by Muse ©
didn't even realize that I was staring at her. She was unlike most of the
"Barbie Blondes" that Eric, the President of our fine organization,
dated. From the dining table, I had a clear view of her. She was talking
with him and her beauty was illuminated from within by her personality.
She was perhaps 25 to Eric's 45 years of age. Her shoulder length brown
hair just grazed her bare shoulders. Her eyes were sparkling and her features
animated during her conversation with Eric. She seemed to be enamored with
him, her teasing behavior told me so. I would have closed my eyes to say
a silent prayer that she was the special person for him, but she was a sight
to behold and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her cinnamon colored dress
a perfect compliment to the golden freckles that danced across her cheeks
and nose. I noticed that her shoulders were brushed with the same golden
flakes and my guilty mind wondered just how much of her was freckled. And
then as quickly I wondered just what would that warm skin taste like. It
looked like sunshine had kissed her skin and I was preoccupied with my thoughts
"Like what you see?" a warm masculine voice whispered into my hair. I nearly jumped out of my seat. I had become so engrossed in my thoughts I didn't realize just how obvious my attention was. I quickly dropped my eyes and glanced sideways at the gentleman to my left. Since my skin had taken on the rosiness of a blush, I was glad that the lights in the ballroom were low and my discomfort at being discovered somehow hidden. He was leaning slightly my way and his face turned to look at mine in profile.
I swiveled in my chair towards him, and simply responded with "Pardon?"
"Come now, you aren't going to pretend that you weren't staring intensely at the attractive brunette sitting at the head table, are you?" he commented, low and husky in his whisper.
"I didn't realize that I was staring. I thought I knew her," I replied.
"Sure you did," his tone conveying his disbelief at my comment. I smiled my best "Mona Lisa" smile and turned away to motion the waiter to fill my coffee cup.
"I'm sorry if I have offended you," his voice whispered into my hair and my head turned to look at him. He was invading my two feet of personal space. You know, the two feet reserved for either fighting or fucking. I moved my chair out of my intimate zone, looked at him and in my most professional voice introduced myself.
"My name is Beth Mills and I am one of the accountants for A and E Distribution." I said as I extended my hand in his direction.
Comments notwithstanding, the gentleman to my left met my handshake and introduced himself as James Stewart, the owner of The White Rabbit Bookstore'.
"Glad to meet you, how is business?" I began in the most business-like tone. James smiled and I couldn't help but notice his warm hazel eyes. You know, the kind of eyes that are brown around the pupil with a green ring on the outside. Even in the low light, I noticed how inviting his eyes were.
"Don't disappoint me by playing this game," he taunted. "You are turning professional on me, and I find the woman that was more open and honest in her stare to be more interesting than this 'professional' image that you are presenting now."
I sat back in my chair and thought for a minute. Strategic timing was not my strong suit. I leaned over and poured a dollop of cream into my coffee and placed the coffee cup in front of me. I took a slow sip while I contemplated the situation before me. I had been caught ogling another woman by a man. He as interested in what I thought about her and wanted me to be honestly open in my opinions. "Well, two can play at this game," I thought.
"I find her to be a very attractive young lady," I replied. "What do you think?"
"I think that she is very attractive, but a little young." He answered.
"True, but that's how Eric likes them," I immediately winced, my honesty being a little too abrupt. Sometimes I don't know when to curb my tongue.
"And how do you like them?" James replied.
"I beg your pardon?" I answered weakly, trying to give myself time to recover from the shock of the question.
"Do you prefer ladies?" James asked.
"Pardon?" I laughed, yet I flushed red. No matter how low the light, everyone around me could see my embarrassment. I looked around at the other tables to see if there is somewhere I could go to escape the twenty questions man. I even contemplating diving under the table or excusing myself to seek the sanctuary of the restroom. Unfortunately most of the tables were filled and the waiter had just moved in to place a slightly wilted salad in front of me. A quick retreat to the restroom was cowardly, so I tried a different tactic.
I ignored the comment, but I glanced up to see if she were still there. She was entertaining Eric and Thomas, his best friend, with her comments because they were laughing at a remark that she had made.
"No comment, huh," James replied, but his eyes were lit with amusement. "Could I buy you a drink?" he asked. I knew that it was bad form for a customer to buy an employee a drink, but James appeared to be the type of man that would be offended if I offered to buy his. So in hopes of pissing off my companion, I said "No, but can I get you one?"
"Alright 'Ms Business Woman', I'll have a whisky on the rocks, no chaser. What will you be having?" he asked.
I thought for a minute and decided that I could do something that might make him decide to retreat, so I replied, "The brunette at the head table."
He threw his head back and laughed a deep long laugh and leaned into me to whisper, "You wish, but would you settle for me?"
So, I was the one that retreated to the bar to plan my next defense against his assault.
