Thursday, January 05, 2006

Trouble in Raleigh

The trouble started not long after Rick and I returned from a trip to London with my niece and nephew. We took them there for spring break and had a great time. Rick was always very attentive to my niece and nephews. They are my sister's children and if she were still alive, she would be so proud of them. Rick knew how important the kids were to me and how much I tried to watch out for them even though I did not live close to them. He was always so suppportive of my efforts. It was Rick that started our trips to Hilton Head together.

Rick and I were in Utah in June 1999 for his son's graduation from high school. We went to Denver from there to attend my sister's wedding the following weekend. While at the rehearsal dinner on Friday evening, Rick invited my niece and nephews to Hilton Head. I was in the ladies' room when the whole thing happened. When I returned to the table, Molly and Rob said Uncle Rick was taking us all to Hilton Head over the 4th of July. Rick had invited them in front of everyone at the table. My mother and father were so pleased and reminded me how wonderful Rick was to them. We returned to Hilton Head the following summer. I was concerned about spending so much time in the summer with my family instead of his children but Rick said it didn't matter since his two children went to Cape Cod every summer. I did not want to be seen as preventing Rick from spending time with his children!

Rick started talking about a trip to London with Molly and Rob when we were in Hilton Head in 2000. He had just started with Dialog and knew that he would be traveling to London quite often. I didn't think much of the discussions until after we moved to Raleigh and he mentioned the trip again. Rick and I decided that I would give them tickets to London for Christmas for a trip in the spring. My parents were once again thrilled for the kids and thought Rick was so wonderful. They even gave us money for the trip.

We flew to London from Raleigh the same day that Rick returned to the apartment after attending his company's big sales meeting. The week long meeting was held in Raleigh and Rick said he was required to stay downtown at the hotel where everyone was staying. He did not get home until about 1:00 PM on Saturday and our limo was coming at 3:30PM to take us to the airport.

We all had a good time in London. Rick worked part of the week but I knew my way around London from previous trips so I went out with the kids and hooked up with Rick later in the day.

One day, we were all heading back to our hotel and Rick said he needed to go into Harrod's and pick up something for a woman in the office. I didn't think much of it since he was always doing stuff like that. When he traveled to Switzerland, Rick would bring back chocolate for everyone! When Rick returned to the hotel, I asked him where his package was and he said he shipped it directly from Harrod's. I didn't think to ask him exactly who it was for but I have to believe it was for Gina. Rick would also later accuse me of ruining that trip to London - he told me in January 2002 that the trip could have been more fun! Of course, he also accused me of ruining our trip to St. Thomas in September 1998. We went there to celebrate our anniversary and instead lived through Hurricane George. It made landfall on our anniversary and we were locked in our hotel room for over two days. Rick didn't seem to be worried as we listened to the wind and rain. I was scarred to death. It was a category 3 hurricane.

Anyway, back to Raleigh. By the time we returned from London, there were just a few weeks left before we moved into our new home. I had spent so many hours working on the house and I enjoyed every minute. I had also begun a part-time job with the developer of our new neighborhood. Again, Rick was supportive of what I was doing.

About two weeks before our move-in date, Rick started to talk to me about how he thought we had problems and now he was very concerned. Oh my God, I thought, here we go again. Things are going along just fine and then he drops a bomb. This time, he was telling me that he didn't think our marriage was going to work and maybe we should start to think about going our own ways. I was devastated and confused again. When I asked him what we were going to do with the new house, he said that we could close on the house and then put it on the market or not close on it at all. This was a house that was worth more than $800,000 - what was he thinking. I tried to talk to Rick over the days that followed but nothing I said seemed to work. He would ask me how I thought our marriage could be better and what I was going to do to make it better. I remember one day - I was sitting on the floor of our bedroom in the apartment. I was crying and trying to talk to Rick. He just looked at me without any emotion and told me that I was mentally unstable and I needed to get help!

The torture continued for about two weeks. Rick went ahead and scheduled a close for the house. Rick wanted me to meet him at the lawyers' office for the close but when he telephoned me that morning, I told him I couldn't go. I couldn't see closing on the house that had been my project for eight months and then turning around and agreeing to sell it, I couldn't understand why Rick couldn't understand my feelings and feel my pain. He didn't seem upset, just very matter-of-fact. What I didn't know was that Rick was planning to leave me then to be with Gina. He admitted that in his deposition in November 2002.

We did close on the house and moved in over the next few days. Rick left town while the move happened so I was on my own. Rick's parents had been scheduled to fly in to Raleigh to help but Rick had called them the week before to cancel their trip. He told them we were having problems. I don't think he mentioned Gina to them then.

I didn't know what was going to happen or why I was working so hard to move in to the house. After working so hard for many months on the house, I now didn't care. I don't remember much of May 2001 besides trying to get settled. My parents came for a visit as did my sister and her young son. While they were there, Rick was as charming as ever. I never said anything to anyone about the problems Rick and I had earlier in the month. No one saw anything wrong. By June, 2001, Rick was sending me flowers with a card that read ' I am so happy to have you as my wife'. He had called me from London late one evening just one week before - it was 2:00AM in London when he called. We had talked earlier in the evening and he told me he was going to bed so I was surprised when the telephone rang. He said he called to tell me that he knew it had been awhile since he told me how much he loved me. I was so surprised. Then the flowers with the wonderful card. I assumed things were back to 'normal'. I learned that these events coincided with his breakup with Gina in June 2001. I don't know why he decided to stay with me but he did.

It was the deception and all the lies that didn't make sense. It was Rick's lack of empathy and remorse that I struggled to understand.

It was only in hindsight that I understood why Rick was so supportive of my plan to work part-time beginning in October 2001 for an Interior Designer that was located 2-1/2 hours from Raleigh. He knew how much I loved the design field so I just thought he wanted me to pursue my passion. Rick and I had talked about what I would do when we moved to Raleigh - this plan was in keeping with our discussions.

Rick and I celebrated our fifth anniversary in September 2001, not long after the tragedy of 9/11. We had planned to fly to San Francisco, I had made dinner reservations in many wonderful restaurants there but our plans changed after the tragedy. Rick told me that the members of the Executive team were asked not to fly for a few weeks. We changed our plans quickly and drove up to Virginia for a long weekend. I was disappointed but in light of all the tragedy in our country at that time, I was happy that Rick and I were safe and had each other. It didn't matter to me where we were that year.

In early October, 2001. I was presented with an opportunity that was my dream job. It would require that I commute to Charlotte each week - I would drive over on Tuesday morning and return on Thursday or Friday. Rick was very supportive and even when I tried to be the devil's advocate, he insisted I accept the opportunity. We talked about the fact that I was not going to have benefits, no 401(k) and no real income. What I made would just cover my expenses. Rick insisted I take advantage of the opportunity. So, off I went to Charlotte.

According to the legal documents that Rick submitted during our divorce proceedings, Rick began his affair anew with Gina in November 2001. I guess he took up where he left off in June 2001. We talked to each other every day while I was working in Charlotte and he was the same as always on the telephone. He always said he loved me when he hung up which was something we started in the beginning of our relationship. Rick was so good at keeping up the facade. Even that time when he phoned and told me that he had fallen ill and could not take the red-eye home from California but would be home later on Saturday afternoon, he was believable. When he got home around 5:00PM that afternoon, I never suspected that he had spent the day with another woman.