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Authors: Cheri Lewis

Tanked: TANKED

BOOK: Tanked: TANKED
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TANKED

 

 

 

TANKED

Cheri Lewis

Cheri Lewis © copyright 2014

Published by Cheri Lewis

Editor – L. Mallory

Cover Photo – JanaBeth Photography

Cover Model – Justin Johnson

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Series

The Ultimate Decision

The Ultimate Betrayal

The Ultimate Chance

 

www.creatingeverafter.com

Email –
[email protected]

https://www.facebook.com/cherilewisstoryteller

 

Dedication

Eleven years ago I met somebody who I used to think was crazy for some of the things he attempted. Some were victories and some were defeats but he has never given up and he’s still at it. I’m so blessed that a little of that has rubbed off on me over the years.  Bart Blackmon this book is for you! 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

I watch the front desk receptionist as she looks at me with a strange expression on her face.  She then stands from her desk and trudges toward me with her large feet stuffed into screaming red high heels obviously two sizes too small, her big curly hair bouncing with every step.  My heart instantly drops when I see the large vase stuffed full of flowers that take both of her chubby hands to carry.  I instantly glance around the room praying my boss has already disappeared into his office, and then I quickly stand and walk to her, intending to meet her halfway. I wince when I hear a deep voice call out my name from behind me. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, peeking over my shoulder toward the voice noticing my boss has his head sticking out of his office door and by the expression on his face I know he’s spotted the flowers. 

“Yes, Mr. Samford?” I squeak.

He eyes the huge array of black roses a moment then finally says, “I need you to get Mr. Humphries on the phone for me please.”  I nod and watch as he vanishes behind his office door.  I grab the vase and thank Samantha quietly.  I run as fast as my heels will allow me out the back door of the office.  I throw the flowers, vase and all, into the bottom of the apparently empty dumpster. The sound of shattering glass against the metal causes me to jump.  I take a few deep breaths then smooth down my navy blue dress and run my hands over my blonde hair, making sure it’s still slicked back into a tight bun. I walk slowly back to my desk as I think,
this isn’t good, not good at all.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Charles and June

 

I groan as my alarm sounds waking me way too early.
Man, what was I thinking staying out so late last night?
  I roll over and slap it until it goes silent.  I relax and rest my eyes a few more seconds then the terrible high pitched alarm sounds again. This time I roll over and find the switch to turn the alarm completely off.  I turn back over and hug an extra pillow, wishing I could go back to enjoying the best sleep of my life. 

Bang—bang—bang—bang—ding-dong—ding-dong—ding-dong
… I sit straight up; my unfocused eyes stare at the blurry lavender wall in front of me.  I hear a muffled and aggravated “meow” which I know translates into a nasty “how dare you” from my fluffy white furred, blue eyed cat, Prima. I snatch my glasses off the bedside table, slide them on and everything comes into focus. The numbers on the clock jump out at me, and I let out a huge puff of air, seeing it is
12:20 in the afternoon
.
Oh crap!
I jump up, stumble over a pile of dirty clothes on the floor by the bed, and then run down the hallway to the front door, yanking it open. 

“See, I told you my doodlebug was still in bed and she must be sick. She would never stand her parents up or skip church now would she?” My father says in a serious but teasing tone.

I stifle a yawn as I say, “Good morning, Daddy.”

“Oh Charles, leave her be.  And, you mean good afternoon, McKinsey,” my mother says while giving me a stern stare as she pushes my daddy from the back forcing him inside.

I look at my mother and reply feeling her reprimand, “Yes ma’am, I mean good afternoon.” I give my mom a hug and kiss my daddy on the cheek, while Prima weaves in and out of everyone’s legs making sure we all know she is here too. I bend down and pick her up and pet her behind her ear as she purrs loudly, leaning into my fingers that are rubbing her. 

My daddy wraps his arm around my shoulders and gives me a quick peck on the cheek, “How about changing into something that won’t cause people to make assumptions about your occupation and we’ll get some lunch.”

I look down and realize I am still in my clothes from last night.
I thought I looked quite cute. Well I did last night anyway. 
I roll my eyes at the thought of him thinking that I look like a hooker and also at the wrinkled mess I’m wearing.

“That sounds good; do I have time to take a quick shower?” I ask.

My dad bobs his head, reaches out and takes Prima out of my arms. He walks toward the living room, baby talking to her the entire way. I watch as her bushy white tail swishes back and forth until they disappear leaving me alone with my mother. I look at her and she’s still watching my dad. She shakes her head and finally says, “Go on Kinsey, take your time, it’ll give the restaurants time to clear out from the after-church rush.”

I nod and walk down the hallway toward my room, catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror as I walk. 
YIKES, I should’ve at least taken off my makeup last night
.  Once in my bedroom I carefully step over the piles of clothes then skate across the floor when I step on one of my many magazines. My cell phone chirps, diverting my route from the bathroom to the bed. I move my purple paisley comforter around then shake it hard trying to find my phone and hear a loud thump when it bounces off the wall and falls back on the bed. I grab it and see I have 6 text messages waiting for me.  I plop down on the edge of the bed and check them, two from Joel,
skip.
The other four are from Jessie each message titled “blackmail” I open the text and screech out loud, “OH! MY! GOSH!”  I immediately message him back “You’re dead and you better delete those, NOW!”

He instantly replies, “I’m shaking with fear, and why would I delete them?  You look fabulous!  See you in a week. Wish me luck, I’m totally nervous.”

“Everything alright in there honey?” My mother asks with a concerned tone.

