Professional Boundaries(7)

By: Jennifer Peel

I hurriedly walked up to the front porch and retrieved my key. “Manda Panda, are you home?” I yelled out as soon as I opened her door.

“Come on back, Kelli Jelly,” I heard her yell back from the kitchen.

I rolled my eyes and grinned. Maybe someday we would have to come up with new nicknames. I threw off my heels and walked back to the kitchen to find my sister, Betty Crocker, baking away. It smelled like homemade bread. Perfect, I needed a carb coma.

My floured, apron-clad sister looked over at me from the oven. “Who died now?”

I couldn’t help but cry again. Suddenly, the full weight of my on-the-spot decision really hit me.

“Oh my, did someone really die?” she asked as she came over to wrap her arms around me.

“No, just my career.”

She stepped back and looked at me. “What do you mean, honey? Gary would never fire you.”

“He didn’t,” I responded. I told her the whole ridiculous story. She had never met Ian, but she knew what he had meant to me and how devastated I was when he broke up with me.

“Well, that’s quite the story. Are you sure he knew you worked there?”



“What does that mean?”

“I just find it interesting, that’s all. Is he married?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“You don’t find it weird that your ex-boyfriend just all of sudden shows up after how many years and becomes your boss?”

“You don’t know Ian, this has nothing to do with me. It’s purely business for him. He’s an opportunist.”

“I bet he is,” she responded.

“Seriously, sis, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She shrugged her shoulders and led me to her kitchen table. We both sat down.

“So you’re really going to let this guy take what you’ve worked so hard for?”

I laid my head down on her table and moaned. “What else can I do? I can’t possibly work for him. I used to make out with him, and I told the guy I loved him and he told me that was a complication and never talked to me again, until today.”

My sister grinned evilly. “Was he a good kisser?”

I slowly lifted my head up. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“It’s all in the kiss, right?” She smiled toothily.

“You have no idea.”

“That good, huh?”

“Best ever. You see why I can’t work for him?”

“Are you kidding me? Show this guy who’s boss and what he missed out on all these years.”

I tapped my fingers on her perfectly cleaned table. “I don’t know, sis.”

She stood up, looked at my pathetic figure, and took off her apron. “I say we go shopping and get our nails done while you’re contemplating.”

I wiped the tears out of my eyes. “You really are the best.”

She winked. “Tell me something I don’t know, Kelli Jelly.”

Chapter 3

I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but a day of shopping and pampering with my sister was medicinal, to say the least. She really was the best. Not only was she my sister, she was my best friend. All day she kept encouraging me to go and get my job back, but I still wasn’t sure. Even though in my head I had completely gotten over Ian, there seemed to be some murky water under that bridge in my heart. To this very day, he was the only man I had ever loved. I’d tried to be in love again on several other occasions, and I’d even had men tell me they loved me, but I just hadn’t met anyone who made me feel like Ian had.

I’d thought, on occasion, that maybe I was defective and that I could only fall in love with men that would never love me back. Or maybe I had trust issues because my mother abandoned us and the first person I expressed my love to also abandoned me, but Amanda said I was just making something out of nothing. “Look at your life—you’re the most trusting and open person I know. You just haven’t met the right guy yet,” she said.

Easy for her to say; she met Zane when she was eighteen and was married at twenty-one. I wouldn’t say I was jealous of her; it was more like holy envy. Is there such a thing? I don’t know, but what I did know was that I wished on many occasions I was married and had children. I would have traded in deal making and conference calls for PTA meetings, soccer games and diapers in a second. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job, or at least I used to love it. I kept forgetting I didn’t have one anymore.

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