It's not just the car she takes for a "test drive"
Charlotte stepped off the streetcar and onto the curb Friday morning. She inhaled deeply as she stood on the sidewalk. It was just the start of the day, yet the air was already warm. The streetcar's air-conditioning had been on the blink and the few windows that had been cracked open had made a negligible difference to the stuffiness on the crowded vehicle.
Inside or outside, air-conditioning or no, it made little difference. It was a hot, humid summer wherever you went.
Charlotte pulled at her simple black skirt and the collar of her grey, blouse attempting to free herself from the clingy feeling of the clothes on her skin. She could already feel her long, raven hair slowly going limp under the duress of the heat. She sighed. She'd have to brush the life back into it at the office. Turning, she put on her sunglasses and started her 15-minute morning walk from the streetcar stop to her office.
There was actually a stop just around the corner of her building, yet ever since she started her job, she always got off at a stop a few blocks away. On days like this, with the thermometer heading only upwards, it probably would have been wiser to just go from the streetcar into the office quickly rather than test the resolve of her hair and clothes. However, that would have gone against her routine. If nothing else, on these long summer 9-to-5 days, she had her routine.
Her office was located in the old warehouse and manufacturing area of the city. At some point, the turn of 20th century low-rise buildings --with their solid, old-style brick designs-- were converted into offices and studios. There were only a few exclusive shops and restaurants around. So the sidewalks were rarely ever over-crowded and bustling like other downtown areas which is what Charlotte preferred. Also, a brisk walk was a good, healthy way to start the day and invigorate the body.
Yeah, right. She was only doing this for her health. Charlotte smirked.
As she rounded a corner, a smile teased at the edges of her lips. There was the slightest quickening of her pace as she came upon the towering glass windows of the BMW car dealership. Her steps slowed to a halt on the sidewalk as she turned and peered intently through the window and into the showroom like a kid staring into a candy shop. There it was. Her car. Her baby. All of them.
“Good morning, my babies,” she cooed.
Sleek and sexy lines. Strong and confident colours. Their outer pristine beauty was only surpassed by the beguiling power that Charlotte knew had been engineered under the hoods of these exquisite machines. She leaned forward slightly, her nose almost touching the glass, eyes transfixed and thoughts lost as she envisioned herself behind the wheel of each one of her dream cars.
“Dream” was right, of course. No way she'd be able to afford one of them at the moment. Well, if she gave up buying clothes and ate one meal a day, maybe then she could afford the bi-weekly payments and insurance.
The car was simply unattainable from where she stood. She couldn't even bring herself to go in and ask for a test drive. Though to the untrained eye Charlotte may have appeared to be the ideal customer for such high-end cars –young, attractive, professionally attired, Asian. But she figured the sharks in the showroom would smell her receptionist's scent the moment she walked through the door. At least standing outside it was a bit easier to put on airs that she was a successful, viable customer. She didn't need to be condescended to by the middle-aged, snobby, pushy car salesmen.
Moreover, she couldn't bring herself to face the one decidedly attractive sales associate she looked forward to catching a glimpse of each day, almost as much as the cars.
Noticeably younger than his colleagues, he sported dark brown hair, wavy on top but not slicked, matched by thick brows over invitingly, warm eyes -- Charlotte always saw him from afar so she couldn't quite tell the colour. He had a rich, tanned complexion. His fine suits were cut stylishly around a tall handsome frame. His walk, his nods, his looks all came across as appealingly confident. Charlotte would watch him talk as she stood on the other side of the window and wonder what his voice sounded like and what scent he wore.
He was quite…intriguing.
Okay, so she did look forward to seeing him as much as the cars. It made for quite the sexy combination. Given a choice though, she would have left the man choking on exhaust as she peeled out in her “Beamer”. He was an attractive bit of eye-coffee before a day's work. However, it was the cars that made her heart thump.
“Where is he anyway?” Charlotte muttered softly as she bobbed her head, looking through the glass. He was often there early, before the dealership opened. The morning light reflected off the window and, without thinking, she cupped her hands around her eyes like side-blinds and leaned in closer.
Tap, tap, tap.
The young woman gasped at the sound by her ear and skipped back from the window. All poise was lost to her as she clutched her bag close to her beating heart and her mouth hung ajar. Her head jerked swiftly as she haphazardly adjusted her focus on the source of the tapping.
Standing casually on the other side of the glass was the man she had been searching for just moments ago. Now she wished it had been anyone else but him. He leaned in close to the window, his face becoming clear through the reflection, looked down towards her and stretched his lips into a knowing smile. It was undeniably attractive and a subtly seductive kick to her gut.
Charlotte remained frozen.
His dark brows pinched together and his smile angled into a more curious grin. He beckoned her with a nod. Charlotte backed up quickly then pivoted on her heel and strode away from the window with a swift step, quickly leaving the dealership behind. Along the way, she stared towards the pavement but she only saw his face. She tried to convince herself that her sunglasses had muted her look of surprise. She told herself that the burning feeling she felt in her cheeks and around her neck as they flushed red was from the heat.
”His eyes...they're blue.”
Suddenly, Charlotte couldn't even think about the cars anymore.
* * * * * * * * *
“Good-morning, Generation Techs Security Systems. Charlotte Ho speaking. How may I direct your call? Certainly. Please hold.” The receptionist tapped a few buttons on her “switchboard” then said, “Mr.Kwan? I have Mr.Donnelly on the line for you. Yes. Just a moment. Hello Mr.Donnelly, I've connected you with Mr.Kwan. You're welcome.”
Charlotte pushed another button then leaned back in her chair and sighed. She had been working at the office for three months yet she still wasn't entirely comfortable. Whenever the phone rang or someone came through the office doors, her neck would stiffen a touch. It probably had something to do with the fact that she never really wanted to be a receptionist. Yet she couldn't really complain about how easily she got it. Her boss, Mr.Kwan, was her uncle. Like her, practically everyone at the start up company was either related or friends of family.
Charlotte had studied I.T. and Business in college so she thought maybe this receptionist gig was a temporary job where she could learn the ropes of her field. Her middling grades in school were telling, though. She had never been clear as to where her career path would take her. As the second daughter and youngest of four, the pressure to find a profession was not as weighty as it had been for her brothers and even her older sister.
Even the notion of just finding a rich, successful guy and marrying him was never broached that often at the dinner table. There were a lot of young guys at the office but she didn't really have many options for starting a relationship there nor did she need to fend off advances of co-workers. Many of them were her cousins. Maybe 2 or 3 times removed, but still cousins, nonetheless.
As for the remainder: Charlotte was pretty sure she intimidated them, whether or not they were already in a relationship. She was attractive, slim, and unusually tall. In heels, she stood over most of the men in the office. Combining her physical presence with her somewhat distant, dark eyes, and cool, detached voice, she knew she came across as unapproachable at times.
She had her share of boyfriends. She and they took turns taking one another in, and then systematically spitting each other out with increasing ease and nonchalant rapidity. The interest in going to dance clubs and bars waned in her graduating year of college and never returned, replaced by daily workouts at the gym. She hung out with girlfriends shopping or watching movies, but even they were quickly finding partners or worse, actually figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives and focusing all their energy in attaining those goals.
Her goals, at the moment, consisted of attaining a gleaming, 4-tonne, fresh off the line, customized mass of metal, fiberglass, electronics and leather sculpted by Germans into a slick bullet on wheels.
“Hey Charlotte?” A man in chocolate brown short-sleeves and shorts appeared seemingly out of nowhere standing in front of the reception desk.
For the second time that morning, the young woman was caught in a bit of a stupor.
She blinked and said, “Good morning, Amir. That time of day already?”
“Yup,” the delivery man nodded and placed a few small packages and envelopes on the desk.
The two of them didn't bother with any further curt niceties. Amir held out the electronic pad and Charlotte signed it. She cringed, annoyed with how the digital display made her signature look like “Charcoal Wo”.
Both Amir and Charlotte said “thanks” and “bye”, then he was gone.
She pulled off her ear-piece and slipped her hand under her long hair and around to the back of her neck. She closed her eyes as she massaged a kink out gently.
