I had been busy most of the morning filing papers and had just sat back down at my desk to type the notes Mr. Donahue had given me when there was a tapping on the office door. Looking up, I saw Shane standing there and gave him a slight smile.
Shane looked so good, as usual. A hot mess with his messy hair, like he had been running his fingers through it, and his tie slightly crooked. His eyes were a bright blue behind his glasses, but they almost seemed to hold a hint of sadness today. They didn’t have the twinkle I was used to seeing when he came to visit me.
“Hi, Shane,” I said.
“Hey, doll, I heard what happened this morning. I would have been by earlier, but I had an early meeting; I just got out. Are you alright?” Shane asked, stepping into the room.
“I’m fine. I’m hoping I don’t lose my job, but otherwise, I’m fine,” I quietly said, looking up at Shane as he perched on the side of my desk.
“I’m sure everything will be fine,” Shane said. Then he sat watching me for a moment. Holding out his hand, he whispered, “Come here, doll.”
I stood up and moved into his waiting arms. I laid my head on his shoulder as I said, “I know I shouldn’t have slapped her, but she’s always making these snide comments about you. I suppose today it was just one too many.”
“We all have our breaking point, and you reached yours this morning. I would have reached mine a long time ago if I hadn’t learned to tune them all out. Some days it’s harder to do, but I’ve had a lot of practice. I wanted to say thank you for standing up for me. Nobody has done that for a long time.”
“I’ll always have your back, Shane.” I stared at his chest, and after fixing his tie, I added, “I hope you know that.”
Shane smiled and kissed my forehead. “I know, doll, I know. Now I need to go and let you get back to work. I’ll see you after work?”
“Yes,” I agreed and stepped back. With a sigh, I sat back down and went back to work.
The day seemed to drag by so slowly, but at four-thirty, Mr. Duffy and Mr. Morgan walked in and greeted me before they walked into Mr. Donahue’s office and closed the door.
I knew they were there to discuss the incident, and I sat worrying about the outcome as I tried to finish my paperwork. When I heard the door open, I glanced up to see Mr. Donahue standing there.
“LaDonna, if you will join us for a moment, please,” Mr. Donahue said as he motioned toward his office.
“Yes, sir,” I quietly said as I stood up and walked into his office.
“Please, have a seat, LaDonna,” Mr. Donahue said as he walked around his desk to sit down.
Nodding, I quickly sat and looked around. Mr. Duffy was standing next to the window, with his hands shoved into his pockets. If it weren’t for the gray hair, it could have been Shane because they looked so much alike.
Mr. Morgan was short for a man. He was maybe five foot four and had a potbelly that he would sit and rub as he thought. I think he was of Spanish descent. His skin was dark brown, his hair black, and a slight accent that sounded Spanish, but I’m not sure because I never asked.
“I’m sure you know why we called you in here, LaDonna,” Mr. Donahue said, and I nodded. “We have decided what is to be done about this morning.”
“I would like to say first that we all knew Sandra was a harsh person, but I kept her as my secretary because she was good at her job. What I didn’t realize was how she spoke about people and manipulated them. Talking to others in the building today was a real eye-opener,” Mr. Morgan said.
“We found Shane wasn’t the only one on the receiving end of her sharp tongue. It seems there were others, but they were too job scared to come forward,” Mr. Duffy added.
“When you let Sandra ‘have it’ their words, not mine, it gave them the courage to step forward and speak out. So, Sandra is no longer part of this place of business. We want you to know that we don’t condone your actions this morning, even if we understand. That said, we will keep you, although there will be a reprimand in your file. If this happens again, we will have to let you go. Do you agree with our findings, LaDonna?” Mr. Donahue asked as he finished.
“Yes, sir,” I whispered, grateful that I still had a job.
Walking out, I closed the door softly behind me.
I smiled as LaDonna walked out the door. She is such a sweet girl, and she’s good for my boy.
“You know, Duff, I believe that girl is good for Junior. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile as much as he has in the last few months,” Donahue said, turning in his chair to look at me and grin.
Morgan chuckled. “Yeah, I’m not sure that smile leaves his face, and she proved today she has his back. In fact, I think I hear wedding bells in their future.”
