It was Thursday and he was there right on time. Julie Rogers was, as usual pleased to see him. It was one of the things that made the drudgery of waitressing bearable. She had some people, few in fact, that she enjoyed working with, waiting on, Mr Barnes, Julian Barnes, was simply one of them.
He had a huge smile for her, when she approached his table with the pot of coffee.
"Coffee, Mr Barnes?" she asked with a smile.
"Julian, please, Julie," he said.
She gave a cross between a smile and a giggle and said: "Julian."
They had this brief little exchange any number of times. She simply felt that it was kind of insolent to assume to call him by his first name.
"How are you today, Julie?" he asked.
"Oh, better and better," she said working the smile again.
"Ah," he reacted, "Sounds like good news!"
"It is," she said, "Graduation!"
"Well, congratulations," he said.
"I'm afraid I won't be here next Thursday," she said.
"Oh, are you going away?" he asked, frowning just a bit.
"No, it's the graduation ceremony," she said.
"Big family event?" he asked with a smile.
A frown crossed her face and she said: "No, just me; that is me and my student loans!"
"No family? Boyfriend?" he asked, a bit wide eyed. He hurriedly added: "Sorry, Julie, to seem to pry."
"Oh, I know you're not, Mr Barnes," she said then slid into a smile and before he could add the correction changed it to: "Julian".
Her face brightened then, as though putting on a good front but Julian said nothing at that point.
"So, it'll be me and the student loans celebrating! It's been hard enough getting through school without the baggage of a boy friend to deal with. So, what'll it be today? The usual?" she asked, changing the subject.
"No, I think that I'll be risqué today and opt for a ham and cheese omelette," he said.
"The man really knows how to walk on the wild side," she said, her grin widening.
"Got me pegged," he said, and she excused herself to go to the kitchen and put in his order.
She came back with his plate and he said to her, softly and kindly:
"So, out into the world then? New job? Get those student loans paid off?"
Julie sighed and refilled his coffee cup and said: "No, it's waitressing and more looking. The economy is bad and there's nothing out there. So, I'm going to see if they can increase my hours here for the foreseeable future."
"I see," he said, his thoughts going off on a tangent all their own.
She gave a derisory laugh and said: "Strange: degree in economics and public administration all to prepare me to be a waitress!"
"Well, you're a good one," he said, and she knew that he meant it.
"Thank you, Julian," she said, this time with no banter about calling him by his first name instead of the usual 'Mr Barnes'.
Her face brightened and she said: "So, busy day, Mr Barnes?"
He laughed and said: "A bit; things to tie up and then I have a series of meetings to go to."
"A bit of travel?" she asked pleasantly.
"Yes, to Vienna and then to Rome; I'll give myself an extra day or so in Rome to unwind from it all."
"Sounds exotic," she said.
"Usually is," he said.
"Well, look, Julian," she said then, "I have to at least pretend to work here so that they will pretend to pay me and want me to stay on and work more hours for my slave labor pay."
She was wreathed in smiles, as she finished saying it.
"Thanks, Julie," he said, "As usual, you make Thursdays bright!"
She gave him a winning smile and walked away. As she left, he had a vague notion, that swept through his mind, of how lovely she was, even in her waitress uniform. He watched her with ill concealed delight and then paid attention to his breakfast.
During breakfast, he came to a conclusion about what he was going to do, and was pleased with his plans.
Julian Barnes, for a number of years, had used business to deal with the sudden loss, due to an auto accident, of his young wife. Life for years after the event had seemed to be a rather gray experience. His compensation was getting into business, using the advantage of a bit of money that he'd inherited from his grandparents. He found, rather quickly also, that he had a talent for it. This set him on a kind of life path, so that at 36, he was a busy and very wealthy man. The businesses that he gave his time to, also healed the wounds of his loss and he had been able, slowly, to put that part of the past behind him.
Nor had he ever really paid much attention to romance, though with his dark curly hair, and good looks he certainly had the opportunities to do so. But with Julian Barnes it as business. He knew how curative it was for him and he shied away from personal relations.
