Just like real life, this chapter has very little sexual activity. But, the relationships develop and circumstances arise that will impact what happens in the future. In real life we face situations that take us out of our comfort zone. In real life we deal with circumstances that make very little logical sense. We struggle with our emotions. Allow this to develop in the lives of those in this story.
I picked Carly up the following morning. I mentioned to her about seeing her grandmother turn into their road. She said she had just stepped into the shower when her granny called to her. It scared her because she was not expecting her home that soon. She also realized how close we came to being caught in her bedroom. By the time she finished her shower she had gained her composure when she talked to granny. She explained that Granny had come home early because she had been given a new job at work. This would change her hours. She also said her granny had already turned in her notice at her second job. Granny would now be home when Carly returned home each day from work. She was upset that we would not really have a chance to be together. We discussed this but came to no decisions about what to do.
Carly was also upset about the fact that she did not have the proper clothes to wear at work. I told her the skirt she wore the day before was okay. But she explained that it was the only real skirt she could wear. Also, her jeans were like those worn at school. There were holes in the legs. I told her that I never could figure out the reason for that fashion style. We laughed but she was genuinely upset about not being able to dress more like she thought was appropriate. As we made our way to the office I stopped at a branch of the bank where I did my banking. I withdrew three hundred dollars with my ATM card and we made our way to the office.
I called Sharon into my office and asked her if she would take Carly shopping during a long lunch break. She agreed but seemed confused that I would requesting this, especially when I handed her the three hundred dollars in cash I had withdrawn. I explained about the financial situation with Carly and her grandmother. This seemed to satisfy any curiosity Sharon might have had. The morning work kept me busy. At eleven-thirty Sharon and Carly left for the mall. Jeremy and I went to a local fast food restaurant to eat. We were back at work when Carly and Sharon returned from the mall. Carly was carrying several packages. She knocked on my door and walked in. She was wearing a new pair of jeans. They weren’t designer but they looked very nice. Actually, they looked really nice on her. They fit just right in the right places without being too tight. She was wearing layers of t-shirts and tank tops in the way that was popular with young girls. She really looked nice and I told her so. She glanced over her shoulder to see that Jeremy and Sharon were unable to see into my office. She kissed me on the cheek.
“Thank you. Sharon told me that you gave her the money for my clothes.”
I smiled and held her hand. I, too, looked to make sure we could not be seen. “Let’s just call this a fringe benefit.” She squeezed my hand.
“I better get back to work.” She walked out the door. I watched her as she walked back to her desk.
“Oh, me,” I whispered to myself. “What has that girl done to me?” I paused for a minute considering that question. “Whatever it is, I like it.” I continued my work on the upcoming presentation.
For the next few days I picked Carly up in the morning and dropped her at home in the afternoon. Cynthia Bishop’s car was parked at the house every afternoon, although in the morning she would leave for work before I arrived for Carly. On Friday morning, Carly came out the door. She was wearing part of her new wardrobe. She looked happy as soon as she walked out the door. She bounded down the steps and jumped into the truck.
“Good morning,” I said.
“Good morning,” she replied. Before she buckled up, she leaned over the console and kissed me. “It is really nice to see you today.”
I smiled, “It’s nice to see you, too.” She buckled up. “You seem very chipper this morning.”
“I am,” she said with a smile. “I’ve got something to ask you.”
“Okay.” I waited.
“Well, my granny has invited you to dinner tonight.” She paused, seeming to wait for some response from me.
“Wow. I guess I didn’t expect this.” I thought for a moment, seeing the anticipation on Carly’s face. “I’d love to come.” She expressed her excitement.
“She’s a really good cook,” Carly added as we made our way along the highway.
We chatted about this and that. Then the thought came to me about Carly’s birthday. So I asked her about it.
“It’s next Wednesday. I’ll be fifteen.” She said this as if this was a special benchmark in life–as if there was some right of passage that was going to take place.
We arrived at work and both got busy with what the day required from us. Sharon came to my office about mid-morning.
“Dave, you got a minute.” She walked in and closed the door.
“Sure. What’s up?”
“I just wanted to tell you that I really like Carly. She’s a quick learner and really nice.” I was not sure why she was telling me this but I was happy to hear it and told her so.
