The Christmas Present
The train went over more points and jiggled and joggled, as did the breasts of my travelling companion.
It was December 15th, and we, me and Marianne, the office hottie, the unattainable office hottie, were off on a jaunt. She could have had almost anybody in the office – including several of the women. A body that cried out for use and misuse; long slender legs leading up to hips that moved in that mesmerising swing that some women just naturally have (and stick thin models over-emphasise by crossing their legs as they walk – its supposed to look sexy, just looks like the can't walk straight). From behind, her buttocks had just that hint of bounce that showed they weren't just bony protuberances at the top of her lower limbs (again, unlike those bony models). A stomach as flat as a pancake and a thin yet clearly human (ie, she ate more than lettuce) waist led up to a bust that was almost too big for her body, but not quite. A slender neck lead up to an oval, quite a strong chin with rosy lips and stunning blue eyes surrounding a nose, perhaps slightly too big? But no, that's just being too critical. All of this vision was finished off with long, flowing, blonde hair. It extended nearly to her waist. The 'lads' had decided her bosom was EE, the 'girls' had more realistically estimated DD but rather cat-ily suggested it was enhanced. The one conversation I'd had with her (more than 'hello' or 'have a good weekend' had been about Samantha Likula (stick thin model, the current face of La Senza – you must have seen her) having breast implants (headline in the Sun "I Likula Samantha's new Babulas"). She (Marianne) did not approve. She believed in entirely natural bodies, and believed we should all accept God's gifts as they come and not attempt to improve on them. I didn't share this information. I knew why she was unattainable, father was a minister (Church of Scotland? Free Church of Scotland? Something like that, who knows), she helped run the Sunday School, she was a good girl in the genuine old fashioned sense of the word. I figured it was up to her who she told and who she didn't.
Marianne had a bust and intellect to match. Which is to say they were both big. Naturally when she started (2 weeks after me) she was a target for all the would-be office lotharios. She was more than a match for them, using language like a very sharp razor she left them slashed and bleeding; and in typical arrogance and ignorance they labelled her with the 'L' word. She didn't seem worried. She even made friends with one of the lesbians in the office – Janey the ancient (39!) secretary to Mr Jackson our Finance Director. Janey lived with 3 cats and her long term girl friend. She never said she was lesbian but it was obvious; nobody cared. Odd that, generally we were a very tolerant, easy going crowd I found. There was Janey, Jackie, and Mica the lesbians (Mica was very out of the closet), Johan and Max the gays (Max declared. Johan assumed due to the way he walked, I know that's unfair but you have to gossip about something over coffee – there were other things too, like the flowery shirts. Okay so maybe we are Neanderthals, but the point is we didn't mind one way or the other), Tim, Sol, Jo and Paul were the blokey, God's gift to women, types. Me? I was one of the grey, background types, every office has them. They do the work, they are part of the group, but they never lead the pack. I'd learnt to get my ideas accepted by getting other to propose them. That's life. Anyway ... point is as I said, people really weren't fussed about other's private lives. Even Harry, who went hunting once a month. Harry was nearly blue blood, loved horses, shooting, fishing, anything that involved killing defenceless animals really. Well, that was him.
But suggesting Marianne was lesbian was unfair. It was a way of the 'dicks' (what they were called when they weren't around – even Janey called them that) saying 'obviously something wrong with her not to want us'. But it implied that that sexual choice was a lesser one. I knew they were wrong; Marianne had mentioned a past fiancé who converted to Catholicism (which put the kibosh on that relationship apparently); but I didn't argue. Marianne didn't seem to mind and I knew nobody would listen.
