Shaping up to interesting. I like how fast this is going. I mean I’m really rolling and impressing myself.
What do you think?
BTW, I loved loved loved all the comments on the last post. You’re really challenging me and I can understand how much you dislike how Lauren is “keeping hope alive.”
I spoke to my strong independent daughter about Lauren and she felt the same way you guys felt, BUT she said given Lauren’s history she could understand a woman pining for her first love unconditionally… UNTIL something better than him came along.
I didn’t tell her much about Tyler because he’s not really better, just bitter.
Deborah looked shocked to see Lauren waiting in the lobby for her the next morning.
They road up the elevator in silence and soon as they arrived at Deborah’s desk, Lauren was handed her timecard to fill out.
“I’ll just put the rest in this bin for you,” Deborah said.
“Why were you looking surprised I was here this morning?” Lauren asked.
“Neither one of us expected you to return after yesterday.”
“Tyler didn’t think I’d come back?”
Deborah nodded. “He called me last night and said yesterday would be the last time we would see you.”
Lauren finished filling out her time card and then walked to the second-floor conference room without another word to Deborah.
She needed the money more than she needed to save her pride and decided not to say anything to provoke her anger and make Deborah fire her.
Today, she was determined to work even harder. Now she didn’t care whether Dylan saw her or knew what she was doing. Lauren worked angrily.
Did Tyler take her for a lazy woman? Someone who expected everyone else to lay the world at her feet? She was hardworking and determined to show him she could do amazing things.
By lunch, she finished up another corner and just like the day before, she came back to the room and slept.
At the end of the day, Lauren had finished another corner of the room and smiled proud of herself. She had found a great system to work smarter and not harder, but there was no way to get around lifting the boxes and putting them on the large dolly they provided.
Presenting her timecard at the end of the day, Deborah wrote out another check.
“I’m not a woman that dares to get in anyone’s business, but can I ask a personal question?”
Lauren had a feeling she wouldn’t like the question, but she nodded her acquiescence to Deborah to ask.
“Why do you still harbor feelings that Mr. Knight wants to speak to you?”
That question was extremely personal. A question Lauren had never really asked herself because she would have to delve deeper into what could possibly be hurt and pain.
Bravely, she faced her fears and answered, “Because we’re in love and this is a simple misunderstanding. If this was some silly romance novel, it’d be over by the third chapter because all we have to do is talk out the misunderstandings. This is all just some miscommunication that can be straightened out by letting Dylan know what he believed was a lie. I just need a few minutes with him.”
Deborah looked clearly skeptical. “Didn’t he take Mr. Black’s adoptive sister on the honeymoon you planned and paid for.”
Lauren gripped her chest as if she had gotten cut by a knife. “Dylan was acting out of hurt and he’s told me they are just really close friends since he’s grown up with Tyler most of his life. She’s like his little sister.”
“I didn’t mean to be so personal, Ms. Jensen. I guess I don’t believe in love that way. My husband used to beat me until I passed out. That was how I thought love was. I’ve never met anyone who blindly believes love conquers all.”
“I do believe it. Dylan was my very first love and first relationship. My parents married right out of high school and loved each other unconditionally until they day they died. Sure, they had bumps and bruises and there were some misunderstandings, but in the end, everything worked out. Deep in his heart, I know Dylan loves me and once we can sit and talk this will all be a passing memory.” She pressed on her back that ached.
“And you’ll just forgive him? Just like that?”
Proudly, Lauren answered, “A wife forgives her husband always. I’m sorry you and Tyler have never known real love, but I have and I know Dylan and I will show to the world that love never dies.”
Deborah frowned confused, but said, “You have a good day, Ms. Jensen.”
Out the corner of her eye as she turned, she noticed behind a stack of papers, Deborah’s phone was out and it looked as if it was on speaker.
Lauren had a feeling Tyler had been listening and as soon as Lauren was out of earshot those two would have a lot to discuss.
Lauren could careless. She needed to catch the bank before closing and sitting there trying to verbally justify she wasn’t some spoiled princess, frivolously in love, would mean nothing but a waste of breath on her part. Let them think she was stupid to be so blindly in love. When Dylan came back and they talked about everything, the world would really see she’d been right all along.
For now, Lauren would need to prove visually she was not someone who didn’t know what hard work was and to show she was all about business and getting things done.
Looking at her list of items needed for her place, she was barely paying attention to her surroundings as she came out of the bank and walked right into someone diligently blocking her path.
The force was enough to knock her on her posterior and when she looked up to see who she’d bumped into her stomach starting hurting too.
“You could have killed me,” Tyler said brushing off his impeccable suit and not bothering to help her up.
“I thought you were in Chicago,” she snapped, still on the ground. “What are you doing here?”
“Unlike you, I go to banks to put money in. Are you going to stay sitting on the streets or are you trying to get a feel of what true homeless people do?”
