Party Girl

Disclaimer #1: This is more of a mainstream story than an erotic story.

Disclaimer #2: This is absolutely not based on real people. Nope, not at all. I completely deny that this little scene ever happened. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see anything, I know nothing. It’s all from my imagination. Got it?

The big deals don’t get done in smoky back rooms anymore. In this bar the air is clear, except for the faint smell of hops and the piquant hint of applewood chip smoke from the grill in the kitchen. The clink of glasses and silverware is muted by the upholstered leather chairs and the panelling that seems everywhere. Conversations two seats over are unintelligible, not much more than a murmur with the occasional laugh or loud exclamation.

It’s where the old-timers swap war stories of programs and proposals past. It’s where us junior engineers quietly sip our cokes and try to not draw the wrong sort of attention.

My coke isn’t mixed right. It’s too sweetly syrupped with barely a hint of acidic bite. Too much ice as well, which melts quickly in the warm room. I’d be fine if I took my suit jacket off, but I’m on a high-backed metal chair at the bar, and there’s no good way to drape a coat over the back. I had to settle for just slipping my tie into my pocket because there was no way I was giving up the seat.

For the Colonel sits one empty chair over to my right. Here, I might learn something, for once, instead of just holding up the wall near the door.

The Colonel’s sipping a double of what’s certainly twenty-five year old single malt scotch. He’s left the jacket from his uniform in his hotel room, but still looks sharp in Air Force Blue. Of course, he’s got the chiseled face they put on recruiting posters. Or propaganda posters, if those were still done. There’s just enough grey at his temples to make him look like a master commander.

He’s slowly nodding his head, clearly only half-listening to the man on the other side of him. I recognize Tom, the BSIS Aerospace Corporation Capture Lead, mostly through his animated gestures. I can’t hear Tom, not that I need or want to. I’ve seen him enough in these after-conference gatherings to know he’s telling some wildly entertaining story where the moral will be that his guys are amazing. Just the sort of people the Colonel should give the $300 million dollar contract to.

Just the sort of people that, having been teamed with them for a year in chasing that contract, I’ve come to despise.

Except for one.

Well… even that’s in doubt.

For just when I start to think I’m an idiot for wanting her once again, she strolls in. Tracey supposedly works on the BSIS Proposal Team, but I never see her except at these parties. And when I do…

I force myself to let out my breath. My blood is already racing.

Tracey stands in the doorway and surveys the room. She’s pulled her long auburn hair back under a barrette, keeping it straight this time instead of wavy like two months ago. As usual, her make-up is perfect—red lips not too garish, enough eyeliner to make her green eyes pop. Of course, the tight scoop-necked sapphire blue blouse and coal black skirt only enhance her sexiness. She’s tall with athletic curves and she moves like a tiger. It’s hard to believe she’s just out of college. She’s the wet dream of a half dozen engineers all too nervous to say hello.

Me as well.

Tracey spots the Colonel and makes her way over. Despite the moderate crowd, she has little difficulty weaving her way toward us. The Colonel turns with a satisfied smile. Tracey says hello and gives him a lingering handshake. His eyes only unprofessionally flick to her breasts once.

They exchange greetings and the Colonel asks about her day in accounting. She laughs, like tinkling bells, and says it’s as dull as ever. With her eyebrows waggling, she exaggeratedly talks about how just dull dull dull working up cost estimates for a proposal can be.

They seem drawn into their own world. On the far side of them, Tom gestures to have the bartender refresh the Colonel’s drink, and drops a hundred dollar bill on the bar. The Colonel’s glass will never run dry.

The Colonel gestures toward the empty seat between me and him. Tracey’s cheeks dimple as she smiles and nods. She gives me a quick glance, long enough to recognize me and place me, not long enough to care.

My stomach tightens.

Still, she’s soon next to me, a mojito quickly in front of her. A giggle at something the Colonel’s said. She smells like lavender and musk. Heady, wonderful scents of desire.

She and the Colonel start talking like old friends, though they’ve only ever met at these events. She can’t quite turn her back to me, the way the chairs swivel, so they both keep glancing at me from time to time. I play the part of the hanger-on, hovering at the edge of the conversation like so many do, pretending to not be as interested as I am, but not so blatantly disinterested to make it seem like I’m trying to hide my eavesdropping.

The Colonel talks about golfing in Florida. Tracey laughs and tells a funny story about the one time she went with a bunch of girlfriends and lost her ball in the rough, only to find it in a gopher hole. She tells it well, and the Colonel laughs hard.

I consider telling my own story, inviting myself into the conversation, but the topics change too quickly. Golf in Florida becomes scuba diving in Hawaii becomes skiing in Colorado. Tom’s long since faded away to other glad-handing while an apparent invisible bubble around the three of us holds back all others, except the frequent stops of the bartender to freshen our drinks.

With the grace of a gazelle, Tracey sloshes some of her mojito onto her décolletage. She playfully shrieks as the Colonel grabs for napkins to dab her dry. She’s trying to do the same and there’s a flustered moment when he realizes he’s touching her breast.

“Careful there,” I say.

He snaps his hand back with a narrow stare at me. Then he looks down at his lap.

“It looks like we got some on me, as well,” he says. “Excuse me.” He stands and makes his way in the direction of the men’s room.

Tracey turns to me. She sizes me up, and curls her lip, but doesn’t speak. Her contempt at my intrusion is obvious.

Our eyes meet, and all the desire I’ve carried for her dies. There’s no soul behind her gaze.

“Why are you doing this?” I ask. “He’s twice your age.”

Her nostrils flare and she tilts her head. I can almost see the gears whirl as she decides I’m too insignificant to lie to.

“He’s an attractive man,” she says. “Handsome. Powerful. Much better than the dweebs around here.”

“He’s married, and he’s ethical.”

She shrugs dismissively. “A challenge.”

Her empty eyes don’t leave mine. We’re still staring at each other when the Colonel returns to his seat.

“Now where were we?” he asks.

“Travel,” I say, facing him with a smile. “The joys of travel. Speaking of which, have those new regulations from DCAA on travel accounting been much of an inconvenience for you?”

The Colonel furrows his brow. “I’m not sure…”

“Oh, they’re awful,” I interject. I nod toward Tracey. “At least we think so. Don’t we?”

Only a small flash of doubt crosses Tracey’s brow before she melodramatically sighs. “Oh, they’re the worst.”

“I haven’t heard about these…,” The Colonel says.

“Well, you’re lucky,” I say. “Tracey’s had to put in overtime to deal with them all. It’s been really hard on her.”

She puts on a dramatic pout and nods. It gets the sympathy she wants from the Colonel.

“Well, that’s too bad,” he says, giving her thigh a friendly pat.

I make a show of checking my watch. “But on that note, I need to get going.” I smile at both of them, as they lean a little too unprofessionally close to each other. “You two, have fun.”

“You, too,” the Colonel says.

He extends his hand and I shake it, though I’m sure he has no idea who I am.

I walk away and don’t look back.

© 2015 Big Ed Magusson. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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