“Maaaaaark! Hurry up!”
I was running late. Punctuality is very important to me, so I hate being late. I read a study once in The Wall Street Journal that named it one of the top ten attributes of successful business owners. Everyone in my family is always late and it makes me crazy. My mother is always picking me up late from school or forgetting to make dinner until well after 7:00pm. Of course, chronic lateness is only one of her problems. She’s lazy, she serves swill for dinner like tater tots and Hot Pockets, she refuses to take me seriously when I ask for The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for my birthday. She couldn’t even keep our house stocked in the most basic of supplies like light bulbs or paper before she met Creed. And – speaking of Creed – I think she’s a bit of a gold digger. Pam tells me not to be so judgmental, but if the alternative is having no standards or morals, I’ll take judgment. Though really, I have my mother’s inability to stock our house with paper goods to thank for my most brilliant idea ever, the Paper-Sellers Club, so I suppose she’s not all bad.
But this must be confusing. Let me start at the beginning. My name is Angela Martin. Do not call me Angie, or Ang, or Angel. I do not approve of nicknames, at least not for myself. I cannot keep others from demeaning themselves, however, so I don’t insist on calling Pam “Pamela.” Not anymore, at least. Pam’s my best friend. We’re both 13 and in the 8th grade at Scranton Middle School. She’s also one of the charter members of the Paper-Sellers Club along with me, Kelly, and Katy. I used to live right across the street from her, and Kelly too, but then my mother married Creed Bratton and we moved across town to his house. I should say mansion, really, since Creed is obscenely wealthy. And eccentric. His house is like a huge playground. He had a miniature train built that runs through his living room and then outside, and he likes to wear a conductor’s cap and ride it around and around and aim for squirrels that scamper across the tracks. I wouldn’t even want to tell you the kinds of things I’ve found in the fridge, but suffice it to say that many of them had to be restrained or euthanized before cooking. Actually, the squirrels that he manages to hit probably end up in there. It should come as no surprise that I purchase my own food and keep it in my room in the mini-fridge Creed gave me as an Arbor Day present last year.
It’s not just me and my mother and Creed in the house. Creed has two children, Hannah and Tony. Hannah is seven and she’s a shrill, whiny brat. Tony’s a nice enough boy but is entirely too large for a four-year-old and borderline retarded, in my opinion. Luckily they only stay with us every other month, and I have high hopes that the Swiss boarding school brochures I gave their mother will reduce their presence in my life to postcards and Christmas break.
There are also my brothers. Mark is my oldest brother. He acts like he’s so great just because he can drive a car. He speeds all the time, though, and sometimes when I get in the car it reeks of cheap perfume and there are earrings or women’s shoes on the floor. Once I even pulled out a brassiere from between the seats. I try to tell my mother that he is using the car for immoral purposes, but she just tells me to relax and then says something unrepeatable about a stick up an unmentionable part of my anatomy. Sometimes I really hate my mother.
My other older brother is Roy. He’s a pain. He thinks he can tell me what to do just because he’s only 15 but he can already grow a beard. I have one younger brother, too, David-Wallace. He’s kind of a whiner, in my opinion, but at least he isn’t as annoying as Roy, who always tries to hit on the other members of the PSC and patronizingly asks how my “little paper club” is going.
And how is my “little paper club” going? Our business model has been lauded and copied all over Lackawanna County, that’s how it’s going. I should say my business model, since I’m the one who came up with the idea. It was my mother who was having trouble keeping paper in the house. It was my brilliant idea to form a club of paper sellers who could provide any harried parent or small business owner with the paper they need. Yes, it was Kelly’s stupid phone that made the meetings a possibility in the first place, but who thought of the meetings? Who is there at 5:30 sharp every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, clipboard in hand, ready to take an order or schedule a sales call? Who was named Scranton Business Bi-Weekly’s Young Entrepeneur of the Month three times in a row? Me, that’s who.
And since it was my brilliant idea, I’m the president-for-life. There will be no coups in the Paper-Sellers Club. I run all the meetings and provide all the money-making ideas. The other girls can fight for the scraps.
