Disclaimers: All characters referenced in this story are mine and mine alone. Any similarities between them and anyone else living, dead, or fictional, is purely accidental/coincidental. Basically, hands off without my permission-pretty please

Warnings: No violence, sorry. This does involve a look at loving relationships between women. If this is not your style, you are under 18, or if this is not legal where you live: Either don’t read it, don’t get caught reading it, or forget you ever saw this stuff.

For those who think lesbianism is wrong -sorry, perhaps one day after we cure stuff like cancer and AIDS we’ll work on stupidity-until then, don’t read and don’t flame.

Sex: Of course-not in all sections but it does happen now and again.

Anything I missed? Fill in the blanks or email me.

All comments, questions, suggestions and nice stuff are LOVED!


Strength in Numbers

Jeanine Hoffman


Chapter One

“Dad—put me down—you’re crushing me!” Jay teased her father with a smile.

At six feet-seven inches tall, Jay’s father was a big man by anyone’s standards. He had a significant amount of grey in his once black hair, and was built like the construction worker he’d been, before he’d started his own contracting company.

“Can I help it if my daughter, the banker, is so busy that I don’t see her enough?” he teased back, as his big brown eyes twinkled at her. He gave her another quick one-armed hug. “Sorry sweetie,” he said quietly, “your mom invited the neighbors over at the last minute—can you be social for a little while or are you as tired as you seem?”

Steven Conway took a good look at his daughter, taking in the shadows under her brown eyes, the slight dishevelment of her honey blond hair as it fought to escape from the French braid she’d worn to work. The pride swelled in his chest as he thought of all she had accomplished in her short career in thƒe financial world. At thirty-five, she was one of the youngest senior lenders in a successful regional banking firm in Philadelphia. She got her height from him, standing at five feet-nine inches, but her lithe build and hair color came from her mother, Laura. He worried about the long hours Jay put in at work that seemed to eclipse any chance at a personal life. However, he recognized that it was his daughter’s life to lead as she saw fit and he trusted her to do the right thing for herself.

“I’m good Dad. It was just a long week. I’ll be fine once I get some of Mom’s great cooking in me.”

They walked around the outside of the house together. “Who’s over?” she asked. “I didn’t see any extra cars out front.”

“Well, it was a bit of a surprise,” he said. “It’s one of your childhood friends and—”

Jay thought for a moment, mulling over her short list of friends from the area. Then it occurred to her. She stopped to face him, her hand on his arm. “You’re kidding me!” she said incredulously. “Twice in one week Bailey shows up?”

The shock on her father’s face mirrored her own. “What do you mean twice?”


She had agreed to meet the new candidate for her section, grateful that she might finally have some help with her workload. As she walked to Sharon’s office, she noticed the dark haired woman in the reception area and stopped walking. It can’t be, she’s in Florida from the last I heard. What is she doing here?

Bailey turned and saw Jay staring at her from across the room. She strode to Jay and smiled warmly.

“Jay, I didn’t realize you worked here.”

Jay gathered her thoughts, before replying in the most professional tone she could manage. “Hello Bailey, what are you doing here?”

“I’m applying for a position in lending. I decided to move back home.”

Before Jay could respond, Sharon’s door opened and her young assistant, John, stuck his head out. He smiled and motioned her inside. “She’s ready for you now Jay.”

“If you’ll excuse me,” Jay nodded coolly to Bailey as she squared her shoulders and headed into Sharon’s office.

Jay shut the door behind her then turned toward Sharon and confronted her. “Sharon, you can’t tell me that Bailey is the woman you wanted me to meet!”

Sharon started, “You mean you know her? Why wouldn’t she have put you down as a reference then?”

“I grew up down the street from her, our families are still friends.”

Jay recalled the first time she had met Bailey. She was in first grade when a new family moved in a few doors away. She walked down the sidewalk to see if there was anyone her age to play with and came face to face with the girl who would become her best friend as they grew up.

