M&M KissesbyTx Tall Tales©
Sweets revenge exposes a weakness and opportunity
This is an entry in the 2012 Halloween contest.
In case you didn't know...
M&M is a registered trademark of the Mars company.
Hershey's KISSES Brand Chocolates is a registered trademark of the Hershey Company
I love Halloween. The unapologetic, over-the-top nature of the whole holiday. An excess of candy, a shortage of material in costume making, a handy excuse for the wildest party of the year. Black and white horror films. Technicolor home displays. The sluttification of the American woman. The perfect excuse to scare your friends.
Did I mention the candy?
Our office has a break area supplied with drinks and snack. Mostly soda, water, some juice, and something over-caffeinated in the fridge. Chips, cookies, crackers, nuts and fruit in the cabinets and on the counter.
Halloween brings the candy. Mmmm. Chocolate.
It starts a couple of weeks early, when the over-sized, individually wrapped goodies come out for Halloween, and it continues for another week of decadence following the Trick-or-Treating, when everyone brings in their excess remains.
Our admin is a cutie, young and definitely OCD. Everything has to be in order, lined up, organized, everything in its place. I can see why my office drives her nuts. She gets fidgety whenever she's in there more than a few seconds. I made her sit through a conference call once, and within minutes she lost it and was sifting through my desk contents, stacking, moving, lining things up. I kept smacking her hands away, and 30 seconds later she'd be back at it. Embarrassed, but unable to stop. Cute as hell.
I stop by her desk a few times a day, checking on mail, assigning some minor tasks, sometimes to chat. She's a sweet girl, pretty, almost finished with college, which she's completing part-time. Wears nice little cleavage exposing tops at least once a week or so. Bless her little heart.
Briana does the snack buying, and I noticed she had a penchant for M&Ms. Regular, no peanuts, pretzels, or peanut butter. Simple candy coated chocolate heaven. I personally am a fan of the Hershey Kisses. How simple and elegant, teardrops of endorphins, individually wrapped. Melt in your mouth goodness.
I couldn't help notice how she'd grab a handful of M&Ms out of the candy jar, and lay them out in orderly little piles, sorted by color and number. Sometimes they'd be lined up, other times separated into groups. Boxes of 4, curved rainbows, triangles, concentric circles. There was always an uneven number to start, more of the greens and oranges, maybe the blues, a shortage of yellows, reds, browns. She'd work to even it out, eating the excess quantities down until they were nicely balanced, then continuing to bring the number down until there were one or two of all the colors equally. She worked from left to right (never right to left) or top to bottom, until they were all gone by the end of the day. One good size fistful to start the day, lasting all eight hours.
I'd been giving her a hard time. We were out of Kisses and dry roasted peanuts, but the M&M jar was still a third full, so no shopping. On the third day of shortage I was leaning over the edge of her desk, eyeing her neat little piles. Time to ratchet things ups.
I commenced my terrorist campaign.
Let's face it. Engineer's are a weird bunch. Nothing half-assed in our plans. If we're going to do something, no reason not to do it to excess.
When Briana returned from lunch, she was faced with an epic disaster. In a line of M&Ms six long, and three deep, the fourth from the left was missing. There was a note, written in newspaper ransom font.
"WE GOT RED. KISSES OR SHE GETS IT."
I had a perfect view of her response. I had adjusted the entrance camera to look down on her desk, and had tapped into the IP feed.
She appeared to be in shock. She shrugged it off, and sat down, a few minutes later moving the M&Ms around, into different patterns. She always came back to the same three lines, in the same order. Green, orange, blue, red, yellow, brown. And that sad gap where one was missing.
She got up and went to the kitchen, returning with one red M&M. Damn. Such a beautiful plan, such a simple flaw. Briana slipped it into the opening and went back to her work.
For about 10 seconds.
She turned back and moved the one new red M&M. Adjusted its position. Turned it upside down. She finally picked it up, looked at it and popped it between her pretty red lips. Leaving the huge cavity in her design.
Thirty seconds later she was standing in my doorway. "I want it back," she said, looking so determined. Adorable.
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," I said calmly.
She walked over and stared down at me from her lofty 5'5", including three inch wedge heels. Wow. I rated. She'd put on her shoes to confront me. "Give it back."
"You know what it takes," I told her calmly, continuing my typing.
