The Girl or the Group? Ch. 01

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Working Stiff

‘Yo Pete. No post deal blues. PT pm soldier. Go easy. Bar 18:00. xx’

Typical Dan text.

The deal was done. Ink on the contracts, funds in escrow. More than a year of hard work from all the preparation, through the pitches, meetings, presentations, diligence and negotiation, to signing. All the hurdles jumped, the problems worked, the battles won. The politics. First big deal I’d led for the Mowbray Group. Project Xanadu, selling off a bunch of old domestic products brands we’d packaged up into a viable division. Yup, not the most exciting of businesses, and a lot of effort, but it went well.

My boss was pleased and I even got a very nice handwritten letter from the Big Kahuna himself, Charles Mowbray. Yeah, a letter. Yeah, handwritten. Old school, but classy.

Most of the team had been heading home Friday anyway, and my assistant had a family problem come up, so I got him out on an early flight, leaving me to tie up a last couple of things. My plane wasn’t till tomorrow afternoon.

Leaving me stuck on my own in a hotel outside Philly, on a wet November Saturday.

The hotel was virtually empty, and there was no one I wanted to hit up in Pennsylvania. I’d lived that deal. Now it was over, I was starting to feel flat. Grey skies, grey room, grey folders on the grey desk next to my grey laptop. Well, black laptop, but you get the picture. It looked like being a dull day.

Dan Walker being here was the one bright spot. Senior exec, supposedly knew Charles Mowbray well. Ex-marine (I know, no such thing…yada yada) but also a lot of other stuff. Special Forces, spooks, I don’t know. Great guy. He knew I’d served. Just ROTC scholarship to help me through college then a few years in the Army. Airborne, and yes I’m damn proud, but nothing like the things he’d gotten up to. Still, we’d maybe both had to haul ourselves up by our bootstraps. Anyway, we got on.

Dan was with Mowbray’s ‘Group Centre’. An important team. Strategy, assurance, trouble-shooting, security, HR for senior executives, a lot of stuff. Everything Mr Mowbray needs covered to stay on top of his huge business empire. Dan had flown in to see a couple of his guys seconded to my team. I got his text this morning.

PT, huh? Good advice. I wrapped up the paperwork by 3pm and at 3.15 was in the hotel gym, big and plush but empty, warming up on the treadmill.

I didn’t hear the door open, but in the mirrored wall I glimpsed movement behind me.

And there she was.

It was like a dream walked in. Blonde hair in a long ponytail, and a sculpted face of supermodel beauty. Early twenties. Think young Grace Kelly, but warmer, more sensuous. Add a tan and a wide, generous mouth. Dazzling white teeth as she threw me a quick smile in the mirror, polite rather than friendly, bright blue eyes meeting mine in our reflections for just a fleeting moment that sent a little electric shock through me. And her figure…incredible. Slim and toned, her breasts large but still in proportion with her trim waist. Taut, rounded buttocks and long legs. Sometimes words aren’t enough. I’m not even halfway doing justice to the breath-taking reality of one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen.

And I could tell these things about her body because she was wearing the sexiest gym outfit I’d ever seen. I mean it was legit sportswear. I guess. Blue sports bra, moulding her breasts tightly, completely outlining their shape above flawless bare midriff. Yet in material so thin it looked more like body paint, her nipples clearly visible. And tight leggings, black, but so gauzy they were more like sheer pantyhose, doing absolutely nothing to conceal her shapely legs, perfect ass and tiny black thong panties. Yeah, gym kit. Technically. But so provocative it was like intimate, sizzling lingerie.

Naturally, it took more than one glance to take all this in. In fact my eyes never left her while she walked over to sign in at the unattended desk and pick up a towel, every movement lithe and graceful. Eventually, I realised my mouth was open and I was blatantly staring, and my disembodied consciousness re-joined the body on the treadmill, fortunately before she turned my way.

The next hour was simultaneously one of the most arousing and difficult experiences of my life. The girl didn’t approach me, and just seemed to want to focus on her workout. I just wanted to focus on her workout too. Which meant non-stop sly peeking and cunning use of all the mirrored walls. Combined with the obvious and pathetic male response of wanting to appear as manly as possible. So up went the treadmill speed, and later the weights and reps. All exercises to be conducted using correct form, with impressive vigour, dashing style, attractive and muscular good looks (yet still hinting at a sensitive and sophisticated personality), while at no time breathing hard, looking distressed or sweating more than just an appealing amount.