They were inseparable throughout their school years through high school. They even went to the same college and became roommates in the freshman dorm. Jay wanted to spend more time with her studies while Bailey turned into a bit of a party girl. Jay spent her hours alone in their room trying to focus on her studies instead of worrying about Bailey.

Near the mid-term point of their first semester, Jay came to terms with the feelings that had kept her confused for so long. She finally admitted to herself that she was a lesbian but was afraid that telling Bailey would change the dynamic of their friendship too much. So, she kept the information to herself—for the time being.

Sharon grew tired of waiting for Jay to share more. “Jay, is this going to be a problem? Is there something to this that I should know about?” She drew closer to Jay and asked in a strangled whisper, “Is she an ex?”

“I haven’t spoken to her in several years, since long before I came on board here in fact.” Jay couldn’t help thinking that if Sharon didn’t know about her lesbianism then this issue wouldn’t have come up at all. At the same time, if Sharon would loosen up about being openly gay, both their lives would be easier. Why did Bailey have to apply here?

Refocusing, Jay said, “Let’s meet with her and see what I think. I’ve heard good things about her career, but we’ve never worked together. I haven’t seen her since sometime during our first summer break from college.”

Jay took a moment to gather her thoughts before nodding to Sharon that she was ready. Sharon buzzed her assistant to show Bailey back into the office and allowed Jay to run the second part of the interview. Jay took a seat on the edge of Sharon’s desk, rather than sit in a chair on the same side of Sharon’s desk as Bailey.

Jay started her portion of the interview by asking about the type of work Bailey had done in Florida. Jay also asked her about the kind of work she wanted to do in the future. The whole time Jay wondered why, of all the people in the world, did Bailey have to be a candidate for this job? It had been years since they had last spoken, and now they might end up working together. Life was ironic to say the least.


Her father looked sympathetically at her before asking, “Are you guys offering her the post?”

“Looks that way. Sharon was handling the stuff with HR”

He gave her a supportive smile, “Okay kiddo, let’s put our best foot forward, and go break bread with the neighbors and their wayward daughter. Are you spending the night?”

She nodded, “I planned on it if that works for you guys. Since I haven’t been around much I thought we could do brunch and maybe play a round of golf before I head back into the city tomorrow?”

“Sounds like a plan! Let’s go join everyone.” Her father took her bag and opened the back door, letting her enter first.

As Jay entered, her mother swept across the room to give her a hug and kiss on the cheek. Bailey’s parents rose to greet her as well with smiled greetings. Just then, Bailey stepped into the room, carrying a drink in one hand and a bowl of mixed nuts in the other. She smiled at Jay shyly and said a soft hello. Jay smiled stiffly and turned to her mother. “I’m going to run upstairs and change. How much time do I have?”

“We have about twenty minutes before dinner is ready. You made better time than I thought you would.”

“Guess I got lucky. All the traffic was coming into the city by the time I left work. See Mom, working late has its perks!” It was a never-ending debate between her and her mother. Neither of her parents approved of all the hours Jay worked, but they were very proud of her accomplishments in her field.


Jay dropped her bag on her childhood bed and sat down to take off her shoes. She pondered the strange course her life was taking these days. She was starting to resent the need to be so careful around her boss just to get ahead at work. Corporate life however, comes with its own issues and she had grown weary of leading a double life. The only lesbian she knew of in upper management was so deep in the closet that she might never find her way out of it. Of course, she was Jay’s boss and hated to have anyone openly gay associated with her…Jay remembered when she found out that her boss was a lesbian…five years earlier at a concert.

Jay had been at the Mann Music Center with a group of friends from her first post-collegiate job, when she spotted her new boss sitting on a blanket with another woman. Excusing herself, she went over to be polite and say hello. As she walked up to her boss, and what appeared to be her date, Jay said, “I thought that was you! I didn’t know you liked the Indigo Girls.”

