tagRomanceNicola Nefertiti

Nicola Nefertiti

byquandom©

It was midday, and I couldn't put it off any longer. As the bellboy backed out of the Presidential Suite checking his tip, I asked him to hang out the red Do Not Disturb sign. Then I sat down to rehearse the damn speech I had to make. It would be difficult.

It would last only last five minutes. The staff would arrive for the welcome-night cocktails at the Florida resort where my executive team has its annual getaway. They'd walk in smiling, and then get hit in the face by my news. The fun years as a close bound team were over. I ended it this morning when I sold up Michael Lange Technics to a European conglomerate.

I signed the deal with Avionics Brussels at breakfast, and was left with a sweet and sour feeling. Sweet because after twelve mad years building my navigation systems business, I was suddenly a very wealthy man. Sour because you don't choose the moment some industry giant makes the offer you'd be crazy to refuse -- and you know it affects 300 people, many who've worked with you for years.

I tried to write the words I needed, one part of me feeling a traitor, and another, deeply relieved to be finally freed of the chains. Twice in the earlier years, my business had been within days of taking me down the gurgler.

A door clicked open. I turned, angry the hotel staff had ignored my privacy request, and startled Nicola Nicolaides. My youngest executive's hand flew to her mouth, and her face flushed.

"Oh, no. I'm sorry, Mr. Lange," she stammered. "I just checked in, and I thought I was opening the door to my bathroom and --- and it's your suite. I know I should have knocked first...." She was floundering and humiliated. I needed to turn the moment into some sort of joke.

"Hell Nicola, I order coffee, and Room Service sends up you instead. What's this joint coming to?" I asked her. "There's a coffee machine in that spiffy butler's pantry on your left. Do me a huge favor - I badly need a very long black. And why not something for yourself too."

I smiled at her. "Look, I know this is your first time at the executive retreat -- but how many times have I asked you to just call me Michael?"

There was something between relief and uncertainty on Nicola's face. "Okay Mister... okay Michael. Coffee. I'll get it." She turned towards the pantry. "A double for The Boss," she murmured.

I saw her smile shyly to herself. And not for the first time, Nicola Nicolaides made my heart catch.

****

Let me tell you what I knew about Nicola Nicolaides.

First, the obvious. Nicola is - and only the blind might argue -- very, very beautiful, but in a startling and distinctive way, which I'll tell you about. She came to Lange as a management trainee three years ago. Elle Norris, our personnel manager, sent her to me for the final "sign off" interview that was a formality unless I took serious exception. "She's a bit shy, and - considering she's an unusual beauty - not all that confident. But I see some special qualities," Elle commented.

While Ms Nicolaides waited in the lobby, I flicked through her resume. Nicolaides -- presumably the name meant an Eastern Mediterranean background? Very young -- only 22. Good passes in her business degree, but it was from a second rate college, and the part time waitressing and factory jobs showed she'd had to work her way. My assistant buzzed, and Nicola walked into the office.

Okay.

Now, you'll remember the beauteous Nefertiti? I know that somewhere you've seen a picture of the museum bust of the fabled Queen of Egypt. Nefertiti preceded the famed boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamen, and when she was sealed in her tomb, its entrance was lovingly inscribed with the words "the Mistress of Sweetness." Two thousand years later we see the serene face of her statuette, and recognize the extraordinary beauty of her finely chiseled features. While the face seems shaped from quite another age, it is peerless.

Well, Nefertiti, in the form of Nicola Nicolaides, was standing in front of me. I swear that if she'd shown any smart knowingness about her unusual beauty, I would have shown her the door. She would have been too disruptive a presence. However she was just as Elle Norris described her -- a little young and shy, but possessing a quality that was hard to pin.

I hired Nicola and she started as an assistant in the sales group, but within weeks its frustrated Sales Director complained she wouldn't progress because she lacked confidence and forcefulness. Elle Norris and I put time into two review meetings, one with Nicola in tears, and realized we were pushing her in the wrong direction. Sure, that face might open a thousand doors, but her shy temperament didn't match up with a sales department. Perhaps she was made to be a back room girl. I moved her into the team doing the tough yards preparing our largest technical tenders, and she found her niche immediately. Nicola could organize and manage challenging detail, and she quietly became indispensable to her section.

