Marilee looked at the television set in utter disbelief.
This cannot be true. It cannot be happening. The same numbers
do not come up four times in a lifetime. The first time was at Broken Hill, when she gave that new teacher, her birthday and
lucky numbers to put on the Lottery, on a sudden whim, and watched the numbers all roll up.
The teacher had forgotten to put them on, and lamely said,
she thought she would save Marilee the money, and Marilee never forgave her, but there was nothing to do but realise fate
never meant her to be rich.
She put the same numbers on again, for a few weeks, and gave
up. The week she gave up, the numbers actually came in again. And she was to see the numbers once more, and that was when
she was holding the winning ticket in her hand.
She had a dream where she won 44 million dollars, where she
was given the winning numbers, and where she won the lottery... totally on her own.
Then she won it again the following week with the same numbers. It was so vivid, and so impactful, and so demanding,
that Marilee joined every syndicate she could find, and also added the one extra ticket with her seven numbers and this ticket
had the numbers she was now seeing on the screen.....for the second time in two weeks....
It was ironical that she was to invest in the future of Tom,
because she loved him and would do everything and anything he asked, except collect the winnings. She still felt that twinge
of delight, that her huge fortune had started him on his music career, and that he had never known..
"Tom, I have done it again".
“What are you talking about?'
"The Lottery...the numbers came up again."
"You have to be bloody joking, and you haven't even claimed
the last one."
"I know...I have no idea what to do now."
"Oh, Marilee, you are just amazing... beautiful kind, talented,
and now rich too," and he watched he blush and squirm, and it made him smile. She was really far more intriguing and attractive
than she realised, and he had never been able to resist her. She would always intrigue him. " What are you going to do?"
"I have no idea. All I know is that I want to help people,
but I am afraid of being swamped with requests and publicity, and you know how I hate that. I couldn't handle it."
"I know, I know. But the point is you have won that money,
you have to claim it, and you have to work out what you want to do with it. You just have to claim it sometime."
"I know Tom. I know"
"You got into this and you know you can handle it. Don't you?"
"I am not sure. This was a game. I often have feelings and
intuitions, but I never expect them to come true, and for this to happen twice is to be really unbelievable. I did not even
really think it could or would happen. Oh Tom, I really don't know what to do. I really don't know what to do," and she shivered
with a feeling that was far scarier than just being cold.
She knew that out of this win there was tragedy. One cannot
have anything in life without earning it, and somehow she knew that this money had a price, which if she hadn't paid to date,
she would have to pay sometime, and it was going to cost her far more than the millions, she was now refusing to claim.
They hugged close and rocked as they watched the last of the
sunset outside from the balcony of his family home. His parents were in Melbourne and they had gone to Portsea for the weekend.
They looked out at the waves beating the shore, and held each other even tighter. Somehow she knew even now, at this moment
when he seemed more hers than ever before that he was going to ruin her life. She had no idea how or why, but she remembered
the many times she had lay awake feeling him intruding into her dreams, and heart and soul, and she again felt the innate
knowledge that she knew, that though he was her soul, he would never be hers, because she would never permit it. He was just
a man, and the woman made the decisions, and she knew that though she would love him forever, she would never be his bride.
Sighing she pulled away and they made a hot glu-wine with some
old cask claret that was not likely to be missed and added cinnamon and some cloves, and sat there in front of the fire, holding
the warm glasses in their hands, sipping the wine, and dreaming different dreams.
He took her back to the pickup point, as he did every Monday
in his small car, and she rode back the four hundred kilometre journey, silently thinking about Tom, sitting in the milk truck,
wondering what was going to happen to her and him, and what was next.
Tom was called up and went to Vietnam, and Marilee waited and
waited. There were no letters and no cards, and she should have understood from that alone that he had left her, but she clung
to the dream that he was simply hers and waited.
She met Greatchen
at a dinner given by Paul in Surfers Paradise.
Greatchen was tall, blonde, solidly built and looked like she
belonged on the female wrestlers ring, and it wasn't till later that Marilee discovered that not only did she belong there,
but she also sponsored and owned several girls who did.
