A Boss, A Mentor, A Lover Ch. 03

byjohnwhoknew©

When the day came for the big client meeting, the plan was much the same as it had been a year previous. The three of us drove to Philadelphia together and got hotel rooms in the same hotel we'd stayed in nearly a year before, since the meeting was probably going to last all day. I certainly didn't fail to notice that Carrie wore the very same gray suit that she knew would drive me insane. I was going to have to spend all day with her, her tight little body squeezed into the sexiest piece of clothing she owned. I was so fucking pissed. How was I supposed to concentrate with a permanent hard-on all day? Plus she was wearing the same pair of black pantyhose beneath, the sheer fabric making her legs glisten in the light.

I tried to put her sexiness out of my head, doing my best not to glance down at her shapely legs in the passenger seat as I drove. During the drive the three of us went over our gameplan. Myers, as annoying as he could be at times, seemed on-point and prepared. I could tell why Carrie had selected him now.

And sure enough, Myers found his zone during the meeting. He worked well within the "good cop/bad cop" routine Carrie and I pulled off so proficiently. As strange as it seemed, he tempered our little act by identifying with the clients on a personal level. He had a "good old boy" way about him, with an ability to talk about golf, cigars and cars. He used it well. Our major priority during the meeting was to show the clients that we didn't feel complacent about them, that we wanted to do great things for them, and we had a strategy about how to do it. We accomplished this mission with flying colors. I played the role of sympathizer, the one who understood their needs completely. Carried played the hard-ass role, letting the clients know that despite the fact that we were willing to work hard to satisfy them, we wouldn't be bent over by them – we would still be compensated fairly. Myers was the good old boy, cracking jokes and playing upon their sentimental sides.

By the end of the meeting, the clients had once again declared their love for us, and that jackass Myers had even been invited back to play a round of golf with them sometime. Once again, Carrie's instincts had paid off and the day was a success.

This time though, the clients treated us to a nice dinner at a fancy French restaurant in downtown Philly. After our last meeting they'd declined dinner, wanting to make us sweat, but this time the working relationship was solid enough to break bread together.

The dinner was a great time. I sat next to Carrie and she made fun of me trying to order dinner from the menu written in French. I'm not entirely sure what I ate that night, but it tasted good, and the time spent joking and laughing with Carrie and the clients made for a memorable evening. The wine flowed freely as well, and by the time dinner ended we were all flying high.

The entire time though, I couldn't shake the idea that there was still something off about Carrie. She laughed freely and often, but there were times when I'd see her looking off into the distance at nothing in particular. And when I tried to make eye contact with her, she'd sometimes look away quickly, as though she was afraid I'd see something in her eyes that she didn't want me to see. This worried me, but I didn't let it show. The day had been a success and overall I was very happy.

The three of us took a cab back to the hotel. We congratulated each other profusely on a job well done, and a thoroughly successful day. We stumbled through the lobby of the hotel, all a bit tipsy and loud as we laughed at the little jokes about the day. In the elevator up to our rooms, I finally made eye contact with Carrie and she didn't look away. Myers was babbling about some silly golf story or other he'd told to one of the clients, when Carrie's and my eyes finally met.

She was leaning against the wall of the elevator to keep balance. She stared back at me, and I could see the subtle signs of strain on her. There were tiny stress lines under her eyes, and her shoulders seemed tense even though we were drunk and the meeting had been wildly successful. But she tried to hide it and smiled at me, just turning the corners of her lips up slightly. Then she flicked her head a bit to toss a tendril of hair out of her face, and lightly bit her lower lip in her teeth. I smiled widely and laughed, glad to finally see the real Carrie under all that strain she'd been carrying. Myers thought I was laughing at his story and clapped me on the shoulder affectionately.

Just then the doors swung open, it was the floor my room and Myers' room were on. We got out but Carrie stayed in. "I'm on a different floor, actually," she said as we turned and looked at her questioningly. The look in her eye told me the irony of the statement wasn't lost on her, and we held the look until the doors swung shut, closing us from one another. "'Night, guys," she added just before the doors shut.