Her supersonic hearing never ceases to amaze me. “Yes mom, about to jump in the shower now.”

I quickly respond to his text. “You’re going to do great! I already miss you like crazy and I’m totally in trouble with Charles and June, all because of you!”

I throw my phone down and race into my bathroom that adjoins my room. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself when I emerge from the bathroom because it only takes me thirty five minutes to get ready. I grab my phone, my purse, and then stroll into the living room while reading the last text message I’ll receive from my best friend today and my heart aches knowing he’ll be unreachable for a week. “Just tell Charles and June you were with me, wishing me a fabulous farewell while I fade off into the sunset for training for my new job. And you’ll be instantly forgiven.” I smile because he’s right, they love Jessie and I know my mother secretly wishes I would marry him, but that won’t happen. Ever.

“Doodlebug come here.”

I walk over to my dad who is fully reclined in my favorite and his old oversized chair, it’s light brown and perfectly worn in.  My mother made him get rid of it so I brought it to my house.  I smile as I watch Prima stretch out across his belly. “Yes, Daddy?”

He reaches out and grabs my hand, and I lean forward with him. He puts my hand on the side of his rounded stomach. “If you feel real hard right here, you can feel my ribs starting to show, I’m so hungry.”

“Oh Daddy, I didn’t take that long.” I pull my hand back and roll my eyes as I sit on the arm of the chair beside him.

I wouldn’t say my daddy is fat but he is definitely healthy and that’s because my mother is one heck of a cook.  I lean up against him, reach out and pet Prima, and then run my fingers across his thinning salt and pepper hair. 

“Junebug! Let’s go! I’m wasting away here!” My dad yells as he releases the recliner to sit up, I stand and Prima jumps off his lap, while looking back at him rather irritated. She then turns with her nose in the air and sashays away.

“I’m coming,” she walks around the corner and I notice the front of her dress has an oval wet spot, right at her lower stomach.

“Momma what were you doing?”

“Just passing time honey, let’s go eat.”

As I walk past her into my kitchen, I notice the dishwasher was going, the counters were wet with a shine from being recently wiped down, and my trashcan is no longer in view.  When I open the cabinet under the sink, I find it hiding there and it has a new liner.   

“Mom!  I’m 34 years old!  I can clean my own kitchen,” I yell.

I jump when she replies from right behind me in her soft, kind, meddling voice, “Apparently not dear, and it’s not nice to talk to your mother that way, a simple thank you would be much better.”

“Thanks Mom.” I mumble and sigh in defeat.  I retreat and follow them out the door; I spend the rest of the day as I do every Sunday—being fussed and coddled over by my parents. 

****

The next morning, I walk into the kitchen; with Prima hot on my heels, meowing loudly as she constantly reminds me that she’s still waiting for her breakfast. “Hush Prima, my gosh.” She meows one more time as she parades past me letting me know just what she thinks of me taking my time.  I grab a can of wet food from the cabinet and empty it in her bowl. I pet her a few times, stand to throw the can away and stop dead in my tracks. I eye my garbage can which is now sitting where I normally keep it, right beside the counter by the coffee maker.  I stare at the pale container a little longer then shrug my shoulders.
I must have done it last night after I got home, totally weird.
I wash my hands, pour my coffee into my travel mug, flip the switch on the coffee maker to off and head out the door to work.

I am the first to arrive which is not unusual.  I enjoy the quiet hum of an empty office and am able get a lot of work done before the phone starts ringing off the hook.  I recently became the personal assistant to Gregory Samford at Gregory Samford Employment Agency, after I worked the front desk for only 6 months.  This has turned out great for me. The money is better and I now have health benefits.  My days are filled with normal receptionist duties, attending meetings with him and helping complete bid proposals trying to convince new clients to let us supply their employees, which may sound like fun but, actually it’s no fun at all.  So far Mr. Samford has been fabulous to work for. I’d never dealt with him directly when I worked the front desk and, as a matter of fact, I never saw him except at a glance.  If we had a problem we were to email him and he would deal with it accordingly.  I don’t know how he deals with problems accordingly because I never had to email him. 

I just begin working on a new proposal for a large construction company when my cell phone chirps.   I roll my eyes when I see it’s another text message from Joel. I read the text and the ones from yesterday and decide to respond.
I hate being ugly or hurting anyone’s feelings but enough is enough.
  “It’s not going to work out Joel, I’m sorry.”

He immediately responds with – “You mean to tell me, that the last two years have meant nothing to you, at all?”

Argh
, this totally annoys me and I decide not to respond to his insane scheme trying to goad me.  We didn’t date for two years; we’ve been friends for two years and dated for like two months.  He seemed cool at first but he liked me to check in everywhere I went.
If I wanted that I would move back in with my parents. Who am I kidding? I still have to do that with my parents and I have my own place. 
I let out a long sigh; I set my phone back in my purse and get busy working on the proposal.  I look up at the clock on the wall and see that three hours have passed. I have worked straight through lunch and my stomach is growling, reminding me to feed it.  I walk down the short hallway to our break room to get my sandwich and find that it is gone, again. I stare at the empty shelf.
This is the third time this month somebody has stolen my lunch from me!
I slouch back to my desk and start checking all my drawers looking for any leftover crackers or candy I might have but come up empty. 
Great, only three more hours to go before I can eat. 
I pick my pen back up and start concentrating once again on my work.  “Ms. Morrow?” I look up, and Mr. Samford has his head hanging out the door “Would you come in here for a minute?”

BOOK: Tanked: TANKED
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