I nodded at my friends and business partners. “I believe you’re right because I hear them too.”
As I left the offices, I started digging in my purse, hunting my keys, and ran into someone.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. One day I’m going to...” I started saying as I looked up into a pair of beautiful blue eyes behind black-framed glasses.
I smiled at the mischievous twinkle I saw in Shane’s eyes. “Did you purposely stand where I’d run into you?”
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t,” Shane said. He took my hand then and led me outside to his car. “I thought we would take my car if that’s okay?”
“That’s fine with me, but I want you to do something before we go,” I told him as we stopped by his car. I turned to look at him and let out a contented sigh when he took me in his arms.
“What do you need, doll?” Shane asked. “You know I’d do anything for you.”
“I want you to kiss me,” I said.
Shane grinned and raised his hand to capture the back of my head. As he lowered his head closer to mine, he whispered, “With pleasure.”
Then our lips met in a sweet kiss that left me breathless.
When Shane finally raised his head, he said, “I made reservations, so we need to go.”
“Okay,” I agreed as he opened the car door for me, and I slipped inside the car.
Walking around the car’s front, Shane got in the driver’s side and looked at me as he fastened his seat belt. “I like that skirt you’re wearing. It shows those lovely knees of yours.”
“I thought you might like that,” I murmured as Shane started the car and took off out of the parking lot.
Reaching the restaurant, I pulled in and parked. Then getting out, I opened the door for my beautiful girlfriend. Giving her a quick peck, I took her hand and walked her inside.
“I have a reservation, under the name Duffy,” I told the hostess standing at the desk just inside the door.
“Right this way, sir, ma’am,” the hostess said before she led the way to a secluded corner.
After pulling out the chair for LaDonna to be seated, I sat down across from her. As she picked up the menu, I told her, “I hope you like the food here. I’ve only been a couple of times for dad’s business meetings.”
We both looked up as our server walked over and asked what we would like to drink.
“I’ll take water, with a lemon and lime, please,” I said before turning to look at LaDonna. “What would you like, LaDonna?”
“I’ll have iced tea, please, lightly sweetened.”
With a polite nod, our server left, and we looked at our menus again.
“I think the shrimp scampi sounds, maybe with a salad to go with it. What are you going to get, Shane?”
“That sounds good except, I believe, I’ll have soup instead of salad.”
Our server came back with our drinks about that time, and after we’d ordered, she left.
The evening went quickly after that. We stepped out onto the dance floor and danced a couple of dances until our food arrived. Then we sat down and enjoyed our meal. It was a quiet meal because LaDonna didn’t like to talk while she ate. However, when the meal was over, she started talking again.
“So, Mr. Morgan fired Sandra today. It seems she was mean to a lot of people there, and after what I did, they weren’t scared to talk about it anymore,” LaDonna said.
“Dad had told me about some of the things Sandra has done, none of it nice,” I said with a nod. “What about you?”
“Well, I get to keep my job, but a reprimand will be in my file. I guess that means I can’t go around slapping people for fun!” LaDonna said with a giggle.
“No, I guess you can’t,” I agreed, beginning to feel nervous. I had run out of reasons to put off why I brought LaDonna here.
“Um, Shane, are you okay?” LaDonna asked with a concerned look.
“Yeah, I’m just...” I took a deep breath. Then I gave myself a mental pep talk, telling myself I could do what I had planned.
Pushing back my chair, I walked to LaDonna’s side of the table as she tilted her head. Then I dropped to one knee and took her hand in one of mine as I took the ring from my pocket. I heard LaDonna gasp, and she raised her free hand to her mouth.
“LaDonna, I love you with everything in me, and I want you by my side for as many days as I walk this earth. Will you marry me and be my wife?”
I stared up into her beautiful brown eyes as they filled with tears.
Removing her hand from her mouth, she said,” Yes, Shane. I love you too, so very much. So, yes, a million times. I will marry you.”
LaDonna wrapped her arms around me, and we kissed for a long time.
I knew that I might be a nerd, but I was her nerd, and that was all that mattered to me.
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