Julie had just cleared his table, when one of the other waitresses, a brassy redhead named Flo, said to her: "Rich as Croesus, that one!"
Julie looked at her and said: "Really?"
"Really," Flo said with a laugh, "And he likes you!"
Julie laughed it off, saying over her shoulder: "Then why doesn't he give me a job and get me out of this sweat shop!"
They both laughed at the idea and Julie simply dismissed it. For her, Thursday breakfast for Julian Barnes was simply a positive part of the drudgery of her job, a part that she looked forward to, that pleased her. It was as simple as that.
For that Thursday Julie had her hair done special. It was a splurge, one that she knew she couldn't afford but she vowed to put in some extra time at the restaurant to accommodate it. She normally wore it long in a pony tail, which was easiest for her but now it was sweeping down her shoulders.
She wore an old dress but the thought ran through her head that she only had old dresses. She had become a kind of second hand shop maven, in her constant trudge to get her degree and get her life going on a better kind of path. She liked the way that she looked in the dress, however. Her roommate, Kay, had invited her to join the family after graduation for a dinner out and she'd accepted, having no other plans but wasn't all that comfortable with the idea. She let it be, however.
Julie Rogers was, at the age of 23, having started school a little bit later in order to get the money ready, dark haired and lovely. She wasn't happy about the lack of opportunities for jobs but she knew that with the prevailing economy that was almost a given. She was also resigned to the restaurant, while she looked. She did quiz herself about moving someplace but didn't have any destinations in mind.
The graduation was exciting in its own way, at least exciting for what it represented for Julie and her hard work at getting herself into and through school. She promised to meet Kay by the student union, after getting her cap and gown returned and all. She had smiles for everyone, though the constant reminder of family groups caused her to sigh a bit, as she gave in the cap and gown and returned to go to the student union to meet Kay.
It as then that she saw him. Julian Barnes was walking toward her all smiles.
"Mr Barnes, Julian!" she said with a surprised smile on her face.
"Congratulations to the graduate!" he said.
"Do you have someone graduating here?" she asked.
"Yes, I do," he answered, "You!"
"Ohhhh," she said getting choked up.
At that point she followed her instincts and wrapped her arms around him to give him a hug.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she said, with tears in her eyes.
"Plans?" he asked pleasantly.
"Oh, my roommate Kay asked me to join her and her family for dinner," she explained.
"I was hoping to take you out to dinner to celebrate myself," he said.
Julie flushed and said: "Oh, I'd like that; I need to ... uh ... just need to..."
"Yes, tell Kay," he said.
She laughed at how rattled she was, not even being able to finish the sentence.
"Oh, you've got me so rattled," she said, "It's so nice of you to be here."
"Tried to find you earlier," he said, "So you'd know that someone is here for you."
"Oh, but I know it now!" she said, grinning, and putting her arm through his to walk to the student union.
Kay was non-plussed to see Julie coming along walking arm in arm with a really, really attractive man.
"Kay," Julie said, as Kay detached herself from a group of people and went toward where Julie was coming. "This is Julian Barnes."
"Oh," Kay said, "You mean scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and an english muffin?"
Julie was embarrassed but Julian was equal to the situation: "The very same!" he said.
"He asked me out to dinner to celebrate," Julie said beaming.
"How nice!" Kay said, and then, her parents approached. She turned and said: "Dad and Mom, you know Julie and this is..."
But before she could finish, her father said: "Julian!"
"Howard!" Julian said.
The two apparently knew each other from a business association.
There were greetings all around and in the end it was decided that Julie and Julien would, indeed join Kay and her parents for dinner out.
Julie was tingling from the fact that she wasn't just a 'hanger on' at Kay's party but had her own escort to take her to dinner.
He said: "I'll drive, if you don't mind."
"Good," she said, "I don't have a car!" and laughed.
"Walking keeps me in shape," she said next and was embarrassed by what she said.
He simply looked at her, grinned and agreed by shaking his head.
She was thrilled, when they got to the parking lot and found his lovely white Lexus.
"Lovely!" she said.
"Yes, it's what I use, when I'm on my own." he said.
