Julie Ch. 03byKKHowling©
When Julie got home, Gary was already in bed. She breathed a sigh of relief. She had been worried that her guilt would be obvious to him. It also gave her an opportunity to clean up and change her panties, which could just as easily have given her away.
When she woke up in the morning, the events of the night before had faded. Not that she felt less guilty, but it was a less immediate guilt. One that was much easier to conceal from Gary. There was also less of a feeling that something might have happened. Maybe it was denial. But Julie no longer felt like she had been dangerously close to infidelity. The sense that it might have been inevitable had passed.
That didn't mean she didn't have some anxiety about facing Gary. But she didn't feel as though her stumble last night was as bad as it had seemed at the time. Maybe because she had fantasized about it, it seemed like it might have happened?
Julie didn't know. She did know that she was apprehensive about facing Greg this morning too. He probably had his own ideas of where things might have gone. Would he try to pick up where he left off? How familiar would he be?
She would have the protection of a work environment and other people around to deter him. Would that be enough? Greg didn't want to talk shop when it was a social thing, like dinner. Maybe he would all business, no play today?
Julie soon found she had nothing to worry about. Except for a few occasions where he made direct eye contact with her, there was little between them that recalled the previous night.
Greg went about auditing Julie's company in a thorough, professional manner. He interviewed a half dozen people that would be directly involved in handling his company's business. Julie followed him around, taking notes, offering suggestions and making reassurances.
True to his word, he was tough on Julie and her coworkers. He was sharp and knew what he was looking for. Julie had to admit to herself, she was more than a little surprised. For some reason she assumed he would be less competent, a pompous ass or a saber-rattler. But his questions and concerns were surprisingly valid. Time and again Julie had to make changes to her company's processes and procedures to address shortcomings that Greg pointed out. He was being a prick, she thought, but not in an unjustified way.
For most of the day, Julie sat beside him while the person he was interviewing sat opposite them. Because Greg's attention was on the interviewee, Julie had plenty of opportunities to sneak glances at him. She couldn't help notice the set of his strong jaw line, the set of his broad shoulders. He was an impressive example of masculine good looks and Julie had to struggle on occasion to remain focused on work.
By the time they finished up in mid-afternoon, Julie felt like she had run a marathon. She was mentally and physically fatigued. But she also felt damn satisfied. She had done well in guiding her people through the audit. She had found ways to tweak processes to make them suit Greg's company's needs. And he seemed impressed, which was the most important thing.
Greg finished making some notes then looked up at Julie with a smile on his face.
"Things went pretty well today," he told her. "You did well. You obviously have a good understanding of how things get done around here and how to get them done the way they need to be for our stuff. That's the key."
"Thank you," Julie replied, accepting his compliments in an outwardly professional manner. On the inside, there was a party going on. She was going to land this job and the promotion that went with it. It seemed in the bag now.
There was also something else hiding behind the career-related euphoria. Greg was satisfied, pleased. It made her feel good in a way that had nothing to do with work. There was a sexual undertone to the feeling. It should not have had anything to do with her success today, but it was there nonetheless. It was an almost giddy feeling and it might have worried her if she wasn't so relieved that everything had gone smoothly.
"I'd ask you to take me out for dinner and drinks to unwind a little," Greg continued. "But the big boys want a shot at me tonight."
"Bummer," she replied with a crooked grin, trying hard not to let the events of the night before creep into her mind.
The vice presidents that had been at yesterday's presentation were taking Greg out to dinner. Julie was still far too low on the food chain to have to worry about them including her in such plans.
She was relieved that she wasn't a part of that. First, she was worn out. She had gotten in late last night and had a brutally long, albeit successful, day. She wanted to go home, kick off her shoes and relax.
Julie was also relieved because it meant that she wouldn't have to see Greg in a social setting again. It made her nervous to think how easily he had gotten to her. Sure, he was a handsome man with intelligence and a sense of humor. A woman couldn't help noticing those things.
