Mahoney, Williams, and Clark

Angie Williams had no regrets about returning to Greenville and joining her friend Collen's insurance company as senior executive.

Angie moved away after college and landed an insurance job in Hartford Connecticut and Colleen had been trying to recruit her for years but it was only after Colleen's Dad Thomas Mahoney passed away and left Colleen in charge of the agency that Angie finally decided to relocate home and go into business with her lifelong friend.

Now, six months later, Angie had settled into her new job, reacquainting herself with the area and getting to know the Mahoney Insurance Staff and clients. There were some long hours but plenty of satisfaction knowing that she was helping Colleen carry out her father's legacy.

Colleen moved into her Dad's old office and Angie inherited Colleen's space at the opposite corner of the modernly furnished, decorated and renovated office building not far from the community college.

Angie enjoyed a nice view from her office and the afternoon sun kept the office warm without having to use the heat. She bought a new large oak desk for the office and she decorated the walls with paintings of her style and taste.

Angie bought a condo at the nearby College Park Condos and she had been too busy establishing her work routine, getting her condo decorated, and reconnecting with her family to socialize much beyond the occasional drink with Colleen.

The two friends managed to set the appropriate boundaries between their working relationship and their personal friendship. Colleen allowed Angie pretty fair range at work so there hadn't been too many issues once Angie figured out the agency's overall policy, philosophy and attitude.

Angie was seated at her desk when the door opened and Reed Rogers stuck his head inside. "Hey," he said cheerfully.

"Hi, Reed," Angie said diplomatically but with a forced smile.

"Don't mind Reed," Colleen had warned Angie early on. "He thinks he should be running the place and he's one of those old-fashioned ape men who treat women like objects."

"Why don't you get rid of him?" Angie asked.

"Oh, he's one of Daddy's guys," Colleen shrugged. "He has a lot of corporate knowledge. Just ignore him and avoid him. He's mostly harmless."

Angie watched Reed approach her desk. He was in his early fifties, divorced and miserable although he put on a good façade and acted cool.

"How can I help you, Reed?" Angie politely asked.

"Care to join me for a drink after work?" He asked. "Stebbins account, but he just bailed on me."

"Sorry, I'm already booked," Angie replied.

"Well, maybe some other time," Reed suggested.

"Sure," Angie said.

"So I hear you're at College Park Condos," Reed said. "Maybe I can come see the place sometime."

"Maybe I'll have a housewarming," Angie smiled.

"Great," Reed grinned before heading for the door.

Angie shook her head with annoyance. The guy was some fifteen years older than her. What was he thinking?

There was a knock on the door and Angie glanced up to see Hoyt Clark standing in the doorway. The biggest surprise about coming to Mahoney Insurance was discovering that her high school classmate Hoyt Clark worked for Mahoney as the office manager.

"What's he doing here?" Angie asked Colleen at the time.

"Ah, one of Daddy's hire-a-vet projects," Colleen said. "It was awkward for me too considering I used to fuck his older brother Brock."

"It's not awkward for me," Angie said.

"Well, it should be," Colleen cautioned. "Hoyt always had the hots for you."

"No he didn't," Angie insisted.

"Why do you think he hung out with me and Brock when you were around too?" Colleen laughed.

"What you got, Hoyt?" Angie asked cheerfully as she eyed Hoyt in the doorway.

He held up a manila envelope. "Delivery for you."

"Thanks."

She reached her arm out so Hoyt entered the office and handed her the envelope.

"Anything else?" He wanted to know.

"No, thanks."

"There's fresh coffee," he informed her.

She noticed that he always avoided eye contact when she looked at him but she sensed that he was looking at her when he thought she wasn't looking back.

"Great," she smiled. "I could use a jolt."

She got up and followed Hoyt from her office. He returned to his desk while she continued on into the small employee lounge/kitchenette on the other side of the office.

The smell of coffee tickled her nose as she entered the room. Tucking the envelope under her arm, Angie poured a cup of java and added some creamer.

She turned and nearly dumped her mug onto Hoyt's chest whom had entered the room behind her without her realizing it.

"Excuse me," she said, trying to side-step him without spilling her coffee.

"Sugar," he explained, holding up a container. "Somebody left it in the conference room."

"Oh, okay," she said, moving against the wall in order to let him pass.