They sat at the table in the restaurant and Julie said to Julian quietly: "What shall I have?"
"The sky's the limit," he said, "It's your day and you're my guest!"
She blushed and got misty eyed and said a soft: "Thank you, Julian; this is so special for me."
They had a very pleasant dinner, enjoying the company of Kay and her parents.
It was Kay's Mom who brought out what Julie's plans were for the immediate future:
"Julie, honey," she asked. "What are you doing with the rest of your week? Moving out right away?"
"Well," she said, "I have to get an apartment in town, since I'll be going to the restaurant full time, as l look for a job. Don't have to be out of the dorm for another three or four days. There's some time. Will be a busy time though." She sighed as she said it.
When Julian and Julie were alone, after the dinner, they sat in the car for just a little bit.
"I'd like to give you this!' he said to her, handing her a package, long and thin.
"Ohhhhh, Julian!" she said, "You didn't have to do this!"
"Of course, I did," he said, "What's graduation without a graduation gift?"
She sniffled and opened the package, making a kind of squealing noise, when she discovered a lovely, gold and silver charm bracelet, with a charm already affixed that was for her graduation. She held it in her hand and put her arms around his neck, saying:
"Julian, this is so nice!"
She had tears in her eyes, and began to sob softly into his shoulder. He held her until she calmed down.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you, for being here at my graduation and for dinner and for such a nice gift!" she gushed.
"Busy day?" he asked.
"Yes, all the things that I mentioned at dinner: looking for an apartment, etc. I've put it off until now, hoping somehow that it might be easy or something. I never procrastinate but this one is kind of the hard face of reality. And it's back to the restaurant tomorrow."
"Full day?" he asked.
"No, I work from 6 AM until noon tomorrow.
She hugged him again before leaving to go into the dorm and begin her packing.
It was still a bit early and not terribly busy but it did represent for Julie the return of 'the normal'. She was working and planning to look over ads for apartments that afternoon and get on with the move thing. She was a bit upset with herself for putting it off, then inevitable, for so long and now it had to be done.
"Someone at your table number 8," one of the other waitresses said to her and she put all her thoughts about moving out of her mind and went into 'waitress mode'.
She was surprised to see that it was Julian.
"Julian!" she said with genuine pleasure.
"Hi, Julie!" he said, "Thought I'd look up the working girl!"
"Coffee?" she asked, and he said a pleasant 'yes'.
"Today it'll be the usual," he said, and she nodded.
"I'll get the order in right away," she said.
When she came back with his breakfast, he was ready and said to her:
"Julie, I rather wanted to have private time with you yesterday but the dinner with Howard Cole and your roommate was an unexpected treat. May I ask you to dinner today? I'd like to talk to you a bit."
She colored and said a quick: "Oh, I'd like that!"
She thought then and said: "What'll I wear?"
"I'll wear a dark suit and tie," he said, "You can judge."
"I'll see what I have," she said to him. Then she giggled and said: "In a pinch I normally borrow from Kay."
"I'm sure that whatever you decide will be just fine," he said.
In the end she opted for a plain blue skirt and a frilly blouse. She was all atingle at the invitation and was ready for him with about fifteen minutes to spare.
"Hey," he said, as she came down to meet him. "You look so special!" he said next.
She blushed and said: "Thank you."
She gave him a hug then.
When they were in the car, he said: "I thought that we'd go to the City Crossing."
"Ohhh," she sighed.
It was a very exclusive place on the top floor of a rather new hotel. When they arrived, he was given a table by the glass wall, which overlooked the entire city.
"This is so nice!" she said. "I'm all tingly just from the idea of being here. Must have been a bear to get a reservation."
He laughed and said: "Julie, don't tell anyone but I own it. Getting the reservation was easy."
She went wide eyed and giggled.
"You do?" she asked.
"Yes," he said, "And I promise not to be gauche and make those kinds of statements all the time. I apologize."
"No need to," she said, "You are so genuine!"
She blushed, when she said that.
"I've been wanting to talk to you about a few things," he said. "But shall we get a bottle of wine to celebrate?"
