The reason the bigwigs had not made me permanent Director of Research and Development became clear two days after my forced talk with Sherrie. I was offered my choice of that job or a position as Deputy Assistant Director of Western Operations with our parent corporation. That office was headquartered in Denver, but I’d be away as much as three months out of every year, traveling to every place between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean where we had a factory or office. I took their offer without thinking about it for more than a second. It would get me out of town and that was suddenly very important to me.
The way it was going to work was that I would stay on board here until my replacement came in from St. Louis and was familiar enough with the operation to take over. In the meantime, the company was going to bring in people from the various western locations to brief me on what they did and how they fit into the total corporate structure. There would be slide presentations, live video conferences, one-on-one discussions—anything I needed to get a handle on what my duties and responsibilities were going to be.
The pay raise was going to put me over the hump into a six-digit salary, but it didn’t make me as happy as I’d thought it would. There was no one to share the news with…only a few close friends.
I called Melissa and Cal a few minutes after I got out of the boss’s office. Melissa was the only one home, but she was thrilled at my promotion and let me know it in no uncertain terms. Then she got sad because I was moving away. We talked about dinner out Friday night and I agreed. We had a good time, but it just wasn’t the same.
Two weeks later, give or take, the first of the people who were going to brief me came in to town. Ms. Webster was actually a buyer for some of our ancillary businesses and I wasn’t going to be her supervisor when I got to Denver. She worked out of Sacramento and her “chain of command” went through another channel. But she had all the information necessary to give me a good look into what they did for the parent corporation and she even had a boilerplate PowerPoint presentation on her laptop. She was on her way back from a trip to the Carolinas and could drop by Texas on the way. It was Friday afternoon but she was here and I was duty-bound to meet with her.
Ms. Webster was thirty-ish, but it was hard to estimate her precise age. She wore a severely cut, dark gray businesswoman’s pantsuit and there was a strict, no-nonsense, expression on her face when I first met her. She shook hands briskly with me and walked down the hall beside me with strides as long as mine. She was shorter than I was, but you’d never know it by the way she walked.
We went to one of the conference rooms equipped for audiovisual presentations. When we got there, she surveyed the room and, rejecting the adjoining room with all the projectors and high tech equipment, she put her laptop on a table and started setting up her briefing slides on its smaller screen.
Sitting at a corner of a table with the laptop between us and angled so we could both see it, Ms. Webster walked me through all the operations of her division and her company in general. I think I surprised her with some questions that I had about organizational matters…who did what and why did they do it that way? On a couple of matters, she didn’t have ready answers and took notes so she call me back when she got with the appropriate personnel in Sacramento. It was a very productive meeting and I understood most of her division’s impact on the overall corporate structure when we finished.
We walked out of the audiovisual room into a nearly empty floor full of individual cubicles. Ms. Webster and I looked at our watches simultaneously; both of us were amazed the afternoon was so far advanced.
“Ah, I’m sorry, Ms. Webster,” I said contritely. “I had no idea we were spending so much time in there.” I smiled at her. “I think,” I said thoughtfully, “I’ll blame it on such a well-prepared and knowledgeable briefer.”
For the first time, she flashed a bright smile at me. Heretofore, it had been a professionally courteous, remote thing that barely twitched her lips and it had been aimed somewhere over my left shoulder. I liked the new one a lot better.
“Karen!” she said emphatically. I looked around. There were only a couple of people lining up in front of the elevators and they were all guys.
“No…me…I’m Karen,” she said less stridently, grinning openly at me now. I blushed. I could actually feel the warmth spreading up from beneath my shirt collar and enveloping my ears.
“Oh!” I replied. “I’m sorry ’bout that…I guess I’m not paying real good attention.”
“And I’m going to blame the late hour on a surprisingly well informed, really smart boss-man,” she added before I could say anything more. The grin and nice compliment, coupled with the hand she put on my forearm made me feel a lot better.
“You’re very nice to say that…I bahis firmaları appreciate it very much.” I wasn’t quite stuttering but I was a long way from being articulate.
“Not at all,” she said, patting my arm and dropping hers to her side again. The place where her hand had rested was suddenly cold. I wanted it back where it had been.