At that moment, I was thankful I didn't have to share a room with Myers. There was a longing burning within me that I knew was going to drive me crazy all night. Will and I walked to our respective rooms next door to each other. Along the way, he tried to pep talk me into going out on the town. "Dude, you're not going to bed, are you?" he asked. "It's early, man. C'mon, let's hit the mini-bars in our rooms to pre-game, then go out and see what Philly's got for us tonight."

The idea actually made sense. It was pretty early, and if Carrie was going to disappear I figured I should get shit-faced and hit the town, maybe even get lucky. But my heart just wasn't in it. First of all, I didn't like Myers enough to go drinking with him. Secondly, I had Carrie stuck in my head and I knew I wouldn't be able to shake her. "Nah, man, I'm beat. I'm just gonna crash and watch Sportscenter. Thanks though."

"Haaaaaa, you pussyyyyy," Myers joked. "You're seriously just staying in tonight?"

"Yeah, just feel like crashing."

"C'mon dude, look, if you really wanna stay in I would suggest we find Sterling's room and double-team her, but I doubt that ice queen's legs have spread in years, if ever." He gave a goofy sounding laugh as he said this.

"Yeah right," I replied noncommittally. It annoyed me a little that Myers would say that, but not because I was somehow above locker room talk. As a guy I definitely joked about women that way, it was just a harmless "guys being guys" sort of thing to do. It was more that Myers was a big enough douche to think Carrie didn't have another side to her. Or that he couldn't show her a little respect after she pulled him in on this deal that had turned out to be such a huge success. A little gratitude wouldn't kill him, instead of talking about fingercuffing her. "She's a helluva boss though, so maybe we should just appreciate that," I said, to put him in his place.

"Oh dude, no doubt, great boss," he backpedaled. "Just saying I'd like to sink my teeth into that sweet ass, is all. But it ain't gonna happen though cuz that bitch is fri-gid." He emphasized the last word for effect and laughed again, elbowing me in the ribs as he said it, and what little respect I had for him pretty much evaporated on the spot. Not just because he could objectify Carrie like that, but because he clearly had no fucking clue about a lot of things. If he only knew... but then again, the things douchebags don't realize about women could fill an encyclopedia.

"Right, yeah," I replied again noncommittally.

"So, our best bet is to hit the town, pound some brews, and find some bitches. Let's do this."

We reached our rooms and I slid my card in to open the door. "Nah dude, I'm staying in."

"All right, have fun crying into your tampons all night, sucker, I might just go out by myself – score some hot Philly ass. I'll try not to keep you up banging the headboard into the wall all night; I know you need your beauty sleep."

"Yeah yeah, blow me. Have fun tonight, man," I retorted, stepping into my room.

"Later, Maria," he jibed, as I closed the door. I threw off my jacket and undid my tie. After kicking my shoes off I fell flat on the bed and started thinking about Carrie. What was going on with her? Something didn't add up but I had no idea what it was. I felt bad for her. I wanted to help, but did she actually want help from me?

I didn't even know where she was. She didn't bother letting me know her room number. I could call the front desk, but they probably wouldn't give that information out. Maybe I could talk them into it, but would she want that? It might piss her off to have me knocking on her door unexpectedly or calling her room. And I didn't have her cell number. She might have access to mine since she's a director, but I had no access to hers and she had never given it to me. I decided if she had wanted to see me, she would have let me know how to find her.

The thought annoyed me somewhat, but I didn't want to become a clingy asshole. Carrie had her own life; she didn't need me trying to invade it. And, quite frankly, for my own sanity I needed to start getting her out of my head. So I tried to do just that, staring at the ceiling trying to clear my mind and push her out of my head. But the more I tried, the more I realized how hopeless it was.

She kept creeping back into my thoughts. Just images, memories, fleeting glimpses of a night of passion shared a year ago. The downy hairs on her arms, the soft skin of her tiny wrist, her smooth lips and warm tongue, her taut brown nipples pushing against the transparent fabric of her bra, the short tuft of jet black pubic hair shaved into a landing strip just above her crotch, the warm, salty-sweet juice flowing softly from her sweet, pink chasm...

I shook my head trying to rid myself of these thoughts, but it was no use. I knew I'd be plagued with them all night. I knew I'd crave her; we were under the same roof but I couldn't go to her. Couldn't throw her against the wall, press my mouth into hers and suck on her tongue. Couldn't run my hands over her curves, feeling her soft, muscular ass. Couldn't squeeze her breasts in my hands, feeling the ample flesh spill out of my grip. Couldn't taste her sweet cunt, pushing my tongue deep inside her, her tight walls gripping it firmly...