But it was his boldness--and how she had responded to it--that was truly scary to her. In the heat of the moment, who knows what could have happened? He certainly was brazen enough to take as much as he could. Even if it wasn't offered. Not that he would force himself on her. No. But he seemed to have a way of getting women to do as he desired. That arrogance, that attitude that a woman should want to please him... it should have been irritating, if not infuriating to her. And maybe it still was. But there was also something in it that made her knees a little weak.
Julie was past the point of believing that she had really been within a few minutes, or a few more wet, passionate kisses, of anything really happening. In the light of day it seemed highly unlikely that she would have done anything as crazy as get in the car with him, let alone give him a blow job. At the same time, it was safer to not be around him in a scenario where things could get out of hand.
But all that wasn't something to worry about at the moment. Now she was headed home to have dinner and collapse on the sofa with Gary. Maybe she could get him to give her a good leg and foot massage. That would be heaven.
When she got home, she found Gary had the table set with the good china. Wine glasses and a nice bottle of wine were there as well. There were fresh tapers in the candlesticks that were hardly burned. He must have lit them when he saw her pulling in.
She smiled, put down her purse and jacket and went into the kitchen. Gary was standing at the stove sautéing something. Julie couldn't see what it was, but it smelled wonderful.
"Hi," she greeted him. "What's all this?" He turned and smiled easily at her.
"Well, I missed you last night," he answered with obvious sincerity. "And I was thinking that you'd probably feel like celebrating, right?" Julie had called him at lunch to talk to him and had told him things were going well with her audit. But she certainly hadn't made it sound like it was time to celebrate. At least not yet.
"Things did go well today," she replied. "But I still have another full day of this audit tomorrow," she cautioned.
"I have confidence," he said with a smile. It was touching, truly. He was always telling her that he believed in her, that she could do anything if she tried. Having that unwavering support at home was no doubt a large part of what made her successes possible. She smiled.
"So what are we having?" Julie asked, stepping up behind him and putting her arms around him.
"Veal in a lobster cream sauce topped with shrimp and crabmeat," Gary answered.
"Mmmmm," Julie said, pulling his back against her tight. "And a bottle of wine? You know how to welcome a girl home from a hard day at the office, don't you?" She kissed his shoulder and neck as she held him tight and savored the aroma of the food.
"Just a little something to tell you I love you and I'm proud of you," he answered, turning and kissing her.
It was a good kiss. A firm, meaningful kiss. But it brought on an inevitable comparison to the kisses the night before. Julie was at once ashamed of herself for having kissed another man so passionately and disappointed that Gary's kisses did not have the effect on her that Greg's had. Surely, it was only the circumstances that made Greg's so electrifying. Julie and Gary had been together for a long time... kisses went from new and exciting to comfortable and pleasing like everything else in a relationship, right?
She started to wonder if Gary's kisses had ever affected her like that. Then she quickly shut the door on that thought. Whenever Gary had kissed her, it had meaning. He had never been a player trying to score, selfishly trying to get her hot enough to do something she'd certainly regret the next day.
That argument should have convinced her that everything was good and right in her life. But it didn't. She loved Gary. She knew that beyond a doubt. She knew he loved her and he treated her like a princess. Why would she ever risk that to be just another notch on some arrogant jerk's bedpost? Why did that idea excite her?
Julie pushed those thoughts aside and sat down to a wonderful, romantic dinner with Gary. He did everything just the way she liked it. The food was perfect. The wine was one of her favorites. Even the music playing softly in the background was exactly right for her mood tonight.
They talked easily over dinner. Julie told him in detail about how well things had gone for her at work. He listened attentively and told her several times how great he thought it was that she was finally going to get this much-deserved promotion.
After dinner, they sat on the sofa together. She sat lengthwise with her back to one end and put her legs over his. He massaged her legs and feet the way he knew she liked. She sipped her wine and sighed as his massage drained all the stress of the day from her.
By the time they went to bed, Julie was feeling completely relaxed. Blissful, even. It wasn't until Gary curled up with her in bed and started running his hands all over her that Julie realized that he wanted to have sex. Silly of her not to have seen it coming. He had done everything he could to make the night perfect. And he had pretty much succeeded. Of course he was hoping to reap the rewards.
