"Yeah mom?" I was passing through the living room on my way to the kitchen for a little water before bed.
" ... Is your father taking you to work tomorrow?" Mom asked me, reaching for my hand and pulling me just a little closer.
"Yeah, I guess so." I shrugged, the way sixteen year old girls do. "That Father-Daughter Day thing. Why?"
"Sit down for a minute. I want to talk to you."
"Uh, sure mom." I pulled some long black hair out of my eyes and sat down next to her on the sofa.
"You're getting so grown up now." She smiled and her soft brown eyes were twins of mine. My mom is so pretty and I got lucky taking after her the way I do.
"Are you going to get me a car?" I smiled, only half teasing because I really wanted one. I'd just gotten my license a month before.
"Well, you know..." My mom sounded like just maybe I would. " ... It all depends."
"You know your father's up for a big promotion at work, right?" My mom looked serious and I was a little lost already.
"Yeah, he said he probably wasn't gonna get it though." I said. My dad worked for an insurance company.
"Maybe not." My mom sighed. "They'll probably give it to a white man, but..."
"But what?" I didn't really believe they'd give a promotion to a guy for being white, that was silly, but I knew my mom did. She was a little prejudiced about some stuff.
" ... But I was thinking that sometimes all a man like your father needs is a little bird whispering in the right ear." My mom smiled, like I'd understand that.
"A little bird?" I giggled.
"A little black bird, Kylie." My mom said.
"Uhhh ... Okay." I shrugged.
"Do you remember the company picnic last summer, on the Fourth of July?"
"Yeah." I nodded and I was trying to figure out how all of this stuff was connected, cause it was making no sense.
"Do you remember your father's boss, Mr. Cummings?" Mom asked me, and she knew I would because that guy had been staring at me all afternoon, and I'd told my mom about it on the drive back home.
"Yeah, the old white guy who was watching me play volleyball." I rolled my eyes and mom nodded.
"He's not that old, but yeah, that's the one. He's the man who's going to decide if your father gets the promotion or not." Mom told me.
"That guy?" I wrinkled my nose.
"Mr. Cummings, that's right." Mom said. "Now, just maybe if you were to see him tomorrow, you might be able to help your father get that promotion."
"I could?" My eyes got a little bigger as I looked at her.
"Uh-huh, and if you do, I'll make sure you get that car you want." Mom promised me.
"Really?" I gasped and then laughed and then hugged her. "Awww cool, mom! Thanks!"
"Oh oh oh ... It's not your car yet. Now listen to me." Mom pushed me back gently. "It all depends on your father getting the promotion, see? So you have to be very convincing when you talk to Mr. Cummings."
"But..." I frowned. " ... What am I supposed to say? I don't know anything about insurance or any of that stuff."
"I know, I know." Mom smiled. "You don't have to. You're a young woman, Kylie, a very beautiful young woman that Mr. Cummings finds very attractive."
"He does?" I blinked at that and I guess I understood that part alright. A lot of guys checked me out, but I ignored the old guys mostly, and Mr. Cummings had just made me uncomfortable at that picnic.
"I know he does." Mom nodded. "And that gives you some power, do you understand?"
"No." I shook my head.
"You remember when we talked about boys and sex and..."
"Mom." I laughed. "I'm up on all that."
"You're being careful, right?" Mom suddenly turned back into mom and that was easy to do when it came to my non-existent love life.
"Yeah, mom I'm still a virgin and everything." I teased her, but I shouldn't have because mom gave me a hard look and I looked down. "I'm not doing anything with anybody."
"Okay, I know." Mom softened again. "But tomorrow..."
" ... Tomorrow I want you to use what you have."
"What's that mean?" I narrowed my eyes.
"I mean there's a time and place to be a beautiful, attractive woman." Mom said. "I want you to make good friends with Mr. Cummings, very good friends."
"Kylie, what I'm telling you is that it's okay to let him ... Touch you, if he wants to." Mom licked her lips and she was almost whispering, like she was telling me a secret. "If he wants to kiss you..."
"You want me to let him kiss me?" I stared at her in shock. This was the same woman who wouldn't let me hold hands with a boy from school?
