Professional Boundaries(2)

By: Jennifer Peel


He let go of my hand. “I’m sorry too, Kelli.”

And that was it. He left me standing there, inconsolable with tears silently falling down my cheeks, feeling like January in July.





Chapter 1




I looked longingly at my apartment complex’s pool as I walked to my car. It was February, and I could almost taste spring. I knew I should probably enjoy the season because soon enough I’d be complaining about the heat and humidity Tennessee residents suffered through every spring and summer, but I felt like saying, “Bring it on.” The winter had been harsher than we southerners were used to. But, I reminded myself, I survived four winters in Colorado, almost decade ago.

It was hard to believe that it had been that long since I had received my undergrad degree. That thought made me feel like I was all grown up, especially today of all days.

My stomach fluttered at the thought of being promoted to Marketing Director of Chandler Media. I knew I wasn’t the only candidate in the running, though, so it wasn’t a done deal, but I was the only in-house candidate. Even though I knew I was young to be heading up a marketing firm, I’d proven myself as the Regional Marketing Manager, and I figured the cards were stacked in my favor. I knew the company in and out, and Gary, the owner and current Director, adored me. So did his wife, Holly. It also didn’t hurt that my idea for digital ad software was being adopted rapidly by our financial institution clients. And not to be immodest, but I was well liked and respected by my colleagues in the office. I had even won over some of the old-timers who had been passed over when I received my current position three years ago.

My promotion then had definitely ruffled feathers, due to my age and the fact Gary and Holly were old family friends, but I had worked my butt off and I deserved it, if I do say so myself. Now Gary was ready to enjoy more time with Holly and his sons and grandkids, and I just hoped he trusted me enough to hand over the reins.

I would sorely miss him, though. I loved sharing adjoining executive offices with him, and he was more than my boss, he was like a second father to me.

I climbed into my Eos hard top convertible, which made me wish for spring again. I missed the fun and the freedom of having the wind blow through my hair and the sun beating down on me as I drove. It was like the car was begging for me to push the button and slide the top down. “Just a few more weeks,” I said out loud, as if the car was actually listening to me or really cared if its top was down.

As I made my way through the early morning Nashville traffic, I could barely contain my excitement. I was meeting with Gary, who I fondly called Boss, first thing. I even dressed up for the occasion. Our office typically took a more casual approach, unless we had clients in the office, but with the way technology was now, that was a rarity. I’d done more conference calls than I could count. Personally, I liked face-to-face visits best, but they could be inconvenient and expensive. Today I definitely looked like I was ready for a face-to-face visit: I wore a classy charcoal gray dress that left no doubt I was a woman, and I went a little glam with my dark chocolate hair. To pull it all together, I brought out the red lipstick. It looked great with my fair skin and blue-green eyes. My look screamed, I’m ready to take on the world! … or at least Chandler Media.

When I pulled into our office parking lot, there were already a few cars there. I noticed Boss’ midlife-crisis Camaro. I shook my head and laughed when I remembered Holly telling Boss she didn’t mind the car, but if he ever decided to indulge in other midlife crisis activities, he would be sleeping in that car. I knew Boss would never, he still looked at Holly like a man that had wandered in the desert and she was a tall glass of cool water. Then I noticed Delfia’s car. She was the most fabulous executive admin assistant ever. She almost always beat me to the office. Then there was a stylish white Infiniti. I smiled and wondered who got the new car, but then I noticed the Colorado license plates. Weird, I thought.

The license plate made me reminisce. I loved Colorado. I missed the Rocky Mountains, with the hiking and camping in the summer and the amazing powder for skiing in the winter. It was the only time I enjoyed snow. I think I would have stayed there if I hadn’t been a lovesick fool. Everything in Colorado had reminded me of Ian, so I just couldn’t stay. As soon as I graduated, I hightailed it out of there. Never mind, this was not the morning to think of Ian. Actually, no morning was. He wasn’t deserving of my thoughts.

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