I already mentioned Pam, my best friend. She’s the secretary because of her neat penmanship and because no one else wanted the job. We’re mostly best friends out of habit, since we grew up together. Pam used to be an upright young lady, with strong moral fiber. Her father – a man I greatly admired – kept her on a short leash indeed: ladylike clothes, age-appropriate hair, no excess frivolity. Unfortunately, he loosened up and Pam entered her wanton phase. Now she wears jeans, and skirts that fall above the knee, and she’s got another best friend besides me, this long-haired pseudo-hippie named Karen Fillipelli, who also happens to be the newest member of the PSC (not by my choice, mind you – even presidents-for-life have to allow a vote sometimes to keep the rabble appeased). She recently moved here from Stamford and Connecticut is all she talks about. I find it annoying. She’s also a health food freak. I can’t imagine why anyone would want that bean-sprout-eating, yoga-posing, crunchy granola fruitcake for a best friend, but Pam hasn’t always had the best judgment, so let her screw her life up if she wants.
Speaking of poor judgment, Pam also has a boyfriend: Jim Halpert, an associate member of the PSC and a silver-tongued devil who could sell wide-rule notebook paper to illiterate tobacco farmers in Appalachia. I’ll admit, I find myself charmed by his smooth words from time to time, but I’m not made of stone, all right? It’s the accent. He recently moved here with his parents from Massachusetts and his accent is my go-to trick for stubborn customers. But accent aside, Jim Halpert is dangerous. I know for a fact that he does not always restrict his hands to the acceptable above-the-neck-below-the-knees zone. I’ve tried to warn Pam repeatedly about the primrose path she is tripping merrily along but she just laughs and calls me a prude and undoubtedly goes back to sinning with her gadabout boyfriend.
But Pam is a delight compared to Kelly Kapoor, our vice-president. It’s largely a figurehead role. Her only qualifications are that she has her own phone line and a pulse. She also provides snacks for our meetings from the secret stashes she has hidden all over her room – Twinkies in the sock drawer, licorice under a hat, pretzels taped to the inside of a lamp shade. Her parents don’t approve of junkfood so she has to hoard it. I think her empty head makes her crave empty food. I only put up with it because I have a weakness for junkfood myself. We all have our vices, after all, even if I have fewer than most.
But back to Kelly. She’s Indian-American and I will admit – although grudgingly and only under the strictest of confidences – that she has beautiful, clear skin and enviably shiny hair. You’d think the amount of chocolate she shoves into her face on a daily basis would keep Clearasil in business, but she’s wretchedly pimple-free. Kelly is probably my least favorite person on the planet. I hate everything she stands for: her atrocious spelling, her single-digit IQ, her ludicrous outfits. For instance, today at school? She wore an oversized t-shirt with a puffy-paint parrot on the front, parrot-green shorts over parrot-print tights, dangly parrot earrings, and a giant feather headdress that blocked my view of the board in homeroom. If moderation is a hallmark of refinement, as I have told her many times, then Kelly is a buffoon.
Her best friend, Katy, is equally vapid and brainless. She does have a savant-like ability when it comes to math, though, which is why she’s our treasurer. And our male customers love her. Typical. Katy looks just like you would expect her to: fluffy hair, perky grin, vacant eyes. Ridiculous, expensive clothing that’s far too adult for a 13-year-old. She’s a gossip and all she ever talks about are boys and clothes and how she has diabetes so she can’t eat a stupid M & M or she’ll die. She also acts like a whore. I find it disgraceful.
I glanced at my watch. We had to get going or I’d really be late. “Mark!” I hollered up the stairs again. I usually don’t holler. I am a lady. But this stupid house is so big you practically need to send smoke signals to someone at the other end. Luckily all the marble makes it echoey. “Mark, come on, I’m late!”
Late for what, you ask? The inaugural game of Angela’s Annihilators, that’s what. I coach a softball team. It’s full of losers and miscreants. I don’t call them that to their faces, but I can’t help it if it’s true. I even have a walking disaster on my team, a kid named Andy Bernard. For everything he manages to do right, he does five other things wrong and if you’re lucky, none of them will involve an emergency room visit. The average age of my team is 5.8 years old. The average skill level is zero. I really only formed the team so I could put it on my college applications. Ivy Leagues eat that stuff up. And now I wouldn’t even be there on time for the first game!
“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” I heard Mark grumble as his feet finally came thudding down the imported teak wood stairs. His hair stood out from his head like he’d just woken up, which he probably had. Disgraceful. I marched out to the car and he trailed after me like the shiftless slacker he was.