Still, I know the Director of Sales sometimes pulls her aside and sends her into new business meetings just for the hell of it. He says they've never seen anyone quite like her, and take a good ten minutes to get their eyes back into their heads.

Myself? Well there's not that much to tell. I'm 42 years old, I've been divorced four years, and luckily there were no children to get caught up in it. We managed a split with only a few touches of acrimony, and then got on with new lives. I work very long hours, and worry, but that comes with building your own business. My days are full - but am I lonely when I finally get home to an empty house? Yes, more than I'd admit.

And Nicola? Well she'd be 25 now, a fixture in her job, and the office rumors say there's no particular boyfriend. One other thing I know about Nicola - if she was the plainest woman in the street, I'd still like her. (True, that's if I ever managed to notice her). I sometimes find myself looking at Nicola when it won't be noticed, and thinking about crazy stuff. About the things that can't possibly happen. She's too young, I'm too much older, I'd look like a creep, and besides all that, she works for me.

****

"Tee-off's in two hours. Are you joining up with the guys in the golf group," I asked Nicola, as she handed me the coffee she'd made, and perched herself on the seat opposite, unconsciously pulling down the hem of her closefitting skirt. It was pointless. Her legs remained long, tanned, and shapely.

"I tried out a couple of golf lessons, but I need some practice. I'd look silly and get in the way if I played, so I'll stay in the hotel and maybe go to the spa."

"The suite's got its own spa pool out on the deck. You could have it to yourself if you liked."

She seemed uncertain. "That'd be nice. Maybe - but I wish I could join in and golf with the guys. Perhaps I'll be good enough next year," she mused.

"Hell, you don't have to actually play, Nicola. Ride along in the cart with me, and have a putt when we get to the greens. Would you like that?"

"Could I? Are you sure I won't get in your way?"

****

A dozen of the team had signed up for golf, and we met at the first tee. While we loaded clubs and drinks on board the carts, the course starter pulled me aside.

"Your group?" he asked.

"Yes it is."

"I'm sorry, the girl can't go out on the course," he said, nodding towards Nicola.

Nicola was dressed in all white -- her dark wavy hair cascaded from under her perky visor, and a cotton blouse was knotted in a bow half way up her brown stomach. Tailored shorts that reached only a couple of inches below the curve of her firm backside, clung to the top of her long tanned legs.

"You mean she'll draw too big a gallery?" I joked.

"Yeah, she probably would -- but actually it's the dress code," the chubby man said grimly. "There's one here for the female players too. Shorts have to reach just above the knees."

"But she's not actually playing," I said. "She's just here to watch. Surely there's no dress rule for spectators?"

He thought about that a moment, then burst out laughing. "There's not, but I've got me ten bucks says you don't break a hundred with her in your cart. How you gonna keep your eye on the ball, huh?"

I played rubbish golf the first five holes, just like the marshal predicted. Nicola seemed nervous beside me, and somehow I'd made myself self-conscious. We were not at ease with each other. While you were never unaware of Nicola's beauty, I hadn't seen her dressed in anything overtly sexy, and the wattage glittering through now was overwhelming. We stuttered along, me awkward, and her overly polite to the boss. I knew that after tonight's announcements I'd no longer be shackled by being her employer, but the hard truth was if I ever made a move on her, she'd tag me as yet another older guy on the make. It was stupid to even think about it.

The sixth tee was on a steep crest, and when we drove back down the curving path behind the other carts, I took a corner too quickly. The cart lurched, and Nicola slid across the seat towards me. I was wearing shorts so her smooth legs slipped along mine as she tried to recover her balance. By the time I'd stopped the cart, her backside was across my lap, her breasts were pushed against my chest, and her olive skinned face was buried so close to my neck I could smell her.

There was skin contact everywhere and I jumped as if I'd been charged with an electric prod. Beside me, I felt Nicola's body quivering like a startled doe's.

I looked into her gold and green eyes, and she surprised me by holding my gaze. "Wow, did you feel the charge?" I exclaimed, not thinking about my words, and instantly wanting to take them back. But she nodded slightly. Then slowly, as if dawn was rising, the serenely beautiful face of Nefertiti opened into a secret smile. The others were now thirty yards in front of us, and I acted on unthinking impulse. I leaned into her and brushed her mouth with mine. Startled, she opened her lips to me and we kissed.

