At Wife’s Funeral, Widower Finds Out She Has Been Married to Another Man All Her Life – Legitpost.com.ng
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At Wife’s Funeral, Widower Finds Out She Has Been Married to Another Man All Her Life

Mr Stanley may I speak to you for a moment Walter looked up from his lap at the bench to see their lawyer Mr Sternberg staring at him. He nodded and heaved himself up, walking a bit away from his daughter Fiona and the rest of the funeral attendees. They were at his wife Jessica’s funeral; it was a sad occasion, and their lawyer had been a good family friend. He handled everything about the estate and also came to pay his respects, but Walter had no idea what he wanted.

“Now, is there anything wrong, Mr Sternberg? Thank you for coming, by the way,” he stated when they were out of reach from others. “Of course, you and Mrs Stanley were dear friends, but there’s something pressing I need to tell you. I’ve debated whether or not to do it here, and maybe it’s not the best time, but you need to know,” the lawyer said, a sense of urgency in his tone.

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“Tell me,” Walter responded, frowning.

“About Mrs Stanley’s estate and her life insurance… well, they are not going directly to you and your daughter. It appears Mrs Stanley was married to someone else,” Mr Sternberg revealed gently.

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But Walter froze in his place. He started shaking his head, “No, that’s impossible! We’ve been together for 60 years. You must be mistaken. I’ve checked a million times, and I’m certain of it.”

“I’ll need to schedule a meeting at my office quickly so I could introduce the man to you. I think this matter will only be resolved when you two speak,” Mr Sternberg finished. He petted Walter’s shoulders and walked away to one of the benches in the back while Walter stared back at him in shock.

A few days later, Walter and Fiona were driving to Mr Sternberg’s office in Pasadena. Walter had just told Fiona what their lawyer said at the funeral. To his surprise, she was not that shocked about it.

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“Why aren’t you more stunned, honey?” he asked her, focusing on the road.

“Well, didn’t you and Mom get divorced at some point?” Fiona wondered, and Walter finally remembered that minor but painful glitch in their relationship.

“I… but she couldn’t have gotten married again. We divorced and were separated for less than a year. It’s impossible,” Walter stuttered.

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“Mom told me about it. She said you fought a lot a year after your wedding, and she lived with my grandparents for a time. It could have happened then,” Fiona continued, reminding him about that long-forgotten disdain Jessica’s parents held for him.

“But it’s just… why didn’t she tell me? Why did she come back to me if she was married?” Walter asked sadly. The only person who could answer those questions was gone.

“You didn’t think about getting married again after you got back together?” Fiona asked.

“Not really. We just picked up where we left off. I didn’t think it mattered at all,” he answered, wanting to kick himself for not talking about that stuff back then.

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“Mr. Stanley, Fiona, this is Henry Clark,” Mr. Sternberg said, directing Walter and Fiona’s attention to the stranger in his office. He was about Walter’s age, tall, and dressed in an expensive business suit. Henry extended his hand and said, “It’s nice to meet you, although the circumstances are not so great.”

“Yeah,” Walter muttered, shaking the man’s hand as if in a trance. They all sat down and stared at each other in awkward silence until Henry spoke up.

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“Let’s cut to the chase, then. I assume you knew nothing about me until now, correct?” Walter and Fiona nodded with wide, confused eyes.

“Well, it happened many years ago. I never wanted to get married, but my parents told me about their friend’s daughter. They said I would look better as a businessman if I had a wife. She was newly divorced and had no children. We met briefly and essentially let our parents handle everything. It was a civil ceremony, nothing fancy, nothing special, really. We were never really man and wife after that,” Henry explained nonchalantly.

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“I don’t understand,” Walter whispered, tears in his eyes, but he refused to let them out.

“It was basically a business transaction, then. A few months later, she said that she was going back to her ex-husband. I was fine with that but told her we needed to get divorced. But Jessica… well, she was worried about you finding out, so we kept postponing it and postponing it until we forgot about each other,” Henry explained.

“You never formed a family of your own?” Fiona questioned, holding her dad’s hands on the office armchairs.

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“No, I never wanted any of that. I only cared about business,” Henry replied, grinning at heart.

“To that end, I came here to say that I don’t want whatever the law states I should get. We might have been married on paper, but Jessica was not truly my wife at all. You can keep all of it,” Henry said.

“Are you sure, Mr. Clark?” the lawyer verified, his hands folded together on his desk.

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“100% sure,” Henry reiterated. “May I leave now? Again, it was nice to meet you. I’m sorry for your loss and for this crazy surprise.”

The man walked out of the office without another word, and Walter finally calmed down. Despite what happened all those years ago, Jessica had only ever been his wife in all the ways that mattered.

“Okay, let’s get this done, then, Mr. Sternberg,” Fiona prompted their lawyer, smiling at her father, whose unshed tears had finally subsided.

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