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Franklin’s FalL CHAPTER ONE THE ROBBERY Frank Franklin fell out of bed. He slept as far to his side as possible. With Allyson, there was no more warmth in their resting place. “That’s a new one,” Allyson spoke from the bathroom mirror. Frank pulled himself into a sitting position on the carpet and threw the pillow back on the bed. “A new what?” “You fell out of bed, Franklin. That’s a new stupid for you.” “I was having a nightmare.” Frank could smell her pungent perfume that floated from the bathroom. It made him gag. He stood up and caught a view of Allyson in her underwear standing at the sink mirror. For a middle-aged woman, she still had the semblance of a waist. Her buttocks perched generously outward and upward, just like her tits. She saw him watching her in the mirror. He quickly turned away just as she slammed the bathroom door shut. The alarm went off on his nightstand. He reached for the shut-off button. He grabbed his crotch under his pajama pants. It was over. He knew it was over, moons ago. Little Heather had drowned in the swimming pool at summer camp in New Hampshire. His wife was in Chicago with Ester, her mother, visiting her high-class family at the time. He was working at the accounting firm when the camp phoned him of the tragedy. But it was always his fault. The child died on his watch. All that was left was a lie…for the family to stay together, maintain a semblance of normalcy, long enough for the courts to award the wrongful-death settlement. It was made crystal clear. After that, Allyson was dumping him. She would take Cynthia and Benjamin with her. And that was the killer. Allyson had shown no mercy in driving a wedge of distrust and hate between him and the two remaining children. Hating him seemed a convenient option, to curb her grief, and her guilt. Heather was the youngest. Just eight when she died. Cindy was twelve, and Ben thirteen when it happened. They were transformed by the death of their little sister. In just six months since the accident, he had watched the hardness grow in their stares. To hear it from his wife and her mother, it was as though he had drowned the kid himself. Frank had entertained early visions of his being head of the family. They proved delusional. Mr. Chasewell, Allyson’s domineering father, was always against the marriage. To hear him tell it, his daughter had married beneath her station. Frank’s family had its bright spots. Uncle Glen was a judge. But after their third child, something broke. Allyson wanted more. More than he could offer. The tragic death of Heather condemned him in the eyes of her elitist family. First chance his totally bitched-out wife and her monster mom had, they would throw him under the bus. So it made him nuts. He knew it.

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