TITLE: A Rose for Sherman (Part 1)
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Henry Sherman stormed out of the District Manager’s office, gritting his teeth and muttering under his breath. He wasn’t used to being told what to do, especially by a brassy, know-it-all woman. Not that a female boss was a bad thing. That wasn’t the problem.
“I’ve been running this place for ten years,” he mumbled under his breath, “and now she thinks she knows all about my clients, but I have news for her.”
What bothered him the most was that he’d agreed to the merger with All Florida Insurance, but was never told he would have to give up the helm of his beloved Sherman Insurance Agency. The next thing he knew, this Rose Reiman person was telling him what to do and, to the best of his knowledge, she had no idea what she was talking about. To make matters worse, she had taken over his large office and he was forced to use the cramped smaller one.
“Henry,” she called out as he walked away. She came to the door and yelled, “This meeting isn’t over yet!”
“Oh, yes it is!” he hollered back.
“I can have you fired!” she threatened.
He spun around and glared at her. “I’d like to see you try,” he said, fuming. “I made sure the merger contract stated I couldn’t be moved or terminated for any reason whatsoever.”
Frustrated, Rose turned on her heels, went back into the office and slammed the door. This gave him a small measure of satisfaction. He knew she was well aware of his non-termination clause and that it was non-severable.
She would simply have to learn to deal with whatever aggravation he would be likely to cause her. And he was already busying himself with thinking up plenty of it. The sooner he could get her out of his sandy blond hair, the happier he’d be.
The other four agents sat in their cubicles in the open area between the two offices shooting glances at each other. Two of them were on the phone with clients, but they all pretended to hear nothing.
Henry went into his office, fell into his chair and leaned it back as far as he could. The one good thing about the smaller space was that it put him as far away from her as he could possibly get.
A few minutes later, as he was going over a new policy to be sure everything was correct, there was a light tap on his door.
“Yes, come in,” he said, raising the volume of his voice.
The door opened and a young woman entered wearing a weary smile.
“Hannah!” he said, excited to see his sister.
“Hi, Henry,” she said as he started to come around the desk to greet her. “I need your help.”
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Rose couldn’t believe Henry insisted on acting this way. She called the Regional Manager to let him know what had just happened.
“I don’t know what he was upset about,” she told him. “I was simply trying to explain to him that I didn’t get this far in the insurance business without knowing what most clients want. He got himself all bent out of shape, jumped out of his chair and stormed out of the office.”
“Then what happened?” her boss wanted to know.
“We exchanged a few heated words and I may have told him he’d be fired.”
“You know we can’t do that.”
She sighed. “Yes, I do and he didn’t hesitate to remind me about it.” She paused, then asked, “Is there any way one of us could be moved or something? I don’t think this is gonna work out.”
“We can’t move him, but I could look into relocating your office to another part of town, if you think that’ll help,” he replied.
“How soon could it happen?”
“I can’t say, but don’t hold your breath,” he said.
“I won’t,” she said, knowing it could be three months at the earliest. “Thanks, Dave,” she added just before hanging up.
Rose would have to do her best not to let him get under her skin. By slamming the door, she’d let him know he won this round. But the fight wasn’t over yet, and if a fight was what he wanted, she’d be happy to give it to him. No one was going to stop her from taking an early retirement. Especially not this hot-head named Henry Sherman.
She got up, went out of her office and strode quickly to his door, tapped and opened it without waiting for a response. There was a younger woman in his arms and he’d just kissed her on the cheek. Rose was sure she caught him in a compromising situation.
“I’ll see you later, okay?” he was saying.
The woman nodded and he released her. She left the room in a hurry, not even looking at the new District Manager.
Rose closed the door and looked at him with one arched eyebrow. “You should know by now that’s frowned upon in this company,” she said. “Your personal life needs to stay out of the office.”
He thought about telling her the truth of the situation, but instead he decided to see how far he could irritate her. “No matter what I do, you can’t get rid of me. You’ll just have to deal with whatever I do.”
“There’s a loophole somewhere and I’m going to find it,” she snapped. “You won’t be here much longer if I have anything to say about it.”
“Search all you want, but you won’t find any way to do that,” he said calmly. “Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me.”
Neither of them could know at this time how true his words would turn out to be.
By now, she’d forgotten why she came to his office. She stood there seething and he simply watched her with a slight grin on his face that only served to infuriate her further.
He let her stew for a minute, then asked in a professional tone, “So, what brings you to my humble little office? Are you ready to apologize to me?”
Why couldn’t she rein in her temper with this man? What was it about him that caused her blood to boil over?
Not knowing what to say, she turned and hurried back to her own office, forgetting that she had wanted to try and get along with him since they would have to work together for at least three more months. But the fight was on now and she was definitely ready for this battle.
It wouldn’t take long for her to get the best of him. She’d dealt with his type before and had won each battle, so this time shouldn’t be any different. She was sure to make him surrender before this was over.
But there was something about him that she wasn’t prepared for. Something that would make her surrender this time.
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