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Please be very careful with what comments you leave on my stories. If it's any way hurtful or offensive to me or any of my readers, I won't hesitate to block you. I work hard writing my stories and I refuse to let 'Karens' lambaste my hard work. Be negative somewhere else.

Chassie George

I lied.

Hershey's Kisses can't soothe everything. It's stuck on the roof of my mouth like glue and started to taste like it too.

Something about getting called to my boss' office wrings my guts into multiple knots. Aside from handing over my articles, I had no business leaving my fingerprints all over the place. Hell, I have always been a docile employee. Never once had I missed a deadline.

I pushed his office door open that he'd left ajar. I could hear him clicking his pen as if the trip from my desk to his office had taken ages. My hand irons my pencil skirt nervously as I make a reluctant step inside. "You wanted to see me?"

Howard Samuels set aside his pen and motioned me inside. "Lewis, come sit down."

The moment I lowered myself into the seat behind his desk, he rambled on about my dedication as his full-time columnist. My boss is never effusive with praise. If he were to make a point later on, I'm well prepared it couldn't be going anywhere good.

And then the 'not good' part of the pep talk rolled in and I realized I just underestimated the severity of the bad news.

"I'm sorry, boss. I'm confused." I leaned forward as though to hear better.

My boss leaned back against his chair, massive shoulders expressing an equally massive personality, sank an inch as he hauled out a sigh. He studied me, aloofness in his wrinkling gray eyes. His hair was dark brown when I first started as a budding intern and now three years later, they all grayed out.

"I'm in a writing rut?" I stare at my middle-aged boss across his ever-disarrayed desk.

Howard tucks his arms on his desk across his chest. His eyes look tamed and a tad bit apologetic. Once upon a time, those same eyes held admiration in them when I doubled the readership of a waning column. And it has taken me loads of crappy errands and coffee runs to be taken a chance on.

Being young and a woman in a city far from home wasn't exactly cupcakes and rainbows. I uprooted my life, taking with me my now four-year-old son who centered my column from the very start. Single motherhood could be a challenge, but I earned a loyal readership out of it.

Howard picks up his pen and then starts clicking it again. "Listen, Chassie. Now's maybe the good time to take a break."

Bile lodged in my throat. "I'm not getting fired, am I?"

"No. I'm saying you should take a vacation. You haven't taken any since you started working for me. How long has it been?"

"Three years."

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