“It was a nice thing you did about her clothes. I could tell she was embarrassed. She seems so different from the other girls that age I know.” She continued, “At least, she different than those my son dates. He’ll be a senior this year. Carly seems more mature than most of those his age.”
“Yes, I noticed that when I first met her. She’s very open. I think she’s smart. I hope working here is good for her.”
“She says she likes it here. And I know the money she is earning will help her. She’s told me that several times.”
I thought for a minute. “Sharon, next Wednesday is her birthday. She’ll be fifteen. I was wondering if we could give her a party. I don’t know what her grandmother has planned.”
“You know, I realize that now. I noticed it when she filled our her tax forms but I had forgotten that.” She smiled. “A party will be real nice. What are you thinking?”
“Maybe the best thing is to take her out to eat lunch.” Sharon agreed and promised to make plans for a small cake. “Maybe we can pitch in and get her something nice.” Sharon agreed and told me she would try to find out from Carly something she might like to have. I assured her we would cover the cost of whatever she found that suited.
Carly seemed excited and a bit nervous as we drove to her house after work. “Are you okay?” I asked her.
“Yeah, I’m great.” She paused. “I just hope I don’t say something wrong tonight as we eat.”
I laughed. “Let’s just talk about work and school.” I held her hand until we arrived at the house. I followed her in. Cynthia came from the kitchen wiping her hands on a towel.
“Hello, Mr. Elliott.”
“Hello. Nice to see you again.” I smiled. “And would you mind calling me Dave? I consider Mr. Elliott to be my father.”
“Sure,” she said. “And I’m Cynthia.” She pointed to Carly. “She calls me, Granny.”
“Yeah, I know.” I walked to the kitchen door as Cynthia returned to the meal preparation. “Is there anything I can do?”
“No,” I’ll be just a few minutes. She called out, “Carly, come entertain our guest.” I turned to see Carly walking from her room where she had put away her purse.
“Dave, you wanna’ see my room?” She asked with a wink and a smile.
“I don’t know. I’m not used to seeing rooms decorated by teenage girls,” I said with a laugh. I followed her into her room. As soon as I walked through the door, Carly pulled me to the side. She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I returned the kiss, meeting her tongue with mine. We kissed for only a moment. She grabbed my arm and we walked into the living room.
We ate in a small dining room. The meal was wonderful. “Cynthia, I don’t get many home-cooked meals. That was delicious,” I said as I laid my fork on my plate. She rose and took our plates into the kitchen. She returned in just a moment with three dessert plates, each with a piece of strawberry pie covered with whipped cream.
“Carly made most of the dessert,” she said as she sat my pie before me. “I’ll get the coffee.” She turned and walked out into the kitchen. Carly reached over to my piece of pie, wiped a blob of whipped cream onto her finger, and held it up to my mouth. I quickly sucked her finger clean.
The three of us were in the kitchen as Cynthia and Carly put dishes in the dishwasher. We sat in the living room for a while, chatting about all sorts of things. Cynthia shared about her husband and family. She mentioned Carly’s mom but only in passing. I stayed a couple of hours after dinner before I rose to leave. Carly told her granny she would walk me to the truck. We said goodbye.
“I’ll try to call you tomorrow if it’s okay,” she said.
“Sure. I’d like that.” And she did call. She and her granny were going shopping for groceries and a few others items for the house. I knew it would be Monday morning before I saw her again.
The days came and went. The day of the birthday, Jeremy made the suggestion that we go out to eat rather than ordering carry out. I had wished Carly a happy birthday when I picked her up but I intentionally made little of it. I wanted lunch to be a surprise. It was. We arrived at a popular lunch- time restaurant. The place was crowded as usual but we were ushered toward a private room. Sharon had arranged for a few decorations to be placed on the walls. Carly almost screamed when she saw the room.
“Happy birthday,” Jeremy, Sharon, and I said in unison. We took our seats and ordered our drinks.
“This is the first surprise birthday I’e ever had.” She was almost in tears. I almost felt sorry for her. I knew that her grandmother cared for her. But for some reason, a surprise party was never held for this lovely young girl.