As I stood in line, patiently waiting for my turn to be served, I secretively assessed Mr. James Steward. From my vantage point, I could see that he was a little older than I first thought. His gray hair and reserved posture made me guestimate that he was in his mid fifties. The bartender placed the two drinks in front of me and I slipped a dollar in the tip jar and made my way back to the table. He was loading his salad down with the dressing de jour. I placed his whisky on the rocks in front of him and slid into my seat, still holding the glass of wine. I took a "less than ladylike" chug and resumed my stilted posture to dissuade him from the conversation.
"Thanks," he said. I nodded in response and turned my attention once more to the faded greens in front of me. I drizzled a little dressing on the leaves and proceeded to churn the concoction up. As soon as the fork entered between my lips he looked at me and smiled his most charming smile and my heart fell. I knew that I was going to be toyed with all evening.
"You have the most charming mouth, at least when it isn't sputtering in disagreement with something I've said." Mr. Stewart charmed.
"Well, Mr. Stewart," I started when he interrupted me.
"No, please call me James," he asked.
"OK James that should tell you that as long as you don't voice any 'questionable' comments or observations that I will be somewhat 'charming'. Your words, not mine," I replied.
He laughed a deep, warm, comfortable laugh. "Fair enough, fair one, I'll refrain from being naughty," he commented. "Would you please smile again?" he asked "because you cease to be so . . . unapproachable when you smile."
Pleased with the ceasefire, I was able to relax and smile. In fact, as I looked at the unappetizing mess in front of me, I began to giggle. I reached for my glass of wine, and with the other hand pushed the salad plate away from the edge of the table towards the middle.
"Perhaps the main course will be a little more palatable," I commented.
"I sincerely doubt it," he replied. "These kind of events tend to serve poor food, in a poor location, and usually have poor entertainment." "I just happen to be fortunate to have the opportunity to be seated at your table. You see, I suspect that in spite of the food and location, that the entertainment, i.e. your company will be most pleasing." He smiled.
I was charmed, because he was so damn charming. He had a way about him. His hair was a little long and steel gray. Not long enough to be worn in an eccentric ponytail, but long enough that it lay flat against his head. The color was a deep gray. When he smiled, his eyes crinkled in the corners and I realized that he was a most attractive gentleman.
Soon dinner was brought out and as James predicted, the food was cold, unpalatable and mundane. As I stared at my plate, James leaned over and whispered, "I have an idea."
"Well, share." I replied.
"Let's ditch this place and find a 'GOOD' place to eat." He suggested. "Since you are from the area, perhaps you can name the place. All I ask is that it be intimate and the food be excellent." He said.
I played the ingénue. "How do I know that I can trust you?" I replied.
"You don't know that you can trust me, but since you will be driving, you do know that if I don't behave myself that you can leave me on the side of the road." He teased.
"All right," I answered. "But no more comments about gender preference, OK?" I set forth as a requirement.
"Well, if you are going to limit the conversation, we can always eat in the main dining room of the hotel . . . just kidding, I'll try to keep my comments . . . appropriate for the moment, OK?" he said.
"Fair enough, and I know just the spot" I commented.
I knew that there were too many people for us to be missed. I led him out of the ballroom and towards the parking lot. We hopped into my little blue sedan and headed towards the best restaurant in the area, at least in my opinion. I drove us to The Revival Grill, an intimate little restaurant where I happen to know one of the chefs. Although it was a busy Saturday night, I was able to get us a table. We proceeded to the table and James looked around the restaurant at the décor.
"Do you come here often?" he asked.
"Yep," I replied. "I would have to say that this is my all time favorite restaurant. I have yet to have a bad meal, from appetizer to desert."
"Excellent choice, then," James said softly, and asked if I would care for some wine.
I knew that I shouldn't imbibe since I was driving, but a great meal is made better by a great glass of wine, and the gentleman knew how to order a good one. We shared a bottle of Merlot and proceeded to order. The menu was true to form, the freshest foods prepared in the most interesting of ways. We each ordered something different, promising to share with the other.
Over dinner, I found James to be a witty and entertaining dining companion. Sexual innuendo aside, we both read a great deal and enjoyed several different conversations from business to current events.
"How in the world did you get into the bookstore business?" I asked. "It has become monopolized by the big boys, Barnes and Noble and Amazon et cetera."
"You see," he responded "I specialize in very specific topics." He lowered his voice and leaned across the table to say, "SEX and sexuality. My store has quite the reputation in my area for gay and lesbian reading."
"What a surprise!" I replied in mock amazement. And before I could help myself, I asked "And are you . . . knowledgeable?"
"What do you think?" he parried.
"From the start of the evening to this very moment, I would hazard to guess that you are very adept and talented," I noted.
"What a nice thing to say," he replied. "Since the evening is going so well, shall we get desert to go and return to the party at hand and further entertainment?"
