by David Cain
Joe caught a glimpse of his reflection in the glass door, the faint grey ghost of a figure reaching forward to grasp the brass handle. Joe grinned and felt a quick self-conscious laugh as the faded vision reminded him he didn’t look half bad. “I should get a haircut,” he murmured, pushing the curly mop of hair back from his forehead. “Next week,” Joe finished, shaking his head, contemplating his schedule. A tug erased the image and led him back inside the tall office building.
“Call Jenkins,” he thought as he absentmindedly navigated the large group of workers leaving the elevators. “I’ve got to tell them to stop work until the new specs arrive.” Joe pushed a button and stared vacantly into the polished brass, looking vacantly at himself while thinking of the Morris project. A bell rang and a door opened. A courier dashed out of the elevator, abruptly past Joe as he took a step forward.
“Excuse me,” said the courier mechanically, moving on quickly.
“Oh,” said Joe, slightly startled. “I’m sorry,” he called to the long gone youth. Joe shook his head. “I have to pay more attention,” he scolded. A young woman stepped into the elevator with him. Joe pushed his button, smiled weakly and tried to remember if Karl had already left town.
“Your floor,” the young woman said. Joe looked around, slightly confused. The elevator door stood wide open.
“Oh,” said Joe, stepping out into the grey carpeted hallway. He looked left and then right and saw Stacy sitting at the oversized walnut desk behind the glass doors. “Right,” said Joe, nodding.
Stepping into his office, Joe picked a folder up off his chair and sat down. “Please look these over,” he read off the small yellow tag stuck to the manila. Joe sighed and put the file down.
A narrow crystal vase lifted a single rose from the center of his desk’s blotter. Sunlight glittered through the faceted glass, a tickling of yellow within blue embracing the living green stem. Joe smiled with surprise and looked up and around, as though someone else should be witnessing the moment. The crimson petals of the bud seemed just a faint breath away from letting their kiss loose in a rich blossom. Joe touched the lush flower gently, marveling at its sudden appearance in the midst of so much unfinished work.
“I wonder,” he said, lifting the rose between two fingers. Joe noticed a small white card tied to the stem. Cautious of the sharp thorns that dripped evenly down the length, Joe turned the card and read the note inscribed. “I want you,” he said with a broad happy smile. Raising the bud up, Joe took a deep drink of the rich aromatic fragrance. “I want you,” he repeated.
Joe turned the card over, checking the blank side for some clue. “Perhaps Margie sent it,” he thought with a chuckle, trying to imagine some reason why his wife would go to the trouble of having a single flower with an enigmatic note attached delivered to his office. Joe supposed it was possible, but shook his head. It just didn’t sound like Margie. Joe smelled the flower and pondered.
“If it wasn’t Margie,” he said to himself, “then it would have to be someone else.” The idea tickled Joe and his heart beat a little faster, trying to imagine someone else wanting him.
“Probably Frank,” he said with a snort. “He wants me to get this report finished.” Joe put the rose back into the vase and pushed it toward the back of his desk so that he could open the file.
“Fourteen thousand barrels, delivered . . . ” Joe began to read, but he looked again at the deep crimson petals. “Somebody brought it in here while I was at lunch,” Joe said, standing, “and if it was delivered, Stacy would have seen them come in.”
The dark-haired woman hung up the phone and smiled to herself as Joe approached. Stacy scribbled an annotation on one of the short grey lines of an open planner, and Joe noticed, perhaps for the first time, the soft chocolate of her round cheek’s skin, the sparkle in Stacy’s dark eyes.
“Stacy,” Joe said. She looked up at him warmly. Joe wondered how he had failed to see the tight stretch of her blouse over her full, firm breasts when he came back from lunch. He felt a twinge of pleasure, watching the coy turn of her head as she responded. “Did I get any deliveries while I was at lunch?”
“I don’t know,” Stacy said. Joe wondered if the light in her expression meant anything. “Did you?” she asked, teasing.
“Yes,” Joe said, grinning knowingly. “I just wondered if you knew who delivered it.”