Sharon smiled tightly, “Jay, I have a strict policy of non-fraternization with my staff outside of work functions. I try very hard to keep my private life private, do you understand?” Jay looked startled but nodded her head. “I’ve learned that it isn’t a good career move in the financial world to broadcast your personal life and beliefs as a woman,” Sharon stated. “Perhaps you should think about following a similar policy at work, not that it has been an issue, but it would be best if it remains that way.”

Jay smiled nervously and said, “I understand. This never happened. I never saw you here, and it won’t be brought up at work.” She continued, “I’m sorry to have interrupted your evening. I’ll see you at work on Monday,” and hurried off to rejoin her group of friends.

Now, just as she was struggling with the reluctance to stay so uptight at work, her past was suddenly in her present. In her parents’, house no less! Looking around, she noticed all sorts of mementos of her youth on the walls and shelves, mementos that went hand in hand with her memories of Bailey.

With a sigh, she forced herself to get up and change her clothes before her mother came looking for her. She made a quick stop in her bathroom to freshen up, then went downstairs to be social.


The dinner went well, with a tinge of déjà vu for everyone. Jay’s parents carried on a lively conversation with Bailey’s folks, reminiscing about the escapades of their daughters through the years. Eventually, talk turned to Bailey’s time in Florida and her decision to come back to Philadelphia. Jay had let her mind wander, but started paying more attention to the conversation.

Bailey spoke of her life in Florida with fondness. “I couldn’t believe when I was recruited before I finished my internship! Within a year of leaving school, I was able to put together a down payment on an adorable condominium near the beach. Plus, working for a regional bank instead of one of the national chains, was the right move. Smaller companies seem to focus more on the consumers than strictly upon the numbers.”

She regaled everyone with stories of her first attempts at water skiing and snorkeling, in the Keys. “The first time I tried to get up on the water skis I almost drowned myself!” Chuckling, she continued, “I just didn’t understand the physics involved in getting upright until it happened by mistake. Once I managed it, I was able to repeat it. I decided to stick with snorkeling. Keeping up with coral was more my pace.”

Laura asked her, “Did you leave anyone special behind? You haven’t mentioned one relationship.”

Bailey shook her head as she gave a wry grin. “No, my last relationship ended a little over a year ago. I think I always knew I would come home, and I never dated anyone I could get serious about.” Bailey snuck a look at Jay, as she wondered if she would ever be able to explain why things became so messed up between them. To her surprise, Jay was looking at her as well, and she felt herself blush a little. Bailey gave a weak grin. Jay looked confused by something, as if she was working on a puzzle and the answer was just out of her reach.

Eventually, everyone noticed that it was getting late, and the McIntyre family left after a short goodbye and a promise to get together again soon. Jay helped her mom clear the last of the dishes and load the dishwasher.

Her mother leaned against the counter and said quietly, “Jay, are you ever going to tell me what happened between you two?”

“I don’t know what you mean, Mom.”

“Yes, you do. That summer break after your freshman year you two suddenly stopped hanging out and Bailey transferred to Florida. She had never mentioned an out of area school before then.” Jay started the dishwasher while thinking about that first year at school.

After winter break was over things seemed to change. One evening, as Jay watched Bailey get ready for a frat party, she realized that she was jealous of the guys who would get to dance with Bailey there. She was too good for them, and Jay suddenly acknowledged that she was in love with her best friend

Jay didn’t say or do anything that night. She was too afraid of what she was feeling. She was afraid of scaring Bailey away forever. Finally, just before Spring Break, Jay finally decided to approach Bailey with her feelings. Bailey was lying in her bed and Jay could hear her familiar sounds, as she got ready for sleep.

“Hey Bail?”

“Yeah Jay, what’s up?” Bailey asked in a sleepy voice.

“Umm, have you ever, I mean what would you think …” Jay couldn’t seem to find the words or the courage to put voice to her thoughts.

