I walked down the hill on the west side Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, crossing the C and O canal, and stopped outside the window of a small women's boutique. The window displays indicated a variety of fine clothing and accessory items, immaculately arranged and appointed, so I entered. A small bell attached to the door jingled, announcing a visitor.
As the newly appointed general manager of Georgetown Park less than a month ago, it was part of my job to canvass the area for potential tenants willing to leave their storefront stops for a place inside the struggling, but beautiful, enclosed mall on the corner of M and Wisconsin streets. And, there are worse places to sight-see than the streets of Georgetown, for a variety of reasons.
In the first few weeks in my new position, I had already come across some of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. Washington DC was a haven for beautiful, educated women, and Georgetown in particular was popular was a bevy of international tourists, mainly European. The streets of Georgetown attracted a veritable potpourri of pussy, on a daily basis, in every conceivable shape, size, age, and color.
It was the early Fall of 1990. The venerable DC-area department store, Garfinckel's, had just closed its doors, which is a crushing blow for any shopping center that loses an anchor store. A slew of other smaller stores were already on financial life support, either severely delinquent or on reduced rent structures.
Though no one quite knew it yet, there was a recession on the horizon which would last a few years. But at the somewhat tender age of thirty-one, I had already created a bit of a reputation for turning around the fortunes of shopping malls. Georgetown Park was my third assignment in less than three years, and I had relocated from New Jersey for this particular opportunity. So, my interest in this particular shop was purely professionally related.
I heard her before I saw her. A voice came from the back of the store. "Hello," that voice called out, in a distinctly Scandinavian accent. "Welcome to my store."
My instinct, at first glance, was that she was a drop-dead ringer for Jane Fonda. Now, that may sound funny to imagine, but back in the day, Jane Fonda, then also in her early fifties, was a stone-cold fox. Regardless of what anyone may think of her political beliefs, no one could logically dispute her "hotness". Her fitness videos in that era were the impetus for exercise for millions of America's women, and masturbation fodder for men of all ages. Myself included.
As she strode toward me, the resemblance became even more striking, down to the shaggy, stylish bob hairdo, layers of honey-colored locks, tumbling down onto her forehead, with one loose bang that dangled sexily over one eye. She brushed if off with a wave of a manicured finger, and my professional interest was suddenly long forgotten. A burgeoning hard-on will make a man's memory and conscience very short indeed.
She smiled at me, while seeming to take inventory of my own goods, her ice-blue eyes scanning up and down quickly. I was dressed in a navy blue suit and black wingtips, and I noticed that she looked for an extra second at my feet.
Women always notice the shoes. Why is that? Most men wouldn't really notice right away if a woman is wearing muddy work boots. We have other areas of attention to focus upon. But a woman? A woman sizes up a man's shoes with the same level of curiosity as a grizzly bear sniffing a honey pot. Go figure.
"My name is Ulla, I am the owner," she proclaimed with an obvious amount of pride. "Are you looking for anything special?" she asked, grinning mischievously. "Or searching for ideas for that special lady?"
Somewhat bashfully, I introduced myself as the new manager of the neighboring mall, and explained that I was just getting acquainted with the area.
She listened to me stammer for a moment, her eyes piercing into my own. Finally, she nodded knowingly. "Ah, yes, I have several friends who work in your mall. I heard they had a handsome, new manager. You are already quite popular. It is my pleasure to meet you."
I couldn't help but blush at her compliments. The blushing was accompanied by a quickly growing rock-hard bulge in my pants. Mainly, I found myself attracted to younger women. In fact, my own girlfriend was twenty-two years old, still back in Jersey, completing her master's degree at Princeton.
However, I knew instinctively that Ulla, despite being twenty years my senior (I found out later that she was fifty-one) was something different. I just didn't know, not just yet, how my world would change.
We made small talk in her quiet store for maybe fifteen minutes, while her associates, two middle-aged and very elegant women themselves, catered to the few shoppers that ventured inside. I asked most of the questions, at least at first. Inquisitiveness is a sign of profound interest in the subject matter, right?