“I meant it,” she added. There was that wonderful smile again.
“Well…anyway…thanks,” I said. “Uh…can I get you back to your hotel or to the airport maybe? I don’t know what your plans are or anything—I should have asked a lot earlier.”
“Well, I haven’t checked into a hotel yet,” she said lightly. “I came right from the airport to here and haven’t gotten there…to the hotel…yet,” she added. I felt bad about that. I hadn’t realized.
“Well, then I can at least get to wherever you’re going to stay,” I offered. “You have reservations, right?” She nodded and told me where.
“Then let me lock my office and I’ll drive you over there. Would that be all right?” She nodded again, showing me some more of that brilliant smile. It made me feel warm even in the cold air conditioning favored in south Texas office buildings.
It turned out that Ms. Webster…Karen…hadn’t even taken the time to claim her baggage so we made a detour by the airport. Eventually, we found where her two suitcases had been taken when she hadn’t picked them up immediately and rescued them from a storage facility. The lady that helped us seemed a trifle miffed, as if there was an unwritten law requiring travelers to retrieve their luggage immediately upon arrival at their destination.
Karen and I poured nice words and warm compliments all over the lady’s irritation and had the woman entirely mollified by the time we left. When we got out of sight, Karen and I looked at each other and laughed out loud at how well we’d managed to get the airline employee back on “our” side and happy with us. It felt good to laugh so companionably with a woman again.
Reclaiming my car from the parking lot, I drove Karen to one of the nicer hotels in the downtown area and walked her to the front desk. It turned out the reservation had been confirmed and her room was ready for her. It wasn’t actually necessary that I accompany her there…Karen had everything well under control. But I had made myself useful carrying in her luggage so I didn’t look like a complete fool—I hoped so anyway. When all the paperwork was done and she was ready to go up to her floor, I stood there debating whether to just leave…or not. I felt like a sophomore in high school again.
“Uh…Karen, if I’m out of line, please say so, but—”
“I accept,” she said, startling me with her directness. “Just dinner, or…?” I looked at her blankly for a moment. The last time I’d asked a girl for at date had been many years previous and I didn’t remember it as having been this easy.
“Well, how about dinner…and then I know a place we can go for a quiet drink and if you’re feeling really adventurous, a little dancing, maybe. How’s that?” She stepped close drew my head down to plant a kiss on my cheek.
“Pick me up at eight?” she asked, stepping back.
“I’ll be here,” I agreed. She smiled warmly and turned around to lead the bellboy off toward the bank of elevators. The place where she’d kissed me seemed hot enough to be a beacon, flashing on and off in the late Texas afternoon. I walked past my car and had to come back half a block to find it.
I couldn’t get reservations at the restaurant where I’d envisioned taking Karen, so we settled for what used to be called “Fischer’s Dining and Dancing.” Through the years the name had gotten progressively shortened until it became just “Fischer’s.” It was a dinner club, with a very good kitchen that served evening meals until 10:00 PM. Then they opened up a sliding, collapsible wall that concealed more tables and a big dance floor. They called that section the ballroom. Anyway, at that point, the whole place became one of the better nightclubs in town until 2:00 AM.
Diners could finish their meal, and then stay at that table through the club hours if they wanted. They would have to thread their way through all the other tables to the dance floor if the urge struck them, though, and some viewed that as a problem. Other people came just to occupy the small tables adjacent to the hardwood dance floor. It was a good place for thirty-something age people to go. My wife and I had gone there many times…when we were married.
When I got to her hotel, I called up and Karen came down to the lobby. I know my jaw dropped when the elevator door opened and I’m equally sure it gaped open for long moments while she strode across the lobby to where I stood.
She was in a sea foam green evening dress with spaghetti straps over her otherwise bare shoulders. The bodice was gathered into a couple of rows of pleats just below her breasts, making the waist very high on her body. The skirt fell simply from the bodice to kaçak iddaa a couple inches above her knees in front and a few inches below the knee in back. It seemed to me to be composed of several layers of sheer silk over a more opaque under layer. Her dark blond hair fell gently to almost shoulder level. When she’d stepped up to me, her understated, open toed heels put her eye to eye with me. Hers were lovely eyes too.
