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Still Breathing (Completed Version) (standard:drama, 2925 words)
Author: mykemykAdded: Jul 05 2005Views/Reads: 2171/1225Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The only difference between Jared's life, and that of a corpes was that Jared was still breathing...!

Jared Marston was a dead man. The only difference between him and a
corpse was the fact that he was still breathing. At thirty-five, he was 
married to a woman he didn't love and working a job he hated. He was 
not living. He was just existing. If there was any consolation... any 
worth to be found in the hand life had dealt, it was that, Paula, his 
wife, was more miserable than he was. 

Of course, it had not started out that way. Jared and Paula had met
while attending the same college. When they first met, Jared was 
completely oblivious to the fact that Paula and her family was worth 
millions. He had fallen in love with her because of her zest for 
living. He was working his way through had been rough...a 
grueling, exhausting affair. He was mesmerized by her carefree attitude 
and by the fact that she did not seem to be the least bit intimidated 
by the rigors of higher education. Paula, on the other hand, was 
totally enamored by this sensitive, caring, and ambitious individual. 
She saw Jared as someone who wanted to change the world. Paula saw 
herself as being someone with enough financial "clout" to help Jared do 
just that. Together, they could change the world. She realized he had 
no idea how the "other half" lived. In the early days of their 
courtship, it had been one of his most charming attributes. 

Paula had always been around money. She knew, firsthand, the power and
control that money brings. She knew that Jared... proud, determined, 
and idealistic, had no idea of how, having money, could enable and 
empower him to be the kind of man he had always dreamed of being. She 
knew there were things that Jared would have to learn, responsbilities 
he would have to accept, and differences he would have to encounter. 
She also knew that, being an only child, the real wealth of the family 
would someday be do with as they wished. She was confident 
she could steer Jared toward that end. 

Upon their marriage, Jared had been taken into the family business. Tom
Maines, Paula's father, had created a position for Jared at Maines 
Enterprises. Though given the title of Executive Vice President, Jared 
was nothing more than a warm body filling a plush office. His duties 
consisted of arrving at the corporate office at 9:00 a.m. and leaving 
at 5:00 p.m. 

In the beginning, Jared had enjoyed the arrangement. Soon, however, he
began to hear the talk that started at the water fountain at work and 
followed him throughout the entire community. It seems that Jared was 
looked upon as a man who "brought nothing to the table" as far as his 
involvement in the Maines family. It grated on him to hear himself 
being referred to as Tom Maines' son-in-law. It was as if he had no 
last name. Paula was still Paula Maines. Though their marriage had 
given her Jared's last name, no one ever referred to her as Paula 
Marston...she would, forever, be Paula Maines. 

Jared and Paula's first real fight came as a result of a comment that
Jared had overheard at the office. While walking through the front 
lobby, he'd overheard the receptionist talking to someone on the phone. 
"Listen, marrying money is one thing...having the ability to make money 
is another. I've been watching Mr. Marston. All I can tell you is that 
he better thank God he married money!" By the time Jared had reached 
their estate, he was fuming. "I didn't marry money...I married you. Not 
a family, not a business, just you!" He had never forgotten his wife's 
response. "Darling, you are taking all of this way too personally. They 
are just jealous of your position." "What position is that?" Jared had 
countered. "I got an office, my own parking spot, and a title! Other 
than that, I am like a "trained seal" barking and clapping...waiting 
for the next piece of fish to be thrown my way. I married you for who 
you are...not what your money can buy...!" Paula's response had 
absolutely floored him. "Well, sweety, I didn't marry you for who you 
were...I married you for who I knew you could become!" 

Undaunted by Jared's discomfort, Paula had continued planning her
husbands rise to prominence. In her mind, Jared was simply going 
through a period of adjustment. She was still convinced that she, given 
time, could coaxe and gently prod him into what she wanted him to be. 
For a time, her plan seemed to be working. Jared seemed to be 
trying...making an effort to embrace what Paula had envisioned for 
them. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, his efforts simply ceased. 
When, after a dinner party, Paula inquired as to Jared's obvious change 
of moods, Jared hissed, "I have tried...I really have...but, our 

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