Some people are just fucking nuts. There's no other way to describe how they are other than fucking nuts. I mean, they'll put their trust in anybody who tells them something that's impossible to prove one way or the other and they'll give them money in hopes of getting what that anybody promises them. Not only will they give them money once, they'll keep giving them money and just ignore what that money is obviously being used for.
They're the same people who play the lottery every week. They're not dumb people, and in fact, most are pretty smart. It's just that the idea of getting something big by investing a little is too good to pass up. They also play "find the pea" with the guys on the corner of most large cities, and they're the people who really believe that Nigerian prince really does need their help to get his millions out of Africa.
That's what I was thinking when Reverend Thomas Roper was sitting in the chair across from me that afternoon. I knew him, well , I didn't actually know him, but I knew what he was. He claimed to be a charismatic preacher who was driven to pursue a life of piety and ministering to the faithful because he'd seen God when he survived unscathed after a horrible car accident and God had told him it was his destiny to spread the word. He had his own morning television show on one of the local stations and he was pretty good at all the "hell-fire and damnation if you didn't do unto others" shit.
He'd also been interviewed by one of the local newspapers. I read the reporter's introduction and about half of the interview before I needed a cigarette and a scotch to stop my mind from going nuts too. Reverend Roper had a world-wide flock of believer/donors that numbered about fifteen thousand and his church - The Church of Divine Promise - sat on twenty acres out on the edge of Nashville.
I'd driven by that church several times, and it was pretty impressive. According to the interview, the main part where the congregation sat and listened to Reverend Roper on Sunday mornings would seat four thousand and was usually filled. Attached to the church was the parsonage, but this building wasn't the austere living quarters of a preacher. It had an indoor pool, a television recording studio, and a gourmet kitchen in addition to a living room, formal dining room, and six bedrooms each with it's own bath.
In reality, Reverend Roper was a con man. I knew that because to be a good PI, you have to be a pretty good con man yourself, and as the old saying goes, "it takes one to know one". He was a great con man too. He'd stand in his pulpit every Sunday morning and give people the story that if they donated enough money - he said God needed at least ten percent of your gross income - and prayed enough, all things would come their way. You'd always find a parking place right in front of where you were going and you'd be cured of any ills before you even knew you were sick.
It was an impossible to dispute story. If things didn't go your way, the reason was obviously that you didn't believe enough and probably didn't donate enough. It couldn't possibly be just chance or the fact you'd fucked up somewhere along the line. God had a plan for everybody that would guarantee happiness if you just went along with everything Reverend Roper told you to do.
Now, my parents went to church on Sunday and tried hard to make a believer out of me. It worked until I got old enough to apply logic to what the church taught. For the most part, I believe the Bible is a good guide for getting through life - do unto others and all that - but nowhere in the Bible does it say that certain people have a direct line to God and can tell you what he or she wants you to do.
Anyway, Reverend Roper walked into my office that day, sat down, and smiled a a con man's fake smile.
"Mr. Meers, I have somewhat of a problem and I'm told you're very discrete."
"Yes, whatever your problem is, it will stay between us and only us. What can I help you with?"
He leaned forward as if he was afraid someone else would hear.
"I need you to find my wife and bring her back to me."
Well, I'd done a lot of cases like that. None of them had involved preachers though. I'd seen his wife, Virginia, a couple of times when I flipped past his daily TV show in search of something more interesting, like maybe a shopping show or a re-run of Gilligan's Island. She was always sitting beside him wearing a dress and looking appropriately devoted.
Actually, she looked bored more than anything. Her smile was always there when he said something that was supposed to be a profound revelation, but when you work with a lot of people, you start to look at their eyes more than their mouth because people can't lie with their eyes. Virginia's eyes looked like she was off in another world. Her body was sitting there in her perfect makeup and fluffed up pile of blonde hair, but her mind wasn't.
"How long has she been missing?"
He stroked his chin with his manicured fingers.
"Well, let's see. She was on my show on Monday morning, but on Tuesday she said she wasn't feeling well. She was gone when I finished the show. It was rather embarrassing to have to tell my viewers Virginia was ill so I told them she had gone to Peru to minister to the people there. It's Friday now so I guess it's been...
He counted on his fingers.
"...three days not counting today."
"She hasn't been in contact with you in three days?"
He shook his head.
"No, not even a phone message."
I was frowning by then.
"Maybe you should be talking to the police then."
I swear to God the look on his face was panic.
"Oh, no...no...A man in my position can't do something like that. It would be in the newspapers and on television. If the police found her uh...deceased, that would be fine. I'd get sympathy from my congregation, but if she's just run off...well, a man of the cloth has to have a faithful wife if he's to be trusted."
I had to work at not kicking his ass out of my office right then, but if I let my personal morals dictate what cases I take, I wouldn't eating regularly.
"I'll need some information to do that...and I'll need six hundred up front for the first two days of the investigation. If I haven't found her by then, my fee is three hundred a day."
Reverend Roper nodded.
"The money won't be a problem."
"OK. What I need is a physical description, where she might have gone, who her friends are, things like that, and if you have one, a picture would be a big help."
Of all the information he gave me, the picture was the most help. I couldn't believe Reverend Roper knew so little about his wife. I mean, most men at least know how tall their wife is and they have some guess at how much she weighs. When I asked those questions, Reverend Roper got a blank look on his face.
"I'm not really sure how tall she is. She's not as tall as I am though. How much does she weigh? I'm sorry but I don't know that either. Virginia's a little secretive about things like that."
All he knew for sure was she had naturally blonde hair, but the picture told me otherwise. Virginia's hair was almost white, and most blondes hair is more of a yellow color. Virginia had bleached her hair to make it blonde and since I didn't see a dark line in her part, she must have had her roots touched up every week.
Reverend Roper did give me some names of friends but didn't have phone numbers or addresses for them. He didn't know where she might have gone since none of her friends were that close. They were just church members she saw and talked with every Sunday. The only other information he gave me was that Virginia drove a blue Honda Civic and the license number. He apparently thought he deserved something better because he was driving a black Mercedes sedan with a vanity plate that said "BELEVER".
All in all, I came to the conclusion Virginia was more a prop for his scam than anything else. It wasn't just that he didn't seem to know her very well. It was because he was more worried about what his congregation would think than if something had happened to her. Every time he answered my question, he gave me that same fake smile and not once did he seem very emotional. Now, most men don't really show their emotions, but if my wife had decided to head out for parts unknown, I'd at least be a little worried.
Well, when mine did, I was more relieved than anything, but I thought a preacher would at least be a little concerned. She didn't tell him she was leaving or leave him a note. For all he knew, she could be laying dead in a road ditch someplace. Reverend Roper talked like he was just telling me it was likely to rain tomorrow.
