The large clock on the wall read ten after nine as Julie Sutherland stepped through the large glass double doors that led to the offices of Mordmorgan Books. On a normal work day, the twenty-six-year-old black woman would already be late but today being Saturday and the day set aside for the quarterly purging of the files, she was actually twenty minutes early. Plenty of time, she thought, to stop off at the break room and grab a coffee and donut.
The break room was already half full when she stepped inside. A few good mornings greeted her and she returned them with a wave of her hand as she made a beeline for the open boxes of donuts that had been set up on the far countertop. To her disappointment, it only took a moment to check each box and discover all the Boston Kremes were already gone.
"Damn," the dark chocolate skinned assistant book editor said under her breath as she shifted through what was left, not finding anything else that enticed her interest. "I was really looking forward to that Boston Kreme this morning."
Pouring herself a cup of coffee from the large urn, Julie took in the room, taking note of who else had arrived early. Tim Keaton was in of course, the man practically lived in his office. He had the ear of one of the mailroom clerks, Joe Donovan, and was no doubt giving him his latest speech on why Jimmy Carter was going to be the best President the country had seen in the last twenty years.
Moving her attention past Tim and a few others, Julie finally found who she was looking for, sitting in the far corner. Dina Malagar, one of the secretaries, had been her friend almost from the day she had started at the firm some two years before, but she and the slightly chubby Filipina had become even closer in the last few months.
Up until last spring, Dina had been what Julie had imagined was a statistical improbability in New York City, at least in 1978. She had been a thirty-year-old virgin. A condition eventually rectified when her long-term boyfriend, Roger Taylor, had broken down and put a ring on her finger and in doing so, finally gained access to her bed. Since that time, Julie had been privately tutoring her friend in the fine art of keeping a man happy. Something the younger woman had more than her share of experience in.
It was true, at least at first, that some of her suggestions had been shocking to the newly engaged woman, but the proof as they say was in the pudding and after seeing how well Roger had responded to her lessons, she eagerly looked forward to the next. At the moment, Dina had her head buried in the new John Irving book, "The World According To Garp," and hadn't noticed Julie come in.
If Dina was her best friend in the company, then the woman who abruptly stepped in front of her, blocking her passage, could easily be described as the worst. Connie Walker, another assistant editor, was only five years older than Julie, yet the tall, slim blonde had already been twice divorced. She had a well known reputation among both staff and clients of being willing to go to just about any lengths to close a deal. Still wearing a Farrah Fawcett hairdo that was already two years out of date, she'd twice stolen authors that Julie had worked with previously by opening her legs to them. An offering that extended even to those with a wedding band on their finger.
Julie's favorite song of late was Odyssey's "Native New Yorker", and like the girl in the song, she wasn't always a lady, but she was hardly a tramp. A sentiment that Connie never seemed to care about. And now, as if she needed another reason to dislike her, Julie noticed that Connie had on her paper plate what had to have been the last Boston Kreme.
"How'd your date go last night?" Connie asked as she took a bite of the donut, causing some of the crème to spill out over her lips.
"It was fine," Julie said, not even surprised that the other woman had known she'd even had one. She seemed to keep as close a tab on everyone else's sex life as she did her own.
"Just fine?" Connie asked again, her tone suggesting she was looking for details.
"Yeah, just fine," Julie repeated, giving her a knowing smile as she ran her free hand across her short, curly black hair and letting her make of it what she will.
Julie had gone out with Jeffery Marcus, a salesman from one of their supply companies that she'd met two weeks before. A year older, Jeffery had been cute enough, and hardly cheap considering the trendy restaurant he'd taken her to. By the time they'd gone to the New Paramount to see a late showing of "Heaven Can Wait," Julie was looking forward to serving him dessert back at her place.
