tagRomanceA Good Working Relationship Ch. 07

A Good Working Relationship Ch. 07

byLittleBrain©

Hi all. Thank you for the feedback and I especially like to hear from those who like character development as my stories are not just about sex (there is no overt sex in this chapter so please be patient (or go somewhere else) if that is what you want. My apologies for the small chapters but I can't guarantee to have long writing sessions and so prefer to get something out there rather than have readers wondering how long it will be before the next instalment.

This is fiction and all people and organisations are a figment of my imagination however close they may be to real-life people and companies.

*****

Chapter 22

Marisa was struggling to maintain a composed face as it might not be a cool move to let Paul know exactly how happy she. She wanted to maintain this new found respect and not have him think she was a child with a new toy but all she wanted to do was jump up and down and shout 'YAAY he rates me ... he wants me to work with him' but those thoughts morphed to 'also we will get to spend lots of time together!"

Whilst not bouncing up and down she was certainly moving around a lot and it was at this point she realised she was sitting directly over his groin with only tiny panties on and something was stirring down there. She stopped moving immediately and looked down at his face ... his eyes were closed and his face was flushed as he bit his bottom lip. He obviously realised what was happening and was definitely enjoying the sensation but the abrupt cessation in movement brought him back to the real world. He suddenly opened his eyes with a guilty look.

He blushed.

"Err ... I'm sorry ... we had better go tell the boss.

She blushed too and looked panicked and tried to lift herself off him as he reached out to help. The combination of movements resulted in him holding one of her bare buttocks rather than the hip he had been aiming for. At the same time Marisa had put a hand down onto his abs to push herself up and in doing so grazed the head of his cock.

They both froze.

Marisa was both mortified ... 'OMG I just touched his dick' ... and interested ... 'it felt kinda big ... hmm ... interesting' ... before releasing it like a hot potato.

He blushed even more furiously and she mumbled her apologies whilst blushing just as much.

The more they tried to separate themselves the worse it seem to get until Paul just grabbed Marisa around the waist and levered her off him. He continued apologising as they both rolled away and sat up on opposite sides of the bed with their backs to each other.

"I'm sorry about that ... grabbing ... err ... inappropriate ... touching ... your ...err ... bottom."

Marisa started to get over her embarrassment as she replayed the comical incident in her mind. She couldn't stop herself from giggling.

"Hey ... no problem ... sorry about touching you too."

She looked over her shoulder at him as he did likewise. Their eyes met and they grinned at the silliness of the situation.

"Well so long as it didn't take your eye out ... it's all good."

"Don't get too carried away it didn't feel that big."

He put on a shocked look.

"That wasn't what you said this morning."

She grinned mischievously.

"The mirror must have magnified it."

"What? It didn't need to do that to your arse."

Realisation hit her at what he had just said and her eyes went wide with mock horror. She turned and moved part way across the bed and tried to slap at his head with both hands as she snarled at him but with a huge smile. He put his hands up to grab her wrists, laughing all the time.

"Are you saying I've got a big ass?"

"No ... no ... not at all ... I actually think it is a rather beautiful arse."

He then looked embarrassed again but then grinned.

"See what you do? You make me say inappropriate things. Much as I would like to spend time discussing the finer points of the lower rearward facing part of your torso ... I think we need to sort out Sir Maurice.

Marisa nodded and was tempted to add something like 'can we diarise a time for you to discuss the finer points of my ass' but decided that might be a bit too obvious and just smiled and nodded.

They hastily rearranged their clothing and Paul tried not to look as Marisa put on her skirt but failed miserably. She caught him watching and rolled her eyes.

"Old perv!"

"Guilty as charged."

Chapter 23

Sir Maurice was a beaten man as we outlined our intentions and could do no more than accept the timetable for our resignations but was grateful that we would at least support the company through the merger. However, he balked at giving any written confirmation of any payoff and also did not want us to tell anyone else in the company that we would be leaving until after the negotiations were over. I could understand that as the share price was already under pressure and the knowledge that a key part of the management team would be leaving would not help the desired image of stability.