It had been a busy morning at the office. They had been planning an open-house for the last few weeks and calls from clients and caterers had been almost non-stop. The usual peace of her reception area was constantly being interrupted by her uncle and other employees as they tried to pull everything together for the evening's showcase. Everyone in the company could dismantle a computer and put it back together wearing blindfolds. Nobody knew where to put the cheese plates and fruit trays.
Unsurprisingly, the grunt work for the evening's social was gravitating towards her. Also unsurprisingly, as the hours...the minutes...ticked by, the sense of urgency swelled and the incessant phrase “Charlotte, can you do this, please?” was quickly replaced by, “Charlotte, I need this...now.”
Her internal phone line rang. Quickly slipping her ear-piece in place, Charlotte tapped a button. “Yes?”
“Has the delivery guy come yet?” a voice piped in on the other end.
“He just left,” Charlotte said nodding. “You've got a few things here.”
“This is Eddie,” the voice said.
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “I know it's you, Eddie. I just said that you have--”
“Bring it to me when you can,” Eddie, a cousin on her mother's side and the lead programming director for the company, broke in, “Oh before that, I want you to get the delivery guy back. We have something that has to go out ASAP.”
Now she rolled her eyes. “It doesn't work that way. I just can't go running--”
“So just call him, no worries,” her cousin said, “Then we want you to call the caterers again. One of the clients apparently has an allergy thing with carrots. Make sure there are no carrots on the veggie plates. We don't want to kill a customer.”
“No we don't want to do that,” Charlotte replied dryly.
“Also, Uncle wants you to call the building security. Remind them about people coming here after hours tonight,” Eddie continued.
“Already did that a week ago.”
“Just make sure. Bring the things to the Kennel,” he said, then hung up.
“I know,” Charlotte spoke into dead air. She rubbed her temple and sighed, “I already know what everyone else wants.”
As that thought passed through her head, she suddenly and surprisingly caught herself smiling. It was a self-mocking smile.
”And since no one's gonna ask: What do you want?” she thought to herself.
She leaned back into her chair and stretched out. Then with a subtle yawn, she reached forward and scooped the packages from her desk. “I want a car!” she groused aloud. It usually was her mantra on days such as this. Except this morning, the cars actually took a backseat in her thoughts.
She had a clear look at him that morning. No longer standing at a distance, she had a good look at his face: his high-bridged nose, squared-off and smooth shaven chin, long-lined lips...and his blue eyes perfectly set within a dark, handsome face. The eyes were the last puzzle piece, never having had a close look at them. Now his image had become indelible...and it made her pulse run as fast as the cars she dreamed about. She didn't even know who he was. The unexpected impulses she had toward him culminated solely from a raw, physical image of the man.
And now he was aware of her. That vestige of anonymity had been broken that morning, those eyes acknowledging her presence, that deliberate smile speaking something to her. She knew --in that brief moment she knew-- those eyes of his weren't the type to forget, and that smile...
She couldn't face him. Just another unattainable item.
Lost in thought, Charlotte drifted along the hallway of the office and passed through a couple of doors, entering the “Kennel”. Nothing like its canine associated namesake, the nerve center of the firm was a large warehouse studio boxed by rows of windows spilling in natural light, 15-foot high ceilings with huge fans slowly spinning overhead, and exposed brick walls. The ugliness of desks and cubicles were softened by careful floor-planning and strategically placed plants and trees. It was warm and inviting, not at all the chaos one might expect from an I.T. office.
As she made her way to a back corner of the large room, Charlotte was slowed by a gauntlet of requests and questions from the employees. If it were anyone else, likely they would have ended up running away or else screaming in frustration. Yet Charlotte, going against her often cool and distant demeanour, obliged everyone. Whatever she thought of the job, whatever she thought of any of her coworkers, despite indeed sometimes feeling like she wanted to run and scream, she did what she was told. It made life simpler.
She finally arrived at Eddie's workstation and put the items down on his desk. Her cousin with the frosted brush-cut and pinpoint black eyes gazed at his monitor.
“Do you have those things that you want to be delivered?” she asked, “I'll go call the delivery service before I speak to the security and call the caterers.”
Eddie finished typing something, then turned and looked up at Charlotte. “Yeah, here,” he said and held out some envelopes.
Charlotte pursed her lips as she shuffled through the envelopes, making sure they were filled out correctly.
“I also want you to run an errand this afternoon,” Eddie said.
“Hmm? Me?” Charlotte glanced from behind the envelopes.
“Everyone else is trying to get their shit together here before the caterers start arriving.”
“What do you want me to get?”
“Cupcakes,” Eddie replied.
“Uh...okay. Repeat, please?”
“Cupcakes...from Christine's Bakery,” he said, “You know, a couple of blocks down off of Maitland Street.”
Charlotte dropped her arms and frowned, “I know where it is, but what's with the cupcakes?”
“Christine's cupcakes,” Eddie corrected, “We're not talking Twinkies. Christine's cupcakes. I've just ordered 5 dozen for tonight and they don't deliver.”
The receptionist paused for a moment then smirked and said, “So which of our clients wants Christine's cupcakes?”
Eddie stretched his pink lips into a broad smile. “No one. Me. I want Christine's cupcakes.”
Charlotte shook her head. “It's not in the budget,” she said, “Uncle Peter won't--”
“Uncle Peter wants a dozen strawberry cream,” Eddie interrupted, grinning.
Her mouth was still open but she closed it without speaking another word. Whatever. It wasn't her money. Except now she had to go out into the heat and pick up 60 cupcakes.
“Is that what you're wearing for tonight?” Eddie broke into Charlotte's thoughts.
She blinked. “What?”
His small, black eyes scanned her deliberately from head-to-toe.
“You were expecting me to change?” she asked, “What's wrong with what I'm wearing? Everyone else here is in polo tops and slacks.”
“Yeah, but that's the way they expect us to look...casually professional. We're cool but capable,” he said, “But you're supposed to be the demure and welcoming receptionist. You'll be the first person they meet tonight.”
Charlotte frowned, thinking. Finally she spoke, “Wait. Do you mean I'm supposed to stay at my desk all night just greeting people?”
Eddie shrugged his answer.
There was a long silence between them. A defeated calm settled within Charlotte. “I'll get the cupcakes after lunch,” she said.
She turned and walked towards the Kennel's exit. Along the way, she noted four more requests from the staff.
* * * * * * * * *
The usual route to Christine's Bakery would have taken her past he dealership so she took a different one. It didn't stop her from thinking about the cars and the man behind the window all along the way. She also paid for it. The extra 10 minute walk in the stifling humidity and sweltering sun had sapped her of the very little precious energy she had left. Now carrying 3 flat tray boxes of cupcakes in her outstretched arms, there was no way she could take the detour again without passing out on the sidewalk. She doubted that the cupcakes could have lasted that long in the heat as well.
She paused as she turned the corner. She could see the dealership windows a few meters away. Maybe if she went across to the other side of the street?
“What the hell is wrong with you?” She closed her eyes and shook her head as she berated herself, “Stop being so stupid!”
She was just going to walk by the dealership and go straight back to the office. She wouldn't even turn her head. The guy wasn't standing by the windows all day waiting for her to pass by.
Clucking her tongue, she started ahead with confident strides of her long legs. God it was hot. Out of the corner of her eye she could see that she was passing by the windows of the showroom. Before she could even think, she had already tilted her head slightly to “just steal a look”. Her lack of resolve was disappointing. Accepting that fact, she slowed her pace to a crawl and turned her head fully to peer into the dealership.
“Whoa! Watch yourself there.”
A deep, smooth voice called out from directly in front of her. Realizing she was about to crash into somebody with her trays of cupcakes, Charlotte stumbled to a stop apologizing as she turned her head, “Oh! Sorry!”
She blinked and there he was, half a meter in front of her, the guy that she was too embarrassed to face. She looked right into his piercing blue eyes and lurched forward as if she couldn't stop her legs from moving.
Two strong hands reached out and grabbed her by her shoulders, halting her. “Careful,” the man said to her, bracing her firmly in his hands.
Charlotte gasped and immediately stepped back awkwardly. The trays of cupcakes began to slip.
The man reached out and helped her steady the boxes.
“Sorry. Thanks. Sorry,” she repeated, unable to think of anything else to say. She pulled one hand out from underneath the trays to try to sweep the hair from her eyes and regain some composure. The cupcakes began to slip again.