Bailey sat up in bed, suddenly concerned about her best friend. “Spill it Jay, you’ve been acting weird most of this term, what’s been eating at you? You know you can tell me anything.”

Jay took a deep breath, let it out slowly and screwed up her courage for another attempt. “Have you ever thought about kissing a girl?” she asked. Not exactly what she was planning on saying but it did open the door at least. Bailey was quiet for a moment and Jay started getting nervous.

Finally, Bailey replied, “I can’t say I’ve never thought about it, but it isn’t really something I’ve thought seriously about either. Why are you asking Jay?”

“Umm, never mind,” Jay mumbled, feeling her heart start to ache. Jay heard the bedclothes move on Bailey’s bed and felt her sit down next to her on her own bed. Bailey put a light hand on Jay’s back, and started to massage her gently.

“Jay, sweetie, talk to me. You’re the best friend I could ever have, and I hate seeing you in pain.”

Jay gave a gasp as she felt Bailey’s hand on her back. Jay clenched her eyes shut, trying to keep the tears from escaping. “Bailey, I think I prefer girls,” Jay said in a rush, afraid that if she didn’t say it fast she wouldn’t say it at all.

Bailey’s hand stopped briefly then continued rubbing gently. “Is that what’s been bugging you? Did you think I would think less of you for being a lesbian?” Bailey asked. “Jay, you’ve been my best friend for so long, how could I stop loving you because of who you prefer to date? If I didn’t realize how much you must have struggled with this I would be mad at you for keeping secrets.”

Jay gave a small smile as part of her worry faded. “I admit I’ve been afraid of how you would react. I didn’t want it to change things between us. I was afraid you would feel awkward around me, in our room.” Jay knew she had something else to admit but was now unwilling to go further based on her friend’s statement.

Bailey leaned over and gave her a big hug. “Honey, you’ve always been here for me. It’s about time I get to be here for you too!”

Jay was relieved that things were fine between them, better in fact, now that Jay had been at least partially honest with Bailey. Better, that is, until the summer break and everything went out of control.

Just then, Jay’s father, Steve came into the room. “Hey, there you two are! How long does it take to load one dishwasher?” he teased.

Laura looked at Steve and said, “Sorry, I was just asking Jay what happened between her and Bailey that ended their friendship. It was pretty evident tonight that whatever it is, the two of them haven’t worked it out after all these years.”

Steve looked at his wife and then at his daughter. He saw Jay’s defeated expression and asked, “Do you want to tell her or shall I?” Laura looked at them both in astonishment.

“You mean you’ve known all these years and never told me about it?” She glared at her husband until he came over and put a hand on her shoulder.

“Honey, Jay came home one night that summer a little drunk and she was pretty talkative. You were out of town, and by the time you came home, Jay had asked me to keep this a secret.”

Jay looked at them both and sighed. It’s time I need to get this talk over with, especially if Bailey and I are going to work together.

“Mom, Dad, let’s go into the living room and talk. Mom, I’m sorry I asked Dad to keep a secret from you, but you and I weren’t getting along so well back then.”

Her parents sat on the oversized blue sofa that had been there as long as Jay could remember. Jay chose to sit on her father’s recliner, and then took a moment to decide what to say. Her parents waited for her to start talking. “I’m not sure where to start,” Jay said.

Her mother gave her hand a squeeze and said, “Start with freshman year of college which is when you and I started having trouble.”

Jay nodded and started, “OK, we left for school and we were roommates as you know. We had always been so close. It was Bailey and me against the world. I could hardly remember a time when we weren’t friends. As the year progressed, we got even closer, since we lived together, and spent most of our free time together.” Her mother looked on intently, and her father gave a nod of encouragement.

“I think I stopped confiding in you Mom, because I was afraid you wouldn’t handle my feelings well when I didn’t even understand them myself. I realized as I watched Bailey get ready for yet another frat party, that I was jealous of the guys who would get to dance with her there. She was too good for them, and I suddenly understood it! I had fallen in love with Bailey.” At that, she choked up and her mother knelt beside her and gave her a hug.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry this hurts you. Are you sure you want to finish telling me tonight?”

