Power Plays Ch. 01byvirginiaraine©
(Author's note: those of you that may have read my previous stories know that I usually do love stories with the typical happily-ever-after ending. Be forewarned: this is NOT one of those stories! Enjoy, and let me know what you think...thanks for reading!)
My phone rang just as I was pouring my first cup of coffee. Aggravated at the interruption of my quiet morning routine, I snatched my phone up.
" 'Lo?," I slurred into the phone.
"Morning Claire-bear! It's Julie." The chipper voice came through the phone, assaulting my sleepy eardrum. I winced. Perkiness tended to piss me off first thing in the morning. I was not a morning person, and those who were morning people were, in my opinion aliens from some uber-happy super shiny nauseatingly perfect planet. Plus, Julie's use of my old nickname was just humiliating at 6am. I felt like a bear -- a bear that just woke up from hibernation and was ornery as hell.
"Hi Julie," I responded, sighing to myself. "What's up?" I thought I had managed to sound like a normal human being, quite a feat for me before sunrise.
"I'm just calling to make sure you didn't oversleep on your first day on the job!" Julie piped.
As if I would oversleep. Julie should've known better, but I mused that the girl could be forgiven. Julie had after all landed this job for me. I should at least be grateful she cares, I thought.
"Yeah. Ha. Ha. No. I'm up. See?" I said. Damn, I thought, now I sound like a robot.
"I see that you are just as grouchy as ever in the mornings. Had your coffee yet?" Julie chimed. I just grunted. Julie giggled. I rolled my eyes, resisting the urge to hang up on my dearest friend. I hated giggling, and absolutely despised it before I had had caffeine.
"Okay, grouch...drink your coffee, then. I'll see you at the office. Remember to stop by my desk first thing so I can give you the grand tour!" Julie bubbled. "Yeah, yeah. You're my first stop. Promise," I said, hopefully with a bit more enthusiasm than I actually felt. "'Kay! Bye!" Julie said, then hung up. I sighed again. As I sat back and began enjoying my coffee in earnest, I wondered if there was some kind of advanced scientific gene research lab somewhere that could transplant the Happy Morning Gene into my system. About an hour later, I was feeling much more human as I stepped out of the shower and toweled dry. I stepped over to the vanity, using my now-damp towel to wipe the fog off of the glass. Running a brush through my chin length auburn hair I looked at my reflection, running my gaze over my face and noting with satisfaction that the dark circles under my eyes had faded. Pulling out my makeup bag, I addressed my reflection in the mirror. I took my time applying the cosmetics, enhancing my naturally smooth skin and strong bones. I paid special attention to my whiskey colored eyes and long dark lashes; lashes that needed no curler and barely any mascara to be outstanding. I loved my eyes, and knew how to play them up to the best advantage. A quick sweep of blusher and some pale coral lip gloss, and my morning toilet was complete.
I took the three steps necessary to carry me across my tiny apartment into the bedroom, heading for my miniscule closet. Perusing my choices, I settled on a tight gray hip-length sweater, and a slim black pencil skirt held together with a wide black belt. I dressed, and checked out the overall look in the full length mirror. Yes, very chic, very modern; a perfect ensemble for the busy professional woman. Except for underneath; I quirked a lip at my reflection as I thought this. I loved going commando; I hardly ever wore underwear. Something about the wickedness of looking perfectly respectable on the outside, but being naughty underneath gave me a feeling of empowerment. Slipping into my nicest black heels, I headed out of the bedroom, gathered up my purse and (empty) briefcase and headed out the door.
As I navigated the traffic through the city, I ran my memory back over the recent weeks, remembering how I had come upon this job to begin with.
Julie had been my best bud throughout college, despite the fact that she had been a year ahead of me, and in a different major. Once Julie had graduated, she moved on to the big, bad city, landing a nice job. She and I had kept touch through IM and on the phone, and when I had finally graduated with my shiny new degree Julie was there to celebrate. I spent the next 6 months looking fruitlessly for gainful employment, unable to find a decent job that would take me with no experience and a piece of paper. Things were beginning to look pretty hairy for me, until one day Julie had mentioned Morris & Stone...
"Claire, why don't you see about working with me?" Julie had asked one evening over take-out Chinese. "At Morris & Stone?" I asked skeptically. "And what in the world would a History major do at a marketing firm?"