“Are you alright?” the man asked as he took the boxes, “Here let me hold those for a sec.”
“No, no. It's okay,” Charlotte said, reaching out to take back her boxes.
“It's alright,” he replied, smiling. He nodded, “Just take your time. Breathe. Relax. The heat's making everyone a little unsteady today.”
Charlotte finally just took a moment to settle herself. It was freaking hot. She raised her sunglasses, rested them on the top of her head, and pulling away strands of damp hair clinging to her forehead. Sweeping the hair away from sticking to the back of her neck, she stole glances at the man, trying to not make it look too obvious while doing so.
Even outside of the showroom, which was raised a foot above street-level, he was still noticeably taller than her by a few inches. An appealing, light leather-musk scent managed to waft through the heavy air and wend its way into her head as she breathed. He watched her with a placid expression, cool blue eyes shaded by his deep brows, but there was nothing transparent about his look. Charlotte couldn't imagine what he was thinking. She also noticed one more thing.
“You don't look hot,” she mused, the words slipping out thoughtlessly. She froze, wincing from her own comment. Trying to recover she stammered, “I...I mean...the heat isn't bothering you?”
She noted that his swarthy complexion hadn't cracked a sweat even though he was still in his suit.
The man chuckled, grinning. “Must be my Spanish blood,” he offered with a coy tone, “Aside from the humidity, this would be a brisk day in Murcia.”
Charlotte frowned slightly. “Oh.”
After a pause, he smiled a bit more broadly then added, “I also just came out of the showroom a minute ago. Believe me, once I grab my lunch, I'm getting my butt back on ice in the dealership.”
Another pause, then Charlotte suddenly found herself chuckling through a grin. She wasn't sure if it was because of his comment or because of the absurdity of having a conversation with him. Maybe it was because she had to do something else other than stare at him.
“Well,” she sighed deeply, “Thanks. I'll take those back.”
“You must really like Christine's cupcakes.”
Charlotte shrugged as she balanced the trays in her arms again. “Office reception.”
“Are you alright carrying those?” he asked.
“Uh...yeah. I mean, yes. It's only a few minutes away,” she quickly replied.
The man nodded.
Charlotte looked down and away uneasily, like pulling away from his sight was akin to yanking off a bandage. “Thanks again,” she said softly, “I'm so sorry about that.”
“No problem,” the man replied. He nodded towards the showroom, “These beauties can be a bit of a distraction to anyone passing by.”
Charlotte nodded silently and started to make her way past the man, head down.
“You've had your eye on something in there, haven't you?” he added.
The young woman dragged her foot to a stop and looked up quickly at him. “What?” she blurted. She watched him as he peered into his own dealership, head turned away from her. Collecting her thoughts she said, “Oh, you mean this morning? I was just...uh...I--”
His hands in his pockets, he looked back towards her, pushing up one of his thick brows. “Well, this and every morning for the past...mmm...three months?”
Charlotte felt her heart punch against her ribcage.
“I confess,” he went on, “It was often a pleasing distraction to see you at the window each day.”
She started to feel the urge to run.
“I've been wondering when you would actually come into the dealership for a closer look,” he remarked.
She needed to look away from him –just get away from him. Instead she just stood there and gazed at him for several impossibly long seconds.
“So...see something you like?” he asked nonchalantly, “Something you've been aching to try?”
Charlotte didn't know what to say, couldn't even shake her head. She had only one ace-in-the-hole. It was embarrassing but she played it anyway. “Uh...I'm just a receptionist,” she conceded. Feeling deflated, she added, “There's no way I can afford one of those. I'd be wasting your time.”
The man leaned back a little, never looking away from her. “Not at all. Wouldn't you just like to come in and take a look? Nothing wrong with looking. It's even better than a museum because you'll be allowed to touch,” he said with a warm, cajoling voice, “Trust me. Once you get the feel of one of these revving through you, you'll never look at them the same way.”
The woman looked back blankly at him. Were they still talking about the cars?
She swallowed then mustered a retort. “What would be the point?”
He winked and said, “Alright, to be honest, it has nothing to do with you buying one. It's me. I'm being selfish. I'd just love to see you try one on for size. I think you'd look stunning.”
Charlotte frowned. It didn’t seem like a sales-pitch and she didn't feel like she was being pressured into buying anything. Yet, the whole thing made her uneasy...but not in a repulsive way.
“I...have to get back to work,” she finally said.
“Make an appointment,” the man said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his business card holder. “Come in tonight. I'll stick around past my shift if I know you'll be coming.”
“I've got this office party after work,” Charlotte replied almost apologetically, feebly trying to back away.
She watched him closely as he took a card and stuck it into the opening slit of the top cupcake box. “Make an appointment,” he repeated confidently, “Come see me again.”
Thinking retreat was the best thing she could do for now, Charlotte turned and shuffled away down the sidewalk. She tilted her head and read the name on the business card: “Javier Valerde”.
“May I know your name?” he called out from behind her.
She stopped. Pausing for a moment, she looked back and said, “Charlotte.”
“I'll be seeing you, Charlotte,” he said, with a light salute. He and his smile disappeared into the showroom.
She remained frozen before slowly getting her feet moving again. She looked up at the sky and squinted.
Damn. It was unbelievably hot this day.
* * * * * * * * * *
So now what?
Charlotte teased her hair with her fingers mindlessly as she thought about the BMW sales rep. Javier Valerde. Trying to pull herself together in the washroom, somehow she continually lost focus, overcome by the image of the man's unsettling, ever watchful gaze and inviting smile. She couldn't even shake his scent and his smooth, deep voice...
“Come see me again.”
“No. No. NO!” she insisted to herself to stay away...though sometimes it sounded like it was a voice of disappointment more than anything else.
She leaned on the sink counter and looked down, shaking her head. She smirked. Why was she even beating herself up about this? So what? What difference did it make if all he was trying to do was sell her a car? That's all, right? All the suave wordplay and beckoning looks were simply to get a poor, impressionable, young woman to finance away her pay-cheque no matter what. She was a commission. He was just doing his job, just like she had to do hers.
“Charlotte?” A voice said from the other side of the washroom door. Eddie knocked on the door and called to her, “Hey. You going to come out anytime soon or do we have to call the fire department?”
She sighed and stood back from the sink, looking at the mirror. She hadn't changed her clothes but she still looked pretty good, she thought, all things considered for that long day. She had put on a slightly flashier necklace, earrings, and a bracelet -- little accoutrements that accented the champagne-skinned beauty. A fresh application of some light make-up brought out the smoothness of her face, a pinching sharpness in her eyes, and the softness of her lips. The high heels of her sandals highlighted her long legs and height. After trying out a smile in the mirror, she exited the washroom.
Eddie stood outside waiting for her.
“It's all yours,” she said.
“That's not it,” he replied shaking his head, “There are still guests arriving and no one's at the reception desk.”
“Still?” Charlotte looked at her watch then shrugged. “Fine. I'll go back to the desk.”
The shorter young man instead took her by the elbow and led her down the hallway. “Never mind,” he said, “I want you to come with me.”
They went into the Kennel where the open-house now was in full swing. They had done an impressive job making the place appear competently functional yet presentable for a sort of reception like this. Soft temporary mood lights were scattered around the room. Some jazz music piped in through the speaker system. Desks had been re-arranged to make space for a full buffet spread and a small bar. People milled around, some discussing the actual company, but most simply small-talking.
Eddie led her towards one of the windows where their uncle was standing talking to two men, one an older man she knew as a client of the company, the other a younger red-haired guy in a black Henley shirt and jeans.
“Hold it.” Charlotte stopped and finally wrested her elbow away from her cousin. “Where are we going?” she asked as she looked towards the buffet, “I'm starving.”
Eddie gave her a gentle push at her back. “There's someone I want you to meet and talk with.” He nodded towards the men.
“Why me?” she said, frowning, “Who's the one in the black shirt? A possible client?”
Eddie shook his head. “No. Bigger,” he noted with a little gleam in his eye, “That's Braden Connelly. That guy started up his own company two years ago and he's already working his program platforms and system frameworks with the biggies of the industry. He's an insider who can bust things open for a start up like us.”
“Oh, alright,” Charlotte said. “What am I supposed to talk to him about?”