She turned and stomped out of my office, "You can be such a jerk, Zach."
"Thank you, please come again," I called out after her.
I brought the video feed back up and watched her angrily push the candy pile to the side, making a jumble of it, getting back to some form she was working on. That didn't last five minutes. She turned to the side, her hands practically shaking, rearranging the piles, desperately. Seeing her like that I started to feel bad for her. It was a real compulsion.
Damn. It was just a joke. I didn't want to do that to her.
I unlocked my file drawer, reaching to the back, and pulling out the tiny little clear plastic box I'd put her M&M in. A joke. I looked up as Briana burst into my office, closing the door sharply behind her. She leaped upon me, pressing her lips against mine. She bit my lip, her tongue brushing against my teeth, her breath heavy.
She pulled back, her eyes on fire, chest heaving. "There. Now give her to me."
I was shocked, and on the verge of groveling for treating her like that. But I couldn't. It was too damn funny. "Chocolate Kisses, Bree. We're out of chocolate kisses." I pushed her little captive red M&M out in front of me.
She picked up the box, clutching it to her chest, blushing. "I'm so sorry, Zach," she whispered, bringing her hand to her mouth.
"Three days we've been out. It was only meant to be a little reminder," I told her. I wanted to hold her, calm her, but I was afraid. The office. Sexual harassment. The age difference, only about 10 years, but it seemed like 20.
"Don't tell, Ok? I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," she whispered, literally shaking. I could swear she was on the verge of a breakdown.
I couldn't stand it. "Shh." I whispered, putting my arm around and her and walking her back to her desk. I didn't give a flying fuck if anybody saw.
Standing in front of her candy pile, I took the plastic pillbox from her and opened it. I placed it next to the colorful stacks. "You rescued her. Bring her home."
Briana fumbled twice, her shaking hands unable to pull the red M&M from its temporary home. She ended up turning the box over, dumping it out and pushing it in line with the others. She pulled it out again, turning it upside down so the imprinted white 'm' was on the top. She turned it so the printing was straight, and slid it back in place.
I saw the tenseness disperse, and she sat back in her chair, obviously relieved. She grabbed the first M&M in line, the green one and popped it in her mouth. She grinned at me, leaning back in her chair. Suddenly so calm and collected.
"I'll get the Kisses tonight," she said. "Hershey, chocolate Kisses."
"I'm not picky about the brand. I suddenly find myself a fan of all types of kisses."
She grinned. "I bet. You say one word about this, and I will make you pay forever. Believe me, Zach. I can make your life hell."
I shrugged. "Or heaven." I leaned over. "Sorry, I was only teasing," I said softly.
She gave me a sweet little smile and a wink. "I know. We're cool."
Her phone rang, and she looked at the number. "I have to take this. It's important."
I nodded, turning back to my desk.
"Mom? Everything's fine..."
Back at my desk, I couldn't stop thinking about her, and that kiss. I kept the video feed up on my desktop, while working. She had slowly worked her way through the first three M&Ms and had come to the red one. She picked it up and moved it to the back row, eating the one she'd replaced.
Still awfully cute, for a nut job.
I watched her all afternoon. I felt like a damn stalker. Hell, who am I kidding, I was. It was that damn red M&M. I kept waiting for her to eat it. She always ate all of them, before she left at 4:30, on the dot.
It was 4:28, and three M&Ms remained. Red, yellow, brown. Briana had already turned off the computer, and cleared her desk. A spotless surface except for those three colorful chocolates. She suddenly reached out and grabbed all three of them, putting them in her mouth. That lasted a good 5 seconds before she was spitting them back out into her hand. She put the red one to the side, and popped the other two back into her mouth. I saw her trembling hand pick up the last lonely survivor. She opened her drawer, pulled out a napkin and patted it dry. She pursed her lips and blew on it, examining it carefully for damage. I watched her open her center drawer and pull out the pillbox. She glanced up at the clock, placed Red back into the plastic home, and locked her away. The clock still read 4:30, the second hand sweeping past the nine. She grabbed her purse and keys, running through the door. On time as always.
I stayed late. Very late. Doing something I should have done months before.
* * *
I strolled in around 9:40. We have flex hours, 9:30 to 4:30 the core hours when everyone is supposed to be in the office. I usually make it by 9:30, but I wasn't a stickler. We didn't punch a time clock, and as long as you're in the right ballpark, nobody cares about a few minutes now and then.
