"Quiet Nights & Good For A Laugh"
by Jax Franklin
Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you meet new people for the first time, you hit it off? Then there are those people you meet, and they barely get a sentence out and you form an opinion. That's what happened to me the first time I met my new boss, Gage Bestin. He had slicked back, Antonio Banderas style hair, and sexy, coal-black-eyes. Yet, as soon as he opened his mouth, he ticked me off, big time.
"Mel, as soon as you finish making copies of the new HOAs, I want you to distribute them along with the EOM data for the property management team meeting later this morning. Post next week's maintenance schedule, and then don't forget to call Mrs. Mellory about her past-due rent check. And for evermore," he said thrusting his coffee cup in the air toward me, "make a fresh pot of coffee because this stuff tastes like tar. Then, I want you to come to my office."
"My name is Nell, not Mel. Nell with an N, as in Nell Waverly, Mr. Bestin." Damn, who says all that in one sentence to someone they've never met? I look at the clock on the wall above his head, and it isn't even nine-thirty, for crying out loud. I feel like Dolly Parton in Nine To Five.
I count to three, blow a stray hair out of my face, and then give back as good as I got. "Quite frankly, Mr. Bestin, your rudeness could have been avoided had you looked at the conference room table. You would have seen the new HOAs copied and properly distributed for the meeting. On top of which, I completed the EOM reports, which have been sent via PDF to all staff first thing this morning. Mrs. Mellery's check sits on my desk as we speak because when I got my frappuccino at Mellery's Coffee House this morning, she gave it to me. On top of which, the new maintenance schedule cannot be posted until you approve it. As for the tar you are drinking, should you fork over more than a few bucks for generic coffee, then we could have a decent cup of said brew. But, please, far be it for me to complain!"
Gage grins and reaches into his pocket for a twenty-dollar bill. "Okay, Nell with an N, Waverly, Dark French Roast. I prefer Starbucks, but Mellery's Coffee House will do. I'll expect you back within twenty minutes, and then freshly brewed coffee soon thereafter. I like it black, thank you." He turns on his heel, winks at Lily the receptionist, and then closes the door to his office, smiling all the way.
* * *
What a day! I deserve this night after what that ogre put me through. Fudge, but he is a test in determination and staying power. The kitchen smells mighty fine, thank you very much mother, candles on the table for romance, and I have the wine breathing, not to forget Andrea Bocelli in the background. I smile, not too shabby if I do say so myself.
One last glance in the mirror, and girl, who says jazzercise is dead, because these hips look mighty fine. A boat neck blouse with a touch of cleavage to flatter, pinch of the cheeks for effect, and a little lip-gloss, strawberry, I should think. All I've got to say is, Blind Date Matchmaking better be worth it. The online chats have been hmmmmm, most interesting to say the least. Maybe tonight will be ooh-la-la!
Okay, Nell, that bell is for you. I walk to the door and swing it wide, and instead of looking into the face of my date, a mighty fine looking tush meets my eyes. Oh, yes, indeed, I decide as a smile takes over my face. "Excuse me. Is something wrong?"
"Sorry, my contact fell out," he says.
"Oh, okay," I say, and then join him on the floor, on all fours. "Where do you think it went?"
"Hah!" He says, when our eyes meet.
"You!" I jumped to my feet. "Why are you at my house?"
"Nell with N," he says, pointing at me. "You're "Quiet Nights" and "Espionage" from Blind Date Matchmaking?"
"You're Class Act" and "Good for a Laugh?" I say just as surprised.
We stand, sizing up each other; sort of like, who will strike the first blow? Then it occurs to me, if I sweeten up Mr. Dictator a bit, life could be better at work. I smile. "Well, you're here, and you can't be all that bad, at least if you brought Class Act and Good for a Laugh along instead of my crusty old butthead of a boss." Oh, jeez, I just called my new boss crusty and a butthead all in one sentence. Way to go, Nell!
Gage grins. "Quiet Nights, what makes me think this will be anything but? Espionage maybe, if you call me a crusty ole butthead one more time."
I suddenly burst into laughter. "Well, I guess I could have left out ole since you don't quite pass for an old goat, yet."
