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Published by J.L. Ryan, 2017.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
First edition. July 14, 2017.
Copyright © 2017 J.L. Ryan.
Written by J.L. Ryan.
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There had to be something she could do, but what? Curvy girl Rachel Greene looked at her surroundings and sighed. She jumped at the chance to live on her own, and now, well she was in over her head. She had always been the one who wanted out. Out of the family, out of the drama, out of everything, and now she was stuck in a tiny apartment in the worst neighborhood in D.C., with no hope of changing it. She put her head in her hands and sighed. On the computer screen in front of her was her budget for the next six months. No matter which way she plotted and planned, she only had about two months before it all fell apart. She leaned back in her seat, glancing at her reflection in the mirror on her desk.
She wasn’t gorgeous by any means, at least not in her opinion. She was studious and bookwormy, if anything. At least that’s what her brother used to call her. She was voluptuous, had long chestnut hair, and blue eyes fringed with long lashes, something her grandmother said was a wonderful asset. She wore glasses most of the time, unless she had some special occasion, then she popped in her contacts. She was plus-sized and hippy
, something else her grandmother said was a good thing. Not that it mattered, at 24 she had been to school most of her life and still, there was nothing to show for it. Sure, she could go home if things got too bad. The problem was, she would rather live in her car first.
She loved her family, there was no denying that. She was the oldest with a younger brother who was 20. He decided to start his adult life much earlier and was married with a three year old daughter, and a baby on the way. He also lived at home with their parents and grandmother, and his wife. When Tim started his new life, Rachel started hers. At first, her mother was sad she was moving out, but it was only a week before they moved the kids into her old room. There was something co-dependent about her family that made her want out. Everything they did, they did as one cohesive unit, no opinions required. Everything was about survival and scraping along, something Rachel was fine doing, but she would just as soon do it alone, without the heavy responsibility of six other people.
She looked back down at the screen. It wasn’t doing much good right now, living her own life. She graduated from the local community college with a degree in Office Management. Somehow, her family talked her into getting student loans along the way so that she could “help out” with the extra money. Now she was in debt, with payments that were ridiculous and despite her efforts, she couldn’t seem to find a job anywhere. If she’d only been able to keep her job at the hospital none of this would be happening! Even thinking about it made her skin crawl. She was good at her job there, always on time, and working harder than most. She wasn’t tooting her own horn so to speak, it simply was the fact of the matter. One would think her dedication to the job would be something to applaud, but in truth it did nothing more but put her in a vulnerable situation where dirty old men could hit on her. Not just any dirty old man either. Dr. Peter Evans was her superior, she would even say that initially she liked him. It wasn’t until he cornered her in a supply room groping at her that she felt disgust more than anything.
He was old enough to be her father yet he claimed that she was giving him mixed signals, which she strongly denied. He begged her not to say anything, and she didn’t. If for any other reason than the fact that his career would be over if she did, and part of her believed he truly though she was into him. Every point he made was true. She came early and stayed late. She always turned in things to him personally. In her mind this was the action of a good employee, not someone looking for a good time from her boss. Either way, she now was very careful about what she did and how. The problem was after she left the hospital, she couldn’t find work anywhere. At first she told herself it would just take a little longer. But now, three weeks later, she was concerned. She leaned back in the chair and bit her thumbnail lost in thought. She didn’t want to wreak havoc on her family, she certainly didn’t want to sleep on a couch while paying for storage. She leaned forward again and jumped into a new job search, hopeful something would happen.
Byron Blakemore was tired and aching. He spent the early morning hours at the gym, hoping to relieve some of the stress he was carrying around, but looking across his desk he felt the familiar tension rise up. Some days he wondered what the hell he was paying these people for at all. He buzzed in Linda, who scurried in, pen and pad in hand.
“Yes Mr. Blakemore?” She was a small lady. Probably no more than 4’9 and pushing 60. He knew she was struggling more and more to do her job, but he didn’t have the heart to let her go.
“Linda, can you set up a meeting with Carlisle please? Also, I need something purchased for my mother’s birthday, I thought you might like the task.” He saw her light up and he smiled to himself, Shopping seemed to be a skill most women mastered at, and retained an entire lifetime.
“Yes, Mr. Blakemore.” She scurried towards his door.
“Oh Linda, one more thing can you send Alice in HR up for me. We need to discuss something.”
At her nod, he dove back into his paperwork. There was always something that needed his attention, but this was too much. He leaned back once more rethinking the board of directors. There was no fire from any of them to make this business grow. He would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy the money, he did. He’d grown accustom to a certain kind of lifestyle and he wasn’t about to give it up. He knew he had a reputation of being a stone-faced ass, but he preferred it that way, less drama. The only person who really knew him was his mother. She was a sweet woman and anyone who thought otherwise was a fool. He was worried about her, she was frail now and needed more than just he could provide. He heard the knock at his door.
“Yes, come in.” It was Alice.