Can the past ruin the future?
|Nowhere To Hide
By Laura Ellen Carr aka kottenkandy41
When the elevator stopped at the eighteenth floor and the door opened, she looked up and saw Ben. “Oh God!,” The last thing she needed was to deal with him! Her eyes opened wider with surprise and she shook her head in bemusement. Ben had a tanned body, one of which, when women of any age see him, they just “melt”, everyone except Alanna. He has those deep dark brown eyes, and shoulder length stylish blonde hair that makes you want to run your fingers through. He was leaning over the receptionist's desk and flirting with Shelly. Didn't he realize he was way too old for her? He is thirty-five and Shelly is just barely out of high school.
She raised her eyebrow, her hip cocked. He needed to find a “woman” his own age. Picking up her brief case in one hand tossing her long golden brown hair back over her shoulder with the other, Alanna headed down the hall to her office almost at a running pace to avoid him.
A loud whistle echoed in her ear, a whistle that she just knew was directed at her. Stopping dead in her tracks, her eyes widened, she gritted her teeth and mumbled, “Not this morning! Not now!”
Ben was boisterous, his body stiffened and a smirk drifted across his face, “Whoa! What have we here? Are we in a hurry this morning?”
She turned to face Ben with a heavy sigh, her body tense, and her face telling him she really, really didn't want to talk to him. “Yes, I am and I don’t have time to deal with you.”
“Oh come on now, Ms. Malcolm." He smiled broadly as he turned his back to Shelly and dropped his elbows on the counter, opening his jacket to reveal the dark brown silk shirt that made his brown eyes and blonde hair stand out. He drawled cockily, "You've got to slow down or you're gonna have a heart attack at the early age of twenty eight.”
Her nostrils flared as she put her briefcase in the other hand. If the opportunity presented itself, she was going to deck him. “Will you just shut up?” Not waiting for a reply, she turned and walked down the hall to her office.
He excused himself from Shelly’s presence and followed Alanna down the hall to her office. Ben leaned over and propped himself up with hand on the door facing of her office and stood there looking down at her, “What a gorgeous woman you are… and that outfit clings in all the right places”, he thought.
Nervously trembling at the sight of him, she looked down and fumbled thru her purse trying to find her office door keys. She gritted her teeth and growled, “Benjamin Aimesworth! I have work to do, and that is just what you need to be doing! Don’t you have a client to see?” Not waiting for a reply she said, “I don’t have time to stand here and chit chat with you. I have a deadline to meet.”
Before she had time to get her keys into the lock, Ben lowered his head next to hers. She could feel the heat from his breath on her neck. Cold chills ran down her spine. Why on earth did he bother her so much! She wasn’t going to let it happen again! She tried to compose herself and cleared her throat hoping he wouldn’t notice. Just when she thought she could handle it, that sexy voice of his whispered in her ear, “Will you have lunch with me today then, and we can talk?”
She crammed the key into the doorknob. Raising her voice a notch, trying to sound convincing, “No, I don’t have anything to talk to you about! Now, will you just please leave me alone!” She unlocked the door to her office and stepped inside; she turned and all but slammed the door in Ben’s face. “That man is impossible!” she thought. Her day had not started out right and it was getting worse by the minute! “God!” she thought, as she looked down at the suit she was wearing. I should have waited till I got home to change before going out tonight. She knew the hour it would take her to drive home wouldn’t leave her enough time to change. She would barely make it home in time to freshen up her makeup and her hair before she had to pick up Julie. She had promised her they would have a night out on the town, and she REALLY needed to get out.
She laid her briefcase on her beautiful cherry desk, her laptop on the matching credenza, slipped off her hunter green silk blazer, and hung it on the oak coat rack in the corner of her office. She looked around the room, took in a deep breath, and sighed. Thinking to herself, “I have accomplished so much in the past 2 years. I have managed to work my way up the corporate ladder at McCann-Erickson. Earned the title of Account Executive in just four years and had this luxurious corner office with a wonderful view of the city of Atlanta.” She walked over to the window and looked out. It felt so good to finally be where she wanted to be. She was finally able to put the past behind her and start over again. Her thoughts drifted again, “The past…. “
A knock on the door startled her bringing her out of her deep thoughts. Turning around and straightening her snug fitting silk hunter green skirt and light yellow lace blouse, she cleared her throat and said “.Come in!.”
The door slowly opened and Julie stuck her head around the door, “I am sorry…. the way you slammed the door earlier I didn’t know if I should bother you this early or not.”
With a big smile on her face and letting out a laugh, “Oh Julie, I am sorry. Did I really slam it that hard?”
Relaxing, Julie laughed, opened the door and came in. She handed Alanna a cup of coffee and shut the door behind her, “Yes you did. I thought the door was coming off the hinges!
