Monday, May 14, 2007

Business (Parts 1 and 2)

Written for Camilla by Mally Stewart.

How do you know when your wife is attracted to another man?
Or, more correctly, how do you react when you assemble all the tiny perceptions and the emerging picture advances through suspicion to certainty?
Oh sure, you know that men are attracted to her, that's a no-brainer.
And sure, as a super salesperson she plays the game of interpersonal responses with powerful men.
That's all in the game - the game of business. Sure, hints of sex are used as a spice in that game, but the game of sex is another animal altogether.

Jason Sturgess, the whizz-kid of Real Estate Investment Trusts in the 80's, was very proud of his wife, and with good reason.
While some of his friends had beautiful young wives - trophy wives - his was much more than a pretty bauble.
True, she was a beauty. In fact, Jessica Falcone-Sturgess was a stunner! Tall, at 5'10", and slender, at 120 lbs, she moved with the slinky grace of a leopard, attracting the eye by the way she combined form and motion.
But, the attraction was no less palpable when she stopped moving and fastened her bright green eyes on you and an awareness crept into your consciousness that there was a formidable presence inside the glossy packaging, that behind all those looks a keen mind was at work, appraising you, measuring you, probing for your strengths, and weaknesses.
To meet her frank appraisal with one of your own was to be rewarded with a welcoming smile, as though you had entered her private domain.
I should specify that it was the attempt that was rewarded, for there was no weakness apparent in Jessica Falcone-Sturgess.
In addition to the assets already enumerated, her skin glowed with translucent health; when she smiled, her teeth were white and straight.
Her honey-colored hair - natural - had a life of its own, bouncing around her shoulders with each flick of her head.

She wore silk. Silk dresses. Silk blouse and skirt combinations. Once in a while, when an especially important deal was on the line, she would wear a silk business suit.
Earth colors mostly. Tan and muted yellow and burnt orange.
Whatever variety of clothing she wore, one thing they all had in common.
They clung to her willowy body, adding to the visual delight.
The shapes were there - the rise of her breasts with the pointed nipples swinging outward, the lovely bell-curve of her waist, and the unmistakable bulge of her glutes.
She was at once physically moist and juicy, and mentally aloof and unattainable.
The interplay between those opposites caused many a man to insist that his wife buy the house she had shown them.

Why would such an exquisite creature be selling real estate instead of modeling in Paris or acting in Hollywood?
The fact is, she was making around a million a year in commissions, and that paled into peanuts next to the resulting profits that went to Sturgess Real Estate Partners. Although REITS were not as fashionable as they once had been, the company nevertheless bought and sold millions of dollars worth of commercial properties every month.
Office buildings, medical complexes, shopping malls, trailer parks - even the dull but highly profitable mini warehouses that had become so popular throughout the country.

Jason had watched her over the 5 years of their marriage, and knew how she used her beauty to lure men into her charms. The brief touching of hands.
The secret smile.
The full eye contact while the man was speaking, letting him know that her attention was totally on him. Watching her now he could not suppress the sense of disquiet that grew as the meeting progressed.
Marshall Williams, the basketball player turned businessman, was indeed an impressive physical presence.
At 6'8" he towered over Jason Sturgess, even when they were seated.
He was intimidating, his size alone tending to diminish the potency of lesser men. Jason, for the first time in their relationship, felt threatened. Jessica was going through her usual routines, but her demeanor was different. Her eyes were brighter, her cheeks more flushed.
There was an extra warmth in her smile, a deeper note in her chuckle. Her back seemed straighter, her breasts more prominent.
No, there could be no doubt, chemistry was happening right before Jason's eyes.

His instincts told him to pull the plug. True, Williams was the first buyer in months to show any interest in that chain of strip malls in Florida that he'd been trying to unload for the last year, but was that worth risking the integrity of his marriage?
"Whoah boy!" He told himself. He was already assuming the worst!
This was ridiculous! The hallmark of success in business was a tight control of emotions.
He sighed. He had trusted Jessica and she had rewarded his trust.
Stay with the trend.

He realized that both of them were looking at him. "What?" He asked.

"I said, would you mind if I went to Florida to show Mr. Williams these properties?"

He was shocked, but felt that he managed not to show it. This would mean the two of them being together in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami. Four cities. Four hotels.
Four nights.
"Why," he began, stalling, "We have professional photographs, blue-prints, cash reports? We can do it all right here."

Williams shook his massive head.
"I'd never buy anything without seeing it in person."
His voice was deep and booming.
He threw his hands up. "But, I can find them by myself, if you're too busy here."

