**6 months later**
Shane and I have been having the time of our life. I could hardly believe we’ve been dating for six months already. We had been going and doing something together every weekend, and on weekdays we have lunch together almost every day.
Last weekend we joined Shane’s parents for lunch, and I finally met his mother. She is such a sweetie, and Shane looks so much like her. They both have curly hair and blue eyes, although she’s short, so his height obviously comes from his dad.
Today, I dressed extra carefully because it was Friday, and Shane said he wanted to take me out after work. Of course, I must wear a skirt, but I wore a less conservative one than usual. It’s red and flares out at my every move. My blouse is white with tiny red hearts, and I’m wearing a pair of shiny red stilettos.
I stand, looking at myself in my full-length mirror, turning this way and wondering how my outfit will affect Shane. My skirt swirls as I turned quickly and flashed my knees, making me laugh. Shane had a thing for knees, weird, I know, but he often slides his hand under the hem of my skirt and pushes it up just enough to see them. Then he enjoys rubbing circles on one as we kiss.
A shiver rushes down my spine at the memory of how it feels. Yeah, maybe the weirdest thing about it is just how much it turns me on when Shane does it.
“Drat, now I want Shane here, kissing me and rubbing my bare knee,” I muttered as I turned away from the mirror.
Shaking my head, I sigh, trying to shake off the thoughts now going through my head. I grab my purse and my keys, taking a deep breath before heading out the door to work.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m walking through the Municipal building doors where Donahue, Morgan, and Duffy were located. There is a big smile on my red-coated lips and a little extra sway to my hips.
“As dressed up as you are, you must have a hot date tonight,” Molly, the receptionist, said from where she sat behind the ample counter in the foyer.
Molly is one of the few who don’t make fun of Shane. That’s one of the biggest reasons I let myself become friends with her. Sometimes when Shane can’t make lunch, I ask her to go with me, and she usually agrees.
“Yes, Shane and I have been together six months now. He’s taking me somewhere special tonight, and I am beyond excited,” I explain as I lean on the counter to stop myself from doing a happy dance.
Molly chuckled. “I can see that in the way you’re almost glowing with happiness. I am excited for you, LaDonna. You and Shane make the cutest couple.”
Before I could thank her, Molly made a face. So, I very slowly turned and almost groaned at who now stood a few steps behind me.
“Ah, don’t tell me you and nerd boy are still together?” Sandra, the obnoxious, asked.
Now my smile was gone, and my happy mood ruined. “His name is Shane, not nerd boy.”
“Whatever, I honestly don’t care what his name is. I’m surprised you’re still together, though. I would have thought he would have bored you to tears by now,” Sandra said, smirking at me.
“No, he doesn’t bore me. Believe it or not, Sandra, a person with an education, can be an interesting person. It’s the uneducated people who have nothing worth listening to,” I told her.
“Don’t compare me to nerd boy, LaDonna,” Sandra said, her face slowly turning red. “And I have an education, thank you very much.”
I growled. “You know what, Sandra? I think you need to shut up because your opinion amounts to absolutely nothing. Shane is three times the person you will ever be. Yes, he is a bit of a nerd, but he’s my nerd, and I won’t let you talk bad about him. He’s kind and sweet, and he takes care of me.”
“Please, why would anyone want him?” Sandra asked with a disgusted snort. “He might be kind and sweet, but he’s also freakishly tall and built like a bean pole. So, again, why would...”
I didn’t let Sandra finish because I’d heard enough garbage come out of her mouth about Shane in the last six months to last me a lifetime. So, I slapped her. Yes, I slapped her hard enough to leave a handprint on her cheek.
I heard Molly gasp behind me as the crack of my hand on Sandra’s face echoed in the room. Sandra stared at me, her eyes big as she reached up to lay a hand on her cheek.
I stood there with my chest heaving. I took slow and deep drags of air, trying to calm myself. However, all I really wanted to do was slap Sandra again. Finally, I managed to say, “Don’t you ever talk about Shane that way again.”
“You will regret hitting me, little girl,” Sandra hissed as she turned and left me standing there.
“LaDonna, you know Sandra is pretty much the queen around here. She’s not going to let you get away with what you just did,” Molly said very quietly from behind me.
“I know,” I whispered. “Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to let Sandra talk about Shane that way. It isn’t right. I’ll talk to you later, Molly.”
“Yeah, later,” Molly whispered.
Straightening my shoulders, I ignored the whispers around me. Turning, I walked on shaky legs to the elevator that would take me to the third floor where Donahue, Morgan, and Duffy was. When I got off the elevator, I quickly made my way to Mr. Donahue’s office and sat down at my desk.
Elbow on the desk, forehead propped in my palm, I let out a shaky breath. I could be in so much trouble over slapping Sandra, maybe even lose my job, and being mad was no excuse.
My mother would be giving me a huge lecture about how two wrongs don’t make it right if she had seen me just now. Although, Dad would probably be telling me something like, good for you, baby, way to show her you won’t be pushed around.
“LaDonna, could you come in here for a moment?” Mr. Donahue asked from where he stood in his office doorway.
“Yes, sir,” I said, standing to follow him inside.
Mr. Donahue sat down behind his desk, leaving me to stand in front of it. Crossing his arms over his chest, he looked at me. His look was stern, with his heavy eyebrows pulled low over his dark eyes. “I’m sure you know why I called you in here?”
“I know Sandra rubs people wrong, but this is a place of business. LaDonna, you are expected to have a little decorum. Now I’ve heard Sandra’s side, let’s hear yours.”
Taking a deep breath, I told him. When I’d finished, I said, “I know I shouldn’t have done it, sir. I suppose it was knee jerk reaction. I really like Shane, though, and don’t enjoy hearing her talk about him that way.”
Mr. Donahue smiled. “You know, when I was younger, it didn’t take much to set me off either. I also know that if some guy were to talk about Rebecca that way, even now, I probably would slug him for it. I’ll talk to Mr. Morgan and tell him what happened. Then the two of us will decide what should be done about this issue. In the meantime, try to stay out of Sandra’s way. Her story wasn’t even close to yours.”
“Sir, Molly was there if you and Mr. Morgan wish to speak to her.”
“Molly is the receptionist downstairs in the lobby.”
“Ah, yes. That would be Ms. Craft, I believe. Yes, I think it would be a good idea to have a word with her. Thank you, LaDonna. You may return to your desk now.”
“Yes, sir,” I told him. Then I left, closing the door gently behind me.