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Old 03-26-2018, 06:51 PM   #26
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She sputtered momentarily, honestly doubting that very much. It startled a laugh out of her. “Oh, I think we’re a long way off from that yet,” she said honestly, rising to her feet. “I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt though.” Her belongings were all picked up from earlier so she grabbed her clipboard from the desk and reached for her bag.

“I’ll be leaving now, sir. I wouldn’t want to keep you any longer and I have a proposal to work on,” as she treaded to the door quietly. “If there’s anything you need you know how to reach me,” she commented before ducking out of his office and casually strolling back to her own.

She pondered on the two substantially different facets of his personality she had seen in the last two days. This one made more sense to her; firm, sharp-minded, but still able to provide room for compromise leaned more to his successful business enterprise. The Carter she had met yesterday was more wickedly unpredictable and ruthless, but it also played a seamless role - a man didn’t get to the top without knowing how to cut others’ down. She could see how both aspects melded to create the man he was and as much as she really felt uncomfortable and still a tad angry, she couldn’t begrudge him for much of anything (except his raw handprint on her ass!).

Anna worked tirelessly on the proposal through her lunch, having many ideas and suggestions she wanted to pass on before they slipped from her mind. Although she was a good worker, she tended to lose her trains of thought pretty easily, just as if they were grains of sand in the gaps between her fingers. By the time she came up for air, it was late in the afternoon and her coworkers were getting ready to leave. There were only some finishing touches she had left to apply and figured that she might as well complete those in the morning.

She wondered if he was still in his office or whether he was in a meeting. Maybe he’d even left by now. She considered calling up to Joanna and checking, but then she remembered that she now had a line to his cell. Hesitantly, her fingers hovered over the number (she still hadn’t put in a contact name yet), before she selected to edit the contact information. She chose her favourite nickname for him - “sanctimonious prick” - before she sent him a quick message asking for his email. She mentioned that she could send the proposal to him if he was too busy to go over it in person tomorrow and to please get back to her, keeping it short and professional.

That night as she relaxed in the bubbles of the tub, she thought back to today’s events. The sick feeling had mostly disappeared, muted beneath his odd personality change this morning, but it still niggled at her deep inside. He had been perfectly civil, pleasant even, and it brought to her mind the of the calm before the storm. She decided that all she could do was work quietly on this project, complete it, and put her head down as she stepped back into the shadows of the marketing department once more in relative safety. Hopefully his fascination with her would disappear as he became busier with other issues and their contact dwindled into nothing. After all, what business did she have to think the CEO would seek continued presence in her life after her usefulness to him had run dry? She prayed this would be the case.

Sleep came quickly as she tucked herself in and she felt re-energized the next morning as she dressed and got ready for work, basking in the peace of her routine. She hadn’t bothered to check her phone all morning and therefore didn’t know if Carter had responded; he hadn’t last night by the time she had crawled under the covers to have a sleepy good night chat with Simon over the tinny reception of the hospital break room. Anna had a bad habit of that - her parents complained that she didn’t keep her phone close enough and therefore wasn’t available more often than not.

Her whimsical ways meant that she actually lost it quite frequently. Her family and friends were used to it by now, but it probably wasn’t a good idea when you were trying to get off on a better foot with your hard-ass of a boss. There was a response waiting, but she didn’t bother to check it until she was already seated at her desk preparing to complete the draft.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:39 AM   #27
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Wednesday Morning - Anna's office

When Anna turned to walk out of his office, he leaned on his desk, watching her hips sway seductively. He didn't know if she did it on purpose to entice him or to silently tell him she was off limits. Once she was gone, Carter sat in his chair staring out the window for a long while, thinking about her. He admitted she was different than the other women in his life. There was something alluring about her and he wanted to know more about her. That was one of the reasons he assigned her to the Hartman account which required her to work closely with him.

The rest of the day was filled with phone calls, and meeting in mid-afternoon with a client. During the meeting, the client asked to remain after to talk to him privately. Carter wasn't sure what this meant but it was never good. The client complained about the marketing rep, David Pierson, presumably not taking care of his needs. Carter reassured him he would have a talk with him and after he left, he wondered if he should put Anna on the account with David. That would be one way to keep having her work closely with him.