" ... You let him kiss you. You let Mr. Cummings do whatever he wants, Kylie." Mom nodded.
I swallowed hard and stared at her, feeling my stomach doing flip-flops, but I had no idea what I was feeling emotionally.
"While he's doing that, while Mr. Cummings is making friends with you, just remember to tell him how much your father deserves that promotion."
"But what..." I cleared my throat. "But mom what if he wants to touch me ... down there?"
"He will." My mom smiled. "He'll want to touch you down there more than anything, believe me."
"But you have to say no." Mom actually giggled. "You tell him that he doesn't get to touch you there until you know your father got the promotion, see?"
"What if he wants to..." I swallowed hard.
"Have sex?" My mom asked and I nodded slowly. "You have to say no. Let him kiss you and touch you, but don't give him your virginity, okay?"
"Won't he be mad?" I asked.
"No, Kylie, he won't be mad." Mom said. "Not if you do ... Other things."
"Other things?" I didn't know what that meant.
"There are a lot of ways to take a man's mind off what's between your legs, Kylie."
"Ummm..." I shrugged and smiled and I was lost. This was my mom, she couldn't mean what I thought she meant. Could she?
"I'm sure Mr. Cummings will be happy to show you." Mom said with a smile. "Just keep your panties on."
"What if he..."
"He's going to understand perfectly, believe me. You're a woman now, Kylie, this is what a woman does and men know it."
"Won't daddy be mad?" I blinked as I had that unwelcome thought all of a sudden.
"We can't tell him about this, okay?" Mom took me by the shoulders. "This is the most important part and don't you ever forget it, the things we do for the men we love are secrets that can never be shared."
"Okay." I swallowed hard.
"I'm serious. I've done a lot of things for your father, and your grandfather when I was your age, and they can't ever know about it."
"I understand." I said, but not totally.
"Your father is a good man, he has a lot of pride and we're not going to hurt him, right?"
"Right." I drew a deep breath.
"You just get some time alone tomorrow with Mr. Cummings. You have some fun and make him like you, and get your father that promotion, okay?" Mom smiled. "He's not a bad looking man anyway, is he?"
"Mr. Cummings?" I shrugged. "He's white and kinda old."
"He's white and older than you..." Mom laughed in agreement. " ... But white guys can be nice, believe me. Mr. Cummings will be nice to you tomorrow and who knows, maybe you'll even like him."
"Maybe." I said, but my tone was full of doubt and how would mom know about white guys anyway, unless ... No way!
"So, you know rules right?" Mom asked.
"Number one, your father never finds out." Mom nodded. "And two, you keep your virginity, that's important."
"Okay." I nodded and I knew there was no way I was going to lose my virginity to an old white guy!
"Anything else is okay." Mom sighed. "You're not a little girl anymore, Kylie. You're a woman and tomorrow you get to prove it."
"And then I get a car." I grinned at my mom and she laughed.
"Yeah, I said you would and you know..."
"You always keep your word." I hugged her. "I love you, mommy."
"I love you too, baby. Go to bed now and don't forget to brush your teeth." She kissed my cheek and let me go.
I had strange dreams that night, like sexy dreams sort of, except the man in my dreams was a white man and he was kissing me all over. It felt really good though and I was still dreaming of him when my alarm went off. I wanted to go back to sleep and just kiss him for five more minutes, but I knew I had to get up. I was going to get a car!
I was pretty much grown by the time I was sixteen, which was weird but really nice too. I just hoped I didn't grow too much more, except maybe two or three inches taller. I'm five foot eight and I wanted to be a model, but that's too short. I'm perfect every other way though and when I started tenth grade that September a lot of the other kids noticed, especially my boobs. They'd appeared like magic, or so it seemed. One day I had little speed bumps, the next ... Poof! I had like the roundest firmest 34C breasts any sixteen year old girl could want. People asked me if they were real, and they still do, that's how nice they are.
My hips never got very wide though, but I'm thin anyway, or lean I should say, and kind of athletic without trying to be. I have a flat tummy and narrow waist, a nice round pert butt that does magic tricks, like makes men forget they're married, even though their wives are right next to them. I swear, some guys follow me around the mall for hours without seeing my face. It's almost embarrassing.