I learned that Ulla was a native of Finland, and grew up in Tampere, the country's third largest city. She moved to the states to go to "university", as she called it, in 1959 (the year I was born). She married one of her professors, who was much older than her, a few years later. Their marriage lasted until the mid-80's, when she was widowed, and Ulla opened her boutique shortly thereafter. She was independent, worldly, and engaging. I hung on every word. Literally.
She had a townhouse just a few blocks away, and professed her love for all things Georgetown. It was clear that she was entrenched in the area and knew pretty much everyone and everything there was to know regarding local matters. I decided immediately that if nothing else, she would be a valuable resource of local retailing information for my leasing efforts.
And that's how I hit on her. Professionally, that is. "Tell me, Ulla, have you ever considered relocating your lovely store to our mall? I think we could offer you a very attractive lease structure and term."
She threw her head back and laughed, causing her thick, golden hair to fall down onto her shoulders. "Ah, I knew it! So that is your interest, eh? A consummate business man."
I waved my hands defensively. "No, no, believe me, I've enjoyed every moment that we've conversed. I was just......well......" I stammered again slightly, trying to measure my words carefully. She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and crossed her arms across her chest. She wore a silk ivory blouse that clearly showed the outlines of a lacy bra beneath, and black linen slacks. Her chest was proportionate to her lean body, and though I hadn't yet gotten the chance to take a peek at her ass, I had no doubt that it would be quite alluring.
She tapped her stylish heels on the marble floor (no, she wasn't wearing muddy work boots), making me squirm, enjoying my discomfort. The pumps made her about my own height, just under six feet tall.
"You....what....?" she demanded, toying with me. Her eyes sparkled teasingly, a Cheshire-cat grin curling on the corners of her lips. She was clearly reveling in the hint of intimidation. A confident older woman imposing her will upon a younger man. She was testing me, the professor giving the first pop quiz to her student.
I remained silent, returning her stare. When, just as suddenly, she let me off the hook, giggling delightedly. "I know how you leasing guys are, always looking for a deal." She leaned in close to me, as if sharing a secret. She smelled, um, sensational.
I don't know what her combination of expensive perfume, lotions, and shampoo might have been, but they all combined to form a powerful cocktail of olfactory stimuli.
"Your predecessor, or should I say predecessors now that I think about it, have been trying to get me into your mall for quite some time." I was relieved to not have to talk, so I let her continue.
"I could never be persuaded why I should leave my location here and go through the inconvenience of packing everything up, re-merchandising my store, and losing my storefront visibility. Plus, what should I pay all the extra common area charges that go with a mall lease? So, how would you persuade me otherwise?"
She had good points, I had to admit. I began to formulate my counter-argument, the prototypical leasing spiel. But I realized this was no ordinary prospect, in more ways than one. So, I tried the disarming approach. Charm.
"Well, if nothing else...." I began slowly. "....I would give you a personal tour of our many vacancies." I emphasized the word "many". She laughed. All one had to do was walk through the mall to notice that more stores were closing each month.
"And we could spend a few hours together to discuss possibilities and give me a fair opportunity to see how persuasive I can be."
I let the double-entendre hang in the air. Now, I saw an almost imperceptible trace of blush on her own cheeks. It was clear I was speaking her language by letting her know that my own intentions may not be purely business-related.
I reached into my wallet, extracted a business card, and placed it softly into her palm, holding her hand a few seconds longer than necessary. Her full lower lip trembled slightly as her index finger brushed against my wrist.
"Have your people call mine to set up an appointment," I said, huffing out my chest, mocking the silly ritual of self-important people using subordinates to arrange their schedules.
I then gave her my best schoolboy grin. "Or, seeing as how the principals are in the room now, come over anytime that works for you. Just give me ten minutes notice to make sure my shoes are shined."
She blinked for a moment, not understanding what I meant at first. Then she laughed, joining in on the joke.
"What can I say?" she asked. "A woman always looks at a man's shoes. They tell a lot."
She escorted me to the front of the store. She turned around to catch me checking out her taut fifty-one year-old butt, which would have made Jane Fonda envious. She smiled at me, not the least bit annoyed.
"What can I say?" I shrugged. "A man always looks at certain things, too."