Carter stood at the window, looking down at the park and the river beyond. At 40 floors up, approximately five hundred feet above the ground, people looked like ants scurrying to the subway or walking downtown. He wondered how Anna was doing on the proposal when he heard his phone ping.

Looking at the text message, he saw it was from Anna wanting his email so she could send him the draft proposal in case he was busy tomorrow. He chuckled loudly into the empty office at her request. She had his work email just like he had hers and everyone else who worked at the company. It was simply, CarterA@AndersonClemens.com. Why in the world would she need my private email? He gazed out the window with a huge smile on his face. How to respond to her request?

Just as she snubbed him, Carter decided not to answer her text message, at least not immediately. He drove home to his house in an exclusive high-end neighborhood thinking about Anna. He had other women he could call at moment's notice, like Marie Garnett, who were ready and willing to fulfill his sexual needs. But Anna was different and he wanted more of her. The thought of her smoldering green eyes staring at him and her delicious body, sent tiny tremors through him. After a dinner of a naked hamburg, vegetables, and a salad, he watched some basketball.

When he got ready for bed, he looked at his phone and saw the text message from Anna and punched in his reply. "You have my email at the office to send the proposal but you can send it also to my private email, carter101@hotmail.com. I only use this for my private life but for you I'll make an exception if you want to send me a private note. See you in your office to review said proposal at 11 am Then as an afterthought, he added, do you have a private email in case I need to send you something?." Carter chuckled as he hit send and then laid his head on the soft pillow, wishing he could see the look on her face when she read it.

Carter checked his phone in the morning and saw no response. When he heard the ping, he quickly picked up the phone and was disappointed to see it was from Edward confirming their lunch date. He quickly typed back that he was and he thought he would have a rough draft of the proposal with him. Edward was quick to respond that he was pleased with Anna's ambition and looked forward to reading her ideas.

Checking his watch, he saw it was 10:50 am and told Joanna he would be back after lunch. Taking the elevator, he wondered if Anna had finished the draft. Nodding and waving at some of the employees, he made his way to her office and knocked on the door wondering what she was wearing and what aroma her perfume she would be wearing.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:19 AM   #28
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Annaleigh had figured sending the files to his personal address might be easier to wade through than the multitude of other work emails he received on the daily, but her face burned in shame as she realized that the excuse sounded stupid now in the light of day. Although he had given it to her, now he expected her to return in kind. To send “personal notes?” She wasn’t sure what that meant but she was sure that it was not appropriate boss-employee behaviour and that it would be nipped in the bud before it even began.

She attempted to formulate a polite response detailing in a round-about manner that he could always reach her on the phone or email her work-address without giving away her personal one. She knew he would be coming down in about fifteen minutes (it was 1045) and she could just explain this misunderstanding then, but she felt she should send him a cursory text in response. She’d read the message first thing when she got to work but hadn’t felt that she knew what to say so she’d put it aside and finished her work on the draft. Deciding she was happy with the message, she sent it off. It was a good thing she did because she had just pushed the keyboard away when her office door opened and he peeked inside.

She stood to print him a copy to review and greeted him softly. “Good morning Mr. Anderson. Please, come and sit down,” she gestured to the chair in front of her desk. It wasn’t anything fancy like the one in his own office and for a moment she felt embarrassed about the clear power disparity but she shook it off quickly. He had come to visit her - why should she feel embarrassed when he’d chosen the meeting location?

She smoothed her top down, an off the shoulder plum cardigan paired with a gray pencil skirt and her favourite pair of black heels. The black lines and flowing curves of her tattoo were just peaking over her left shoulder in a tasteful tease. It probably wasn’t business appropriate, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. Annaleigh had always fit outside the box and she had no problem showing people exactly who she was. She might have a sweet and innocent face, but she was a strong woman with strong beliefs and feelings. Sometimes those came to the forefront and occasionally they were a bit more muted.

She’d used a different perfume today and she hoped it wasn’t overwhelming, but she’d received compliments on it so far this morning so she wasn’t too worried as Carter made himself comfortable in the chair. It was a combination of whipped cream and white rose that was very delicate but hinted at something very sweet and she was pleased when Simon had brought it home for her last week. As she leaned forward to place the document in front of him, she did notice his eyes drop momentarily to the cleavage this shirt provided but she was standing and returning to her chair almost immediately, drawing his eyes back up to meet her own.

