The Story of Mallory Ch. 13bySAWade1968©
Chapter 13 – Meet Michael
Mallory and Michael had an instantaneous chemistry; from the moment he sat down in her cubicle to work on the payroll and human resources details for his employees, she could not keep her eyes off of him. He was everything Kyle and Ryan had not been; he was tall, dark, and handsome, not in the clichéd way of some trashy romance novel, but in a way that made Mallory afraid to be around him.
As much as she wanted to be near him, she feared him just the same; Mallory was afraid of being around a man who so perfectly fit everything she had been looking for her entire life. She would make up excuses to be around him, yet, would do everything she could to evade his attention.
There was no way to avoid noticing the effect Michael had on people in the office; he was so charming, so charismatic, and had the smoothest voice Mallory had ever heard. She would often turn her hand-held radio up just to hear his voice, hoping he would call her to ask for assistance regarding payroll or another question. More often than not, she was disappointed when he needed help from customer service or shipping.
Still, Mallory was able to spend a great deal of time with Michael; they were both on the plant's Executive Safety Committee, or ESC, together. If she arrived to the meeting before him, she would look down and doodle in her notebook escaping eye contact with anybody, wishing he would sit next to her; if he was there first, she would look around the room and try to select the seat next to his.
Michael would do the same with her; the two of them playing a silly game of cat-and-mouse as if they did not recognize the other was flirting. However, Mallory was cautious; she had just been burned by her experiences with Ryan. She was reluctant to rush into an affair with another co-worker and be seen as the office slut; besides, she knew there was something different about Michael.
Whenever Michael entered a room, there was an instant respect amongst the people in the room; he commanded the room, regardless of the level of management or executives there. He may not have been the top administrator in the room at the time, but if he walked in, all eyes would turn to him, and when he spoke, everyone listened.
When he talked to subordinates, he treated them with a dignity Mallory had never seen before; he never belittled or demeaned them, they looked up to him. She once overheard an employee talking about him after he had received a poor performance evaluation, and instead of bad-mouthing Michael, the man was actually disappointed in himself for letting his boss down.
Women behaved in an utterly ridiculous way around him; at least in Mallory's opinion. She could not stand the way the few women who worked in the office would bend over backwards to do things for him; including the human resources manager, she was supposed to be his superior on the chain of command. Mallory felt jealous at the way all of the females around her basically seemed to pant after him every time he walked by.
If there was ever a man who could be described as the one who all the men wanted to be, and all the women wanted to be with, it was Michael; but for some reason, Mallory did her best to keep him at a distance.
Michael would lean into her cubicle, she could sense him before he was there, drawing in a deep breath to prevent herself from passing out, "Hey, Mal," his deep voice would call out, "Can I get you to help me with some payroll stuff?"
Mallory would try to steel herself as she turned around in her chair, her eyes shifting to the side so she would not meet his perfectly dark brown ones, "Uhm, I guess so, Michael," she responded almost too curtly.
He moved into her cubicle, his body so close she could feel his warmth, his breath almost on her ear, "Did I do something to offend you?"
"No," she snapped, "I'm just not in a very good mood today; and, I don't want you to call me Mal... it just seems so informal."
"Hmmm..." his eyes drew her in, forcing her to look at him, "Okay, Mallory, when can we go over payroll?"
Looking at her watch, trying to buy some time so she could calm herself down, she replied, "Does 1:30 work for you? After my lunchtime run?"
"Works for me," he started to walk out of her cubicle, "I'll see you at my desk," his last statement was a command, not a question.
Mallory met Michael at his desk when she returned from her run; she was a little perturbed at having been ordered to his desk, she usually helped teach managers payroll from her cozy cubicle, not on the shop floor where his desk was located. However, she let her guard down once she sat next to him and his unique blend of power and calm took over the afternoon.
Soon, Mallory found herself actually enjoying the time with Michael; he had an easy way about him that made her feel safe and happy. The afternoon seemed to fly by and when it was time to go home, she soon felt the familiar pangs of despair at her life with Kyle. She looked at Michael, he is so sexy, she thought, I have to go, I married Kyle and promised I would try again, what am I even thinking...
In the following weeks, Mallory found herself more attracted to Michael; she watched him with her co-workers, with his employees, with his superiors, and felt how he was with her. He was the most powerful, charming, intelligent, and sexy man she had ever met; she barely knew him, but she realized she wanted him.
The more Mallory realized Michael's power over her, the more she started to fall apart; her life at home with Kyle was worse than when they had separated the first time. She continually tried to get him to talk things through and to communicate, but the closest they ever came to resolution was him telling her she would never be good enough for anybody else, so she should just as well stay with him.