Two days later, when I returned from lunch, our receptionist Trish greeted me with a question. I did make my own appointments. This was long before the day of Microsoft Outlook or smart phone calendars. My appointments were scribbled down on my desktop blotter, so generally Trish didn't know who I was meeting.
"Were you expecting a woman named Ulla Lehtinen? She stopped in to see you, and said if you were free when you returned from your shoe shine, that she would be in Dean and Deluca's at the café." She glanced down at my feet. "Where'd you get your shoes shined? I thought you were grabbing a sandwich at Clyde's?"
I grinned at the inside joke and went to the box on the wall in the security office where we kept the keys to the vacant spaces. "OK, thanks, Trish. She's a prospective tenant."
"Yeah, I know her store down the street. It's fabulous. She'd be a great addition. Do you think you can get her?"
Yeah, I sure hope I can 'get' her, I thought to myself, gathering up a half-dozen keys and a walkie-talkie, which is how we communicated back in those days when someone was out in the mall common area.
"I'll do my best," I called over my shoulder. "I may be a couple hours, so call me on the walkie if you need anything."
Ulla and I never did tour any vacancies. Instead, we sat in the outdoor coffee tables outside the ole carriage house on M street and talked. Not once did we talk about leases. Under the guise of a business meeting, we talked about everything but business for close to three hours.
She was dressed elegantly conservative in a maroon cashmere sweater and a charcoal gray knee length skirt. Every so often, when she shifted, I could see lace stockings beneath, and silently pondered if they were garters. I was always a sucker for garters.
Several hours into our afternoon, the conversation became more personal. Ulla started asking some questions of her own. Remember what they say about inquisitiveness.
"So, handsome mall manager, is there a special woman in your life? Or two, perhaps?"
I told her about Yvette, back in New Jersey. I've learned that most women become even more intrigued if they discover that there is already a woman in a man's life. Ulla seemed no different in this regard.
"So far away," Ulla purred, twirling a thick lock of hair in her slender finger. "And so young. How often have you seen her since you moved here?"
Once, I told her, last weekend. And probably wouldn't see her again for a few more weeks, at least. This seemed to further spark Ulla's interest.
"So, you will go for sometime without seeing your young lover. Do you think she is sitting at home studying when you're not there?" Ulla's question immediately hit a nerve, and she sensed my discomfort as I squirmed a bit in my seat.
On her last visit, Yvette showed a marked and rather sudden improvement in her oral skills. I chalked if off to the enthusiasm of sex in a new long-distance relationship. But, still. I wondered where and how Yvette had developed almost overnight expertise in technique........
My silence did not go unnoticed by Ulla, but she did not press that line of questioning. Her point had been made, and Yvette's perceived philandering was not at all relevant to where Ulla was heading.
"There are many lovely women within your mall, John. I'm sure you have noticed." Ulla glanced down at her exposed stocking tops and took the hem of her skirt within her index and middle fingers, rubbing the fingertips over the wool hemline. "After all, you are quite observant," she added in a soft, sultry voice.
I took her up on the implied invitation to admire her lean thighs now visible beneath the skirt. While never lifting my eyes from her legs, I answered her.
"I won't ever date a woman who works in one of my malls. That's a recipe for trouble, ultimately." I smiled at her, bringing my gaze to her eyes. She had leaned in closer across the table now, her chest jutting out, nipples poking through the sweater.
"That's another reason, then, why I wouldn't be interested in a landlord-tenant relationship with you," she said. "Who needs that kind of trouble?"
We stared at each other in silence for a few seconds, which only served to increase the growing sexual tension. I suddenly became aware of my surroundings and realized I was still within the boundary lines of the mall for which I was responsible. Dean and Deluca was one of our tenants, and I glanced around quickly to see if we were being observed.
My paranoia was unfounded. Nobody seemed to be watching. Nobody cared. In most places, folks love to gossip and people-watch, it's true, but in DC, most people don't really give a shit. They're all too self-absorbed to pay attention to others.
Ulla broke the awkward, though sexually charged, silence. "Have dinner with me tomorrow night." It was somewhere in between a question and a demand.
"OK," I said, almost too quickly, hard as a rock now.
