tagRomanceA Good Working Relationship Ch. 06

A Good Working Relationship Ch. 06


Chapter 19

I closed the bedroom door behind me gently. I had been tempted to slam it to show just how upset I was but that would have been childish.

The suspicious, ungrateful bitch!

I didn't know whether to scream in anger or cry in pain.

I stood for a long time in the doorway looking around the room without seeing anything and barely registering that I had a mug of tea in my hand. I moved to the small table and set it down and aimed a half-hearted kick of frustration at the leg.

For Fucks Sake!

Why did she have to go and spoil it?

I wandered aimlessly around the room deep in thought. However, as time passed, they slowly morphed away from early self-pity into a more even-handed attitude but then I would internally berate myself for doing so.

'Typical Fucking Paul Cook always seeing both sides of the argument!'

'Yeah but the poor girl has been through a bad experience ... she has every right to be suspicious.'

'For fucks sake I did just about everything bar putting a ring on her finger and marrying her to prove I was supporting her.'

'Oh ... have you thought ... Mr Smarty-pants, that maybe she thinks you are trying too hard for ulterior motives.'

'Oh shit ... does she? What, like I want to fuck her brains out?'


'Well I do but that's not what's driving this.'

'Are you sure?'

'NO! I am doing the right thing ... I have been doing the right thing ... because that is who I am.'

'Yeah ... I know ... I was just checking.'

'Well thank you for believing in me.'

'No probs.'

Having had the internal debate and won it (how could I lose?) it was then a case of finding a way to make it better between us.

I sat down and stared at my mug of tea which was slowly going cold. Whatever I did needed to recreate the warm, friendly, flirty vibe that had developed and was continuing to develop between us. This was a bright, intelligent, funny girl who was more than just a smoking hot body and beautiful face and I felt that our relationship was on the cusp of something important. I didn't want to blow it just as it was getting to the good part.

I needed to say sorry but not look pathetic. Funny but meaningful. Light hearted but sincere.

Then I had a brainwave and opened up my tablet for a Google search and spent a few minutes before walking over to the door into the living area.

It was a classic sit-com moment.

I opened it and prepared to walk through and in the same instant realised that Marisa was standing there with a hand upraised to knock. I almost collided with her but stopped just in time. Her hand was resting against my chest.

We must have looked like a couple of cartoon characters ... big round surprised eyes and opened mouths.

Then began the verbal equivalent of the pavement dance when trying to avoid someone walking in the opposite direction ... both of us talking and stopping at the same time ... using much the same language.

"Oh you surprised me ... I wasn't expecting ... Marisa ... Paul ... I just wanted to ... I need to say ..."

We both stopped at the same time and then started up again.

"I'm trying ... I wanted ..."

We both stopped again and this time I could see a trace of a smile on her face. I put up both my hands in front of my shoulders and mouthed 'stop' at her as I had seen done on the British Sign Language instructional video I had just watched.

She looked puzzled.

I pointed to my chest and mouthed 'me' and then made a circular motion over my chest with my fist and mouthed 'sorry'.

Her face broke out into a dazzling smile as she realised what I was doing and made the same gestures back and added a horizontal hand gesture with her little finger and thumb extended much like the horns of a bull.

I had no idea what that last one meant as I had only learnt four words but it looked suspiciously like the sign for a bull used as an insult in many countries. She did not seem to be insulting me so I let it pass.

I pointed at myself again and then held one hand flat with the palm down and hit it with the closed knuckles of the other hand from below.

Marisa looked at the gesture and shook her head uncomprehendingly. I repeated it and mouthed 'stupid' at the same time. A grin appeared on her face and a flurry of signs commenced and her grin got wider as the evidence of my confusion and lack of understanding showed. I could see her repeat my 'stupid' gesture and then smack her forehead with the closed knuckles of her hand.

She was giggling at the end as I stood there looking completely lost. Her giggling morphed into a wonderful, happy, smile as she looked at me. Was she expecting me to reply? Eventually Marisa broke the silence.

"That was a lovely thing to do ... thank you ... but I'm stupid too. I know I can trust you. I'm sorry for hurting you."