Lauren scrambled up, hating that she was just staring up at him in shock.Checking the time on her phone, she determined she had ten minutes to make her bus home so she could get to the convenience store around her place to buy some items from her list.
“Where are you going?” he demanded sounding insulted she’d started to walk away from him.
“I’m not about to stand here and battle wits with you, Tyler.”
“Good because you’d lose.”
“I have a bus to catch.”
He blocked her way. “Lauren, are you an idiot or are you trying to ignore me?”
His question caught her off guard. People were walking around them and she felt she was the only one that noticed anyone around them. Tyler’s focus was on her and her alone.
“What are you talking about?”
“I asked you a question. Where are you going?”
She had a feeling he wasn’t just going to let her go, so she answered his question straightforward. “I was going to the storage before I go home. There are things I need.”
“Get in,” he ordered pointing to his car. “ I’ll take you.”
Looking at his car and then back at him warily, Lauren questioned, “Why?”
“I told you I don’t discuss business in public.” He had the nerve to look annoyed as he opened up the passenger door. “I’m not asking again.”
She wanted to point out he didn’t ask in the first place, but curiosity was killing her to know what Tyler wanted to discuss with her.
When he sat on the driver’s side, she noted, “I thought you were going in the bank to make a deposit.”
He put the car in gear and said, “I changed my mind. Business is always more important than pleasure.”
Lauren wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but she didn’t press him because she didn’t want to try to understand Tyler anymore than she needed his money for herself.
“What business did you have to discuss with me?”
He looked at her as if she should know already but then turned those black soulless eyes back to the road. “How long have you been wearing the same clothes?”
Confused as to why he needed to know this information, she responded, “What does it matter?”
“Because you had the same clothes on yesterday and I bet these are the only good clothes you have, but they really aren’t good clothes with the holes in the stockings and the lining coming out from that skirt.”
She pulled her skirt over her knees embarrassed. “What does it matter?”
“What’s after this job?” he asked pulling up in front of the storage place. “What do you have lined up?”
Lauren hadn’t thought that far and didn’t know how to answer him.
He answered for her.“Another lousy minimum wage temp job? Because you will never get back to where you were. You’ve been permanently blackballed.”
“Are you trying to throw salt on my wounds, Tyler?” She jumped out of the car and went inside the storage facility.
Unfortunately, he followed her down the hallway and into the elevator. Her storage unit was on the third floor where the smaller units were. They were about as big as closets but the items she had in there wasn’t a lot, yet it was all she had of her childhood and her life including pictures, her books and other keepsakes including her mother’s wedding dress.
Deborah had known what to really keep and for that Lauren was very grateful.
Tyler still followed her to the unit and stood outside while she tried to ignore him. Inside the unit, she needed a couple of books to refresh herself about databases and a notebook to online accounts she wanted to access.
Back in college, she had various software she would use to train herself in doing various functions. With the small amount she made from Tyler, she had planned to start to garner her own business with other small companies.
She wouldn’t need temporary services that took the majority of her money.
Putting these books and the notes in her bag, she rolled her eyes when she came out of the storage unit to see Tyler still there.
“I can catch the bus home from here,” she said. “As for my future, I have a small plan, but it’s going to take a lot of time.”
“What’s the plan?” he demanded to know.
“I want to open up my own business,” she answered. “I hate to admit you’re right. I can’t live off the minimum wage and too many people know me. I could go places that really need my help for the money I can live off of and just build my own business.”
He actually looked interested. “And how long do you think that would take to make enough money to actually live off comfortably.”
“Honestly?” she asked locking up her storage unit and leaning against the opposite wall across from him. “I’ll probably need about five thousand to get the business going and then I just need to make a decent living until Dylan comes back from Africa and I can talk with him. Eight to ten thousand would be a dream, but I know that’s impossible.”
Disappointment showed clearly on his face. “That may be years. He took the assignment because he was very heartbroken and he knew there was a lot of work over there to keep him occupied.”
“I’ll do what I have to do to survive until then.”
“Anything?” he questioned with a very wicked look in his eyes.
“How about for the eight thousand, you have sex with me?”
Gasping in shock, with all her might she slapped him across the face and ran out of the storage. She ran away from the building until her legs felt like they were going to collapse and her lungs were about to come out of her chest.
He hadn’t followed her and she finally stopped, falling down by an alley about eight blocks away from the storage unit. Gripping her chest and trying not to throw up, she put her face in her other hand and cried.
Lauren sobbed hysterically because, for just a millimeter of a second, she had been desperate enough to accept Tyler’s offer.
This author love comments. The more you give the more she writes. Let me know what you think? Don’t forget to get your friends involved. Make this the office fodder. Tell your book group about it.
To read the other Black Family Series, go to the series page. (Each one is a standalone story and it should be a saga and not a series, but I don’t feel like changing the page name).