After our drinks came, Sharon left for a few minutes. When she returned she was carrying a brightly wrapped box that had a Mylar balloon tied to it. It had a smiley face and the words “Happy Birthday” written on it. Carly excitedly opened the box, tearing away the wrapping. She handed me the bow. She stood to open the box. When she saw the contents, she sat down. Her face was almost pale.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. She reached into the box and pulled out a leather jacket. Sharon told Jeremy and me that Carly saw one while they were shopping for clothes the week before. She mentioned that she had always wanted one. This one was waist length. She got up and went to Sharon. “Thank you so much.” She hugged her. When she turned to Jeremy she had tears in her eyes. By the time she got to me, they were running down her face.
“Hey, young lady, this is to be a happy occasion,” I said as I hugged her. The tears gave me an excuse to hold her a bit longer than would have otherwise been appropriate.
“I’m sorry,” she said through her sobs. “It’s just that...” she paused, unable to say anything.
“Carly, we just want you to know how much we have appreciated you being in the office, even if it has only been a little over a week.” Sharon handed her a tissue as she said this. Carly took it and wiped her eyes.
We ordered our meals and enjoyed chatting as we ate. Carly sat next to me. She reached with her foot under the table and rubbed my leg. I glanced at her as casually as I could. I smiled at her. “We do appreciate you, Carly. We’re glad you are part of the team.”
We returned to the office after lunch. All of us complained about eating too much. “Hey, guys,” I said about two-thirty. “I don’t know about you, but that lunch has taken my energy. If we are pretty much in track for the presentation, I suggest we leave for the day.” There were no sounds of disappointment among the four of us. Jeremy told the rest of us to leave, saying he would lock up the office.
“I don’t have as far to go as you do,” he commented with a laugh. Carly and I waved by to Sharon as she pulled away in her car. We got into the truck and headed home.
“Dave. Thank you for the party.” She was holding her new jacket. The smell of leather filled the cab of my truck. “And thank you for the jacket.” She reached for my hand. “I wish I could thank you properly.”
“Carly, you don’t have to thank me in anyway other than words.” I squeezed her hand. “I want you to know that I do care for you very much.” I paused. “I wanted to get you something special just from me. But I was a bit afraid of what your granny might say.” She withdrew her hand and kissed her two middle fingers then reached over and placed them on my lips.
“You are my special present, Dave. That is all I want.” As we neared the road to her house she spoke again. “Do you have to take me home now?”
“No, not really. Where do you want to go?”
“Nowhere in particular. It is that I haven’t really had any time alone with you. If you want to give me something, that is what I want.”
“Okay.” I continued to drive, thinking about where we could go. “I know,” I said. I remembered a spot that would be nice. It was an area of the lake where I had fished a few times. I knew I could get there from the road. It took about fifteen minutes. “We’ll have to walk a little ways,” I said as I reached into the tool box in the cargo area of my truck. I pulled out an old tarp I used to cover anything I was carrying in case of rain. We walked hand-in-hand through the trees when we could. We finally reached the place where the trees opened up on a hill overlooking the lake. We had a clear view of the water. There were no boats in sight. I pointed out to Carly where I had anchored my boat.
I spread the tarp and we laid down. Carly laid her head on my shoulder as we listened to the birds.
“Dave, you are very nice to me. Thank you for that.”
I turned toward her. “You say that as if it’s something that is a chore for me to do.” I kissed her nose. “It’s not difficult being nice to you. As a matter of fact, I wish I could do more.” I paused and quickly said, “And I don’t just mean sexually.”
“I know what you mean,” she said, placing her hand on my face. “I know what you mean.”
“Carly, I wish I could find the words to tell you what I feel about you.” I smiled. “I want to tell you that I love you. But I’m not sure I should feel that way right now.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean about our ages. I am afraid that if I love you, I’ll rob you of your youth. You should be enjoying your life now. You’re only fifteen once. I don’t want to take that away from you.”
“Can I ask you? Just what is it that you think I should be enjoying that you are afraid you’ll take away?”
I tried to explain about being fifteen, going on dates, being a part of school and all the activities associated with school. “I know you must have friends that you could hang out with and not some old guy like me.”
“I’ve tried to tell you. I don’t really have friends at school. Most of the girls and boys come from homes on the lake. I don’t fit into their world. They take trips and do things I can’t even dream about. Besides, I haven’t met a boy I want to spend time with.” She made a face. “I told you, all they want to do is feel a girl up, get into their panties, and then talk about it to their friends.” She looked at me. “That is not where I am.”