“Yes, I should have told you long ago. I’m sorry Mom. I didn’t mean to shut you out. This is just painful and embarrassing for me.”

“You have no reason to be ashamed of anything. You were realizing your attraction to women and you were frightened of my reaction. I can understand that entirely.” Jay accepted the glass of water her father handed her with a nod of thanks. She took a few sips and motioned to her mother to sit back down. With a deep breath, she continued her story.

“Well, I didn’t say or do anything that night, I was too afraid of what I was feeling. I was afraid that I would scare Bailey away forever. Then, summer break happened.”

Jay remembered as if it were just yesterday, walking in to that party that led to the best and worst moments of her life.

She remembered going to the party at a friend’s house with Bailey, after promising her parents that they would be careful. She always tried to watch out for Bailey who was a bit more of a party girl than Jay. Bailey started drinking and flirting her way through the throng of people. Jay trailed along, talking to some friends from high school as they mingled. Eventually, Bailey was drunk and Jay was getting sick of the party and its noise. She motioned to Bailey that she was going outside for a few minutes of air. Bailey waved her off and returned to her conversation with a group of guys. After about fifteen minutes, Jay was bored and wandered back inside to look for Bailey. She was hoping to convince her to leave the crowded house and head somewhere more peaceful. Once inside, she couldn’t find Bailey anywhere. As panic set in, she headed upstairs and started looking in bedrooms until she came to a closed door. When she heard more than one male voice inside, she opened the door and barged in. Seeing her best friend passed out on the bed with three guys around her, Jay saw red.

“Get the fuck away from her! You jerks! Can’t you see she’s drunk? Get out! I don’t ever want to see you near her again!”

Jay sat down and held her friend close, trying to get her to wake up. Finally, Bailey came around, looking confused about her location.

“What happened Jay? How did we get up here?”

“You don’t remember?” Jay tenderly stroked the hair away from Bailey’s face.

“I don’t remember anything after you left the kitchen,” cried Bailey.

Bailey wept as she realized the danger she had been in before Jay found her. She sobbed uncontrollably on Jay’s shoulder as fear and shame warred with each other on her face.

“I’ve got you Bail, you’re safe now sweetie. I won’t let them hurt you, I promise.” Jay kept hugging her, and murmured words of support, comfort, and love. When Bailey finally cried herself out, Jay suggested that they get out of the party and head home.

Bailey, suddenly terrified of her parents finding out, begged Jay, “You can’t tell our parents Jay. I don’t want them knowing what an idiot I was tonight. They’ll never trust me again.”

Jay agreed reluctantly. She didn’t want to cause trouble when the outcome had been okay. Besides, Bailey seemed to have learned her lesson. She helped straighten her clothes and supported her to the bathroom, so that Bailey could clean up a little before they got out of there. Once that was done, she got them outside and settled Bailey in the passenger seat of the car before going around to the driver’s side. Bailey, half-asleep again, leaned into Jay’s warmth, snuggling next to her on the drive back to Jay’s home. Jay’s heart beat faster the whole way home as the reality of how close her friend had come to being raped sank in. Bailey gave a little sigh and wrapped her arm around Jay’s waist as she snuggled close, sound asleep. Jay would swear her heart skipped a beat and struggled to focus on the road.

Jay woke Bailey when they had arrived and helped her into the house and upstairs to her room. Jay and Bailey had spent so many nights together that no one would think anything of them doing so again. Jay helped Bailey get out of her clothes and into one of her sleep shirts. After getting Bailey settled on her full size bed, Jay stripped, showered, and joined Bailey, more than ready for sleep. Jay was shocked when Bailey reached over in her sleep and snuggled in tight against her. In all the years of sleepovers, of sharing beds, this had never happened before. Jay’s heart hammered in her chest. The woman she loved more than anyone else was sleeping in her arms! Jay took a long time to settle into sleep but finally closed her eyes to rest.

