Sisters – trouble whether or not you’re related to them by blood
As I walk down the hallway at work on Monday morning while studying a soil report on my tablet, the hair on the back of my neck prickles. Unfortunately, I’ve become intimately acquainted with this feeling over the past year and know exactly what it means. Beckett Dempsey is approaching. I peek up from beneath my eyelashes and, sure enough, he’s prowling his way toward me.
I’ve had about enough of Beckett Dempsey and his interfering ways. Who does he think he is? It’s bad enough he believes me to be incompetent, but now he’s invading my hometown because he thinks I’m avoiding him? My hometown is my sanctuary. He doesn’t belong there.
I duck into the restroom before Beckett can reach me. I set my tablet on the counter and splash cold water on my wrists. Despite the lack of scientific evidence confirming cold water on wrists cools a body down, the water feels refreshing.
I stare at myself in the mirror and discover my cheeks are flushed and my eyes are dilated. I glare at my face. I am not sexually aroused by Beckett. The vision in the mirror calls me a liar. I frown. I am not a slave to my body.
I don’t care how attractive Beckett is or how much my body yearns for his. I will never act on those yearnings. He’s my boss. Getting mixed up with him would hurt my career and my career is the most important thing in my life. I can find my boss sexually attractive and continue to work with him in a professional manner.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“I know you’re in there, Lilac,” Beckett yells through the door.
My lips purse. He may not act professional toward me, but I will not stoop to his level. No matter how incompetent he thinks I am.
“Beckett!” a woman shouts. “What are you doing? Trying to break the door to the woman’s room down?”
I know the voice. It’s Cassandra, Beckett’s sister.
“Don’t make me summon HR on you, old man.”
“I’m not an old man. I’m thirty-eight.”
“As I said. Old man. Now, get on out of here. I thought as the big, bad, important CEO you’d have more important things to do than breaching the restroom.”
The door flies open and three women – Cassandra, Elizabeth, and Gabrielle – tromp into the room. They’re Beckett’s sisters. None of whom work at Clean Mountain Environment, although they don’t hesitate to visit their brother here on a regular basis.
“Were you hiding from Beckett in the bathroom?” Cassandra asks without bothering to greet me.
Gabrielle gasps and widens her eyes at Cassandra’s behavior.
“You can’t ask her that kind of question,” Elizabeth admonishes.
Cassandra shrugs. “Why not?”
“It’s rude,” Gabrielle says in a barely audible voice. Beckett’s youngest sister is incredibly shy.
“Exactly,” Elizabeth agrees.
Cassandra rolls her eyes. “Who cares? How am I going to get the skinny on what’s going on with Beckett if I’m afraid to ask the hard questions?”
“And here everyone says I’m the awkward one and yet you’re the one using slang from the 80s,” Elizabeth claims.
I clear my throat. “Actually, the phrase ‘getting the skinny on someone’ stems from World War II.”
Cassandra giggles. “Why am I not surprised Beckett fell for a woman who knows the history of the phrase ‘get the skinny on’?”
“Beckett hasn’t fallen for me. Quite the contrary. He thinks I’m incompetent.”
Gabrielle’s eyes widen and she shuffles closer. “Is he… is he.” She clears her throat. “Is he mean to you?”
I study her. Based on her actions today and past interactions I’ve had with her, I hypothesize she’s suffered at the hands of a man in the past. Although, I find it difficult to believe Beckett would ever let anyone harm one of his sisters.