Recently, Lou had been acting weird, and asking, yet again, about the legality of recording telephone conversations, and an abundance of questions regarding sexual harassment laws. I shared what I know from grad school and work, and then sprinkled in a few disturbing tidbits just to mess with him, because I knew damn well why he was asking. I didn’t say anything untrue, but I certainly wasn’t inclined to ease his mind.

Shortly after that conversation, Lou came home from work with a spiel that his client was in financial distress, and that despite being in the midst of a long-term project, they abruptly ended his consulting engagement, effective immediately. I said all the right supportive things, and asked all the right questions, fully aware that his story made absolutely no sense. When I put it together with his questions about phone tapping and sexual harassment, and that he recently wanted to move all of our assets under just my name, I knew he had gotten into some kind of legal trouble. I snooped around and easily found that he was fired from the job because of a charge of sexual harassment from the woman he’s been working out with and emailing and chatting with on AOL. In an email to company management, he pleaded innocent to the sexual harassment accusations, insisting that their relationship was consensual, mutual, and welcome. It wasn’t clear exactly what the relationship was, but I doubt they were just working out in the gym. Funny thing is that in his counter-claim statements, he used a lot of the keywords from my earlier tutorial about factors that differentiate sexual harassment from a relationship.

From what I read in the emails between them and the photos she sent, they had a relationship of some sort that was not one-sided. I knew what she looked like, so when Lou, Anjelica, and I attended their company picnic over the summer, I was friendly and especially social when she was around to make sure she could not ignore our family and simply assume his wife is some horrible bitch. My theory is that she decided to call it quits, he didn’t want the relationship to end, and kept trying to woo her back even after she asked him to stop, and then she threatened to report him. At that point, he probably upped his harassment by asserting that she was just as guilty as him, and that he had her lingerie photos as proof; she likely got mad or scared enough to finally complain to her boss about his behavior. Lou is only a consultant, so it was simple enough to just stop using his services, and he has no recourse considering his original contract term has long since ended. Problem solved for everyone except Lou, who apparently considers himself to be the victim in this situation, claiming to me that they just used him for his ideas and were going to fail trying to finish the implementation on their own without his continued help.

I am actually quite happy. That romance is obviously done. And even better, Lou now says that it would be great for us to move. We’re looking at locations we would enjoy where I could get a career promotion and paid relocation package. We own this house outright, have savings, and HP stock options I can cash in, so we can upgrade our home without a mortgage. I absolutely despise living here. We are at odds with so many neighbors; I can almost feel daggers shooting me in the back of my head when I drive down the street. Lou isn’t keen on California, so I’m primarily looking for HP jobs in Colorado and northern Massachusetts; both locations are fairly rural with mountains and lakes nearby. The quality of life for us, and for Anjelica in particular, would be awesome. It’s exciting to think this could be a fresh start.

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