That was where Jeffery had come up short, and she meant that literally. Julie had never been a size queen, but the last time she'd seen a cock so small, even in a limp state, had been when she and Tony Grant had gotten naked in his parent's basement one Saturday afternoon and compared bodies. The difference being that little game of show and tell had taken place back in the fifth grade. Try as he could, Jeffery just hadn't been able to get her off. In the end, she had faked it and sent him home happy.
"I just realized something," Connie said as it became apparent that Julie wasn't going to elaborate any further on her date, "You love Boston Kremes, don't you? And here I took the very last one. I'm so sorry."
"No problem," Julie replied with a smile and false indifference. "First come, first served. Enjoy it."
"I guess that's something else we both have in common," Connie grinned as she wiped her lip clean with an outstretched finger. "We both love the creamy filling."
"If you say so," Julie replied, ignoring the double entendre Connie intended her observation to be. "If you'll excuse me," she added as she stepped around her and continued on to Dina.
A warm smile filled Dina's face as she looked up from her book and saw her friend. Putting the hardcover down, she motioned with her eyes to the empty chair on the other side of the table.
"How did last night go?" Dina asked as Julie settled into the small chair and placed her cup on the table.
This time, Julie's answer to the question was a lot friendlier if no more informative. Dina of course knew all about where she was going and with whom because Julie had asked her to cover for her so she could leave if not early, then at least on time.
When Jeffery had asked her out, Julie had no way of knowing that Doug Clarke, the Senior Editor in her department would be out sick and that she'd have to cover for him. Normally, that wouldn't have been a problem except that one of the other Senior Editors was holding up a package of proofs that had to be sent to the printers last night as to be run this morning. Evidently, he'd taken in upon himself not to trust the job Julie had done and decided to double check them himself.
That still wasn't a problem until six o'clock came and went and still the package hadn't come down. Not wanting to cancel, or even just delay, her date at the last minute, Julie had asked Dina if she could wait around and see that the proofs got to the printer when they came down. Doug sometimes let Dina take care of jobs like that so Julie was sure it wouldn't be a problem. With Roger away on business until Sunday and no plans for the evening otherwise, Dina had said that of course she would wait around and take care of it.
"You probably had a more enjoyable night with Garp there," Julie laughed in response to a further inquiry by Dina about last night.
"Well actually," Dina smiled, a wicked smile that Julie had learned to recognize in the last few months as one of contentment, "Roger unexpectedly came back early from his trip and..."
She didn't have to finish her sentence for Julie to understand. At least one of them had been royally screwed last night, she thought.
"Excuse me, Julie," said a brown haired, eighteen-year-old young man that stepped up to the table and interrupted their conversation. "I have something for you."
Despite the interruption, both Julie and Dina had warm smiles for the mailroom clerk standing in front of them. Joseph Donovan had been working at the firm a little over six months now and was as nice a guy as you could meet. Julie had even gone out to lunch with him a few times, just as a friend of course, and genuinely liked him.
"It was my turn to bring the donuts this morning and I made sure to put this aside for you before I laid them out," he said as he placed a Boston Kreme donut down in front of her.
"You are my hero!" Julie exclaimed as she stood up and kissed him on the cheek.
Joseph sort of blushed as she sat back down. Then he turned and walked away, leaving the two women to continue their conversation.
"That was a really nice thing for him to do," Dina remarked.
"Yes it was," Julie agreed. "It just goes to show you that there are still a lot of nice guys out there."
"It's too bad he's not a little older," Dina added, "I think he likes you."
"Well I like him too," Julie replied, "but you're right, he would have to be a little older." she quickly agreed.
"It's a pity we don't have more girls his age working here." Dina mused. "I think the ones we do have all have boyfriends."
Julie had to smile. Now that she finally had someone, Dina hated to see anyone else be alone.
"Wait a second," Dina said, her round face lighting up, "Julie Martinez, that girl who took over for Carmen when she went on maternity leave last month. She can't be more than a year or so older than Joe and I've never heard her say a word about a boyfriend."
"No, I don't think so," Julie replied, her words coming out slowly as if she was carefully choosing them.