Briana was sitting in my office. "It's 9:42," she said, exasperated.
There was a little pyramid of Kisses in the middle of my desk.
"I'm sorry." I was. I imagine those 12 minutes were hell for her.
I sat in my chair, the desk between us. "Kisses for me?"
She grinned. "Chocolate only, if you can't be on time."
Flirting. Cute. Adorable. "I won't be late again."
She ran her hands across my cleared desk. Nothing but a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and my phone. She looked around the office. Spotless. "Did you do this for me?" she asked softly.
I nodded. "I don't want you uncomfortable when you come in here."
She smiled, and stood up. "You didn't just throw it all in a drawer, did you?" She opened the overhead cabinets, seeing all my books neatly stacked. She reordered a couple of them, and moved to my drawers, opening them and looking inside. She had to make a change everywhere, stacking pads, moving a stapler, shifting empty folders to the back of the full ones, instead of the front.
When she closed the last one, she went back to her chair, sitting back, relaxed, obviously happy. "Must have taken you a while," she said.
"And then some."
She stood again, leaning over the desk toward me. It was cleavage day, and I got quite a nice glimpse of flesh. "That was sweet," she said softly. She reached out and pulled the top Kiss off my neat little pile. She opened it slowly, pulling the little piece of white paper out and straightening it, then stretched across and put the chocolate to my lips. I opened my mouth and accepted her little gift. Briana rolled the foil into a tiny ball, and dropped it in the garbage can. She ran the paper through her fingers, until it was nice and straight.
"Be on time tomorrow, or no kisses for you."
I watched her on camera during the day. Not compulsively like the day before, but occasionally, smiling to myself each time she changed the pattern of her piles or ate another one. She had the little pillbox out, pushed back out of view, behind her pill piles.
I stopped by and chatted a moment, looking at her neat little groupings. "How's Red?"
She blushed. She pulled the little clear box forward. "I couldn't do it. She's not a candy now. She's the queen of the M&Ms."
"Lucky girl. Gets to sit up here with you all day."
"How were the kisses?" she asked.
"Sweet as always. Melt in your mouth goodness. Not as nice as yesterday's of course."
"No? That's too bad. Next time I might have to look for a new brand."
By the end of the day, her pile was gone, and at 4:30, Red was in her protective box, hidden in a drawer, and I was online doing a little shopping for my M&M girl.
* * *
I was at my desk at 9:20. At 9:30 on the dot, Briana walked in looking around the office, obviously checking to see if I'd maintained it in good order. She closed the door, until it was open only a couple of inches. She walked over to the window and adjusted the blind so it was even at the bottom, and ran her hand down the slats, making sure they were all in place. Turning back to the desk, she opened her bag and took out four Hershey kisses. She put three in a neat little triangle, and turned the fourth one upside down in the middle. Exactly the same as the day before.
"There's one missing," I observed brilliantly.
She leaned against the desk next to me. "Goodness. I guess there is. We'll have to fix that." She leaned in and gave me a sweet little kiss on the lips. Nothing crazy, only a soft pucker, not even any tongue.
Even so, she had my heart racing.
"Better?" she asked, turning to the door.
"Yes. I like that brand a lot better."
She laughed opening the door. "I'm sure you do. Enjoy your kisses."
I watched my girl during the day, playing with her candy, entertaining Red, and going through her typical work day. I spaced my own kisses out during the day, imagining replacing each with a real kiss. My new favorite brand.
I left a note on her desk. "Wait for me, before you get your M&Ms."
* * *
At home my package had arrived. $65 for a less than a pound, rush, overnight delivery. Expensive. My adorable admin was definitely worth it.
* * *
I showed up early, knowing that she'd probably get edgy, breaking up her routine. At 7:58 she was organizing her space, unlocking her drawers, putting her purse in the back of the bottom right, hanging up her jacket. At 8:00 she was seated at her desk. She looked up at the clock, moved her mouse and logged into the computer.
I stopped by a couple of minutes later. "Let me know when you're going to get your snacks," I said.
She barely looked up, scrolling through her email. "Nine o'clock."
At nine, Briana was standing in my door, punctual as always. I got up and walked with her to the break-room. She walked over to the M&M jar, and I stopped in front of it, reaching into the cupboard, top shelf. I brought down the jar and passed it to her.