But ahead of us, a cart had stopped. "Got to go I suppose," I said, indicating the pair in front, and she murmured something in my ear. I swear she whispered: "Shit."

Still, it had happened, and the rest of the game now mattered little. When I could do it discreetly, I drove a few yards behind the other players so we could talk, and it seemed to me she sat close enough to be always brushing against me. Nicola putted with us on several holes, and smiled in delight when she sank a twenty footer than won me a bet. At last, on the final hole she asked if she could try a fairway shot. She fluffed her first and then her second, and the other guys teased us as I wrapped my arms around Nicola and showed her how to swing the club. What they couldn't see was how tightly she snuggled her butt against me.

We finished the game, and the players shook hands, with everyone insisting on kissing their beautiful workmate. We drove back into the golf shed, and I began taking my clubs off the cart. "Have to run," she said. "Its drinks and your opening speech, so I've got to get myself dressed up."

"No big deal, it's just me," I replied.

She looked into my eyes. "I know. That's why."

"Look, we're going to have to talk." I told her. "There's something that I need to tell you."

"Me to, I think," she whispered, and turned away. But she didn't know the half of it.

****

Avionics Brussels asked that when I announced the sale to my staff, I introduce the executive who'd step into my shoes. Helmet Schum would then stay on for the rest of the retreat. I'd agreed to do a short consulting role while I phased myself out, and I knew there'd be a tough adjustment period for my staff, and maybe some wouldn't survive it.

Schum came to the suite before the staff cocktails, and we went over what we'd both be saying. "You're quite sure it is good that I stay on for your company dinner?" he asked.

"Yes-- they'll need time with you," I said. Schum had a pleasant manner and seemed likeable enough, which would make breaking my news easier. We went downstairs together to the hotel's function room. I saw the puzzled looks on my execs' faces as I stepped up to the microphone with a stranger by my side. Honestly I don't recall the next few minutes clearly, because they were more emotional than I'd been ready for. I do know that Nicola, the most junior of the group, stood to the rear, dressed in a shimmering white sheath. Her body was stiff, her face unreadable.

There was a stunned silence when we finished, and then someone decided it was polite to clap. I seized a large scotch and taking Schum by the elbow, took him down into the white faced group, and began introducing him around. It was ten minutes before I could talk to Nicola.

"I wanted to tell you about their buy-out this afternoon. I'm sorry, but it wasn't possible," I whispered.

"Of course you couldn't say anything. I understand absolutely," she said coolly.

"So what do you think?"

She paused to consider, and seemed to steel herself. Her face still a mask, she answered: "Michael, everybody here worried this might happen. There's no one will begrudge your good fortune, but every one of us will hate what's happened." She gave me a small, tight smile. "Still, life goes on for some, I guess."

I felt shattered. "We still need to talk. There's more I want to say. Can we do that?" I asked. But Helmut Schum, was at my arm and before Nicola could reply, he was charmingly introducing himself to the one person in the room that, if he was remotely male, he most wanted to impress. I had to leave her with her new boss.

Nicola was seated farthest from me at dinner, and we couldn't speak. She was there in the background talking to a smiling Schum as one by one I was cornered by anxious staff. But when I went looking for her at around 11pm, they were both gone. By now we were in a small private bar, and while I seethed with anxiety, it was impossible for me to go until the last worried staffer left me in peace. It was nearly 1am.

I could see no light under Nicola's door as I walked past her room, and I paused, silently cursing the obligations that had kept me. At this time of night I'd look a sad case, if I knocked. Disappointed, I walked into my suite and headed straight to the bar for another drink I didn't particularly need. I threw off my jacket, pulled my collar open, and flopped down on a sofa. Then I noticed. The door to Nicola's adjoining room was slightly ajar. I thought for a moment, and then, hoping against hope that she'd left it that way deliberately, I pushed it open, put my head around the door, and whispered:

"Nicola, are you there? Are you still awake?" I heard a body move in the darkness, but there was no response. "Nicola?" I asked again.

"Yes, I'm awake," she replied tersely. But she said nothing else, and the silence hung. I wondered if Schum might be with her.

"I'd like to talk to you. Is that okay?"

There was another long pause, and then a sigh. "Okay. But can you go back into your suite? I'll be with you in a moment."

