During the twenty-third week, as they met for lunch, Sam said to Jesse, "Want to go on a road trip with me?"
"Road trip? You mean you and me driving across the country having wild adventures, picking up hot babes, and constantly dousing ourselves in beer?"
"Not exactly, though I'm always up for beer. I tracked down my wife, and I was hoping to see about getting a divorce."
"Wait, you're married?" Jesse looked stunned, like he'd just been told the sun was green.
"It's a long story. Here's the short version: I'd like to not be married anymore."
"You and Elsa getting serious?"
"Mike and Fi got married, and yeah, it's got me thinking, and I think it's got her thinking, too. So, if something comes up, I don't want to have to explain this particular skeleton in my closet." And that, even more than the idea of Sam having an estranged wife, boggles Jesse's mind.
As he thinks about it, and gets over the shock that Sam, Sam, might be thinking of wedding bells, another thought comes to mind. "So, why do you need me?"
Sam shrugs and takes a swig of his beer. "I don't really. But company would be nice, and a ten hour drive goes a whole lot faster with two people driving."
That sounds like some of the story is missing. Like it's a ten hour drive to... well, he can't think of anywhere particularly dangerous ten hours by car from here, but something like that. "Where is she?"
"Little, middle of nowhere town in Georgia."
That doesn't sound too bad. "And you just want me to drive?"
"Well, if things don't go too smoothly, an extra set of hands would be nice."
And there's the catch. "Uh huh. And what flavor of not smoothly are you thinking might happen?"
"She's got a new husband, who probably doesn't exactly know I exist and isn't likely to be too happy about it."
"Might not be too happy? 'I'm sorry, dear. Did I forget to mention I'm married to someone else and we've been committing a felony for the last ten years?'"
"It should be fine. I'm thinking if you can make sure I've got a few hours alone with her, I can get the paperwork done, divorce taken care of, and Mr. Palmer and the rest of the law never needs to know about this."
"How are you going to get a divorce done in a few hours?" Sure, Jesse isn't a lawyer, or have a lot of experience with divorce, but he's never heard of one going that fast.
"Turns out if you haven't spoken to a person in thirty years, don't have any property in common, and no kids, the paperwork is actually pretty easy. Just gotta get her to sign a few things, I'll send them in, and we'll be done."
"Uh huh. Why do I feel like we'll get there and this Palmer guy will be 6'6" and try to kill us?"
"Hey, just because it always works out that way doesn't mean it will this time. Besides, I think Mike's the bad luck. Him being around 'causes easy jobs to go haywire. But he's in France with Fi, so we'll be fine."
"Famous last words."
After lunch on Wednesday, as they crossed the border between Florida and Georgia Jesse asked, "So really, how did you end up married?"
"You know how they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?"
"Well, not marriage licenses. We were young and stupid and it was a joke, until it wasn't. The first six months were good, but then I ended up on a float for a year, home for six weeks, off again for six months, and by the time I got home again, she had moved on and was living with one of my buddies."
"Yeah. Soon as I found out, I got myself assigned to pretty much anything and everything outside of the States. Wasn't home for more than two weeks at a time for six years, and by that point I'd lost track of her. Since I didn't plan on getting married again, there was no rush to get a divorce. And until Veronica asked me to marry her—"
"One of the ladyfriends I was serious about. About five years ago."
"And she asked you to marry her?"
"What can I say? I really am that good." Sam gives Jesse his Sam Axe charm smile, and Jesse laughs. "Anyway, until she asked me to marry her, I hadn't really thought of it."
"And then it bit you in the ass."
"Like a barracuda. I still limp some days because of it. I haven't told Elsa about it. Things are going well with us; I've got nothing planned this week, though officially you and I are on a job, so taking care of it seemed like a good idea."
"On the off chance she asks, what job are we on?"
"We're scouting a safe house for Mike and Fi. All the details of the trip stay the same, but we're just doing this to look at the house, not divorce the lady who lives inside of it."
"I hope so."
"And this Mr. Palmer?"
"Neil Palmer. He owns the lumber mill that's keeping most of the town going. He should be at work all day. Which should give me time to talk to Amanda and get this taken care of."
"So, what, I just hang around outside the mill, keep an eye on him, and give you a call if he moves?"
"Exactly. Google maps says the mill is forty minutes from their house, so it's not like I'll be cramped for time on getting out of there."
"Jobs that are supposed to be this easy make me nervous, Sam."
"Yeah, I know. That's why I'm not doing this on my own."
Two hours later, as they drove past the mill, the very obviously closed mill, Jesse looks at Sam and says, "So much for Mike being the jinx. Now what?"
"Hell." Sam stops the car. "Gather intel, I guess. There's a diner over there, let's get something to eat and ask some questions."
They went in, got coffee and in Sam's case a club sandwich, fries, and a piece of apple pie, and in Jesse's just a burger, and listened in on the conversations around them. The good news was Neil Palmer was unlikely to be even remotely bothered by Sam and Jesse's arrival. The bad news was the plant was closed for his funeral.
Back in the car Jesse says, "You have the worst timing ever."
"Or the best. Without a husband around, I can just mail this to her. No need to worry about Palmer seeing the papers now."
"Twenty hours in a car to mail her divorce papers?"
"I'm not going to her home during his wake to ask for a divorce."
"I get that, just, that's a long car ride for nothing."
"We can get beer, and you can get babes on the way home."
Jesse stares at Sam for a long time. "You must be in love. No babes for you?"
"Not this time. But I'm always in favor of beer. Come on, there's a great place in Tallahassee, just three hours from here."