She was nicely surprised. I watched her open the wide mouth jar, dipping her hand in and retrieving a fist full of M&Ms. Three colors only, light pink, dark pink and red. She lifted one up and looked at it. On the reverse it had my name, ZACH. She grinned. "Your brand?"
I nodded. "Not near as nice as yours, but I thought you might like to give it a try."
She shook her head. "I can't eat these."
I closed the jar, and put it on the top shelf. "You have to, or I won't let you see the next batch."
She laughed, such a sweet carefree sound. She was beautiful when she laughed. "Ok, I'll give them a try. It's going to be hard to beat the originals."
"A try is all I ask."
She retreated to her desk, and I watched her play with her new M&Ms, sorting and organizing them. At 9:30 she walked into my office, giving a quick look around. She partially closed the door, came over beside me, her cute bottom resting on my desk, and put three Kisses on my desk.
I pouted. "I was gypped."
She giggled and brought her lips to mine, kissing me softly, lingering, her tongue brushing my lips for a moment. She brushed her hand against my cheek, as she pulled away. "Still feel gypped?
I shook my head.
"You can have the other one after you take me to lunch. 11:50. Don't be late."
At 11:40, I looked up into my admin video feed, and she was playing with the M&Ms. She moved her hands, and I saw she had created a heart, the dark red M&Ms on the outer edge, two interior rows of light pink, the rest of the center filled with the dark pink. She ate three of the dark pink ones, leaving a hole in the middle where she quickly place Red, clear case and all.
She looked up, glancing around and quickly re-segregated them into three piles. She put Red away, and turned off her monitor.
I minimized the camera feed, grabbed my wallet and keys, and hurried to her area, glancing up at the big clock facing her desk. 11:49. At 11:50 she stood and passed me her jacket. I opened it for her, helping her put it on. She pulled her purse out of the bottom drawer, locking her desk.
In the parking lot she took one look at my car and came to a dead standstill. After a few seconds she looked over at me. "Can we take my car?" she asked.
She gave me her keys, and I unlocked the doors, opening hers for her, closing it securely once she was inside. I got in the driver side, adjusting the mirrors and seat. "Any place special?"
She smiled. "I imagine any place you take me will be special." She looked down at her watch. "Fifty-four minutes."
Plenty of time for almost anywhere, but I didn't want her stressing. I had a feeling I knew someplace she'd like. Call it a hunch.
We pulled in front of the large restaurant. It advertised a Chinese buffet, but the real prize was the sushi. Usually twenty or more types, with two sushi chefs behind the counter constantly restocking. The lunch buffet was $8.99, $12.99 with the sushi.
Briana was in heaven. She went through the buffet, selecting half a dozen different types, a few of each. She made patterns, by size and color, before eating the first one. I saw a beautiful smile appear on her face. "It's good," she said.
"You like sushi?" I asked.
She giggled. "A little late to ask." She picked up a second one, tuna. "So far I do."
"Your first time?"
She nodded, blushing. "In a lot of ways. Thank you, Zach."
I showed her how to take the wasabi and mix it with the soy sauce for dipping. It took her a couple of minutes to get it the way she wanted, then tested it with a piece of Salmon, evening her plate down to two each of five different types. Four pieces as spikes of a wheel, with two pieces of spicy volcano roll in the middle.
I got a kick out of trying to teach her how to use chopsticks. I thought it was interesting that she had no problems with the new type of food, and utensils. Then again, what did I know about that kind of compulsion?
It was nice. We chatted about work, about the upcoming holiday, the merits of M&Ms vs. Kisses. There was little awkwardness, and a surprising level of comfort.
With ten minutes to spare, I had paid the bill, and was helping her with her coat. The restaurant was less than 5 minutes from the office, but I didn't want her getting nervous if I pressed the time.
She grinned as she got in the car. "I would have been good for a couple of more minutes," she said, almost apologetically.
"I'll remember that next time."
"You think there's going to be a next time? After that stunt you pulled kidnapping Red?"
"Kidnapping? I was the one who saved her. I had heard she was going to be eaten before 4:30 pm. Such a cruel fate."
I hadn't started the car. And our time was ticking away. "I had an ulterior motive for leaving early," I confessed.
"You? Ulterior motive? I'm shocked."