She smiled. "Filomena's, have you been there yet?"
"No, I haven't. I heard it's wonderful."
"It's fabulous. I'll make the reservation, I know the owner, she's a client. I'll see that we get the best table so that we can enjoy each other's company. Seven-thirty? Meet me at the bar?"
I nodded. Ulla stood, and I rose to meet her departure. She gave me one of those European air kisses, and as she grazed my cheek, she whispered surreptitiously into my ear.
"I'm so very wet. I could never be your tenant, now could I?"
Ulla was already seated at the bar when I arrived on time the next evening, wearing the quintessential little black dress, her long legs adorned in black stockings with a seam running up the middle. She was talking with a dark-haired woman with an olive complexion who appeared to be in her early sixties.
Ulla greeted me with a hug, and introduced me to her friend.
"John, this is JoAnna, the owner of this incredible restaurant. JoAnna, this is my new friend, John, the new manager of Georgetown Park."
I shook JoAnna's hand as she shook her head at Ulla and wagged a finger. "No, between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship." She let those words sink in as she patted me on the cheek.
She grabbed Ulla by the hand and patted her palm warmly, in a matronly way. "So do not treat each other as friends. It is a lot more fun that way between a handsome man and beautiful woman."
JoAnna turned to me. "And you. You are a very lucky man. This is the sexiest woman in Georgetown. Every man in Georgetown would die to be her companion tonight. So, please, you two, do not pretend to be just friends."
I reached out and took Ulla's other hand. It was the first time that she and I had really touched, and the sexual sparks by the mere contact of skin nearly detonated the exquisitely appointed dining room.
"I know it, JoAnna, I am truly a fortunate man. And I have been looking forward to dining here, I have heard such wonderful things."
JoAnna smiled proudly and leaned in to whisper something into Ulla's ear, and the two women giggled like conspiratorial schoolgirls.
JoAnna led the way through the crowded restaurant to a somewhat secluded table in the very rear of the room. I walked behind slightly, admiring Ulla's sublime buttocks sway under the sexy, tight dress. I was reminded of the saying, "A whiskey glass and a woman's ass are the downfall of many a good man."
I didn't drink whiskey, so I figured this was a more pleasant way to go, if indeed there was going to be a downfall.
JoAnna sat us down, fawning over us like a mother hen for a few seconds, and then insisted she bring a bottle of valpolicella, her treat.
When we were finally alone, I said to Ulla, "Um, if I didn't know better, I'd say JoAnna reminds me of the "matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof". What did she whisper to you, anyway? Or is that a classified secret between women?"
Ulla smiled at me. "Let's just say she encouraged me to save room for a creamy dessert." She picked up the menu and began to peruse it.
"So, I cannot be your tenant nor your friend, so it seems," she said, without picking up her head. "Hmmm, what does that leave for us?"
I looked at my own menu. "I'm sure we can think of something by the time that creamy dessert rolls around."
She closed the menu and waited for me to look up at her. When I did, she said quietly, "There are some things you should realize about me."
I nodded, encouraging her to continue as I closed my own menu.
Her glacier-blue eyes blazed into mine. "I am a few fundamental things, at my core. I am Scandinavian, and come from and embrace a very open and sexual culture. I hope you are prepared for that."
"Go on, Ulla," I said, trying to exude confidence. My rock-hard dick was scraping the bottom of the table, threatening to make indentations in the wood.
"I can be very dominant, and I can be very submissive, and I enjoy both roles. Is that something you could be comfortable with?"
Inside I was most uncomfortable, but my words came out almost instinctively. "Very comfortable," I said, hoping she wouldn't call me on the lie.
"I choose my sexual partners discerningly. I can be alarmingly slutty given the right motivation, but not a common whore. And there is a distinct difference."
This time, I remained silent, aroused beyond description. She continued.
"I am experimental and insatiable. I like to be licked and caressed very gently, but fucked hard and rough. I prefer young men, much younger men, because of your stamina. I ask you not to judge me, nor shall I judge you. But by the time the morning comes, I am confident that you will appreciate that you will have experienced the most memorable sexual experience of your life."