“I’m confident you’ll find it to your satisfaction. If there’s anything I missed I’ll modify it as we go,” she gestured towards the open file still on her monitor. His suit today was very sharp on him, but his cologne already filling the tiny space of her office was quite distracting. It wasn’t overpowering but she knew it would smell of him all day in here, now. It was a lovely smell and it had the chance to be quite distracting if she let it, but she resolved to just ignore it.

He read through it silently and she busied herself with her work emails while she waited.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:13 AM   #29
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Wednesday Morning - Anna's outfit distracts Carter

As Carter entered Anna's office, he heard his phone ping. Digging it out of his inner breast pocket, he saw it was from her. "Good morning Annaleigh and I see you responded to my earlier text. I'll read it later."

He sat in the chair offered by her and took the opportunity to glance around the office. It was much smaller than his, bookshelves lined with marketing books and material, a printer hooked to her computer, and some interesting art on the walls. He wondered if she was into art or was it just for decorations. On one of the shelves, he saw a picture of a man standing on the boardwalk and assumed it was her fiancé. He felt a pang of jealously looking at the man but then quickly turned his attention as Anna spoke.

She looked stunning to him this morning and he wasn't bashful about taking in her soft curves as she made a copy of the report for him. When she handed him the draft report, he had a perfect view of her upper cleavage and it was all too soon gone when she straightened up and turned to sit in her chair. The outline of a tattoo on her left shoulder was visible and he wondered what the entire tattoo looked like. He wanted to ash her but the way they got off to a rough start, he held any comments about her personal preferences in body art. 'Someday I plan to see the whole tattoo,' he thought as he scanned the top page of the report.

Reading the top page, his nostrils were assaulted by the sweet fragrance of her perfume. Was she trying to entice me or did she always smell so damn good? He had a little trouble reading through the report with ever prescence of her so near, looking great, and smelling awesome.

Forcing himself to concentrate, he flipped through the pages and was duly impressed with her work. He found a few things that should be changed and scribbled some notes in the margin of the paper. When he finished, he looked up to see her staring at him and he could tell she wanted to know what he thought of the report.

"This is an excellent draft Annaleigh but there are a few changes needed before we give this to Edward. Rather than just hand the marked up report to her, he stood and walked around the desk before handing it to her. "It would be better if I show you my comments. Sometimes my scribbling is pretty bad."

Standing beside her chair, he started reviewing his comments on each page. After the second page, he couldn't help but notice the way she was seating, he had a good view of her deep cleavage. It was a quick glance, one that he hoped she didn't notice as he continued telling her his suggestions.

When he was done, he stood erect and watched as she started to make the changes on her computer. When she was just about done, he interrupted her. "Annaleigh I know this is such short notice but I think it would be good if you would accompany me lunch with Edward." He saw her turn and look at him with a questioning glance.

He knew Edward good enough to answer any questions he might have but he thought he would test the waters with Anna. "You are the one most familiar with this draft and I would probably be unable to answer all his questions. What do you say Annaleigh? Would you join us for lunch or do you have something more important?"
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:01 PM   #30
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His body was so warm in the miniscule space he left between them. She could feel the heat radiating straight off him, but the most distracting issue was still the way he smelled. His hand was gripping the back of her chair, long fingers curling around the leather while the other pointed out his changes on paper. All of his points were fair and he was teaching her things she didn't know. She edited without question, letting his superior knowledge guide her in some areas.

As he invited her to lunch, she had to tilt her head way back to look at him. She was reminded of the fact that he towered over her both in wealth, power and physical size once more. Even if she had been standing, the top of her head only just barely reached his shoulders, so to look up from her chair meant her eyes roved up and up and up. Reasonably, she had no good reason to refuse lunch. It would be another excellent opportunity to build a rapport with Mr. Hartman and Carter had been on his best behaviour lately. She also knew that she could not turn him down again. He was testing her; would she take this wonderful chance he was offering her, to sit between two of the most influential businessmen in North America and glean some valuable information, or would she be selfish and choose to stay back? Mostly she just wondered if he thought she would dare lie to him after that punishment. What he didn't realize is that she was prepared to tell him the truth, regardless if he didn't like what she had to say.