As they stepped closer towards the group, Eddie said out of the side of his smile, “Just talk. Be the face of the company.”
Braden turned and looked at them. The moment his eyes set upon Charlotte, he sported such a wide smile that she thought that, if it were any bigger, the top of his head would have rolled off.
“Just be your pretty self,” Eddie whispered.
“This is my niece, Charlotte,” Mr.Kwan introduced, “Charlotte, Mr.Braden Connelly.”
She smiled tentatively but offered her hand. He quickly took it into his with a firm grip.
The little group exchanged a few more pleasantries, then Eddie, Mr.Kwan, and the older client moved away leaving Charlotte and Braden standing by the window. She was hoping he would offer to get her a drink or maybe walk with her to the buffet.
Instead, still wearing a beaming smile, he looked at her and said, “Wow, you're so tall.”
His face immediately blurred out of focus.
* * * * * * * * * *
The last ebb of daylight had long faded into the summer's night. Inside the offices of Generation Techs the open-house reception was going strong. Boisterous chatter and laughter floated up into the high ceilings of the room, and food and drink moved briskly.
Charlotte and Braden hadn't moved from the spot where they had first been introduced 30 minutes ago. Actually, it was more like he had been talking and she was nodding adding only sterile comments such as “Oh, that's interesting” and “Really? Wow”. At least his huge spotlight smile had softened to a more natural curl. It made it easier for her to look at him without appearing as if she needed to rush off to the washroom.
Honestly, there was nothing really wrong with the guy. His spiked fire-red hair was nicely teased, he had a gentle, earnest, expression, and he filled out his shirt quite well. If she were in her flats, they would probably be the same height. No, he was definitely cute. But for whatever reason, all she could think of at first was how hungry she felt. When she realized she may not have a chance to satiate that particular pang, her mind wandered towards thoughts buried a bit deeper.
Charlotte looked towards the window. The lights from inside the office reflected their image in the glass back towards her. In her mind's eye, there was a man standing close to her, but it wasn't Braden. The voice she heard, the scent she smelled, the eyes she saw watching her...none of them belonged to the person standing two feet away from her.
Javier. She wondered if he was still waiting for her to come by the dealership that evening.
“Sorry, I've been talking your ears off, haven't I?” Braden spoke up when he noticed her attention drifting. “Do you want anything?”
”What do I want?” Charlotte thought to herself.
“Can I get you something like a drink or--”
“Do you have a BMW?” she asked, still distracted.
Braden grinned and frowned, bemused. “I...ah...actually drive an Audi.”
“Oh.” She pursed her lips, turned towards him and nodded. “Nice.”
Pleased to just have her looking at him again, Braden smiled and pointed towards the buffet. “How about I grab you something to eat?”
As the man made his way towards the buffet, Charlotte headed for the doors and exited the Kennel. Half a minute later, after picking up her bag from her desk drawer, she was standing in the elevator pushing the Ground Floor button repeatedly.
* * * * * * * * *
The cover of night hadn't done much to break the enveloping humidity. The gathering clouds, slowly blanketing the stars over head, may have had something to say about that eventually.
Charlotte made her way slowly along the sidewalk, partially because she didn't want to break a sweat but mostly because she was still struggling with the idea of where she was going and what she was expecting. The way she was gently chewing on her upper lip gave away her anxiety readily.
The dealership would have been closed by now, she was sure of it. Even though she could see the lights spilling out through the large windows and onto the sidewalk, she figured it was because the showroom's lights were always on. Then she saw them suddenly dim as if some had been switched off. Her pace quickened.
She swiftly found herself standing in front of the windows again peeking inside with anxious anticipation. The room was indeed darkened by a few lights. In the back, she could see someone moving in the shadows.
Hesitantly she raised her hand to knock against the window. Before she could, Javier emerged from the darkness, already smiling as he moved towards her. He nodded and pointed towards the doors.
“Oh...no,” Charlotte breathed. She envisioned herself suddenly making a break for the streetcar stop. Instead she remained rooted as he unlocked the showroom door and poked his head outside.
“Nice to see you, Charlotte,” he called to her.
“Hi,” she replied softly. “You're still here.”
His eyes narrowed as he grinned. A subtle shadow had grown around his mouth and chin after a long day, yet it suited him handsomely. He remarked, “That's because I've been waiting for you to return. Just had that feeling.”
Charlotte shook her head. “I'm...going home,” she said, “Just...I wanted to say good-night.”
“To the cars?”
She sighed and grimaced, knowing how ridiculous she must have sounded.
“Still pretty hot out,” Javier remarked.
“It's nice and cool in here.” The man cocked his head. “Come on in.”
She looked around the empty streets for a moment then made her way past him and into the dealership.
The showroom was indeed cool. Charlotte stepped around hesitantly, the heels of her sandals clicking on the smooth floor. Javier locked the door behind her making her nerves race a little. She looked back towards him, an expression of uncertainty on her face.
“Go on,” he remarked as he stood by the doors, his hands in his pockets. “Have a look. Take your time.”
Charlotte moved gingerly between the automobiles. Her eyes flitted around the large showcase at first, but finally she managed to settle down somewhat and turn her attention to the cars. Soon her admiration for the fine machines put her at ease. She scanned every inch of the polished vehicles, caressing them with her gaze. A fine-lined smile stretched across her red lips. She strolled casually around each car. At some point, though she wasn't aware of it, she started to drag her finger tips ever so gently along the cool, smooth exteriors.
“You like?” Javier asked as he slowly stepped towards her.
Charlotte grinned and nodded.
He smiled. “It's very pleasing to see someone such as yourself show an appreciation for these automobiles. Maybe we should hire you to just stand near them. I'm sure our sales would triple.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes as she continued to stroke her fingers gently against the cars and sighed. “I told you there was no point in throwing me a sales pitch,” she chided, “Beggars can't eat caviar.”
Javier stopped and fixed a steady gaze on her. “You...have definitely more to offer in return than a beggar,” he said.
Charlotte paused, staring at her reflection in a car's window.
He opened up the driver's side door of a large, black sedan. “I personally would very much like to see you seated behind the wheel,” he noted.
Charlotte met his confident gaze with a wary glance. “I shouldn't.”
Javier's eyes narrowed. “Then why did you come back here tonight?” he asked, not with a scolding tone. It was more like the voice she had been listening to in her head the moment she had stepped into the dealership.
“I just wanted to have a look at the cars,” Charlotte replied, throwing him a coy shrug of her shoulder.
Shaking his head slowly, thoughtfully, he said, “And that's precisely all you're doing right now, are you not?” He patted the seat of the car and then held out his hand for her. “Since you've come, you might as well have the most complete experience you can.”
Her eyes shifted from his steady gaze to his hand and then back to his handsome face.
“Look, it's after hours,” he insisted, “I'm not in selling mode. You wanted to just look. I'm here to offer to you whatever you want. If I may be so bold, I think I know you want this, Charlotte.”
His savvy words, silky with a persuasive rhythm, and relentlessly watchful blue eyes pulled at her more so than his beckoning hand. She accepted it and he gently guided her down into the interior of the car. She swept her black skirt close to her legs as she shifted into the driver's chair. Slowly her body silently settled into the cool, soft leather. It cradled her perfectly. Immediately, she wrapped her fingers around the wheel and stared out through the windshield. She couldn't hide the look of satisfaction in her dark, slender eyes.
He slowly shut the door. Sealed inside the luxurious interior, Charlotte relished her exquisite solitude.
Javier walked around to the front of the car and paused for a moment. Charlotte looked at him through the glass. His eyes were piercing as he lowered his brow over them. She wasn't sure if he realized he was pulling at her attention more so than the car, but something told her that he could sense the tingle of uneasy excitement his steady gaze instilled in her.
He spoke something through an angled smile on his lips. Charlotte frowned, tilting her head, unable to hear what he had just said.
Moving over to the other side of the car, Javier opened the door and slid into the passenger seat beside him. He pulled the door closed and the two sat there for a moment in silence. Charlotte maintained her forward gaze, her nerves immediately beginning to race, but she was all too aware of his presence. His cologne blended well with the new car scent creating a heady aroma and she could feel him continue to gaze at her.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked.
She nodded her chin too quickly.