With that she stepped forward and pulled me into a hug with her head resting against my chest. My arms naturally flowed round her back and we stood silently just holding each other. She snuggled closer and I tightened my hold on her. She was just the right height that my chin rested naturally on top of her head.

We were slow dancing without moving.

Marisa giggled against my chest.

"'Stupid' isn't done like that ... I didn't know what you were trying to say until I lip-read. It was a lovely gesture anyway."

I smiled into her hair and was tempted to kiss the top of her head but thought that might be a step too far.

"It was in the British Sign Language video I saw."

She tilted her head back and grinned up at me.

"That explains it. I use ASL ... American Sign Language. They are different."

I smiled teasingly down at her.

"Yet another instance of you Yanks getting things wrong! Not even a case of two countries separated by a common language anymore."

She smiled at my jibe but refused to be drawn and snuggled her head back to my chest. I revelled in the smell of her hair against my. She sighed happily.

"This is nice ... I could stay here all day like this."

I growled at her but didn't let her go.

"Unfortunately Ninj' we have work to do."

Marisa murmured against my chest and held me tighter.

"I like that ... 'Ninj'... it's cute."

It was at this moment that my subconscious finally realised that I was holding a beautiful girl and my little friend decided to become my bigger friend. I tried to back my groin away from her but her hips followed and I swear they did a little shimmy against my growing hardness.

"Err ... Marisa ... Ninj ... we do need to get going."

She held on longer and whispered quietly.

"I'm sorry I doubted you."

Still trying to reduce the contact area down below I also wanted to look at her eyes and leant my head back. I was almost shaped like a bow as she lifted her own head.

"It's ok ... you had a bad experience so it is natural to be suspicious of other people's motives."

She nodded but then shook her head.

"Yes but the harridans all think you're a good guy ... ah ... oops."

She blushed at her unintentional slip and I looked at her with a teasing, quizzical smile.

"Who are the 'harridans' and what are they saying about me?"

She looked embarrassed and uncomfortable and put her head back to my chest and mumbled something that I didn't catch.

"Pardon, I didn't hear that."

She looked back up at me with a small guilty smile.

"Umm ... Dawn ... Eva ... others ... they all think you are wonderful. They want to have your babies ... I wasn't so sure you are ... were ... that wonderful ... we didn't seem to be getting on ... "

She trailed off and rested her head back on my chest before continuing in a low murmur.

"But now we are ... I guess I have joined the harridans."

I tried to lighten the mood with a joke.

"So does that mean you want to have my babies too?"

I realised this was inappropriate almost as the words left my mouth and I could feel Marisa's body tense.

"I'm sorry that was out of order. Please forgive me ..."

She stayed very still and I was saved further embarrassment by my phone trilling out the opening bars of 'Hail to the Chief' ... my ring-tone for Sir Maurice.

This broke the tension and Marisa giggled as she stepped away.

"Is that our esteemed leader or President Trump?"

I was relieved that we had got past my faux-pas and grinned.

"I'm not sure I'm on The Donald's contacts list. I'm not Russian and certainly too intelligent."

I keyed the phone.

"Morning Maurice, what time are we off? We are ready to go here."

His voice was irritable.

"Five minutes ago. We are waiting for you ... if you had bothered to breakfast with us you would have known."

I bristled. I wasn't going to roll over and take his shit. I never had and never would.

"Before you go off on one there is something I need to discuss with you that has the potential to end up very costly for the company. This is why we are late. If Hugo is there could I suggest you either send him off early or come over here without him? It concerns him and he should not be involved in the discussion."

I could hear exasperation in his voice.

"What's he done this time?"

"How about sexual assault and attempted rape?"

There was a long pause and an exasperated sigh.

"Oh for fucks sake ... not again."

"Yes ... again!"

Chapter 20

Marisa marvelled at how Paul took over the situation.

They hadn't actually finished the conversation about her making a complaint but she didn't stop him as he explained the circumstances to Sir Maurice and they thrashed out what should happen next. Paul argued that Hugo should be sent back to the UK and a senior director should be appointed to hold an enquiry into his alleged Gross Misconduct. Paul couldn't do it as he was a witness and Sir Maurice would be the final judge in the event of an appeal so a fresh face was required as investigating officer.