"Why not?" Dina asked curiosity. "From what I can tell, Julie is a really nice girl."
"Oh she is," Julie answered, "but it just wouldn't be a good idea. Just trust me on it."
What Julie didn't want to say was that Julie had gone out with her and a few others from the office for drinks two weeks back. After just about everyone else had said their goodnights, the Hispanic woman had asked Julie if she'd like to continue their drinks back at her place. The offer had been pretty explicit, Julie's reasoning apparently being that since she was only a temporary employee, she could be more open about it than she might normally be.
Julie had thanked her but said she wasn't interested. What she didn't say was that she'd tried the girl thing back in college, without the benefit of a few drinks to give her courage or an excuse to blame it on. While it had been an interesting experience, it wasn't one she really cared to repeat. The other girl, an arts major whose name she remembered as Mimi something, had indeed left her with the most incredible oral orgasm she'd ever had. But when it had come time to reciprocate, Julie had done so dutifully but without any real enjoyment. The bottom line she realized afterwards, that for her is was all about a hard cock.
Thankfully, Dina took her at her word and let the matter drop. Julie hadn't really wanted to have to explain why it would be a bad idea. She didn't have any problem with Julie being a lesbian, but some of the other people at Mordmorgan might. A few of them, from comments they'd made at one time or another, were downright homophobic. That didn't include Dina of course but you never knew who might overhear.
"We'd better get to work if we want to be out of here by noon," Julie said as she glanced at her watch.
As she and Dina headed for the door, Julie made sure she walked right past Connie so that she could see that she'd gotten her Boston Kreme after all.
The remainder of the morning went quick enough, with most of the staff eager to finish the job as early as possible. Especially since they all got paid for half a day no matter how early they finished. By half past eleven, Julie's group at least was done.
"Any plans for the afternoon?" Julie asked Dina as she dropped the last of the rubbish into the large rolling basket. "We could go shopping if you don't, Macy's is having a big one day sale."
"Actually, Roger was going to come over for an early dinner," Dina replied.
"Just dinner?" Julie said in a low voice that only Dina could hear.
"Well..." Dina replied in an equally low voice, pausing long enough to make sure that no one else was close enough to hear. "I tried that thing you told me how to do with my tongue last night and he loved it. He wants me to do it again tonight."
"I hope he does it to you too," Julie said, her tone growing hard for a second, "If he won't reciprocate then..."
"Oh, he did it to me too," Dina giggled, "I kind of liked it."
Julie smiled at the image of a naked Dina and Roger in her bed. When she'd first explained analingus to Dina, the older woman had thought it was the grossest thing anyone had ever suggested to her. But, after thinking about it a while, she decided that Julie had been right about just about everything else she had shared with her. Evidently she had been right about that too.
In the minute or two it had taken for the two of them to have their private moment, the last of the staff had said their goodbyes and headed home. None of them wanted to risk Julie suddenly remembering something else that had to be done.
Checking that all the cabinets and desks were locked, Dina and Julie also headed out to the reception area. They'd just reached the double doors when Connie suddenly appeared from the other corridor and called out to Julie.
"Oh, I'm so glad I caught you before you left," the blonde said.
"I bet you are," Julie thought, adding to herself that Connie had a look of satisfaction on her face that suggested that someone had just shared a different sort of creamy filling with her.
"Mrs. Harris would like to see you in her office before you leave," Connie said, her voice reflection the satisfaction on her face.
Wendy Harris was the owner of Mordmorgan Books, having inherited it from her late husband some twenty years before and turning it into a highly profitable and respected publishing company. In the twenty-six months that Julie had been working for her, she didn't think she'd had a half dozen conversations with her that went much further than good morning.
"What does she want to see me about?" Julie asked.
"I wouldn't know," came Connie's reply, much too fast for Julie's to believe her.
She stared at the other assistant editor for a long ten seconds, until finally she got a different answer.
