. Portofino, this settlement agreement covers all the demands your client made during our previous meetings.

Jennifer took the document and began reading through it. Andy looked over at Dolores and said, “How are you holding up, Dolores?”

She turned her angry gaze on him once again and glared daggers at him. She began yelling, “Don’t you ever speak to me again you son of a bitch. It’s your fault we’re here and my husband and your wife are dead. This hearing should be your trial for murder instead of you forcing me to give up one of my properties to you. I thought we were friends. How could you do this to me? Your damn foolish pride caused the death of my husband and my best friend and now you’re suing me because of it. That ís just so wrong.”

“How could I do this to you? What the hell do you think you’re talking about here, Dolores? It was your damn husband that was fucking my wife. He was the one that couldn’t drive and killed the two of them. All we would have been doing was sorting through the divorce if he hadn’t been driving drunk and killed them.”

“Don’t give me that you sanctimonious bastard. The neighbors saw your truck at the cabin and heard you screaming at the two of them. Damn it they saw you chasing them out of the house and heard you make threats to them. All they were trying to do was get away from you before you beat on Harold some more. You didn’t have to chase them down the highway until he lost control of the car and crashed. You killed them just as if you held a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger. Now you’re taking almost a quarter of my inheritance on top of that.”

“You’re crazy. I didn’t kill them and you know it. Yeah, I confronted the cheating assholes, but they’re the ones who decided to take off and got killed.”

“I don’t care. It’s your fault and you know it. If you’d just left them alone they would both still be alive. My children would still have their father and I would still have my husband. Damn it, you didn’t own Paula’s pussy. She did. You weren’t losing anything from her sharing a little pussy with Harold. Shit, you were supposed to be at work so you weren’t going to get any during the day anyway.”

“You’re joking. You mean to sit there and tell me you wouldn’t have divorced his cheating ass like I would have Paula’s? I can’t believe that. Why would you even consider keeping a cheating asshole like Harold? You surely can’t mean his cheating on you didn’t bother you?”

“He was more man than you or any other male I’ve ever seen. He was the best there has ever been. No one woman could ever take care of him alone. Hell, I was glad when he began dating Paula. It gave me some rest. He was the best provider and father I have ever seen. Harold just needed more pussy than I could give him. Hell, I knew I wouldn’t lose him. He always came back to me. If you’d been a better lover, Paula probably would never have taken up with Harold and you wouldn’t have gotten your little feelings hurt.”

“Jesus, you crazy bitch, I thought I knew you and Harold but I guess I didn’t. I’m bahis firmaları not one of those cuckolds you read about. I don’t share my women and I never will.”

By then the two attorneys were trying to quiet their respective clients. Finally they managed to stop the argument and Jennifer finished reading the document. She turned to Andrew and said, “I think this is exactly what you demanded, Andrew. Dolores Stevens and her Real Estate company agree to transfer the 5.6 acres on Sanibel Island Florida to you free and clear of any encumbrances as demanded. Additionally, they agree to purchase your family home located at Cherokee Ln. for the sum of $179,000 and pay off the remaining mortgage in the amount of $63,235.87. Mrs. Stevens also demands a non-disclosure agreement on the facts of the settlement and agrees to pay all attorney fees and any and all costs associated with the property transfers. If you accept this settlement I need you to sign here.”

Andrew signed the document. His attorney handed the document to the opposing council and handed Andy two more copies of the document for signature also.

Dolores’s attorney showed her where to sign the documents after he received them from Jennifer. As Andy signed the other two copies she handed them to Dolores’s attorney for her to sign also. After all three copies were signed Dolores’s attorney handed one of the copies to Jennifer, another to Dolores, and said, “I’ll have my paralegal file this document with the appropriate offices and send you proof of the filing. We’ll get back in touch with you to set up the date and time to transact the property transfers if that’s satisfactory with you. It’s almost time for the hearing to begin so if there are no farther comments I suggest we inform the Judge we have reached a settlement and request dismissal of the lawsuit.”

Three days later the same group of people met in Jennifer’s office to sign the property transfer documents. This time neither Andrew nor Dolores spoke to the other. After the documents were signed and distributed Dolores and her attorney stood and left. Andrew leaned back in his chair and watched his old friend walk out of his life. He shook his head and sighed. He just didn’t understand any of the things that went on over the last five months. How could he have been so wrong about so many people? Oh, hell, he knew Harold was a player and had a large cock. He had heard more than one woman gushing about his sexual powers and remembered many instances of Harold bragging about nailing married women. He just never expected him to make a move on his wife or, for that matter, for her to succumb to Harold’s line of bullshit. Paula was three months pregnant when she died. Now he wondered if the child was even his. Not that it mattered now, but he did wonder. Had her disrespect for him and her marriage vows extended to that too? After the accident Andy found out that several of his friends knew about Harold and Paula but hadn’t told him. Of course that also ruined those friendships. The disloyalty disgusted him. It was obvious they thought more of Harold and Paula than they did him.