"Oh, that would be nice," she said.
They got a lovely bottle of German Riesling and settled down, after an initial toast to her graduation.
"Julie," he began then, "I have ulterior motives in asking you out tonight."
She looked a bit worried, and he held up his hand and said: "No, love, this is not my big seduction scene. I know it must look that way but I'm not like that."
"Of course, you're not," she said, "I apologize for the thought."
"No apology necessary," he said. "What I want to talk to you about is offering you a job."
"Job?" she said faintly.
"Yes," he said, "I need a PA and I like your educational background; I like your outlook and the tenacity which you've shown in pursuing your goals, and think that you'll be a good fit for us."
"Ohhhhh," she moaned and then had tears in her eyes. "This is so wonderful!" she said earnestly.
"Well," he went on, "Let's talk about what I have in mind with this job, and then we'll talk about the nitty gritty of it."
She nodded, a large smile on her face.
They spent a good deal of time then talking about his concept of the personal assistant's job, what it would entail and what her responsibilities would be. He outlined for her the scope of his interests and business ventures, which was pretty much world wide. He indicated to her how arrangements for his schedule etc were currently being taken care of, and the way he noticed a gap in those arrangements. When that part of their conversation was finished, he asked:
"So, Julie, what do you think? Will you become a member of my team?"
"I'd jump up and hug you, if I didn't think it'd make a scene!" she said with glee.
He went on then and started talking about the 'nitty gritty', as he called it. The first thing that he mentioned was a salary figure, which, he said, would begin in the upper 80's.
Julie was agog, at his statement of the salary figure, and for a few seconds simply sat and stared at him, and this time she did jump up and give him a hug.
"I love your enthusiasm," he said.
"Goodbye to the restaurant," she said, "That'll be a treat and I can look for a different kind of apartment too."
"Well," he said, "That's something that I want to talk to you about."
She looked at him and he went on: "There are some side items that the company provides for our top management, and I want to talk to you about them.I have an apartment in one of my complexes nearby and I'd like to offer it to you, as part of your total compensation, and we provide a car for our executives. We have a group of dealers that we work with that I'll make sure that you get, so that you can make your choice. We normally encourage a cap of about $50,000 for the cars."
"Ohhhhh," she sighed, "You're going to make me cry."
He held her hand as she sobbed, and gave her his handkerchief.
"And apartment," she said in a soft, almost little girl voice.
"Yes," he said, "It'll simply be part of the compensation package."
She was surprised into almost total silence, except for the occasional sobbing, which only slowly ceased.
After dinner, they went to Barnes' Towers so that he could show her the apartment. She was enchanted and ended jumping up and down for the joy of it. It was a two bedroom unit with two full baths, and a lovely view of the whole city.
She clung to him, when they'd gone through it: "Oh, Julian, this is all so special."
He looked at her and said: "Can you start next week?"
"Oh, yes," she said, "I need a day to do some shopping; I don't have much to wear."
When he took her back to the dorm, he asked her if she would join him for breakfast. She agreed, saying that she had to go to the restaurant and put in her notice. But after that, she'd be free. They agreed that he'd pick her up the next morning and their first stop would be the restaurant, before they went for breakfast.
He was, as usual, precisely on time.
He first words were: "Julian, tell me that I didn't dream it all."
"Well," he said, "If you did, then I'm sharing the same dream."
She hugged him and they went to the restaurant. Flo was there and gave her a kiss, and congratulated her for cornering Julian.
"It's not like that," Julie said.
"Sure it is," she said, "He so obviously adores you!"
Julie reddened and gave Flo a hug, as she and Julian left for their breakfast.
After breakfast, he said that he had one errand to run and if she didn't mind, they'd do that first
They stopped at one of the local upscale woman's shop. When they went into the shop, an older looking lady greeted him:
"Julian," she said, opening her arms for a hug, "What a treat!"
Once their hug was broken off, with Julie just staring, the woman asked: "And this is?"
"This is Julie Rogers my new P.A.," he said. "Julie this is my sister Laura."