Claire, there's lots you could do," Julie encouraged, getting into it now. "You have that minor in Fine Arts. I mean sure, you probably couldn't work with me on the business side of things, but I bet some of the creative media teams would love to have you! You have such an eye for line, color, beauty; Claire, I really think it would be a good fit! Screw those stuffy galleries and museums...if they can't appreciate your talent, take it elsewhere!"
I sighed. Julie sometimes got carried away with her own notions. It was easier to let her find out on her own that her bright ideas were not going to pan out. "Okay Julie, you win. Ask around tomorrow and see if there's an opening. I'll apply."
The next day, Julie had called with mixed news. There was no opening currently for full-time employees. But if I was willing, there were several slots still available for temporary part time assistants.
"Like an intern?" I asked doubtfully.
"Sort of," Julie replied. "But it pays. Not great, mind you, but it is money. And the part time status is only for the first few months, and then they do a review of all of the temps and hire the best ones on. So this is really a foot in the door."
"Man, I don't know Julie...it doesn't really sound like the right fit for me," I said.
"C'mon! What else have you got in the hopper? It's not as if the museums are beating down your door. It's only a few months, and at least you'll be getting paid. How much longer can your savings last?" Julie had a point there. "Besides," she continued "you're such a talented person, they'll be sure to want to you to convert over. Even it if doesn't work out, you'll have some real workplace experience. Isn't that the big hang-up now?"
Julie was right. I had to admit that. It was only a few months. And my savings account was getting scary low.
"Okay Julie, sign me up. When will I start?" I grimaced at Julie's squeal of delight, already regretting my decision...
I pulled out of my reverie as I pulled into the parking lot of Morris & Stone, Inc. This was one of the most successful and largest marketing and advertising agencies in the city. I was to be working with one of the creative design teams, helping to brainstorm out-of-the box ideas in marketing M&S's clients, and then helping to get those ideas down on paper so they could then get the ideas across to the client. If, if I was lucky, perhaps something I had a hand in would maybe possibly end up on TV someday, or in a magazine. That was of course, if I was any good and stuck around here for any length of time. Finding my way through the massive building was like a labyrinth challenge, but eventually I was standing next to Julie's desk.
"Hiya Jules! Where's this Grand Tour I keep hearing so much about?" I said, leaning one hip against Julie's desk.
"Oh! Claire! Yay! This is gonna be a hoot! C'mon, lemme show you around, and introduce you to some folks." Julie jumped up from her desk, clapping her hands together with delight. I smiled at Julie's enthusiasm. Julie really was fun and energetic, and one of the nicest people I knew. I just didn't care to know Julie until after 8am. Julie always reminded me of a hyperactive 6 year old.
I surrendered my person to Julie's lead, letting her tug me all over the building. Julie introduced me to many many people, but I was sure I would not remember their names. As it was doubtful I would be working directly with any of Julie's co-workers, I decided it didn't matter.
We spent a couple of hours wandering the building, Julie taking care to point out the cafeteria, the coffee shop, and the rooftop garden (ostensibly for relaxing/meditation, but in practice used as the smoke hole).
Soon enough, Julie looked down at her watch and gasped, "Ohmigod, we've got to get you to your office! I only cleared 2 hours this morning with your manager...it's almost 10now. Cmon, I'll show you your office." And with that, my first day on the job began.
Seven hours later, I wearily trudged back to my car. I dearly hoped I did not run into Julie, knowing that was mean, but really not able to deal with the gazillion questions the perky woman was bound to ask. I was mind-numb. My entire day, after meeting the rest of the creative team, consisted of transcribing someone's hastily scribbled meeting notes. From what I was able to make out, it was more of a brainstorm session, with everyone throwing out random ideas and images. All of which made it onto the sheets I was handed. It was hard deciphering some of the words, but I did my best. I supposed eventually the transcription would be handed off to someone higher up the chain, for them to pick over and select the best ones. I shrugged mentally, trying to erase images of hot-air balloons, race cars, talking dogs, talking cats, talking poultry, daredevil fish, and the ubiquitous bikini-clad babes from my mind. After spending all day typing out some of the strangest sentences of my life, I was not able to decipher exactly what it was that they were supposed to be selling.