Andrew felt he could not live in the small town he grew up in any longer. He had not enjoyed living there for several years but Paula refused to move. He never understood why that was until he caught her and Harold. Paula grew up in a town over a hundred miles away. They met during college and she moved to his hometown when he graduated and they married. Now at least he knew why she was so adamant they remain in his hometown. She didn’t want to leave her big dicked lover.

After he cashed in his stock options and banked the money from the sale of their house and the insurance settlement for Paula’s death Andy had almost $579,000 in the bank. He also owned the land in Florida free and clear. Truthfully he didn’t know much about the land but he liked the area it was situated in and always dreamed about living there. He and Harold spent three spring breaks there while they were in college. At the time there was a small older 24-unit condo on the land. Harold’s family used it for rentals but closed it a year or two after the boys got out of college. Andy remembered it as being pretty run down even then. All he knew was he intended to move down there and unwind before he decided what to do with the rest of his life. His parents were now retired to Florida so he would be much closer to them for another plus.

Andy sold almost all his household goods before he left his old hometown for good. He kept some of the linens, kitchen utensils, and, of course, his clothes, tools and mementos. His music, stereo and books also went with him. When he left his home for the last time heading for his future his 2012 F150 Super Crew 4X4 was loaded to the top of the cab with his possessions. The back seating area was packed with his clothes. The truck squatted down on the springs badly. If he was stopped he was sure he would be woefully over licensed gross vehicle weight. He also kaçak iddaa pulled a 12-foot box trailer with more of his worldly goods inside.

Four days after leaving his old home Andrew arrived at Ft. Myers, Fl. and drove onto Sanibel Island. He would never have found his new home without his GPS. The old two-story building was not visible from the street. The vegetation had grown so rampant it almost completely obscured the driveway. There was no way he could get his truck down the small narrow drive because of this.

Andy was a Midwest boy. He had no idea what the names of any of the small trees or large shrubs were that blocked the drive. Oh, he recognized the palm trees, but that was the only vegetation he recognized. He parked and walked back onto the lot to check out the building. It was sad looking and decrepit as he expected. Surprisingly some of the windows and doors were unbroken. From what he could see some of the rooms had either been broken into or vandalized but not all of them. He made a short list of things he needed to do immediately then returned to his truck.

Andy found an outrageously priced KOA and purchased a one night camping permit. Early the next morning Andy returned to his new home and broke out his chainsaw. He immediately began trimming the limbs that were growing over and into the driveway so he could drive back to his home. He worked slowly and steadily throughout the morning. Just before ten thirty he finished clearing the lane back to the building. Thankfully the parking area was still clear of large growth so he could bring his truck and trailer onto the property. Still, there was a lot of grass growing in the cracked asphalt.

Andy was putting his saw back into the truck when a city patrol car pulled in behind him. The officer got out of the car and demanded to know who Andy was and what he was doing there. “I’m getting ready to clean up this place and move in. I recently purchased it and am moving down here from Missouri.”

“I”ll need to see your ID. It would be nice if you have some sort of proof you own this place. You understand we have many transients who move into empty buildings. I”m just doing what I’m supposed to, making sure you’re the owner or legal resident of this place,” the officer said. Andy told the officer that the title transfer should be in the works if it wasn’t completed already and he’d try to get something as soon as he could.

The officer continued, “Before you do any serious work you’ll have to have a permit to work on this property. It will need to be posted where it can be easily seen from the street.”

“What do you mean? I own the land and am getting ready to renovate the building and clean up the land. What kind of permit are you talking about?”

“You have to have several different kinds of permits depending on what you are doing. If you make structural changes, plumbing or wiring upgrades you have to be licensed for those things and you need building permits. You also need licenses and certificates for application of certain pesticides and plant foods. I suggest you contact an attorney and the city building inspector before you do anything else or you may break more laws than you probably have already.”

Andy gave the patrolman his ID, and listened as he told him what he would need to do to actually work on his property, other than just mowing or light trimming. He never thought about needing licenses, permits, or certifications to work on his own property. Hell, back home if you needed to do something you just did it if you knew how. Shit, this might get expensive in a hurry. He knew skilled tradesmen drew exorbitant (to him) salaries. “Ok, Officer. I didn’t think about that. Hell, back home we just make our own repairs or build our own buildings if we know how to do it. I never even considered needing permission to work on my own place.”

That afternoon Andrew tried to get electricity, gas and water turned on for his building. None of the utilities would come out until they had a certificate stating the building was safe for their utility to be connected. He found out there was even something called an occupancy permit or something like that needed before he could legally occupy the building. He decided fuck it. He just lived out of his truck and camped on his land while he sorted through things. The red tape and paperwork were a nightmare.

