Professional Boundaries(7)

By: Jennifer Peel

“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.

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.”