Joe Hardy knew the time had come to tell Meg who he really was. He paced back and forth nervously before gently knocking on the door. Meg answered it.
"Joe," she exclaimed happily. He smiled at her as she hugged him and he returned the embrace.
"Listen... Meg... we have to talk," he said carefully.
She motioned for him to sit down.
"Is something wrong," she asked nervously.
"Well not exactly," he said, "I just have to tell you something."
"Okay," she said sitting down across from him, "I'm all ears."
"Meg," he said, "I'm Joe"
"Yes I know," Meg said laughing, "We've met about six month ago? You're were renting the room from my house; my husband's den. Are you alright Joe?"
"I didn't know how to tell you this but I'm your Joe," he said.
The reaction he got was not at all the one he expected. He thought that she would either laugh at him or tell him to get out. Instead she just looked at him.
"You're my Joe," she asked, "But how did this happen?"
He told her everything.
"I was such a fool," he said at the end, "Thinking baseball was the most important thing ever. Nothing means more to me then you or the girls."
Joe and Meg had 8 daughters ranging in age for 13 to 24.
"You weren't a fool," she said, "You did something foolish. That doesn't make you a fool"
"But I may never be myself again," he said.
She put a hand on his shoulder.
"Joe," she said, "Listen to me and listen very carefully. I don't care what you look like. I don't care who you are on the outside. I will not lose you."
"But Meg I might end up in the wrong place," Joe said.
She pressed a kiss to his lips.
"If you end up there I will be right by your side," she told him, "But that will not happen."
"Do you really think so," Joe asked Meg, "and you really would be by my side?"
"Always," Meg said.
Applegate grinned widely. Now he would have two people to own. Joe would never let his team down. Meg would never let Joe down. That was why he made Meg believe Joe. He would have loved to humiliate him and cause her to be furious with him but he knew the end would justify the means. Let them be happy for awhile. Let everything go well for him and for her. He was setting a trap. Six month... out of every year he would be away. He would be sure to cheat . He laughed. Soon. It would happen soon. He just needed to be patient.
Applegate smiled with excitement. So much happiness now. Sure it made him sick but there would be so much chases and misery later. The ends would surely justify the means.