And my face is pretty too. I have almond eyes, they're kind of exotic, and high cheeks with a nice pouting mouth without the big fat lips like a lot of black girls I know have. My dad has huge lips. Thank God I take after my mom. My heart shaped face is definitely pretty and I spend hours on my hair, that's one thing I'd love to change about myself. I have to get my hair straightened or it just kinks up into a big Afro and I hate that. I want straight silky hair, but all I get is wavy, coarse thick black hair. It looks nice, but I'm so jealous of white girls and their hair sometimes.
Anyway, it was Father Daughter Day at the insurance company, because they're like really big on family values and community and all that. It was probably going to be totally boring, I mean come on! It's an insurance company. Maybe if they built trampolines it would be cool, but they just did paperwork all day. At least now I had a purpose, and you know what? I did feel like a woman, albeit a very young one, but my mom's little talk had filled me with something. Confidence, I guess, or just a sense of self. If mom thought I was mature, well, I must be. Right?
I wondered what my mom had done to help my dad before this, and her dad too, if I'd understood her right. I supposed she meant that she'd done the same things I was going to try and do. Make friends with someone and use whatever power being an attractive young woman gave me to get what I wanted. That's what women did, mom had told me, and I believed her. I already knew I could get a lot of stuff from guys, from my dad, just by smiling and giving them attention. This was just part of that and I didn't feel bad about it.
I felt pretty nervous though, don't get me wrong. The more I thought about what I was doing the more frightened I got. I mean, what if I really screwed it up? I could make it so my dad wouldn't ever get a promotion, or worse, what if Mr. Cummings didn't like me at all and he fired my dad? That was a thought I really didn't want, at least not on an empty stomach. I'd flirted with guys, with boys my own age, and occasionally with older guys, just to be a tease with my friends when we saw one checking us out. It was never serious and I'd only been kissed a few times, but that was it.
The really surprising thing though, seriously, was my mom. She'd like totally made a left turn, a U-turn, and that was still pretty freaky. Mom was always practical though, that's for sure. She ran the house and when she wanted something, needed something, she got it and if it took some sacrifice, you know, some extra time or effort, she didn't complain. Mom just did it and I guess that's what we were doing now. We needed dad to get that promotion, mom wanted him to get it more than daddy did, so she was going to make sure it happened.
I could understand that, our family's future was a lot more important than my personal feelings about letting some old white guy kiss me. I could always wash my face, right? Boys wash off, that was going to be my new motto, I decided as I made my way from the bathroom to the kitchen. I'd just thought that up too, which goes to show how clever I can be at seven o'clock in the morning. Unfortunately, I'm usually the only one who appreciates my agile wit; everyone else just thinks I'm blonde inside.
"Morning daddy!" I smiled at him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Morning mom."
"Sit down, I'm scrambling some eggs." Mom said and she was always there, every morning making us breakfast without complaint. She's always been the best mom in the world.
"Hey Princess." Dad smiled at me. "All excited?"
"Uh, yeah." I laughed and glanced at my mom, wondering if she'd said something, but she had her back to me while she cooked.
"Good." Dad smiled, turning a page of his newspaper. "This will be fun."
"What are we gonna do all day?" I wondered, reaching for some toast.
"Oh ... You'll get a tour and see the offices and have a lunch with the president and ... I don't know." He chuckled. "I guess we'll find out."
"I guess so." I shrugged, but honestly, it's an insurance company, not Disneyworld.
"You just remember to behave yourself." My mom said as she scooped eggs onto my plate. "You're a young woman, not a child, so act like it."
"I will, I will..." I sighed, but only because I knew it was like a secret message and I wanted to laugh.
My dad had no idea what my mom was really telling me and for some reason that made me tingle all over. We had a secret now, a woman secret, and I was going to get my daddy that promotion. And get myself that new car, I reminded myself happily. That was making me tingle a bit too.
That's what I was thinking about as I rode with my dad to work. I'd wanted to drive, but my dad told me he had an ulcer, whatever that had to do with it. My driving wasn't that bad when I was sixteen, not like he says it was. It's not my fault they make the roads too skinny for normal people to drive on.