"Well I can't be sure of course," Connie said in a tone that meant exactly the opposite, "but I think it has something to do with those galleys that were supposed to be at the printers this morning. At least that was what I heard her talking about on the phone before she said she wanted to see you."
"What about the galleys?" Julie asked.
Connie replied with a silent look that said whatever else she knew, she wasn't about to share it. To further accent her point, she pushed between Dina and Julie and out the doors to the elevators beyond.
Before the elevator doors closed behind Connie, Julie turned to Dina, a now worried look on her face.
"Dina, I guess I should've asked you before, but I figured you'd have told me if there was," Julie said, "but was there any problem with getting the galleys to the printers last night?"
"I don't know," Dina said after a few moments hesitation.
"What do you mean you don't know?" Julie asked, a touch of what could only be described as panic in her voice.
"Well I waited until a quarter past eight and they still hadn't come down," Dina confessed, "and then Roger called and said he got back early and he was on his way to pick me up. I mean I hadn't seen him in almost two weeks and I didn't want to tell him no."
"Dina, what did you do?" Julie said, the fear in her voice even more evident.
"Well I didn't just leave and forget about it," Dina said defensively. "I called upstairs and asked when they would be done with them and they said at least another hour or so. That was when Connie said that if I had to go, she'd wait for them in my place."
"You asked Connie?" Julie said in disbelief.
"Yes, she promised me she'd take care of it."
"Oh God," Julie gasped, "I bet she took care of it alright."
It had been no secret that Doug Clarke had plans to retire next year, or that the choice to replace him might very well come down to either Julie or Connie. That was another source of the friction between the two women. By taking off last night to meet Jeffery, Julie might just have given it all to Connie on a silver platter.
"Julie, am I in trouble?" a worried Dina asked, seeing the look on her friend's face.
"No, you're not in trouble," Julie said, forcing a smile. "Everything's going to be fine."
If anyone was in trouble, Julie knew, she was the one. After all, how could she fault Dina for doing what she herself had done. It didn't matter that Doug used to delegate the chore too. He was a full editor, she wasn't. The bottom line was she had been given a responsibility and she had blown it off because she wanted to get laid. Now it was time to face the music.
"Dina, I'll take care of everything," Julie assured her friend. "You head home, have dinner with Roger and have some fun. Everything's going to be fine."
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"Absolutely," Julie smiled.
Taking a few minutes in the bathroom to freshen up before heading up to Ms. Harris's office, Julie found herself wishing she'd dressed a little more conservatively before coming in today. The denim skirt she'd put on was okay but the tight white blouse she'd grabbed at the last minute showed off more of her cleavage than what might be proper at work, even on a weekend. Julie had always been proud of her large bust and loved showing it off. But in the situation she now found herself, she somehow doubted Mrs. Harris would appreciate the view.
There was no one at the desk in the outer office when she entered, so Julie knocked on the half-open inner door, calling out Ms. Harris's name to announced herself.
"Come on in," came the voice from the other side of the door.
Taking a deep breath, Julie did so.
"Have a seat," the woman behind the desk said, "I'll be right with you."
Taking the seat in front of the large mahogany desk, Julie took a few moments to consider the woman opposite her. Wendy Harris was in her late 50's, with once dark brown hair now mixed with gray. Much to her relief, Julie found that the senior partner was dressed in a pair of shorts and a summer blouse, making the issue of what she was wearing much less of a concern.
Finally putting down the paper she had been writing a notation on, Mrs. Harris looked up at Julie and did the last thing the younger woman expected. She smiled.
"I was surprised that Connie was able to catch you," Mrs. Harris began. "I'd assumed that you'd already left but when she heard me mention to someone on the phone that I'd talk to you at my first opportunity, Connie insisted that she'd seen you downstairs only a few minutes ago and was sure she could find you. In fact, she literarily went running out of my office to do so."
"Here it comes," Julie thought, trying to remember the last time she updated her resume.