“Even without the engine on you can feel the power, can't you?” Javier went on.
Her heart was fluttering. She could hear it beating and wondered if he could too in the silent interior of the car.
She didn't flinch as he reached out and took her hand from the wheel. He guided it downward and wrapped her fingers around the smooth, wooden knob of the gear stick. She squeezed it firmly, very aware that his large, warm hand was still covering hers.
“It suits you well.” He spoke with a rich, smooth voice, “You look so very good right now, Charlotte. So very appealing and impressive.”
This wasn't about cars.
Charlotte's eyes narrowed, her lips tightened. An angry fire was lit within her. Her chest rose and fell with stuttering breaths. She looked down towards his tanned hand as it blanketed paler skin. She tried to harness that anger to shake her to her senses enough so that she could brush off his hand, get out of the car, and leave him and the dealership behind once and for all.
“What would you like to try next, Charlotte?” Javier spoke, interrupting her thoughts.
She darted a harsh glare at the man expecting to tell him that she wasn‘t going to play with him. To her surprise she paused even as her mouth slipped open. During that brief moment, his enticing eyes and smile did their damage. She felt his fingers softly caressing the back of her hand sending an electric wave coursing through her. In that half second, she received his unspoken invitation loud and clear.
The voice in her head whispered sternly: ”Leave. Now.”
“I...” she said, pausing for a couple of heartbeats, “I'd like to see what you drive.”
* * * * * * * * *
Javier led Charlotte through the offices and into the dealership's garage. As she stepped ahead of him, he held out his car keys and pressed the remote. There was a dull click, a double chirp, and then the light systems of a gun-metal grey sports convertible flashed on and off.
Charlotte stood still in the presence of the aggressively stylish and sleek road shark.
“Series-6,” she spoke, her voice dreamy, “Right?”
Javier walked by her. He removed his coat and tie and tossed them onto the rear seats. . He turned and, leaning against the front end of the automobile, unbuttoned his collar and the cuffs of his blue dress shirt and rolled the sleeves up. Now with a more relaxed, casual attire, he smiled at the woman as she continued to gaze at his car approvingly.
“You must really do well for yourself,” Charlotte said, impressed.
“I do alright.” Javier shrugged. “Selling these is my hobby, my challenge. Like you, I have a particular appreciation for them. I also enjoy engaging customers. I have a certain talent for it.”
Charlotte wasn't about to doubt that.
He stood up and slowly walked towards her. Her attention once more shifted solely on the man over the machine. She could see small curls of dark hair on his chest between the part in his collar.
“But,” he added as he approached her, wagging a finger in the air, “There's still that one customer I've always been waiting for, to make my boldest pitch.”
Her fine, black brows pinching slightly, Charlotte said, “Like I said, I'm not here to buy a car.”
Now standing well within her comfort zone, Javier replied, “And as I said, I'm only here to offer you what you want – nothing more.”
Outside of the showroom, even standing in the enclosed garage, Charlotte was aware of the rising temperature around her...and within. She slid her foot back, repositioning her balance on her heels, feeling her body sway from the intentional inspection of the man in front of her. Her pulsating heartbeats weren't helping either. Yet she sensed that his steady, confident gaze alone would be enough to catch her if she stumbled.
“Do you want to go for a ride?” Javier asked.
Charlotte paused. She found it nearly impossible to think straight.
He thumbed his remote and pressed a button. The car's engine instantly roared to life behind him.
She blinked and jerked slightly at the sound as it surged through her. It was like a growling wake up call.
Javier turned and walked to the car. Charlotte watched him slide into the driver's seat. She stood motionless squinting at the glare of the headlights, but she was able to focus on the man settled comfortably behind the wheel. Always with that tempting smile of his, she listened to him rev the engine, each time rattling the butterflies in her stomach and invigorating her pulse.
Still she didn't move. Over the buzz of the engine, she somehow managed to hear the jingle of her cell-phone. Pulling it out of her bag, she looked disdainfully at the incoming message: ”Where the hell r u? ~E”
Within a few seconds she had slid into the passenger's seat beside Javier. As she strapped in the seat-belt, the car moved forward. They barely cleared the garage door as it rose up from the floor.
Out in the open streets, Javier quickly threw the car into gear and they peeled off into the night. The area they worked in was empty at that time of night and they raced around the blocks unimpeded. The car took the curves and corners like a sleek, agile cat.
With the top down, the air rushed past them. Charlotte's silky, long, black strands swept around behind her. Always in motion, streaking along the roads, the heat of the night was going to have to catch them.
Javier opened it up a bit more on a straight away. The car was humming, but it felt like it was speeding along on a cloud, barely a bump or rattle could be felt from underneath. All Charlotte could feel, as her fingertips slowly curled into the leather arm rests, was the stimulating vibration of the engine coursing through her.
They drove away from the buildings and offices towards the more darker, industrialized area of the city's waterfront, amongst secluded warehouses and docks. After a minute, Javier pulled up to a fenced roadway, put the car into Park, and climbed out.
He pointed at Charlotte. “Your turn.”
Charlotte looked up and blinked. She grinned uneasily and said, “What?”
“Come,” he beckoned, nodding his chin, “You're not just a passenger. This is your test drive.”
Realizing any sort of protest would come off as disingenuous at best, Charlotte stepped out of the shotgun seat.
As she passed in front of the car, Javier walked to the fence and did something with the lock. Then he pushed it open.
Charlotte watched him curiously as she sat down in the driver's seat, the chair automatically adjusting to her body height and temperature. Within a moment, Javier was seated beside her.
He turned towards her. “Well?”
Her hands on the wheel, Charlotte peered warily towards the dark road through the open fence ahead of her. “We can go here?” she asked.
Javier smiled and nodded. “A very good salesman has his own secret driving playground. I can assure you it's fine.”
Charlotte didn't feel entirely convinced. They remained in Park.
“You can drive stick, can't you?” the man said with a teasing grin.
Her slender eyes narrowed as she looked at him. It was an open-faced challenge, but it was enough. She put the car into gear and stepped firmly on the gas. They zoomed past the fence and into the dim lanes between the warehouses.
She was amazed at how unbelievably smooth a ride it was. The response of the wheel was perfect, the shifting of gears precise, every pump on the gas pedal a controlled jolt of speed. She took the corners and rounded crates and bins like a ferret in a maze. Charlotte knew she was grinning, her eyes wide, as she indulged in the freedom behind the wheel. She also knew the man beside her was watching her intently.
She didn't care.
She liked it...very much.
They sped through the lane ways, only the car's halogen lights and a few, scattered building lamps illuminating the secluded area. After a few seconds, they shot out from between two buildings and emerged in a wide-open expanse of pavement, the docking area by the waterfront. They spun around sharply and now Charlotte had a long stretch of runway laid out before her.
“Okay, now really let her go!” Javier said to her.
Charlotte sank her foot onto the gas pedal. The car obliged by speeding forward, the pitch of the engine singing higher. They raced down the long straight away, the waterfront on one side, warehouses zipping past them on the other.
“Don't hold back, Charlotte!” he called to her.
In the distance, Charlotte could see the dark line of the horizon where the docks ended by the water's edge coming up fast. She hesitated on the stick.
“No! No! Go for it! Open her up!” Javier urged. He covered her hand on the gear stick. “Do it!”
“But the docks…” Charlotte exclaimed as she stared out ahead of her. She felt him pushing her hand. Her foot hit the clutch as he guided her into throwing it into top gear. The car revved and surged forward like a missile.
The adrenaline spiked in her body. Pulling her hand free of his, she gripped the steering wheel. She sat up in her chair, pushing her back against the leather seat. She felt her toes curl and the sweat in her palms, and her ears were filled with a loud thrum as the air blew past her head. Her mouth was agape, stretched into a wild smile of glee, excitement, and terror.
All the while, she felt his approving eyes on her, enhancing the thrill. She suddenly, unexpectedly, felt his fingers touch her bare knee. She flinched. Then he slid his palm along her inner thigh, hiking up her skirt and slipping underneath.
Charlotte gasped. She couldn't take her widened eyes off the road though. The sudden shocking sensation of his warm hand and fingers caressing and stroking her tender flesh actually sent a jolt through her legs and she pushed against the accelerator even harder. The car throttled headlong towards the edge of oblivion.
