This story is a sequel to the story "How High a Price" by the Troubador, a story where a husband discovers that his wife has cheated on him, and confronts her. If you haven't read that story yet, please read it before this one, and hopefully, you will get more enjoyment out of this story. A number of different endings have been written to this story, of varying types and scenarios. I'd like to think this is somewhat realistic, and hopefully you, the reader will agree. I would like to thank the Troubador's wife, Pam, for assistance in editing an early draft of this story.
As I sat there, unable to move, and watched my devastated husband walk out the back door of our house. The tears flowed freely as I tried to understand how I had been so foolish, and to the real possibility that our marriage, which believe it or not, meant as much to me as it did to Early, may have been irrevocably harmed, and finished.
I thought back to the beginning of this week, a week that started as many others had in the past, but weeks that had never jeopardized our love. We had a strong marriage, based on our deep love for, and trust in each other. I don't think either of us had ever felt threatened, or given the other reason to be concerned about that love. In fact, I don't think I could have had a better husband, and I know he felts the same way about me.
As I headed to work that Monday morning, I was almost relieved that my husband, Early was away on business for the week, not that I was glad to be rid of him, but this week was a crucial week for me, career wise. I'm an attorney trying to work my way up to a partnership in the most prestigious firm in the area. It isn't easy for a woman, despite the changing times. Yet I'd been fairly successful to date, and was pleased when I was selected to head up the legal work in an extremely complicated business deal, worth millions to the respective parties and a very hefty fee to our firm. It was hinted that if I could pull the deal off to the satisfaction of our extremely finicky client, the partnership I desired would be mine.
Actually, to say I desired it would be an understatement, to me it would be my crowing achievement, what I had been pushing myself for since becoming an attorney. I believed that a partnership would tell the world that I'd arrived as well as providing a better lifestyle for us.
Early has always accepted the fact that my career often involves working extra hours to meet deadlines, but this week would be far more hectic than any other I could remember. I knew that I would have to put in extra hours, and that things would be quite tense, as our clients had called on Sunday to tell us that the timelines had changed, and that if the deal wasn't finished this week, it would collapse. With Early away, I would have no problem devoting my entire week to this project. Even though Early was away, I was comforted by the fact that we would talk every night, just as we always did if one of us was out of town. He had given me his meeting schedule, and I'd filled him in on my expected plans.
I was quite concerned, as negotiations hadn't gone as smoothly as I would've liked. Our clients indicated they felt that things weren't progressing to their satisfaction. I was afraid that I'd be removed from the file as some senior partners expressed doubt in my ability to pull it off.
That's when John stepped up. John Stickner was a senior partner and one of the sharpest minds in the office. He told the others that he'd be pleased to work with me on the file. He said he was confident I could pull things together for the benefit of the client and the firm. Once he said this, you could see the others back down.
John is about 15 years older than I am, and an accomplished lawyer. He is quite intense when he works, but very charming in relaxed, social circumstances. He has always been very friendly to me, flirting a bit, and making comments with a sexual innuendo, to which I responded in kind. Maybe the fact I knew he had been divorced for years, let me accept and respond to the sexual nature of his teasing. As well, Early and I often teased and joked in a similar fashion with our close friends, but doing it with someone at work was different.
Another person who would be helping me out this week, was my secretary, Jennifer. She has worked for me for a number of years and is always there to work any necessary hours to meet deadlines and never complains about the intense workload. I know I can always count on her to help me pull things off.
As the week went on, things were nuts. John was always there to offer advice and discuss ideas while letting me run things. When he spoke up during the countless meetings, he always left the impression that he was communicating on my behalf. I understood from others that he was giving me a lot of credit when talking to the partners. But I felt that without his experience and expertise, I wouldn't have gained the necessary confidence of our clients.
Every night, I made sure to phone Early at his hotel. While we discussed our day, Because I knew that his work was quite important to, and the fact I didn't want him worrying about me, I didn't let him know how worried I was about pulling this deal off.
On Wednesday matters reached an impasse. Lengthy meetings didn't resolve the major issues. When we took a supper break, I took the opportunity to make my call to Early. I indicated to him that I was quite busy and would be in the office the next day working on the file.
Then, just after supper a major breakthrough occurred. All the parties got together and worked on hammering out the details and signing the contract before anybody changed their mind. Following the meeting with the client, we got busy in putting together the necessary paperwork. John made countless helpful comments, pointing out little things that would enhance the agreement, while Jennifer slaved away tirelessly in producing the documents. Just before midnight we were getting too tired to think straight and agreed to go home and come in early the next morning to wrap things up.
After a few more hectic hours at the office, we produced a strong, enforceable agreement that met with our clients approval, and passed muster when reviewed by the attorneys for the other side. Just before noon, everybody met at our offices to sign the document. I had pulled it off!! Albeit with lots of help, especially from John. I realized that without him, I may not have pulled it off, but because of his help, I may get my partnership!
I looked at Jennifer, and realized the tremendous pressure she'd been under to get the document done with the strain from the extra hours she'd put in. I told her to take the rest of the week off, she'd earned it. While she argued a bit and told me it was okay, I could see that she was appreciative of the break.
As we were talking, John stepped in to say that he was going to take me for a celebration lunch and I likely wouldn't be in the rest of today. Despite my initial protests, he wouldn't take no for an answer from me, telling me that he'd let the receptionist and the senior partners know we'd be gone. Of course, after what John had done to help me, there was no way in the world I would have denied him my company for lunch. I felt it was the least I could do, after all, I was in the mood to celebrate. I knew that without his help, there was no way that I could have pulled off the deal, the one that should deliver my partnership.
We agreed to meet at one of the areas fancier restaurants. As I was stepping out of my office, I ran into Mr. Jensen, one of the Senior partners. "Susan, great job. I understand from John that you did a fantastic job, and the clients are thrilled. I'm sure that your work will be considered quite highly when the partnership committee meets."
As I drove to meet John, I couldn't help but scream with excitement, thankful for the closed windows of my car. When I got to the restaurant, I thought of Early and pulled out his itinerary for the week. "Darn, he's in meetings until after supper, I wanted to call and let him know that it looks like he'll be married to a partner. I'll just have to wait until tonight". I knew how proud of me he'd be!
John and I had a wonderful meal, but with a bit too much wine. He was glowing in his praise for the job I'd done, almost convincing me it had been all my effort. He told me I'd be a cinch to get a partnership out of this.
I knew better, "Come on John, we both know that without your help, your pushing and prodding, things never would've come together. I might get the partnership, and you know how much that means to me. But there is no way I would've been able to do it on my own. I owe you, and I owe you big time!"
Following that the conversation continued, but in a more relaxed joking way, and yes, it was filled with a lot of sexual innuendo. I'm sure the quantity of wine I'd drunk allowed me to carry on the way I did, finally saying "You know John, after what you did for me this last while, I'd do anything for you"
While I hadn't meant it in that fashion, I wasn't totally surprised, in light of the way that the conversation was being handled, when John responded with a bit of a leer, "Wow, that's a pretty inviting statement from such a pretty lady. It conjures up a whole lot of possibilities. I just might have to take you up on it."
"Well John, I mean it, I owe you big time!"
" In that case, Susan, will you spend the weekend with me?', half laughing as he said it.
I laughed, "While I did say anything John, but that what wasn't quite what I had in mind, though it might be fun."
.... There is more of this story ...