“I’m glad you aren’t there, sweetheart. But I don’t want you to be hurt because of me. I don’t want you to miss out on something better that you deserve.”
“I know my granny loves me. But she can’t afford to do much in the way of parties and gifts. She bought me a new blouse for my birthday.” She paused. “Dave, I’ve never been around people like you and Jeremy and Sharon. You treat me like I’m a real person.” She smiled. “Sharon treated me like a teenager for a few days. But now she actually talks to me like I’m an adult.”
“Well, you are certainly more like an adult than what I think most fifteen year olds are like.” I touched her face. “I want you to know something.”
“I enjoy the pleasure we share. I haven’t been with many women. Actually, I have only slept with three women in my life. I dated two girls in college and I slept with them. Then, I was engaged to another. But that didn’t work out for whatever reason.” Carly was looking at me, listening intently at my words. “Before you, I had not even touched a woman in over four years. So, I’m not the most experienced man in the world.” I gave something of a weak laugh. “Let’s just say, sex has not been high on my activity list for some time.”
“I understand,” she said, expecting me to continue with whatever point I was making.
“Anyway, as I said, I enjoy sharing what we have shared. But at the same time, I feel a bit guilty. I don’t want you to think I only want sex from you.”
“Oh, Dave, don’t you think I know that. I’ve told you before. You would have done that already if that is all you want.”
“I know. But what I need you to hear is that, I don’t want you to want sex with me if the only reason is because you think I want it. That is not why I am here with you right now. It is not why I care for you.” I thought for a minute. She did not speak. “As a matter of fact, what I need to say is that the reason I don’t want just sex with you is because I do care for you. And I want it to be special for you. Even if you find someone else, I want your first time to be with someone you love and care for and with someone who cares for you.”
“I understand. And I really do thank you for feeling that way.” She smiled that beautiful smile. “I’ll be honest. I think about making love with you. I think about how it would feel. I can’t imagine it would feel any better than what we have already shared. That’s just about too much to take sometimes. But, I think about it. And I want it to be more than sex, too.” She kissed me. “I would like to tell you that I love you but I am not sure you would believe me.” She noticed the look on my face. “I think you think I’m too young to know what love it. You may be right. But in my years, I have learned what love isn’t. And right now, what I feel for you is as much like love as I can imagine love being.”
“I think we feel the same way then.” She nodded. “And I think that if we will allow some time, we’ll discover something about ourselves.” I kissed her softly on the lips. “I believe we will discover what love is and we’ll share it.”
We laid there not talking for a while. I finally took her home. Cynthia’s car was in the drive. Carly got out with her new jacket and ran toward the house. She turned and waved. “See you tomorrow,” she called out.
The drive home was time for me to think. “How is it possible for me to be in love with a girl who is fifteen years old?” I asked myself in my thoughts. I tried to rationalize that in some countries, Carly would already be married and mostly likely have children. But I had to admit that in the culture we lived in, being fifteen made her a minor. Though states varied in what was called the “age of consent,” our state still saw eighteen as that magic age of liberation. I also admitted to myself that even if Carly were able to marry me, I would not want to deprive her of her education. She should at least finish high school. Knowing how smart she is, I hoped she would want to go to college. As usually happened, my ruminations brought me to no new conclusions. I had to accept that I felt for her what I had never felt for another female of any age.
The days went by. Jeremy, Sharon, and I were busy preparing a presentation to a company in Nashville. Jeremy and I would speak to the management level on networking in the workplace, efficiency and effectiveness in communication, and several other areas that we touted would result in less overhead and greater earnings. The presentation included computer programs that would standardize procedures. Sharon, and Janet when shared in the presentation, held a four-hour session with the administrative assistants and lead secretaries. They learned about the software programs and technical support available. Carly spent time answering the phone, checking and rerouting emails, and handling surface mail. Sharon also included her in putting together the presentation for the support staff of the company. Every day on the trip home, Carly talked about what she was learning and how interesting it was. I was pleased that she was in fact earning her salary.