Javier’s fingers slipped up against her crotch.
“Oh God!” Charlotte's mouth rounded open wide and she tossed her head back against the headrest, staring along over the tip of her nose as the car ate up the remaining bit of road. A high pitched gasp trilled from her throat as she shifted her foot and slammed it hard against the brake pedal. The car's ABS rumbled and the tires squealed against the pavement. Charlotte braced herself against the wheel as her body strained, lurching forward against her seat-belt. Javier placed one hand against the dashboard to steady himself but the other still had a firm grasp on her inner thigh.
Sliding along the road, the rear of the car angling to the side, the end of the docks seemed to be just meters away – ten, seven, five, four-- then no closer.
Charlotte sat rigid in the car -- her arms outstretched, her knuckles almost white as she squeezed the wheel, and her back pressing upright against her seat. Her hair had fallen across and around her flushed face, covering one of her eyes. Quick breaths snapped past her trembling lips. It felt like the car was still moving beneath her as the engine eased down like a horse after a hard gallop.
Unable to peel her eyes away from the end of the road which they almost launched themselves from, Charlotte could only watch peripherally as Javier leaned over and switched the ignition off. The engine sighed to a stop and then it was suddenly, impossibly silent save for the sound of her heartbeat pounding within her chest. The headlights remained on, illuminating the otherwise dark, secluded surroundings.
She felt the heat in the still air envelope her body and a sheen of perspiration quickly settled on her skin. Her body still aquiver, and his fingers still touching her explicitly underneath her skirt, Charlotte finally turned to look at the man in the passenger seat through the strands of black hair hanging over her eyes. There was an unnervingly determined look on his face which just added to her difficulty as she tried to recapture her breath.
Charlotte felt his fingers slide up the crotch of her panties. Swallowing hard, she continued to gasp heavy breaths past her glossy lips. As his fingers stroked her purposefully, she wondered if he was aware of how damp she already was. A closer look at his pleased face gave her the answer.
Dropping her hands from the wheel, one to her side, the other on her lower belly, her trembling thighs tightened together slightly around his hand and she moaned softly, “Javier...ahh...”
“Shh,” he breathed as he continued to fondle her. His free hand brushed the hair away from the woman's flushed face. “You handled the car just beautifully.”
Charlotte squeezed her eyes shut and tilted her head, his warm hand cradling her cheek and chin as she sighed deeply, continuously. She felt his fingertips circle and swirl on the outside of her panties, gently applying more and more pressure. Her legs slowly eased apart.
Her fine brows angled sharply over her closed eyes. She chewed on her upper lip. Breathing the warm air, she tried desperately to stifle the burgeoning groan coursing up from her chest.
“Charlotte,” she heard him call to her. Dreamily her eyes opened in time to see his dark face move towards hers. Her lips parted slightly as he pressed his onto them.
Their mouths open and closed on one another with a passionate rhythm. His strong hand held her face steady, his thumb caressing her cheek as he took his pleasure sampling her soft lips.
Charlotte's whole body was trembling as her nerves surged. Her thoughts careened in all directions. The relentlessness of his explicit touches didn't allow her time to think straight as she succumbed to the illicit pleasure flowing through every part of her body.
Like a rotor his fingers did their damage on her inhibitions. She groaned into his open mouth. Her hand reached out and held onto his forearm as he rubbed his fingers vigorously against her crotch.
“Ah! Ah!” Charlotte broke away from the kiss, pressed her chin against her shoulder, and loosed a long, trembling gasp, “Ahh-ahn!”
Her thighs clamped against Javier's hand as she came in a rush, soaking her panties enough that she was sure the fine material would be sheer if she saw them. Still his fingers massaged along her slit and the woman's belly hitched with each splash of her wetness.
All the while, her mouth hung open. She tried her best to moisten her red lips but her breathing repeatedly dried them. She felt the dampness on her inner thighs and crotch. Her flushed face was glowing and tingling as she finally opened her eyes and looked earnestly towards the man who drove her over the brink.
The unmistakable look of satisfaction from pleasing her was prevalent on his hard-edged, handsome face. Yet it was far surpassed by a swaggering demeanour, one that announced to Charlotte implicitly Javier's expectations at this point. The sight snapped her back to the moment and to the realization of what had just happened...and what was still to come on this sweltering night. She felt an uneasy ache deep inside.
When he leaned in close to her again to steal another kiss, Charlotte finally, reluctantly, retreated. Turning away, she pushed the car door open and stepped out quickly. Standing with her back to him, she adjusted her skirt and mindlessly brushed down her long hair with her fingers. She needed to take a moment to regain her legs and was a little unsteady as she stepped away from the car. She wandered forward aimlessly, unsure of what to do and where to go. Brushing aside her hair, holding her hand on her forehead, and looking around at nothing in the secluded, dark docks, she couldn't shake the anxiety that swelled within her.
She had to leave. She didn't know how, though. Walk for an hour in the heat and the dark? Get back in the car? Was she really convinced that she wanted to leave?
Off in the distance, she heard a low rumble in the sky. Clouds had gathered and a storm was coming.
“Charlotte,” Javier said.
Her body tensed when she realized his voice was coming from just behind her. Hesitating for a moment, she then spun around on her heel. Though she had been expecting him to be standing close to her, seeing him there still didn't make her any more prepared for it. His hard, seductive gaze still melted her away even more than the heat that hung in the air.
His hand reached out to touch her cheek again. She grabbed him around the wrist, stopping him. Holding him there with a tight grasp, she glared at him with as much fire and determination as she could find within herself. A grim line on her lips, steady streams of air silently passing through her nose, she burned her eyes into him.
“I don't know you,” she said softly but firmly, her accusing gaze fixed on his ring, “We've just met and we've barely spoken. I don't know you.”
She continued to grip his wrist.
“How am I...I won't...” Charlotte started to lose her words. It would have been easier if he had said something she could slap down. Instead, she could only struggle to respond to her own thoughts and guess what he was thinking. “I...I'm not going to...”
“You're not going to what, Charlotte?” Javier asked with his unflappable and smooth voice.
She released his hand. “Nothing,” she remarked and added, “Nothing else is happening here tonight.”
The woman could only pray the look on her face was half as convincing as her words which already had a nervous trill to them. It was so difficult to stay calm with her heart pounding up her gullet.
Once more a far away rumble called from the sky.
Javier's jaw firmed, locking in the edges and lines on his dark face.
She turned her back on him and faced the black waters of the harbour, shaking her head. It may have been better just to jump and let the water cool off her heated body and mind.
“Charlotte,” Javier spoke to her. He moved into her space from behind and held her gently on the shoulders. She shrugged him off once but not a second time. He held her close, his lips hovering close to her ear. He continued, “Charlotte, there is nothing else but you. I’m not selling cars. This is no pressure sale. From the first day I saw you at the window, I've thought of only you – nothing more, nothing less. I'm expecting nothing of you. I just know how very much I want you. Here. Now.”
Many people wanted things of Charlotte everyday. It's just that none of those requests were quite like this. None of them elicited from her a yearning pang from deep within like this one did. And none of them held the potential consequences of an invitation such as this.
“But it’s for you to decide.”
She felt him sweep her hair gently away from her neck. Her head suddenly felt heavy and it lolled to the side exposing her neck. Javier caressed his lips and tip of his tongue on smooth flesh.
”Stop. Please, don't do this.” She was unable to bring her thoughts forth into words. She couldn't even decide if she was mentally speaking out to Javier or herself.
As Javier savoured her neck with kisses and licks, Charlotte's mind flashed to the immediate past : her at the wheel of the car as they flew amongst the warehouses and along the docks. The handling and the speed...the sheer thrill of it all as control and restraint were left behind in the car's wake. It was something she shouldn't have been doing, but she loved it anyway. That illicit excitement had been heightened ten-fold by the presence of the man seated beside her in the car, watching her, touching her.
Her head rolled back over his shoulder as he continued to sample her neck. She looked towards the darkened skies through partially closed eyes. Touching limply at his wrists as he drew his hands around her waist and then up to the collar of her top, she felt him undo the buttons with quick, sharp tugs. As the last button on the bottom of her blouse gave way, she turned her eyes downward and watched as he teased his fingers upward between the part in her top, his tips barely tickling along her quivering belly. Charlotte's long legs were already buckling and she leaned against his broad chest.