The picture was of her sitting on the couch beside the chair that Reverend Roper was using, and I asked myself the same question I've asked myself at least a thousand times. How in hell did a woman like Virginia end up with an asshole like Reverend Roper? Virginia wasn't a beautiful woman because it looked like someone had troweled about half an inch of makeup on her face and her lipstick was bright red. I've always been more in favor of a more natural look without so much makeup. She was far from being plain though, and her face looked kind even if she did look bored to death. Her dress didn't fit very tight and it wasn't short at all, but it wasn't hard to see she had nice legs and a nice pair of tits.
I put the check he gave me in my desk after I noticed it was a check from Roper Ministries and not from an account for Thomas and Virginia Roper or even an account with only his name. I wondered if his congregation would understand why he was using donated money to track down his wife.
That afternoon, I drove to my bank and deposited the check. Normally, I'd have waited five days to make sure the check cleared, but I didn't for two reasons. I figured the six hundred wasn't even close to what Roper Ministries took in every day so the check would probably clear. I probably would still have waited except I was pretty concerned about Virginia. People don't usually just up and leave without telling somebody where they're going unless they don't have a choice.
That last thing is why I decided to start at the parsonage. If Virginia had told Reverend Roper she didn't feel well and then left in the middle of his TV show, somebody had to see her leave and if she was with anyone else. If she was with somebody, that could be good or it could be really bad. I needed to find that person and I didn't figure Virginia was doing all the cleaning herself for a house as big as the parsonage. She had to have a housekeeper if not two.
Normally, I'd have put together some sort of con to get that housekeeper to tell me what she knew without knowing she was telling me that. It's usually not hard to do because housekeepers see everything that goes on and are often more than willing to tell a guy trying to sell them some new floor mop or window cleaner. I didn't figure I needed to do that this time because the housekeeper would already know Virginia was gone and that Reverend Roper had hired me to find her.
I was prepared for an older woman in working clothes to answer the door. What I got was a stunning redhead who looked too young to be even twenty wearing leggings and a very snug top. I introduced myself and then asked her name. She grinned.
"My name's Misty, Misty Majors. I'm the housekeeper."
The way she batted her eyelashes at me told me Misty liked to flirt. That and the way she was dressed was making me wonder how much of her housekeeping she did in the bedroom. No, I wasn't making a judgment about Reverend Roper, but if Misty walked around the house like that all day...
"Misty, I'm sure you already know, but Mrs. Roper has been gone for a few days and Reverend Roper is worried something might have happened to her. He hired me to find out and that's why I'm here. You didn't happen to see her leave the parsonage on Tuesday or hear her say she was going out, did you?"
Misty smiled and batted her eyelashes again.
"No, Mr. Meers. Tuesday is when I do the shopping so I wasn't here. Mrs. Roper and I don't talk very much anyway. She usually stays in her room unless she's on our TV show. I didn't get back until almost four and she wasn't here then."
"Was Reverend Roper here then?"
Misty shook her head.
"No. Every morning he does our TV show and every afternoon he either visits people in the hospital or he works in his church office on the next morning show or his Sunday sermon. I only see him for lunch and when I go shopping, he goes out for lunch. He said Mrs. Roper has better things to do than fix his lunch."
I was certain she wasn't telling me every thing she knew, and I thought I might know the reason why.
"Misty, you said 'our' TV show. Do you help him with it?"
"Oh no, I just said that because Reverend Roper says his TV show belongs to the whole congregation and all the people who send in their money."
"So you're part of the congregation?"
Misty nodded and smiled.
"Yes, I am, and I have Reverend Roper to thank for that. I was just walking the street with no money and no job and he stopped his car and asked if I needed a ride somewhere. He was such a nice man I told him all my problems and he said he could help me if I'd believe what he told me and go to work as his housekeeper. I have my own bedroom and I get paid and everything. He takes really good care of me. He says God told him I'm special."
Misty seemed really taken by Reverend Roper and I figured he was encouraging her to do so. Usually, it's the woman of the house who directs the household staff, but it sounded like Reverend Roper did the directing of everything. It also sounded like Misty liked the arrangement. I wasn't going to get anything more out of her.
"Well, I'm happy you fixed your troubles. Is there anybody else who might have seen her leave?"
Misty thought for a second, and then frowned.
"Maybe old Willard might have seen her. He takes care of the grass and flowers and he's here every day. I should warn you that Willard isn't a very nice man. He always frowns at me."
"Is he here today?"
"On Friday, Willard trims the grass around the church and walks and parking lot so it looks nice for Sunday services."
I drove around to the church parking lot and saw an older guy down on his hands and knees with a pair of grass sheers trimming the grass along the sidewalk. When I walked up to him, he stopped, looked up, and frowned. As soon as he spoke, I knew I was going to like him.
"Church don't open until Sunday morning. What the hell do you want?"
"I'll bet you're Willard. Misty told me you'd be out here."
"Yeah, I'm Willard. What'd that little snip tell you?"
"Just that you take care of the grass and flowers. I don't think she likes you much though. She said you always frown at her."
"That's 'cause I do. What's she expect when she goes whorin' herself out to that preacher man?"
I laughed then.
"I take it you're not one of the faithful?"
"Oh hell no. I gotta a brain."
"Then why did Reverend Roper hire you to take care of the grounds?"
"I underbid everybody else he asked, that's why. Roper's tight-fisted with his money lessen it's something he's buyin' for himself. He don't like me neither, but I work cheap so he puts up with me."
He seemed to be comfortable talking with me, so I decided to get down to why I was there.
"Well, Willard, I suppose you know Mrs. Roper hasn't been around for a while."
"Yep. She finally got up the gumption to leave. Glad she done it too. Been telling her she should for near a year now."
"Oh, why would you tell her something like that?"
"'cause I like her. She ain't like Roper. Mrs. Roper's a lady. He's a horse's ass."
'You and Mrs. Roper got along pretty well, then?"
"Yeah. She'd come out when I was plantin' flowers or trimmin' the walks and talk to me. She never said there was any problems 'tween her and Roper, but I could tell she weren't happy, so I asked her 'bout it one day."
He shook his head then.
"Ain't no woman should be treated like that."
"Oh, how did he treat her?"
Willard put down his grass sheers, pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, and lit one with an ancient Zippo lighter. He inhaled, then blew out the smoke.
"The way she told it, they met right after he got this church and his mansion built. She was waitin' tables at a restaurant, and he come in and sat down. Said he was real nice to her and tipped her twice what she'd been gettin'. Then he told her he was a preacher and wanted to know if she'd go out with him sometime.
"Well, I guess he was slick as cat shit an' talked her into workin' for him. She weren't but a little over twenty at the time, an' she thought she loved him. It were two months later, when he got his morning TV show he said he wanted her to go blonde and sit with him while he talked to people. He talked her into marryin' him soon's she started doin' that.
"She got her hair bleached like he wanted and started tryin' to help him get the TV show started. 'bout a year later when he gettin' a shit load of money from people was when the problem started big time."
Willard took another drag on his cigarette and then looked up at me and grinned.