“Do we have to take the Junk Bucket?” I asked as we walked out front.
“It’s my car,” Mark said defensively.
“It’s embarrassing,” I complained.
“Well, mom and Creed are both gone already, so it’s the Junk Bucket or walking, kiddo, take your pick.” I sighed and got into the car, trying to touch as little of the upholstery as possible.
Most of my team was there by the time we pulled up. They were milling around, making faces and giving each other Indian burns and generally behaving like hooligans. “Remember to pick me up at 4:30 at Rusty’s!” I yelled at Mark as he peeled off. Another boy about my age was getting out of a car. The other coach, I assumed. He turned to face me and I stopped dead in my tracks. He looked so mature and poised, so professional! He carried a small briefcase in his left hand, a clipboard just like mine in his right. My heart raced, my mouth dropped open. I could feel myself flushing and I furtively fanned my cheeks with my hand. He’s just a boy, Angela! I scolded myself. There’s no reason to get worked up, even if he’s the most adult, responsible, appropriate-looking boy you’ve ever seen. I took a deep breath and stepped forward, offering my hand.
“Angela Martin,” I said to him. “I coach Angela’s Annihilators.”
“Dwight K. Schrute,” he said, forming the words with his lips in a distinct manner, as if he expected someone to be lip-reading. “Coach of Dwight’s Destructivators.” He gripped my hand firmly. It felt warm and tingly, even after he let go.
“I…I like your briefcase,” I said, suddenly feeling shy.
“Thanks. Got it in the Young Squires department at Boscov’s.” He set the briefcase down at his feet and surveyed the field.
“Better test the conditions,” he murmured. I watched as he tilted his head up, sniffed at the air. He wet the tip of his index finger with his mouth, held it up over his head. “Prevailing wind from the Southeast,” he declared, and nodded as if in confirmation.
“My favorite direction,” I dared to say, smiling even though my heart was thudding alarmingly. I couldn’t explain why, but I felt dizzy and reckless just watching him. The sun glinted off his metal-framed glasses. His tie fluttered as he turned into the wind to face me.
“My sentiments exactly,” he said, after studying my face for a long moment. “You’re a woman of refined tastes.” My pulse stuttered and resumed double-time. He smiled at me, briefly. Then he turned towards the kids.
“All right everyone!” he called. “Let’s play some good old American softball.”
The other members of the PSC were there for moral support. I saw them on the other side of the chain link fence next to our dugout. Kelly was inspecting her fingernails, looking supremely bored. Karen was in some painful looking yoga pose. Katy was fluffing her hair and flirting indiscriminately. Only Pam came up to the fence at my approach.
“Hey, Angela,” she said. Her fingers were curled in the chain link. I tried to focus on her but I kept stealing glances over towards the other dugout where Dwight was marking up a grease board with Xs and Os.
“Hi, Pam. Glad you guys could make it. Well, some of you I’m glad about.” I looked at Kelly disdainfully. “Miniskirts aren’t appropriate clothing for sporting events!” I said loudly in her direction.
“Why don’t you shove a softball up your nose, Angela?” Kelly asked conversationally. I shook my head in disgust.
“How do you think you guys will do this season?” Pam asked.
“Well,” I said. “Our last practice ended up with Sasha Flenderson being taken away in an ambulance to have a cast put on, let’s put it that way.”
“Yikes. Andy?” she asked.
“Who else?” As if on cue, crying started up in the dugout. I shrugged at Pam and headed towards my team.
“Good luck,” she called after me sympathetically.
The dugout was a disaster: gloves and water bottles everywhere, half the kids in tears, the other half fighting with each other. I found the loudest crier.
“Come, now,” I commanded her. “Get a hold of yourself. Crying shows weakness. What happened?”
“I didn’t mean to, Angela!” I looked over to find Andy Bernard, looking apologetic. “I was just telling Jake how to slide in to third and her eye got in the way of my fingers!” Another wail went up after Andy finished. In the process of reenacting his movement, he had jabbed someone else’s eye. Annoyed, I gingerly patted the crying child on the back. I hate it when I have to touch the little germ-factories.
“Sorry, Angela!” Andy said, holding his fingers carefully against his chest.
“It’s…” I couldn’t bring myself to say it was okay. Just because he was a child was no reason to go soft on him. “Just…try not to poke anyone else in the eye, okay?” I sighed heavily. It was going to be a long season.