"I just wanted to say that I was impressed by the way you took on the responsibility that Doug Clarke's illness left you with," Wendy continued. "Including the lengths you went to make sure that the Myerson proofs made it over to the printers last night. Especially after that idiot Wilkes took it upon himself to go over them, despite the fact that you had already signed off on them."
"The galleys went to the printers?" Julie thought surprisingly. "I can't believe Connie really waited for them."
"But Mr. Wilkes is something that I'll address come Monday," Wendy continued, not noticing the look of utter relief washing over Julie's face. "There was another matter I wanted to discuss with you and seeing as you were still here, I figured now was as good a time as any. That is if I'm not keeping you from something you had planned?"
"No, nothing at all," Julie quickly said, thinking that after last night, it would be a long time coming before she put anything else before her job.
"Well, then let me make it as brief as possible," the older woman continued. "It seems that Doug Clarke has decided not to return to the company. His recent illness has made him reconsider waiting until next year to retire."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Julie offered, her concern genuine as she really liked her boss. "I hope he's going to be okay."
"He assures me that he plans to have years ahead to spoil his grandchildren and I'm sure we all wish him the best in that." she went on. "On a more practical matter, his sudden decision leaves me with the problem of replacing him on short notice."
"I see," Julie said, wondering if what was coming next was good news or bad.
"My first thought was to hire a replacement from the outside," came the answer, hitting Julie like a sledgehammer, "someone that could hit the ground running and pick up where Doug left off."
Julie didn't trust herself to say anything at the moment, sure that whatever came out of her mouth wouldn't be good. What Mrs. Harris said next made her glad she kept her silence.
"But Doug has been on the phone every day this week trying to convince me that it would be much better to promote someone from within. That he had two fine assistant editors, either of which was more than capable of doing the job."
That Doug would put Connie in the same category as her surprised Julie. Then again, perhaps her rival had spread her charms a little wider than she had imagined.
"Anyway," Mrs. Harris said, drawing the conversation to a close, "I finally agreed with him and it was only a matter of deciding which one of you got the job. I'm ashamed to say I really don't know either of you that well and was forced to make my decision just on your records. As of yesterday, I still hadn't made up my mind but when I came in this morning and discovered what had happened with Wilkes and how you dealt with it, well I knew I had my new editor. So congratulations."
"I ... I don't know what to say," Julie said, almost too shocked for words.
"You don't have to say anything, just don't prove me wrong." she finished. "I'm leaving myself in a minute so I'll see you Monday morning."
"I certainly won't, Mrs. Harris," Julie promised her, "Thank you, thank you very much."
Heading down the stairs, Julie couldn't believe what had just happened. The irony of it all was overwhelming. By actually doing what she had said she would do, something Julie still couldn't believe, Connie had given the promotion away.
The lower floor was a lot darker now with only basic lighting still on. The last of the weekenders had gone home while Julie had been upstairs. Or so she thought. There, in the reception area, stood a solitary figure. To her surprise, it was Connie.
"Connie, I don't know what to say," Julie said, promising herself that whatever happened before between the two of them, they would start over with a clean slate.
"Well, how about goodbye?" Connie said, her voice filled with satisfaction.
"Goodbye?" Julie repeated, "Connie, I know we've had our differences, but that's no reason for you to quit."
"Quit?" Connie now repeated in confusion, "Who said I was quitting?"
"But you said goodbye."
"Yeah, goodbye," Connie explained. "Goodbye to you."
"Connie, I'm not going anywhere."
"You didn't just get fired?"
"Fired?" Julie said, now even more confused. "I didn't get fired, in fact, I was just promoted. They're giving me Doug Clarke's job. He's going to retire now instead of next year."
"They gave you what?" Connie said in shock. "I can't believe that. Not when I've been fucking that old man twice a week for months."
The look that appeared on Connie's face a second later told Julie that was a little more information than the older woman had actually wanted to share. Still, it might have explained the worsening of Doug's heart problems, Julie thought. Just a little addition to the irony of it all.