The water at the edge of the docks splashed against the barrier as the distant storm stalked towards them. All Charlotte could hear though were her own quickening breaths. All she could smell was Javier's masculine scent sweeping over her. All she could feel was his steady hands deftly undo the front clasp of her bra and slowly peeled it away from her trembling, hot skin. Her and covered his as he cupped her soft breasts with an assured grope. Charlotte's chest rose and sighed against his strong touch and she moaned softly her approval. Her nipples stiffened taut underneath his fingers.
She turned her head and her lips were immediately intercepted by his with a full, passionate kiss. Continuously folding their mouths over one another, the woman turned around. She wrapped her palms around his face, felt the patch of stubble around his cheeks and chin as she pushed her tongue hungrily into his mouth. The collar of her blouse slid around and down her shoulders and back, the short sleeves bunching at the bend of her elbow. Her long hair swished around against her back, met by his hands as they explored the expanse of smooth flesh.
Javier's lip moved downward, kissing her chin and her throat as she tilted her head back. He continued along to her collar bone and further still until he was able to flick out his tongue against her straining nipple.
Charlotte moaned towards the sky as she braced her hands on his back and shoulder. She felt his lips wrap around her breast and his nimble tongue circle her nipple. Further she arched her back in response to his effective kisses and sucks of his lips. As he held her securely along her waist and small of her back, her leg raised and braced itself against him.
“Ahh! Mmm!” she gasped and swallowed constantly trying to moisten her increasingly parched mouth and throat.
There was a furious feeling surging from within her now. Whatever previous hesitancy and downright resentment she had towards the situation she was tumbling relentlessly into had long been suppressed. Unlike speeding along in that demon of a car, when she was finally able to slam on the brakes, there was no thought of stopping here. Whatever walls she would hit...and she knew she would...she would face them later.
For the now, she was completely committed to driving beyond the edge.
As if sensing her thoughts, Javier stood upright. Guiding her with his steely eyes and leading her by the hands, he stepped slowly backwards towards the car. Charlotte followed him silently as led her around to the front. The car's headlights still glowed brightly, illuminating them as they came together again in a heated kiss.
The woman's soft hand slipped around between them at his waist. She slid it down flat against his crotch, feeling a solid shaft from behind his pants stir at her touch. Then both of her hands went to work on his belt buckle, slipping out the leather strap with determined tugs. In one smooth motion, she undid the button and pushed apart the fly.
Leaning back, she looked at Javier. Her dark, sleek eyes peeking out from under black, sharp lashes, shared the same hungry desire she saw in his. Her resolve towards the moment finally matched his and she threw herself utterly at it.
Her long body curled down. Grasping at the sides of his slacks and his briefs, she pulled them both down as she crouched down, gently lowering her knees onto the hard pavement. Her deep brown eyes focused wide on the dark, impressive shaft of muscle jutting out from his crotch. Taking it into her hand, it felt like the wheel of the car: luxuriously leather-like skin over a rigid piece. She flitted an upward glance and saw him looking down approvingly. With that image in her mind, she tossed her hair aside, wet her lips and sank her warm mouth over his hard cock.
Before the glare of the headlights Charlotte slid Javier's stiff piece past her lips until the tip nudged the edge of her throat. It throbbed to life inside of her mouth as she bobbed her head back and forth with increasing speed. Hungry, wet gasps slipped from the edges of her mouth. Her tongue felt the ripples of veins surging with blood and fire. Her hand stroked at whatever remaining length of his cock that still remained outside of her lips, handling it as well as the gear stick of the car.
Javier unbuttoned his shirt. It also drifted off his broad, rounded shoulders, revealing a muscular, cut upper body. Her free hand reached up and clawed softly at the defined lines of his abs. She felt his strong hands and fingers sweeping through her long, silky mane of hair. She loved the sensation.
She leaned back, his saliva slicked tip barely slipping out of her glossy mouth, and she gasped for air before engulfing it once again. The warm air was filled with the sound of her gulps and sucks and Javier's increasingly heavy breaths. Rapidly she stroked his cock in and out her mouth with increasing abandon. His fingers wended their way through her hair and wrapped around her head in a firm yet tender grip, guiding her motions.
The next moment he slid out of her mouth, Javier pulled Charlotte up to her feet. They came together in a passionate clinch, her soft, rounded breasts cushioning against his hard pecs, as their arms held one another close.
Charlotte could feel his cock, as hard as an iron rod, nudge expectantly against her flat belly. She felt its warmth seething through it. She urgently needed to have it fill her within. She could tell that Javier was more than ready to oblige.
He stepped back and gripped her by the arms. After burning a glare of implicit desire into her eyes, he spun Charlotte around to face the car and pushed her forward. She leaned over and braced her hands against the hood. He bent down behind her and, starting at her bare calves, ran his hands deliberately up her long, smooth legs like a man savouring the touch of Heaven at his fingertips. Sliding them under her skirt and up past her thighs, he curled his fingers under the band of her panties. Quickly he had the small bit of material pulled down the length of her legs to her ankles. Lifting her feet one at a time, he pulled them off and tossed them aside.
Again his hands moved up her toned legs. He pushed up her skirt, hiking it to her waist, revealing Charlotte's rounded, firm bottom. She could feel his hands slide appreciatively around the smooth skin of her butt. When she felt him nuzzle his face up against it, and his hand slide up from underneath and tease along her clean shaven crotch, she closed her eyes and groaned. Her arms buckled slightly on the hood of the car as he licked and kissed between the crack of her bottom. This was too much already and her face strained with a look of delectable anguish and anticipation.
As if on queue, his rose up behind her. A firm hand gripped around her hip while at the same time holding her skirt up along her waist. The other hand positioned the head of his cock at her opening. Charlotte widened her stance slightly, spreading her legs more. She listed her head around, trying to see behind her. Instantly her eyes shut, and her head snapped back as she felt him drive his lengthy cock into her with one bold thrust.
“Ah-huhn!” she gasped and then inhaled sharply.
His hands secure along her hip and shoulder, Charlotte felt Javier quickly hit his stride behind her, sliding his rigid length in and out with a piston-like rhythm that was only matched by the car she braced herself upon.
She leaned forward, raising her high heels off the ground with each of his broad strokes. She felt him withdraw almost his entire rippling length before surging it back in, controlling his thrust just enough so that his crotch bumped up against her ripe bottom rather than slamming aggressively against it. It was a tantalizing motion and she could appreciate every inch of hard flesh pushing past her tingling petals and into her tight, wet snatch.
“Ah! Ah! Ahh!” Charlotte eked quick, deeply satisfying moans of pleasure. Her body was all a tingle as it was filled with the solid, explicit strokes of his cock.
In and out Javier bucked into her from behind. She could hear him draw long, steady breaths of air, feeding his lungs and body with oxygen, fueling his drive.
“Yes. Yes, Charlotte,” he breathed her name like it was a silent prayer. He grunted, “Oh my God...so good...so fucking good...”
His hand slipped under her arm and fondled her shaking breasts as he leaned forward against her back. Charlotte locked her arms over the hood of the car as he continued to pour into her with quick thrusts. She turned her head and their tongues tangled and danced together in the open air as they exchanged increasingly heated gasps of air.
The ominous rumble in the sky became a little louder now, a little more frequent, yet they ignored it. A breeze started to stir around them but still the air was hot and their bodies on fire. They were in the middle of their own storm and were in no hurry to escape it. The other one would just have to wait.
Javier withdrew and pulled Charlotte up. Again he turned her around, this time to face him. Once more they embraced in a kiss, lips folding over one another and tongues entwining. They were both covered in a sheen of perspiration.
As he stripped off his shirt and tossed it past her and into the car, the young woman seized the opportunity to bend down slightly and kiss his broad pecs and nibble at his dark brown nipples with her teeth. She inhaled deeply, feeding her lungs with his delicious, manly aroma. Then she felt his hand underneath her chin, raising her face up. He leaned in and kissed her full, red lips as he tugged her blouse and bra off past her wrists, finally releasing her lovely body from her upper garments.