The thought of sitting between these two men and learning a little more about how they worked together and maybe gain a tidbit of information she could use in the future truly was a promising idea. She did not doubt that she would overhear knowledge or tactics on how best to do her job from the two very shrewd businessmen. It seemed like the selfish option wasn't to stay back at all - it would be to take advantage of Carter's connections to move herself up in the department and if all she had to do was to have lunch to do so, it didn't seem like much of a hassle.

"Yes, I'd like that," she nodded. "Are we leaving now? I just have to get my coat. If you don't mind, I have some texts I should answer on the way but after that, I'll be all yours." As she said this, she printed the document with the changes included and packed it into a plain envelope for transport, sliding it into her bag. Carter went back upstairs to retrieve his suit jacket and car keys and shortly after that, she was gingerly perched on the passenger seat of his expensive BMW. She'd never even laid eyes on a car like this, let alone got to sit in it or go for a drive. The ride was smooth and the soft leather under her thighs was supple and warm. In his car, his scent was even more concentrated. She wouldn't be surprised if it burrowed into her clothes and hair and she carried it home with her.

She did spend the first few minutes concentrating on her phone. She saw that Simon had sent a quick text asking if she could get lunch and she felt a small ping of sadness for a moment that the one time in the last two days they had a chance to do anything together had to be overshadowed by her work, but the opportunity this gave her prevented the feeling from settling and it was gone as she responded: sorry, have a lunch meeting. Couldn't get out of it. Love you babe! Can't wait to see you Friday!

The rest were simple things like a message from her mom just checking up on her and Lena wanting to go see a movie this weekend. She answered quickly before tucking her phone away.

She had no idea where they were going as he drove. She sat back quietly and enjoyed the ride, watching her surroundings. It was an area of the city she had never been to - not surprising - because it looked like the ritzy River district and it was known for its opulence and wealth while still maintaining a young hip vibe. She did know that there were some very nice restaurants and shopping to be found here and that Carter would know all the best places. She wondered if he lived somewhere in this area or if he was spaced further out of the city in the Skyline Heights suburb uptown. She imagined he was more of a River district guy, enjoying the busy city-life and the less restrictive feeling that it offered, but he had not stopped surprising her since the day they met. In what seemed like only a few moments, they were pulling up along the curb on one of the most well-known, busiest streets in the city.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:42 PM   #31
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Wednesday Afternoon - lunch with Edward

When Anna accepted his offer for lunch, he was pleased when she leaned back to look at him, giving him another clear view of her ample cleavage. Anna hesitated for a moment and he thought she would refuse. If she did, he promised himself not go off the deep end. He was giving her an opportunity to get to rub elbows with Edward and besides he would be able to spend more time with her. Ever since that first night, he had decided on a path to take with her to see where it might end up. Yeah, she was engaged to a man but that didn’t mean he couldn’t give it a shot to turn her heart to him. One thing he admitted to himself, he was becoming infatuated with her. She had a certain quality, a self-confidence that other women didn’t have in the marketing world.

Carter smiled on his way to his office to get his jacket and keys, thinking about her comment that after making a few text messages, she was all his. Even though she meant she was all his for a business lunch, Carter couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have her all to himself. When they arrived at the car, he saw her eyes widen at the sleek lines of the sports car and it was pretty obvious she had never ridden in a fancy sports car. As they pulled out of the parking garage, he noticed she kept looking at the gadgets and instrument panel, seemingly fascinated with the latest technology.

During the ride to the other side of the downtown area, he couldn’t help but glance down at her bare thighs. His hand was on the gear shift but he had to keep reminding himself to keep his hand on the knob and stray to the softness of her welcoming thighs. He wondered if her boyfriend had ever taken advantage of rubbing the inside of her thighs when they were side by side in a car. He noticed the scent of her fragrant perfume mixing with his cologne, as she stared at her phone for a few minutes, reading and sending text messages.

Pulling up outside the Veranda Restaurant, he looked at Anna and smiled, “We’re here.” One valet practically ran to the car and opened the for Anna while another valet opened his door. “Good afternoon Mr. Anderson. It’s good to have you back.”