Laura now claimed a hug from Julie who went into the hug all smiles, liking this woman from the start.
Then he turned to Laura and said: "I need her outfitted, everything that she needs. You know best and I'll leave you two to it."
"Your account, Julian?" Laura asked.
"Yes, of course!" he said.
Julie was simply looking on in amazement.
"Give us a minute, Laura, will you?" he asked, and she walked away.
"My other graduation gift," he said.
"I don't know what to say or how to properly thank you," she said softly.
"You're doing it right now," he said. "It's time that someone realized how marvelous you are and and lent a hand."
She hugged him.
"I'll be back in about an hour and a half?" he said.
"Oh, yes, and thank you again," she said.
He laughed and gave her a kiss on the cheek and walked away, as she turned to Laura for their shopping adventure.
A thought came unbidden into her mind, as she walked with Laura to the shopping area.
"You must think that I'm his mistress," Julie said.
Laura laughed: "Julian doesn't do mistresses! He's the most genuine man that I know; I know that I'm his sister and am prejudiced but it's simply the truth."
"Oh," Julie went on, "Thank you for telling me that."
"And I can tell you one more thing," Laura said, "He is so obviously taken by you; I've never seen it before; well, at least not since Cicily died in an auto accident but that's many years ago. Since then he's been all business and has done so well at it but he looks so smitten."
"Ohhhhh," Julie said blushing.
"Sorry," Laura said, "Didn't mean to make you blush but it's only the truth."
Julie simply swallowed not knowing what to say.
Laura laughed and gathered the younger woman into a hug.
"You just think about it, and please be kind to my Julian!"
"Oh, he's being so nice to me," Julie answered, "I will do my very utmost to make sure that there are no loose ends for him, and that he's taken care of."
"Well, I know that he has a great eye for people and their quality; it's an almost unfailing trait. But, hey, let's get you outfitted to look like a first class PA. I think that we're going to do this from the ground up. We'll begin with lingerie and go from there."
Julie giggled then, hiding her giggle with her hand.
"You giggle, girl," Laura said with a wink, "We're going to turn you into the real deal, working for our Julian."
The shopping was a treat, indeed, for Julie, a rare treat. She was overwhelmed by it all and time and again was really pleased at what Laura knew and was able to help her with. In the end, she was indeed 'turned out' very nicely and had a wardrobe of classy clothes, dresses, skirts and blouses, suits, jeans and tops and, yes, fancy lingerie.
"I feel like a princess!" she said to Laua, once it was all taken care of.
"Well, princess," Laura said, "I can see prince charming coming now."
"Hey, you two, conspiring?" Julian asked, as he approached.
Julie gave a kind of a throat noise and launched herself at him.
"There's no way to properly thank you, and Laura has been a life saver here, time and time again."
"She's good to go, boss," Laura said.
"Thanks so much, Laura!" he said, giving his sister a hug.
He gave her a serious look then and she said: "Yes, I know, I know; I will bill you, though it hardly makes sense."
"We'll do it my way, please," he said softly.
"Of course, little brother," Laura said, and turning to Julie she explained: "He co-owns this with me and still insists on paying his bills."
"I'm funny that way," he said with a grin, "I like to pay my way."
"Yes," Laura said with a laugh, "Whatever the boss wants!"
She turned to Julie then for a hug: "Don't let the slave driver work you too hard! And I want you for lunch soon. We'll gossip about your boss! I'll tell you his weak points!"
Julie giggled: "Oh, I'd like that!"
"I'm done for!" he said, "So much for respect for the boss!"
Both women giggled, as Julian got one more hug from his sister before he and Julie left.
"Time for some coffee?" Julian asked.
"Yes," she said, "Love it."
"There are a few things to still get cleared," he said, as they sat over a cup of coffee."
She nodded and he said: "I think we'll put you on salary as of this morning. But why don't you take the week to shop; I mean furniture for the apartment and what you need, a car and all that."
"I think that I might either faint or explode!" she said with a soft giggle.
"Well, I'm not sure about the fainting but I'd like to witness the explosion!" he said with a laugh.
