Need to start at the beginning? Click here for Part 1 then use the link at the bottom of each post to advance to the next chapter.
I stare at Candace Gleason. She looks like a completely different woman. The last time I saw her, a little over a month ago, she was living in a state of stress. Then she disappeared.
Now, Candace is practically glowing. She looks confident, content, and incredibly beautiful. Her face lights up like the freaking sun when she sees me and she rises from her desk to pull me into a hug.
I wish I had half the sense of comfort Candace seems to be swimming in. I am a conflicted mess as I take a seat opposite her while she settles at her desk.
“It’s so good to see you, Janice,” she gushes.
We chat idly for a while. She asks me about the assignment I’ve been on in her absence. Then she proceeds to tell me she can’t live without me in her new position. I blush as she heaps praise on me and describes how she pulled strings with the head Mr. Morrison himself to keep me as her secretary.
Finally, she settles back and examines me. “But, you don’t seem as excited about all this as I am.”
Her intelligent eyes see right through me. “It’s…complicated,” I admit. “I don’t want you to think that I’m not completely flattered by you offering me this opportunity,” I say quickly. “It’s just…”
Candace leans forward. “What’s going on Janice? What’s wrong?”
I run a hand through my hair. “Nothing’s wrong. It’s that everything is so right. I met someone. And I know that should have nothing to do with my career. But it does. It has everything to do with it.” I stop talking, afraid I sound like a lunatic.
“Go on,” she encourages. Her expression is completely unreadable.
I take a deep breath and try to muster up every ounce of sense I have to attempt to make an articulate explanation. “His name is Claude and he’s the interior designer and even though we’ve only been dating for a few weeks, he’s changed my perspective on life. He’s changed everything.”
I must sound like a fool. But Candace just smiles and turns her hand in a circular motion to indicate I should keep going.
“See. The think is…I’ve always wanted to be a photographer.”
Candace nods. “I know.”
This takes me by surprise. I hadn’t realized she’d paid that much attention to me. “Yeah, well, Claude wants to help me make that dream a reality. His parents are kind of…investors in careers. They want to lend me the money to set up a studio. I never would have considered this before. But, Claude makes me…he makes me feel like I can do this.”
A massive smiles spreads across Candace’s face. “I understand completely.”
I am dumbfounded. “You do?”
“Yes. Completely.” Candace stands and walks around her desk so she’s right in front of me. “I will miss you Janice.” She holds out her arms. I get up and let her pull me into a hug. “Go pursue your dreams.”
Stay tuned for the final chapter...