"Seems like once he got rich, the old Reverend turned into a horn-dog. She caught him with one of his flock, a girl 'bout twenty. They was fuckin' in one of the spare bedrooms. I guess the bastard told her to leave them alone and he'd talk to her when he got done.
"What he told her was he expected her to keep on being his TV wife an' he'd see to it she didn't want for anything, but he was gonna do what he wanted to do. After that, she moved into another bedroom so's she wouldn't have to sleep with him. From what she said, they hadn't done nothin' in over a year anyway. He'd hired Misty by then and was fuckin' her instead.
"Well, I told her there weren't nothin' that could be as bad as what he were doin' to her and she should leave him. She said she'd told him she was goin' to, but he asked her how she was gonna do that when she didn't have any money. I guess he never give her any real money. He give her prepaid credit cards to buy what she needed - a couple hundred every month for whatever she needed to look like preacher's wife.
Willard laughed then.
"He didn't know how smart Virginia is. She saved them credit cards for six months and never bought nothin'. On Monday, he give her another one for two hundred and she figured that was enough. Tuesday, she got in her car an' drove off. Glad for her sake she finally left."
Well that explained a lot and confirmed what I'd figured out about Misty and Reverend Roper.
"She didn't tell you where she was going, by any chance."
Willard finished his cigarette, stubbed it out in the grass and stuck the butt in his shirt pocket.
"Roper'd have a heart attack if he seen a butt layin' on the ground. Why you want to know where she went?"
After what Willard had told me, I was starting to hope I'd never find Virginia. Still, Reverend Roper had paid me for two days investigation in advance, so I was obligated to try.
"Well, I'm a private investigator and Reverend Roper hired me to find her and bring her back."
"Then you can go fuck yerself 'cause I ain't tellin' you shit. She don't wanna come back."
I knew Willard was just trying to help Virginia, but I had to tell Reverend Roper something.
"What if I just talk to her and let her tell me the same thing? I can't really force her to come back, and if she doesn't want him to know where she is, she has every right to do that. There's no law that says a person can't just disappear and start a new life. I mean, she can't get married again unless she divorces him first, but she doesn't have to come back just because he wants her to and he can't make her. He's already paid me so I have to tell him something besides I couldn't find her."
Willard looked at me for a full two minutes without saying anything. He was trying to read my thoughts in my face. I hoped I didn't look like I was lying, because I wasn't. Finally he stood up, nodded, and pulled a cell phone from his shirt pocket.
"I believe ya. Tell you what I'll do. I'll text Virginia your phone number and explain the situation. If she wants to talk to you, she'll text you back. If she don't, you're shit outa luck 'cause I ain't helping that asshole find her."
I felt a lot better about Virginia after talking with Willard. She was probably safe, wherever she was, so some of the urgency to find her was gone. I still had to try to find her, at least for the two days Reverend Roper had paid for, but if she didn't make contact with me, that was going to be pretty hard. People who disappear because they want to will do about anything to remain hidden. It wasn't likely she was going to text me back.
I had Reverend Roper's list of names I could check as well as the businesses where Virginia shopped. Talking to her friends was probably not going to get me anywhere. Since they were all members of the congregation, I doubted they were really her friends and I doubted she'd told any of them she was leaving much less where she was going. They'd have just told Reverend Roper as soon as she did and she wouldn't have been able to get away.
The places she shopped seemed like a better place to start, and given the way she always looked on TV, her hair salon seemed the most likely place. Women will tell their hair stylist or manicurist things they wouldn't tell their own mother.
I'd expected Virginia to use one of the best salons in Nashville, but the name Reverend Roper gave me wasn't one of them. She used a place called "Teresa's Salon" and it wasn't downtown. It was an old storefront out in the older business district of Gallatin, and when I looked up the Facebook page, it said the hours were from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon. I got there about five 'til five so I could probably talk to the stylists without waiting on any customers to leave. When I walked through the door, the place was empty except for one woman sweeping the floor.
She looked up and smiled.
"Hi, I'm Teresa, but I think you must have the wrong place. I only do women's hair and nails."
Virginia was twenty-eight and I was fifty one, so I couldn't very well use the story I was looking for a former classmate or girlfriend. Instead, I gave Teresa my real business card and kind of the truth. I said I was a PI and I was looking for Virginia Roper to serve her with a notice to appear in court.
Teresa eyed me suspiciously.
"What has Virginia done? Is she in trouble."
I had an answer for that question that I hoped would make sense.
"No, she's in no trouble at all. Her sister is suing her husband for divorce and wants her to testify at the hearing. Her sister lives in Minneapolis and didn't remember her address, but she remembered Mrs. Roper saying she used your salon. Apparently they aren't very close, but they do talk back and forth on Facebook. I couldn't find Virginia Roper in the phone book, so you were my next stop."
Teresa smiled then.
"I did the same thing when I got divorced, but I knew where my sister lived. Yes, I know Virginia. She has a standing appointment at four every Friday of every week to get her roots and nails done. I was looking for her today, but she never showed."
"Did she ever say anything about friends she might visit or someplace she was going after her appointment?"
Teresa shook her head.
"No. As far as I know she went straight home to her husband. She said he didn't want her going out by herself. Thought somebody might recognize her. He let her come here because it's just me and by four all my regulars are gone."
"Why would her husband be concerned about somebody recognizing her?"
"You know she's a preacher's wife, don't you?"
I shook my head.
"No, I didn't know that. Which preacher? Maybe I should be talking to him."
"He's that preacher who's on TV every morning, Reverend Roper. I watched him one time after I found out who Virginia was. I think he's a fake."
I wasn't learning anything about where Virginia might be, but I was learning more about Reverend Roper. If I could keep Teresa talking, I might learn something that would lead me to somebody who would know.
"Why would you say that?"
"Well, he did talk about religion some, but most of what he said was that he needed money to keep his ministry going. The way Virginia dressed told me he wasn't hurting for money. She didn't shop at Penny's for her clothes. She shopped at the ritzy places like Megan's and L. Shelby's and she shopped on-line. I know because she always looked so nice and I asked her where she bought her clothes.
Teresa looked like she was thinking for a few moments, then frowned.
"You know, there was something funny about the way she paid me. She always used a credit card from Roper Ministries. She always had me run it as a debit, and the last several months, she started asking if I could give her fifty dollars in cash back. Because she was a good customer, I always did that, but I couldn't figure out why she'd want cash. Since I got a debit card, I never use checks or cash. That way I can track everything I spend and nobody can rob me 'cause I don't have any money to rob."
I left after Teresa told me she'd never heard Virginia talk about going anyplace else but if she thought of something, she'd give me a call.
I still had no idea of where to find Virginia, but I had a pretty good understanding of her relationship with Reverend Roper now. She wasn't just window dressing for his TV show. She was about as close to a slave as he could make her.
