Standing now at his grave, Kathleen thought about Scott’s game to control her. While she looked like his wife, with the expensive dresses, jewelry, and world-wide jaunts, in reality she was a financial pauper except for her own savings from the sale of her former home in California.
Kathleen owned nothing that was Scott’s. The pre-marital agreement she signed two days before their wedding gave sole ownership of the hardware business, shopping centers, and other real estate properties to him. Nothing was ever bought or owned jointly during their marriage.
She was unsure about signing the document and read it over carefully several times, trying to discern the legal wording.
Scott’s lawyer, Ross Price, told Kathleen there would be no problem with her attorney looking over the document. “The problem is we need to get this signed and sealed before your wedding.” Pointedly, he looked at his Rolex.
“Scott, I didn’t realize this was all so complicated. Why do we have to worry about this? I’m not marrying you for your money, you know that.” For the first time, Kathleen felt uncertain about her relationship with Scott.
Scott, looking handsome in his fresh, white polo shirt and tan slacks, took her hand in his and kissed her palm, an act she came to loathe.
“Look, Kathy, this is only a formality. I own a lot of property and you just own your home in Pasadena. I have a lot of debt, and what this simply says is that you are not responsible for my debt if something I own goes belly up. Our properties are separated by this agreement. But I promise you that within a short period of time, I will begin to put your name on these things that I own.”
“I really don’t understand this,” Kathleen said, re-reading the document.
Ross smiled, fingering his expensive enameled fountain pen. “It’s just as Scott explained. Separate properties would be advisable at this time, until both of you have settled into the marriage.”
Kathleen felt unnerved by the pressure the two men were exerting on her. She tried to think what would be the disadvantage of signing the agreement, considering what Scott said.
“I want you to know, Scott, that I’m not interested in your businesses or your properties. Money doesn’t mean that much to me. But I do care that I am selling my home and moving into your home and I don’t own part of it.”
“I promise we will fix that as soon as I get through the refinancing of one of my shopping centers. We don’t need to muddy the waters right now with name and title changes on my properties while the bank is considering a new loan. When that is done, I’ll have your name put on the trust deed for the house. Right, Ross?” Scott patted her hand.
Ross nodded his head. He reached over the desk and laid his gold-tipped Waterman pen in front of Kathleen, giving her a nod, a sign of encouragement to pick up the instrument and sign the document.
She sighed. She was tired and wanted to be done with this. Tomorrow they were boarding a plane that would take them to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they would be married the next day. She still had to pack and shop for a few more clothes.
Kathleen heard Puerto Rico was a beautiful place, with its sunny beaches, tropical rain forest, and large Spanish fortress. She thought it would be romantic to be married in the big cathedral that sits in the heart of old San Juan, but the arrangements had been time consuming and difficult to make in such a short time. Everything seemed so rushed. Now, this premarital agreement came out of the blue. Scott never discussed it with her before that morning.
Her hand shook a little as she signed the document. Kathleen knew she was blinded by a love for Scott that flooded over her late in life. The intensity of her feelings surprised her; she felt as if her heart would stop if she had to spend one moment without him. On that day, she did not dare see his financial manipulation of her.
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