Anyway, sex. We were getting closer and it was just really starting to sink in that I was going to be flirting with a man. Not a boy, but a man, and not flirting like shaking my little brown butt a little extra at the mall, but flirting like face to face. A white man too, old enough to be my dad, even a little older than my dad, like forty maybe. That seemed seriously old to me, but kind of sexy too. I mean ... A man!
A white man, how weird was that? I knew my mom and dad didn't want me to have a white boy for a boyfriend, no way. The year before, when I'd started high school I'd met a guy I liked a lot. He was white and seemed to like me too, but when I told my parents they just about flipped out and grounded me or something. I'm black, my dad had told me, and I have to respect that. I had to have a black boyfriend and someday a black husband and eventually black babies. End of story, no more discussion.
Now my mom was telling me to go ahead and flirt with a white man, but only because it wasn't going to mean anything. I'd do what I had to so daddy could get a better job and then wash him off. I giggled and daddy glanced at me. Still, I thought, a white man was pretty cool. He wasn't bad looking either, my mom had been right about that. For being old like he was, Mr. Cummings had looked pretty good at that picnic, pretty healthy with his sandy hair and blue eyes and broad shoulders. He wasn't bent over and fat and all jowls or anything, he was ... Healthy.
I just wasn't used to being stared at. That's what had freaked me out at the picnic, the way Mr. Cummings had smiled at me all the time. I would have been nervous if he'd been black or whatever, just cause I wasn't all that used to it. I was older now, even if only a little, and I was a woman. My mom had said so. I kinda hoped he'd look at me like that again, and not just so I could get a car, but because, well, it made me feel like a woman.
"Do you think I'm dressed okay, dad?" I wondered, although it was way too late to worry about it and daddy wouldn't know why I was concerned anyway.
"Yeah, you look great Princess." Dad looked me over real quick. "How do I look?"
"The same as always." I giggled, because it was true. My dad had like thirty suits and they were all the same shade of grey. Only the ties changed.
I was wearing a skirt, not too short, but above the knees anyway. It was light blue with pleats and made of some plastic stuff that was supposed to be like silk. It was soft and nice anyway. A yellow blouse, thin cotton and short sleeved with little white buttons, nothing special. Some knee high white socks and my black Ponies, leather shoes with half inch heels that I mostly wore to church. They had little silver buckles and they were comfortable, but I mostly wore my pink Skechers to school.
My hair was tied back in a ponytail, but I was going to let it loose once I could find a bathroom and a mirror. Mom had given me some of her makeup too, secretly because my dad was sorta weird about me and makeup appearing in the same sentence. It was just some red lip gloss anyway, a little rouge for my cheeks, and mom told me not to use too much because I didn't need makeup anyway. It was pretty cool though and I couldn't wait to put some on. I know most girls my age have a whole crate full of makeup, but I never did. Even now I don't have a lot; it's just something I never really needed.
I wondered if Mr. Cummings was married. Would that make a difference to my mom? Maybe he was and she didn't know. I sure didn't want to fool around with a married guy. Did I? I had to think about it because if he was married, Mrs. Cummings would probably be old too, unless she was one of those blonde trophy wives or something, like that Playboy model who married that really way old guy. That was sick! If his wife was old though and Mr. Cummings liked me more than he liked her, wouldn't that be cool? Sort of, I thought, but I didn't want to wreck anybody's home or anything. I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just wanted my dad to get a promotion, make more money, and buy me a car.
"Hey dad?" I sucked my lips. "Does your boss have a daughter?"
"My boss?" Dad looked at me because it was a weird question, coming out of the blue like that. "Mr. Cummings?"
"Is that his name?" I shrugged, playing all innocent and looking out my window so my dad wouldn't see my face. I was always a really, really bad liar.
"I was just wondering because I remember him from the picnic, but I can't remember if I met his daughter or not." I was thinking fast. "So if I did, I sorta don't want to look like an idiot, you know?"
"Well, you didn't." My dad chuckled. "He's divorced I think and his kids are in California with their mom, so far as I know."
"Oh." I nodded and then turned so I could give daddy a smile, my lying was all done.