“Thanks Robert.” Carter saw Anna staring at him and he smiled, slipping the valet some money.

The Veranda Restaurant got its name because of the second-floor veranda overlooking the river leading to he ocean. When the weather was warm and not too chilly the way it was today, setting on the veranda watching the boats cruise up and down the river was a perfect setting.

Entering the front entrance, they were greeted by a young hostess. “Hello Mr. Anderson. It’s so good to see you again. Mr. Hartman is already here on the veranda.” She looked at Anna and smiled. “I was under the impression it would be just you and Mr. Hartman for lunch.”

“Jane, this is Annaleigh from our marketing department and it was a last minute change.”

“Oh no problem Mr. Anderson. Right this way.”

Carter noticed the men turning their heads when they walked by and it was not him they were looking at. Anna had the looks that would turn men’s and women’s head. Jane showed them to the outside table where Edward was sipping a cool drink. When they got close, his grin widened, seeing Anna with Edward. He got up and shook Anna’s hand and said, “I was hoping you’d bring her along. I think she can give me the answers I need. Plus, she is so much better to look at than you Carter.”

Carter saw the blush on Anna’s face and then held the chair for her like a perfect gentleman. When they were seated, Carter looked at Edward. “Annaleigh has a very excellent draft marketing proposal for you. I must say she worked real hard and it is first class work.”

Edward leaned back and smiled at Anna. “Well young lady you can’t get much better praise from a tyrant of a boss. He is a real stickler when it comes to work and there are not too many people who can negotiate like him. But enough about him, tell me about your ideas.”
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:04 PM   #32
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Anna smiled thankfully as Carter escorted her to the table and pulled her chair out, carefully pushing it back to its original position once she was settled. She shook Edward’s hand and blushed at his comment about her looks, laughing it off. She could see Carter staring at her strangely from across the table but she ignored it just as she had his other glances throughout the drive.

“Yes, I’m very honoured to hear him say those words. He can be challenging to please, can’t he?” She smirked, tucking a string of hair behind her ear nervously. “I wouldn’t say that it’s top class work by any means but I did my best in this short timeframe. We’ve agreed that radio is being underutilized or improperly managed for our marketing strategies, so...”

She summarized after reaching for the proposal so he could browse along. “I’m happy to answer any questions. Mr. Anderson made some corrections this morning that can be explored in greater detail - I’m afraid we ran out of time for the draft but expect them to be finalized and fully supported in the final proposal,” she murmured, looking between them both for signs of how well (or not) her impromptu proposal had gone over.

The waitress stopped to take their order at this moment and she hesitated as she looked over the menu - the prices were almost as much as her monthly power bill! There was no way she could afford anything like this on a regular basis but she had been saving up to get another tattoo. She supposed she could dig into her rainy day fund for this. Glancing down through quickly, she found the cheapest item on the menu: a garden salad with chicken.

Simon would be so jealous - she couldn’t wait to tell him all about it over dinner on Friday! They had always talked about an upscale restaurant in this district but never had the chance to go. It almost felt like cheating on him, sitting here living out one of their fantasies with a man who was not him. She pushed that awkward feeling down.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:04 AM   #33
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Wednesday Lunch - Impressing Edward

When the waitress came to take their orders, he saw Anna struggling with the pricey menu. He should have told her to order anything on the menu since Edward was paying. He followed her lead and ordered the salad but rather than chicken, he asked for salmon. Edward made a comment about them watching their youthful figures as he ordered the luncheon special.

After the waitress left, Carter watched Anna dazzle Edward with data and figures. Carter remained silent for the most part, only answering questions when asked be Edward. He could tell Edward was duly impressed with Anna as he shook his head often in agreement with what she was saying.

When she was done, Edward looked at her. "You did a bang up job young lady." Turning to Carter he added, "You have a real gem here Carter. I'll be looking forward to seeing the final draft on Friday. By the way you can give it to me at the gala opening of Sharon's Gallery."

Carter remembered his conversation with Bradley and he had a questioning look on his face as he glanced from Edward to Anna but was interrupted when the food arrived. Waiting for the waitress to leave, he again looked at Edward. "What do you mean Edward?"

