“Could she get a job?” 

     Roy appeared perplexed. “Why would she?”

     Who does he think he is? Stella reached behind and slammed the door shut. It was better this than her raised voice echoing through the reception area. Turning, she walked toward the chair behind his desk. She eased into the leather and crossed her long legs.

     “You need to suggest she get one.”

     Seated in his chair, she felt dangerous, dark, and beautiful. Stella knew this was everything he coveted. For a brief moment, she reigned in all of her defiance and finery. Her manicured fingertips toyed with the tail of silk  draped around her neck. She bit her lip.

I could see she was weary, a shadow of her past. The light  that had once shone from her eyes, now dimmed. Words failed her. She had emptied out a million little broken pieces. It was sad. She had been hurt so much, she accepted it.

Her voice, a mere whisper, spoke. “When will we understand? To hurt one is to hurt all. This is the fault in our stars. It is the simplest of truths; we are all connected.”

 I loved her more in that moment: beaten down, raw, and still standing.  She was the strongest woman I knew.