I’ve worked in a ton of different offices, so when I started thinking about my story for the Office Pax the setting was no problem at all. But I wanted something different to the boss/secretary or feuding colleagues’ scenario.
I was in the bank one day when someone arrived with a watering can and a basket containing clippers, fertilizer, etc. to take care of the plants. I knew this person performed the same service for the common areas of the building and for some of the other offices, and that he used the utility room in the basement to refill his watering can and dispose of dead plants, etc. But what if the only person with a key to that room was the building manager?
I already had someone in mind to play the part of TJ—early twenties, rich, spoiled, and desperately in need of being given a kick in the right direction. Then I was out shopping and I saw him in the flesh—he was with his boyfriend. He had the sweetest smile and was as friendly as a puppy dog looking for a home. He was tall, very thin, with his hair done in the shaved at the sides and curls on top style, and he had on skinny jeans, a navy blue pea jacket and a big wraparound scarf. The boyfriend was a little older, suit, tie, etc. typical business-type, permanent frown and he looked as if he had all the troubles of the world to take care of—which made him the perfect model for Cole.
“You’re looking kinda thoughtful,” Cole observed. “Something I can help with?”
“No. Just feeling sorry for myself.”
He reached under the table and grasped my hand. “You mean like I was the night you found me in that club?”
“I guess.” I smiled and entwined my fingers with his. There was something about the warmth of his hand, the physical contact and the caring I could see in his dark eyes that felt so good, so special. Enough to give me another good feeling, the one that predicted we did have something more going on than simple physical attraction. “You just needed a push to start thinking about yourself instead of others. I need to figure out how my father made it big on nothing at all. And I do mean nothing. No family, no education, just hard work and determination.”
“Find a need and fill it? Go back to school?”
“I gave school a try. It wasn’t for me for a whole number of reasons. Anyway what need could I fill that hasn’t already being taken care of? I love what I’ve been doing this past week, figuring out what plants to order and where to put them. Thing is once they’re in place, it’ll just be a matter of regular maintenance, checking water levels and picking off dead leaves. Maggie says she has more projects in the works and I won’t be bored, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I want a job that will allow me to spread my wings and lead to bigger and better things.”
“Why don’t you try surfing the Net for business opportunities? Even if you don’t have money to invest, it may spark an idea or two you could build on.” Cole put his share of the check on top of mine and pushed back his chair. “Ready to go?”
It was now dark outside. After we left the restaurant and got back in the car, instead of starting the engine, Cole laid a hand on my crotch. One, two tiny strokes was all it took and I was hard as a rock. I closed my eyes and held my breath, wondering what he had planned for an encore.
“Look at me, TJ.”
The moment I turned my head, the look Cole gave me was so damn hot I was ready to melt. “I want to make proper love to you, babe.”
“I feel the same way, but you already know that.”
“So let me get us a room.”
“Why not? It’s just money.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Cole. It’s not just money. My pride is on the line here. I need to prove to myself and my father that I can stand on my own two feet. I don’t want to be your toy boy or your pet poodle, and that’s how I’d feel if I start letting you pick up the tab for everything. I’ve always paid my own way and that’s not about to change. The only difference now is I have to earn whatever I spend rather than have it handed to me. If I can’t afford something, then I’ll say no.”
Getting Real by Christiane France is now available at Amber Allure.
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