Never Letting Go
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by Suzanne Hollo
Description: Follow the adventures of Shea, an average 33-year-old lesbian who handles the twists and turns of her life with a sense of humor and a determination to fulfill her dreams. An unusual meeting in an office supply closet sets events in motion, giving Shea an opportunity--with a little help from a special gift from the past--to fulfill her destiny. Along the way, she meets many women--some famous, some not, some she can trust, some she shouldn't--and one who may be the woman of her dreams.
eBook Publisher: SRS Internet Publishing/Artemis Press, 2003
eBookwise Release Date: January 2005
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [245 KB]
Reading time: 180-252 min.
= Chapter 1 =
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I was sitting in the most claustrophobic office with the strangest personalities surrounding me. Now I'm sitting in a cubical, with no work, freezing my ass off and eating a piece of chocolate. I went from working for two out-of-control alcoholics to working for yuppies. I don't know which is worse; I just don't fit into either category. I need to get my sweater. It's fifty degrees out and they have the air conditioner on in here.
I went to the closet to pick up my sweater and on the way back remembered that I needed a few things from the supply room, so I stopped in before heading back to my desk. I opened the door to find two nice-looking women nervously freeing themselves from an embrace. "Oh, I am so sorry!" I said, as I went to close the door.
One of the women turned her back to me. "No, no, come in. We were just on our way out." She turned back around and we all looked at each other. "Are our faces as red as yours?"
"They seem to be." I hesitated, but then continued. "And, just so you know, you have some lipstick over there." I pointed to her mouth area. "You have some, uh, on your neck."
"Thanks. Would it be OK if we didn't mention this to anyone? This office has a lot of gossip," she said, nervously.
"I didn't see anything but these pencils here. By the way, I'm Shea."
"Hi Shea, I'm Heather and this is Susan," Heather replied, while sticking out her hand. I shook both their hands and smiled when they left the supply room. I think I just found some people in my "category" if you will.
Later that week I ran into Heather in the elevator. "Hey, Shea, right?"
"Yes, it is. You are ... wait, don't tell me--Heather?"
She nodded as she pressed the button for the 27th floor. "Yep. Are you new here? I haven't seen you around."
"I've been working in accounting for the past two months. I'm a CPA."
"How do you like it?"
"There's not much for me to do, which I'm a little surprised about. To tell you the truth, I'm bored. I thought this position would be a lot busier. But, it's a job. How are you doing?"
She rolled her eyes for a second. "I have a ton of work on my desk. I don't know which end is up. I'm just a bit stressed out, if you know what I mean. My assistant is out constantly which is not helping, and I have so many deadlines."
The elevator stopped to let someone on. "If you need some help, I'd be glad to give you a hand. Both of my bosses are out this week. I'm on the 26th floor so I could just run up."
"Ah, the famous supply-room floor." We smiled, and she continued. "Ya know, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, maybe you could help me with a project that needs to be done by Friday."
I nodded before she finished the question. "It would be my pleasure."
I finished my work and began helping Heather. Heather is the Director of Recording for MSK. She works with the elite clientele that record their music here. She schedules the recording sessions, and the interviews with potential clients. She oversees the whole process from start to finish. It is so much more interesting than the accounting department.
I came to enjoy doing work for Heather and started to help her out whenever I had free time, which was a lot. It helped my days go faster, and no one seemed to mind.
The first day I helped out, I noticed some people going into Heather's office. A woman with long, brown hair walked by and even though her head was tilted downward, she looked very familiar. I continued working and about fifteen minutes later, was interrupted by that same woman. "Excuse me, could you point me in the direction of the ladies' room?"
I got the feeling that I looked like a deer in headlights. It was Jesse Rhodes, sister of pop icon Tyler Rhodes. "Oh, sure. Well, actually it's easier to show you. There are so many twists and turns--it's really no bother."
"Great, I appreciate it."
We walked down the hallway in silence. I don't know if my nervousness showed, but I actually had trouble finding the bathroom myself. I stopped a few times to decide whether to make a left or right, but I finally got her there. "Here it is. Do you know your way back, or should I wait and show you?"
"That would be great."
"Take your time." I was dying! I tried to tell myself to keep it together and to get this silly grin off my face. When I get nervous my face gets so red. I can't control it. I could feel my cheeks getting redder. I heard the inside door of the bathroom open. I prepared myself. The outer door opened and there I was, red as a beet.
"Thanks for waiting."
"Oh, no problem." I had no idea what to say. We walked and thankfully made it back without any problems. I showed her back to Heather's office where there were a number of people inside, and then went back to work. Time flew and before I knew it, it was lunchtime.
Heather appeared in front of my desk. "Hey Shea, a bunch of us are going to lunch. Wanna join us?"
"That sounds great. I'm starved."
"You're not a vegetarian, are you?" I shook my head. "OK, we're gonna leave in about ten minutes. Meet us by the elevators."
"OK." I hit the ladies' room to wash up, and headed for lunch.
Heather was standing there with Jesse Rhodes and the rest of the people that were in her office. She went through each person, introducing them to me. "Shea, this is Jesse Rhodes."
"Yes, we met before," Jesse said in a quiet but confident voice, as she reached out her hand. I shook it and smiled, naturally.