Yeah, that went well.

So while I moved round the machines and weights, gasping, dripping aksaray escort sweat and gritting my teeth, trying to look cool and failing completely, I watched this luscious girl demonstrate how it’s done.

She went to an exercise bike first. Now, it’s riding a bike. There’s not that many ways to do it, surely? Yeah. So Gorgeous makes cycling a fluid exercise in full body motion that emphasises her long, slender legs. Her back arches, the muscles of her ass tighten and loosen, the whole thing is graceful and somehow sensual. Then she raises her arms over head, languidly crosses her wrists, and arches her back even more. This pushes out her bust, which is starting to rise and fall wonderfully as she breathes harder, and her torso sways hypnotically now her hands are off the handlebars, those magnificent breasts jiggling even in the tight confinement of the bra. And when, after a while, she lowers her arms, her hands seem to brush slowly and suggestively down her hair, her neck, her wonderful bust, her trim flanks and on to her taut thighs.

I was doing lat pulldowns on the multigym at that point. Damn near slammed the weights down on myself.

After the bike, it was various exercises with dumbbells. Proper exercises, and certainly done with correct form, but, I don’t know, somehow again so much more provocative and sexy than anything I’d seen before. And I admit I’ve done my share of ogling gym bunnies. Maybe because the way she did them was a bit slower and more fluid? And it all seemed innocent, too. She never looked directly at me, just straight ahead as she worked, so I could admire her perfect profile. Still I began to think she must be aware of my presence, at some level, right?

Then she moved on to various stretches on the mats. Standing, sitting, kneeling, lunging, lying down. Now these. These really did not seem so innocent. It was more like watching a video of a Victoria’s Secret photoshoot. Yeah, yeah, don’t judge, I’m just a normal guy. But she moved so sensually between each position. It was part ballet, part lingerie modelling, part floorshow in some strip joint. Her amazing body flexed and stretched between each position, and – you know what? They weren’t positions. The way she did it, they were poses. Her lissom figure flowed provocatively from one mouth-watering pose to another, displaying her loveliness in a way that was blatantly sexual and arousing. I watched as she stood with one foot crossed over the other, placed her hands together behind her ass, and then slowly, languorously slid her hands down, caressing those supple thighs and down to her ankles. Loosening her hamstrings, no doubt, but having the opposite effect on parts of my body. Then she was on her hands and knees, stretching out opposite legs and arms, holding her nubile body with superb poise and precision. And positioned exactly sideways to me, so I could take in that ravishing silhouette. I was almost sure now. This must be deliberate.

And then I was sure.

Still without looking at me, apparently just following her routine, she put on some little earbud headphones, slipped something off her ponytail and shook her blonde hair out to fall back past her shoulders. Went to the centre of the mats. Stood there, eyes closed.

Then I guess the music started. And she danced.

Yeah, danced. Now I’m not saying there wasn’t aerobic benefit. For both of us. But this was not about healthy exercise, it was about sex. Intense, incandescent, down and dirty sex. She started swaying, her arms went over her head again, and then she was moving like the hottest club or MTV dancer, body undulating, hips twisting so her pert ass swivelled exquisitely, hands running down her writhing torso and then up again to clutch at her hair as her back arched. Spinning, hair flying about her face, now faster, now slower, now almost just squirming, then speeding up again. Fingers gliding over her thighs, over her breasts as she flexed and turned, always to the rhythm, always graceful and always smoking, smoking hot. Her eyes now were mostly open and from time to time they would catch mine, the briefest searing glimpse.

Then she sunk to the floor, still dancing, and continued her movements there. Rolling, turning, on her stomach and then her back, running her hands maddeningly over her body, and always beautiful, always still to a rhythm I could see but not hear. Her lips were parted, her beautiful face a little flushed and she was breathing harder. And her performance was even naughtier now, blatantly erotic, her legs opening wide, kneeling, rolling, twisting, even crawling on the floor. On and on the dance went, perhaps for my whole lifetime in a perfect world, maybe 10 minutes here. I was transfixed. My hands clenched, erect manhood straining. No pretence now. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Finally, she was on her back. Turning, legs stretching and flexing above her, then lowering them, spreading them apart, with her knees bent and feet flat on the mat, reaching her arms up anadolu yakası escort to rest on the floor above her head, and arching her back. She held this pose for a moment, perfectly positioned for sex, her whole body crying out for a man to come and fuck her. Then, still holding this position, she turned her head towards where I sat – once again angled exactly right to fully savour her pose. As her cheek touched the mat, her eyes opened. She looked straight at me, breathing hard, lips parted, blue eyes gazing deep into mine. Her expression was hot, wanton, wide-eyed, like a woman approaching climax. Our eyes locked for long seconds, and I just sat mesmerized, too aroused to speak or move.