It was a rout, as usual. Three of the kids sat in the outfield making daisy chains, two burst into tears during their at-bats, and Andy lost his head and caught a pop fly from someone on our own team while he was running between second base and third. But there were no broken bones this time, so we were improving. And it wasn’t entirely our fault. The Destructivators were like some sort of ringers, a bunch of tall, suspiciously hairy behemoths who were entirely too good for Sub-Little League softball.
Per tradition, both teams trooped down the street to Rusty’s Pizza for a post-game celebration. I always found it distasteful, really, all those undisciplined children wolfing down greasy pepperoni and sugary sodas. But it did smooth over any lingering troubles and tears after the games, so I put up with it.
“Six Little League Specials,” I said when I reached the counter. “And a small salad, no dressing, and one bottled water.”
“Is one of your charges a special needs eater?” Dwight’s voice asked from my elbow and I jumped. I hadn’t realized he’d followed me to the counter. I hesitated. Some people become unreasonably offended when you tell them that pizza is a disgusting food for disgusting, weak-willed people.
“I’m not much of a pizza person,” I said finally. “I prefer a healthier alternative.” A slow smile spread across his face.
“Refined tastes, indeed,” he said, and pulled a plastic bag from his briefcase that contained a grilled chicken breast and an assortment of vegetables. He leaned in close. “I’ll see you at the coach’s table,” he whispered before walking back towards the children. His words sent a thrill through me. I stared after him, noting his impeccable posture.
I was so distracted that the cashier had to tell me the total three times before I could get out the right amount of change.
Dwight and I stood outside the pizza place and watched the last of the kids getting picked up by their parents. My friends had left a little while ago, Pam waving as they headed home. The sun was low and bright in our faces. Dwight rummaged in his briefcase and produced a pair of clip-on sunglasses which he affixed to his glasses. I admired how prepared he was.
“It was a good game,” Dwight said. “You put up a mighty struggle.”
“We lost 37 to 1,” I reminded him. He flipped up his sunglasses and gave me an appraising look.
“You don’t accept defeat,” he noted. “I admire that in a woman.” I flushed, pleased. He extended his hand and I took it, shaking it briskly. I expected him to let go, but he held on. It seemed cliché, but I couldn’t look away from his eyes. I don’t know how long we stood there like that, hands clasped, eyes locked. A car honked from the street and I flinched, startled.
“That’s my ride,” he said without looking at the car.
“How can you tell it’s yours and not mine?”
“I can determine any car by horn and engine sound alone,” he informed me. “Angela, I very much look forward to our next meeting.” My hand was still in his, our palms growing slightly damp from the contact.
“As do I,” I said. He hesitated a moment. The car honked again. Swiftly Dwight leaned forward, pressed his lips to mine. I gasped, tightened my hand on his. When he pulled away, I raised my fingers to my lips, stared at him. Then I hauled off and slapped him with my free hand. His head snapped to the side but he didn’t let go. Neither did I, if truth be told. His cheek was already turning red, a faint outline of fingers visible. He smiled at me, wolfishly, and I smiled back.
“Until we meet again, fair lady,” he said solemnly. Then he was walking away, getting into the station wagon waiting for him. I stood on the sidewalk, my knees trembling, until my brother pulled up and leaned on the horn impatiently. I walked slowly to the car.
“Jesus, Angela, hurry up!” Mark called. “I don’t have all day!” I nodded absently at him and pulled open the door. My clipboard clattered to the floor and I left it there. He glanced over at me.
“You look like you saw a ghost. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing, I’m fine,” I said, touching my fingertips to my lips and looking out the window. “I’m perfect.”
I was the first club member to arrive at Kelly’s house for the meeting, as usual. When I rang the doorbell I heard her thundering down the stairs, yelling to her parents that she’d get it. The door swung open and I was immediately struck dumb by her outfit. She was wearing lime green leggings with oranges and bananas printed on them, a bright orange shirt with plastic buttons in the shape of strawberries, dangly pineapple earrings, white Keds with cherries printed on them, and – the finishing touch, I could only imagine – a purple stretchy headband with a bunch of fake, plastic grapes hanging from it. I could only gape at her for a moment.
