Ashley was agitated about her father, calling him a shithead in sheep’s clothing. When Melissa pointed out that her father was well-known for his contributions to the community, Ashley openly sneered. She told them they were idiots if they believed everything they saw or heard. Her father was a first-class prick who had a mistress while her mother was dying of cancer. This mistress wasn’t the first one, neither, but that’s only to be expected from a bigwig executive like him. Her father was careful not to expose his wife to his peccadilloes, but she knew. Everyone in town knew, and her so-called ‘friends’ were always the first ones to tell Janice something, ‘for her own good.’ Ashley vacillated between thinking her mother was a saint for putting up with her father’s behavior and thinking she was an idiot.
That wasn’t the worst part, however. Ashley was in her father’s den one day, snooping for evidence of his infidelities. Even though her mother was dead, Ashley still felt the need to protect her. Ashley found a letter from a lover to her father asking for money because she was pregnant. She was asking for fifty-thousand dollars for the abortion and for ‘emotional damages’, threatening to go to the media if he didn’t pay. This was his last warning, the letter read, to do the right thing by her. Ashley didn’t know who the woman because her father walked in before she could read the whole letter. Her father freaked, ripping the letter out of her hands and screaming at her for spying on him. Of course, she gave it right back to him for being a hypocrite before storming off to group. Her father had caught her by surprise, coming home early like that. Ashley had thought she was safe because her father normally didn’t come home before nine at night.
Ashley’s agitation that day is starting to make sense. According to Maria, Ashley already suspected that her father was having an affair before then, but that piece of hard evidence would be impossible to ignore. I wonder if she had started searching in hopes that she wouldn’t find anything to verify her vague suspicions. When she first saw the letter, what was running through her mind? Was she planning on confronting her father? Or would she have kept it to herself, letting it simmer? Knowing her even as little as I had, I knew there was no way she would have kept that information to herself. Most likely, she would have tried to find the letter again to read the whole thing. I would be surprised if Mr. Stevenson kept it after Ashley found it, however. In fact, I’m surprised he kept it at all. I also wonder what the mystery woman would have done if Mr. Stevenson hadn’t paid. Would she have taken him to court? Tried him in the media? Infidelity is not a crime, but it could prove awfully embarrassing for him to be caught up in a nasty situation like that. Then there’s the question of, is the mystery woman the same person as the one Ashley said she was becoming suspicious of? If so, someone in group? I shake my head. This speculation is getting me nowhere.
The women are still talking about Ashley. She felt betrayed by her father who was always her idol. What if Mr. Stevenson killed his daughter to keep her from telling anyone about the letter? I dismiss the possibility because he would have done it immediately after she read the letter if he did at all for that reason. It makes no sense that he would have waited a day and a half before killing her. I miss part of the conversation, but the women are only rehashing what they’ve already said. My mind is drifting, so I almost miss it when Melissa comments that Ashley said she was going to make her father tell her everything. When I pressed Melissa what Ashley meant by that, she shook her head regretfully. She and Jean hadn’t wanted to push Ashley too hard because she seemed so distraught; now, Melissa wishes they had. It’s mean of me, but I can’t help thinking that the only reason they wanted to know more was so they could have the inside scoop. Many people crave fame and attention, and these women are no exception.