Professional Boundaries(5)

By: Jennifer Peel

“There is no but, Kelli. You would be excellent. This has been perhaps the toughest decision of my career, but I feel like it’s the right one, and I think you will too once you understand what Ian has to bring to the table.”

I jumped up; it was a knee jerk reaction. “You’re making him the Director?”

Boss was definitely surprised by my reaction. I forgot he didn’t know that Ian and I had a history. And believe me, that ticked me off. Ian should have told him he knew me and how he knew me. Maybe then Boss would have thought twice about his asinine decision. Maybe I should tell him, I thought. Or maybe I should quit. I can’t and won’t work for Ian.

Boss looked up at me with confusion. “I know you’re disappointed, and rightly so, but this isn’t a reflection on your capabilities. Look at this as a new opportunity.”

“How?” I asked.

“Ian has extensive contacts in the technology sector. He just sold his own technology company for millions.” Boss was desperately trying to sell the idea to me.

That sounded like Ian. Looked like his plan was right on schedule. That meant he was married now, too, with two-point-five kids.

Boss stood up and took my hand again. “Your digital ad design needs him. He can take this product national, maybe even global. Not only is he a master businessman, but he knows development.”

I wanted to say, Tell me something I don’t know. I knew Ian had a degree in software development, in addition to his business undergrad and graduate degrees.

I pulled away from him and began pacing back and forth, running my fingers through my perfectly curled new-Director hair. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier, and when did you even meet him?”

“I met him at that Marketing Technology conference in Denver last fall. And I didn’t tell you because, like I said, he’s a savvy business man.” Boss laughed. “He made me sign an NDA before we even began discussions to explore this idea.”

I rolled my eyes. That sounded like Ian—always cautious and in control.

Boss approached me again and led me back to my chair. “Kelli, please sit down.”

I sighed and reluctantly complied.

Boss took my hands right back as soon as we sat down. “Kelli, look at this like a partnership. Without you on board, this isn’t going to work. The office staff loves you too much.”

“It’s too late to butter me up.”

He laughed nervously. “That sounds like my girl.”

I didn’t find this humorous at all. “I’m going to have to think about this. There are other factors to take into account.” I stood up. “I’m going home for the day.”

His face dropped.

I got up and walked toward the door that joined our offices together.

“I’ll give you a raise,” Boss yelled out.

I didn’t even bother looking at him. I opened the door. “If I stay, you bet you will.”

I didn’t know if any increase in pay was worth working with Ian. I just couldn’t believe Ian was going to be the Director. The big question was why he wanted to be. It sounded like he had plenty of money now, and he darn well knew I worked there. Ian always did his homework; I bet he already knew every employee’s name and his or her vital statistics.

I walked over to my desk and looked around my office lovingly. It was spacious and stylishly decorated; I even had a private bathroom. The view was great too. It overlooked a small lake and walking path. It was going to really suck to give it all up, especially for the man that did some pretty major damage to my heart all those years ago. It had taken me a long time to get over him, but you never forget your first love, especially when you felt the way I felt about Ian.

As a precaution, I placed the pictures of my nieces and cat from my desk in my satchel, and then I threw on my long overcoat. I wasn’t sure I was ever coming back. The thought made my stomach roll. How did this happen? I was expecting a promotion this morning, not a figurative slap in the face.

When I walked out of my office, Delfia looked up from her computer. She smiled tentatively. “Should I transfer your calls to your mobile?” she asked with trepidation.

I held back the tears. “That won’t be necessary.” I tried to smile at her, but I couldn’t. I just kept on walking. I passed the conference room on the way to the stairs, and it was like Ian was waiting for me.

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