"This is Joe Connelly, Richard Cedar, Nancy Sheehan and I believe you know everyone else." I shook hands and smiled as we entered the elevators and proceeded to Kolinskies for lunch. As we entered through a private entrance that I didn't even know existed, it led us to an even more secluded room where I saw some familiar faces. I waited for everyone to start filling in the seats. Then Heather motioned for me to sit next to her, which was directly across from Jesse at our big round table. The waiters came over and starting pouring water. There was music playing in the background, and other people were talking at their tables. No one even seemed to notice us. They never gave us menus, they just started serving us stuff.
First came the wine and then the salads. I began listening to Heather and Jesse talk about some of the details for the next Tyler Rhodes record. As I took a sip of wine it struck me like a bolt of lightning. I'm sitting across from Jesse Rhodes, sister and manager of the Tyler Rhodes. Who is only the biggest, up-and-coming, female rocker to come along in a long time. She had four number one singles off her first album and was working on her second. I must have gone into some sort of trance because I felt an elbow in my side, which made me jump.
Barbara, who's one of the recording engineers, was laughing as I turned to look at her. "Is this your first time at one of these lunches?"
"It shows that much, huh?"
"Just enjoy it. Everyone is so laid back, it's great. Try not to look so nervous, they're regular people like you and me."
"I'll get it under control. I just need some time for this to sink in."
Just as I said that, Tyler Rhodes walked through the door with sunglasses, a hat and a really strong guy next to her. Probably her bodyguard. There went the deer in headlights again. I caught myself a little quicker this time and closed my mouth before anyone could notice. This was so cool. They took the two seats next to Jesse and did a nod to the whole table. Everyone acknowledged them and then kept talking. I was amazed. I turned next to me to see Barbara and Gina didn't skip a beat. They acted like this was an ordinary day, at an ordinary restaurant, with everyday people. I pretended to be interested in their conversation, and nodded every once in a while to let them know that I was listening, but I hadn't a clue as to what they were talking about.
I tried to eat my salad without staring at Jesse and Tyler which was hard, because they were right across from me. They looked so much alike except for the hair color. Jesse's hair was brown and Tyler's was jet black, but they both had the same confident blue eyes and strong jaw line. Tyler didn't say much, but when she did, the whole table stopped and listened. She was very professional for someone who carried such a strong image, with the leather pants and silver jewelry everywhere. She was soft spoken which was a surprise for me since I had only heard her on records, where she belted out songs that made you vibrate and want to listen to them over and over again. I was also very impressed with Heather. She was so professional and relaxed. I tried to imitate her and act like I was a veteran at this, but for some reason, I don't think I pulled it off very well. I realized this as I continued getting elbows from Barbara and taps on my leg by Heather when my mouth would fall open.
The waiters then served the best prime rib I had ever tasted, not to mention the biggest. Now I knew why Heather asked if I was a vegetarian.
Two hours later, lunch was finished and some of the people began leaving. Others were still talking among themselves and finishing their coffee. When I got up to get my coat, Heather told me to wait for her and we would leave together. I stood by the side and said goodbye to Barbara and Gina as Heather continued talking to this guy and exchanging cards.
A low voice came from behind me. "Hey, Shea. How was lunch?" It was Jesse.
Big smile. "It was great. I'm stuffed. And yours?"
"It was delicious. We love this place."
"I know. This is your favorite restaurant."
She smiled with a surprised look. "How did you know that?"
"I read the interview you did with Tyler Rhodes in Rainbow Magazine." I winced as I realized that her name was Rhodes, too.
She gave a little smile as she saw my face go white. "I think it's OK to just call her Tyler from now on."
I felt a rush when my face turned red. From now on!!! What does that mean?? My heart was racing out of control. I couldn't believe I wasn't dreaming. Just then Tyler walked over. I thought I was a goner. "Excuse me, Jess?" she said, in her very low and kind of rugged voice as she put on her sunglasses. I froze in my place and tried to look normal. I don't think it worked. "Is she OK?" They were both looking at me now. I just stood.
Jesse put her hand on my shoulder and came to my rescue. "This is her first time."
Tyler nodded than turned to Jesse. "OK, sis, I'm gone. I'll see you later." They gave each other a little hug and Tyler split.
Jesse put on her leather coat. "I have to get going myself."
I nodded. "It was really nice meeting you Jesse, and I'd like to apologize for my head exploding." Her head tilted sideways as she laughed. "This has been an unimaginable day in my life and my brain just couldn't absorb the full impact."
"Stick with Heather and you'll get used to it." We shook hands and, of course, I smiled. Holy shit.
When Heather was finished, we left. I was still in a state of shock as we started walking. "So, what did you think of lunch?" she asked, with a big smile and an excited kind of laugh.
"This is what I think. Aaaaaahhhhhhh! I think I love this job. I want to work with you. Fire your assistant and get me into this department."
She let out a full laugh. "I know, isn't it great? I love my job. It was a complete surprise when Tyler walked in for lunch. She is something else, isn't she?" I didn't get a chance to agree before she continued. "She has this presence that she carries with her. You can just feel it. When she walked over to the table it was like boom, a ton of energy came with her. I never felt anything like it. That's the energy and confidence that makes her a superstar."
"Not to mention, those long legs ... the black wavy hair and those gorgeous blue eyes." We both paused at the red light as we pictured her again.
Heather gave me two pats on the back as the light changed to green. "Yep, yep, yep." We were both smiling now. "I don't have anything else for you to do so, if you're finished with what you had to do for your bosses, why don't you cut out early and have a great weekend?"
I love this job more each day.