Chapter 1: Aftermath
Susan began calling Early's office before it opened on Monday morning. Joan, Early's secretary, fielded a dozen calls from Susan before she confronted Early. "I can't do this, Early. I'm mad enough at Susan to spit nails, but I can't continue to just hang up on her. You have always been more like family than my boss, and I'm on your side, but I also owe Susan. She never charged me for all the legal work on my divorce or all the child support collection problems with my deadbeat ex.
"I understand you not wanting to talk to her... I know how hurt you are. I remember the pain I went through when I found out he had cheated on me. If it weren't for the kids, I don't know what I would have done. I understand you not wanting to talk to her or ever see her again, but you're going to have to get her to stop trying to talk to me..." she paused, her face pleading, "Please, I can't listen to her pain without... I can't be rude to her, I just can't."
Early's jaw muscles pulsed as he gnashed his teeth. He took a deep breath to keep from exploding, paused then said, "Next time she calls tell her that I've told you I will fire you if you speak to her on company time. If you want to listen to her on your own time... well that's your business, but I will fire you, for real, if you ever mention her to me or speak to her here. I'll do my best not to put you in the middle of all this, but I will not speak to her except through my lawyer; her name is Cynthia. Maybe she can get the courts to issue a restraining order or something."
That effectively ended Susan's attempts to call Early at the office, but she was leaning on his Mercedes as he walked out of the building that evening. Turning on his heel, he contacted security and had her removed from the parking lot. Unable to locate Cynthia, he left a message asking her to prepare a restraining order and file it as soon as she could. He then called his PI, John Wells, and arranged for transportation to the Holiday Inn. Susan wasn't able to follow them.
Because he was a modest person, Early was surprised that concern for him reached to the very top of his company. Steve Majors, the head of security, contacted Paul Landon, general counsel, to confirm the legality of Early's action barring Susan from the property. Paul contacted the CEO about the same time Early was leaving with his private investigator.
Tuesday morning a process server showed up at Early's office. John Stickner was filing civil suit for the damage to his face. At the time Early was in the CEO's office explaining what had happened. The CEO picked up the phone and called the Paul up to his office. After a short discussion, he told Paul, "I want you to change our outside law firm immediately." Early's company, a large multinational, had been the biggest client of Susan's law firm, amounting to almost seventy percent of their billable hours. "Early, you will take the week off. Get out of town, go someplace nice and put it on your expense account."
A week later Early was back in the CEO's office. "I've felt guilty about all the travel I've put you through Early and I think I'm partly responsible for what happened. This company will do everything it legally can to help you. If you want to relocate, just say where."
Within hours of losing their major client, the senior partners of Jenson, Sharone and Anderson had called Susan into their conference room and told her to seek employment elsewhere. It only took only a bit longer for a full meeting of the partners to see Stickner fired. To avoid further legal action, Stickner agreed to relinquish his license to practice in Washington State and move to New York, but Susan was going to remain in Seattle.
Early had already been thinking about that particular problem. While he was determined not to lay eyes on cheating slut of a wife, he didn't like the idea of being run out of town either. Besides, he liked the idea of showing Susan that she no longer had any power over him. If he didn't want to see or talk to her, he could make that happen. "No, I'm going to stay here. That is if security can legally keep her out of the offices."
Paul looked at his boss, who nodded and Paul said, "That won't be a problem. I'll have some papers drawn up and serve her."
Then the game began. Susan, desperate to talk to Early, tried to contact him through friends, Early countered with emails and letters. Saying each person would have to choose sides, he concluded by saying, "I welcome all friends but any friend of mine will never mention that bitch's name."
Anticipating she would hire private detectives to find where he was staying, he drove a different rental every day until he found an apartment. Because his attorney told him he was unlikely to be able to get a restraining order, his new apartment was located in a very secure gated community.
The duel continued for weeks. Susan would thrust and Early would parry, outmaneuvering her at every juncture. Just when he thought he'd won, his attorney summoned him to her office