Humans still live partly in their past – that past of surviving in jungles where a movement at the corner of your vision meant you could be about to be a Sabre-toothed Tiger's tea, or that you miss out on the squirrel that you wanted for your dinner. It's automatic for humans to check out any sudden movements. Unfortunately every time the train shook Marianne's breasts my eyes shot across to them. And on at least two occasions she had seen me looking. It wasn't my fault, I wanted to explain. But how can you say "your unfettered breasts under a light t-shirt are stimulating my hunting instinct for tree lizard". I tried not to look; trouble was there was, yes, a temptation as well. Unfettered, un-bra-ed, the friction on the cotton t-shirt was causing her nipples to rise to the occasion. She must have realised. I don't think she dressed that way to be sexy, she came to work sometimes in very plain, reserved clothes, she never wore much makeup; I think she just dressed to be comfortable on the journey without a thought of the effect on other people.
By the time we got to conference therefore, it wasn't surprising that she wasn't really speaking to me. We'd been sent to the "Algorithmic Management – New Developments 2014" conference. She was to look at the admin side while I took in the IT specialisations. It wasn't looking too exciting so far, but then it was time out of the office, there were a couple of drinks receptions and, after all, how boring can a conference be?
I made a conscious decision not to sit opposite Marianne in the first session, then I wouldn't have to look at her, or be mistaken for looking at her. I'm really not that type of guy. I've had three long term relationships (at 14, 19, and 23) plus the requisite number of short term ones. I never cheated. I respected my girlfriends, made them dinner; helped wash up, put up with their cats, their dogs, their friends, their relations, and even their slovenly habits on occasions (pants on the floor, socks on the radiator, that sort of thing). So why am I still single? Could be lots of reasons; I don't know, maybe I've just been unlucky. I don't think I have bad breath or smelly feet or fart in bed (unlike 'P' but that's another story which I won't go into here, suffice to say she put me off).
The first introductory session actually went well. We had to explain our jobs and the reason for being there. A couple of braggarts (there are always some) went on about how great they were and how their employers relied on them, blah blah blah. Marianne went into wind-up mode and started asking one of them questions like "It must be hard for the company to let you come to things like this since they rely on you so much"
And he lapped it all up and dug a bigger and bigger hole. I looked round the table; even the other show-off could see she was taking the rise out of him (but clearly didn't realise how lucky he was to escape) and people were smiling in a smirky way. She does it very well, and, being a luscious blonde, idiots like that never realise there is a brain behind the bimbo. At the break he asked her out. She declined and, as I came over for a coffee, introduced me as "her friend" (left it open, what does that mean? Boyfriend? Acquaintance?), he went off to try on his charm with some other unlucky cow.
"Thanks for playing along"
"No problem, some people are just such dicks ... oh, sorry. I guess I shouldn't say that in front of you"
"It's my father that's the minister, not me, and I've heard lots worse. But really he just lacks security I think; he has to big himself up to persuade himself as much as anybody"
"If you feel sorry for him why make fun of him?"
"He needs to realise he makes it worse, maybe in a day or two he'll think what a fool he was. But I doubt it"
"Listen, I've got to say something, about the train journey, I..."
"I'm sorry, I was inappropriately dressed, and I should realise that all men, even the quiet ones who sit at the back, do their work and are no bother, even they think through their trousers. No harm done" She gave a fantastic smile and her perfect teeth, I swear they flashed in the sunlight. Then we were called back. This girl was amazing; the most self-aware and self-confident woman I'd ever met. "Damn, I think I'm falling in love" I thought. I found myself thinking through my trousers as I sat in the next session. But lets face it I stood as much chance as an ice cube in hell, a whale in the desert ... the speaker droned on and I got distracted by thinking of more and more stupid analogies - a cream cake at a slimming farm, a cat in a kennels, an idealist in parliament, a cobol programmer at a games convention, a vicar in a broth-"what do you think, Chris, isn't it? You must come across this all the time in your business"
They were all looking at me. Why? What were we talking about? I still have no idea what was being said. I started to waffle in the hope of saying something right. Then my phone rang. "Excuse me" I looked – number withheld – "Oh yes, I've got to take this, back in a minute". Smiles all round, every one of us pricks thought we were so important that we had to have a mobile phone on all the time to be available 24/7. No one is that important. This was probably PPI refunds or "have you had an accident recently..." Whatever, it got me off the hook.
.... There is more of this story ...