“I’ve only been on the phones since one,” said Stacy. “Regina was sitting here, but she’s at lunch now.” The pretty young woman’s smile seemed intentional. “We can check the log book.”
“Does she want me?” thought Joe, leaning over the desk to follow Stacy’s finger down the log. His gaze stopped as he noticed the subtle hint of a nipple under the ribbed yellow fabric stretched over her heavy breasts. He imagined her smile as she unzipped his trousers.
“I want you,” he imagined her saying, giggling slightly as she spoke. She could draw that sweet tongue along the throbbing of his prick. Joe shuddered.
“There was a courier here at twelve-twenty,” said Stacy. “That could have been anything.”
“All right,” said Joe. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” said Stacy. “Anytime.” Joe laughed, recognizing the constant flirtation in her voice as he walked back toward his office.
“Joe, could you come in here?”
“Sure, Stephanie,” said Joe, almost dancing as he turned back to step into the young executive’s office. Stephanie sat casually behind her desk, her dark brown hair lofted elegantly around her exceedingly pretty face.
“Did you hear the news?” she asked him gaily.
“No,” said Joe, happily. Stephanie rose and walked over to the door behind Joe. Her lean silk-clad legs shone with each step as her skirt teased his senses. Stephanie closed the door.
“Morgan’s offered us the deal,” she said, almost jumping in delight. Joe smiled at the news and the way her breasts bounced as she shivered. Stephanie put a hand on his shoulder. “They want me to handle the job!” she exclaimed.
“I want you,” he imagined her saying, eager and commanding.
“It means a great deal of work,” she said, turning back to her desk, and I may have to go up to Detroit, to get things started, but I can’t believe this. Can you?”
“No,” said Joe, pleased as he watched her bottom sway as Stephanie walked away and wondered if she meant to show him so much of her thigh as she leaned back against her desk. He wondered if she wore panties under the black wool skirt and if she would say “I want you” when he pushed his prick between her furry lips. “I don’t believe it,” he said.
“I need you to look over the Ferguson file before Wednesday’s meeting.” Stephanie smiled, flirtatiously. “Please,” she said. “No problem,” Joe said. “Congratulations.” Stephanie took a deep breath, pressing her chest forward. Joe opened the door and as he went back to his office, he wondered if she had winked.
Joe picked up the rose and smelled the luscious aroma. “Maybe I should get a haircut,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to get any work done here.”
Stacy smiled at Joe, almost wantonly, as he walked past the reception desk and back to the elevators. “Such a sweet girl,” he thought as he waited for the “ding”. Joe stepped inside and pushed the lobby button.
“Hello,” he said to the young woman, grinning invitingly as he spoke.
“Hi,” she replied. Her cheeks dimpled slightly as she smiled.
“Too nice a day to work,” Joe said. The girl teased a lock of her strawberry tinted hair.
“Yes,” she said. Joe pursed his lips, wondering if she wanted him too. She would kiss with a melody of garlic and perfume. The elevator stopped. Joe gallantly allowed the woman to leave before him and then coveted the smooth sashay of her ass under her cream pants. Joe stepped into the sunshine, beaming with delight.
Joe went to get his haircut, wondering if Marie wanted him. He stopped by the florists, and ogled the woman’s matronly figure. Joe dropped into the grocery and let the cashier flirt as he paid for his wine.
Pulling into his driveway, Joe looked at himself in the rear view mirror. He teased the dark wave on the left gently and smiled at his reflection. Taking hold of his packages, Joe swung open the door and stepped out. He kicked the door closed with a foot and went to the door.
Joe rang the bell.
“Just a minute,” called out Margie. He watched through the window as she tossed a towel onto the table and pulled off her apron. Disappearing for a moment, she pulled open the door. “Joe,” she said, surprised.
“Hey Margie,” he said, offering her the roses in his hand.
“What is this?” she said, her smile gleaming.
“Tell me you want me,” Joe said, putting his arms around his wife.
“I want you,” she said and he kissed her. Her lips moved a breath away, grinning delightedly. “How did you know?”