A couple of hours later, Jay awoke to find that Bailey was half on top of her with both of their sleep shirts pushed up. Their legs were intertwined, and Jay had her arms wrapped around Bailey. She realized that Bailey’s head was resting on one breast with her hand cupping Jay’s other breast. Jay groaned and couldn’t help but arch her back to let her breast come into more contact with Bailey’s hand.

Without spoken words, they suddenly kissed, both groaning with the heat of it. The next thing Jay knew, her shirt was pushed out of the way and the woman of her dreams was straddling her. Unable to believe that this was happening, she started to speak.

“Bail, are you sure, I mean …”

“Don’t you want me Jay? We’ve shared everything else, why not this too?” Bailey started kissing her neck and Jay lost all ability to think clearly. They spent the rest of the night exploring each other and learning how to please one another. In the morning, Jay awoke to find Bailey gone, and only a pleasant soreness as a reminder of last night. She smiled softly as she realized that her fondest dream had come true. Bailey must be in love with her too!

After a quick shower, Jay rushed over to Bailey’s house to see her. We should talk, she thought with a smile. Yeah, talk among other things. When she got there, no one was home. She shrugged, feeling a little disappointed, but knowing that Bailey had probably gotten home to find that her mother had plans for them already. Wandering home, she replayed the scenes from the previous night over and over in her head. She smiled, thinking that life was just about perfect.

Of course, life is full of surprises, as Jay discovered. First, she couldn’t seem to get in touch with Bailey. That was strange since they rarely went more than a day without seeing each other. A day turned into a week before Jay finally heard from her. She received a phone call, as she was getting ready for bed one night. When she heard the strain in Bailey’s voice, panic gripped Jay’s insides.

“Bail, what’s wrong? Where have you been all week? Why haven’t you returned my phone calls?” Jay heard a sigh on the other end of the phone before Bailey spoke in a stilted, slightly frozen manner.

“Jay, I’ve decided to transfer schools. There is a great program in Florida that I’ve decided to go into. I’ll be near the beaches and can finally shake Pennsylvania winters.” Bailey tried to sound light hearted, but it was a brittle laugh that followed her statement.

Jay gasped, “What do you mean Florida? When did you decide this? I thought …”

Bailey sighed again, “I know what you thought, but I was drunk and it shouldn’t have happened. In fact, I can’t believe you took advantage of the situation like that Jay.” Jay felt a coldness pierce her heart as if an icicle had just been driven into her chest. Bailey continued, “I’ve been thinking of Florida for a while, and I made my decision this week. I think it’s for the best if we don’t see each other for a while. I think I need time to get over this and I would appreciate it if you didn’t contact me.” With that, Bailey hung up the phone and shattered Jay’s heart into a million pieces.

Jay recounted an abbreviated version of her experience with Bailey, and the heartbreak that followed. She also filled Laura in on the surprise interview candidate she’d found outside of Sharon’s office earlier that week.

. “I know, looking back now, that I didn’t force her or take advantage of her, but at the time I was devastated that perhaps I might have gotten carried away and misread things. I think she was simply too scared to examine what had happened and ran from it, and me.” Jay’s mother felt the tears running down her face as she hugged her daughter close to her.

“I’m so sorry you went through all of that on your own. Thank you for telling me what happened. I know it doesn’t change the past but I’m glad you trust me enough to tell me.”

“Oh Mom, it wasn’t that I didn’t trust you then, I was too embarrassed to tell you. Dad only found out because I was dumb and got drunk shortly after that trying to forget about what had happened. I made him promise not to tell you, in exchange for my promise to come out to you.”

“Jay, I’m so proud of you. You have come a long way. You know I love you for who you are, don’t you?”

“Of course Mom, we’re fine. But, you can understand now why dinner was awkward for me.”

