Only Forever

Page 12

Chapter 5
Inappropriate – committing an act you really, really want to but know you shouldn’t
Ilisten to the phone ring through the speakers of my car and scowl when my call remains unanswered. Lilac is once again ignoring me. Since it’s two o’clock in the afternoon on a weekday, she can’t claim I’m blurring the line between work and personal.
Unless she’s in a hotel with some man somewhere. I hear the leather on the steering wheel crack and realize I’m squeezing the life out of it. Shit. I loosen my grip as I remind myself what Lilac does in her private time with other men is not my business.
Yes, Lilac is a gorgeous woman I’d enjoy the hell out of getting to know better, but she’s also my employee. I can’t go there.
I touch the disconnect button on my display. There’s really no reason to phone Lilac since I’ll be seeing her in a few minutes at the site for the biomass project outside of Winter Falls anyway.
The biomass project is Lilac’s brainchild. The small power plant will burn cornstalks from the farms around the area to produce steam to run a turbine, which will provide heat for the homes in Winter Falls.
Biomass is controversial as clean energy due to the pollution created from burning natural materials, but Lilac has developed a method to limit the pollution and associated smell. Her ideas are revolutionary.
I pull into the construction site and park in front of a trailer next to Lilac’s car. When I exit my car, I search the area for Lilac. I catch sight of brown, silky hair under a construction hat, and my legs automatically carry me in her direction.
“Uh oh, someone’s PMSing,” a man grumbles as I reach them.
I step forward to interfere, but Lilac speaks before I have the chance. “Would you say a man is PMSing when he points out a mistake you’ve made?”
“No, you wouldn’t. Because he’s a man.”
“And, therefore, can’t have PMS.”
Someone’s being obstinate. I lean back against a partially finished wall and cross my legs at the ankle to settle in for the show.
“You’re missing the point. On purpose, I might add.”
He lifts his hard hat to scratch his hair. “And the point is?”
Lilac crosses her arms over her chest and glares at him. “It’s inappropriate to claim a woman is on her menstrual cycle because she’s brusque or aggressive.”
The man holds up his hands. “I didn’t mean to offend.”
“No, you meant to belittle me.”
“Hey now, I didn’t mean anything by the comment.”
“Maybe your conscious brain thinks you didn’t mean anything by the comment, although I’m not convinced. Why else would you use the term ‘PMSing’ in a work environment? But your subconscious brain definitely has a hidden agenda. It’s known as unconscious bias for a reason.”
I don’t know what it says about me but listening to Lilac school a man half a foot taller than her and at least fifty pounds heavier is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen.
“Why don’t I apologize, and we put this whole incident behind us?” the man suggests.
Not a bad idea, but I know Lilac won’t go for it. She’s sunk her teeth into the altercation now.
“I accept your apology, but we won’t put this whole incident behind us, because the next woman you speak those words to may be cowed by them and I can’t accept such a possibility. I’m recommending you attend an unconscious bias training.”
The man’s neck darkens and his teeth clench. “Fine,” he mutters before marching off.
“And I expect you to make the changes I suggested as well,” Lilac hollers after him.
She makes a note on her tablet before slamming it shut. “What do you want?”