I waited, hearing Nicola moving round in her bathroom. The only light turned on in my suite was a corner lamp, and five minutes later she edged through the door into the semi-lit room. Nicola was wearing a silk gown, and I realized she'd been tidying up and brushing her hair. She looked down at the sofa, hesitated, and then decided to sit beside me. It was only then I realized Nicola had been crying.

"Hey, what's up? It's all going to be okay," I said. I wrapped my arms around her to comfort her. "It's going to be fine."

She sobbed. "It's not okay. How can you possibly think that it's okay?" I felt warm tears running down her cheek.

"Look, you'll be fine. You're good at what you do, and I know for a fact the new owners want to keep you on, because I talked through our team with them. I think you'll be moving up the ladder," I told her.

"Is that all?" she muttered. To my surprise, she pulled back, looked at me furiously, and then tried to hit me. Not once, but twice. I grabbed her hands to control her, and gently wrestled her in tight against me. "Moving up your damn ladder," she sobbed angrily. "Can't you see? Are you totally blind? Don't you realize what you've gone and done to me?"

"No I don't see. I don't get it. I'm sorry, what do you mean?" I said nonplussed. "Honestly, you'll do very well out of this." She sat up, her gown opening to reveal a perfectly rounded breast and a dark brown nipple, but truly, it was her brimming liquid eyes that held me.

"From tomorrow it all finishes. I won't work for you anymore," she said. "I can't bear this. I've had other good job offers. The only reason I've stayed with your company is it means every day I come to work, I get to see you. And now you've blown that away. I've been crazy about you, but you didn't even notice. I've just been Miss Invisible all along. I've been wasting my time."

Her body shuddered as she wept again, and I pulled her close to me, stroking her long dark hair, amazed by the words I'd just heard. I was astonished, and I was shamed. I was aroused, alarmed, and delighted - all at once. It's hard to find words for a moment you discover that somehow, against all odds, your crazy obsession with a beautiful woman wasn't the doomed madness you believed it.

So at first, I simply couldn't speak. Silenced, I just held her against me as she sobbed. Then, holding her close to me, I began to tell her the words I never thought I'd get to say. How she'd stunned my senses the first time I saw her. How I'd watched her and longed for her, but always thought there was no chance. Why I'd carefully kept myself distant and remote. And how with my now leaving the company, perhaps we were free to begin something.

At last, seemingly reassured, she began to relax in my arms. For a while we lay quietly. "Are you sure that's what you feel about me?" she murmured. "Honestly?"

"Yes," I said.

"All this time. It's been three years of you saying nothing, me saying nothing."

"Yes, crazy, isn't it?"

"All that misunderstanding. And so much agony - so much wasted time," she sighed.

"Well let's not waste even more time. I don't want to end up just saying 'Goodnight,' to you. I know all this is new, and I know I'm pressing - but will you stay here with me?"

She tensed, and I thought she'd say no. But then she nodded. I went out to the bathroom and when I returned five minutes later found her under the covers. I was embarrassed that I was already erect and I found it difficult to conceal my hardness as I got into bed, and reached for her. As she slid into my arms, her gown slipped off her shoulder, and I felt her nipple against me as my cock pressed against the silk covering her stomach. I slid my hands under her gown and discovered that if she'd been wearing panties, she'd pulled them off.

For a while we just kissed but there was no point in some slow, elaborate seduction. We now knew that each of us had, from our own distances, been waiting for this moment. I tenderly kissed her hardened nipples, and felt her hand brush against my cock, and then hold it, stroking it gently. I slipped my own hand down between her knees, and began caressing the cool soft insides of her thighs. Instinctively, she spread her legs further, and I stroked my way up them until, beneath the soft tufts of her little bush, I found her slit.

I stroked the outsides of her lips, and then, parting them, ran my finger over her clitoris and down her wet inner labia until it rested against her entrance. As I gently stroked her from clit to pussy hole, Nicola caressed my cock more firmly, and reached under it to cradle my balls. She massaged them softly, and whispered: "You feel so good. I didn't know you'd be so big."

I began to work the tip of my finger in and out of the dampening entrance to her pussy, and then as she wriggled against me, I slowly slid it down the tight channel into her depths. She gasped, and then reached softly down to my hand and made me withdraw my finger.

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