I jumped up off the bed and ran into the bathroom. These visions were driving me mad. I splashed water in my face, trying to get a grip on myself. My cock was rock hard in my pants; I figured I should just jerk off now and get it over with. That was the only way I'd get any rest tonight. Just as I had cupped another splash of cold water in my hands and thrown it into my face again, I heard my phone buzz on the nightstand. I dried my face and hands and went out to check it. I clicked it on and there was a text message from a number I didn't recognize. I opened the message and it read simply:

Room 542, NOW, please.

-Carrie

My heart leapt as I read these words. So she had gotten my cell number. My first thought was that I should make her wait, let her sweat it out for a bit. But it only took a moment before I realized how crazy that was. I knew I couldn't wait another second, and she had reached out to me, why would I be a dick about it? I grabbed my room key, threw my shoes back on, and headed for the elevator. I arrived at room 542 and knocked gently. She opened the door still wearing that same damn gray suit; she'd even left her heels on. How could she have not gotten comfortable; it had been at least a half hour since we parted in the elevator? My heart began pounding in my chest seeing her in that suit, but I controlled myself and just said, "Hey," in barely more than a whisper.

"Hey," she replied back and pushed the door open to let me in. When I got into the light I could tell something was definitely up with her. Her shoulders were practically shrugging she was holding so much tension in them. It really worried me seeing her like this and I knew I had to come right to the point.

"Carrie, what's wrong?"

"What do you mean? Nothing."

"Nothing? Sweetie, you look like you have the weight of the damn world on your shoulders." It was the first time either of us had ever used a term of endearment with one another, at least at a time that wasn't in the heat of passion. I knew she'd noticed it by her surprised reaction of raised eyebrows. But I didn't care; something was wrong and I was concerned. I ignored her reaction and pressed a little more. "I know you well enough to know something is up."

She exhaled deeply, puffing her cheeks in exasperation, and started to pace back and forth. "Shit, Jim, I don't know. It's nothing and it's everything. It's like... I feel like..." She was clearly uncomfortable about something, but unable to put it into words. I needed to put her at ease somehow, and the best way to do that, I felt, was to remind her who I was.

"Carrie," I interrupted her, "do me a favor, ok?"

"Ok."

"Kick off the heels, lose the damn jacket, lie on the bed, and just fucking talk to me. It's just me, Sterling, I won't judge you. You know you can talk to me."

When I said this, a change came over Carrie almost instantly. She smiled at me, and did exactly what I asked. She kicked her heels off one by one, swept the jacket off her shoulders and dropped it unheedingly on the floor, unbuttoned the top two buttons on her blouse, and collapsed onto the bed. I could see a slightly reddish color coming from under her semi-transparent blouse, and I wondered what kind of bra she had on. I quickly dismissed this thought from my mind though; there were bigger issues at hand and I was too worried about Carrie to be blinded by my libido. I rolled the desk chair over next to the bed and sat in it. "So what's up?" I asked her.

She propped herself up on her forearms to talk to me. "I don't know if I like the director job, Jim." She exhaled as she said it, as though it was a huge, embarrassing confession.

"So what? That's no big deal," I replied. "I mean, it is a big deal, but it's fixable. What don't you like about it?"

"Well, as a manager I got to be directly involved in creative decisions. I got to work with the team, I got to think about things, I got to come up with ideas. It was challenging, it was fun. Like working this account with you; I barely ever get to do this now. As a director it's all about strategic planning and budgeting and logistical bullshit. I dunno."

"Then just go back to manager level. You kick ass as a manager; the company would let you do it in a heartbeat rather than lose you. You can totally call your shots on this and be back in a creative role that you love."

"I know, I really believe the company would be cool about it. But it's not the company I'm worried about."

"What do you mean?" I felt like we were really coming to the heart of the matter now, and Carrie's increased nervousness seemed to confirm my theory as she fidgeted slightly on the bed.

"Well, the day I got the promotion to director, Paul took me out to dinner to celebrate." Paul was her lawyer husband who I respected, but didn't particularly like. "During the meal, he told me that now that I was finally executive level, it was time for him to think about running for public office. See, Paul has always wanted to get into politics, and I told him he could start whenever he was ready. But I never realized him being ready hinged on my career."