One of the annual customs of our office was a trip for all the staff and their families. The year before we went to Orlando and enjoyed the theme parks there for three days. Spouses were invited. We paid for lodging and travel for office personnel. Each team member took care of family expenses other than lodging. Sometimes we did things together but we allowed for family time. Jeremy and his wife and their two children really enjoyed the Florida trip. Sharon and her husband said they had a second honeymoon. Janet said the trip did a jump start for their marriage. Hence, she was now pregnant. Jeremy and I had discussed the possibility of making the trip to Nashville our annual outing for the office staff and their families. We agreed. Sharon was excited and had already spoken to her husband. Their kids were old enough to fend for themselves while dad and mom got away. Of course, Janet would be unable to go this year. As we discussed this on this particular day, the question of Carly came up.
“Should we ask her to go?” Jeremy mentioned. “She has certainly pulled her weight around here for almost two months.”
I thought for a bit longer than probably seemed necessary for Jeremy. My thoughts were of Carly being in Nashville with me. I knew that Jeremy and his family would have some time together. I knew Sharon and her hubby would want all the time they could manage together. That would leave Carly and me. I finally said, “Since school is starting right after we get back, maybe this would be a great break for her and have her ready for her new school year.” The last thing I had in my mind was her school year. Not that I didn’t think it important. My thoughts focused on being in Nashville with her at my side. We agreed that I would speak to Carly’s grandmother about it.
That afternoon as Carly and I made our way home, I brought up the subject of the trip. I explained that the presentation would be made the day after we arrived. Then, we would have the evening and two more nights to enjoy the country music capital of the world. I could see by her face the idea was exciting to her. I told her I would talk to her grandmother and explain the trip and why we took it. She saw the need for that. When we arrived at her house, we both got out of the truck. Carly walked into the house and told Cynthia that I needed to talk to her.
“Is there a problem, Dave?” She looked toward Carly.
“Oh, no, Cynthia. There’s no problem. As a matter of fact, I guess it’s just the opposite.” I explained about the presentation that would be made in Nashville. Then I explained about the annual “get-away” for the office staff and families. I emphasized the valuable contribution Carly had made in the weeks she had worked for us and the staff wanted her to join us on the trip. I especially emphasized that this was a staff desire not just mine.
We discussed the trip and some of the sites and sounds of Nashville that we would enjoy as a team. Cynthia seemed to take to the idea and expressed appreciation that she would be included in our plans. Carly walked me to my truck later. She looked at the house so make sure her grandmother was not watching. She took my hand.
“Thank you, Dave. I am so excited. I’ve really never been anywhere like this before.”
“I want you to know that we do appreciate your work.” I paused. “And I want you to know that I want you to be there. With me. I hope we’ll have some time together to enjoy having fun.” At that moment I wanted to take her into my arms and kiss her and hold her. I had to restrain myself. But I did say to Carly. “I sure do wish I could kiss you right now.”
“Me, too,” she said as she squeezed my hand. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” With that she ran back to the house. I made my way home again, alone in my thoughts of this young girl who had changed how I look at life.
We had four days until we left for Nashville. We spent part of each day practicing our presentations. Jeremy and I were familiar with what each would do because we enjoyed playing off each other. Sharon and Carly worked together on the presentation Sharon would give. She would have to carry the full load of working with the support staff. All was going well until the day before we were to leave. Sharon came into the office. There was an obvious look of worry on her face.
“Oh, ya’ll,” she said in her southern drawl. “I don’t know what to do.” She paused. I think Jeremy and I both felt the same thing. “This is not the time for a crisis.” Sharon continued. “My daddy had a heart attack this morning. He’s in the hospital in Mobile. I really need to go see him.”
Jeremy and I looked at each other. What else could we say. Jeremy spoke for us. “Sharon, you need to be with your family. That is what is most important right now.” There were tears flowing down Sharon’s face. “I’m sorry. I know this will mess things up for the presentation.”
“Why don’t you let us take care of the presentation? You need to take care of your family.” I hugged her as I spoke. “There is always business. But family we enjoy only while we have them.” I held her at arms length. “You go do what you need to do here and then go home. We know your folks need you now.”
Carly was observing and listening to this. She was crying. If anyone knew about what families need it was this young teenager. I looked at her as Sharon composed herself. “Carly, can you do it?” Sharon turned to me in shock. Jeremy almost got choked. Carly almost fainted.