Marisa was watching Sir Maurice and she could detect that he was less than enthusiastic for anything to happen at all as he felt that Hugo was 'essential' to the negotiations. This didn't make a lot of sense to Paul but Maurice would not give his reasoning so they settled on Hugo being kept away from Marisa at all times. This would involve him moving of the estate and into a hotel when not involved in the negotiations and due diligence process. Marisa was to be accompanied by either Maurice or Paul and not travel in the same vehicle as Hugo.

Maurice was trying to soft pedal the whole way and Marisa was in awe of Paul as he just kept batting away any objections thrown at him. They reached an uneasy compromise but at the end of the discussion Maurice turned to Marisa with a weary look.

"I don't suppose we could make it go away without having to go through this charade, could we?"

Marisa heard Paul's gasp of outrage and saw him bristle but she answered anyway.

"What ... like you offer me a ton of money and I leave the organisation with a non-disclosure agreement and a glowing reference?"

Sir Maurice didn't bat an eyelid and nodded.

"Yes, something like that."

Marisa said nothing and stared levelly at him.

The silence was broken by Paul in a curt voice.

"If that happens you will need to do two non-disclosures and pay me a hell of a wedge of cash because I'll be gone as well."

His boss turned to him with a look of surprise and shock which was mirrored on Marisa's own face.

"What? ... Why? ... This has nothing to do with you. You would sacrifice your job for this girl who you hardly know?"

Marisa could see that Paul was incensed by this question and he exploded.

"It has got nothing to do with whether I hardly know her or not. She is an employee of our organisation and we have a duty of care to ensure that she, or any other person, is treated with respect and dignity. You have been pussy footing around Hugo for as long as I have been here and this is the third time that he has pulled something like this. He may be a shareholder but by Christ we should have fired his sorry arse for Gross Misconduct months, if not years, ago.

"Why do you let him get away with it like this? Who or what is preventing you from doing the right thing here?"

Maurice looked uncomfortable and fidgeted nervously on his seat.

"That is not a conversation to get into now. Let us say that Hugo has powerful allies amongst some of the major shareholders and could severely disrupt the business if they started to become too active."

Paul looked at him and Marisa could see a dawning realisation cross his face. He paused before sneering in contempt.

"We have known each other for more than 10 years and I have always thought highly of you as a father-in-law and as a businessman. Hell I even came to work for you because I respected you ... but what I see now ... is that what you really are is weak and spineless. You actually have no control over your own company and are too frightened of upsetting Hugo and his cronies to do the right thing.

"I may not be the most perfect human being on the planet but I feel a whole lot better in my skin than you deserve to feel in yours. You are pathetic and a coward and I now don't believe any of those bullshit stories you used to recount of how you confronted the Russian mafia in St. Petersburg or the Camorra in Sicily to build hotels. They were bullshit then and they are doubly bullshit now."

He paused as his rage intensified and Sir Maurice seemed to shrink in size before the inferno of his anger.

Marisa thought he was magnificent but decided that maybe ... just maybe ... he had been pretty lenient with her before. He had certainly never raged at her like this.

"You can take your job and shove it right up where the sun don't shine. I will be claiming constructive dismissal so you better get the General Counsel busy writing a compromise and non-disclosure agreement ... oh that would be the untouchable Hugo wouldn't it. I'm not even sure he's capable of doing that so maybe you should get one of his cronies to do it for him.

"Goodbye Maurice it used to be nice knowing you. Now if you will excuse me I am going to pack my gear and catch the next commercial flight out of here."

He looked long and hard at Maurice expecting some sort of reaction, but there was none from the deflated and impotent man showing all of his seventy-something years with nothing to say.

Marisa felt like an umpire at Wimbledon watching the ball fly backwards and forwards across the net as she looked from one to the other as the tense silence continued before Paul got up from his chair and went into his bedroom without a backward glance.

She sat there for quite a while not knowing whether to leave herself or stay. Eventually Sir Maurice spoke in a quiet voice.

"Can you go in there and stop him from screwing his career up and possibly his life."

She looked at him contemptuously.

