Professional Boundaries(19)

By: Jennifer Peel

I flipped through page after page of happy memories, then one particular passage jumped out at me dated February 10, 2001. It read:

Today I asked my dad how he knew he loved my mom and how she was the one, or did he know she was the one. I mean, she did leave us and all. It got quiet on the other end of the phone, but then he said, Kelli, you just know when you know, it will be the most undeniable, peaceful all-encompassing feeling. It will be like drowning in pure intelligence. Then he told me that he did feel that way about my mom. He said sometimes, just because something is right, doesn’t mean it will work out, especially when other people’s choices are involved. He said my mom made her choice, but he would never regret marrying her and he still loved her. It made me cry. I told him that I was in love with Ian. I thought he might laugh at me or maybe even be upset, but all he said was, I’m happy for you, but don’t get too carried away, you’re young. I told him I would try, but I’ve been drowning in that pure intelligence for some time now. I haven’t told Ian because he frequently worries about our age difference and besides, I think the man should say it first. I just hope I can hold it in. I’ve almost told him on several occasions. Anyway, it’s late and I should probably go to bed, I have a big biology exam in the morning.

The tears started to fall softly down my cheek. My sister was right. That was my problem. I knew, with every fiber of my being, I was meant to be with Ian. I knew even at eighteen years of age, but he’d made his choice and there was nothing I could do about that, no matter how right I knew we were for each other. How do you come to terms with someone that robbed you of such a thing, especially when you’ve never been able to find it again?

I flipped through the rest of eighteen and the first part of nineteen. I stopped before I got to the breaking-up part. It was still gut wrenching for me. I could still remember that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach that lasted for days. Admittedly, some of it still existed. I stood up quickly and wiped away my tears. I’d had enough; I packed the journals away in an out-of-place spot. I didn’t want to see them anymore. That’s when the anger and the determination came. I wasn’t going to allow Ian to rob me of anything else. I loved my job at Chandler, and I belonged there, whether he was there or not.

Chapter 5

As I drove out to the Chandlers’ I tried to remove all thoughts of Ian from my mind, but that was proving to be a difficult task. I thought I had mastered that skill long ago, but now that he was back, I found myself out of practice and very unskilled. Of course I was going to have to think about him as we were going to be working together, but I needed to forget the past. I didn’t know this Ian, and maybe I never knew him. No … I knew that wasn’t true. In my heart, I knew that I had once known the real Ian, I just didn’t know why he did what he did to us. I remember his mom telling me once that Ian was his best self with me. “I was really worried about your age difference, but once I saw the two of you together, those thoughts vanished. You’re a perfect match,” she said. I had thought so too.

By the time I arrived at the Chandler’s, I was not in the best of moods, but seeing their home had a calming effect. In a way, it was like coming home. Their home reminded me of late night talks and holidays and shoulders to cry on. It felt warm and instilled a sense of belonging. The best part of dating Luke had been the extra time I got to spend at his parents’ home.

I looked up at the pristine white two-story home with black shutters and smiled. I reminded myself of the blessed life I led and that Ian was just a road bump. The thought of running him over made me smile even more. With that lovely thought still in mind, I walked myself up the stone path that led to the wrap-around porch that was a gateway to a piece of happiness. I eagerly knocked on the door, and soon I was greeted by Boss.

Without a second thought, Boss pulled me into a big bear hug. “How are you kiddo?”

“I’m looking forward to that raise you promised me,” I said against his chest.

He laughed and let me go. “That’s my girl.”

I could hear the relief in his voice. He wrapped his arm around me, and we walked back to the kitchen. Holly was just putting dinner, which looked like some cheesy pasta dish, into the oven. That was out of character for her. Normally dinner was served promptly when guests arrived at the Chandler home.