Greatchen was mesmerized by what she called 'Marilee’s
innocence'. At the age of thirty something, Marilee still looked like an untouched virgin, which she virtually was, as she
had had one disastrous marriage, which had resulted in one daughter, who was her pride and delight. She called her Sunshine,
Sunni for short, because her father had hated the name. He said it reminded him of a whore in Sydney's Red Light District,
and it may well be that did know. Marilee obstinately clung to the name, and Sunshine she stayed, but as she grew older, she
was to prove that her father had been right.
Greatchen was drinking Rum and Champagne, which she claimed
was a new cocktail, but which Marilee felt she drank because no-one else would touch the stuff. She gave Marilee a lift home
from Portsea to Melbourne, and when the Police stopped them, she somehow managed to get a warning and get back into the driver’s
seat, claiming she was still sober after two bottles of Rum and one of Champagne.
Marilee suspected she had bared more than an explanation, as
she heard the teasing tones in her friend's voice and remembered the Police being far friendlier than they should have been,
as she cowered in her seat and kept out of the way as instructed.
One other night the Police stopped them, when Marilee was driving
the red Maserati back home from Portsea, with Greatchen drunkenly talking brightly next to her. It was a very sober sounding
Greatchen, who handled the police, leaning out over the side window, with her breasts almost falling onto the paintwork. Marilee
stifled a grin. It suited her fine. Somehow she had always managed to draw powerful women, and they were certainly great,
and a load of fun, in a crisis, when they mixed power with potent sexuality.
Greatchen took her back that night, but returned next day with
a business proposition, and listening to her, Marilee knew she had been talking to Tom, as only he knew about the win. She
let Greatchen organise the collecting of her win, and the placing of half of it in a Swiss Bank Account, ironically called
ToMar. She gave the other half to Greatchen, for her to use in the schemes she had itemised, and continued on with her life
not even telling Tom what she had done.
It was a few months later that she read about the wedding of
Greatchen and Tom in the Public Column of a National Newspaper, and felt a faint twinge of sadness that she had not been invited
or even told of the event. Like all that was to happen, Marilee simply shrugged and continued on with her life.
It was only once that she lost her cool and her poise and her
control. That was when Dale's Wolf Lady stole all her belongings, and despite the Police being called, Marilee was unable
to get them returned while the Police was there. Later she was to discover Sunni's relationship with both Dale and the Wolf
Lady, and when Sunni married and had Dale as her Father replacement at the Reception that Marilee was invited to as a guest,
Marilee went crazy and screamed so loudly at the Reception that she had to be forcibly removed.
Nobody really ever knew why Marilee lost her poise, except
Dale, and he understood, but it was too late, and the bitterness was to estrange Marilee from her beloved daughter, because
she could never explain that she knew all their dark secrets, and this final act had both broken her, and the dam of feeling
that she had so carefully packed away so it would not break. There is a limit, to what even someone as strong as Marilee,
could handle, and it was unfortunate that she reached her breaking point, and broke at the Wedding of the Year.
The photographers had a ball. She was cast as the bitter mother
jealous of her own daughter's youth and beauty, but Sunni was marrying her mother's lover, and her adopted father. How could
anyone understand that when only the three of them knew their parts of the story that was yet another tentacle in the Octopus
that refused to die and rest in the past?
Now Greatchen was handling her money, and her lover, and her
daughter, and Marilee continued to live life as she had always done, refusing to let the world know that she was very much
aware of what was going on around her.
Marilee was a very public person with a very private soul,
and no-one really knew what was going behind the fluttering brightness that she presented to the world...no-one. Not even
Tom who thought he knew everything about her.
When she first met Greatchen she and Dale were running an Introduction
Agency. It was well patronised, and the service claimed 'money back if not satisfied on the first date.' What they did not
tell the clients was that the first date was always with either Dale or Greatchen, or one of their lovers, and not one client
was ever game to complain about their date. One night Marilee went on a date too, with an International Lawyer, who turned
out to be an arrogant Indian sheik, wearing more gold than Marilee had ever seen on one person, and a turban, and bearing
more hidden societal scars than the gold he so obviously displayed.