Then she relaxed her body to the mat, rolled to her side and gracefully stood up. She looked at me again for a second, then before I could even think about reacting, turned and walked slinkily out of the gym.

I was stunned. Part of me wanted to run after her, but my legs wouldn’t move. Also, while normally I’m only averagely well-endowed, right now I had an erection the size of Kansas; running didn’t much appeal. And if I did catch up with her, what was I going to say? ‘Hi, would you mind blowing this?’ ‘Oh, excuse me, I’m storing lumber in my shorts’? My head was spinning and I wasn’t even making sense to myself, let alone I should talk to anyone. So I just sat there. And sat there. Till things had calmed down enough to head back to my room.

Feeling confused, rather pathetic, but above all incredibly turned on.

Damn.

***

I walked into the bar around ten to six. When Dan Walker says 18:00 what you are hearing is 17:55. As in – turn up at 17:56 and you’d take shit for being late. It’s a military thing, but some habits die hard. The hotel bar was nicer than most, none of that TV and sport bar vibe you sometimes get. Dark wood, plenty of quiet tables and subdued lighting. The restaurant here was pretty high-class, too, good enough for well-heeled folks to drive some distance for dinner. I’d seen myself working all evening with just a bite from room service. Dinner with Dan was a much better offer.

Of course I scanned the place for any sign of a certain blonde. No joy. A few couples and older groups, but nothing for a single young man looking for a lady. Well a single, 31 year-old man who’d been driven off the-the-charts horny about two hours ago, and might start humping furniture like a dog any moment. A cold shower had helped, but part of my mind kept replaying the show. Down, boy. Better get a grip or I’d be coming on to some of those nice grandmothers over there. With a deep sigh and a shake of my head I found a quiet spot, ordered a beer.

Been a while since I’d had the chance to pause and reflect. I knew I’d gotten something of a rep at Mowbray lately for being calculating and cold. That’s not how I thought of myself, though. Sure, I’d had to be tough to get the job done and there’d been casualties amongst those who got in the way. But I saw myself as one of the good guys, who tried to do the right thing, look after his team, help folks where I could. Infantry officers as a rule aren’t ice-hearted cold fish. I was still that guy, right? I mean, inside?

Even so. Even so. ‘Achieve the mission’ might be a good tactical mindset, but it also got used to justify bad shit. Maybe not the best guide to a life well-lived. Thinking about it now, I realised I hadn’t laughed out loud much the past year. Turned down the party invites. Bailed on beers with the guys.

Self-pity wasn’t my style. But I was tired, I’d worked a lot of hours running on adrenaline, with precious little social life for months, and zero sex. Then with the anti-climax of the deal being done, to see a girl like that. Utterly beautiful and obviously unattainable to a guy like me. Well, it was enough to make you think about your life choices a bit. I’d always been driven. Wanted to do my best, make a difference. All that good stuff. Right now I could really go for throwing the whole thing in, lying on a California beach and banging any chick who’d have me. Well, maybe not, but it sure seemed like I was missing something.

“You sorry chairborne piece of shit! Get your back straight and your chin up, and un-fuck yourself right the hell now!”

Ah, those dulcet gravelly tones would be Dan. I looked up as a brawny man-mountain dropped into the chair opposite, glaring at me. Fifty-something, muscles like iron bands, crew cut grey hair and expensive dark business suit. Which must have used up a lot of material. I took a breath and tried to rally.

“Hey, Q-tip.” Well, my heart wasn’t really in it, and Dan grimaced while he waved for a drink.

“That all you got, Pete? You know, we could use a little more Hooah round here.” His voice got a bit gentler. Now he only sounded like an annoyed Grizzly. “Come on, snap out of it. You did real good. Lot of happy faces in the Head Shed. Mr Mowbray’s pleased. So what’s up?”

“Yeah. Yeah, sorry Dan. Tired. I guess a bit deflated. ataköy escort Couple of beers and I’ll be fine. It’s very good to see you, man.”

“Pete. First, we get fine all by ourselves, then we have beer. You know that. Ah, okay. I’ll give you a break. Listen, you’re flat after the rush of the deal. Okay. But life is too short, so come on. Come on. Give me some love, here.”

