The Key to Traci’s Locked Heart: The Offer


Photo Credit: Shaped Room Designs

“Have a seat,” Dr. Livingston gestured to a chair at the round table in his plush office. He sat behind a modern L shaped desk wearing a power gray suit, a striped navy blue and white tie with a white shirt. Traci watched him unblinkingly, as she walked slowly towards the table in her ridiculously high black stilettos, a black below the knee pencil skirt, and a lilac silk blouse that had made her feel sexy, but now made her wish for a shapeless sack. She was hesitant to sit; she did not want to draw out the visit. “Sit, sit. I’m not going to bite, unless you ask me to.” He chuckled at his own sexual connotation.

Traci pulled out a chair and sat. Dropping her bag on the floor beside her, she scooted her chair under the table hiding the lower part of her body as well as her hands, which gripped each other. She wished there was something she could use to hide her upper body as well. The Louse seemed to be unable to tear his gaze from her breasts even as he invited her to sit.  “You wanted to see me.” Shit! Traci wished she could take back those words when she saw his eyebrows begin to wiggle suggestively. “Dr. Livingston, I really don’t have all night.”

“What plans do you have for tonight,” he scoffed. “Go home and play Skip-Bo with Lynda and her husband?” He laughed like it was the most stupid thing she could do.

“Actually, I have dinner plans?”

“With Scot and Lynda? Aren’t you tired of feeling like a third wheel? I’ll take you to the Chef’s Table At Brooklyn Fare.”

Traci just stared at the braggart. “You have a reservation?” It was very difficult to get reservations for that high priced restaurant. Traci only knew of the place, because she had Googled expensive restaurants in Brooklyn as a lark. The outside did not even resemble a restaurant. There was not a set menu, and they usually served seafood for which she was highly allergic.

Smiling smugly, Dr. Livingston puffed out his chest, “No, but the owner is a friend of mine. We attended the same high school. I can call him anytime and get a table like that.” He snapped his fingers. Traci was tempted to tell him go ahead, but she just did not care to be anywhere near him for any extended period of time.

“I actually have a dinner date with my boyfriend.”

“Boyfriend?” He stuttered, “You don’t have a boyfriend! Lynda wouldn’t allow that.”

“As a matter of fact I moved in with my boyfriend. I no longer live with Lynda and Scot.” Traci hoped the Lord would not strike her dead for telling that lie, but how dare he assume to tell me my business. And what’s this about Lynda allowing me to have one?

“Since when?” He smiled slyly like he was hoping to catch Traci in a lie.

“Dr. Livingston, I don’t see what this have to do with anything. You invited me to your office. What was the urgency? Why couldn’t we discuss whatever tomorrow during business hours?” Although her voice trembled, she tried to sound firm and impatient at the delay. Just then Traci’s cell phone chimed, and it said, “Call from Raun Hartman.” Traci felt like shooting all men. What did he want? She hoped it was not an answer to his preposterous proposal.  She wished she could use Raun to get rid of The Louse’s unwanted attention?

“Who’s that?”

Traci hastily replied, “Nobody.” Traci wanted to say, it’s my man, but she did not believe she was a convincing liar to pull off that tale. What would she even say if he started to ask questions about Raun? What did she really know about Raun anyway besides that he made her heart gallop and her panties wet, just by watching him do yard work. The way his muscles bunched and relaxed did not scare her as much, as a handsome face. Thinking about Raun was heating her blood. She felt feverish. Traci needed to stay on track, before Dr. Livingston picked up on her sexual vibe, and think it was directed at him. “Um…” Wetting her lips, Traci saw Dr. Livingston puzzled look, and hastily tried to get out of the meeting. Traci did not relish being alone with him after hours. “I really need to get going.”

He stared at Traci for a beat before saying, “Okay. This won’t take but a moment.” He shuffled through some papers on his desk, before grouping a few of them into a pile. Pushing back his chair, he got up, and walked soundlessly over to Traci at the small circular table in polished black laced up dress shoes. Traci wanted to run screaming from the office, but forced herself to remain seated. She forced her hands to loosen their grip on each other. Pushing back her own chair, she waited tense. In her head she chanted, You’re not a victim, you’re a fighter! You’re not a victim, you’re a fight–.”

“As you know Lynda is retiring?”

Startled out of her fear by that announcement. Traci asked, “Lynda’s retiring? When?” It was news to her. She had spoken to Lynda this morning, and she had said nothing about retiring.

“She’s been offered a very lucrative retirement package. We believe that she should leave gracefully.”

“You’re forcing her out? Lynda isn’t 67! At least I don’t think she–”

“It is time for her to go. She has outlived her usefulness with this school.”

“Outlived her usefulness? What does that even mean?” Traci did not like where this conversation was headed. Why did Dr. Livingston want to meet with her? Did he want her to speak with Lynda, and get her to leave gracefully? It was not Traci’s job to do any firing or whatever he expected her to do. “Lynda’s a wonderful counselor!” Traci stared at The Louse, and could not believe what he was saying about Lynda. He needed to be fired for even speaking like that about an employee.

“Do you want the job or not? I can offer it to someone else.”

“What job? Lynda’s job?” Traci stared at him like he was the underbelly of a slithering snake. Like he was shit beneath her heels. OMG… I’m going to be sick. “No. I don’t want the job.” Grabbing her bag off the floor, Traci stood up. “Is that all Dr. Livingston?” Her phone beeped again, “Call from Raun Hartman.”

“Who the hell is Raun Hartman?” Shouted Dr. Livingston from his seated position. He did not seem angry, just annoyed at the interruption.

“My boyfriend.” Traci had made her decision. She just hoped she was not jumping into a similar situation like she had with Ian Walker.


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