It was after this date that Greatchen confided that the Indian
had already had a date with Greatchen in the past, and she could not date him and not having any 'classy' ladies on her books,
could Marilee oblige. Marilee was more than happy to, and as the clients did not demand or insist on sex, this became a regular
night out for her involving a meal, and some company on a Saturday night. The dating ceased abruptly when she was offered
ten thousand Dollars for a double date with her daughter, and the offer was made by one of her best friends.
She was to learn
that the Introduction Agency was more than just a dine-out club, and also that her daughter was part of it too, and that she
was one of the financial Investors.
During these ten years, she did not touch her 'inheritance',
as she called it to herself. It sort of replaced the inheritance her grandfather had left her which had been gambled and embezzled
by her father. She did not hold it against him as she knew that she had not earned that money either. She was to smile sweetly
at the many times she heard herself described as a 'fortune hunter' when in actual fact, though she dated some of Australia's
richest available, she had not shown the slightest interest in their family fortunes.
People found it difficult to believe that a girl from the suburbs
could attract the big boys, but Marilee was no girl from the suburbs.
Her wealthy grandfather had seen from the very day she was
born that she would always get and expect the best, and despite all her mother's efforts to beat the 'class' out of Marilee,
she never succeeded. To her dying day, she complained that Marilee always thought she was better than her family, and in actuality
she possibly was, for how could a woman who herself was a fortune hunter, understand someone who wasn't.
Her love for Tom was not based on the money his family had,
or his potential to be rich, it was based on green eyes and thick dark hair, and a body that made Marilee weak at the knees
whenever she thought of him. The family ties were more a burden, as Marilee always forget her cultured grandfather and her
colonial past, when she sat at the crisply set linen covered dinner table in Toorak, and felt the cheap shoes and the lack
of Private School Educational Ties that all the others seemed so casual about, and brought into the conversation so easily.
'You remember Dick don't you? He was at Scotch and prominent
in the Cricket Team. Well he has now bought Claude's last business. Oh Sorry Dear...You would not know as you were never at
the same schools we went to, but don't worry about it." Smile!! Smile!!! and a patronizing pat on the hand. "Have another
spoonful of caviar. It’s the best Georges can provide."
Marilee was to ensure that Sunni went to one of Melbourne's
top Private schools, and finish her training in Europe, but it had not helped Sunni anymore, than the lack of the same Societal
hand-me -downs that Marilee had craved, that she presented to her daughter, to see them ripped apart and discarded when Sunni
Sunni was to marry a rich Iranian who not only owned and harnessed
most of Europe's Mafia network, but also was the owner of Most of the Red Light District of much of Eastern Australia, with
underworld links that made Marilee even more powerful than she already was. She was seventeen and so beautiful that it ached
to look at her. Within five years she was remodelled and re-created into a Pamela Stephenson clone, and she now really considered
that she beautiful. She was far more beautiful untouched than she ever realised.
Greatchen harnessed Sunni into modelling, and finally into
small bit porn, and when Marilee protested, she was invited to view the houses and shows, and was berated for being 'out of
touch' and 'old fashioned'. No-one told Sunni that her mother was the financier behind these houses, and Marilee had put the
whole idea out of her mind.
Ironically, it was Marilee's money and influence, and contacts
that her own daughter harnessed and used, years before Marilee herself knew what was going on. When you say Marilee was green,
she was greener than grass that had never even grown, and yet she was the central core of all the evil that was growing out
of her. She was the octopus network, that grew so fast, that she did not even know it was happening, until one day she woke
up, and found that not only was she the central core, but that everything depended on her being exactly as she was.
That was the day Marilee cracked......the day she read the
journal that opened up her whole despicable life, a life she was not even aware of. She read the lies, and deceits and cunning
deceptions that she was intricately a part of without ever realising her role. Marilee was evil by association, and she could
not handle the truth.
She screamed it out at the wedding, but no-one heard her. They
threw her out, and she went back to her home in a Taxi, and cried into the night.