“You’re beautiful,” was the only thing I could say. It was heartfelt, but not terribly eloquent. I thought I was coming across as a bashful schoolboy, but maybe it was all right. She blushed faintly, but didn’t seem to mind the compliment. She took my arm and tucked it to her side familiarly.
“Shall we go?” she asked.
“Heck,” I said, still bashful, “I could stand her all night just admiring you.” I tried on a smile, hoping it didn’t look like the ones painted on puppets. She smiled again and kissed me—a little butterfly kiss just in front of my ear.
“But I’m hungry,” she said. “You have to feed me.” I nodded, smiling back at her like a simpleton.
“Then shall we go, Madame?” I swept my left hand out in an expansive gesture toward the sliding glass doors leading out front. She nodded; we walked outside arm in arm. I never remembered passing through the doors.
“This is a lovely place,” Karen said quietly, leaning close to me to talk. She was looking all around, smiling at people who caught her eye, and absorbing the character of the establishment. People were looking at her too. I wasn’tthat much of a regular here, but there were some who knew me. They wondered who the attractive young woman was. Many of the unattached men were just looking at Karen with lust in their eyes. I could sympathize with them. She was extraordinary looking…and she was with me.
“It is,” I agreed with her. I debated whether to say what was on my mind. I took the plunge.
“You’re probably getting a lot of looks because I used to bring my wife here sometimes,” I told her, trying to keep my tone matter-of-fact. She looked at me for a moment, then leaned closer and ran a fingernail along the pale circle on my ring finger where a wedding ring had once been.
“So…what’s this all about,” she asked.
“That is what’s left of what I thought was a heck of a good marriage,” I said slowly.
“Just two more weeks, a couple of days and I’ll have the final decree,” I told her.
“We’ve been separated for a while, just marking time until the mandatory waiting period runs out.”
“What happened?” Karen said in a level voice. She was looking me directly in the eyes with no hint of reproach, but no particular sympathy either. I gave her the short version.
“Oh, we had been getting a little distant over the past year or so…and I’m not exactly sure why. She has her career and I seem to be developing one I hadn’t counted on. Maybe we were just drifting apart all along and didn’t realize it,” I mused.
“Well, anyway, she went to Vegas with two other couples—friends of ours—and I couldn’t go at the last minute because of a problem at the Denver plant. She says she was mad at me, she got drunk, got dazzled by the bright lights and all the commotion, and went with a man up to his room, and…that’s all she wrote,” I said.
“A one-night stand?” Karen asked. I shook my head.
“No, she spent the whole weekend with him. From what some friends told me later, she didn’t know the guy was from here. But when she got back, he started calling her and eventually they hooked up for some noontime quickies and a few evenings. I don’t know how many times, but it went on for about a month and a half before I saw her on the street with the SOB.”
“I see,” was Karen’s only reply. I took it as mildly reproving. She later told me she’d not meant anything of the sort, but I didn’t know that at the time.
“Uh…I just couldn’t forgive something like that…I’m sorry, but I’m a little rigid on the cheating thing and Vegas was bad enough. I’ve tried to figure out if I could have worked past the first…thing…out there but I don’t know if I could have. But I sure couldn’t deal with them keeping on doing it back here at home,” I told her.
She nodded her agreement, sighing expressively. She scooted closer to me, putting her hand on my wrist and lowering her voice so no one else could hear. We talked for a long time, at first about my failed marriage, but we got off that subject quickly. There were too many good things to talk about.
I found out that she was thirty-one, a year and a half older than I was, and we joked about her being the “older woman.” She had been divorced herself, more than ten years ago, so she had an insight into my problems. She had worked as a waitress for a couple of years afterward while she went to night school for a business degree. She’d then started to work in a large office where a beautiful woman was almost expected to advance “on her back” but she’d refused that route up the chain. Nowadays, she headed up a kaçak bahis division of twenty-six buyers who roamed the nation locating the corporation’s necessary resources.