"You're wondering if you'll know anyone there, huh?" Dad nodded like he had it all figured out. "Don't worry, you're good at making friends, Kylie. You'll be okay."
"Yeah." I said. "Are we there yet?"
"Not yet." Dad laughed and kept driving.
I saw Mr. Cummings halfway through our tour and he saw me too. My dad had gone to work, like everyone else's dad, and turned us over to some public relations woman, a Chinese lady or something, except she had an accent like she was from Texas instead of Shanghai. There were a lot of daughters, maybe forty of us, all children of the mid-level executives and their secretaries who worked there. I didn't know any of the other girls and I was one of the oldest ones there anyway. Most of the girls were like twelve and thirteen, so I was pretty bored and I figured all the other daughters my age had lucked out and gone to school, probably knowing this was going to suck.
That Mr. Cummings though, he was standing outside his office, since there was a sign that said 'J. Cummings VP Analysis' on the wall. I guessed he was talking to his secretary about something, but he was looking right at me and I swallowed hard, fighting my urge to look away and wishing my heart would slow down long enough for me to catch my breath. I felt like I'd just run a mile uphill.
I looked right back at him though, across thirty feet of carpet and cubicles and short little girls. The tour guide was telling us how the Analysis Department collected data from all over the world, and they sorted it and catalogued it, and put it in a big mixing bowl with some eggs and...
Mr. Cummings stood up straight and I stood there with my hands behind my back, sort of twisting on my hips a little, biting my bottom lip. I didn't know if I was supposed to walk over and say hi to the man, or if I should keep walking with the tour and let him think about me for awhile. Or if I should just go ahead and pee my panties right there because I was so nervous. I was supposed to be flirting with him, acting like a young woman, and there I was posing like a little girl. I caught myself, because I hadn't realized what I was standing like that, and stretched a little, blinking and looking around and then hurrying back to the group.
I'd have to save Mr. Cummings for later, mostly because I didn't know what I was doing.
I didn't see Mr. Cummings the rest of the morning, not until it was lunchtime and we were sitting in the cafeteria, which was really like a restaurant, sort of, except different. The president of the company was there, along with four vice-presidents and they all introduced themselves and talked a little. The president made a short speech about how nice it was to meet us and how important we were, us kids, to the success of the company. I was lost mostly and I don't think any of the younger kids could follow the man either, but we smiled and swelled up a little cause we were important, and then we had a nice lunch.
They'd seated us at six tables, big round ones, and split us all up so six or seven kids would sit with one of the executives. I think the vice-president of marketing was supposed to sit at my table and he'd been looking at me too, but he was a rather old and very round black man and I ignored him. He wasn't my dad's boss, or so I told myself, but the truth was I kind of liked looking at Mr. Cummings. He was handsome, for a white guy, very handsome maybe even, plus I liked the way he was looking at me.
So when he sort of slid in between Marketing and the table I was sitting at, offering his fellow vice-president a little apology and ignoring the man's dirty look, I was pretty happy about that. Mr. Cummings was going to have lunch sitting right across from me and with six twelve year old rug rats to keep us busy nodding and smiling, it was a perfect opportunity just to play little games with our eyes. I didn't have a whole lot of experience with that, but I was learning quickly and I was surprised by the things I was seeing, or thought I was seeing in Mr. Cumming's eyes, which were every bit as beautifully blue as I remembered.
Actually I didn't remember them being beautiful at all, but now that they were just three feet across from me, yeah ... I liked blue a lot. And blonde, which was what his sandy hair really was, kind of a light brown blonde, straight and neatly combed and nice. White skin too. I never thought I'd ever think white skin looked nice, but it did on him, mostly because he still had a bit of a tan, I think. Just a little coloring so it wasn't all pasty or even pale, but ... Nice. A white man that was old and attractive and sexy? Ouch! That's what I was thinking. He was a sexy man and I wondered how come his wife had divorced him.
Maybe he liked to fool around. He sure liked to look, at least he liked looking at me. Did he really like black girls that much? Maybe he'd had a black girlfriend once. A mistress! He'd had a beautiful black mistress, a young one that he spoiled with furs and jewelry and kept in a penthouse apartment. He'd visit her at midnight and make love to her until dawn. Then Mr. Cummings would creep back to his sleeping wife and into her bed, pretending he hadn't been anywhere at all.
