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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.
When Missi “liked” his profile, he sent her a message right away and called her that afternoon.
They talked about their kids (he had two; she had three), their divorces, their sobriety.
Missi sat in her living room, alternately furious at him (for letting her down) and at herself (for getting her hopes up enough to be let down). He’s probably at home, hanging out with his wife and kids,” she says.
Maybe, he told her, with the benevolent confidence of a wealthy man, she wouldn’t have to work.
He could be a little awkward, but Missi chalked that up to his inexperience—he told her he hadn’t been with a woman in eight years. Richie had a taste for nice things—expensive restaurants, four-star hotels—and he always insisted on paying.
He kept a motorboat docked at a nearby marina, and he’d take Missi and her daughters out for afternoons on the water. Richie mentioned that his cousin Vicki worked for the same airline as Missi. “One day we’ll show up together to some family event and surprise her; it’ll be great.”A few months into their relationship, she missed a shift at work and got fired. He told her that he’d take care of her bills for the next four months, that she should relax and take stock of her life and spend time with the kids.
Missi Brandt had emerged from a rough few years with a new sense of solidity.
At 45, she was three years sober and on the leeward side of a stormy divorce.