Finally Andy got a permit to allow him to begin cleaning up the damage and overgrowth. He hired a large dumpster delivered and began filling it. He fudged a little and tore some of the damaged rooms down and placed those things in the dumpster. It took him a week to fill the dumpster the first time but he was proud of his efforts. All the old palm fronds were off the ground around the building. He had pruned the worst of the encroaching shrubs or trees away from what he considered the yard and drive. He loaded up the loose materials fallen from the building and those taken from the worst damaged areas. The exterior walls kaçak bahis of the building and several of the interior ones were concrete and still appeared solid and undamaged.

Now Andrew had to decide what he wanted to do with his building. Did he want to turn the entire thing into a residence? It was really too large for that. Did he want to convert it to rentals again and rent to tourists or did he want to make it permanent residence for locals? If he did either of those things what size should the condos be? He needed help with his decision and didn’t know where to turn. He needed to clean up, repair and fill the pool and hot tub, but when did he want to do that? Was that even a wise expenditure of his money? Of course, if he once again wanted to rent the units he almost had to have an operating pool and hot tub. He really wanted to repair the pool and hot tub soon so he could enjoy using them himself as he worked. Those two tasks moved up near the top of his list.

One afternoon Andy was finishing up his work when he saw a very beautiful young woman about his age standing on the edge of his yard watching him. He waved at her and started toward her. She glared at him and turned disappearing down the indistinct pathway in the vegetation. He started after her but decided to just return to his work.

Twice more in the next few days he saw the woman watching him work. Finally, one day he got close enough to speak to her. He said, “Hello. Do you live around here? I’ve seen you several times lately.”

He was sure she muttered, “Asshole,” before she turned and once again disappeared into the shrubbery. This naturally pissed Andy off. He followed her through the shrubbery for several feet until they emerged into sunlight and the green area between the neighboring resort and the ocean. Finally he caught up to the woman and grabbed her arm. He pulled her around to face him and said, “I don’t know what your problem is but I want to find out. Why do you come over to my place and watch me then leave without saying anything? Why did you just call me an asshole?”

“Huh, as if you didn’t know. Now let me go asshole. Go find someone else to harass.”

About that time an older man walked up to the two arguing young people and asked, “What’s going on here, Tiffany?”

“Nothing much, Dad. This Stevens asshole has apparently decided to molest me again.” She gave a quick jerk and pulled her arm from Andy’s grasp this time.

Andy stepped back a small step and held his hands up. He said, “Whoa, there. I think you’ve made a mistake here. My name’s not Stevens. I’m Andrew Anderson. I bought the place next door from Dolores Stevens and am renovating it to live on.”

“Yeah, right. Why don’t you try another one, Harold? I was drunk that night but not that drunk.”

“Oh, crap. So you’re another one of Harold’s women. What the hell do you skanks see in that asshole?”

Andy never saw the slap until after it hit his face. Tiffany was standing in front of him, face red, eyes boring a hole in him as she snarled, “I AM NOT one of Harold’s women, you son of a bitch! How dare you!”

Andy once again held his hands out to ward off another blow. He quickly said, “Hey, I’m sorry here. I shouldn’t have called you a skank. I just meant you were another woman that Harold, uh, crap; I don’t know how to say it now. I certainly had no love for good ol’ Harold. I caught the asshole with my wife.”

“You sure look a lot like Harold. What do you mean you caught him with your wife? OH! I’m sorry. If you’re not a Stevens what are you doing over there? Oh, yes, you said you bought the place from them. How did you ever manage to do that? We’ve been trying to buy the place ever since before they closed it and they refused to even consider selling.”

Andy gave Tiffany and her father a sickly grin and said, “Well, I really didn’t buy the place.” Tiffany and her father gave him a suspicious look and he hurried to continue. “I really forced Harold’s widow to deed the place to me to settle a lawsuit I filed against his estate.”

“I didn’t know he was unhealthy. How did he die so young?”

“Well, he kept engaging in unhealthy activities like fucking other men’s wives. I caught him with my wife and we were having a little discussion about that. He and my wife got away from me and took off in his car. I chased them and he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. It killed them both. I’m afraid I can’t say more about the deal because of a non-disclosure agreement, but rest assured, I now own the property and am trying to clean it up. I intend to renovate the building but I still haven’t decided whether to just renovate the condos and leave them the same size or enlarge them. I also don’t know whether to rent to seasonal tourists, snowbirds, or locals as a residence.

“Hell, first I have to figure out who to hire to do the work and how to pay for it. I didn’t realize what I was getting into or I might not have fought so hard to get this little plot of ground. Crap, you all have a lot of rules and regulations to follow down here. I intended to do the work myself until I found out about all the licenses and so forth a man needs to do construction and yard work here in Florida.”

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