tagErotic CouplingsOne Night Stand Ch. 01

One Night Stand Ch. 01

byTara_Neale©

Laura looked around the bar. The pub she corrected herself. It was a Tuesday night just after six, usually her business day was not even finished. But today was special. She had a reason to break off early and troll the high class drinking establishments near the offices and hotel where she was staying. She was looking for something. Someone. A donor.

Of genetic material. Maybe it was cold and calculating but that was how Laura played the game at work and in her relationships. Since her perfect fiancée of five years had proven to be a lying, cheating and sterile bum, she had moved on to plan B. Well, plan Z more like it. She had gone to a sperm bank, but two rounds of artificial insemination had proven unfruitful. Further research showed that its success rate was less than half of the natural method.

Fucking. Stop being so polite she chided herself. Laura blamed her six month assignment in the London office for the false politeness. When they ask, well told, her about it, the timing had seemed idle. She had just broken up with asshole and had been staying in a hotel while she looked for a new apartment or more likely a house to buy. She had a substantial savings account since there would be no wedding to waste it on. It might as well be used as a down payment on a house. But finding what she was looking for in Los Angeles was proving more difficult than she had thought. Hell, finding what she was looking for was proving more difficult in life. Period.

And this was no exception. The pub was packed. But everyone was drinking and laughing with friends from work. Paired off in neat little groups that made approaching someone virtually impossible. Damn, Brits. The problem was that these people actually went to pubs to drink and socialize, not find someone to screw at the end of the night. It was actually quite rare for someone to 'pull' as they called it after a night drinking in the pub.

If someone wanted casual sex they turned to the Internet. But Laura was not that desperate. Yet anyway. For one thing, she was not accustomed to purchasing anything site unseen from the World Wide Web. Hell, she was one of those types that actually read the whole preview section and all the reviews before purchasing an e-book. She sure as hell was not going to select a sperm donor without a bit of polite conversation and getting to know the person. That shit could be dangerous. Especially for a woman like her.

But it was proving more difficult than she had anticipated to find one handsome, intelligent, athletic and perhaps nice guy in this city of over eight million, thirteen if you considered Greater London. Laura scrunched up her face, the way she did when she pondered a problem. Would this have been any easier in Los Angeles? Finding the right guy...maybe not. Picking someone up in a bar for casual sex...most definitely. She would have been out of here before she finished her first glass of wine in LA.

Her reverie was broken by a deep baritone just over her shoulder, "Excuse me. Is this seat taken?"

His American accent was the first thing that caught her attention. She struggled to pinpoint it. But knew that was not always easy. She liked to think that she did not have an accent at all. It was something she had worked very hard to conquer the moment she escaped small town Texas. Growing up on the wrong side of tracts in Sebida had been a nightmare that Laura had spent a lifetime trying to live down. And most days she did pretty well. A law degree from UCLA, vice-president of Fortune Five Hundred company, seven figure salary, and a savings account offered a hell of a lot of cushion and validation to the little girl that had grown up in a trailer.

She refused to dwell on her past. It was the future that she was here to think about...and do something about too. She studied the man for a long moment. Over six feet with dark brown waving hair. The guy was definitely no stranger to the gym. He had the look of a former athlete perhaps? Nice green eyes with a spark of intelligence, but she would have to spend a bit of time talking to him to make sure about that one. And being American, the concept of hooking up in a bar would not be completely foreign to him. Her night was definitely looking up. "No. Please join me."

***

Laura studied her reflection in the bathroom mirror. They had been talking for close to two hours. They had even ordered some of the notorious pub food, bland and tasteless. It was a far site from her favorite Mexican. But a bit of salt can make anything palatable. And the company was most definitely that. Ryan was proving to be everything she was looking for. Former college football quarterback and Navy guy, probably a SEAL, but he had the grace not to brag about that shit, which only made her more certain of it. He was witty, if perhaps a bit too right wing for her tastes.

But did such things matter? It was not like political preference was an inherited trait was it? No, they had finished their food. It was almost nine and except for a few drunks the pub was clearing out rapidly as most of the post-work crowd had had their two pint limit, finished unwinding and headed home for the night so they could get up early and do it all again. No, Laura was reaching the point that as her Nana would call it...shit or get off the pot.

"Damn it, there are no guarantees in life. You know that," she admonished the woman in the mirror.