“What?” she said very loud.
“Yeah. You’ve worked with Sharon. You know the information.” I glanced around the office. There was dead silence. “Look. Sharon, you have allowed Carly to work with you. Does she know the stuff?”
Sharon sat at her desk. “Yes, we’ve worked together.” She looked at Carly. “I guess you know it as well as I do.” She paused. “Well, let’s say that you may need to use the notes more, but you know what needs to be done. We’ve been through it several times.” Carly found a chair and sat down.
“I’m just fifteen years old,” she said to all of us. “Who’s going to listen to me?”
Jeremy spoke up. “I would suspect that many fifteen year olds know more about computer software than most thirty year olds.” He looked at me. “The support staff will probably listen even if they know she’s young.”
I looked at Carly. “Will you review the material today with us? Can we at least see how you do?”
She nodded her head. “Good.” I turned to Sharon. “If you can make sure she has all she needs, we’ll work with Carly to put this thing together. We’ll still travel tomorrow and do the presentation the day after.” Sharon stood and began going through some files, gathering them together. Carly sat still, obviously trying to absorb what had just happened and what was expected of her.
Sharon left the office. Carly was at the conference table going over notes and organizing the hand-outs that would be used. Jeremy and I reviewed our presentation, making notes for ourselves. When lunch time came, Jeremy stated that he needed to go upstairs to his house for lunch. I sat beside Carly.
“Hey. You okay?” I placed my arm around her.
“What do you think?” She stood up. “Look at me.” She was dressed in her jeans and layered tops. “Do you think a bunch of women in an office are going to listen to me?” She was almost crying. I stood and pulled her into my arms.
“I have an idea.” She looked up at me.
“You think I should just kill myself?” I tried not to laugh because I could sense the tension.
“No, that is not exactly what I had in mind.” I motioned to the table and the layout of the presentation materials. “You know this stuff, pretty well, don’t you?” She nodded. “So, you can take a little while to relax and put this all in perspective?” Again, she nodded. “Okay. Come with me.” I took her by the hand and we left the office.
“Where are we going?” Carly finally asked.
“I have an idea.” That was all I told her. I drove to one of those strip malls famous for a variety of stores. One of those stores was a hair and nail salon that accepted walk-ins. I parked and we got out of my truck. I took Carly’s hand as we entered the salon. A young girl approached. I looked at Carly.
“We want a hair and nail make-over.” Carly looked at me like I was crazy. The young woman looked at Carly. I wasn’t sure if she thought I was crazy or not. But she seemed to be up to the challenge.
“Sure. Let me sign you in.” She led us to the counter where she entered information about Carly in the computer. She turned to look at the stylists who were working at their stations. “Liz will be finished in about five minutes. If you’ll have a seat she’ll call you Carly.” We sat down.
“What do you think you’re doing?” She looked at me.
“I’m not doing anything.” I pointed toward the lady who I assumed was Liz. “She’s going to do it.” I put my arm around Carly. I really did not care what anyone thought at this point. “Look, I agree, right now you look like a teenager. We may not be able to make you look much older, but we’ll make you look more acceptable to the business world.” I paused. “At least, I am thinking one of these stylists can do that.”
“Okay, Carly.” The one names Liz walked over. I stood and followed her and Carly to the station she was pointing to. “Just have a seat there.” She turned to me as if to say, “And just what do you think you’re going to do here?”
“I’m Dave.” I explained that Carly needed to make a presentation at a business office in Nashville in two days. It would be nice if she looked a bit more like the setting she would be in. Liz smiled and turned to Carly.
“Well, I believe we can manage that.” Then she said, “She certainly is beautiful enough.” Carly blushed, sitting there listening to this conversation. I returned to my seat as Liz spread a cloth over Carly’s shoulder’s and attached it around her neck.
It took about thirty-minutes of cutting , trimming, styling, and spraying, but when Carly rose from the chair, she looked marvelous. She approached me with a smile on her face. I looked at her, not believing that this was a fifteen year old high school sophomore.
I looked at Liz. “How about her nails?” Liz ushered us through an archway and into a nail salon.