As he stepped back and reached down to cinch up her skirt securely around her slender waist, he revealed to her a very telling look in his crystalline blue eyes. Whatever that look meant, it shot a bolt of nervous anticipation through Charlotte's body. She breathed hard as he backed her up slowly and sat her down on the edge of the car. Her legs parted as he moved between them. She watched him stoop down low, his head between her thighs. With a curl on his lips, he dragged his tongue up the line of her snatch.
“Ah, God...” the dark-haired beauty moaned.
His fingers spread apart her petals and he slipped his tongue deliberately along her slit again pressing his tip against her exposed clit. Charlotte shuddered, her breasts trembling, her brows peaking upward and her teeth clenching as he explored her with his tongue, teeth and fingers. She tangled his wavy brown hair in her fist, but wasn't sure if she wanted to pull him away or shove his face harder into her crotch. He was wrecking her...totally, completely. She couldn't bear it any longer.
“Ah fuck! Javier! Ah!” she moaned and trembled, squeezing his hair in her fingers. She swallowed hard but her mouth remained rounded and open as she quivered with shuddering breaths.
Finally, to her relief or regret, he relented. He stood up then leaned forward, backing her up onto the hood of the car. His hand slid around her outer thighs and hoisted her up, lifting her feet off the ground, her bottom sliding onto the smooth surface of the car. Her long legs bending at the knees, she touched her heels against the back of his thighs. With a smooth motion, Javier reached down, targeted the head of his cock at her slit, then pumped forward, entering her once more.
“Oh-ohh!” Charlotte sighed, her head tilting back, her long hair flowing down and spreading over the hood of the car. She braced herself on her elbows, her hands on his forearms as he prowled over her, his arms locked into position at her sides. Her toned thighs squeezed gently at his hips and matched his rhythmic thrusts, rocking back and forth, back and forth.
His strokes were stiffer now, the thrusts more pointed. His hard cock was throbbing as it surged full-length into her, their crotches colliding with the satisfying sound of flesh-on-flesh. Their foreheads touching, they tilted their chins every so often to steal a tender, quick kiss but mostly they were just panting hot, heavy air into each other's glowing faces. Drops of sweat ran from around his chin and neck down along his gold crucifix chain as it dangled from his neck. They fell from there, splashing onto her collar bone and streaming down between her shimmering breasts.
As the moments went by, the rumble in the skies above mingled with their passionate groans and grunts. Subtle flashes of white lit up the clouds but they were oblivious to the impending storm.
Javier was in high gear, now, his driving thrusts shaking Charlotte to the core and the car beneath her.
“Uhn! Ahn! Oh God! Javier! Ah!” Every stroke elicited a moan of approval from her. She couldn't breath in the air fast enough. As his cock pumped into her, she slipped off her elbows until her back was flush against the car. Her body writhed underneath him, her long legs clinched around his strong hips, ankles locked together.
Faster, quicker, shorter strokes filled her completely, over and over. They were barreling towards the peak at high gear, ready to shoot over the top.
“Ah! Charlotte! Fuck, yes!” Javier groaned. He stood back and wrapped his hands securely around her hips. Charlotte felt him squeeze his fingers into her skin. He pulled her over his cock, grinding his crotch against her.
Her arms spread out against the hood of the car, Charlotte shot her pelvis upward, her flat white belly arching up towards the sky as one hard thrust surged into her. Her mouth and eyes rounded open wide and she groaned aloud in full ecstatic release, “Ah-AHH!”
Her body froze as she spilled her cum over his pulsing shaft. Every bit of energy flowed to her crotch as more of her satisfying wetness rushed from her and her body trembled.
“Ah! Uhn!” she heard Javier grunt through a raspy, dry throat. Every glistening sharp curve and muscle in his well-kept body and face tensed as he tilted his head up and reared back throwing his hips forward one final time. As he thrust to the hilt, he groaned again like a beast as a rich stream of cum jetted from of his cock, filling Charlotte.
As she eased her back onto the hood of the car, she clutched at her tender breasts, feeling him standing over her throb more and more of his viscous cum into her. His grip on her waist lessened and they both remained still for a few moments except for the rise and fall of their beating chests. Their panting breaths slowly subsided.
Slowly Javier lowered himself onto the woman and she reached up and embraced him with her arms around his back and her legs still clinging by the ankles around his thighs. They held one another close, enjoying the feel of their warm and slippery bodies.
A light pitter-patter sound filled the air around them for a minute. Small droplets of rain splashed down onto their bodies. Only when the sky flashed overhead, followed by a rippling crackle, did they stir from their embrace. In silence, Javier withdrew his length from Charlotte and the two of them stood up. Without rushing, she adjusted her skirt and picked up her blouse and bra, and he pulled up his briefs and pants. By the time they sat down in the car, and the top lifted into position, the clouds opened up and sent waves of heavy rain falling onto the car and the ground around them.
They finally drove away back through the warehouses just as another flash of lightning jumped through the sky and the thunder rumbled angrily in the air.
It had been a very hot night.
* * * * * * * * *
The flash storm calmed to just a light drizzle by the time Javier pulled the car up to the subway entrance. Other than Charlotte telling him to drop her off at the station, they had barely spoken.
They sat in the car for a moment, a strange calm hovering between them. Charlotte gazed at the dashboard, a stoic look on her face.
“Are you sure you don't want me to drop you off closer to your home?” Javier asked.
She shook her head.
He offered a knowing grin, nodding once.
Her lips parted slightly. She hesitated then said, “I was just looking. This was just a test drive.” She looked into his eyes. “That's all I wanted.”
Javier looked at her intently. He had an assured look on his handsome face but there was a softness in his blue eyes.
“And as I said, Charlotte,” he replied, “I'm only here to offer you what you want.”
They gazed at each other for several deep breaths exchanging silent good-byes. Then Charlotte stepped out of the car. Closing the door, she stood there with her back to it, holding her bag in front of her, her eyes closed. She listened to the perfect hum of the car's engine. It was so impressive – a beautiful piece of precision engineering. It brought an easy smile lips just thinking about it.
She spun around, leaned forward and said, “Next time, I want to try the M6.”
Javier smiled and nodded.
Feeling the refreshing spray of drizzle dampening her hair and clothes, Charlotte turned and headed towards the subway steps.
It was at the top of the stairs that she paused, turning her face from the harsh halogen lights of the subway and back towards the dark streets where Javier and the car had disappeared back into the night. In that darkness, a certain clarity swept up through her.
She smiled with her eyes. Charlotte knew what she wanted.
* * * * * * * *
A year later…
The young, fresh faced gentleman wearing the white polo top with the flipped up collar hovered like a hawk around the exquisitely sculpted piece of engineering that was practically preening at the center of the auto show room floor. He was trying to stay cool, relaxed, and aloof when in reality every inch of nerve in him was trying to get him to jump into the midnight blue convertible and meld his fingers around the wheel until he orgasmed on the pristine leather seat.
His hands were in his pockets, but they were clenched. He wanted to touch it, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. His touch would spoil the goddess.
“Go ahead, feel it,” Charlotte said as she approached him, “It’s not a collector’s item. It’s out of the box. You can play with it.”
The other salesmen in the dealership poked their heads out of the office or raised their eyes from their desks. They liked watching her work.
The young man’s eyes squirreled between the luxurious car and the tall, striking young saleswoman striding towards him slowly, her heels clicking on the shiny, polished black floors. She looked poised and strong in her fitted grey jacket and skirt.
“I’m…uh…just looking,” he said.
Charlotte replied with a shrug, “No harm in that. We make our first impressions with our eyes. Your name?“
“Charlotte,” she said with a nod of her chin, “So do you like, Mike?”
He nodded quickly.
“Good. Now you can say hello to the car.” She smiled with her dark, slender eyes, sending a wave of confidence towards him that hit like a wall then enveloped him like a blanket. She said, “Please have a seat.”
He cocked his head awkwardly. “I’m not really sure if this is what I want, actually,” he replied sheepishly.
Charlotte shook her head. “I’d really like to see you in this car first.”
Gazing at her, the young man had no recollection as to when he actually opened the door and got into car, but there he was staring over the wheel. It felt so good.
Charlotte crouched down outside the car door, resting her chin on her folded hands. Teasing the sides of her red lips upward, she said with a wispy, easy voice, “Now Mike…now you can tell me what you really want.”