He also had underestimated her. I figured like most large churches, Roper Ministries had a treasurer to keep track of spending and income. Most treasurer's wouldn't think much about fifty dollars being withdrawn from the account because Reverend Roper probably did the same thing. He wouldn't want there to be any permanent record of what he spent on Misty. Misty had told me he always paid her in cash, and I figured that wasn't the only way he spent money on her.
If Virginia had been doing the same thing every week for six months, she could have accumulated several hundred in cash, and as long as she had someplace to go, that would take her quite a ways.
I hadn't gotten a text message from Virginia by Saturday morning, so I figured I wasn't going to get one. That meant I was out of angles unless something fell into my lap. In a lot of ways, I was glad. I usually like women, well, except for my ex, and it pisses me off when some guy, especially some guy who thinks he's something special, abuses one.
With no leads, I didn't have anything to do on Saturday, so I sat down and read over the notes I'd gotten from Reverend Roper again. Like I already knew, there was nothing there. I'd told Teresa that Virginia had a sister because Reverend Roper had told me that too, but he'd also said they didn't get along. When I'd asked him why, he'd shrugged and said he didn't know. I'd also asked him where this sister lived, but he didn't know that either.
On a whim more than in hopes of getting any more information, I turned on my TV and flipped through the channels until I came to Reverend Roper's TV show. I'd never really watched it before, but that Saturday I did.
Like I said before, it takes a con man to recognize a con man, and I had to admit, Reverend Roper was pretty damned good. In between praying for anything and every thing, he put pictures of starving children on the screen and asked for money to keep the food and medicine going to them through Roper Ministries. Roper Ministries was also in the process of building a family oriented and religious theme park in Georgia, and he needed money for that too. He only wanted five dollars, but anything would help the cause, and if you donated a hundred, he'd send you a T-shirt that said "I've been Ropered in by God".
His spiel would have been pretty convincing if you were taken in by his promises of a fantastic life if only you believed and gave him enough money. I always like conning people like that. You tell them they've won something free, and they'll fall all over themselves telling you everything you want to know.
It's hard to believe some people are that rock-dumb, but it's true. Reverend Roper helped keep them hoping by little testimonials he played from time to time. I figured they were all fake. I mean, the fact your wife got pregnant after you sent him fifty dollars probably meant things just worked like they've worked for thousands of years and not because he had anything to do with it. It's a crime to hustle people like he was doing, but unless somebody filed a complaint, he'd keep getting away with it.
I was starting to put together a story that there was no way I was going to find Virginia. That was going to be hard to do without telling Reverend Roper I was surprised she'd put up with his bullshit for as long as she did. I didn't figure he'd really care, and he confirmed that a few minutes after he asked for money to help the drug addicts in Chicago find God and get clean. His face turned somber and worried looking then.
"I got a letter from Mrs. Roper in the mail yesterday. She said she's well, but has been kidnapped by some drug dealers and held for ransom. They want two hundred thousand dollars within a week to release her. She says so far, they haven't harmed her, but if they don't get the money, they'll kill her and leave her body in the jungle. Friends, I can't bear to lose Mrs. Roper, so if you have a heart, please send in your dollars or even pennies so we can pay the ransom and bring Mrs. Roper back safe and sound."
The asshole had devised a con that couldn't go wrong. If Virginia came back, it would be because the faithful flock had given him enough money to pay the ransom. If she didn't, he'd make them feel guilty as hell that Virginia was now dead and lying somewhere in the jungle and they'd send him more cash in sympathy. He might even ask for more money so he could find her body and bring it back. He'd be burying an empty casket, but nobody would want proof she was in there. Either way, Reverend Roper would end up with a shit load of cash he could use however he wanted.
The other thing his con would fix is his relationship with Misty. If Virginia didn't come back, he and Misty could do as they pleased. I also figured Misty would suffer the same fate as Virginia, though Misty didn't seem smart enough to figure out he was balling the new housekeeper instead of balling her. I've tracked down enough unfaithful husbands to know they seldom change. Reverend Roper seemed to like really young women, so Misty would have to age a little, but he'd find another twenty year old eventually.
It was after watching Reverend Roper do that I made a decision. I'd wait another day to see if Virginia would talk to me. If she didn't, I was going to stop looking for her. Either way, my report to Reverend Roper was going to be that I couldn't find anybody who knew when she left or where she might have gone and his best bet was to report her disappearance to the police because they could put out an alert for her car and monitor use of her credit cards.
I was making some notes about what I was going to tell Reverend Roper when my cell phone buzzed. When I answered it, I heard a familiar voice.
"Harry, this is Teresa from 'Teresa's Salon'. Are you real busy right now?"
"No, not really. Why?"
"You said to call you if I remembered anything. I'd rather not tell you on the phone. Could you come to my salon?"
When I parked outside the salon, the sign on the door said "Closed". I walked up to the door and started to knock, but before I could, Teresa opened the door and waved her hand at me.
"Come on in so we can talk."
Once I was inside, Teresa closed and locked the door then motioned toward a couch.
"I don't have any place to sit except my chairs and this couch, and the couch will be better."
Once we were sitting down, Teresa looked at me with a sheepish smile on her face.
"Harry...can I call you Harry...good...Harry, I didn't tell you everything I know about Virginia because I wasn't sure about you until this morning. I think you've met Misty Majors. Well, I do her hair too on Saturday mornings. This morning she told me Virginia left on Tuesday morning and hasn't come back, and she said you told her yesterday that Reverend Roper hired you to find her. That's why you're looking for her, isn't it?"
I started into my standard spiel that I don't discuss my relationship with clients but Teresa cut me off.
"Don't give me that crap, Harry, because you're lying. I can see it in your face."
"What if I am? Why does that make a difference?"
"It makes a difference because of what Misty told me this morning. She said Reverent Roper - she calls him Tom, by the way, not Reverend Roper - she said he told he needed a woman on his TV show, and if Virginia didn't some back, he was going to pick her. He doesn't care if Virginia comes back or not if he's already telling Misty she's going to be the one.
"I don't think that's long in coming. She had me bleach her hair to blonde today because she said he thinks blonde women look more faithful. I think what he means is blondes are too dumb to be anything but faithful. Lord knows Misty isn't too smart if she bought what he was telling her."
"That's the conclusion I came to as well. I still have to try to find her though. Reverend Roper already paid me."
Teresa frowned then.
"I know that, but can't you just tell him you're pretty sure she won't come back?"
"The only way I'll know that is if I can talk to her. Her gardener sent her a text message with my phone number so she could set up a meeting, but so far I haven't heard anything. It looks to me like she wants to stay hidden."
Teresa smiled at me then.
"No, she doesn't. She wants to divorce the jerk, but she doesn't think she can do it by herself. She thinks he'll just sweet talk a judge into believing he loves her and really wants her back. If you haven't watched his TV show, you should so you'd understand she's probably right. That man could sell birth-control pills to a seventy year old Catholic nun."
"You've talked to Virginia?"
"This morning, right after Misty left."
"Did she tell you where she is?"
