The one constant in my line of work is rushing to finalize submittals the night before they're due.
I plan. I set time aside to make sure that I get production completed on time. I work on the figures more than a week in advance to be sure that everything is ready.
But there's always someone who thinks their portion of the submittal absolutely requires that one last tweak or some word-smithing in the eleventh hour.
We're told, time and again, how there is no I in team. We're constantly urged to be a team player and to work well with others. It's the culture in the consulting field. We have to do things that way.
To be fair, I wouldn't want to do all of the work on my own. I really enjoy having team members working with me and helping me accomplish the work. However, there comes a time when you have to shoot the engineer and get the work done! They'll design something into the ground and then design it some more, just in case they haven't considered every possible outcome.
As I learned in the software industry, just when you make your design idiot-proof, they come up with a better idiot.
That's why I was in the office after hours that Thursday evening. We were putting together a preliminary design of a pump station and pipeline to deliver treated water to a new portion of our valley. It was a very important component to the city's infrastructure and would allow for considerable growth. We definitely wanted to get the design right and to do a good job.
But the project was due in the morning and it wasn't completed, yet.
I had finally managed to get the design team to stop making changes at about 3 p.m. that afternoon. That left me two hours before my support staff was to head home. After that, any changes needed to be made by me. I knew it was going to be a late night.
Luckily, my support staff is amazing. They work hard and well and can put together the final product like nobody's business. I'm always happy with the work they do. Of course, it helps that they're very easy on the eyes.
I had an assembly line going. We'd already put together the covers, designing them, printing them, laminating them, and punching the holes for the spiral binding. That was in my bailiwick so I made sure that was done days earlier. They were in the collators and awaiting the meat of the report. I had created the PDFs of the report and figures and was working on getting them printed. The 11 x 17 inch figures needed to be folded, which were done by Natasha. Cecilia was pulling together the printed reports and making sure the figures were inserted in the right locations. Callie was punching the holes for the binding and then I was collating them in with the covers and fly sheets.
We were all having a good time. Of course, it was work and we concentrated on that, but we didn't get stressed when things weren't punched well or didn't print right. We just printed more copies and worked from those. I knew that getting stressed was NOT going to solve any problems. Getting angry doesn't fix a mispunched set of papers and definitely doesn't remove a smudge from a figure. It never has and never will.
As always seems to be the case, time flies when you're having fun. Before I was ready for it, 5 o'clock has arrived and it was time for my support staff to head home. I assured them that I would be okay by myself and that they needn't worry about me and the project. I was sure I could get it done that night. I knew that it would take me longer alone than it would as a group, but I felt bad keeping them there late.
With smiles, they thanked me and headed to their desks to get ready to go.
I continued to work and said my good-byes as they walked by on their way out the door. I sure do love the way they smile. They have a way of lighting up the room when they smile and memories of the sparkles in their eyes kept me warm as they walked away.
I continued to plug away at the submittal. I took care of the folding, printing, punching and collating and things were definitely going slower now than they had been before, though they were definitely progressing.
About 6 o'clock, my phone started to vibrate and I set down my latest fold to answer it. I grinned as I saw the caller ID say it was Cecilia on the line.
"Hello!" I said with a smile.
"Hey! Are you still there?" she asked.
"Yeah. I've got to get this done. It's coming along nicely, though. How's your evening going?" I asked.
"Do you need me to come back?"
"No. I don't want you to waste your night here in the office. It's not the most exciting way to spend a Thursday night." I laughed.
"Natasha and I were just enjoying a little happy hour and we got to talking and thought you might still be there and figured we should be back there helping you."
"No, seriously," I said, "I'm okay. Don't kill your evening. Oh crap!"
The latest batch of papers that I was punching came out all wrong and the machine made a really funny sound as it pushed holes through the papers.
"The punch?" Cecilia asked.
"Yeah. You could hear that?" I answered.
"Yeah. It sucks when that happens. You just have to ... well, we're going to come back and help you out. It's hard to explain how to fix that over the phone."
"Thanks," I said with relief in my voice. "I'll see you soon. Drive safely!"
"We will. See you soon!"
We hung up and I started concentrating on the punch machine, hoping to figure out how to fix it. I pulled trays out and emptied them. I used canned air and tried to blow out any extra particles that might have caused it to fail. I did everything I could think of short of disassembling it. It still sounded like there was something grinding or that it wasn't running smoothly any more.
After about 15 minutes, Natasha and Cecilia came into the production room. They smiled at me and walked over the machine.
"It's really not too tough to fix," said Cecilia. "You just have to know the trick."
She reached along the side and undid a lever that I'd not seen previously. There was a series of clicks inside and the machine seemed to settle into a nice hum.
"You've saved me!" I said, instinctively reaching out to pull her close for a hug. "Thank you so much."
The hug lasted a little longer than usual, but felt so good that I didn't want it to stop. I also noticed how her breasts pressed against my upper stomach and how nice they felt. I was sure they would feel ... What was I thinking?!? I couldn't do anything like that with these women.
No matter how pretty and sexy they are, you don't dip your pen in company ink!
At least, that's what I'd heard numerous times from friends.
Still ... they were so very attractive.
I had to break the hug before the blood I could feel flowing to my groin made things obvious that I wasn't thinking about a punch machine.
Natasha and Cecilia got right back into business mode and started helping me out with the assembly of the submittal. I noticed, however, that they were standing a little closer to me and that we'd touch a little more often than usual. It was amazing.
I couldn't say how many times I'd seen these ladies working at the counter in the production room and yearned to slide up behind them, running my hands along their waist and around their front to pull them close and hold them, allowing my hands freedom to explore their luscious curves. They were so tantalizing.
More than once, over the past several months, I'd found myself waking up and masturbating to images of them in the office. Thoughts of them filled my early waking hours more and more often. I had envisioned them in any number of positions and cubicles throughout our office. Those thoughts came flooding back to my mind as I saw them working there that night.
I walked up next to Natasha, who was collating items at the time, and slid my hand along her waist. I just couldn't seem to help myself. She looked at me with huge eyes and I saw her internal struggle, trying to decide how to handle this. I could see that she yearned to yield to the temptation and just enjoy the physical touch and pleasure that it could bring, yet she also had a family at home that she didn't want to betray.
"You feel amazing," I said quietly to her. "I just couldn't stop myself."
I pulled my hand back and let her work out her struggle while I moved over to the box of coils, extracting the ones we decided we would need. She slowly went back to the last of the collating, her face still registering her inner turmoil.
Cecilia came over to stand next to me and we began working on inserting the coils into the holes we'd punched earlier. It requires that the pages all be perfectly aligned, or the coil just refuses to enter the first hole. Once you've got the first, several holes filled with the coil, it seems to go smoothly after that.
Even with my concentration on the papers and their alignment, I couldn't help but notice the proximity of Cecilia's curvy body. My peripheral vision was highly active, trying to see and memorize every bit of her that they could see. I think that was what made the first holes so tough to hit. I just wasn't focused on my work.
When Natasha finished the last of the collating, she came over to stand on my other side and started working on the binding. As she arrived at the counter next to me, I looked down at her and saw that she'd come to a decision. Her face was clear and she smiled up at me, her eyes sparkling in that way I love so much.
.... There is more of this story ...