"Is that a good way for you?" he asked.
"Yes, it is," she said, "It's so out of the normal for me; please forgive me if I seem ungrateful. I keep having to kind of pinch myself about what is happening."
"Pinch away," he said.
He then got a message on his iPhone and sent a message back. He looked up and said:
"I'm expecting someone here in a few minutes, if you don't mind."
"No, no problem!" she said, impressed with his constant business sense.
In just a little bit, as they were talking the manager of the restaurant, where they were having coffee came to their table.
"Mr Barnes?" he asked.
"Yes, Sam," Julian said pleasantly.
"A messenger here for you," Sam, the manager said.
"Good," Julian said, and turning to Julie said: "Excuse me for a few minutes please."
She watched him walk away and get a small package from the messenger. When he returned to the table, he opened the package and slid its contents to Julie. The package contained a credit card and $500 in cash.
"Here's an advance in case you need money," he said, "And the credit car is on the business' account. Use it to do your shopping for the apartment and we'll have it taken care of, once you're at work and have begun."
Julie was astounded. She had tears in her eyes and put her hand on his:
"Julian, Mr Barnes," she said, "I promise you that you'll never regret this. I'll take such good care of you! I will learn to be the best PA that has ever been."
He smiled and said: "I have no doubt about that at all."
He looked at her then and said: "So, you need to get started. I apologize but I have a meeting in Boston that I need to do some work for this afternoon over at the office. Why don't you drop me off and take the Lexus and, when you have some time, come over and I'll show you our setup and where your office will be etc.?"
"Oh, that'll be so nice; I promise I will. But do you want me to come there now?" she asked.
"No, I think that you need to begin to get yourself established; there's nothing like some shopping to help you out and make it all real for you," he said and she giggled.
"Oh, and I would like you to stop at the Apple Store; they will expect you and will have a company phone for you. If you don't mind, I'd like you to do that fairly soon."
She giggled behind her hand then.
"I'm sure that you think that I'm addled," she said, "With all this giggling."
"Well, I'm simply enjoying myself," he answered.
"Maybe I'll go and say 'hi' to Laura," she said, "I promised her."
"Wait," he made a call on his phone and said: "Laura, Julie wants to talk to you."
"Hey, Laura," Julie said, and then: "Yes, fine; he's taking such good care of his new PA. I was wondering, do you have any time? I need to shop, you know, furniture and all. You do? Oh could you? Would you? I'd love it. Yes, yes. I have his car and will be there as soon as I drop him off."
When she hung up, all smiles and grins, he said: "No, the office is across town; I'll call and have Lane pick me up and you go and begin your shopping."
They stood then and Julie said: "I'd like a hug first! If I may."
"Lovely idea," he said, gathering her into his arms. They both sighed. It was a great beginning.
Laura was waiting for her, and all smiles and hugs, when she finally got to the store where she was.
"How's the big boss?" Laura asked.
"Dazzling me with all of this, to tell the truth," Julie said.
"It's important to him," Laura said, "If I were to have my guess, I think that he's trying to give you a message, and I don't think that it's only 'I want you to be my PA' either. And I know that he doesn't have nefarious thoughts, he isn't that way."
"Oh, what do I do?" Julie asked.
"Well, maybe give him some space but there might come a time and place, when you will simply have to move in on him. He might need a push. Romance isn't his specialty by any means."
Julie giggled then
"Think about it," Laura said. "Now why don't we do some planning?"
"Lovely," Julie said.
"What are the priorities for you today?"Laura asked.
"Well, furniture, I guess," she said, "I can hardly wait to get to actually live there."
"Hey," Laura went on, "I have an idea; how about if we use my van and then get your stuff from the school, do some grocery shopping to get you established, and buy a sleeping bag and an air mattress, and you can stay in your own house tonight?"
"Oh, great idea!" Julie said, immediately enthusiastic about the possibility.
Laura got a twinkle in her eye then and said: "It does have a breakfast counter and stools, correct?"
"Yes," Julie said.
"Then why not invite the big guy for dinner, something easy maybe and dress sexy," was Laura's next thought.