But Mrs. Cummings had found out! She's caught him sleeping with his young black Mistress. She'd followed him one night and snuck into the other woman's apartments and seen for herself the man Mrs. Cummings loved. She'd spied him between that girl's ebony thighs, kissing her and whispering soft sweet words in the dim light of the moon outside their window. Mrs. Cummings had divorced him then, quietly to avoid a scandal, and taken their children to California where she sunbathed all day and wept all night, because she still loved him very much.
It was all clear to me.
"Huh?" I blinked at the girl to my right and she was giggling.
"It's your turn." She said, her green eyes laughing at me beneath her red hair. She couldn't have been more than eleven, I thought.
"For what?" I asked and I felt myself burning with embarrassment because I'd been totally off daydreaming.
"Say who you are." She said and everyone at the table was looking at me and smiling, especially Mr. Cummings who had a real excuse finally.
"How old you are too." Another girl said.
"Oh." I cleared my thought. "Uh, I'm Kylie and I'm, uh, sixteen years old."
"Hi Kylie." Mr. Cummings gave me a warm smile and his eyes were locked on mine and I shivered inside, in my tummy.
"Hi." I squeaked.
"It's nice to meet you." Mr. Cummings nodded. "Very nice. And who are you then?" He turned his smile on the girl to my left.
"I'm Amanda and I'm twelve..."
I picked at my food, wondering how I could have been acting so dumb in front of a man I wanted to impress. He'd laughed at me, they all had, and I wasn't feeling very much like a young woman at all just then. Mr. Cummings didn't seem to mind though, he spent most of his lunch talking with the younger kids because they all wanted to talk anyway, leaving me alone to just smile and play Catch My Eyes with the man. I'd stare at him and he'd look up suddenly so I'd look away and I'd look up a minute later and we'd do it all over again.
It wasn't all that much different from being at school, actually.
And I still didn't know how I was supposed to do what I was supposed to do. If I had visions of just walking into the man's office and saying 'Here I am ... Want me!' I was rudely awakened by the reality of the situation. Mr. Cummings was a vice-president and obviously a very busy man. He had a secretary who looked like she could beat down Fifty Cent if he tried to sneak past her, and what excuse was I going to make anyway? Not just to her, but to him? Get real! Whatever secrets my mom knew about doing whatever it was that women did for their men, she could have revealed a little more of them to me. I was feeling a little lost.
"Hi, are you lost?"
"Excuse me? Oh!" I blinked at Mr. Cummings and he was smiling at me as I looked for the restrooms.
"Looking for the ladies room?" He asked and I nodded, afraid to say anything.
"It's right down there, on the left." He gestured and smiled.
"Thank you." I smiled too and looked down but my feet didn't want to move.
"Come on, I'll walk with you." He said. "I can use a little water on my face maybe."
"Really?" I asked, not understanding what he meant.
"You know, I'd never guess that you're just sixteen, Kylie." Mr. Cummings told me as we walked slowly together.
"Um..." I smiled at that and cast him a sideways look. He was tall, about half a foot taller than me and I thought that was pretty nice.
"I'd think you were at least eighteen, maybe even nineteen." He said. "You're very mature."
"Thank you." I swallowed hard and I knew he was talking about my body, because the way I was acting would have put me in grade school.
"Your boyfriend must be a very happy young man."
"I ... No..." I giggled self-consciously. " ... I don't have a boyfriend."
"Really?" He sounded genuinely surprised. "If I was your age ... Well, you don't want to know."
He was chuckling and I felt warm all over, inside and out, because I did want to know what he'd be like as a high school boy. I'd have bet Mr. Cummins had been a serious hunk at sixteen. He was a hunk at forty, believe me, and I wondered why I hadn't noticed any of this before, at that picnic four months before. I hadn't changed that much growing from fifteen to sixteen, had I? My body had changed overnight, but my view of the world? My outlook on men? It didn't seem possible but I remembered all too well the resentment I'd felt at his unwanted stares, now I was dying to have them. The longer his eyes were on me the happier I was.
