It took less than thirty seconds. It was a piece of cake, no sweat, easy as pie. After tasting the chicken, cooked so well done it was dry, and the baked potato that wasn't hot enough to melt butter, Carly tried the vegetables. The broccoli medley would have been better raw, it may have been tender if served well done, but it was leathery in between. The dessert chef must have forgotten to add sugar to the whipped cream, but it didn't matter, by the time the meal part of the banquet was over, the dry chocolate cake had absorbed the cream, so few of the attendees ate their dessert. It was annoying that the servers didn't bring coffee to their table until the Master of Ceremonies stood to introduce the special guests.
One couple across the table was making out so blatantly, the man had one of his date's legs draped across his lap. Carly's escort had imbibed so many pre-dinner drinks he was no longer watching his words or where he put his hands. Although she had moved away from him every time he tried to do so, he was using his inebriation as a pretext for permission to put his hands inside the top of Carly's evening gown. He made several attempts to nibble on her earlobe, but it did not seem to deter him when she turned her head. At his suggestion they skip the speeches and check in to one of the upstairs hotel rooms, Carly decided she had had enough.
When the standing ovation began for the second dignitary, Carly slipped away from the table, and walked quietly toward the nearest set of double doors. While a man folding a cell phone returned to the roomful of applauding idiots, Carly walked out. She did not look back. She didn't worry about her boss sitting at the next table. She was even less concerned about her date, the son of her employer. She simply left the big banquet room. It was an escape.
Carly walked about twenty feet down a hall and joined a couple stepping into the nearest open elevator door. Expecting to go down one floor to the building's ground floor, where she could find a taxi, she was surprised to see the numbers above the door indicate the elevator was going up. Oh well, it would eventually go down and she was at least free of being mauled any worse than she had already been groped and pinched for the previous two hours.
The couple who got on the elevator at the same time Carly did, left on the fourteenth floor, leaving Carly alone for the remainder of the ride. Two floors later, the doors opened showing the inside of a very dark room that resembled a lounge, a salon, or a very exclusive club with thick expensive rugs over glossy hardwood floors. Widely placed leather couches, club chairs, and a few low tables created several seating areas. It didn't look like she needed to walk in the front door of the club; she was already inside the club and what she saw fascinated her.
Unaware she took a step forward, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, a well-dressed man waiting to enter the elevator stepped back and held the door long enough for Carly to take another step for a better look around, before he walked inside. The way he looked her up and down as the doors slid together, caused Carly to wish she had not listened to her sister about what to wear under her new gown. She wasn't quick enough to catch the doors, although she wished she had been faster, because that was the moment she realized she had left her evening bag on the table sixteen floors below. Carly's disappointment grew, when she discovered there were no elevator buttons, instead there was a keyhole.
Hearing a man's voice, Carly swirled around, the side slit of her gown flaring around her legs. "I beg your pardon?"
At the same time she examined the man leaning in a softly backlit doorway across the room, he looked at her from the softly curled hair, the clinging full-length evening gown, and her dark red toenails.
"How much what?" Carly asked, as the man, dressed in a dark suit and stark white shirt and tie, walked across the dark room and held out his left hand to capture Carly's hand. He pulled her a little farther into the room, slipped his other hand between her arm and her body, and slowly ran his hand down to just below her waist, the slinky fabric, bereft of undergarments clung to her curves.
The elevator gave a soft ding to indicate its arrival. As the doors opened and Dan turned to look behind him, Carly saw a nearly naked blonde standing in the elevator.
He raised his voice, "Get lost," and took his hand from Carly's waist to wave the blonde away, adding, "Tell Josh I'll take the first one."
Before it occurred to Carly to join the blonde in the elevator, the doors slid shut and she heard the sound of the elevator moving.
As Dan turned around, Carly looked at the tall dark-haired man who squeezed her hand. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "What did he pay you for a whole day, ten, or more? Never mind, I'll double it, and you'll do as I say."
Mentally shaking herself, trying to understand what this man was talking about, Carly repeated, "Pay me?"
As if he was speaking to someone only half-conscious or who did not understand the language, the man explained. "Whatever my brother Josh Hunter, promised to pay you to be the gift for my birthday, I'll double it. Then I can expect you to do what I want, rather than what my brother paid you to do."
"I'm sorry, I don't know a Josh Hunter."
"Ah, I see. Then for your information, I'm Dan Hunter. Do I get to know your name?" Dan spoke as he released her hand and turned to walk toward the elevator, pulling a ring of keys from his pocket. He inserted a key into the key hole, and turned the key.
"Carly, ah, Carly Glenn," she announced and walked to the elevator expecting the doors to open soon so she could go down.
Trying to listen for the sound of the approaching elevator, she watched Dan walk across the room, swing a painting away from the wall, and use another key to open what looked like a wall safe. He reached inside and removed two stacks of currency with bands around the middle.
"Twenty grand, right?" He asked as he tossed the money on a nearby table, closed, and locked the safe, and then swung the painting back into place.
Finally beginning to understand, Carly laughed,
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm not that ... I'm not your date." She couldn't resist a little more laughter escaping when she added, "I was just trying to leave a boring evening, and took the wrong elevator."
She watched him look at the elevator, both of them probably thinking about the half-dressed blonde he sent away. Dan, however, was not thinking about the blonde dressed in a black leather mini-skirt and bright blue bandeau barely covering her over-sized breasts. He was looking at the slender Carly, feeling a tingle in his groin at the sight of the softly gathered shoulders of her gown that went down the sides of her back, leaving a great deal of skin showing, and then clung to her softly rounded hips. A slit up one side showed a high heel sandal, a shapely calf, and one-half of a thigh. Her dark red dress molded itself to her with each step she took.
Carly stepped back to look above the elevator doors expecting to see what floor the elevator was passing and then turned to ask Dan, "Did you send for the elevator to take me down?"
"No," he shook his head and walked behind a long richly carved wooden bar. "What can I get you, wine, champagne, or a single malt scotch?" He paused after each one while Carly shook her head, although he did notice she faintly nodded her head when he mentioned the scotch whiskey.
"Then will you do that, please? I mean, call the elevator?"
"No, I locked the door. I think I'll keep you."
A tingle of apprehension went up Carly's spine and lodged at the back of her neck, causing her to lift her arm and rub that spot. The movement of her arm pulled the deeply plunging neckline of her dress across one breast and left the other side of her gown in a wide gap exposing most of the other breast, just barely concealing the tip. She was not looking at his face or she would have seen Dan swallow, lift his chin, and lick his lips.
Although Carly had watched Dan splash whiskey into two glasses and add small amounts of water, she was still surprised when he walked from behind the bar and put both glasses on the table where he had earlier tossed the two stacks of money. He walked to where Carly stood and took her elbow, led her back to a sitting area, and told her to have a seat and enjoy her drink.
Instead of sitting down, as Dan requested, Carly folded her arms across her chest and tapped the toe of one high heel shoe. "Mister Hunter, please call for the elevator, I'd like to leave."
"Relax," Dan said, falling down to the low seat. "You've already been missed by your companions. The rest of your evening is ruined and you don't have anywhere else to go. Sit down and keep me company for a while." He left unspoken his wish that he had been her date for the evening, or that he was very pleased about her mistaken elevator ride.
He picked up his drink and leaned back into a comfortable slouch as he grabbed Carly's hand and tugged until she sat down, while he kicked off his shoes and crossed his ankles on top of the low table. "I'm probably better company than the people you left, so let's enjoy what's left of the evening." With his hand holding his drink, Dan indicated the money on the table. "You'll get your money when you leave."
.... There is more of this story ...