He had him. The implication was that his refusal, if issued, would indicate that the company was too busy to bother with him.
Jason struggled to mask his sense of alarm.
"No, Mr. Williams! Of course we're not too busy! My wife will be happy to accompany you."
He turned to her. "Won't you, Darling?"
He didn't think that his emphasizing their marital relationship would change anything, but he didn't know anything else to do.

"Good!" Williams said, rising to his full height and offering his hand to Jason.
He turned to Jessica.
"We'll fly down there in my Lear jet, if that's OK with you? If I'm going to do this, I need to get it done fast. Tomorrow too soon for you?"

She looked at Jason, a small frown on her face. How could he refuse her? He smiled.
"You go ahead, Honey. We'll manage until you get back. Now, I'll leave you to work out the details of your trip."
He rose and walked out of the room, but felt that his heart was still in there.

Part Two

Accustomed to success and the things it brings, Jessica Falcone-Sturgess was nevertheless impressed when she entered the cabin of Marshall Williams' Lear-jet.
First was a surprising spaciousness in a 'plane so relatively small.
"Custom fitted for me," Williams smiled.
"I don't have to bend over to walk around my own airplane!"
Second was the feel of elegant luxury in the woolen carpet and the soft leather sofas. He offered his hand and ushered her to one of the sofas, then sat next to her, his thigh pressing against hers.

Jessica frowned.
A woman in control of herself and her life's situations, she was irked to find her body responding to Marshall Williams in ways that were decidedly not under her control! Reacting smoothly, she shifted in her seat, creating a space between them.
Williams leaned back smiling, his eyes half shut. He was relaxed, at ease, in control.

The flight was uneventful.
Marshall Williams was on the phone most of the time and Jessica caught up on some papers she'd brought along. First stop was Jacksonville.
Williams reviewed the strip mall out on Atlantic Boulevard.
He asked probing questions, taking no notes. At the hotel, Williams announced that he was tired and would be going to bed early. Jessica examined her feelings. She felt relieved and slightly peeved at the same time.
Relieved, because she didn't want to have to fend off any advances, and peeved because there wouldn't be any.

Orlando the next day, and Tampa too. "We might need more time in Miami," Williams said, explaining the rush.

She called home each night. Jason was interested in every detail of the trip.
She knew that he was worried about her and Williams, but he never asked directly, and she was much too smart to bring it up.

Miami. They booked into a small but luxurious hotel on Collins Avenue in South Beach.
Williams, it turned out, was a friend of the owner. Their rooms were adjoining, with a double door, locking in both rooms. It was all that was available.
Jessica shrugged. She was still fighting her unbidden emotional responses to Williams, but he'd been relaxed and charming, occasionally flirting lightly, but very concentrated on the business at hand. He seemed to offer no real threat to the sanctity of her marriage.

They visited the strip mall in Coral Gables.
From his interest, and the questions he asked, Jessica gathered that his overall impression was favorable and she began writing the contract in her mind.

Back at the hotel, he suggested that they sit down and talk details. His room - a suite, really - had a comfortable sitting room, and they settled down there.
Williams went over the numbers with her. Reported sales at each mall.
Rents. Expenses. The buildings themselves. Taxes. Depreciation. Management.
Return on Investment.
He made a cogent case that the asking price would allow a mere 12% return.
Jessica countered with some minor points but, overall, she knew that his analysis was spot on. What percentage would he find acceptable?
Twenty percent. She shook her head. They couldn't afford to sell at that price.
They haggled. She excused herself, went to her room and called Jason.
He was ready to deal. Try to get him at 17%, he said.
She went back to Williams' room, offered a price that would allow 15%. More haggling.
The arguments went back and forth. By the end, they spent 4 hours of intense negotiating, but they had their deal. Sturgess would adjust the price to allow a 17% return. They shook hands on the deal.
"Call your office and tell them to prepare the papers," was how he broke the news that he would buy the malls.
"And then, after you've rested and changed, I'm taking to you to dinner, young lady!"

This wasn't a date, she told herself.
It was a business meeting. But the business was over, done, fait accompli.
Well, yes, but it's still part of the business - the celebration of the business successfully completed! Yes! That was the perfect rationalization. She took her time preparing, wanting to make a good impression. She decided to wear her hair up. The dress?
What else, but the basic black dress - not much more than a slip - with the spaghetti straps and the open back. No bra. Too provocative? Maybe, but so what?

