Professional Boundaries(6)

By: Jennifer Peel

“Kelli,” he called out.

I ignored him and walked as fast as my high heels would allow. Unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough.

He easily caught up with me on the stairs. “Please stop.”

I stopped on the landing. Looking at him invoked a deep hatred and an overwhelming desire to slap him, but I decided lashing out verbally would probably be more appropriate. “Why? So you can gloat about stealing my job?”

He walked down the stairs like he really was on a runway, and he met me on the landing.

It kind of took my breath away.

“I would never do that. I didn’t know you were being considered for it until this morning.”

“Oh, so this was just a perk for you?”

His brows furrowed. “You know I’m not that kind of a person.”

“No, you’re wrong. I don’t know what kind of person you are; I don’t think I ever did. You already lied to Gary. You should have told him you knew me and how you knew me.”

“I didn’t lie to him,” he said flatly.

“Still using the Greyson white lie, I see.”

He was great at not telling the truth, all while telling the truth.

“He never asked, and I didn’t see why it was important to bring it up. This is business. It has nothing do with the fact that you and I knew each other previously.”

I just shook my head at him. I knew it shouldn’t bother me, but that was a little cold. We more than just knew each other, but I had to remind myself that our relationship had meant more to me than it had to him. He obviously didn’t even regard it as a relationship. This wasn’t going to work; maybe it was just business to him, but for me, it was personal.

“You can make this your first order of business then. As of this moment, I resign.” I turned and flew down the stairs. By this time, the foyer was alive with activity. I tried to remain calm and unemotional as a plethora of people wished me good morning. I faked it the best I could, but once I hit the parking lot, the tears came as well as a strong urge to throw a rock through his pristine, white Infiniti. I refrained from acting on that particular violent thought. Instead, I just took off in my car like a bat out of Hades.

Instead of heading home, I headed for my sister, Amanda’s, home. Hopefully the kiddos were already off to school. I loved my nieces, Courtney and Samantha, to pieces, but I needed their mommy this morning. She was only five years older than me, but she had been mothering me since I was little, especially after our own mother walked out on our family when I was just six. Once in a while Joan, our mother, would contact us, but for the most part we didn’t have any kind of a relationship with her. It was sad, but we had dealt with it for so long, we just considered it our life. We’ve never expected anything from her. Besides, our dad was the greatest, and he made sure we turned out alright.

In fact, I think we turned out better than alright, especially Amanda. She was the best mom and wife ever. My brother-in-law and dentist, Zane Culver, hit the jackpot. Honestly, he was great too, but no one held a candle to Manda Panda, as I endearingly called her.

As I pulled into the drive of her perfect suburban home, I realized I had several missed calls on my phone. First, it was Boss, then Delfia, then a number I didn’t recognize, but I did recognize the area code as being from Colorado. I could only guess who that was. It didn’t matter; the only person I wanted to talk to shared my DNA. It showed too. As we got older, we’d frequently been asked if we were twins. I wish we were twins, the identical kind, because Amanda was gorgeous inside and out.

I completely turned off my phone and threw it in my satchel. It felt weird because, to me, it was like an extra appendage and I wasn’t used to being off on a weekday, but turning it off was also kind of freeing. Too bad I liked to eat and pay bills and be a responsible adult. Thankfully, I had a good amount in savings. I had never touched the life insurance money I received from my Dad’s passing either. I was saving it for a house one day. Amanda frequently bugged me about buying instead of renting, but to me, buying a house now was saying I was planning on being single forever. Like a schoolgirl, I imagined I would be picking out my first house together with my husband as we talked about what rooms our kids would eventually have. And, honestly, I just didn’t want to live in a big house all by myself; it would only remind me more of how lonely I was sometimes.

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