Julie giggled. "He'll think that I'm trying to trap him!"
"He'll think that you're reading his mind, is what he'll think!" Laura said with a laugh with Julie joining the laugh and they hugged. The plans were set.
They sprang into action and got the work done, gathering her few things from the dorm, and then the grocery store. Once the groceries were stowed, 'in her very own home, ' Julie thought, they went on with the plans and went shopping for the items necessary. They began with the sleeping bag and air mattress, and then went of for dishes, silver ware, and pots.
Julie was ecstatic.
They picked up Julian's car, then returned to the apartment and Julie began the process of putting things away.
"Honey," Laura said, at that point, "I do have to check in at the shop."
"Oh, Laura," Julie gushed, "I don't know what I would have done without you! Thank you so much; you're being such a friend."
"It's my pleasure," Laura said, "I've been waiting for that standofish brother of mine to find a lovely woman for such a long time, and now I think that he has."
Julie blushed and they both giggled, promising to get together with one another real soon.
A bit later, once everything was put away to her satisfaction, Julie called Julian at his office:
"Barnes Holding Company," a voice said.
"Is Mr Barnes available," Julie began, "This is Julie Rogers."
"Oh, Ms Rogers," the voice said, "For you he certainly is. I'm Viola, one of the secretaries and I want to say that we're looking forward to working with you here at Barnes."
"Why thank you, Viola," Julie said.
"Ms Rogers," Viola said next, "Let me get Mr Barnes for you."
"Thank you, and it's Julie!" Julie said.
"How kind; thank you," Viola said.
"Barnes," his voice said.
"Julian, this is Julie," she said.
"How's the project to inject needed cash into the economy going?" he asked.
"Oh famously!" she said, "Laura was kind enough to give me a hand and I actually have a kitchen now in my new home. I'd like to invite you over for dinner."
"What a lovely idea," he said. "What time?"
"Oh, how about 6 PM?" she asked.
"Great, can I bring anything?" he asked.
"No, as a matter of fact, I've shopped and have what we need for dinner. It'll be simple and the place is sparse but furniture is supposed to be delivered beginning tomorrow."
"Well, I have some time off that I'm going to take," he said, "Need a hand getting things arranged?"
"That would be marvelous," she said. Then she added: "Julian, I am so looking forward to working for you."
"With me!" he said.
"With you!" she echoed.
"Good, people here are excited about it," he commented.
"Yes, I spoke to Viola and she was very nice about saying the same," she said to him. "I'll see you this evening. And it'll be casual."
"Casual works!" he said, "See you then."
Julie giggled, when they got off the phone, realizing that casual meant that, according to Laura's advice, she was going to dress sexy.
She had steaks for them and cooked a green bean casserole and had potatoes to bake. She was ready on time.
'The place looked really sparse, but at least the kitchen looks like a home, ' she thought.
The doorbell rang and she buzzed him up, greeting him at the door. He stood there expectantly and she followed her instincts and pulled him into a hug.
"You get a hug for being so nice to me!" she said, "It's all that I can do to keep from crying for the joy of it!"
He leaned back and grinned at her, his eyes sparkling and he kissed her on the cheek.
She was tempted to kiss him properly but decided not to push that. She led him into the apartment, and he watched her as they went.
She was wearing a pair of white, stretch nylon running capris and a tee shirt, plus her sandals. The tee shirt came down low enough to cover most of her butt but not all of it, leaving her with the lower loops of her butt cheeks showing and her panties.
Julian sighed to himself.
She turned and said: "Something wrong?"
"No," he said, "I was just reacting to how lovely you look."
She smiled and covered her mouth with her hand and then said:
"Let me show you what part of the place that I have set up a bit."
She led him into the bedroom, where the mattress was blown up and the sleeping bag on top of it.
"See," she said, grinning, "I get to sleep at my home tonight!"
He was delighted with her bedroom set up. "Yes," he said, smiling and nodding, "Your home."
"Dinner?" she said, "I'm afraid that the tour is over."
"More of a tour soon, I believe," he said.