"No, but she said she'd like to talk to you. She's going to call you at ten tonight."
At nine-fifty-five that night, I poured myself two fingers of Glenfiddich, propped my feet up on my desk and waited for Virginia to call me. At ten-o-one, my cell phone buzzed.
I answered "Harry Meers, what can I do for you" like I always answer. The voice that came back to me wasn't what I'd expected at all. The only time I'd seen her on Reverend Roper's television show she'd just sat there without saying anything. From the way she looked, I figured she'd have the same Southern accent Reverend Roper did. She didn't.
"Mr. Meers, I'm the Virginia my husband hired you to find. Willard and Teresa both believe I can trust you to do the right thing. Would it be acceptable if we talked for a while so I may explain the situation in which I find myself?"
"Sure. I was hoping you'd contact me."
I heard her sigh.
"I had hoped to just disappear and believed I had done just that until Willard sent his text message to me. I didn't believe my husband would care enough to actually pay someone to find me. When Teresa called me and told me about her conversation with Misty, that confirmed my belief. I just couldn't understand why he'd hired you.
"I watched his TV show Saturday morning and then I understood. He doesn't want me back. He just wants Misty to take my place on his TV show and he laid the groundwork for that to happen by giving his viewers a reason I wouldn't be able to come back. He'd just tell his viewers the drug dealers killed me because they didn't give him enough money.
"After some mourning time, he'll do the same thing to Misty that he did to me. He'll sweet-talk her into marrying him and then tell her his wife is too important to the ministry to do common housework. He'll hire another nineteen year old housekeeper and start sleeping with her. I'm not going back to him, but I can not stand by and allow him to do that to another woman, even if Misty hasn't got the sense God gave a goose."
I thought I should remind Virginia that Reverend Roper couldn't marry Misty unless he divorced her or could prove she was dead.
She just laughed.
"He'll never divorce me because that would ruin his reputation as one of God's chosen ones. That won't stop him from marrying Misty though. He'll just tell her the same story about my death and she won't know the difference. As I said before, Misty isn't very smart. She already let him convince her that having sex with her was something God told him to do."
Well, I'd figured out most of that already, so I asked Virginia what she wanted me to do.
"Virginia, I understand your situation, and I don't like it any more than you do, but Reverend Roper paid me to find you. After talking with you, I can't tell him I couldn't find you."
"I know you can't do that. I want you to tell him you talked to me and I said I was never coming back. You can say you don't know where I am because you don't and I'm not going to tell you...not yet."
That trailing "not yet" got my curiosity up.
"Uh...what did you mean by 'not yet'?"
I could almost see her smiling.
"If I know my husband, and I believe I've seen all sides of the man, he'll thank you and say you did all he could ask of you. You won't hear from him again because he'll have found out what he wants to know - that I'm never coming back to him. Once he's done that, I'll tell you where I am."
"Why would you want to do that?"
I heard her quietly chuckle.
"Because I want to hire you to help me divorce him. Willard seems to believe you could do that, and I trust Willard more than I trust anyone else in the world so far."
I suppose you're thinking it wouldn't be ethical to do what Virginia wanted. It probably wouldn't have been ethical if Reverend Roper had given me any information I'd used to find her. Even though he'd given me Teresa's salon as a place where Virginia got her hair and nails done, I hadn't learned anything from Teresa the first time we'd talked that I could use to help Virginia. It was only after Teresa called me I did, so that didn't really count as evidence I'd gotten by actually investigating. Actually, I didn't give a shit if it was ethical or not. Reverend Roper wasn't ethical either.
On Monday, I called Reverend Roper's cell phone number and told him I'd talked to Virginia but I didn't know where she was and didn't really see any way I was going to find that out.
"All she'd tell me was she was never coming back. I can't back-trace her phone because it's a cell phone and I can't get any information about which cell phone tower she was using. She could be anywhere in the US, so unless she told somebody where she was going, I could spend years trying to find her. Are you sure you want to pay me three hundred a day to do that?"
Reverend Roper didn't say anything for a while, but I figured he was trying to decide how to tell me he was crushed and make it sound like he was serious. He didn't do very well.
"Well, Mr. Meers, I'm not a wealthy man. All the money I receive from my followers goes toward the projects of my ministry to advance the word of God. I can't afford to have you continue to look for Virginia. Maybe it is God's will that she left me. Yes, that must be what it is. God doesn't make mistakes. He deemed it time for Virginia to leave me for some reason only He knows."
I could have almost believed him if he hadn't then asked a question.
"Mr. Meers, did Virginia tell you what she was going to do with her life now?"
I knew what he was asking. He was asking if she was going to leave him alone, or if she was going to divorce him. Since technically, Virginia hadn't yet paid me to help her, I didn't technically lie.
"No, all she said was she was going somewhere far away and start a new life for herself."
I could almost see him grinning to himself.
"Well, if you speak to her again, please tell her I wish her well and I'll pray for her every day."
I watched his TV show for the next week, and I had to admit Reverent Roper could spin a good tale. On Monday, he showed a thermometer looking thing with dollar amounts on the scale instead of degrees, and announced he'd update it every day until the donations had reached the two hundred thousand the kidnappers demanded. Then, he bowed his head and prayed for his flock to pray for Mrs. Roper and send in their donations.
On Tuesday, the total was fifty thousand and he prayed again. On Wednesday, the total was seventy-five thousand, and it seemed like his prayer was a little longer. By the next Monday, the total was only a hundred, and he didn't pray again. Instead, with a sad face he thanked his followers for their generosity and knew they had done all they could, but he'd received another letter, this time from the kidnappers. In the letter, they said since he hadn't wired them the money, they'd had no choice but to kill Mrs. Roper.
He did pray then, for about fifteen minutes. He did surprise me though. He didn't ask for money to bring her body back to Nashville so he could give her a proper burial. All he said was that Mrs. Roper would want the money his followers had given for her release to go the his ministry in Peru to further the work Mrs. Roper had begun.
I thought that was convenient. If he really had collected that much over the week, he now had a hundred thousand to do with as he pleased. Nobody was going to go to Peru to see if he was spending the money there.
I called Virginia that Monday afternoon.
"Well, Virginia, Reverend Roper has had you duly killed by the kidnappers and told his followers that you're laying in the jungle of Peru somewhere. I guess that means he doesn't want you back."
"Well it's good to know I'm dead. Do you think his followers will be surprised to know that I'm still alive and that he lied to them?"
I chuckled too.
"Well, I doubt he's going to tell them that."
"I know", she mused, "but I'm going to if he doesn't do what I want him to do. I talked to a lawyer yesterday. He knows who my husband is, and he said he'd probably agree to about anything to keep the divorce out of the news. I just need some proof he's sleeping with Misty. That's where I need you. Can you get pictures of him with her doing something that looks like they might be sleeping together?"
She paused for a second, and after that, her voice was kind of pleading.