So why didn't Julie feel the same? She didn't know, but for some reason, as wonderful as the night had been, there was nothing appealing about capping it off with sex. It was partly true that they had fallen into a rut where sex was more of a weekend thing. But that wasn't to say weeknight sex didn't happen anymore. Julie just hadn't been thinking along those lines.
As Gary snuggled against her back and began rubbing her boobs, she didn't feel aroused. She felt.... what? Unenthusiastic, to be sure. But was there something else? She didn't want to go there.
"Hon," she said softly, rolling over to face him. "I'm just so tired tonight." She kissed him. "Tonight was wonderful, and I'll make it up to you Friday night. Okay?"
"Sure," he said and kissed her back. If he was disappointed, he didn't show it. He rubbed her back a few moments longer and kissed her again before getting comfortable beside her.
Julie felt terrible. But she also felt zero arousal. It was just the added strain of work, she told herself. Or maybe some residual guilt from her behavior with Greg the night before. Either way, it would surely be behind them by the weekend and then she would keep her word and make it up to him. In a big way, she decided.
The next day at work was virtually a re-run of the day before, albeit with different people. Again, Greg was thorough in his reviews. If he had lead Julie to believe that things had gone well enough the day before to assume it was a done deal, it sure didn't seem that way. Once again she was sitting along side him as he grilled people on what they did and how they did it. And once again, she found herself coming up with ways to address Greg's concerns.
By two o'clock that afternoon, Greg had finished his audits. Julie was again exhausted from the effort. It had been another tough day, but once again, she felt she had come through in grand fashion. Nothing that Greg had found was beyond her ability to fix. The job was as good as hers and now she did feel like celebrating. She only wished Gary had held off until tonight to make her that special dinner. Now that she could truly enjoy it because she knew she had earned it.
"Okay," Greg said as he packed up. "I'm going to head back to my hotel and finish writing up my report and recommendations. Why don't you meet me for dinner at the hotel restaurant around 7:30? If you want, I'll let you have a sneak peek at what I'm going to be giving to my boss."
His invitation sparked a whirlwind of emotions in Julie. She definitely wanted to see that report and those recommendations. At the same time, she was reluctant to meet Greg for dinner by herself. She wasn't sure if he was the one she didn't trust, or herself.
"Great," she answered, careful to sound enthusiastic. "Should Carl be in on this too?"
He looked at her and shrugged indifferently. His eyes, locked on hers, didn't waiver.
"It's your call," he said simply, but in his tone was something else. His tone said that if she was truly the person who was going to make things happen, then why did she need her boss along? It was a challenge she knew she could not back down on.
"Okay," she nodded. "I'll see you there." After he left, Julie questioned the wisdom of meeting him outside of work again. But, she reminded herself, he was going to be her ticket to a promotion.
She left early so she could go home and change. When she got home, Gary wasn't there yet. She changed into a casual, knee length skirt and pullover v-neck top. Nothing too eye catching, but the top showed a little cleavage. And she could have gone with slacks or jeans, but...
She called Gary's cell phone and told him that she would be out late again tonight.
"But," she added, "this time it looks like the celebration is on. Things went well. Tonight is just a wrap up. He goes back to give his recommendation tomorrow and it looks good."
"That's terrific!" Gary replied with genuine enthusiasm. "Maybe I'll make another celebration dinner tomorrow night, okay?"
"It's a date!" she replied, smiling.
When she got to the restaurant, Greg was already at the bar. He was dressed in a polo shirt and khaki shorts. Julie couldn't help notice his muscular legs and chest.
She also couldn't help notice that he was engaged in a spirited conversation with the barmaid. She was paying attention to him in a way that reminded Julie of the girl at the bar where she had first seen Greg. She was a blonde, bleached, not natural. She was taller than Julie and thinner. Too skinny in Julie's mind. She also had big boobs. If they were real, they were even better than Julie's.
When Greg saw Julie and waved her over, Julie noticed that the barmaid gave her a good once-over, no doubt appraising her competition. It shouldn't have mattered to Julie. After all, it wasn't like Greg was her date. But it irked her nonetheless. Certainly it wasn't jealousy?