She motioned to one of the oriental ladies who quickly came. “Erin, this young lady needs her nails done. Can you take care of her?” There was no way this lady’s name was Erin. But that was of no consequence. She led Carly to a chair and began the activity of “doing her nails.”
After another thirty-minutes, Carly got up and walked toward me. She held her nails up for me to examine. “Wow,” she said. “Can you believe those?” Her fingernails were now a little bit longer. But they had been smoothed and polished with a very pale shade of pink. “I’m afraid to touch anything.”
I paid for the hair and nail make-over. I gave both ladies a sizeable gratuity. They deserved it. I look Carly by the arm as we made our way back to the truck. “Let’s go to the mall.”
We walked along the mall concourse. I was not sure what I was looking for but I thought I would recognize it when I saw it. And I did. There was a women’s clothing store I recognized from tv commercials. We entered and were immediately approached by a clerk. “May I help she?” she asked. “Are you looking for anything in particular?”
I explained that Carly needed a couple of dresses appropriate for a business presentation to the professional support staff of a large company. After recovering from the shock of being told this young girl needed clothing for such a presentation, the clerk led us to a part of the store where dress filled the racks.
“Sharon and I came in here,” Carly whispered to me. “These clothes are expensive.” I just squeezed her hand.
“You are a size four, I think,” the clerk said, after looking her over.
The thought I had was, “So this is what ‘sizing someone up’ means.” The clerk pulled out several dresses and women’s suits, hanging them on display hangers next to the mirrors.
“I’ll give you a minute to look through these. I’ll find a dressing room.” She walked away. Carly touched the fabric as if it was off limits and she might get caught. I looked through them with her. I picked up a couple and held them up to her. One was a definite “no way.” The other seemed to go with her color. Carly picked out two that she liked. I watched as the clerk led her into the dressing room area. She seemed to assume that I knew men were not allowed beyond a certain point. Actually, I was a bit disappointed but I accepted that fact that the dressing area was a ladies only area.
Carly would put on a dress and come out to model it for me. Of the five outfits she tried on, she settled on two. Both fit her well and both made her look older than she was. The dresses along with the hair style changed her appearance beyond anything I would have imagined. The clerk placed the purchases in a garment bag. I paid for them and we left.
“I can’t believe you,” she said as we made our way back to the truck. We went back to the office. She reviewed her presentation. Jeremy and I went over ours again.
At three o’clock, I announced that I was brain dead and needed a break. We decided to call it a day. Jeremy headed upstairs to his house. Carly and I drove home. I reminded her to pack for several days in Nashville. She was still in shock from what had transpired during the day. “Do you need me to explain to your granny why you are sporting a new hair style and new clothes?”
“No. I’ll do it.” She looked at me. “If she has questions she can call you.” I dropped Carly off. Cynthia’s car was in the drive so I resisted the temptation to kiss her granddaughter.
I drove into the drive the next morning but Carly did not come out to meet me as she usually did. I got out of the truck and went to the door. I knocked. She finally opened the door.
“Come in,” she said, turning and walking back to her room. I followed. A piece of luggage was on the bed. It was about half-filled with various clothing items. There were shoes laying next to the bag. Carly did not speak.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?”
“No. I’m not.” She said. “Dave, I don’t know what to take. I’ve never been anywhere other than visiting family and my clothes have always been fine for that.” I realized that we had thrown Carly into a world she did not know.
I took her arm and pulled her to me. “I know this is upsetting for you. But I know you will do well.” I looked at her. “And you look wonderful.” She tried to smile. “Carly, I’ll be there with you. I’ll work it out with Jeremy so that I can be in the session with you part of the time. Will that help?”
“Maybe. Anyway, I know you believe in me. But this is just so different for me.” She finally finished packing. I carried her suitcase to the truck. She had a smaller carry-on bag.
We got to the office. Jeremy approached as we walked in. He had on a pair of shorts and a sweat shirt. “Hey, guys,” he said. His voice was scratchy and hoarse. He saw the look on my face. “Bad news. I’m sick. I woke up last night. I think I have the flu.” He put his hand up as I approached him. “Don’t come close. You don’t want what I have.”
Jeremy pointed to his desk. “My part of the presentation is there. I’ve got the power point on that disc. You can incorporate it into yours.” He coughed. “I’ve got to get back to bed.” He left the office. We heard him coughing as he made his way up to his house.