"Yes, they'll be delivering the furniture tomorrow between 10 and 11 AM," she said.
"Shall I be here to help out?" he asked.
"Oh, that would be nice," she said.
Dinner was a huge success. They took time to speak once again about his expectations and hopes for her position as his PA. She had a number of questions and suggestions. In the end he was pleased with the questions that she asked and the suggestions that she made.
She walked him to the door.
"I wish you well in your first night at home here," he said.
"Thank you," she said softly, as they stood by the door.
"I don't know if this is a good idea or not," he said then, "But do you mind if I kiss you?"
"Oh, I think that I'd prefer it!" she said.
She went into his arms then and they kissed. It was soft at first and gradually expanded, and blossomed into something else. He was taken with the softness of her lips and the fragrance of her.
"Ohhh," she said, when they broke the kiss.
He was smiling at her then, when she said: "Oh, one more please?"
"Glad to oblige," was his answer.
They kissed again. His hands were on her back, one at her shoulders and one in the middle of her back. She reached around and took him by the wrist and pulled his lower hand down until it came to rest on her ass cheek. He let out a throat moan and she looked into his face and smiled at him. They kissed again, only this time his hand was kneading her ass cheeks and rubbing around.
"Spectacular!" he said.
"Feels that way," she replied.
She looked at him then and said: "Julian, I am sorely tempted to simply take my clothes off here and really initiate my new home but maybe we shouldn't; maybe we should just wait, remember this and how it feels and then see how our work relationship works out."
"Maybe we should," he said.
"Do you think that, if we're this way," she asked softly, "I maybe shouldn't work for you, with you?"
"No," he said, "I am positive that we'll work just fine together and we'll let this kind of relationship develop as it can."
"Yes, wonderful!" she said.
"I'll be here tomorrow to help!" he said at last turning to the door.
"Thank you," she said, "For everything: hiring me, my home, a car, which I haven't done yet, and especially for the kisses and the squeezes to my fanny!"
He grinned at her: "The pleasure was all mine!" he proclaimed.
"One more hug then, and more feeling please!" she said to him.
They hugged and kissed one more time, only this time, she loosened the waist band of her capris a bit to allow him to slide his hands down inside her pants and then her panties and run his hands over her naked ass.
She pressed herself against him and sighed, as he continued to feel her. Then he left. She leaned against the door and sighed saying: "Now wasn't that spectacular!"
She remembered that Laura had told her to call, if she wished. She dialed Laura's personal number and Laura answered, knowing that it was Julie.
"How did it go? Got him on the run?"
"Oh, I think so!" Julie said. "Great kisser!"
"Good for us," Laura said, "Good for the girls!"
They had a bit of conversation then and finally Julie said: "I'm going to take a bath in my new bathroom and use my new towels and go to bed in my new bed in my new apartment!"
"Furniture tomorrow?" Laura asked.
"Yes," Julie answered, "Julian is coming at about 10 AM to help get things arranged. "Stop by if you can."
"Won't I be in the way?" Laura asked.
"We've decided to just let things take their course, and think about what happened here just now," Julie explained.
"I'll be there then; good night, sweetie," Laura said.
"Good night, Laura, and thanks for the help," Julie said, as they rang off.
Julie got settled, her furniture arrived and, with the help of Laura and Julian, she began to get her 'home' in a semblance of order. She knew that the settling in would take a bit of time but was willing to be patient about it and let things simply go the way that they would.
She had just settled down into bed, when her phone rang.
"Hello," she said and was pleased that it was Julian.
"Oh, Julian," she said.
"Just calling to say good night," he said softly.
"How nice of you!" she said.
She giggled then and said: "Maybe you need to know that I'm only wearing my panties to bed."
"Oh," he sighed, "Maybe I do but maybe it'll make me charge over there right now."
She giggled and said: "Good night, Julian, my Julian."
"Good nice Julie my princess!" he said before sending a kiss and ringing off.
It appeared to be a certainty right from the start that Julian's selection of Julie to be his PA was a great move. Julie's people skills were among her best assets and she was loved by the staff in the office at Barnes Holding right from the beginning.