"Hey, how's it going?" Greg greeted her. "Something to drink?" Julie shook her head.
"I think I'll just have water with dinner." She didn't want to give herself any excuses to do something foolish like last time. The barmaid gave her another look, apparently smirking at Julie's decision not to drink. Then she drifted off to attend to other customers at the sparsely populated bar. "So where's your report?" she asked bluntly.
"What's your hurry?" Greg asked, apparently not surprised. "Let's eat then you can come up and read it."
Up? Did he think she was going to go up to his room with him?
"Uh, I thought you could just bring a copy down," she said. "I don't think I, uh..." She shook her head.
"I don't have a way to print it," he said with a shrug.
"Well, I think going up to your room would be a little too high a price to pay to get a look at it," Julie replied. "Or is that part of getting the job?" She didn't know why she added that. The words came out of her mouth before she realized she was going to say them.
"Let me make something clear," Greg said with a smile. "You'll get the job based on merit. Yours and your company's. Anything else... any extracurricular activities will have nothing to do with that decision. In other words," he looked right into Julie's eyes and put a hand on her thigh. "When I get into your pants..."
"IF!" she interjected quickly, immediately regretting her choice of words. 'If' seemed to say that the possibility existed. The way his smirk grew, he surely noticed.
"...it's going to be because you want me there," he finished as if she had not interrupted. She drew a quick breath and pushed his hand off her leg. Her heart was beating faster and her leg tingled where he had touched her.
Julie looked at him, surprised by his audacity. She opened her mouth to say something, but no words came out. Why was she surprised? She knew what kind of man he was.
"So how about some dinner?" he said, changing the subject. "I haven't eaten yet. You?" Julie shook her head. Did she mean no to dinner or no, she hadn't eaten? She wasn't sure herself. "Let's go get a table." Whatever misgiving she had about the situation, she found herself following his lead.
As they started toward the table, Julie heard a woman's voice calling.
"Greg! Greg!" Julie turned and saw the barmaid hurrying over to the end of the bar. She held up a fresh drink. Greg excused himself for a moment and went back to the bar. He took the drink from the barmaid and they exchanged a few sentences. Then Greg laughed and looked at his watch. He said something back to her that made her smile before returning to Julie.
"What was that all about?" Julie asked, immediately aware that she sounded jealous. Was she?
"I, uh, forgot the last drink I ordered," Greg said with a shrug.
"Well, at least I don't have to worry about you trying to get into my pants tonight, seeing as how you have Barbie all lined up."
"Well, first off," Greg countered, laughing, "she doesn't get done until two in the morning. Second, the hotel has a strict policy about employees visiting customers' rooms. Now, I think she'd be willing to risk it on the second point. But I have to be at the airport at seven thirty, so I'm not waiting up until two." He sipped his fresh drink as the hostess led them to a table. "So you still have a shot at me." He smiled.
"Just like that?" Julie asked, trying not to sound surprised. "The fact that I'm married doesn't figure into this at all?"
"Married women are better. Simpler," Greg answered. "I'm not looking for a relationship and neither are they."
"Like that woman in your car at Cavanaughs?" Julie asked.
"Yeah, as a matter of fact. She was very uncomplicated." The way he said it made Julie think that she had been right about the blow job being the extent of their activities that night. The thought sent a chill through Julie. She might have come close to being the second married woman to blow him in that parking lot in as many weeks.
Funny, from the day after kissing him Julie decided that she hadn't really been saved by a random car driving by; that nothing would have happened. Now, alone with Greg once again, remembering how persuasive he was, Julie was less sure. After all, he was talking about taking her up to his room, getting in her pants... she should have left already. He wasn't being shy about it. Why was she still here?
Julie looked back toward the bar and the barmaid. She had puffy pink lips, almost pouty. Julie had no doubt what thought went through Greg's mind the moment he set eyes on those lips. And judging by the catty looks the barmaid had shot Julie, and the fawning she did over Greg, maybe those lips were Greg's for the asking.