Professional Boundaries(3)By: Jennifer Peel
I took a deep breath and tried to cleanse my thoughts of the evil Ian, killer of dreams and love. I began to repeat in my head, Director of Marketing at Chandler Media, Kelli Bryant. It sounded perfect. I chanted it to myself silently as I walked in through the empty reception area. It was only seven-thirty, and we didn’t open until eight. By the time I made it to the staircase, I was feeling cleansed of the evil that was Ian. With my thoughts back on track, I took the stairs practically two at a time to the executive level. This was going to be an incredible day. I could feel it.
As I walked toward Delfia’s desk, which sat outside and between the adjoining offices Boss and I shared, I noticed her humming away, busy as a bee. I admired her so much. She was the epitome of someone that took lemons and made the best lemonade you would ever taste. At forty-two, with two practically grown children, her husband left her. He was the world’s biggest idiot, but she picked herself up by the bootstraps and did what she had to do. She’d been working for us for the last couple of years, and I didn’t know what we would ever do without her.
When she noticed me approach, she smiled. “Good morning, you hot little thing.”
Did I mention how much I loved this woman? I posed, movie star style. “Do you love the new dress?”
“Yes, if only I could fit into it,” she replied.
I laughed at her and rolled my eyes. She looked great. I could only hope to look so good in my forties. I noticed Boss’ door was closed. That was odd. “Is Boss here?”
She gave me a funny look. “Yes, he’s meeting with some gentleman that wasn’t on the appointment calendar.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Huh. Did you catch a name?”
“No, but he asked about you?”
She grinned mischievously. “He was quite attractive. Is there someone you’re not telling me about?”
I rolled my eyes. “Yes, Delfia, I’m trying a new tactic. I thought I would have Boss interview all potential new suitors at seven-thirty in the morning. This way he can weed out all the morons and save me the trouble.”
She laughed at my sarcasm, but honestly, it wasn’t a bad idea. I should consider it. “So, no name, huh?”
“No ma’am, but he seemed anxious to see you. He kept asking when you would be in.”
More and more curious.
“Well … ok.”
I walked into my office, and the door between mine and Boss’ offices was closed too. Just for curiosity’s sake, I checked to see if it was locked, and to my surprise, it was. He never locked that door. I was more than intrigued to know who he might be meeting with at such an early hour. Maybe he was interviewing him to take my current position.
That made sense, so I relaxed a little and began to think of anyone I knew that would be a good candidate. While I thought, I started up my laptop and scrolled my phone for any new messages. There weren’t any messages and I couldn’t come up with any ideas of who it might be, so I walked back out to ask Delfia what he looked like; maybe I could guess then.
But before I could say anything, Delfia beat me to the punch. “Are you still taking the belly dancing class at the Y?”
I smiled. “Yes.” I turned to show her my backside. “Can’t you tell by the way my butt looks?”
It was then I noticed, too late, that Delfia wasn’t my only audience. While she laughed, I stood there mortified. I no longer needed to gather any more clues as to who Boss was meeting with. It was someone I thought I once knew very well, someone I thought I would never see again. It was the one person I didn’t need to think about this morning.
“Ian,” I practically gasped.
I could feel my face redden and my heart rate increase. I couldn’t believe he was here and that he’d just heard me tell Delfia to check out my butt. Could someone please shoot me now?
He cleared his throat. “Kelli.”
I stood up straighter and tried to gain my composure, but that was a little difficult under the circumstances. Had it been Boss that just witnessed my headiness, we would all be laughing right now, but no, it had to have been Ian. I was sure the man upstairs hated me, or I was just such a good source of entertainment he couldn’t help it. It didn’t help matters either that Ian looked, um … let’s just say freaking amazing. I wasn’t sure what he had been doing for the last twelve-and-a-half years, but it looked like a stylist had gotten a hold of him. He was in a tailored black suit that fit him to the tee, the glasses were gone, and he’d grown out his hair slightly. It looked even more deserving of fingers running through it.