"I know I'll have to pay you, but right now I don't have much money. I borrowed five hundred dollars from my sister. Would that be enough for you to get some pictures of them together?"
Well, it wasn't my normal fee, but in addition to feeling sorry for Virginia, I was starting to like her even though I'd never actually met her.
"That's a little short of my regular fee, but we can talk about that once this is all over. It's going to be hard though. I can't just sneak into the room and take pictures of them on the bed. Probably the most I'll get is him touching her or something like that. I don't know if that'll be enough for a lawyer or not. They usually want pictures that don't leave much to the imagination.
Virginia said she thought she knew a way I could.
"Every month, he goes to that place in Georgia where he's building an amusement park. He never takes a film crew down there. He takes his own pictures of what progress has been made. The last time he went, he took Misty with him. He said he needed someone for his pictures but she was never in any I saw, so I don't think they were just taking pictures. I'd bet he'll be taking her with him when he goes back and I'd bet they're not going to be looking at how much work has been done.
"That will be this Friday afternoon. He'll record his Saturday TV show on Friday and then leave for Georgia. He won't be back until Saturday night. If you were to be there with your camera, you might get some interesting pictures of them. I know Misty seemed really happy and loving toward him after he took her there, and I only know one reason she'd feel like that."
Well, it was easier than Virginia thought it would be. On Friday afternoon, I parked my rental car in a drugstore parking lot on the street that led to the church and parsonage. About three, the same black Mercedes sedan with the same license plate drove by with Reverend Roper driving and Misty in the passenger seat. I followed them until they turned onto I-24 to Georgia.
I knew they were headed to Dalton, Georgia. Roper Ministries had bought a hundred acre patch of farm land in an inside bend of the Conasauga River about twenty miles from Dalton. I also knew he'd be staying at the Hilton Gardens because Virginia said that's where he always stayed.
It took me a few miles to catch up to them, but when I did, Reverend Roper seemed to be taking it easy at about sixty-five. I figured that was so he was in no danger of getting pulled over for speeding and having to explain to his congregation why Misty was with him. If I drove my normal speed of a little over seventy, I'd beat them to the Hilton Gardens by a few minutes, so I passed the Mercedes and set my cruise control at seventy-five just to be sure. Two hours and twenty minutes later, I was sitting in the parking lot of the Hilton Gardens. I'd been there for fifteen minutes when the black Mercedes pulled up to the entrance and Reverend Roper got out and went inside.
He came back out a few minutes later, got back in the Mercedes, and drove around to the back of the hotel. I drove back just far enough I could see where he parked and then got my camera ready.
When Misty got out, she was wearing little shorts and a tank top that barely covered her tits, and if she was wearing a bra, it had to be built into the tank top. She walked back to the trunk where Reverend Roper was getting their suitcases, put her arms around his neck and kissed him. I got pictures of that as well as Reverend Roper cupping Misty's ass cheeks. They went inside then, but since they'd both seen me before I couldn't follow. I drove to the Red Roof and checked in.
The next morning, I was parked in the Hilton Gardens parking lot at six. Reverend Roper and Misty didn't show until almost ten, but when they got in Reverend Roper's car, I followed them out of town to the construction site.
There wasn't much to see there from the road, just a sign that said "Future Home of Divinity Park" and another that said "Construction Site - No Admittance". They drove on down the gravel lane. I parked at the sign, put the telephoto lens on my camera, and walked through the trees that bordered the site until I could see where he'd parked.
There were no other people on the site, though there had been some work done. I could see a couple buildings going up and there were some gravel streets here and there. Reverend Roper and Misty were standing beside his car and he was taking pictures of the buildings. He'd taken a few when he turned and said something to Misty.
She grinned at him and reached for the bottom of her tank top. I got pictures of her pulling her top over her head and like I'd figured, she wasn't wearing a separate bra. As soon as her big tits fell back down on her chest, Reverend Roper bent over and licked both Misty's nipples. She shuddered and then unbuttoned her shorts while he backed up and started taking picture of her again.
I stopped taking pictures after she dropped her little shorts and rolled her panties down over her ass and then bent over the hood of the Mercedes. Reverend Roper was taking pictures of her as fast as he could click his camera, but once she was bent over with her ass pushed back, he put his camera on the ground and reached for his belt buckle.
I had more than enough to prove Reverend Roper and Misty weren't inspecting the construction site. I did stick around long enough to take two more pictures - one of Reverend Roper dropping his pants and another, actually a short video, of him plugged into Misty and pumping away. That would be enough to convince a judge, so I walked back to my car and started back to Nashville.
When I got back to my office, I checked all the pictures and the video to make sure both Reverend Roper and Misty could be positively identified, and then called Virginia.
"Virginia, I got more than enough for your lawyer to use. Reverend Roper is toast. Where do you want me to send the pictures?"
Virginia asked me to text them to her, which I did. I had to sit there for a few minutes while she looked at them. When she spoke again, she sounded happy instead of crying like most women do when I give them pictures of their husband banging another woman.
"Mr. Meers, thank you so much. I want to meet you in person, but I'd rather wait until all this is over if that's all right with you. My lawyer says it won't take very long."
Well, Virginia gave the pictures and video to her lawyer who asked me for another set along with a statement that I'd taken the pictures and swore under oath they weren't doctored in any way. That was the last I heard from Virginia other than the money order she sent me for five hundred dollars.
I did hear about what was going on from Teresa. Evidently Virginia and Teresa were a lot more than just hairdresser and client, because Teresa called me on a Saturday two weeks later.
"Harry, could you come to my shop this afternoon? Virginia wants me to tell you about her divorce and I don't feel right about telling you on the phone."
Like the first time I went to Teresa's studio on Saturday, most of the lights were out and the sign on the door said closed. I got in one knock before Teresa opened the door and waved me inside. After she closed and locked the door, she said, "Let's go back to my office. It'll be more private there."
Once I sat down in the chair in front of her desk, Teresa grinned.
"Virginia said when her lawyer showed the pictures to Roper's lawyer, his lawyer only asked how much Virginia wanted. Virginia's lawyer said he'd have to see the financial statements from Roper's bank accounts before he could say. It won't be official for another week, but Virginia's going to come out all right. I don't think Roper is though.
"Roper had several bank accounts, one for himself and one for Roper Ministries, along with others for his different charities. Virginia's lawyer noticed a lot of the deposits to Roper's personal account seemed to be pretty high for what was listed as consulting and management services. He suspected Roper was transferring money from the Roper Ministries account to himself so he started comparing money and dates. It was worse than he thought.
"He was transferring money from Roper Ministries to his charity accounts, and then paying himself from the charity accounts for consulting services and management fees for them too. Roper's personal account was almost half a million dollars. Virginia's going to get most of that along with her car and all of the jewelry he bought her. Roper agreed to that after Virginia's lawyer asked him which he'd like most - giving Virginia what she wanted or having to explain to the press why most of his donations seemed to be going into his personal bank account."