“What?” she said impatiently. She tapped her foot and I noticed that she had little watermelon barrettes snapped onto her shoelaces. When she tossed her hair over her shoulder, the grapes made dull clicking sounds.
“You look like a deranged Carmen Miranda,” I told her.
“Who’s that?” she said. I sighed.
“Never mind, let’s just go upstairs.” I headed straight for my director’s chair when we got to Kelly’s room.
“Where’s my visor?” I said, gesturing to the place where my customary visor was usually hung. Kelly looked over from the underside of her desk, where she was untaping a bag of marshmallows.
“I dunno,” she said. “It was there the last time I saw it.”
“I don’t understand how you can be so slovenly, Kelly,” I told her, delicately picking through a pile of clothing on the floor in search of my visor before giving up for fear of contracting something.
“And I don’t understand why you have to use such big words, Merriam Webster, so that makes us even,” she said, flopping onto her stomach on her bed and waggling her feet in the air as she pulled open the bag of marshmallows. Kelly thinks I use big words to show off and she thinks it’s annoying. I firmly believe, however, that a strong vocabulary is a sign of a strong mind, something Kelly wouldn’t recognize if it slapped her in the face as she so richly deserved.
I sat down in my director’s chair and busied myself updating my to-do list while we waited for the others to arrive. I hated having to sit around alone with Kelly every week when everyone else was late – she chose the most inane topics of conversation: Angela, do you think sweater vests are hopelessly nerdy or retro cool? I wonder if Bobby Patterson and Maureen Lindley will break up. How do they cram all that graham? – but tardiness is not an option when you’re president-for-life.
Luckily everyone else straggled in after only a few minutes, so I wasn’t forced to make small talk with Kelly. It was an uneventful meeting. We went through our outstanding business, discussed the appointments we had set up for the rest of the week. Mr. Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration called with an order for letterhead. It was just as well. I found my thoughts repeatedly drifting back to this afternoon, to Dwight’s lips on mine.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s wrap this up. Is there any new business?” Everyone rustled their notebooks.
“Hey, Angela, here’s your visor!” Karen said, finding it underneath a stack of order forms she’d just picked up. I snatched it from her fingers, forced myself to smile and thank her graciously. I settled it on my head, pulling my ponytail up through the top. Much better.
“That visor makes you look like a lesbian,” Kelly noted absently, picking at her flaking nail polish with her thumb.
“Kelly!” Katy exclaimed.
“What? I’m just saying,” Kelly shrugged.
“Unless there is any new business…” I said more loudly, glaring righteously at Kelly. Honestly. Some people.
“Nope,” Pam said, closing her notebook and looking around at everyone. “I think we’re set until next time.”
“Okay, then,” I said briskly, wishing for the hundredth time that I had a gavel or bell to signal the end of the meeting. Things are so much more official with a gavel or a bell. I started to get up out of my director’s chair when Kelly spoke up again.
“Are you one?” she asked, looking at me curiously.
“One what?” She was confusing me, but that was nothing new.
“A lesbian,” Kelly said.
“What?” I could feel my cheeks flame. “No!”
“Because it’s totally cool if you are,” she continued. “Some of my best friends are lesbians.”
“Who do you know who’s a lesbian?” Karen wanted to know.
“No one, but that’s just what you say. I want Angela to know that it’s okay with me that she’s a lesbian.”
“I am not a lesbian!” I cried out in frustration.
“Okay, geez! I thought lesbians were supposed to be less emotional.” She put up her hands in a gesture of surrender.
“For your information, I…I…” I faltered. I wanted to tell them about Dwight – I was fairly bursting to – but I firmly believe that romances are no one’s business but the people involved. “I…” I tried again.
“Am a lesbian?”
“Angela, it’s okay, just say it, say ‘I am a lesbian’.”
“I am not a lesbian, Ikissedaboythisafternoon!” I said it all in a rush and I could feel myself blushing. Their mouths all dropped open in shock. I was almost a little offended. Is it so hard to believe a boy would want to kiss me?
“Shut up!” Kelly shrieked. “A boy? What boy? Are you sure it wasn’t just a really butch girl who looked like a boy?”
“Kelly, enough about the lesbians!” Pam yelled. “Angela, spill.”
“Yeah,” Katy said eagerly. “We want all the juicy details. Was he older? Was he suave and sophisticated?”
“Was he artistic?” Kelly wanted to know.
