Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Too Good To Be True

The last telephone conversation I had with Rick was in late March, 2002. It had been almost three months since he had moved out of our home. I received a letter from Rick's attorney that day that proposed a separation agreement. Gina had received a letter from my attorney instructing her to contact his office regarding the lawsuit that I intended to file against her. Needless to say, Rick was not happy.

Our conversation was painful - Rick told me that I had made it hard for him to see his children during our marriage. Eventually he told me that he "had no intention of supporting a fat spoiled princess for long". I took offense at him calling me fat! I guess it was his way of telling me that the fairytale that he created for me was coming to an end.

More about my fairytale. After more than two weeks of intense passion in June 1995, I flew from San Francisco to the beach in North Carolina for a family reunion. I left my telephone number with Rick's assistant just in case something came up at the office that I needed to know about. No one at the office knew that Rick and I were romantically involved. While in North Carolina, Rick called and told me that he wanted to fly to North Carolina and meet my family. I told him he was crazy but he insisted. He took the red-eye a few days later to Chicago and then on to Raleigh and then rented a car and drove two hours to the beach. I thought he must be in love to do all that for me. No one had ever treated me quite like Rick.

When Rick arrived at the beach, he met my entire family - parents, brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. My family was so happy for me. Rick was charming and everyone liked him. Rick always said all the right things and did all the right things. He was so attentive, kind and sincere. He was only there for one day but it was so magical. I was so happy. I had no idea that there was a woman in San Francisco that thought she was going to marry Rick in August.

Rick and I were engaged within a month, purchased a new car together by the end of July (I paid the deposit and car payments) and started looking for houses in The City. We quickly found one that I fell in love with and Rick was determined to buy it for me. He told me that a beautiful woman deserved a beautiful house. It would be the first house that I had ever owned. Only problem was that we didn't have enough money for a down payment. I wanted to contribute my share so I went to my parents and asked them to help us. My parents were not risk-takers but both of them thought that Rick was a great guy and didn't hesitate long to give us money. Part of the money was a gift, the other amount was a loan. The only request my father made was that Rick take care of me forever. Rick promised my father that he would.

The house was ours by September 1995. After moving in, we began to make plans for our wedding. We were married in September 1996 in San Francisco. Everything was wonderful - a beautiful wedding and a reception at The Fairmont Hotel. In retrospect, there were a few things that happened during our engagement that should have made me think but hindsight is 20/20!

Nothing changed much after Rick and I were married. He still showered me with affection and gifts, he was still attentive to my every need. We did everything together - we commuted to work together, we had lunch together, we shopped together and did errands together on weekends. Rick was my soulmate. Rick wasn't just attentive to me - he was attentive to my whole family. He knew how much I loved my family and how important they were to me. He always went out of his way to do specials things for them. What more could a woman ask for in a husband??

Early in 1997, Rick was offered a job in Atlanta, GA. It was Frank that made the offer after Rick attempted to resign to accept a position at a start-up in SF. Start-ups were hot in SF, the whole dot com industry was exploding at that time. I wanted to stay in San Francisco but in the end, I wanted what Rick wanted and that turned out to be the job in Atlanta. It was so hard for me to leave San Francisco. So many wonderful things had happened to me there. We moved into our new home in Atlanta in June 1997. It was another 'beautiful home for a beautiful woman'.

Rick and I lived in Atlanta for three years - from June 1997 to September 2000. I worked at the same company as Rick- in the Marketing group. I always heard wonderful things about Rick from my colleagues. He was well-liked and respected. Employees trusted Rick. Rick and I both left the company in early 2000. Rick went to work for a start-up and I took some time off, waiting to see if the start-up would work. If not, we would be moving on from Atlanta. It did not take long for the start-up to fail; Rick began to talk about a job in Cary, NC.

Rick accepted a job offer from Frank in July 2000. He was going to work for a company where Frank was already the Human Resources Executive. Rick and Frank had begun talking about the opportunity way back in October/November 1999. When Rick told me that he had spoken to Frank, I was disappointed. I never had a good feeling about Frank. It was just something in my gut I guess. But, everytime I questioned Rick about it, he always told me that Frank was a good guy. Rick flew to London to talk to people in the offices there in November 1999 but nothing happened for awhilie. I was relieved.

Come July, while on vacation in Jackson Hole, WY, Rick received the formal offer from the company. I had taken a trip up to the Raleigh/Cary area in June by myself. I wasn't too crazy about the area and the job market at that time was terrible. I was honest with Rick when I returned to Atlanta but somehow my words fell on deaf ears. Upon our return to Atlanta from Jackson Hole, Rick and I drove up to Raleigh together to see about housing but not before our trip to the Mercedes Benz dealership. Rick signed a lease on a new E320 for me the morning we left for Raleigh. He insisted on a black one because he said it was classy.

Rick and I met with a Realtor in Raleigh and saw alot of houses. We eventually signed a contract to build a house in Raleigh, something Rick knew I wanted to do some day, even though he said he would never build a house. I began to get excited about our move. Rick did not want me to go back to work full time until the house was completed. He wanted me to be the project manager for the house. I could do that!

We went back to Atlanta and put our house on the market - it sold in ten days. It was a beautiful home that I had redecorated in our three years in Atlanta. My own career allowed me to take care of all the expenses incurred with updating the house. Rick gave me credit for helping to increase the value of the house by over $200,000. The real estate market in Atlanta was crazy back then.

Rick began his career in late July/early August 2000. We rented an apartment in Raleigh while our home was being built. We moved into the apartment on October 1, 2000. The company paid the rent and utilities on the apartment even though we had already sold our home in Atlanta. I thought I had read in the relocation policy that the company would only pay living expenses if we were still paying our mortgage for our old home.

I would eventually learn during the divorce process that Rick had three sexual partners during our time in Atlanta.