"Perhaps we could call a truce for the night," Gage says. "I've rather enjoyed getting to know Quiet Nights and Espionage these last weeks. What do you say - truce?" he asks, offering his hand.
"Truce," I say. "I have to admit, you have made me laugh a time or two. Come on in. We can always drown our sorrows in Pinot Grigio if all else fails. Oh, but wait a minute. What about your contact?"
"Not to worry, I wear them more out of habit now than need since my laser treatment, so I can get by."
"Well, that wasn't so bad. We actually finished the main course, still have wine in the bottle, and neither one of us has a black eye yet. Perhaps there is hope for the ole crusty butthead after all."
"I am sorry. I don't know what comes over me when you're around. You bring out the worst in me, I dare say."
Gage leaned his elbows on the table and steepled his hands with a challenging look on his face. "If you put as much into being nice as you do in calling out your boss, perhaps we could have another glass of wine, and then discuss how beautiful and sexy you look tonight. Is that Essence of Lavender teasing my senses?"
Damn, he does know how to say the right things. Well, at least sometimes! Okay, here goes, bucko. I lean my crossed arms on the table. "You don't look so bad yourself in your cashmere sweater and that diamond stud in your ear. Is that Calvin Klein's Eternity teasing me?"
"Could be," he said with a grin a country mile wide. "I must say, though, perhaps I owe you an apology for earlier today."
"Be still, my heart, Mr. Bestin, am I hearing correctly?" I couldn't help but poke some fun at him. Nevertheless, that damn smile will be my undoing!
"Nell with an N," he said holding his hand out to me with a sexy, lopsided grin. "I am sorry for selling you short first thing this morning. More to the point, I can't help but enjoy your choice of music."
I took his hand. "So true, I understand that Class Act does like Andrea Bocelli."
His gaze never leaves mine as he takes a sip of wine with his free hand. "Would Quiet Nights or Espionage care to dance?"
I take a sip of wine with my free hand, and then rise, his hand still holding mine. Holy moley, I think, as a bolt of electricity shoots through my body, and I'm instantly, dizzy! "I believe either one of us would be quite pleased to take on Mr. Bocelli."
Damn, I think when he takes my hand as 'Besume Mucho' begins to flow from Andrea's golden tongue. Calm down, nether regions! "Well," I say, trying to recover, "let's not keep him waiting."
He dances me around my small living room in silence, and the whole time, I love the way I feel in his arm. "Perhaps I should promote you from crusty ole butthead to nice handful of tush, Mr. Bestin."
Gage twirled and then dips me. "Why Nell, are you flirting with your boss?"
With the mixture of Pinot Grigio, Eternity, and Andrea continuing to niggle at my senses, I look him straight in the eyes. "I believe that will depend on who shows up at work tomorrow."
"I'm very safe in saying, if you throw out that hideous coffee tasting of tar you tried to serve me this morning, handful of tush will gladly show up. But I warn you, if hideous coffee is a repeat, crusty ole butthead will show his ugly face."
Then he dipped me once more and feathered kisses over my cleavage. Yes, thank you, God for boat necks! "Whew, I'll take out stock in Dark French Roast, Mr. Bestin."
With Andrea Bocelli continuing his magic in the background, Class Act and Quiet Nights discover they could make their own kind of espionage with a good laugh every now and again throughout the night.
* * *
The next morning when I arrive at work an hour early to run some reports, twelve, one-pound bags of Dark French Roast from Mellery's are on my desk in a basket, with an envelope attached. Inside are two tickets to an Andrea Bocelli concert, with a note attached.
Nell with an N, I have provided the Dark French Roast. So, if you provide a quiet night with some espionage, I'll be good for a laugh with a class act."
I pick up a package of coffee, walk over to Gage's closed office door, and tap on it.
"Enter at your own risk."
I open the door, walk in, and then close it while holding the pound of coffee in my hand. "I will certainly retire crusty ole butthead for a handful of tush, Mr. Bestin." I smile as I walk toward him.
He smiles and leans back in his chair, his hands behind his head.
Who says you can't mix business with pleasure!