She took the cup of coffee Julie offered her and took a sip. “Thank you! You always seem to know what I need and when I need it.” Julie had been her secretary and her right hand for the last two years. She knew she could count on her and trust her with her life. They had become very close friends in and out of the office. Julie was a shorter petite woman a couple of years older than she was. Julie’s outgoing personality and her wittiness is one thing she loved about her. Knowing she could be totally honest with her. She sat her cup of coffee on her desk and with a more serious look on her face as she looked at Julie, “Tell me something Julie.”
A big grin came across Julie’s face. She just couldn’t resist this one! She could always make Alanna come out of her seriousness with a comical remark. “Okay……Something.”
Alanna rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Julie, you are just too funny! Did you see Ben this morning?”
“Yes, I did. I was making coffee, heard the door slam, and turned around. I saw Ben and he was mumbling something about ‘That woman is impossible!’ “
A dumb founded look came across Alanna’s face. Her eyes widened, her mouth flew open and she bolted out with “ME! …. Me impossible! That man is the one who is impossible! He flirts with everyone in this office including me. He thinks he is something special! Well he’s not!” Unconscientiously, she balled up her fist and squeezed it so hard her fingers turned white.
Julie was surprised by the anger in her voice. With a puzzled looked on her face, “Why do you dislike him so? He is good looking, charming and….”
“Yeah and a real pain in the ass!” shaking her head, “I am sorry; He just gets under my skin sometimes. He just wants to get into my pants…. and my head. He would do anything to steal my ideals on the Master Foods account. Which may I remind you, is the largest account this company has ever had a chance to get. He has been after the account ever since the meeting we had with Mr. Rowland about the account. If I get this account it would be a big break for me, not to mention a three hundred fifty million dollar account for the company. And I just don’t feel Ben can handle what it is going to take to service the account. He spends way too much time flirting instead of taking care of his accounts.” She relaxed her hand, reached over, and hugged Julie. “I shouldn’t be taking this out on you, but thanks for listening.” She let out a sigh.
Julie couldn’t help but laugh at her, the way she was trying to dismiss the fact that she could possibly be attracted to Ben. “Are you sure you aren’t attracted to him the least little bit?.. I mean you haven’t really dated anyone since you took this job, and that has been almost two years ago. Don’t you think it is about time...”
She cut her off before she could say anything else and shot Julie one of those looks, that told her she was heading down the wrong path with the conversation, “Yes, it is about time, and we are going to take care of that tonight. Remember we are going out, and you can find me anybody you want to.” An evil grin came across Julie’s lips and before she could say anything, Alanna stopped her dead in her tracks, she knew what she was up too, “Anybody but him!”
“No buts, anybody but him! Now, what was it you needed?”
“Oh I almost forgot,” handing her the morning mail. “There is a letter that was marked urgent, personal and confidential. I didn’t want to open it but I thought you might want to open it first. The rest I opened, sorted, and put them in order of urgency.”
She looked at the stack of mail Julie handed her. Looked back up at Julie and smiled. “Thank you, Julie. What would I do without you?”
A blushing smile came across Julie’s face, “You are welcome.“ She turned and walked toward the door, “I will have those proposals typed up for you to review by this afternoon.” She closed the door and left Alanna to review the morning mail.
Alanna sat down at her desk and took a sip of the coffee Julie brought her. She looked at the mail she had laid on her desk, she took the envelope stamped ‘PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTAL”. Taking the letter opener from her neatly organized desk tray, she opened the letter. Pulling the linen paper from the envelope, she opened it. To her surprise, she found it was written with cut of words from what looked like a magazine. As she read the words, “I found you.” A hard lump came up in her throat. Her mouth went dry and her heart started racing. She quickly retrieved the envelope she had tossed into the garbage, hoping to find out who sent it; no return address, just a postmark, stamped with yesterdays date and Charleston, NC.
She closed her eyes, laid her head in her hands and tried to think, “Charleston? I don’t know any one in Charleston.” The phone rang, her head jerked up, dazed, she just sat there. The phone rang again, she quickly folded the letter and stuffed it back into the envelope and crammed it into the back of her desk drawer, almost like the person on the phone was going to see it!
Her voice cracked as she said, “Hello?”
A worried sounding voice came across the phone. “Ms. Malcolm, Are you okay?”
Nervously she wrapped her fingers around the phone cord. “Yes, I am okay.”
“Ms. Malcolm, this is Eric Maddox of Horton, Maddox & Anderson, Attorney office. Mr. Rowland asked me to schedule an appointment with you to go over the legal issues involving the Master Foods account your office will be handling.”
With a questioning tone, Alanna inquired, “Legal issues? I wasn’t aware there was going to be legal issues with this account.”
