Butterflies in Honey (Growing Pains #3)

Butterflies in Honey (Growing Pains #3)
K.F. Breene

Chapter One

“You wanna do dinner?”

Krista was sitting at her desk bent over a graph. She’d been hard at it so long, the numbers were starting to blur. She didn’t want to go home. All that was waiting for her was an empty fridge, a bitchy cat, and a TV dinner.

Her not-so-new boyfriend, Chet, was standing in the doorway of her medium-sized office, a hopeful smile on his face. He was looking good today. He had on a blue blazer with khakis. His athletic frame took up the doorway as he waited for her answer. He had short brown hair, perfect skin, and deep brown eyes. He was a model once upon a time, but now he was in Marketing. Talk about a fall from grace.

“Oh sorry, can’t tonight. I have to get everything together for the proposal.” Krista pointed to her desk and the neatly stacked papers.

“Alright, no big deal. Well, maybe tomorrow?”

Chet was nothing if not persistent. It was why she finally agreed to date him. And then to don the girlfriend title. And was still with him. She turned him down as much as she said yes, but he was never deterred. “Tomorrow is fine, yeah.”

He hit the door with a smile, gave her a nod, and walked out. He was a good looking guy with a nice body. What’s more, he was nice to her, made a good living, and was grown up. He was a great catch...

She sighed and clutched her lucky mug. It was the same mug she had used in San Francisco. It was the one Sean bought her with the gift card about a million tears ago. When she first got the job working for Tory in Los Angeles, she thought about getting a new mug. After all, that was the deal: with each new semester, a new mug; with each new job, the same thing.

Except for this mug. This one was so lucky, she hated to let it go. It constantly brought her good juju. To prove it, all she had to do was look around. A few years out of college and she had a high paying job with a boss that was trying to groom her for big things, a ladder without a ceiling, and respect from her peers. People actually greeted her by name these days—people she’d never even met! They greeted her with smiles!

Good juju aside, the real reason for keeping the mug was that it reminded her of Sean. He was as big a part of her climb as anything. More so, perhaps. Together they made magic happen, inside of work and out. She just couldn’t let that memory go. She just couldn’t.

And so, her lucky mug shadowed her everywhere. Business meetings, conferences, crossing borders to different states—where she went, her lucky mug went, too. And guess what—no suicide watch needed. It hadn’t tried to jump off a desk once!

Krista sighed again—she was as bad as Mr. Montgomery, her old boss. For sighing, she often got Thump Birds via Skype from her good friend, Jasmine, and rolled eyes from her other BFF, Kate; but they didn’t help. These days she was even imagining her lucky mug sighing with her. That’s how bad it was.

She allowed herself a few stray thoughts solely of Sean. She wondered what he was doing right then. It was too late to surf, but maybe he was running or doing their workout routine on the beach. She wondered if he’d changed in the last two years he’d been away from her. And most importantly, she wondered if he ever thought of her. If he had an easy time moving on. Unlike her.

Kate and Jasmine didn’t have all that much interaction with him, even though they still worked at the same company . They didn’t have to in order to know he was hitting Dexico, her old company, like a falling star. If sales were a batting average, he would be batting 1,000. He had been in the Junior VP position for a year by then and Ray was his right hand man. The two of them were shaking it up.

Under his reign, he realigned the entire Sales team. He cut down the staff numbers, but increased the sales, making the company’s revenue blossom. He roped one big account after another, managing all the sales with his expert eye. Kate once said she was worried about him, that he worked long hours and set overly high expectations. But he always hit his mark.

He was nothing if not ambitious.

Secretly, Krista was happy he worked long hours. It selfishly meant he didn’t have time to find somebody new. She felt bad for thinking it—she really did want the best for him—but sometimes, in moments of pain, she couldn’t help herself. She missed him terribly. There wasn’t a day that went by in the last two years that she didn’t think of him. It was less now than in the beginning, and she seldom cried over him anymore, but he was always there. Sean was the one that got away.

The dad to her bastardized lucky mug.

Krista rubbed her eyes and looked back down at her piles of graphs and numbers. Tory was right, he could wring a person until they pleaded for mercy.

Since the day she started, Tory was in close contact with her and her boss. She was guided and molded, pushed and prodded. Her work ethic was preyed upon and her break neck pace was used to its fullest. Within three months, she was churning out work like she was born into the role. Inside of a year, she was made head of her department, Marketing Analysis, by her boss (Tory hadn’t made the suggestion, but approved it immediately). Krista’s job, as it stood, was basically to meet with everyone to which they outsourced their marketing and validate their data.

To say Krista did her job well would be an understatement.

Where Sean was earning a reputation as an unstoppable force, Krista’s reputation was a giant brick wall. It was rare that she didn’t ask for more thorough information from presenters. She could catch a trick of numbers without batting an eye. In the beginning, she would point it out right away. Learning from Tory, though, she started to set traps with the information and wait to see if the company was trying to pull a fast one, or if there was a legitimate explanation available. Maybe even a mistake or two.

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