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When Missi got fed up—Why did I get out of a crappy marriage just to be in this crappy relationship?
—some new tragedy would happen (his mother died; he was in a motorcycle accident), and she’d be roped back in.
Richie had lingering medical problems from his time in the service, and Missi was constantly having to drop him off at or pick him up from the hospital.
He was always canceling plans, or not showing up when he was supposed to.
It got to feel as if every text from him was an announcement of some new disaster: He had to check his daughter Sarah into rehab; he had to put his beloved shih tzu, Thumper, to sleep.
The two women didn’t work together regularly, but they knew each other. Maybe he could put her and the girls on his university insurance.
Maybe, he told her, with the benevolent confidence of a wealthy man, she wouldn’t have to work.
When Missi googled Derek Alldred, half a dozen mug shots of Richie—Derek—popped up, alongside news articles with alarming phrases such as career con man and long history of deception.
Missi sat down on the couch and slowly read every word of every article she could find: Derek Alldred had posed as a firefighter and scammed hospitals out of drugs.