Back at home, I unwound with a glass of red wine, kicking off my heels and flopping down on the couch. Halfway through my first glass, I got the phone call I had been expecting.
"Claire! How was your first day?" Julie asked.
"It was fine. Tiring. Different. Okay I guess," I said. I was trying to work up some enthusiasm for Julie's benefit. "Thanks again for getting it for me. It may not be what I'm used to, but it is a job."
"No problem sweetie! Glad to help. Besides, this will be so much fun, just like college. We can lunch together sometimes, or whatever. Like old times!" Julie said.
I murmured agreement, swallowing some more wine. "Listen, some of the girls from work are getting together tonight at O'Malley's. I thought you might like to come along? Celebrate your first day?" Julie asked.
Ugh. No. "Gee, Julie thanks for the invite, but I'm bushed. Long day you know? Besides, O'Malley's just isn't my scene, you know that." I was NOT going out to the local meet-and-greet club tonight. No way did I have the energy to fend off disillusioned men and curious women. But I didn't want to blow off one of my best friends either. "Maybe you and I could go out for a nice lunch or dinner together this weekend, just the two of us, if you're not busy?" I suggested.
"That's sounds good! Besides, I'd rather spend time with just you than with a bunch of other people too," Julie agreed. "All right, then...you get some rest. I'll see you tomorrow at work?"
"Sure thing babe!" I said. "Bye Jules."
"Bye Claire-bear." I hung up the phone, smiling at the nickname as well as Julie's good nature. Julie and I had a very interesting friendship. We'd been friends for 5 years, though one time we had done some things together that "just friends" didn't do. I sat back deeper in my plush couch, twirling my wine glass between my fingers, remembering my one and only night with the eager enthusiastic blonde.
I had been upfront about my sexuality with Julie from the beginning. Julie didn't really seem to care one way or the other; I genuinely liked her, even if Julie was a perpetually happy person, and I was a sarcastic cynic. We meshed well as friends, an easy-going laid back friendship with no undue expectations of the other. If I liked women, Julie would shrug, that was my right. Just as it was Julie's right to like men. Though I never admitted, I often had fleeting thoughts of seducing Julie; if you could even call them thoughts. They were just one of those quickly passing trains in my mind, a brief 'what-if' and then the thought would go away, dismissed without another glance. I never dreamed I would get a chance to act on those deep urges.
Julie was unremittingly straight; in fact Julie had had the same boyfriend through most of their college years. Danny and Julie were a hot item, and I had always envied their fun-loving relationship. They double-dated some if I happened to have a girlfriend/interest at the time (a rare occurrence), but mostly I joined them as the typical third-wheel on evenings out at the local college bar. One night in particular, Julie had been extremely handsy with me. As close girl friends usually are, me and Julie were comfortable enough to hug, to dance together, and even give quick pecks for kisses. But this night Julie had been very familiar with me and flirted rather aggressively. Danny, if he noticed never said a thing. I, always having had a bit of crush on my slim blonde friend, didn't stop it. As the level in my wine glass got lower and lower, I in fact encouraged it. As the night got later and we got drunker, Julie managed to shock me speechless:
"Claire, I want to ask you something, but I want you to think about it seriously before you say anything, okay?" Julie said quietly near my ear.
"Okay," I agreed, curious about whatever it was that would make my smiling happy friend so serious.
"Danny and I have been talking, and I told him some thoughts I have been having. I know you and I covered this territory long ago in our friendship, but I think I'd like to change my mind. I just can't seem to stop thinking about it, and I wouldn't feel comfortable trying it with anybody but you." Julie said this all in one breath, in a rush; as if she didn't trust herself to get it all out.
I turned shocked hazel eyes to meet Julie's blue ones. "Julie...are you asking what I think you're asking me? The one thing you swore you would never ask, because you would never be interested?"
"Yeah, I am," Julie said. I expected a blush, a coy turning of Julie's head, a laugh and a smile; anything to prove to me that Julie was kidding, was joking around. Julie did nothing but look at me expectantly.
I desperately tried to sort through the mass of emotions suddenly spinning inside me. I grabbed onto the first convenient one, the easiest one to handle: anger. "What?! You seriously expect me to take a chance on ruining our friendship because you're suddenly curious? That you can just snap your fingers and the horny lesbian will come running to scratch your itch?" I snapped out. "Like I'm some kind of new toy you want to try out?" I tried to deny the excited tendrils coiling through my belly, squelching them down. I KNEW this was a bad idea.