"Ok, I'm prepared to do that for the period of the negotiation but once contracts are exchanged I will need to put feelers out for what other positions are out there."

Maurice smiled grimly and shook his head.

"I cannot accept you walking out of my company straight into another. You will have to go on gardening leave for the period after we have done this deal until you finally depart. It will give you plenty of time to put feelers out as you say. You will still be bound by the confidentiality agreement so will not be able to disclose any company secrets."

To say l was gob-smacked was an understatement.

"Company secrets ... what you think I will tell them ... about the secret source where we buy our 1000 thread Egyptian cotton sheets from. What fucking secrets?"

"Our future expansion strategy ... err ... any confidential information about financing resulting from the merger ..."

I cut across him.

"I'm not bound by the confidentiality agreement for ever so that will come out eventually ... anyway that sort of information will be market knowledge ... WHG is a public company ..."

I paused and glanced over at Marisa who was watching me intently. She had not said much and let me lead the discussion but I could see doubts crossing her face. My own thoughts were running fast ... why was he worried about any discussion of financing? Unless ...

I looked at him with a questioning stare.

"There's something dodgy about the financing of this deal ... you ... or ..."

I paused as another thought surfaced and my face must have shown the distaste even more.

"Or more likely dear old Hugo has got something going on here that is not kosher ... Does our esteemed CFO, Simon Wardhaugh know about this ... Ahh ... that begs the question of why he is not here ..."

It was Sir Maurice's turn to interrupt and his face was concerned as he leant forward and put his hand on my arm.

"Paul, for your own sake and anyone else who might hear them do not repeat any such comments outside this room."

He looked over at Marisa as he said that with a meaningful stare. I could see her react as she visibly flinched and I smiled reassuringly at her as I confronted Maurice.

"That sounds like a threat. What is going on?"

"I am not in a position to say anymore ..."

Maurice paused and a knowing look suffused his face ... it was almost a smirk.

"On a personal basis I would say that if you value your relationship with Caroline you will do well to forget any of this and get on with making the merger go as smoothly as possible and then we can all get on with our lives."

The shock I felt must have been visible on my face and I know I started to blush. His smirk got larger at my discomfort and I stopped myself glancing over at Marisa although I could see her looking curiously at both of us from the corner of my eye.

Did he know? Had Caroline told him or was it just a question of joining the dots. I struggled to formulate a response that would not sound as weak as shit in my own ears and deflect Marisa's thoughts from the truth.

In the end I tried to bluster my way out it.

"I am sure that if my relationship with my mother-in-law can withstand the break up of my marriage I am sure we can remain on cordial terms despite the manner of me leaving the company ... which I intend to be as professional as possible."

Sir Maurice chuckled and glanced meaningfully over at Marisa before looking back at me.

"Ok ... I take that as meaning we will all keep our confidences about various matters ..."

He paused and his knowing smirk got larger.

"After all we wouldn't anyone to get butt fucked by a misplaced word would we?"

The fucker! He was enjoying this. Him and his little double entendres.

I risked a glance at Marisa and could see she was puzzled. She was bright enough to suss that there was something that was not being said but couldn't work out what it was.

I hoped she never did.

I looked away as I did not want to make eye contact as I felt sure that she would see my guilt and I did not want her to think ill of me ... for any reason ... and Caroline would be a pretty big reason.

It was at this point that I realised how much I wanted Marisa around me ...and not just because she had gorgeous eyes and a fabulous arse or because she was a smart, feisty work colleague. No, I wanted to spend a lot of time with the warm, funny girl whose sense of humour seemed to match with mine and which to me is a pre-requisite for any long-term relationship.

Cue another internal debate.

'WTF are you doing Cook ... a long-term relationship ... you are not even free of the last one.'

'Yeah I know but ... but it just happens.'

'Not if you don't let it ... not everyone falls in love at the drop of a hat.'

'Love ... who said anything about love?'

'So you want a long-term relationship with a fuck-buddy then?'

'No of course not ... this is more meaningful than that ... I like her ... she's bright, funny, good company, smart ... talented ... sexy ...'