We talked about our lives, discovering we both had a love for Tom Clancy novels, music from the 60s and 70s, and paintings that actually seemed based in reality instead of a hodgepodge of mismatched blurriness. I warned her I wasn’t a very good dancer, but I felt great on the dance floor with her in my arms. I managed to not step on her toes even once. I told her on the way back to our table that I couldn’t understand why she ever wore pants to hide her beautiful legs.
Theywere lovely. She was a tall girl anyway and her dress accentuated that. Her tanned legs were bare of any stockings—she just didn’t need any. Her legs seemed impossibly long and beautifully shaped from slim ankles all the way up to what I could see of her slender thighs.
She told me that business was business—and this wasn’t business. I smiled at her and agreed there was no way this had anything to do with the job. She looked closely at me. I guess she saw my sincerity because she came up to me and kissed me lightly on the lips. I was surprised, but enormously pleased.
She said she had to go to the little girl’s room. She picked up her clutch purse, smiled at me, and walked away. I watched her leave, mesmerized. Howdo women manage to sway from side to side that way while moving forward at the same time?
I didn’t know that Melissa and Cal were at Fischer’s that night also. Melissa told me years later that she’d gotten up from her table and gone to the ladies restroom to confront Karen when she saw Karen leave our table. When she got there, Karen was already back out at the vanity and was touching up her makeup. Melissa had chatted with Karen a little and watched as Karen took off her panties while surrounded by a half-dozen other women.
Karen told a startled Melissa and the others that her guy was going to get lucky that night and she wanted him to know it. Melissa blurted out that I was married. Karen questioned her a little to make sure I was actually separated and that my divorce was going to be final soon.
Once assured this was so, Karen stuffed her panties into her small purse and snapped it shut. The clutch bag was a tiny one and there hadn’t been much room. The catch didn’t want to close. After a bit more conversation, Melissa told me, she’d warmed to Karen and they chatted for a moment before Melissa impulsively reached under her own evening gown and yanked off her panties. She told Karenher guy was going to get lucky too.
I didn’t know why Karen was laughing quietly to herself when she got back to me and she didn’t explain. It wasn’t important. Just seeing her smiling, happy face was more than enough. That she seemed to be paying me close attention was making my pulse race faster than it had for a long while. My wife and I hadn’t had a good time out in so long, I’d pretty much forgotten what it was like. That was the last time I thought of Sherrie that night.
As we were making our way to the door at closing time, I saw Melissa and Cal also leaving and I bulled my way through the crowd to get close to them. I introduced Karen but Melissa told me they’d already met in the restroom. We stood around talking for a bit but parted company quickly to go our separate ways. I didn’t know at the time why Cal was so flushed and anxious to leave. I thought his constant shifting of weight from one foot to the other was a pee-pee dance of some kind. In retrospect, I guess it was a modified one. Melissa’s panties, I know now, were in his sports jacket pocket.
Outside in my car, Karen disdained the seatbelt and sat close to me. When I turned my head, her lips were there to greet me and we kissed for a long time. It was soft and gentle at first, short and tentative. She became more demanding after a bit, though, and I met her half way. I found her tongue ready to flick out and twine itself around mine as we kissed deeper and longer.
My left hand found its way to her soft thighs and I slipped it slowly under her skirt. Her smooth skin felt hot under my palm. The sheer, flimsy material of her skirt slid over the back of my hand sensuously. Her legs were closed at first. When my hand reached her hip, even I could tell she had no panties on. Then she spread her legs for my hands. There was only silky smooth flesh under my fingers…until I found the moist, heated outer lips of her sex. We broke the long kiss; we were out of breath anyway. I looked questioningly into her eyes for a long moment.
“If you don’t want this to happen,” she whispered, “you better say so now, Ron.” It was the first time she’d said my name just that way.
“Is there a boyfriend at home…or someone you’re close to…?” I asked quietly. She shook her head gently.
“No one,” she said softly.
“Then let’s not stop,” I said simply. She put a hand on the back of my neck and pulled me tight for another long kiss. Our tongues dueled as my fingers probed gently, stroking all around her vulva. I was pleasantly surprised to find her pubes were shaved clean. It only made my arousal that much harder and stronger.