Mallory felt doomed.
Occasionally, she would get a group of singles (and fun marrieds) from work and invite them out for cocktails on a Friday night; one night, she asked Michael if he wanted to go. "Michael," she asked him one day as she passed him in the hallway by her cubicle, "A bunch of us are headed out to Sapphire after work for cocktails, want to come?"
"Sure," he replied, his sexy smile almost melting Mallory right there, "What time?"
"Oh, around 8," she ducked into her cubicle as fast as she could to get away from him and catch her breath. Great, she thought, I cannot believe I invited him. When I drink, I have absolutely no filter on my mouth. Mallory was panic stricken at the thought of what she might do or say that night with her new crush and she was excited and worried about the prospects.
Suzie and Mallory pulled into the parking garage at 8:15, Vanilla Ice belting out "Ice, Ice Baby" on Suzie's stereo. "Oh, Mal," Suzie sounded sheepish, "I have something to tell you..." her voice trailed off as she turned down the volume and turned her head toward Mallory.
"Whaaaaat?" Mallory replied nervously.
"You know the new guy, Michael?"
"Uhm, yeah," duh, thought Mallory, I only love him.
"For god's sake, Suzie," Mallory was annoyed, "Spit it out."
"He invited Hillary," Suzie finally admitted.
"What? Are you kidding me?" Mallory was incredulous, "She is my arch enemy."
Hillary and Mallory had a love-hate relationship ever since Mallory had been denied the promotion to human resources manager but still had to perform all of the backup duties when Hillary took vacation. Mallory was detail-oriented and cared about the employees and Hillary's lackadaisical attitude and cavalier manner with completing paperwork incensed Mallory. However, Mallory had a soft spot for Hillary because it was hard not to like the energetic and spunky woman.
Mallory walked into Sapphire and headed straight to the table where a big group from work was already seated; Hillary was already busily chatting up her co-workers, including Michael. "Hey, Mal," Hillary called to her in her cheerleader voice, "Thanks for organizing this. We're all having so much fun, and I'm finally getting a chance to know Mike." Mallory bristled at the way she called him by the familiar moniker, but she smiled to herself as she noticed Hillary's hand on his thigh and the grimace on Michael's face; oh well, she thought to herself, he deserves it for inviting her.
"Yeah," Mallory answered, glaring straight at Michael, "No problem, Hillary, glad you could come. I'm surprised your husband let you out, and on such short notice."
"Oh, he had something with one of his partners tonight," she responded, "So he really didn't mind."
"I bet," Suzie whispered to Mallory and the two women giggled like school girls together; it had long been rumored Hillary's husband had been cheating on her.
Mallory finally settled onto a stool directly across from Michael and Hillary, close enough to watch him interact, but too far for her to be part of his conversation. She felt somewhat safe from herself, and a little vindicated as she could see how painful it was for him to have to sit next to Hillary. However, she could not help but notice every time she looked over at him, he was staring at her; she started to feel nervous.
After a few drinks, Mallory was feeling self-confident and cocky, she walked over to Michael and whispered in his ear, "I will never forgive you for this, you ruined my evening, you invited my arch enemy out. This was supposed to be my thing, and she has taken over. Thanks a lot." She spun on her heels and turned to walk away.
Mallory was stunned when Michael grabbed her by the wrist, "Wait a minute, I didn't know everybody wasn't invited, I thought this was just a work thing," he said to her calmly but firmly, "Your impetuous brattiness may be cute to some people, but it isn't to me." Still holding her wrist, he looked her squarely in the eyes, waiting for her response, ignoring the fact there were others at the table.
"What?" Mallory could not believe he was talking to her this way.
"You heard me," he said in his deep, thick voice, "You're beautiful, and intelligent, so you think you can get away with acting like a brat. You flirt with me, then you withdraw; the cat and mouse games are fine, and can be fun, but do not ever talk to me like that again. Understood?"
"Yes," Mallory looked down at her shoes, she felt ashamed for the way she had been behaving; but, she felt something else, too, there was something about this man, he was so overwhelming, so powerful, so dominant, so controlling...
"She has been perfectly fine," he continued, still holding her wrist, "You two actually seem to have fun out of the office, and she seems to like you a lot. Why would you want to exclude her? That is bitchy behavior, and it's really unbecoming. You aren't a bitch, are you?" The question felt more rhetorical than anything.
"No," Mallory felt a desperate urge to tag on the word "Master" or at least "Sir", but bit her tongue instead.
"Okay then," Michael finally let go of her wrist, "Go sit down and have fun and quit acting like a child."
Mallory walked back to her chair, stunned, embarrassed, and exhilarated from her experience with Michael. She realized she had finally met a Master.