“Does he eat tofu?” Karen demanded.
“Does he look like Cam Geary?” Pam sighed dreamily.
“A little, not really, I don’t know, I hope not, and no, yuck. In that order. Sorry Pam.” Pam shrugged, made a face at me for not liking Cam Geary. As if I’d ever like such an up-to-no-good pretty boy.
“So who was it?” Pam prompted me.
“Um. Dwight. Remember? The boy who coaches Dwight’s Destructivators?”
“Dwight? Really?” Pam asked in disbelief.
“Yes! What’s so strange about that?” I glared at Pam and she cringed visibly.
“Well,” Pam hedged. “He’s kind of…weird, isn’t he?”
“He’s not that weird,” I said.
“He wore a short-sleeved dress shirt and a tie to coach a softball game,” Karen pointed out. I bristled.
“I thought it looked distinguished,” I sniffed, drawing myself up and raising my chin. “Just because he cares about looking professional and appropriate doesn’t make him weird.”
“Yeah, but the briefcase and the pocket protector might,” Katy snorted. Kelly giggled and nodded.
“Oh, what do you two know, you’re a sloppy tramp and you look like you got in a fight with the produce section and lost!” I snapped, gesturing at each of them in turn.
“I am not sloppy!” Katy protested.
“I’ll have you know this is the height of fashion!” Kelly fairly shouted.
“Angela,” Karen said, touching my shoulder. “Don’t be mean.” I rounded on her fiercely but before I could tell her she had tofu for brains, Pam jumped to her feet and stepped between us.
“All right, all right!” she cried. “Let’s all just settle down.” I glared mutinously at everyone before moving back to my director’s chair and throwing myself down forcefully. Grumbling, we all settled back down.
“So he kissed you, then what’d you do?” Pam asked.
“I slapped him, of course,” I said. Katy rolled her eyes.
“Of course,” she said.
“As if he’d want a loose-moraled woman like y-” I started heatedly, but Pam interrupted again.
“Did you like it?” she asked, looking at me curiously.
“Well…” I looked around at them. I didn’t want to seem like a common harlot. But I couldn’t lie. I wasn’t sure that I was in “luuuuv” with Dwight like Pam always acted with Jim, but I was definitely in like. “Yes,” I said firmly. “Yes I did and I hope to do it again, so there.” Pam smiled and chucked me on the shoulder. Even Katy was grinning.
“Our little Angela,” Katy said. “She’s all grown up.”
“Man,” Kelly said. “First Pam and Jim, now this.”
“Must be something in the water,” Karen laughed.
“It’s unfair,” Katy said, sighing. “I want a boyfriend.” I allowed myself a small smile. It wasn’t often Katy was smart enough to want something I had. Usually she wanted frivolous things like stirrup pants or a body wave.
“We should find you someone,” Kelly said. “Ooh, know who’s cute? Angela’s older brother!”
“Mark?!” I said incredulously. “That lazy bum?” Kelly made a face at me.
“No! Ew, Mark’s, like, old!” she cried. “I’m talking about Roy.” Katy’s eyes grew wide and she nodded in agreement.
“He is cute,” she said, thoughtfully.
“No,” I told her firmly. “Absolutely not.”
“So cute you wouldn’t even know he’s related to Angela,” Kelly continued as if I hadn’t said anything.
“Not a chance!” I said more stridently, but they all ignored me.
“But he’s almost as old as Mark, isn’t he?” Pam asked. “And he’s got a beard! Beards are gross.” (Knock it off, you guys, I said.)
“I don’t know, I like a nice beard,” Karen told her. Pam made a face, but Kelly shook her head. (This is disgusting, you’re talking about my brother!)
“Karen’s right, Pam, beards are totally in this season,” she said. Katy nodded in agreement.
“And he seems like he’d give good hugs,” Katy added. “Not to mention good-”
“Stop!” I shrieked, not wanting to hear the end of that sentence. “Stop. No one will be dating my brother, all right? I want everyone’s solemn word.” I made them swear on a package of Hammermill. They all rolled their eyes and agreed, but Katy still looked contemplative and I didn’t trust her farther than I could throw her. I sighed wearily and dismissed the meeting. I’d have to keep an eye on her. And considering how much of a hussy Katy could be, I had my work cut out for me. Between that and my new…relationship with Dwight, it was going to be one crazy summer.