"Sure," I agreed. So we returned to the inauspicious place where the evening began. Funny how a situation that I thought was bad had turned into a most enjoyable evening. Eric was still entertaining the mystery brunette and James and I settled to a secluded table at the back of the ballroom to enjoy our boxed deserts. We exchanged bites of each other's temptations and compared notes on what was in those sin-laden concoctions. It was difficult not to be noticeably aroused when my fork slipped between his full, sensual lips, past his white teeth only for him to slowly mouth the chocolate torte with a groan. For the first time that evening, my mystery brunette left my fantasies and James slowly slipped into them.
By this time the band was tuning up. It was a hoot this year, but with the swing movement back in vogue; the music was straight out of the 40's. I looked at James and James raised his eyebrows as if to communicate his displeasure. "Not your type of entertainment?" I asked.
He leaned in and caught my gaze. "No, my idea of entertainment would be to take you upstairs and strip you out of that dress and enjoy your luscious body."
Never in my life had a man so boldly propositioned me. With warmth seeping between my legs I realized just how lewd yet appealing the suggestion was. I should have been insulted; instead I was incredibly turned on. I was so charmed by James that I leaned into his face. I could see that his pupils had dilated with desire so that the brown portion of his iris had completely disappeared. The green ring glowed with sexual promise. My nose was within three inches of his and I whispered, "Sounds good to me. Let's see if knowledge can be translated from written form to action," and placed a kiss just to the corner of his mouth.
He smiled and replied, "Ah, a challenge. Well. never let it be said that I disappointed a lady."
He stood up and held out his hand. I placed my hand in his, arose and took his arm where we walked out the door to the elevators in the lobby.
I was a little unsteady as I linked my arm in his. The anticipation waiting for the elevator was unbearable. His arm slowly moved around my waist and I leaned ever so slightly into his side. My dress was open in the back, strategically placed openings that showed off my backbone. I felt James' hand gently feather its way up my spine. I shivered slightly, the feeling so erotically charged. The elevator slowly opened and we allowed the few people that were in to exit before entering. I stepped to the back of the elevator and stood in the corner while James pressed the 5th floor button. As the doors closed, he turned to face me. Linking each arm to either side of my shoulders, he lowered his head to claim his first kiss. It wasn't so much what he took, but the luxury with which he delivered pleasure. It was if we were the only people in the hotel as he opened my mouth beneath his to slide his tongue into my mouth. I moaned into his mouth and my tongue sought to caress his in return. It wasn't until I gently sucked his tongue that I felt his groan returned into me. What seemed an eternity, but was only a minute the elevator opened onto our floor. As I ran my hand across his ass, he leaned into me and said, "Just a little bit further, behave yourself!"
I giggled and said, "Now, you really wouldn't want to restrain me, would you?"
He parried, "Only if you want me to . . .tie you up that is."
I laughed and locked arms with him and took the short walk to room 575. He slid the keycard into the lock, and the little light flipped green. I knew that it was "put up or shut up time," and slowly walked into the room. The door closed behind me. Either Eric had put James up in one of the more ritzy suites, or James was a man that appreciated his space. The room was spacious with a sitting area, complete with wet bar. I could see the bed already turned down for the evening with a wonderful open bathroom, complete with Jacuzzi.
He motioned for me to take a seat on the sofa. I looked at him quizzically. "I thought we were going to fuck?" I asked.
"An impatient little minx, aren't you," he replied.
"My mama always told me to be direct," I answered.
"Direct you may be, but good things come to those that wait," he said.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I commented.
James looked at his watch. He proceeded to pull the watch off and place it on the counter. He reached into the cabinet and pulled out three wine glasses. I watched him as he pulled a bottle of white wine out of the refrigerator and proceeded to adeptly decant the wine. I eased back into the couch to enjoy the show. James was making quite a production out of this and although my mind screamed that I was more than willing to go into the bedroom and turn up the heat, but evidently the man was not going to be rushed.
He poured three glasses of wine. He picked up two glasses and proceeded to join me on the couch. I couldn't resist.
"Who is the third glass of wine for," I quizzed.
"My partner, in absentia. Since I chose the wine with them in mind, it seems only fair to pour them a glass," he said.
I proceeded to lift the glass to my lips. The chardonnay was crisp and light. It wasn't a cheap bottle of wine, the delicacy of the after tones were remarkable. It wasn't a wine to get drunk on, it was a wine to savor and enjoy. James took a swallow as well and responded, "MMMM."
I relaxed and continued to drink. James slowly stroked my shoulders, my neck and ran his hands through the length of my hair. By the time I finished my glass, I was feeling relaxed and somehow tingly in all the right places. James placed an arm around my shoulders and pulled me to his chest. As I leaned into his kiss, his mouth drenched mine with the wine and I proceeded to drink it down.
"Do you always . . . swallow?" he asked.
I grinned. "ALWAYS."
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