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The Lawyer Is Not Happy

Monika Novotny was not happy.

“What were you thinking?” she asked, standing up and walking around from behind her big desk. “Do you know what the statistics are on getting back with an ex once you’ve served the papers? And do you have any idea what you’ll be up against if you pull back now and then want to go ahead later?”

“But we signed an agreement,” Joellen held it up for Monika to see.

“First of all, you’re being very naïve. That would never stand up in court,” Monika argued. “Second, what makes you think he’s going to abide by it?”

“I told him I won’t remove the restraining order or the divorce papers until he complies with everything we agreed to on this,” again she waved the yellow lined paper.

“Well I’m an attorney and not a psychologist so I don’t claim to be able to get inside your husband’s head, but it seems to me he has you right where he wants you. Flowers, a little cheap talk that leads to a signature and then some sex. And now you’ve given up all your advantages. He knows exactly how to manipulate you and you fell for it,” she turned around and sat down behind her desk.

Joellen felt stupid. “I know you’re right,” she said. “I shouldn’t have done it. I don’t know why I did. He just seemed so sad and lost.”

“Yes, and you just had to assume the mommy position,” said Monika. She pulled her chair up to her desk. “So, what shall we do now? If you won’t listen to me and follow my advice, there’s really no need for you to be here.”

“Isn’t there a way to just wait and see if he . . . ” Joellen began, but then she stopped.

“If he what?” asked Monika. “Isn’t this about what you want and not about what he does or doesn’t do?”

“Well, couldn’t he come here and sign the same papers, but ones that you draw up? Wouldn’t that make it stand up in court if it came to that? I mean isn’t a contract a contract?” Joellen asked.

Monika thought about it for a few minutes. “You know people contest contracts all the time. Just because you sign something doesn’t mean there will never be any trouble about the terms later on. It’s just not that simple. But we could try it. I could put in all kinds of what-if clauses that would really penalize him hard if he doesn’t comply with the terms. It would be like he’s on parole and if he violates we shove him back behind bars. Yes, that might work. Let me write up something and get back to you.”

Joellen sighed and slumped back in her chair. She wondered if she should tell Monika about North Carlson. But then she thought what happened with Brent really had nothing to do with North anyway. Brent was a separate matter. He was the one who had gone outside the marriage. Now it was her turn and the less anyone else knew the better. She left feeling like she had just outsmarted the principal. In her car she giggled, remembering her morning with Brent and then North. She wished she could call North and they could have dinner together somewhere and then go out dancing. On the drive home, this fantasy buoyed her so that she felt like a moth flitting around a street lamp. Or maybe it was the sex that lifted her spirits so high.

Joellen Part 3, Episode Thirty-Six

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