Casual and controlled though he was, when she opened the door to his knock, he did a double-take.
She smiled. It felt good to get to a man, especially one who clearly had no trouble getting women.
He nodded in happy approval, a broad smile plastered all over his face.
"This is going to be a special night," he said, taking her elbow and walking her to the elevator.
The feel of the silk dress on her nipples, the closeness of Marshall Williams, his hand on her arm, caused her to flush. Instinctively she tried to suppress it, then defiantly flicked the attempt aside.
I'm going to enjoy myself tonight, she thought.

He took her to Tantra, a restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue with lovely views, where he was known and treated as a celebrity.
They were ushered to the best available table and seated with attentive respect.
He ordered for them both, including a bottle of Moet champagne. She looked him over as they waited for their orders.
He was dressed all in black. Suit. Shirt. Tie. All black.
All perfectly fitted. His broad face, as usual, was relaxed and composed.
His dark eyes, heavily lidded, dwelled on her without insult.

"I feel more at ease with you here in Miami," he said.
"It's more cosmopolitan than Jacksonville or even Tampa.
It's funny. I could feel people looking at us, speculating about us, even resenting us. Here, I don't feel it."

She knew exactly what he meant, for she'd observed the same things.
She was pleased that he had noticed, and flattered that he was willing to talk to her about it. It was such an open communication on an inflammatory issue, delivered easily, matter of factly.
"You didn't show anything," she told him.

He grinned with half his mouth, a cynical twist. "No. I wouldn't give them the satisfaction."

She understood, and said so.

The champagne arrived and they toasted each other and the deal they'd made.
She asked him about his transition from athlete to businessman. He told her the story in blunt sentences, about the back-stabbing, the covert discrimination, the betrayals of people he'd regarded as close friends.
A flicker of fire lit his eyes a couple of times, but otherwise his voice was low, his face impassive.
Jessica weighed it all, decided that the casual appearance was affected. The purpose of that was probably two-fold.
One, to convey the impression of a man under control, unbothered by the machinations of lesser people and, two, to cover up the emotions.
She suspected that a very passionate creature lurked close beneath that controlled exterior.
They sipped champagne and looked at each other across the table.
Chemistry. Definitely.

The Caribbean Bouillabaisse he'd ordered for her was sensational! As if defying the law of probabilities, his filet mignon with cherry sauce, which he shared with her, was even more so. Marshall - he was no longer Mr. Williams - beamed at her appreciation.
They'd finished off the champagne, and then a bottle of the restaurant's private label pinot noir with the entree.
The meal was completed with a cup of thick, sweet coffee and a hit of Cointreau.

In the taxi on the way to a nightclub on Fifth Street, she allowed him to arrange their seating so that he had his arm around her shoulder and she was leaning her back into his chest.
He pointed out the sights of South Beach as they flashed by, his mouth next to her ear, his breath warm and stimulating on her neck.

At the club they were again received with excitement and given immediate access to the VIP area.
A few professional athletes were there, and they recognized Marshall and greeted him warmly. Some minor movie celebs were there also, and they also greeted him personally while speculatively eyeing Jessica. Marshall didn't enlighten them, preferring to leave them guessing.
A stand-up comedian was entertaining the crowd with some really raw sex jokes. Marshall pursed his lips. "Want to leave?" he asked.


They walked out of the place and up to Collins. "We'll walk," he said. "It's not far. Actually, we can walk on the beach. You like that?"

"Well, ye-es, when I'm dressed for it."

"Take your shoes off, then." With that he placed a hand on her back and walked her over the street and onto the beach. The ocean was calm and the breeze warm. Taking her shoes off was fine, but what of her stockings?
He was taking his shoes off and rolling up his pants legs. She thought, the hell with it, and raised her dress so that she could undo the garter snaps and get her stockings off. He glanced up and shook his head, an admiring look on his face.
"Damn, girl!" He said, "You really are fly!"

There were several ways she could handle his comment. She selected the diplomatic one.
"Thank you, Marshall. You're not exactly old sushi yourself."
He took her hand and they walked out onto the sand where she enjoyed the feel of the breeze on her bare legs and cool sand under her feet.
He led her down to the wet sand, where their feet were washed by the dying waves.
A bigger wave washed up to her calves, and she shrieked and ran.
He caught her and grabbed her, and she turned around in his arms.
Suddenly they were looking into each others' eyes, aware that chemistry was taking place. With an effort of will she pushed away from him, her eyes lingering on his as she turned and began walking again.

When they reached the hotel he invited her to join him for a nightcap. She agreed to meet him at the bar, then went to her room to call Jason. He sounded relieved to hear from her.
He assumed that she was in her room for the night, and she didn't have the stomach to tell him that she would be meeting Marshall again.