He set the sugar container on the counter and then turned and glanced at her. Sometimes he looked at her funny, other times longingly, but most times Angie sensed that Hoyt looked at her with sadness and that made her feel uncomfortable. He was a great office manager and Angie had no complaints about his professional talents. She just felt weird being the boss of a kid she went to high school with.

"Okay," Hoyt said, leaving the kitchenette and Angie let out a breath of relief. She wasn't sure why she felt nervous around him.

Angie stopped by Colleen's office on her way back from the coffee break. Her boss was seated at her desk squinting at the computer screen while typing away on the keyboard.

"You're going to go blind," Angie laughed as she stepped into the office.

"Tell me about it," Colleen groaned.

"So how long as Hoyt been working here again?" Angie asked as she took a seat across from Colleen and nursed her coffee mug.

"A couple of years," Colleen mumbled as she concentrated on whatever it was she was typing.

"And what's his story again?"

"His story?" Colleen asked with confusion, glancing at her friend.

"How long was he in the military?"

"I don't know."

"Why'd he get out?"

"Beats me."

Colleen chewed on her lip for a moment before standing and going to a file cabinet on the other side of the room, retrieving a file which she brought back to the desk with her. She flipped it open and reviewed some of the documents.

"He was in the Navy for twelve years," she reported.

"More than halfway to retirement," Angie observed. "Why'd he get out?"

Colleen pulled out a copy of Navy Investigation Report and quickly scanned it. "He was the Captain's Yeoman on a ship," she said. "The captain was removed from command due to cruelty and maltreatment and it sounds like Hoyt was one of the sources of the investigation. They called the Commander Queeg and Bligh. He was accused of verbal abuse, obscenities and tirades unbecoming of an officer, projecting fear and hostility by constantly berating people and demeaning, humiliating, publicly belittling and verbally assaulting them – especially women Sailors." Colleen reported.

"I guess he had a bad experience and got out," Angie said. "That's too bad."

"And now he's here managing an office full of women," Colleen sighed. "But Daddy saw something in him."

"That military discipline probably," Angie said..

Colleen's blue eyes twinkled. "So, why you asking about Hoyt?"

"He's making us coffee, Colleen," she sighed. "The guy was out there defending the country and now he's making coffee for an office full of women."

"And Reed Rogers," Colleen added.

"The jerk of the office."

"Nobody told Hoyt he had to make the coffee," Colleen said defensively.

"He's a good office manager," Angie reasoned.

"Mrs. O'Brien was here forever," Colleen reported. "Daddy finally made her retire. I think she was eighty."

"Has he been dating anybody since he came back?" Angie wondered.

"I really haven't been paying attention, Angie," Colleen admitted, closing the folder and going back to her typing. "I'd been dealing with Dad's illness and death and trying to keep my relationship with Carl from going into the crapper while also keeping this place going so I've been a little distracted."

"Of course," Angie said. "It was a stupid question to ask."

"Look, if you want to do him, just ask him out for a drink," Colleen suggested. "He's kind of shy."

"I don't want to do him," Angie groaned.

"Well, are you doing anybody?" Colleen challenged. "You've been back for six months and you're still dating your vibrator."

"Shut up!" Angie blushed.

"Just sayin'," Colleen replied.

"Hey, I told Reed I had plans tonight," Angie remembered. "You want to grab a quick drink on the way home just so I don't have to totally lie?"

"Sure," Colleen agreed. "Mike's?"

"Okay," Angie agreed as she took a sip of her now lukewarm coffee.

"You drink too much of that stuff," Colleen complained. "You really need to get laid instead."

Angie stood and tucked the envelope Hoyt had given her under her arm although she had no reason to be carrying it around when she could have easily left it on her desk before going for the coffee. Did Hoyt have a way of distracting her?

"Aren't I paying you to be doing something?" Collen asked when she noticed that Angie was hovering by the door lost in thought.

They both laughed before Angie returned to her office, passing by Hoyt's desk which was anchored in the middle of the outer office between their two offices. He was typing away on some report and he barely looked at her but when Angie turned to step into her office she knew she felt his eyes on her.

Angie glanced out at the various associates seated at their desks in the open outer office and the receptionist counter beyond which Hoyt also managed. Reed's office was along the side wall next to the conference room.

It was a well-run office and a good agency and Angie was happy to be a part of it, back in her hometown working side by side with her long-time friend, Colleen. But there was something about Hoyt that made her feel like a schoolgirl all over again.