I said I was happy things worked out for Virginia, and Teresa smiled.
"She's happy too and she wants to meet you right after the divorce is final. I do have a question though. Virginia sent me the pictures and video you took of them. Do you get to take pictures like that a lot?"
"Depends upon the case, but if it's about a spouse cheating, that's what I try to get pictures of. That makes it pretty clear they're more than just friends. Usually though, I just get them going into a cheap motel room and then coming out together a couple hours later. I did get video of one couple on a private beach once and that was interesting."
"Bet you got horny while you watched Roper and Misty doin' the dirty, didn'tcha?"
"No, not really. I've done this for so long nothing affects me much anymore."
Teresa frowned a little.
"You're not gay, are you? You don't seem gay to me."
"No, I'm a long way from gay."
"So why don't you like sex?"
"I like sex just fine. Being single and as old as I am, I don't get the opportunity very often, but I do like sex.."
Teresa batted her eyelids at me and smiled a funny little smile.
"So, if you like sex, what does it take to affect you?"
I'd seen a woman do that before. I wasn't sure if Teresa meant what it looked like she meant.
"I uh...I'm not sure what you mean."
Teresa stood up, walked around her desk and then sat on the top.
"Harry, what I mean is I've been divorced for five years and I haven't had a man touch me in six. I stand here all day long and listen to women tell me about their sex life and then go home and do myself with the handle of my hairbrush but it doesn't help much. I haven't been on a date since my divorce because a lot of men are afraid of divorced women. After all that and then seeing the pictures you took, I'm all worked up.
"Virginia trusts you and Misty said you were pretty hot for an old guy. Well you don't look too old to me and I think I trust you too. Wanna help me out a little? I'll be worth your time. My ex said sex was the only thing I was good at."
Well, I was going to tell Teresa it wouldn't be professional do that...right up until she pulled her top over her head. Before when I'd talked to Teresa, she'd been wearing an apron. Today she wasn't but her top didn't fit very tight. I'm a man, so I always look at a woman's tits, but I hadn't really been able to see what Teresa was hiding in her pink bra.
She didn't really give me much time to guess either. As soon as she had her top off, she slipped the bra straps down her arms, turned it around and unhooked it. Then she grinned at me.
"Am I affecting you yet, Harry?"
Well, Teresa wasn't huge, but her tits were a lot bigger than mouth-size and they were nearly perfect - soft, round, and with big dark nipple beds with small nipples. She rubbed her fingertips over her nipples and then pinched them between her index and ring fingers.
"My ex always liked it when I did this. What do you think, Harry? No, wait...I can see what you think 'cause your dick's gettin' hard. Let's see if I can make it harder."
I swear I was going to get up and leave, but Teresa didn't give me the chance. She straddled my legs, sat down, and poked her tits in my face.
"I like it when my nipples get sucked. Harry, open your mouth. Oh, it already is. Hold still."
Teresa lifted her right tit and pushed the nipple into my mouth.
Well, I couldn't talk with Teresa's nipple in my mouth and her tit pressed against my face, so I closed my mouth around her nipple. After doing that. I licked the tip and Teresa shuddered.
"Oh God. I haven't felt that for way too long. Keep doing it."
Now, although it wasn't professional at all, I'm just a guy and I do like sex like I told Teresa. I might have had second thoughts if she hadn't started unbuttoning my shirt, but once her soft hands touched my bare chest, I sort of switched into "automatic fucking mode".
I sucked in my cheeks and pulled Teresa's nipple a little farther into my mouth and then licked the tip again. Teresa caught her breath for a second, and then started trying to find my belt buckle. She started too low and brushed my stiff cock. She purred, "Mmm...I like what I'm feeling down here", and then caught her breath when I sucked on her nipple a little harder.
By then, I needed to breathe and since Teresa had her tit against my face so tight, I couldn't. I pulled back enough I could and forgot to let her nipple go. Teresa gasped, "Oh wow, Harry. How'd you know I like that?"
Since Teresa only had chairs in her office, I thought maybe we'd end up on her desk, but we didn't. Right after I pinched Teresa's left nipple with my teeth, she gasped and then stood up and pulled off her pants and panties.
I started to get up, but she pushed me back down.
"Uh-uh. We're gonna do it my favorite way."
She unbuckled my belt, unzipped my fly, and then said, "Harry, lift up your butt so I can get your pants off."
She didn't get them off all the way because they wouldn't come off over my shoes, but Teresa didn't let that stop her. She pulled my underwear down to my ankles and then straddled me again and reached for my cock. She rubbed it between her pussy lips a couple of times, then moved it back and started pushing her pussy down over my cock. When she was sitting on my thighs, Teresa sighed.
"Oh God, yes. It's been way to long since I got myself screwed."
Well, this was a first for me, and it was kinda different. Teresa started moving her body up and down and her tits were moving up and down just as much. It was hard to catch a nipple in my mouth, but once I did, she put her hands on my shoulders and leaned back so I was pulling on her nipple and stretching her tit out.
Teresa seemed to like that a lot.
"Oh God, Harry. Bite a little harder. I'm getting there fast."
The first time I did that, Teresa groaned and threw her head back. The second time, she panted a few times and then gasped as her pussy sort of opened up. I felt a gush of something wet cover my balls and run down between my thighs. That was a first for me too, and it was hot as hell.
It didn't take Teresa very long before she started riding my cock faster and rocking her pussy into me on the down stroke. It was good that she seemed to be getting there really fast because I wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer. It was how deep inside her I was and the way the little contractions of her passage were milking my cock that did it. I was starting to worry about cumming too fast after she slammed her pussy down, it did that open and close thing again, and my balls got drenched a second time.
That seemed to do it for her though. Teresa groaned, "Oh God, Harry, I'm there", and started to shake. "There" meant she'd have fallen over if she hadn't been holding on to my shoulders because her whole body was shaking. I couldn't hold back anymore and shot my load in her rippling passage and then groaned because all the shaking and contractions were too much stimulation once I'd already cum.
She didn't stop though, so I had to just sit there and feel her jerking her pussy into my cock until she finally sighed.
"Oh, wow. You can't believe how much I needed that."
"Well, it was great for me too. I think you're gonna have to clean up a mess though."
"Yeah. If it's really good, I squirt like crazy, and this was really good. I don't try to do it. It just happens all by itself. Used to drive my ex nuts when that happened. He thought something was wrong with me, but then, he was kind of a wuss anyway."
My cock slipped out of Teresa and she giggled again.
"I was hoping he'd stay in there a while longer. Wanna get something to eat and then see if he'll stand up for me again?"
I got back to my office/apartment about ten that night and I was bushed. The second time, Teresa had bent over her desk and said, "Do me like this, Harry."
I did and like the first time, Teresa soaked my balls twice. It was pretty neat though because when she did her squirting thing, her pussy clamped down on my cock and sort of sucked at it. Like the first time, I came right after I had to hold on to her shaking ass because her legs got all wobbly.