Eric’s stern, but gentle voice explained, “Since the Master Foods Company is so large and divides it’s advertising up to so many companies, they felt the need to develop legal contracts so that their interest is protected and to guarantee that your company does not represent their competitor.”
“Oh, I see..”
“Master Foods seems anxious for you to get started on this account as soon as possible. So I suggest we try to get the legal issues out of the way by tomorrow. I know it is last minute but they seem to be in an awful big hurry to get this thing off the ground.”
“I understand. I can cancel some of my late afternoon appointments.” She reached for her itinerary. “Lets see, How does four o’clock sound? Or is that too late for you?”
“That will be fine. I will see you then.”
Eric hung up the phone and just stared at the receiver. Her voice was beautiful, and if she looked anything like she sounded, he was definitely interested.
A buzz from the phone brought Eric out of his fantasy of Ms. Malcolm. He pressed the button on the intercom, “Yes?”
“Mr. Maddox, Kevin is here to see you.”
“Great! Send him on in.”
“Yes sir.” Joan hung up the phone, “Sir, Mr. Maddox will see you now.”
Kevin stood and reached out his hand and took Joan’s in his, “Thank you sweet thing!”
Joan was beside herself, she didn’t know what to think. She fumbled nervously with the papers on her desk and she finally managed to say, “You’re welcome.”
About that time Eric opened the door. “Kevin, my man, I was wondering what was taking you so long. Eric noticed the blush on Joan’s face; I see you met my new secretary?”
Kevin let out a laugh, “I need to see you more often!”.
Eric knew Kevin had a way with women. Kevin and Eric had been best friends since kindergarten. They had worked closely together over the years since Kevin was a private investigator and handled a lot of investigations for Eric on some of his cases.
Hands on his hips and pointing at Kevin, “Joan this man is the reason I can’t keep help around here. He runs them off coming on so strong. You will have to excuse my friend here, and don’t pay any attention to what he says.”
Kevin protested, “Now wait just one cotton’ pickin’ minute, you are ruining my reputation here. I don’t run them off you do with all the demands you put on them! Joan don’t let this man over work you. If he gives you any trouble you just give me a ring, I will straighten him out for you.”
Eric chuckled, “Get in here before you run my help off!”
Closing the door behind them leaving Joan to muster over what she had just witnessed between the two of them, “I see you took my advice and found a cute young chick. So have you got laid yet?”
“Kevin!” Eric retorted as he seated himself at his desk waving his hand to Kevin to have a seat. “Is that all you ever think about? Without waiting for an answer, because he knew it was, “For your information, I hired her because of her qualifications and not her looks.”
Kevin rolled his eyes and shook his head, “Sure you did man, what ever you say!” He shifted in his chair and adjusted his tight fitting jeans, Let’s see now… how long has it been? A year? Six months? So when are you going to start dating again?”
He rubbed his chin, puckered his lips and said, “Lets see .. when the right one comes along.”
Cockily Kevin blurted out with “You are so picky, that will probably be never.”
He shook his pen at Kevin, “Yeah well, at least I don’t go to bed with every female that I see!”
Kevin held both hands up in the air, “Alright, you win. But if you don’t have a date by.. let’s see today is Tuesday, by Friday, I am going to find one for you. You work too much and don’t play enough!”
He leaned back in his chair and thought for a moment. He didn’t think he would have a problem getting a date by Friday, especially if Ms.Malcolm was anything like she sounded over the phone. He just couldn’t get the sound of her voice out of his head. “Okay you are on! Before I forget why I had you to come over here,” he reached for a file he had laying on his desk, “you always seem to get me side tracked. I need you to research this guy and tell me everything you can get on him as soon as you can”
Kevin took the file and stood up, “I will get right on it.” He walked to the door and paused, turning back to look at Eric, “I don’t suppose you would mind if I ask Ms. Joan out?”
Eric shot Kevin one of those evil looks and pointed his ink pen at him, “Get out of here, you got work to do for me!”
With a defeated look on his face, “I take that as a no. Well, in that case I will talk to you later.”
Alanna was busy going over her presentation for the Master Foods account. It was going to be tough, but she could handle it. Mr. Rawlings had given her the responsibility to take care of the legal aspect of the account so surely he would award her the account. He said he would make his mind up by Friday.
The intercom buzzed, “Alanna, Mr. Maddox is here to see you,” Julie announced.
“Please, send him in.”
