Delphie smiled. “Would you like to hear the rest of this?”
“I think I need to,” Valerie said.
Delphie nodded her head toward the couch. They sat next to each other.
“For whatever reason, we still don’t know why, your naked photos arrived in the mail the day after he moved out. So Sam leaves the house and the next day the photos arrive. They were in a brown envelope addressed to Sam. We were told that a clerk sent them without realizing what they were. Well, the envelope was intercepted by …”
“The step-whore.” Valerie’s lip curled.
“Exactly. So this thing happens with Tiffanie. Sam moves out and plans to divorce her when he finds out she’s pregnant with Becky. The photos are stolen, which he doesn’t know anything about until they show up in the press. Then she …”
“Yes, honey. I wish you wouldn’t call her that. It’s not good for you to hold so much anger.”
“It’s what she is,” Valerie said.
“Let’s not argue. Your stepsister had just graduated from high school. Sam offered her a job. Like everyone who starts at Lipson, she worked the roads.”
“Work the roads until we see if you fit. If you fit, the roads will show you where you fit,” Valerie repeated a Lipson Construction motto.
“Exactly, except she didn’t like it much. She told everyone that she owned the company. She … Anyway, Sam flew to Maine and asked Jake to buy the rest of Lipson. I think Sam planned to sell the company and then kill himself. Jake and Sam argued for … days. The third day into it, Jake called me. I flew to Maine.”
“You flew? In a plane?”
“Yes. Like all psychics, plane trips are hard on me, but Jake was desperate. Sam and I weren’t, well, together then. I think Jake didn’t know what else to do. Sam was a mess … a complete mess.” Delphie sighed. “I had no idea he was so bad.”
“Please tell me what happened,” Valerie said. “I’ve asked Jake and he won’t tell me.”
“I don’t really know what happened between them. I was able to convince Sam it was all right to trust Jake. That was my part.”
“Dad didn’t trust Jake?” Valerie’s voice reflected her disbelief. Sam and Jake were always two peas in a pod.
“Sam wasn’t really himself.” Delphie shook her head at the memory. “The upshot was that Jake bought the company. He made you buy some of it.”
“He tricked me into buying four percent,” Valerie said. She imitated Jake’s voice. “Please, Val! I have to borrow some money. I need to get this property and I can’t afford it.” Valerie returned to her own voice. “All bullshit.”
“I’m not surprised. He was on a tear. His way or forget it. Sam was such a wreck he couldn’t see that Jake’s way was really the best.”
“What did Jake do?”
“For starters, he put an end to the bullshit. Your stepsister was escorted off Lipson grounds. The lawyers went after the publications that published your photos. Money was no object. The publications couldn’t prove it was you and they didn’t have releases. I don’t know how much it cost, but Jake won reparations from everyone who published the photos. Blocked from these two avenues of cash, your stepsister started selling your details to the press. Jake pulled no punches. She was arrested and spent time in jail until she took a plea bargain. I think she’s still on probation.”
“Jake was done with the entire mess. He bought the fishing cabin in Dexter and made Sam live there. That was another round of … Well, Sam was at the cabin a week before he came to his senses. Sam needed to fish, breathe fresh air, and live in peace. He was all but destroyed by all this … turmoil.”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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