"If you wanted the job that badly, then why would you cover for me and make sure the package was delivered to the printers before this morning?" Julie asked.
"Are you out of your fuckin' mind," Connie called out, losing any semblance of civility. "I didn't do any such thing. In fact, I almost came in my panties when your fat little friend believed me when I said I would. I was out of here ten minutes after she was."
"Really, well someone did," Julie smiled, thinking how nice it was that her original assessment of Connie had been right all along.
"I'd like to find out who," Connie said, the anger still in her voice, "so I can kill the bastard!"
"Look, Connie, I know you're upset right now, so lets not say anything else we might regret come Monday morning," Julie said after taking a deep breath. "Take the rest of the weekend to cool off and we can start with a clean slate."
Connie opened her mouth to say something but then closed it without a word. She really wasn't ready to quit her job, at least not without having another one lined up. And with her actual skills, that might not be so easy.
"Okay, I guess I am a little upset," Connie said, swallowing her pride.
Julie repeated her offer of a new start and watched as the elevator doors closed behind Connie for a second time.
"If Connie didn't send it, then who did?" Julie asked herself for the tenth time as she sat in the dark and empty office. She couldn't bring herself to leave until she figured it out.
Then it hit her, someone had to sign the shipping form down in the mailroom. How could she have forgotten that? It was so simple.
As fast as she could, Julie ran to the mailroom, thankful that she had the keys to open any locked cabinets. It only took a few minutes to locate the forms she was looking for, but when she read them, she was even more perplexed. There, in undeniable black and white, was her signature, authorizing the shipment of the galley proofs.
"This is impossible," Julie said to herself as she looked at the form for a second and then a third time. "This is my signature. I'd bet my paycheck that it was. How could anyone have copied it so perfectly, they'd have to have been some kind of..."
Then the answer hit her, in the form of a beaten knapsack sitting next to the mail sorter. A bag with an equally battered sketchbook sticking out of it.
"If his bag is still here, he has to be too," Julie quickly thought, "he never goes anywhere without it."
The mailroom was deserted, as had been the outer office she'd passed through on the way here. That left only one other place to look.
Set between the mailroom and the outer corridor was the office supply room. The door had been closed when she went by it but as she noted before, she had the keys to just about every office.
"Joe, are you in here?" she called out from the doorway after finding the lights behind the door on.
A sound of movement from beyond her vision, around the bend in the L shaped room told her that someone was indeed in there. When no one answered her call, she repeated it.
Finally, Joe appeared, a look of worry on his face. In his hands he was carrying a small basket of supplies.
"I'm sorry, I really wasn't planning on taking them," he quickly said. "I was just catching up on some work."
It took Julie a moment to realize what he was talking about, then she had to suppress the urge to laugh. The cost of what he had in the basket couldn't have been more than ten dollars. There were people who took home twice that in office supplies to their kids on a weekly basis. He hadn't even taken whole boxes of pens and such, just what he needed for his college classes.
"Oh forget that," Julie said, "If anyone says anything, tell them that I said it was okay."
A look of relief appeared on Joe's face.
"I've something more important to ask you about," she went on. "Do you know anything about how the Myerson proofs were shipped out last night?"
"Is something wrong?" he asked, not really answering the question.
"No, nothing's wrong," Julie assured him, "I just want to know if you knew anything about it."
Joe seemed to think about it a few moments, then broke down in a confession.
"I know I shouldn't have done it," he said, "but after I saw Connie leave after promising Dina that she'd wait for them, I knew that you'd probably be in all kinds of trouble for not making sure they went out."
"You signed my name to the invoice," she said, more of a confirmation than a question.
"Yes," he admitted, "I know I shouldn't have but..."
"Do you have any idea what happened because my name was on those forms?" she interrupted.