She sighed, "Yes. Yes, I'm going to do it." She smiled and filled with new found resolve turned to walk out the bathroom door. And ran right into a solid wall. She looked up to discover the smiling face of her dinner companion.

"I wasn't sure if you were trying to give me the slip or what," he joked with a wry smile. He looked at the watch on his wrist. Laura's eyebrows knitted together. Who wore a watch in these modern days of cell phones? It was another point in his favor actually. "Look, it is getting late. Tomorrow is the first day of my new assignment and I don't expect it to be easy. My first task is to fire my predecessor. So I was wondering...could I get your number? Maybe we could have drinks or even dinner again. Soon."

Laura smiled. It was not how she wanted the night to end but it was a good start. "Actually, I was wondering if you would care to join me back at my hotel for a nightcap," she offered as an alternative.

The way that the man's eyebrows shot straight up told her that he knew exactly what she was offering. And another drink was the least of it. He silently studied her for a long moment. From the top of her dark brown hair that was cut short and easy to style, down her tailored navy suit and white silk blouse that was understated and professional to her black pumps that were heeled but not over the top. Everything about Laura was functional.

She was tempted to shift from foot to foot under his direct examination. It was not a feeling that she was used to. Not in a very long time. As she always did, she met the challenge head on, lifting her chin and staring him directly in the eye. "Look, let's cut to the chase. I have a busy day tomorrow too. Do you want to come back to my room for a bit of consensual, no strings attached sex to help relieve both our tensions?" Her brown eyes met his directly in challenge, "Or not?"

***

Ryan Ranger held her gaze. The woman was every bit as ballsy as they said she was. It was a pity actually. He really liked her. She was intelligent. But then he would expect nothing less given her resume. It was not just knowledge though. This woman had that rare quality of depth. She was good at reading people. She carefully thought out and planned her actions. And perhaps most importantly for him, she seemed to retain at least a bit of a moral compass. It was a very rare combination in the corporate world in which they lived. Unfortunately on this occasion it was that moral compass that was getting her into trouble. Real trouble. And worse yet, he was the hatchet man.

He shook his head. The decision was a no brainer as they say. He was sent here to fire and replace her. Even though their company had no official fraternization policy, he had always followed the old adage, 'don't shit where you eat.' So why the hell was he even considering it?

Because she's under your skin as his uncle would say. Even before he had set foot on that plane, this woman had been turning his guts inside out. The confidential file that he had received laid her whole life bare for his inspection. And for the first time in his life, he had not found a woman lacking. She had grown up rough. Her childhood was as tough, perhaps tougher than his own, because at least he had summers on his great uncle's ranch in the Texas Hill Country. He and his cousin Rex had been free to run and explore like boys should under the watchful eye of the old wizened Indian medicine man.

Laura had had nothing. Except responsibility for her three younger siblings while her single mother worked the night shift at the local convenience store to pay the rent on their two bedroom trailer that was falling apart around them. Even then she had managed to make straight A's in school, while holding down a part-time job of her own and serving on student council. She had graduated as valedictorian with a full scholarship to UCLA. And except for monthly checks back home, she had never looked back. She had risen higher and faster within the company than most of her male peers. And it had nothing to do with affirmative action. No, it was her intelligence and hard work that got her where she was.

Unfortunately this time, she had managed to step in a hot, stinky, steaming cow patty of corporate corruption. One that Ryan was here to clean up. He was almost certain that this woman was not privy to the details of the plan that threatened national and international security. But that would not save her job. Besides it was probably for the best. She would be safely out of the mess before the deck of cards came toppling down around all their heads. Ryan knew what he should do. Politely refuse her generous invitation. Send her back to her hotel room alone. And then tomorrow, quickly and as cleanly as possible bring down the hatchet.

He sighed heavily. But that was not what he was going to do. This one time in his life, Ryan's cold and calculating head was going to lose out to his equally passionate heart. Even though he knew that after tomorrow this woman would hate and despise him, he just had to have her. Just this one night, he wanted to taste what it was like to give into the needs of his heart and body that he had repressed for a lifetime. And more importantly, he wanted that with her. With Laura Renee Garcia-Reynolds. She would hate him even more if she knew that the file the agency had given him as part of this undercover assignment included that...her full name.