A man was playing piano and several couples were dancing. Marshall had removed his jacket and tie.
If possible, he looked even more relaxed. He rose to greet her and held the chair for her.
"I've taken the liberty of ordering champagne," he told her.
"That, after all, is the perfect celebratory libation."
He filled her glass, raised his.
"To the best saleslady I've ever met!" She smiled. "Thank you." She took a sip. "Hmmm. This is very, very good!" She locked eyes with him.
"To the most decisive businessman I've ever met!"
She enjoyed his smile as he drank again.
They sat quietly sipping their champagne and watching the dancing couples.
The pianist started playing an upbeat version of "I'm In The Mood For Love" and Jessica began moving her shoulders to the rhythm.

"Care to dance a little?" he asked.

She smiled. "Maybe a lot!" She couldn't remember the last time she and Jason had gone dancing. She loved to dance!

He took her in his arms and led her in a simple two-step. He held her close enough to dance effectively, but not so close as to risk alienating her.
With her hand on his back she felt his muscles rippling as he moved.
He was still a very fit man! She moved her hand along the edge of the long muscle that ran up the left side of his spine, fascinated by the size of it, and how soft it was when relaxed, and how hard when flexed.
She felt a faint stirring against her belly. As he was almost a foot taller than she, his groin was touching her there. She was turning him on!
A devilish whim caused her to pull her body closer to his, and rest her face against his chest. He responded by thrusting his leg in between hers.
The sudden pressure on her groin caused her to realize that he was turning her on. She enjoyed the slow burn of increasing passion and, when the dance ended, sensed his reluctance to release her.

She took a bathroom break.
The face in the mirror looked at her, questioning her plans.
Was she going to sleep with this man? He was very, very sexy and she was very, very attracted to him. She wondered if his penis size would be proportional to his body. No doubt, he would be a wonderful lover!
The thought caused her to flush. Still, she was married and loved her husband so, no.
She would not sleep with Marshall, but that didn't preclude her from having some innocent fun.

They sipped champagne and danced late into the wee morning hours.
The pianist, at the request of the owner, would stay as long as they wanted him. He would be well-rewarded. As the night wore on, and the champagne worked its magic, she became more relaxed with him and allowed him to encircle her closely in his powerful arms.
When he easily lifted her up and carried her so that they could dance cheek to cheek she offerede no protest.
There was now no doubt that he was aroused, nor that he was indeed properly proportioned, to say the least.

Nearing the time when they would end this phase of the night, they both took a bathroom break.
She returned before he did, and she stood at their table, a little foggy from champagne and the lateness of the hour. Marshall came up behind her and put his hands on her hips. "Miss me?" He asked, his lips close to her ear.

"Umm hmmm." She leaned back into him, suddenly needing to continue the feel of his magnificent body against hers.

His hands moved across her stomach to her breasts. Her breathing rate increased. Through the thin dress he found her nipples and squeezed them gently. Her breasts had always been sensitive - go-buttons, Jason called them - and she groaned and pushed back harder against him.
He turned her around and lifted her.
His lips sought hers and greedily covered them in their first kiss.
She felt his tongue pushing against her lips - gentle but insistent.
She opened her lips and allowed him in, reveling in the thick rough feel of it in her mouth.
The kiss rapidly increased the heat in both of them and, maintaining it, he carried her through the empty hotel spaces, up the elevator and into his room.

Jessica could not believe how hot she was.
A part of her was screaming for her to stop, but there was no way.
He placed her on the bed, her feet on the floor, and knelt between her legs.
Softly, he kissed her knees, then trailed his tongue up the inside of her thigh. She shivered in excited anticipation.
Of all the things she had resisted in her mind, this was not one of them.
Jason disliked servicing her in this way and she realized now that if he did really love her he would gladly please her like this.
She felt Marshall's fingers pushing the elastic edge of her panties aside, then felt his tongue moving in on her most sacred spot. Her body shuddered and she gasped as she felt the waves of pleasure engulf her.
He parted her outer lips and she felt his tongue probing her entrance.
She was hyper-ventilating, near fainting, blown out of her mind by the magnitude of the sensations flooding through her.

His tongue moved on, found her hot spot.
At the same moment, he gently eased a finger into her.
It became too much.
Orgasm upon orgasm left her body twitching violently.
Too much! Too much! She lost contact with the room, with the world, with everything but the sensations that were driving her crazy.

Peaceful at last, and relaxed, floating in a soft, warm purple haze. She'd never known anything like it!
Marshall Williams was, indeed, a master lover!


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