She stood up to greet Mr. Maddox as he walked in. Alanna was totally unprepared for what walked into the room. She held out her hand but just stood there and couldn’t say a word. Her eyes just lavished the view. The cream color sweater he had on molded to his every ripple in his arms and chest. The color set off his stylish dark brown hair and those crystal ice blue eyes that you could just get lost inside. The tight fitting black pants he had on fit in all the right places. What was she thinking! She had to stop! It had been too long. She was going to have to start going out, it was beginning to affect her work. She was ravishing over a client’s attorney for God’s sake.
Eric couldn’t believe his eyes, she was even more beautiful than she sounded. He was definitely going to get to know Ms. Malcolm better. He took her hand in his, lifting her hand to his lips, he gently placed a kiss on the top of her hand, “Pleasure meeting you Ms. Malcolm. Mr. Rawlings didn’t tell me what a beautiful woman you were.”
She had to put him in his place. This was business and that is all it would ever be, she never mixed business with pleasure. “Well thank you… ” She just couldn’t say it, she couldn’t tell him. She would accept in a heart beat if he asked her. Who was she kidding? He just wanted to make a good impression for the Master Foods people. She jerked her hand back like he had bitten her, rubbing it with the other, “ Mr. Maddox.”
“Please, call me Eric.”
“Eric, have a seat. I have another client to see here shortly so we need to get on with this.”
A little confused about the look over she had given him, like he didn’t notice, and the tone in her voice now, “Oh yes, I am sorry. I thought I was your last appointment.”
Her eyes narrowed and one eyebrow went up, “Well I am sorry, you’re not.”
Bound and determined he was not going to let her slip through his fingers, “Maybe we should make this for another time, when you aren’t pressed for time.” At least he would have another chance to see her again.
She couldn’t risk having to meet with him again. She might not be so brave the next time. “No, I think we need to get this finished so our company can get started to work on the account, since the Master Foods people are in such a hurry to get things started.”
Okay, I can do this! I will just leave a couple of forms out, the one’s that aren’t that important. She will have to see me again. He straightened his tie, cleared his throat, “Yes, you are absolutely right.” He took the papers from his briefcase, leaving a couple nestled safely inside the pocket, and walked around to stand beside her so he could explain the papers. He purposely stood a little closer than he had to. He couldn’t help it. She smelled so clean and crisp, he just wanted to breath all of her in and savor the aroma. He reached over her shoulder and laid the papers on the desk in front of her, as he brought his hand back up to place his hand on the back of her chair brushed his hand across her shoulder. He just wanted to touch her.
God, what is he wearing? That cologne smells wonderful!! Does he HAVE to stand that close? Just hurry up before I change my mind. Alanna jumped as she felt his hand touch her.
He bent over and spoke gently into her ear, “Take your time and read over these and sign where I have indicated on each form.”
She couldn’t take it anymore. He had to move and move now! “This is going to take a little more time than I had anticipated. Maybe you are right. Why don’t I keep these and go over them tonight and sign them and I will have my secretary get them back to you tomorrow?” That would get him away from her and she wouldn’t have to see him again.
He knew he had the other papers for her to sign and he would be seeing her again and soon. “I think that would be best, you will have plenty of time to read over them. If you need me to explain anything you don’t understand or have a question about,” he reached into his pocket and took out one of his business cards and took a pen from her desk and jotted down some numbers on the back of the card, “here is my home number and my cell number.” He handed her the card, “Feel free to call me anytime.”
“I… I don’t think it will be necessary.” What am I going to do now. Why did he have to give me his home number! Standing up, she shook his hand, “but thank you.”
Eric walked back over to his briefcase, picked it up, looked up, “Ms. Malcolm, it was nice to meet you and I look forward to seeing you again.”
Alanna just nodded her head as she watched him walk out the door. I could just run my hands all over that body... Especially that butt! What am I thinking? Stop it! She slapped herself on the face. Okay snap out of it… She looked at her watch, 4:35. She was going to have to cancel her plans with Julie tonight so she could look over those papers. She really was looking forward to going out. She pushed the button on the intercom, “Julie, can you come here for a second?”
“Sure, be there is a sec.” Julie gathered up her pen and paper just incase Alanna needed to dictate anything to her. She opened the door and saw the flushed look on Alanna’s face, “Something wrong?”
A little distraught she said, “Yes, I am afraid I am going to have to cancel our plans for this evening. I have got to go over these papers the Master Foods attorney just brought me to sign. I am so sorry. I really was looking forward to it.”
“Hold it right there,” Julie waved her hand in the air, “you are not getting off this easy! We are going out, no ifs ands or butts about it. You bring the papers we can read over them over dinner together and then my dear we are going to party… and… find you a man!”
Alanna couldn’t help but laugh, “Okay, okay, you win. We will go. Go home and I will see you in a little while.”
Julie twisted her hips as she sauntered toward the door, “see ya in a few.”
4,174 words! I DID IT!
CHAPTER TWO COMING SOON!