"What if I do?" I asked softly and for a second I couldn't believe it and then I was really hoping he hadn't heard me.
"You want to know?" He asked and his voice was soft too. "I'd love to tell you, Kylie. Here we are."
He stopped walking and I looked at the restroom door.
"Will you wait for me?" I asked and I had no idea what I was doing and I was glad the bathroom was right there because I was going to throw-up.
"If you want. I'll be right here." He promised.
"Okay." I smiled pausing with my hand on the door as I looked into his eyes and then I was going to puke.
My tummy was all in knots and that lunch came right up, I swear. I didn't know why, except that I was obviously more nervous than I'd ever been in my life. Frightened too, probably, but it was a good kind of fear, I thought, like I was afraid that I was getting what I wanted, except I wasn't sure what I wanted. He was nice and Mr. Cummings liked me just fine, I knew that, and he was interested in me. Seriously interested and he probably wanted to touch me and ... I threw-up some more.
I washed my mouth out good, extra good, and I was glad I had some Certs, like two rolls in my purse, plus some cinnamon Dentyne and I like popped all of it on my mouth because I'd been throwing up, you know? I was in the bathroom a long time and I agonized over my face and then my hair and then I pretended to agonize some more just to give my breath a chance and not have to go outside and face Mr. Cummings, even though I wanted to see him again more than anything. I was so confused it hurt.
"Hi." He was waiting for me when I came out ten minutes later, like the vice-president of a big insurance company wouldn't have anything better to do.
"Hi." I smiled and hopefully looked a lot better than I felt.
"You look a little worn out." Mr. Cummings narrowed his eyes a little, looking concerned. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." I nodded quickly. "I just, um, the food was a little much for me."
"Oh." He frowned a little. "I'll have to ask about that, usually they're pretty good in the cafeteria."
"Oh, no." I said, not wanting to get anyone in trouble. "I just have a sensitive stomach or something."
"Well, maybe you'd like to lie down?" He offered. "I have a sofa in my office, it's pretty comfortable. I've used it plenty of times." He smiled and then seemed to reconsider. "Or, probably we should just find your dad, huh?"
I was trying to think fast, or just trying to think anyway. The man had invited me to his office and I felt another knot in my tummy, but I pushed it down and smiled, which wasn't hard to do. I liked smiling at Mr. Cummings and I thought I could really get used to having him smile at me.
"Oh, yeah, I'd like to lie down." I said, "If that's okay, I mean. I don't want to..."
"No, that's fine." He agreed, "Sure, right this way."
He was leading me to the elevators so we could go back upstairs and I was excited, sexually I mean, as much as I'd ever been in my life. I didn't understand it, but maybe it was just because I'd been thinking about everything my mom had told me. I'd fallen asleep thinking about how I might convince an older white man to give me what I wanted, and I'd woken up thinking about it too. Is it possible just to talk yourself into wanting to have sex with a man?
It wasn't just about my daddy's promotion though, or the nice car I'd get once daddy got it. I wasn't thinking about that stuff at all, but only about how much I liked just walking with the man, being close to him. He was important and smart, he had power and money, I supposed, he was a senior vice-president. He had so much confidence, I think. Not like at the picnic where he was just some old white guy trying to play volleyball. Now I saw him as mature, but definitely not old, and relaxed and in control. Mr. Cummings made me feel safe, I decided, and maybe that sounds silly, but if you've ever been with a man like that, then you know what I mean.
It feels seriously good.
"Janet, hold my calls, okay?" Mr. Cummings told his secretary and if she wondered why her boss would be taking a sixteen year old black girl into his office, she didn't say anything. The woman didn't even give me a funny look, she just smiled and nodded and kept right on typing.
"You have a nice office." I said, just to say something, and it was true.
He had a big one, high up in the building and the view was pretty good. A big desk and leather chair, and whole living room set it looked like, chairs, sofa, coffee table. I wasn't sure why anyone would need a living room in his office, but I guess vice-presidents get stuff like that. It was all black leather too, but not the cheap sticky kind, it was more like black butter, smooth and soft and Mr. Cummings had me sitting on the big sofa.
"See?" He smiled at me. "I told you it was comfortable."