Laura paused, knowing she had something to add, but not certain if it would hurt her daughter more or not. She decided to be honest since she knew the pain of secrets, and didn’t want Jay to find out later that she could have warned her.

“Jay, you should know something that Helen told me a couple of years ago.” Helen, Bailey’s mother was a close friend of Laura’s, and it wasn’t unusual for the women to share confidences. “Apparently, Bailey came out to them a few years ago. It seems she finally accepted the truth about herself, after a long time of trying to be straight.” Jay just shook her head and remained silent. Her mother continued, “I just thought you should know since you will be working together.”

“It’ll be fine Mom, the past is the past, and I’ve moved on. She’ll be working for me, and as long as she does her job and doesn’t cross any lines, everything will work out somehow.” With that, Jay stood, kissed both her parents good night, and went up to her old room.


Jay lay in her childhood bed thinking back over the past week at work. It had started like most weeks. She parked in the garage and focused on her day as she headed to her office. She didn’t even notice the gorgeous spring day. Walking quickly, she strode down the hallway, nodding greetings to those she saw as she passed. Wearing a dark tailored suit, white dress shirt, stylish black boots, with her honey colored hair pulled into a French braid, she looked every inch the successful young banker. At thirty-five she was one of the youngest lenders in her company but also one of the most successful. Opening the door to the lending department, she greeted her secretary, Scott, before entering her private office.

Scott came in right behind her, “You have a conference with your team after the morning pow wow. Two closings, followed by a lunch meeting with the managers of you bottom three branches.” He stopped suddenly, cocking his head to the side and asked, “Are you feeling alright? You look a little tired.”

Jay chuckled and replied, “A little? Yes, I’m fine thanks, nothing some sleep won’t cure.” The truth was, she felt a little more tired than normal, but with her schedule, this wasn’t surprising. Her company was one of a new breed of banks, open seven days a week for the convenience of it’s customers with full services available during the extended operating hours. This meant that a senior member of the lending department had to be available at all times, at least by telephone, to answer the questions from the branch employees and make lending decisions. As the senior underwriter in her department, she was often consulted by newer lenders for advice when dealing with applications that were somewhat murky. She shook her head to clear her mind and gathered her files and day planner for her first meeting.

Every morning started with a department meeting to go over new and complex applications, changes in policy, and anything else pertinent to the department. Jay nodded as she was greeted, and said her good mornings. Taking her seat, she listened as the meeting got underway and her boss started reviewing the happenings of the department. Jay let her mind drift, thinking back to a time when all of this still excited her and gave her the drive to push herself to get ahead. Jay was suddenly called back to the present meeting.

“Did you close those two business loans yesterday?” asked her boss, Sharon.

“Umm, yes, both closed with no problems, and I sold a separate line of credit to one of them,” replied Jay.

“Excellent cross-selling! That’s what I’m talking about people. Make the cross-sell on qualified loans,” Sharon exclaimed. They moved on to other topics before wrapping up the meeting. As they were leaving, Sharon called out, “Jay, do you have a minute?”

“Sure,” Jay replied, inwardly gritting her teeth.

As the two women walked down the hall together Sharon asked, “Are you feeling alright? You look rundown.”

“I’m fine, just a bit tired, it’s been a busy month.” They entered Jay’s office and Sharon shut the door behind them.

“Is there someone special keeping you up at night? If so, you need to be careful about letting it affect you at work,” Sharon said. She looked as if even thinking about this at work was painful for her.

Jay just laughed, and reminded Sharon that she was married to her work. “Who has time for social fun?” asked Jay.

“If you say everything is fine, I guess I believe you, but if you need to talk outside of work, let me know,” Sharon said.

Jay nodded, “Thanks Sharon, I’ll keep it in mind, but right now I just need to go through my pending files.” Sharon said goodbye and told her to get some rest.

Jay drifted off to sleep with thoughts of loans and Bailey mixing in her dreams.

Chapter 2

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