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I work for a funding company that does not fund in North Carolina.  You live in NC?  Denied.  Your attorney lives in NC?  Denied.  You got into a car accident in SC and got thrown through the windshield into NC?  Sorry about your luck.

Today we agreed to fund some two thousand dollars to a client who lives in New Jersey.  I was approximately three minutes from providing her with her money when she told me, "My license still shows a North Carolina address."  So I panicked.  I went to my boss and said, "The suit was filed in Jersey, the accident was in Jersey, she lives in Jersey, she gets her mail in Jersey -- do you care what her license says?"

"Suit was filed in Jersey," he said, shrugging.  "Doesn't bother me.  Go for it."

I told my coworker, Nicole, who had this woman on the phone and was haltingly trying to soothe the woman's frazzled nerves.  "It's fine," I told Nicole.  "North Carolina ID is okay.  We don't care."

"Oh," James said sarcastically, "now you're making executive decisions without me."

I turned, eyes narrowed.  "What?"

"No, no, it's okay," he continued.  "You seem to know what you're doing.  Go ahead, apparently you're the boss now."

I stared him down.  "Did you not just tell me," and I counted each statement on my fingers, "that her mail goes to Jersey, she lives in Jersey, the suit was filed in Jersey, and you didn't care if the ID said Carolina?"

A smile twitched on his face.  "I never said any of that."  I knew he was messing with me.  We had just been through a whirlwind of disorienting paperwork and activity not long before this, and he was playing on my distress.  Things get crazy at work, my brain gets pulled in lots of different directions, and suddenly I'm sitting there tearing hair out of my skull going, "Oh, god, I can't remember what I'm supposed to be doing but something tells me it's really important."  These moments have an entertainment factor.  James likes to play on that.

I screwed on my smile.  "James," I said, endlessly patient, "you are a jerk."

"Yeah," he agreed, still grinning his big, stupid grin.

"And now I am going to step out, if it's okay with you, to find something deep-fried and smothered in chocolate."

"Yes," he said, pleased.  "Go center yourself."

When I returned not ten minutes later, chugging a strawberry-flavored water and picking up a new file of paperwork, Nicole looked up at me and tried desperately to convey some kind of emotion with rapid eye movement and a grimace-slash-sneer.

"What," I said, wary.

She leaned toward me.  "Did you tell James you were leaving?" she asked.

I raised my brows.  "Yes?  He told me to go ahead."

"Are you sure?  Because he was looking for you.  And I didn't know where you went, but I told him you hadn't come back to your desk.  He was pissed."

I hadn't been gone THAT long.  Yes, the store is right next door.  I probably could have made it a three-minute trip, but I hadn't expected to have a deadline to return to the office.  James gives us a lot of freedom.

I glanced at him, on the phone with an attorney, and looked back at Nicole.  She thought I should go address the situation.  I elected to work instead.  I plowed through some files, and, a little while later, went to put one on James' desk.  I placed it carefully into a bin while he stared at me, expecting me to explain myself.  Again, I elected to ignore the situation.  I made it approximately two steps away when I turned back around and approached his desk.

"James," I began, hesitant, "you did know that I was stepping out, right?"

He gave me a look like, "Listen, we need to talk," and my heart jumped into my throat.

Then his grin caught up with him.  He started to snicker, and I puffed up like a furious hen.  "Now wait," he said loudly over my jumble of offended woman-noise, "after the stunt I pulled earlier, how could you not tell I am in a mischievous mood?"

"James!" I scolded.

"Whaaat?  Now all you have to decide is whether you're more mad at me for starting it, or your wifey over there for being so eager to play along."

I took the file back out of the bin and slapped it down on his desk (much less carefully this time).  "You," I said, as he began laughing.  "There is this term I heard once--"

"Now, Naomi, you may want to wait until you're off the clock to--"

"And I think it's very appropriate for this situation--"

"It might be wise to remember--"

"You are a butt-faced miscreant," I finished.  And I walked back to my desk, loving my job with all my heart.



Her Adorable Marvelousness

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