He looked at me expectantly and I couldn’t help but smile. Gloom lifted and the tension left me. Chin up, right. I leaned forward and returned his stare.

“Okay, Carl. So the Airforce wouldn’t have you? Well, working with dumb jarheads is alright once we’ve taught them to read and got the fucktards to stop licking the windows. If you’ve finished feinting in Kuwait, and you’re not too busy eating crayons and getting your hair cut, maybe you could be the best you can be and give my shoes a clean. And use the right color polish this time.”

Hardly my best, but better. Dan eyed me thoughtfully, but seemed satisfied.

“Good enough. Now we got you squared away I got bad news and good news. The bad news is I can’t make dinner. Something’s come up. One beer and I’m out of here. Good news for you is a mutual colleague flew in with me. Since I gotta bail she’s alone here tonight so I need you to keep her company over dinner and look after her. Erika Jansen — don’t think you know her? No. She’ll be along in a minute. Trust me, I’m doing you a favour here. She works for the Foundation, doing some good works in Philly this week.”

The Foundation would be the Mowbray family’s private charity, the Claire Foundation. No surprise that Dan would be working with them, there were lots of connections between the two organisations. Charles Mowbray was very committed to the Foundation. But an evening with some bluestocking do-gooder wouldn’t exactly be exciting. I guess my disappointment showed, though Dan just seemed to find it funny.

So we had a beer and caught up for maybe half an hour. For some reason I didn’t get round to mentioning my gym experience earlier. Hell, maybe he’d think I’d been hallucinating. We were laying down some shit on each other when Dan looked over my shoulder, smiled and waved. I turned in my seat, hearing a soft, feminine voice behind me.

“Hi Dan. I’m sorry I’m late.”

Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Blue moons are rare. The Cubs may not be a good bet for the World Series. And so on. But it turns out you can see two extraordinarily beautiful women on the same day.

Wow.

As Dan and I rose, I couldn’t help viewing this girl from the feet up. Strappy black high heels on bare, tanned legs. Slender, tightly muscled, shapely legs that went up and up to smooth, supple thighs. Her dress was black, clingy, cut away asymmetrically, I think they call it, so her right leg was revealed almost all the way up but the material kind of draped diagonally down her left thigh. Complicated design, maybe. But the way she was standing, totally worth it. The tight, low cut top revealed a generous expanse of firm, rounded breasts, probably covering her nipples with about an inch to spare. No bra, though the fabric was opaque enough for decency. Two thin straps over her bare shoulders just about held the whole thing up, the material straining against her bust.

Finally, my eyes drifted up to a sweet smile in a happy, guileless face of effortless young beauty. I’d say twenty-four, twenty-five maybe. Her soft skin glowed with health, and captivating light green eyes sparkled with life and energy. Light brown hair fell in waves to the small of her back.

She was devastating.

“Good evening, Erika.” Dan’s voice brought me back to the world. “May I introduce Peter Holte, a seriously rising star in Business Development at the Group. Peter, Miss Erika Janssen of the Claire Foundation.”

I couldn’t help but look deep into those incredible green eyes, and she smiled back. We shook hands, and sat, and said the usual pleasantries, but I was reeling. Operating on autopilot. She had the slightest Dutch accent, almost like a tiny lisp. I smelled perfume, jasmine maybe, which would have gone straight to my head if she hadn’t already blown it off. I got her a drink, sparkling water, and pulled myself together.

Okay. Tongue back in mouth. Close mouth. Engage brain. Attempt civilised conversation.

Dan had me covered for small talk for the first minute or two, obviously knew what I was feeling. The bastard. But I got back in the game, and before long actually managed to make her laugh. Dan smiled then and checked his watch.

“Okay. I gotta leave, kids. I’ll see you midday tomorrow, Erika. You’ve got my number – any problems give me a call. But Pete will look after you. He’s one of the good ones. Great future ahead of him with Mowbray.” His craggy face favoured both of us with a fond smile. “Have a good evening, you two. Ciao.”

I watched Dan leave, and Erika watched me, smiling gently.

“Hell of a guy. Have you known him long, Erika?”

“Three years, a little more. Since first I joined the Foundation. Yes, he is wonderful. Very protective of me. But he doesn’t need to be so protective in Philadelphia! Tonight I should have been meeting a friend who’s passing through, but she can’t make it. I was just going to stay in the hotel anyway. But it is very nice to meet you Peter. I am grateful for your company.”

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