The third time...well, I'd rather not talk about that. Teresa was beating a dead horse, but she still tried. She came that time too and so did I, but it was just a dribble. Once we were both dressed again, she put her arms around my neck and smiled.
"Harry, can I call you sometime if I get all worked up again?"
It would have seemed like I hadn't liked it if I'd said no, so I said she could, but she needed to give me a couple of days to rest up. She grinned.
"I promise not to call you for at least a week."
It was two weeks later that I got a call from Virginia.
"Mr. Meers, I have so much to tell you. Would it be alright if I came to your office? I can do that now since I think my husband...I mean my ex-husband, has better things to do than look for me."
She showed up that Friday night about six, and I didn't realize who it was until she smiled.
"Mr. Meers, I'm Virginia."
Well, when I looked really close, I could see the same face I'd seen on TV, but that was all that was the same. Her hair was a dark auburn and wasn't piled on top of her head like it had been before. She was wearing some makeup but not the plaster job I'd seen before. She was wearing some really sexy jeans with rhinestones down one leg and a top that was trying hard to keep itself around her big tits.
When I didn't say anything, she grinned.
"This is how I really am. I've changed a lot, haven't I? There's something else I changed too. Virginia is my middle name and he wanted me to use it because he said it sounded more pure than my first name. My first name is Brandy, and that's what I go by since I changed my name back - Brandy Jefferson."
"You don't look like the same woman at all, if that's what you mean. Come on in and tell me everything that happened."
Once we were sitting down, I said she looked a lot younger and didn't look like the Virginia I'd seen on TV. She just grinned.
"Well, I never was that woman. I just had to look like that for the TV show. It was all his idea because he thought a preacher should have a wife who was attractive but not really sexy. Funny that he didn't think that way when we met."
"You know, I could never figure out how you hooked up with Reverend Roper. You two just didn't seem to match very well."
"You don't know Tom very well then, and you don't know the real way we met. We met in a club in Louisville where I started dancing to put myself through college. After I graduated, I realized I was making more dancing than I would as an accountant, so I kept it up."
"A club? Willard told me you were waiting tables."
"I told Willard that because he probably wouldn't have understood, but I was taking off my clothes three times a night, six nights a week. The tips were great."
"And Reverend Roper came there?"
"He was one of my regulars. I didn't know he was a preacher because he never said anything about that. It was when he started with his TV show on Sunday mornings he asked me to come work for him. He said he'd pay me more than I was making dancing, so I bleached my hair and bought some dresses so I'd look like he wanted.
"It was two months after that he asked me to marry him. Well, I was twenty two at the time and I was naive as all get out. He talked like he loved me and he was good in bed, so I said yes. That lasted about a year before I found out he had a girlfriend too. She was nineteen and she was like I was before. She wasn't blonde and she didn't wear dresses all the time. I figured it was just a fling he'd get over, so I didn't say anything. I didn't until he hired Misty, and she moved into one of the spare bedrooms.
"Well you know the rest from talking with Willard. I went back to Louisville and lived with my sister until I got a job and found my own place. I'm too old to dance now, but I got a job with a bank as a loan officer. I'm doing fine now and I'm pretty happy. Tom isn't, and I'm pretty happy about that too."
I asked why he wasn't happy and Virginia just grinned.
"Well, my lawyer had to threaten him before he'd give me anything, but I ended up with most of the money in his bank account. He wasn't happy about that at all, but giving it to me saved his reputation because I'm not supposed to tell anybody we were ever married or the terms of the divorce.
That's all I thought I wanted, but once the divorce was final, I got to thinking. He's a smart man who understands how to take advantage of people. Since he'd told everybody I was dead, he'd be able to keep doing what he'd been doing. He'd lost some money, but he'd make that up in less than a year. He's probably going to do the same thing to Misty that he did to me, and Misty's not smart enough to know it's happening. I decided he needed to be taught a lesson he wouldn't forget.
"One of the things my lawyer had threatened was to tell the District Attorney in Nashville about how Roper Ministries finances worked. When I signed the divorce decree, my lawyer and I both noticed that while I swore not to reveal the terms of the divorce to anybody, there was nothing in the decree about the finances of Roper Industries. I guess his lawyer thought that went without saying, but my lawyer said if it wasn't in the decree, it didn't happen.
He also told me it would have been unethical for him to do anything with that information, but there was no reason I couldn't. I had copies of all the financial statements he gave my lawyer, and I sent them to the District Attorney in Nashville along with what I know about Roper Ministries. If what I think is going to happen does happen, he'll be investigated for fraud and money laundering. I don't think he'll be able to talk his way out of it this time."
"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Reverend Roper. I'm glad you did what you did, Brandy."
Brandy smiled shyly.
"Well, I wouldn't have been able to do it if you hadn't helped me. There is one other thing I'd like your help with though."
"Oh, what's that?"
"Well, I talked to Teresa after you and she...after she told you how my divorce was going. She said you were a big help to her and I was wondering if since you don't work for me anymore and I have the same problem she had if you'd...well, other than Willard and Teresa, I don't trust anybody right now except my sister, my lawyer and you. I can't very well ask my sister, and my lawyer is married with four kids. Think you could help me out the same way you helped her?"
Well, Brandy is in a pretty responsible position in Louisville and I'd hate for anyone to make the connection between us, so I won't tell you how that turned out. Let's just say Reverend Roper didn't know what he had or he'd have been a lot more attentive and he wouldn't have hired Misty.
The last I read in the news, Reverend Roper was in shit up to his eyeballs. He'd been indicted for fraud and money laundering like Brandy had hoped, and once that happened, the contractor building his theme part sued him for breach of contract. I seems as if Reverend Roper had written into the construction contract that Roper Ministries would pay him monthly progress payments but hadn't done so for six months. The contractor had been letting it slide because he was one of Reverend Roper's flock, but once Roper was indicted, the contractor figured he'd never get paid.
I don't know what happened to Misty. She was on his TV show a couple of times before he had to shut it down. I hope she figured out what was going on and left him, but like Brandy said, Misty's not very smart so I don't know.
He's probably going to go to jail for several years, and after he gets out, he'll still be in debt. Like I said, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Well, I have to go to Gallatin to see Teresa. She called me and said she's really tense and needs to be relaxed again. She seems to need relaxing about twice a month, but I can understand that. I mean, if I was standing there listening to women talk about their sex lives every day, I'd be tense too. Come to think of it, I'm feeling pretty tense as well. I just got pictures of Corrine Jacobs and her gardener on her pool deck. Corrine wasn't wearing clothes and , well, you'd have to see the pictures to understand.
I don't know where Corrine manages to find bras that big, but she really needs to wear one. The way her big tits were swinging around when the gardener had her bent over and holding on to the pool ladder was something to see. I wonder if Teresa will bend over her desk again so I can see if her tits do the same thing. Teresa's tits aren't all that big, but it should still be fun.