She liked to live for the here and now and with anything permanent in her life she wouldn’t be able to do that. That’s why she didn’t keep jobs for longer than was necessary or stayed in any one area for too long. She liked the freedom of being able to go where she wanted, when she wanted and right now she really wanted to leave.

She’d never been fired before, never wanted to be fired before, and she wasn’t exactly looking forward to this. She’d always prided herself on working hard, being on time and giving a hundred and ten percent into everything she did the way her father had-

No, she wasn’t going to think about him. Not right now when she needed to keep it together and get through this. This time when he fired her, she would nod in understanding, thank him and Marta. She’d make her goodbyes quickly before she grabbed her bags and made a run for it.

Decision made, she picked up her duffle bag and threw it over her shoulder, grabbed the handle of her oversized suitcase and headed for the stairs. Pausing at the top of the stairs, she looked down at her watch and nearly sighed with relief. It was well after one o’clock in the afternoon, which meant that she’d slept through breakfast and lunch. Christofer now had more than enough reason to fire her, not that he really needed it today.

Telling herself that it was better to get this over with, she started down the stairs. When she walked into the kitchen she was relieved to find Christofer washing his hands at the kitchen sink since it saved her from having to hunt him down to get him to say his two favorite words.

“Is there something that you needed, Cloe?” he asked, not bothering to look up at her as he slowly scrubbed his hands clean.

A little taken off guard that he hadn’t spoken those two words that he seemed to be in love with, she softly cleared her throat as she set her bags down. She opened her mouth and then abruptly closed it when she realized that she had absolutely no idea what to say. This was the first time that she’d ever tried to get fired and she had no idea how to go about achieving that without pissing him off enough to call up the agency that she worked for and complain.

Since she decided which jobs she would accept, she wouldn’t get in trouble for quitting if that’s what she had to do now. For safety reasons they were allowed to abruptly quit. Normally they were expected to stay on until a replacement could be found, but if she told Marie, her contact at the agency, that she was uncomfortable with staying here a minute longer she would be allowed to leave immediately and still get work through the agency.

Getting fired wouldn’t cause any problems for her since she’d never been fired before and there weren’t any criminal concerns along with her termination. The only caretakers that had to worry about termination from the agency were the ones that were habitually fired, quit every job abruptly, were accused of stealing, elderly abuse or one of a dozen offenses that the agency specifically prohibited.

If he called up and filed a complaint about her, she wouldn’t get fired, but she would have a black mark against her that could be used against her later and that wasn’t something that she was comfortable with. She needed him to fire her without getting pissed so that she could apologize, thank him for the opportunity to work with Marta and leave.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, still not looking at her as he turned off the faucet.

“Fine,” she said, which was mostly true thanks to the sleep she’d been able to get last night. Her nerves were frayed and she was still slightly on edge, but it was manageable.

At least for the moment.

Right now she had two choices to keep it together, leaving or going back on her medication. Since she refused to go back on her medication that made her choice pretty simple. She was leaving. He could fire her ass or she’d quit and hope that he didn’t try to get back at her by calling up the agency. Either way she planned to put at least ten hours between her and this house by tonight.

He nodded absently as he dried his hands on a dishcloth. “Are you hungry?” he asked, looking at her for the first time since she’d stepped into the kitchen.

“No,” she said, watching as he glanced down at the bags by her side.

“Why don’t you go back upstairs and lay down? I’ll bring you something cold to drink,” he suggested, already grabbing a clean glass from the dishwasher to do just that and confusing her more than she ever thought possible.

For the past week he’d been firing her over every little thing and now that she’d made it more than obvious that she wanted to leave, he was letting a golden opportunity to fire her ass slip by him. Worrying her bottom lip, she watched as he filled a glass with the lemonade that she’d made yesterday.

“I’m not tired,” she said, deciding to give him another minute so that he could properly fire her.

“I see,” he said with a slight nod as he set the glass of lemonade down on the counter.

Good, she thought, nearly sighing with relief as she leaned over to grab her bags. Before she could manage to do more than brush her fingertips over the handles, the bags were yanked away from her and carried past her. More than a little surprised, she turned to follow him outside.

At least he wasn’t gloating, she thought, ignoring the slight disappointment that she felt that he hadn’t at least tried to talk her out of this. He was no doubt relieved to finally be rid of her. Then again, he was probably waiting until they were outside, by her car and out of earshot of Marta so that he could gloat.

She should say goodbye to Marta, she realized, opening her mouth to ask him to hold up a minute when he took her by surprise and walked past the backdoor and headed upstairs with her bags.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, following him upstairs to take her bags back.

“Helping you bring your bags back to your room,” he said, taking the stairs two at a time and forcing her to practically run up the stairs to catch up with him.

“I’m leaving,” she pointed out, rushing after him as he headed down the hall towards the bedroom she’d been using.

“No, you’re not,” he simply said, not bothering to look at her or even slow his pace as he stepped inside the bedroom.

“Yes, I am,” she bit out in exasperation as she finally caught up with him.

“You’re staying,” he said, tossing her bags on the bed before she could grab them.

With an annoyed sigh, she walked past him and grabbed her bags. “I’m really not, Christofer. You can either fire me or I quit, but I’m out of here.”

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Pyte/Sentinel Fantasy
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