Professional Boundaries(5)

By: Jennifer Peel

“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.

“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.