This actually was a bit of a bombshell to me, and I was beginning to understand what was eating at Carrie. "So what are you going to do next?" I asked.

"That's the problem, Jim, I have no fucking idea." She sighed and collapsed her shoulders back down onto the bed. "Since then, we've been going to these goddamn dinner parties, and fundraisers, and social functions with all sorts of 'important' people." She raised up finger quotes when she said the word "important." Her tone became a bit fiercer now as well. "It's all about him pressing the right palms to be prepared to run in the next elections. But he introduces me as 'an executive with ADM' like that's some sort of fucking religious title or something. Like I'm important now, like I'm one of them. Before I was a nobody, now I'm a big deal. Yeah right. It's all for show, Jim, all of it. It's all just blowing smoke up each other's asses so that they can feel important."

The tension had returned to her shoulders. She was hunched up again and clearly pissed off. Without a word, I reached down and picked her legs up by her feet. I rested her feet in my lap and began massaging them. I was beginning to realize the predicament she was in. "I'm sorry, Carrie."

She rolled over slightly to look at me. "Why?" she asked. "You've never been anything but good to me. Even now."

"Well, I'm sorry because you feel trapped. That is an awful position you're in. I understand why you've seemed so tense, so distracted. I just..." I paused, unsure of if I should say what I thought. I continued to gently massage her right foot, pushing my fingers slightly into the nylon fabric between her toes to better squeeze them.

"You just what?" she asked, prodding my leg with her left foot.

"I just think... it's unfair, Carrie. You're a great professional and a phenomenal marketer. Your career should be yours and no one else's. Paul can do what he wants with his political ambitions but they shouldn't depend on what position you have in your career. You deserve to be happy when you go to work every day. With your intelligence and your ability, you should be in the driver's seat. I just don't think the title of your position should make any goddamn difference. It doesn't change who you are; you're great either way." I refused to look her in the eye when I said this. Instead I concentrated more on her foot in my hands. It was so small and thin and feminine. The pantyhose wrapped tightly around it gave it a sleek, sexy shape. I rubbed the sole of her foot softly, pushing into the muscles gently with my thumbs.

Several moments of silence passed as I stroked her foot, until finally she again nudged me with her other foot. I looked up at her. She smiled at me and I smiled back. "You're so sweet," she whispered.

"I'm not that sweet," I replied, grinning mischievously.

"Oh, but you so are. Why do you always know the right things to say?"

"Stop, Carrie, you knew all that, what I just said."

"Of course I did, Stillman. I just needed to hear someone I respect and admire say it. I'm sick of people aggrandizing the position and making me seem like a damn demi-god or something just because I got it. I mean, it's just a fucking job."

"Yeah seriously, you're not that big a deal, Sterling," I joked.

She laughed hard at my jibe. It was great to hear; it made me feel like one way or another she'd be all right. "You're such a dick," she yelled between laughs. That made me laugh as well. When she regained composure after a few moments she said, "Anyway, recent insults aside, saying the right thing all the time isn't the only reason you're sweet, Jim."

"Really? Why else am I?"

She didn't respond, but instead looked down at my hands on her foot, a naughty half-smile on her lips. She watched me massaging her for several moments before saying, "That feels really nice. You have no idea how badly I needed that."

I smiled at her and switched to her left foot. "Actually, I kinda did," I replied, looking back down at the delicate foot in my hands. I admired the light hairs on the knuckles of her toes, barely visible beneath the fabric of her pantyhose. Her toenails were painted red, providing a sexy juxtaposition to the creamy whiteness of her skin beneath the hose. "Just lie back and relax," I told her.

She did so, resting her head on the bed and staring up at the ceiling. I continued to knead the tension out of her foot, squeezing it gently, enjoying the feel of her soft, feminine toes curling in my hand. After several minutes her breathing became steady and relaxed. She inhaled deeply through her nose and out through her mouth. I began to let my hand venture up over her ankle onto her calf. Her calf muscle was impressive. It didn't detract from her femininity in the least, but it was taut and well-defined. As I kneaded it gently, she finally broke the silence. "That's so nice, Jim," she whispered.

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