Chapter 3

     I arrived at work the following morning at what had become my new usual time, somewhere between slightly late and really late. Along with my deep desire to be going somewhere else, my OCD compulsion to perfectly straighten the house tended to keep me from getting to work on time these days.
     And then of course there is the clothes thing.
     I'm convinced that every woman, no matter what shape or size, must have exactly the same excruciating make-your-final-decision moment each morning. This moment is filled with the all too common "Do I look fat in this?" thoughts, as well as the "Do I really want to wear those three inch high-heeled, torture filled, but quite stylish shoes that are a requirement of this particular outfit?" conundrums.
     If, like me, your in shape, only slightly anorexic, size eight years are long behind you, there is the ever present "Which wardrobe should I pick from today?" question. The choices being the really skinny, I Will Never Fit In Those Sizes Again, wardrobe. Or the somewhat bigger, Potentially Possible With The Help Of A Nutritionist And Personal Trainer, wardrobe. Or, finally, the two more realistic, Large But Looks Pretty Good and Slightly Larger But Fairly Flattering, wardrobes you generally wear.
     With my work life discontent becoming more prominent, I generally felt pretty good about the whole thing if I exited the house a mere thirty minutes past prime departure time. Thus today was off to a good start. I hadn't quite reached the really late stage of the morning when I got to the office. I checked my voice mail and message number one was a treat.
     "Taking the day off Jo. The Missus and I need to do some shopping for new furniture. You're in charge. Keep me posted." Cool! With the boss away I could get a few things of my own done for a change.
     Message number two from Roni took my morning smile off my face. "Jo, I've found out who has the listing on that house you were asking about. Sue Kenilworth, you remember her, don't you? She's at the biggest agency in town and usually only deals with high ticket houses. She's known for being a tough negotiator and from what I've heard she never goes down on price. She's built her reputation on getting top dollar for her clients, so if you really think you might be interested, don't expect to catch a break from her. You might even want to get your own agent. Anyway, I'll e-mail you her number. Let me know if you need anything else. And when you get a second today, give me a call, I've got an HR problem I need help with."
     I definitely remembered Sue and knew she was a tough cookie. Often in the daily newspaper's society column, she hung out with the upper crust of Daytona's elite money makers.
     I felt a surge of gratitude for having work buddies like Roni and my other BFF, Carrie. Glad to be different from my boss who had a personal rule of not fraternizing with employees, I could hear his motto ringing in my head. "Jo, I go to weddings, hospitals and funerals, but you won't catch me anywhere else with my people!" In my experience having two of my best friends close by to watch my back in barracuda infested corporate waters was a lifesaver.
     Checking my e-mail I found Sue Kenilworth's number and called her. When she answered I re-introduced myself, knowing that even though we had met at several Business-After-Hours functions, I was not in the money league she would remember.
     At first her tone was cold. I think she thought I was soliciting her for an ad in our paper. Before she had the opportunity to respond with an, "I never advertise, Darling, my clients seek me out," rebuff, I jumped right in and told her that I was interested in looking at the House. Dead silence followed my request.
     "Have you seen the flyer with the details of the listing?" she finally asked.
     I told her I had and to spare myself the awkwardness of being told it was out of my price range, I explained that I knew it was a little more than I would normally be interested in, but having recently received an inheritance I thought I would like to take a look at it. After a few more uncomfortable silences, Sue let me know that there was an evening Open House scheduled for that night. If I really thought the House might be an option it would be OK for me to attend.
     Hanging up, I realized that if I really was serious about buying the House, I would have no friend in Sue. I wouldn't be able to count on her help in dealing with the owners. Despite that and the pending problems of the day ahead, my smile returned, genuinely this time. I started to hum as I realized that I was finally going to see it. I would finally get to see inside of the House I had fantasized about for years. My day couldn't move along quickly enough. I couldn't wait.



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