"I guess you have just worked out that the only guy who really knows what he is doing in the company has just shown you the finger. Worried about the merger ... you should be ... worried about what happens after the merger ... you definitely should be?"

He made no response and she sighed in a resigned fashion.

"Yeah I will but I'm not doing it for you or even me as quite frankly I don't give a shit about this job anymore. It would appear there is only one guy with integrity in the whole fucking company ... and it ain't you."

He looked cowed by her tirade and she walked over to Paul's door with her eyes fixed ahead.

Chapter 21

"Paul ... umm ... could I have a word."

I had heard her knock but had not called her in. She just opened the door and came in as I stood aimlessly throwing things in my case. I said nothing.

"Can we put the testosterone away for the moment?

I smiled at that but she could not see it as I kept my back turned.

She came over and stood close behind me and reached a hand up to touch my shoulder.

"I'm sorry Paul but I'm not worth screwing up your career for ... what will it look like if you walk away now ... no notice ... leaving WHG in the lurch in the midst of a tricky acquisition. Other employers will look at you and think 'can we rely on this guy to stay the course?' You can try and spin it in interview any way you like but there will always be a doubt if you do it. I repeat ... I'm not worth it."

I made no response other than to hunch my shoulders and neck to relieve some of the tension. She noticed and reached the other hand up to rest on my shoulders and probed with her thumbs.

"Jeez ... you are tense. Come on ... take off your shirt and sit down ... no lie down on the bed and I'll give you a massage."

I replied sarcastically.

"So you are a masseuse now. Is there no end to your talents?"

She was quiet and withdrew her hands and stood back. I realised that I had over stepped the mark ... again. I mumbled my apology.

"Sorry ... that was uncalled for ... I shouldn't take it out on you. I'm a bit crabby at the moment."

She moved closer to me again and spoke quietly.

"That's ok ... it is not everyday you fuck up your career for a girl you hardly know as our esteemed leader would say."

I turned my head to smile apologetically at her. I saw concern in her eyes.

"I'm sorry; I went off the deep end there, didn't I? I get carried away some times."

Her voice and grin conveyed her gentle sarcasm..

"I hadn't noticed! But I mean it ... I don't want the tattered remains of your career on my conscience. Now take of your shirt and lie down!"

I did as I was told and climbed onto the bed and lay face down. I heard the sound of shoes hitting the floor followed by the rustle of clothes and the sound of a zipper. I lifted my head but didn't turn my head to look.

"Umm ... Marisa ... what are you doing?"

I could hear the laugh in her voice.

"I'm taking my skirt off. I won't be able to kneel over you with it on. Why, were you expecting me to put on a tiny white bikini like they do in massage parlours in Bangkok?"

I chuckled.

"I have never been to a massage parlour in Bangkok but you know best for the appropriate attire for a girl giving the massage ... go right ahead ... but I think yellow would look better with your colouring. Anyway I have seen your bottom ... so don't mind me if you want to take it all off."

She playfully slapped my shoulder and giggled herself.

"You old perv!"


"Don't be a big girl ... I hardly touched you."

"No it was the use of the word 'old' that hurt most."

I could hear a snort of laughter and then felt her settle her weight onto my buttocks with her lower legs straddling my thighs. I thought briefly about what type of panties she might be wearing but that started a reaction in the trouser department that would be uncomfortable and difficult to accommodate so tried to think of more serious matters. However, thoughts of her glorious arse kept getting in the way.

Then she really started working on my muscles and it hurt enough at times to distract my little friend. However, it was also incredibly relaxing as she was really rather good at it and I felt the need to tell her so between grunts as she dug deeply.

"I take it ... uh ... back ... this ...oh ...feels like ...hmmmm ... heaven. How did you ...ouch ... learn?"

"My mother is a masseuse and she taught me enough to do it as a side gig to get through college. It sure beat working tables."

I turned my head to the side and looked at her with my peripheral vision.

"Did you ... umm ... get any clients who thought that ... err ... thought that you were offering ... err ... personal services?"

I could see her smile.

"Yes there were some but I put them straight. However, some of them would still hit on me so in the end I hitched up with a respectable ladies gym and offered sports massages. I still got hit on though ... by some very respectable married women."

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