People often ask me the same question:
What is it like to live with Melodee?
That's a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn't an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it's complicated.
But I'm going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee's blog.
The Early Years
Back in the early days of my life with Melodee, it was very much an employer/employee relationship.
I admit that I was attracted to her from the moment I met her, but as I have said before, I was married and had a young daughter, Amanda. Even though my wife and I had problems, I take a great deal of pride in the fact that I never cheated on her. Not once. I guess one could say that, as Jimmy Carter put it, I did "lust in my mind" a few times, but I never acted on those thoughts.
Melodee and Diana gave me a free hand to set up things as I saw fit on the security side of the coin. I got rid of the contracts with the security companies and hired our own people. Most were old friends and others from the military. Some were special ops people, others were military police types, and a few were new to the idea of security but they had potential. I had teams in place at Melodee's house and to go along on trips. It was all working very well.
I know it was because I felt attracted to Melodee, but the fact that she dated people bothered me. I tried to rationalize that irritation as her being alone with someone was a security risk. That was, and I knew it then, total bullshit. I was envious of her dates at best. Just plain jealous at worse. There was even a time that I tried to talk her out of going out with a particular woman because I was worried about her being exposed to risks. I even offered to go along to "protect" her. Melodee just laughed and went anyway. Alone.
I don't think I mentioned that Melodee was bisexual. She had just as many dates with women and she did men. Yeah, that bothered me, too.
I remember one turning point in our relationship, though.
One of the guards at the house had a baby, and he needed a few days off to be with his wife and new son, so I covered for him. Melodee's property has a fairly large lake, and she was down on the boat dock laying in the sun working on her tan. I used the excuse of keeping an eye on her to tag along. Actually, I rationalize a lot. I couldn't resist watching her in her bikini. I really was keeping an eye on her.
I had stood up from my chair to get some iced tea, and Melodee decided to stand up for some reason. Being ever the officer and a gentleman, I went to help her up. I had her hands in mine, and as she tried to stand, her bare foot on the towel she'd been lying on, the towel slipped on the wooden dock and she started to fall. Without thinking, I grabbed her under the arms and more or less picked her up and we ended up in what could easily have been seen as an embrace.
So there we stood on the dock, my arms around Melodee's waist and hers had moved up to circle my neck. Our faces were maybe 6 inches apart as she stared up at me. I imagine that my face was at least as slack-jawed as hers looked to me. We held that position for what seemed like minutes, but it couldn't have been more than a few seconds. I knew I should say something, but I couldn't think of anything, let alone something neutral.
Melodee recovered first. A smile that was like dawn breaking spread over her face and she said, "Thanks. I could have broken my neck."
All I could say in reply was something like, "You're welcome."
We let go of each other and went about the rest of the day like nothing happened.
A couple of years after I went to work for Melodee, my marriage fell apart completely and for the last time. By then, Amanda was pushing 3-years-old and I had another daughter, Debbie, who was nearing 1-year-old. I didn't fight for the girls in the divorce, instead settling for a pretty much standard shared custody deal where the girls stayed with their mother. I would often bring the girls up to Melodee's place for the weekend so they could be outside and enjoy the fresh air out of the city. The girls both fell in love with Melodee and she with them. They called her "Aunt Melodee". There was no secret that Melodee liked to party. She had some drug issues that she worked hard to keep in remission, not always with great success, but she tried. But she was great with the girls, and I couldn't help but think that Melodee would make a great mom one day.
One evening, I was again covering security at the house, and we had just finished dinner. Melodee and I sat at the table in the dining room and sipped at some wine. Melodee is nothing if not blunt, and she asked me, "So, Jack, when are you going to take the girls away from your ex?" I told her that a single man who traveled as much as I did to work with her would have pretty much zero chance of getting full custody. Melodee just shrugged. "Maybe. You and I both know that Paula [my ex] is a tweaker."
I could only nod. I'd known that Paula was using meth, but I'd rationalized that she didn't abuse the girls. Looking back now, I understand that neglect is just a subset of abuse. I was wrong and I put my girls at risk because of my mistakes. I'll never be able to make that up to them.
Melodee only smiled at me. "It takes a junkie to know a junkie. You need to get the girls away from her."
I can't remember what it was now, but something interrupted us and we wouldn't return to the conversation for some time.
As time went on, Melodee and I became friends. We shared a lot of laughs and some sad times, too. How could we not? We were together a great deal of the time, and we were deeply involved in each other's lives.
I thought a lot about asking Melodee to go out with me, but it seems like every time I worked my nerve up to actually asking her, she would find some new flame and I would back off.
When Amanda was 4 and Debbie 2, I finally decided, with Melodee's support, to get custody of the girls. It was surprisingly easy, too. All my ex cared about was the child-support money. I just agreed to keep sending her the money, and she signed the papers giving me custody and her visitation rights.
But that created a new problem: I had a single bedroom apartment in Alpine, about 10 miles from Melodee's house, and I needed to find a new place to live.
In her typical, offhand manner, Melodee said, "Hell, that house is way too big for me. You and the girls can move into my place. We'll probably never see each other."
And so, Amanda, Debbie, and I all moved into Aunt Melodee's place.
Next time I'll talk about how Melodee and I fell in love. Or at least how we came to know that we'd been in love for a long time already.