"Yeah." I giggled nervously, not knowing if I should really lie down or what. "It's really nice."
"Say, um..." He rubbed his smooth jaw and looked down at me as he stood there. " ... I'll just sit at my desk and get some reading done, so go ahead and relax and..."
He shrugged and I got the feeling that wasn't what he really wanted to say at all. I didn't have a lot of experience with boys, but I had enough to know what it meant when Mr. Cummings couldn't stop looking at me. Not my body, but my eyes. He wanted to see the real me and that was special, it was different, and I felt small and vulnerable and whatever my mom had been talking about, all that stuff about women having power over men or whatever, I was forgetting all of it. I liked feeling like a little girl when he looked at me and Mr. Cummings had all the power. I just wanted him to use it.
"Do you..." I bit my lip. " ... Do you think you could rub my shoulders a little?"
"Rub your shoulders?" He smiled like he was a little confused, but in a happy way.
"Yeah, I'm just..." I swallowed hard. I didn't want to tell him how nervous I was.
"Sure, yeah." Mr. Cummings cleared his throat. "I'd be happy to, Kylie."
"Okay." I lowered my eyes and I turned away, so that the man could sit on the sofa next to me and touch my neck and shoulders.
"How's this?" He asked and Mr. Cummings had awesome hands.
They were strong, but so gentle, and I didn't really need a massage, I'd just asked so he would stay close to me, but this was great. I felt like my body was just falling down inside, even outside a little. I was moving with his fingers, my head down so my hair fell around my smiling face. He was making me moan softly, the sounds just coming out of me as he rubbed my shoulders, squeezing and stroking me through my yellow blouse. I kept my hands in my lap, grabbing handfuls of my blue skirt, just because I needed something to hold.
"Do you want to lie down?" Mr. Cummings was breathing hard after ten minutes or so. His voice was just a whisper in my ear and his hands had moved down to my arms, to my bare skin and he was caressing me there.
"Yeah." I said softly.
"On your tummy, I'll give you a real massage, okay?" He asked and I was nodding.
I laid down on that big sofa and it was only a little awkward. I folded my arms under my chin, my left leg straight along the length of it. My right leg sort of hung over the side, so my knee was on the thick carpeting and my legs were spread wide. My skirt rode up high along the back of my smooth thighs, I knew that, I knew those blue pleats were barely covering my firm round butt, but I didn't care. I could hardly breathe.
Mr. Cummings was behind me, kind of half sitting, half kneeling and leaning over me. He rubbed my back slowly, gently through the yellow cotton of my blouse and I moaned because it felt so good. His fingers would slide up my sides and across my bra strap to my shoulders and then come together, back down my spine to the top of my ass, where that little dimple is. It was amazing and I shivered, I really did. I'd never felt anything like it and my tummy was doing cartwheels.
"Let me..." I breathed after a few minutes.
"What is it?" Mr. Cummings asked and he was breathing hard too.
"My um ... Bra..." I giggled nervously, reaching under me, inside my blouse and back, trying to reach the clasp.
"Oh ... Here..." Mr. Cummings said softly and I gave a little gasp as I felt his hands moving slowly underneath my blouse and I swallowed thickly, afraid to say anything.
He found my bra strap blindly and undid the hooks so that it suddenly released and if I expected the man to remove his hands from my bare skin again, he didn't. He just left them there, beneath my blouse and now he could massage every inch of my back without anything in the way.
"That's better..." I whispered and I blinked at him over my shoulder.
"Does it feel good, Kylie?" He asked and I nodded. "You're so warm, so soft and smooth..."
"I like the way you do that." I said, just because I wanted to feel more.
I bit my bottom lip, shaking all over as his hands moved around my ribs, under my arms and inside my bra where it was loose now. Mr. Cummings' fingertips touched the sides of my swollen breasts as they were pressed flat, just grazing me there and I hitched a sharp breath. He was still massaging me, still moving his hands, but now he included that part of it, that playful teasing touch and I found myself lifting my body slightly, wanting his fingers to travel further, to slip closer to my nipples. They were hard now and burning cold, itching like crazy and I thought it was almost painful, that excited torture.
"Can I go a little lower?" Mr. Cummings asked after a few minutes.