"I'm sorry," Joe replied. "I'll go up to Mrs. Harris the first thing on Monday and tell her that I'm the one who signed it, not you."
A look of worry flashed across Julie's face. That was the last thing she wanted him to do.
"No, there's no need for that," she assured him. "In fact, what you did was a good thing. I'm actually very grateful that you signed my name to the forms."
"You are?" he answered, a sense of relief in his voice.
"Definitely," she smiled. "I just don't think it's a good idea if you tell anyone else that you did it. They might not understand your signing someone else's name and all."
Joe seemed to accept that premise, giving Julie a minute to think about what to do next. She's certainly fallen into it, getting that promotion after royally screwing it up. The only problem she saw was, what if someone else found out? Could she really trust Joe not to, even accidentally, spill the beans? After all, if she could figure it out, what would happen if Connie or someone else did too? Her now beaten rival certainly had a strong enough reason to keep digging until she found out. If she was in Connie's place, Julie knew the lengths she would go to if she wanted to get back on top.
True, Joe was a friend. A good one, at least in his own mind. But what if something were to change that? What could Connie offer him that she couldn't? It didn't take more than a few seconds to come up with an answer to that question.
"Can I go now?" Joe asked.
"Actually, I was just thinking that maybe we could go and grab a bite to eat," Julie said, "so I can thank you for doing me that little favor."
"That would be great," Joe said.
A late lunch proved to be nice enough, their having gone to a nice casual restaurant not far from where Julie lived in the East Village, a short train ride away. In fact, Julie almost felt guilty having asked Joe under false pretences since she was actually having a good time. Still it wasn't like she was doing anything to hurt him. In fact, unless she was really a poor judge of the male character, he was really going to enjoy what she had in mind for dessert.
"I had a really great time," Joe said as they exited the restaurant.
"You make it sound like the afternoon's already over," Julie replied.
"Isn't it?" Joe asked.
"If you have somewhere else to go I..." Julie suggested.
"Nowhere," the younger man answered, cutting her off in mid-sentence.
"Well in that case, I was wondering something," Julie went on. "You're always sketching people at work during your breaks, how come you've never sketched me?"
"I have offered," Joe said, surprised that she didn't remember. "At least a half dozen times."
"You did?" Julie replied, remembered that indeed he had. "Well I guess I forgot because I never seemed to have time at work for things like that."
"Well if you like, we could sit in the park across the street and I could do your portrait," Joe offered. "It won't take that long."
"Those benches don't seem all that comfortable to me," Julie countered, then paused a second as if the next thing out of her mouth had suddenly occurred to her. "I know, why don't we go to my apartment, it's only a few blocks from here. That way we can both be comfortable while you do my picture."
"I guess that would be okay," Joe agreed.
It only took a little over ten minutes to walk over to her apartment, during which time they'd continued the talk they'd begun over dinner. Joe, it turned out was a far better conversationalist than most of the men Julie had dated over the last year. He was quite intelligent and even witty once he got comfortable enough to get over his natural awkwardness. A prime example of which he had exhibited back in the supply room when he'd been caught with the goods.
Julie lived in a small apartment on the second floor of a six family walkup. It was little more than one large room with a small kitchenette and bathroom but it was all that she needed. After all, she hardly ever used it other than to sleep or entertain, and none of those who fell into the latter ever category ever complained about the small size of her home.
"Just make yourself comfortable," Julie said as she led Joe into her humble abode, "Just give me a few minutes to use the bathroom and change into something a little more comfortable. Then we can get started."
Joe just murmured an okay as he sat on the couch and got out his sketchpad, laying it and a couple of pencils on the small coffee table. Looking about small room, he didn't even notice Julie had come back out of the bathroom until she was practically right on top of him. When he did look up and see her, the young artist was taken somewhat aback.
Julie had changed into a thin, almost translucent white robe, the material of which did nothing to hide her naked body beneath. Try as he could, Joe couldn't help but stare at the dark outline of her nipples pressing against the cloth. Standing in front of the lamp on the end table, the hairs of Julie's crotch were even outlined between her legs.