"Why did you stop with the list ... run out of things to add?'

'No ... I ... um ... realised ... err ... Oh fuck off!'

'Well done, you got there in the end.'

'Yeah thanks ... it is always good to talk to you. Helps focus my mind.'

No probs ... by the way ... I could fall in love with her too.'

'I guess that makes it unanimous.'

Sir Maurice left after giving Marisa some instructions and she came over to me as I was deep in thought. It was only when she gently laid her hand on my forearm that I snapped out of it and must have looked startled and confused. She looked at me with concern.

"You OK?"

I put on a 1000 watt smile ... like I had not seen her in days ... warm and welcoming, but my words were not so assured.

"Um ... yes ... I guess."

I could tell that she wasn't convinced but she didn't make a fuss about it and let it pass for now.

"The boss wants us to get moving as are already an hour late. I am going in the Bling-mobile but you need to take the SUV as, depending on timing, we might have to find our own way back."

I took the SUV to the Bridgetown offices of the firm of accountants who were working for Dominion, the merger / acquisition target, and were acting as host to the data room and facilitating the negotiations. The mere fact that it was still unclear as to whether this was a merger (assumed to be beneficial to both parties like mutual oral sex) or an acquisition (one party on top and the other about to get roughly fucked in the arse) highlighted some of the problems.

I had met with most the shit-shovelling senior guys from Dominion when we had started the process back in January and we had maintained a dialogue over the ensuing weeks so I knew they were as frustrated as I was. Their frustration came from their lawyers pissing about which was a problem I could sympathise with as I thought they were all cut from the same cloth as Hugo. Their problem was exacerbated by the fact that Dominion was incorporated in the Cayman Islands with an ownership which was ... let us say ... opaque and this made some of the data gathering very difficult.

I arrived just after the Cadillac and Sir Maurice was already introducing Marisa to various people. I could see Hugo hovering nervously in the background but Marisa studiously ignored him and he would not meet my eye. I have no idea what Maurice had said to him but keeping himself out of the way would have been the best instruction.

I looked around for the guys I had met before but there seemed to be a completely new crowd which surprised me greatly. However I did not have time to dwell as a large Jaguar with blacked out windows pulled into the car park. Two large guys got out of the front seats and looked meaningfully around. Having checked the threat situation they nodded at each other and opened the rear doors from where two people emerged.

One, a small, old man and ... let's be fair here ... ugly ... and the other a tall, young, elegant and absolutely knock-your-socks-off gorgeous Latina woman. I may be thinking about a relationship with a stunning young girl but it did not stop me from admiring another beautiful women and the specimen before me was certainly worthy of a second glance ... and many more after that. Looking at these two people of such differing physical presence one would be forgiven for thinking that here were the opposite extremes of the human form.

However, the attention of everyone else was focussed on the small old guy and I don't think I had ever seen so much arse-kissing as I witnessed in the next few minutes. It was like a royal walk-about with the two heavies having to force a passage through the adoring minions, including Maurice and Hugo I might add, into the building.

I looked over at Marisa and her amused but exasperated look back at me contained a message along the lines of 'You are such a bloke! Stop leering at that beautiful girl and close your mouth, you are drooling.' I grinned sheepishly and made my way over to her but I never got there as the tall goddess, who had been left alone by the car, stepped into my path and held out her hand as she took her sunglasses off. Her smile was dazzling but it never reached her eyes which were almost as beautiful as Marisa's but without the life and vivacity. There was a deadness to them that made her look like a wax model from Madame Tussaud's.

"Hi, you must be Paul Cook; I am Cynthia Ruiz, the COO of Dominion. I am so looking forward to be working closely with you on this deal."

She spoke almost flawless English but lacked the British sense of personal space and moved very close. She smelt good but I edged back and my face showed the confusion I felt. I had met the COO, a very large Bajan called Peter Hewitt, back in January and had spoken to him less than a month ago. He certainly wasn't this stunning apparition. I shook her hand

"Oh ... err ... what happened to Peter, he gave me no clue that he was leaving when I spoke to him?"

She looked nervous and her eyes moved to the left.

