Professional Boundaries(8)

By: Jennifer Peel

I just wanted more. No, that wasn’t it. I think I just wanted more personal fulfillment. Belly dancing could only give me so much, no matter how good my butt looked.

By the time I arrived back at my apartment, the sun was just beginning to set. I unloaded my haul for the day. I looked over the plethora of bags and thought maybe I shouldn’t have shopped like I was still gainfully employed. Oh well, you only live once, right? Besides, it was for medicinal purposes, and I if had to look for a new job, I needed to look my best. Or if I didn’t find a new job soon, I needed to look good lying out by the pool; my new swimsuit would do the job nicely. Maybe I would have to eat ramen for the next week or two, so what?

With my heavy load I was thankful, once again, to live on the bottom floor, but like my sister reminded me again today, it would be more convenient to have a garage to pull into. I told her I would think about house shopping … maybe. I looked longingly at the pool again. Soon, I thought. It was then I noticed a man in a suit sitting on one of the poolside chairs. My first thought was, Wow, someone who wants the pool to open more than me, but that was before I got closer and noticed who it was. Then I thought, well … some words I shouldn’t say out loud. My next thought was, You’ve got to be kidding me!

As soon as he noticed me, he rose and walked my way. I just kept walking toward my apartment, ignoring him and hoping he would accidentally fall in the pool, or better yet, go back to Colorado or wherever he came from. I just assumed Colorado, because that’s where he had grown up and that’s what his license plate said, but who knew. I for one didn’t care, just as long as it wasn’t here.

“Kelli!” he called out after me.

I didn’t respond. I just kept walking to my door. I really didn’t have anything to say to him. I made it to my door and dropped my bags to retrieve my key and punch in my security code. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take a hint and he met me at my door.

I looked over to him. “I feel like I keep saying this to you today. What are you doing here? Better yet, how do you even know I live here?”

He ran his fingers through his hair.

Lucky fingers, I thought dumbly.

“Well, maybe if you answered your phone, I wouldn’t have had to track you down.”

“I still want to know how you know where I live,” I fired back.

“I have access to all the employee files.”

I glared at him. “Well, I’m not an employee anymore.”

He sighed heavily. “Come on, Kelli, can you give me a break here. It’s been a long day.”

I smirked. “And I should care, why?”

I could tell he was ready to lash back, but he stopped himself and took a breath and thought before he spoke. “Kelli, I’d like to talk to you about rescinding your resignation.”

He sounded sincere.

“Fine, you have two minutes. Go.”

I think his lip twitched like he was going to smile. “Can’t I come in?”

I shook my head. “I don’t let strangers, especially of the male variety, into my apartment.”

He crossed his arms and narrowed his gorgeous brown eyes at me. “Kelli, you know me.”

“Isn’t funny how sometimes the people we think we know the best are the ones we really don’t know at all,” I said with glee.

He stood there and stared at me for a moment. I didn’t budge. I was serious about not letting him into my apartment, and I was serious about not knowing him. After he broke up with me that was one of the hardest parts for me to reconcile. I thought I knew him so well, but in reality I didn’t know him at all, because my version of Ian may have freaked out a little bit about the whole love thing, but he never would have treated me so harshly.

He bravely stepped toward me and softened his tone. “I have a feeling I’m going to need more than two minutes to convince you. Can I take you to dinner?”

I stared into his deep brown eyes. I noticed he had some subtle lines around them now, and I even noticed a gray hair or two in that dark hair of his. So much had changed in thirteen years. Thirteen years ago I wouldn’t have even given his invitation a second thought, but now I needed a third and even a fourth thought.

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