"Is this okay?" Julie asked in her most innocent voice.
"Ah, that would be fine," Joe managed to stammer out.
"Where should I sit?" Julie asked.
"Over by the light would be good," he replied.
Julie sat on the folding chair that she usually used to drop her clothes on, moving it into a position so that the light of the table lamp would fall on her. After she sat down, she adjusted her robe so that a good amount of cleavage was visible.
As he began to draw, Julie had to give Joe a lot of credit. Few guys she knew could keep there minds on the task at hand with her not far from naked and sitting only a few feet away. The final product, she was amazed to see having been produced in only a half hour was one she would've gladly have paid for. It was that good.
"I'm impressed," she said.
"I'm glad you like it."
"Like it, I love it," Julie said as she moved from the chair to the couch, leaning over to give him a thank you kiss.
This time, unlike the one she'd given him this morning at work, her lips pressed against his, not his cheek. Also, as she bent down, her robe managed to come undone in such a way as to give him a momentary, yet unrestricted glance of the dark delights beneath it.
"Oops," Julie said as she quickly closed the robe and sat down next to him on the couch.
"I guess I owe you another kiss since that one got interrupted," she smiled, leaning closer once more as she said it.
Now her kiss was slow and soft, her lips brushing against his as she let her tongue tease his for a fraction of a second. The kiss she got back wasn't half-bad either, she thought.
"That was nice, wasn't it?"
"Yes it was," Joe agreed.
"Want to try it again?"
This time he kissed her, and she opened her mouth to admit his tongue. With a skill she found surprising, the younger man explored the dark recesses of her mouth. By unspoken consent, another kiss followed, then a fourth.
"This is going to be easier than I thought," Julie said to herself as she again let her robe open and invited him to let his hand slip inside.
The touch of his hand on her breasts was soft and warm, the tips of his fingers applying just the right amount of pressure on her nipples to make her feel a sense of spreading warmth. It felt so good that Julie began to feel almost guilty at what she was doing. She managed to compensate for that by promising herself that she'd make it up by going further than she originally planned to.
Instead of just letting him feel her up and maybe giving him a hand job before sending him on his way, she'd upgrade that to a blow job. That way, when she expressed regret come Monday morning that they'd gone too far in light of her new managerial position, he'd at least had the memory of that.
Opening her robe all the way, Joe brought his mouth down to her dark nipples, sucking on first one, then the other. Julie let him have his way for a little while, then gently pushed him back when she felt one of his hands drop down between her legs.
"Joe, maybe we're going a little too fast," she said, her voice filled with as much regret as she could manage.
"I guess maybe we did get a little carried away," Joe said, choosing a reply that she couldn't have scripted better herself. "It's okay if we stop."
"I'd hate for you to think that I'm the kind of girl who gets a guy all worked up and then sends him home with a hard-on," Julie said, thinking that much was true. She couldn't remember the last guy who'd sat on this couch and hadn't gotten at least a blow job.
"It's okay," Joe said, "I understand."
"No it's not okay," Julie retorted. "Girls like that should be ashamed of themselves."
"You don't have to..." he started to say, but she cut him off.
"You do have a hard-on, don't you?" she found herself saying. After the way she'd thrown herself at him, she'd hate to think he didn't.
"Yes, I do," he said, almost in embarrassment.
"Then let me at least take care of it for you," Julie said, "it's the least that I can do after getting you all worked up."
No one would ever believe this, Julie thought. This guy really was one of a kind. He had a hard-on and she had to practically beg him to let her get him off.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Trust me, I'm sure," she replied. "Now why don't you just sit back and relax and let me take care of everything."
Giving in, Joe did what she said and Julie quickly opened his belt and pulled down his zipper to get to the package beneath. Reaching into his shorts, she found his hard cock and pulled it out into the light. In that moment, she was sure she was seeing things.