I was looking at Julie in outrage and anger, my whiskey eyes shooting sparks at my best friend. Julie just smiled knowingly, shaking her head at my impetuous upset.
"Remember Claire, I asked you to think about it first, before you said anything." Julie interrupted. "I know it's a big deal. It's a HUGE deal. And no, I don't think you're a 'toy' I can play with when convenient. I have no desire to use you in any way." Julie's eyes were full of sincerity, full of the friendship and love that we shared. She continued, "But I am curious, and I really would like to see what being with a woman is like. Danny's okay with the whole thing. I want to do this; I am GOING to do this. I want it to be you. I'm giving you the right of first refusal. I can't imagine doing this with anybody else. But if you say no, I WILL eventually find someone else...and it won't be as wonderful because it won't be you."
I was speechless, my anger draining away at Julie's soft words that rang with truth and sincerity. When did Julie suddenly turn bi-curious? Why now? Did Danny put her up to it? Danny!! Surely Julie didn't expect me to fuck Danny too...My eyes shot over to Danny, sitting across the table. The handsome man had a strange smile on his face; I could see that Danny knew what we were talking about even if he couldn't hear us. Danny's smile was fearful, but encouraging -- the kind of smile you give someone when you want them to do something for you, but know they might not. I swung my gaze back to Julie.
Julie understood the frantic looks I was throwing across the table. "And no, you don't have to sleep with Danny. But he would like to watch, if that's okay."
My eyes widened as my jaw dropped. Okay?!? NOTHING about this was okay! I worked my mouth, trying to form words to express the fullness of my shock, my disbelief, my outrage...and yes dammit my excitement. But nothing came out, leaving me looking much like a fish out of water as my mouth opened and closed silently.
"Okay, okay," Julie continued, lifting her hands up in the classic surrender pose. "I can obviously see from the look on your face that you need a minute." Julie smiled her cute little pixie-smile. "We'll give you some time. But PLEASE Claire-bear...I don't want just any woman...I want you." And with a soft peck on the cheek, Julie stood up, taking Danny's hand and leading him to the dance floor. I sat in my chair, stunned and shocked, staring into space while my brain whirled madly.
What to do...what am I going to do? My brain screamed at me. There wasn't an answer forthcoming, just a wordless ball of tension and fear and excitement. I wrestled with my mind, with my body, trying to find the right thing to do, the right way to handle this. But what? I peeked over to the dance floor, and was caught by the sight of Julie and Danny dancing together. Julie's small slim frame and short spiky blonde hair was a sharp contrast to Danny's large athletic body and close-cropped dark hair. It looked like the punk rock chick had managed to find the captain of the football team. However, the body chemistry between the two of them was undeniable, and I watched surrepticiously as the couple ground their hips together to the music.
They danced with the sexual urgency of a couple planning on having a lot of fun once they got home -- the tension between them was electric. The dim flashing lights and pounding bass of the music only served to heighten the mood of anticipation in the space between their bodies. Julie closed her eyes, dropping her head back and arching her smallish breasts into Danny's chest as the throbbing beat of the music took over. She had one hand looped loosely around the man's waist, while her other hand slid up into her hair and around the back of her slim neck. Julie managed to look like a stripper, using Danny as a pole. Her hips swung one way, as her upper body curled the other way. Her ass moved in small circles, her legs bending and straightening in a pattern that made her body look like a snake, a wave, a curling ribbon. Julie's dancing was intoxicating to watch. I continued to watch, and my traitorous mind kept whispering.
Danny was dancing just as dirty as Julie, but with his eyes open. Though the sight of Danny didn't turn me on at all, he was a good foil for Julie, and his presence by the blonde's side was natural in my eyes. His bright blue eyes devoured the sight of the cute blonde woman writhing and undulating in front of him, and it was obvious to any one watching that he was totally captivated by the sight. Danny's hands were roaming over Julie's body while they danced; as often on her tits as on her ass or hips. I got lost in the spectacle of simulated sex set to music, and wondered what the blonde's body would feel like, and then I remembered that I could find out.