"Ah ... you haven't heard ... unfortunately he suffered a heart attack three weeks ago and Juan Felipe ... Mr. Torres, asked me to head up the team for the negotiation. I transferred across from Dominion's casino division."

I nodded sympathetically but wondered why she had lied.

"Well welcome aboard but as you know we have some issues that need sorting so it won't be an easy ride. Peter wasn't that old to have a heart attack but I hope he gets better soon. I'm surprised that his second-in-command ... err ... sorry I have forgotten his name ... he seemed like a very capable chap ... could he not have taken up the role temporarily while Peter recuperates?"

She looked edgy and her eyes flicked to the left again.

"Unfortunately Peter did not make it. He ... umm ... did not recover ... he died ... and yes, under normal circumstances Ronaldo would have taken over but he disappeared a couple of days later when out in his boat during a storm. They found the boat but no trace of him."

This was another piece of surprising news that I wasn't expecting and I found my bullshit detector working overtime as her eye movements betrayed that she was making more things up. Why would she lie to me about Peter having a heart attack?

Something did not add up.

I looked at her with a wry grin.

"Well, Oscar Wilde would have a field day with this situation."

She looked at me with a puzzled expression.

"Excuse me ... who is Oscar Wilde and what does he have to do with this?"

She had just gone down in the goddess stakes. She may be beautiful but has no knowledge of English literature ... big demerit! I now have to decide whether to explain my now-not-so-witty remark. I ploughed on.

"He was an English writer from the 1800's who wrote a famous play called The Important of Being Earnest in which one of the characters explains that he was an orphan and had no parents. Upon hearing this, another character says 'To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness'. He would think Dominion had been careless to lose two key ... oh never mind."

I looked at her to see whether Oscar's wit had worked its magic on her but she still looked at me blankly and my embarrassment grew. I heard a snort of muffled laughter and glanced up to see Marisa trying not to break out into hysteria.

Feeling acutely embarrassed and knowing that Marisa would take the piss later I tried to move things along and change the subject by beckoning her over to introduce her.

"Marisa, come and meet Cynthia Ruiz, she's the new COO we will be working with. Cynthia this is Marisa Thomas, Special Assistant to Sir Maurice, who will be doing a lot of the number crunching especially with regards to Benedict Bay where we seem to have problems making the numbers make sense. If any one can make sense of them it will be Marisa so here's hoping we can get through it quickly."

The two women met and shook hands and my introductory remarks got two reactions. Marisa glowed at the explicit compliment and Cynthia glowered at Marisa.

I could understand Marisa's reaction but wasn't sure about the latter. Was she one of these vain women who couldn't stand the thought that there were others in the running for 'Most Beautiful Goddess of the Year'? To be honest I had given her so many demerits in the two minutes we had been talking that there was only one clear winner and Cynthia wasn't it. Or was it the fact that I had bigged up Marisa's talents and she was worried that some of Dominion's secrets might be exposed?

She was very snooty in her reply.

"Ah ... yes ... Marisa ... we were told that she would be working on data analysis so our own data analyst, Ramon, will be along shortly to help out. Two of you looking at the data will speed the process."

"Sorry Cynthia that is not how it will be done."

Both girls looked at me in surprise at my brusque tone.

"Your analyst can provide assistance such as where to find information but can give no input into interpretation. I cannot have our conclusions skewed ..."

I paused for emphasis.

"Skewed ... either wittingly or unwittingly ... by an employee of Dominion. I cannot have our due-diligence and negotiating position undermined by a potentially biased analysis."

She looked puzzled which is not what I was expecting.

"There seems to be some confusion. I have been told that your board has signed off on the principal of Dominion employees providing assistance to speed the process. It is in both parties interest to get the deal done as quickly as possible. Your share price is suffering from the delay ... join the dots ... work it out for yourself."

It was my turn to look puzzled. It was crazy to rely on due-diligence provided by the vendor unless they were going to give warranties for just about every item in the contract ... but if they did that ... what was the point of any analysis? My confusion was evident. A knowing smirk appeared on her face.

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