He inhaled deeply and sent a silent plea into the universe, a prayer to god, a call to the great spirit, fate, destiny, whatever the fuck you wanted to call it. 'Please don't let me screw up.' Then he smiled and nodded his head. "I'd like that."

***

Laura sighed. She was not even aware that she had been holding her breath until it escaped in a great whoosh of relief. He was coming back to her room. Some tiny part of her wanted to jump up and down like a little girl who opened the present under the tree to discover the doll that she had asked Santa for. But that had never been Laura. No, each year she and his sisters always got last year's toys that other children had donated at the mall to make way for their new stuff.

Oh, don't get her wrong, she was grateful to have anything under the tree at least as far as her little sisters were concerned. For her it had never really mattered. She was one of those people who had been born old. Which was why that feeling was so unusual. She could never actually remember having it before. She hoped it boded well for this little endeavor. Because this time she was asking Santa or fate or whatever for a lot more than a doll for Christmas. This baby was the culmination of all she had ever worked for or wanted. And at thirty-nine, she knew time was running out.

She actually reached out and took his hand in hers. It was the first time they had actually touched and if Laura did not know better she would swear that she felt a tingle run up her arm. It was nothing more than static electricity from the ugly dated old carpet that seemed the same in every pub she had been in for the past six months. She would be glad to get home.

The polite veneer of the British people that hid a coldness and superiority complex was wearing thin on her. Couldn't they see the shallowness of it all? Or were they truly as caught up as it seemed in maintaining the status quo of their social order? She knew beyond a doubt that if even one of her colleagues knew the truth of her birth it would fuel the gossip meals for months. There were no self-made men, let alone women, in their closed 'polite' society where it was all about who you knew and never what you knew, no matter how good you were. And she was good. More than good. Much more qualified than any of the Etonian upper crust that populated her down line at the company.

But was LA really any better? The city that she had called home for more than half of her life was just as shallow. Except there it was the perfect body, sculpted in the most popular gym, the perfect tits from the latest and hottest plastic surgeon and of course the perfect smile crafted from porcelain by the best cosmetic dentist.

Even Sebida though had been ruled by the old school...its founding families. The Monroes chief among them. Only as an adult Laura had learned the truth. It was all a façade. A shambles. The Judge's family was as broke as her mother had been. Worse even because they were too proud to apply for the welfare check and food stamps that her mother had used to feed her and her sisters. And his beloved daughter, that paragon of virtue and deaconess of the biggest church in town, the one that brought their basket of food and presents each Thanksgiving and Christmas, the principle of the school where Laura had gone; Miss Myrtle was warming up the sheets with old Injun Joe, the owner of the local Indian casino and bar. And she had been for Laura's whole life.

Maybe I am just getting cynical in my old age, she thought. But it seemed that everything, even the success and big bank account that she had fought a lifetime to achieve, meant nothing. That was why this baby was so important to her. It felt like her last chance. A chance to find the meaning and happiness in this world that she had been looking for her whole life. A chance to have something was truly was her own.

It was silly really. To put so much stock into something that all her female friends in the corporate world considered beneath them or at most a bodily function to ensure the continuation of the species and to spread their superior DNA. Sometimes they reminded her of the heifers that the Judge breed with his prize bulls. Motherhood to them was nothing more than producing a superior bloodline and stock. That was how they selected the men they married and made babies with. Of course on the side most of them had a string of bad boys to satisfy other urges.

Laura shook herself. The night was getting away from her. And it was an important night. At least the little stick that came with the ovulation predicator kit and the app on her phone that charted her cycle said it was. The night that offered her the greatest hope of changing it all. The hope of achieving this final item on her to do list of life. The one that was slipping through her hands with each passing tick of her biological clock.

Looking at her companion, she smiled. If some crazy part of her wished for a simpler time when a man and woman met, got to know one another at the church socials, held hands as they walked and talked, then walked down the aisle to make vows that truly were 'until death do us part,' well, that was just another victim of the shallowness that had become modern society.

No, this was for the best. It would be simpler this way. A night of burning up the sheets with a handsome and intelligent equal and Laura would have what she wanted. Or she hoped she would anyway. A no strings attached one night stand that would give her the baby that would be the beginning of the next phase of her life.

She nodded her head and tugged at his hand. "Let's go then."

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