“Well, now what?” Carly asked.
“I guess you and I go to Nashville.” We gathered the materials and resources for the presentation I placed it all in my case. We left for the airport. At check in I upgraded our seats to first class. The flight went well. I got the rental car and we made our way to the hotel. I had called ahead to cancel the rooms that were no longer needed. I looked at Carly when I requested adjoining rooms. She smiled and nodded. I could tell she was very uneasy about what she was going to do the next day.
We found a restaurant near the hotel. Carly ate very little. “I think I’m going to throw up,” she said as we left and walked toward the hotel.
“You’ll be okay. These folks are just like us. And you’ll be surprised at the reception you’ll get.” I don’t know if I was trying to convince her or me.
We each had to enter our rooms from the hall. As soon as Carly closed her door she knocked on the connecting door between our rooms. I opened my side and she walked in. “Can I say in here?” she asked.
“Sure. I’m not ready to go to bed.” I turned on the tv. She looked at me.
“I mean, can I stay in here?” She made a gesture toward the king-sized bed.
“Oh, you mean sleep in here.”
“Yeah. That’s what I mean.” I had thought about our being together in Nashville to enjoy the city. Carly sleeping in my bed was not what I had considered.
“Sure.” I unpacked my luggage and placed my suit in the closet.
“I’m gonna’ take a shower,” Carly said. She walked back into her room. I heard her putting her clothes away. After a few minutes she walked back into my room. She had a towel wrapped around her and tucked in just above her breasts. She walked toward my bathroom, turned, and looked at me. “You comin?” she asked.
I decided this was a good idea. I undressed quickly. She was in the shower with the water cascading over he body. Her hair was wrapped in the towel to keep it from getting wet. I joined her. She handed me the bar of soap.
“Here, I need your help.” I soaped up my hands and began to spread the lather over her shoulders. I moved down her back and over her butt cheeks. I decided the cloth was better so I lathered it and continued washing her legs, back, and shoulders. She turned toward me, placing her hands on my shoulders. I rubbed the washcloth over her chest and across her breasts. As I moved down over her abdomen, she raised her left leg, propping her foot on the ledge in the shower. I scrubbed her leg. I followed with the right. She did the same. As I made my way up her right left, I came to her inner thigh. I was almost about to cover her pussy with the cloth when she reached down, taking the cloth from my hand. “You don’t need that,” she said.
I cupped my hand over her pussy. Her lips were soft. I began to move back and forth as if I were actually bathing her. She lifted her left leg and placed her foot on the shower ledge again. My fingers slipped between her open lips and I began to caress her. I leaned down to kiss her. Water was flowing over us. She wrapped her arms around my neck and shoulders and I continued to move my middle finger between her lips. She moaned softly. I pulled her closer with my left arm around her. I began moving my right hand a little faster with my middle finger pushing into her open love hole. I moved it up to caress her clit. She stiffened as I gently massaged it, feeling it grow harder under the touch of my fingertip. Her response made me move my finger faster. Within a minute she began to move her body, pushing herself against me. I quickened the pace of my hand. Her body stiffened against mine. I felt her legs grow rigid. She broke the kiss and began breathing heavily, resting her wrapped head against my chest.
“Oh..oh...ahhhhh.” she moaned loudly. I pushed my finger into the depths of her pussy. Her muscles tightened around it. The palm of my hand was stroking over her clit. Her spasm lasted for about thirty seconds before she began to relax. She looked up at me. I kissed her softly. She sighed.
I helped her to rinse and she got out of the shower. I finished mine, brushed my teeth, and joined her in the room. She was already in bed with the sheet pulled up to her neck. I joined her and she rolled over to me. I placed my arm under her head and she cuddled close. I could feel the warmth and softness of her body against mine.
“I’m scared,” she said softly.
“I know, sweetheart. But all will be okay. Just you wait and see.”
I was watching tv as she drifted to sleep, still laying against me. I was concerned about the next day but I still felt confident that all would go well. I was asking this young girl to do more than get out of her comfort zone. I was asking her to travel into a different world. My last thought before I drifted off to sleep, “I hope she does not regret that day she met me.”