"I have to leave on Saturday morning for another function and I would like to have it before I leave. Bradley said you were planning to go when I talked to him earlier today. He said he would find you a date but you told him no."

Carter laughed and looked at Anna. "Bradley owns the Blue Haven and he always thinks he knows what's best for me. I'm not sure I'm going."

Edward chimed in. "I don't think you want to miss this event because there is a real incentive for you to go. Robert Jones is planning to be there and I heard he is looking for a new marketing scheme for his products. I know you've been dying to get his account."

Carter had been trying for months to get his business but Robert always told him he was happy with the firm he was using. Something must have changed and there was no way Carter was going to let this opportunity slip through his fingers. He would play hardball if he had to in order to get this account. This would be a huge up tick in revenue for the company.

Edward turned his attention directly to Anna. "And if Carter takes you to the gala opening, I know for sure Robert will be impressed. He likes to meet socially with the people he works with just like I do. You need to be comfortable with the people you give work too, just like I'm comfortable with you and Carter. This would be a great way to get in on the ground floor with him and I know you'll impress him just like you are doing with me."

Carter saw the expression on Anna's face change as Edward spoke. He could tell she was struggling with something. "I'm not sure if Anna will be available. We can talk about it and if she isn't available I'm sure Lena will attend." He really wanted Anna to attend but he remembered very vividly what happened after she lied to him last Friday night. Throwing Lena's name into the mix just might peak Anna's competitive nature. "What do you think of this opportunity Annaleigh?"
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:56 AM   #34
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Anna pondered. It really would be an excellent opportunity to pull in such an infamously significant connection in the marketing world, but the thought of going as Carter’s “date” even if it was a work thing made her feel uncomfortable. Even if she wanted to go, Anna had nothing she could wear and her personality and background would be like oil and water with these people. She resolved to think about it, but couldn’t deny the pull of attraction she felt at the idea.

To dress up and mingle with high-society influential businessmen and women was something she had never even dreamed of. Especially if it highlighted her career. To eat at a fine-dining restaurant which such high caliber food still felt like a faraway dream; sitting here still didn’t feel quite real just yet.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Hartman. It’s an opportunity I’ll have to put much thought into - I appreciate your kind words and I’ll do my best to continue getting this job done to the best my ability.”

Lena taking over this case was something that aggravated Anna. She couldn’t let this account be passed on to someone else because it was such a lucrative deal. It had the chance to put her over the top and help her climb the next rung on the ladder to a promotion, and thinking of someone else getting it almost drove her crazy. The more accounts she could get under her belt the better, but spending an evening away from work with Carter was so daunting.

Their meals came out then. Although she just had a salad, it was delicious and one of the best she’d had. She focused her attention on eating, listening to the men talk back and forth. They weren’t talking about anything special, but she enjoyed their pointed though still friendly banter.
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Cum Inside; Grab a drink and curl up for some light reading
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Old 03-28-2018, 02:41 PM   #35
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Wednesday afternoon- back to the office

The men waited patiently as Anna considered their suggestion that she attend the art gallery opening. From her hesitation, Carter was pretty sure Anna already had plans for Friday night. He could see her struggling with the question of attending the event on Friday with him or not.

When Anna told them she would think about it Carter looked at Edward and then back at her. “That sounds good but I’ll need to know by tomorrow morning if you are planning to attend. We have to brush up on Robert Jones’ company and products.”

The three of them talked a little bit more about Anna’s proposal while they finished their lunch. Afterwards they shook hands with Edward and while Carter called for his car to be brought around by the valet, Edward again congratulated Anna on a good job. He added that he hoped to see her Friday but he understood if she had a prior commitment.

As they walked out of the restaurant, a bicyclist almost hit them on the sidewalk. Without thinking Carter quickly wrapped his arms around Anna’s shoulders pulling her against him and away from the bicyclist. Carter was surprised when she wrapped her arms around his waist. He was sure it was her survival instincts when she wrapped her arms around his stomach his waist holding him tight. She felt so good he didn’t want to let her go. But he released her saying, “that was close. Are you Ok?”

Anna nodded yes and he apologized for grabbing just as Carter’s BMW arrived at the curb. Driving back to the office, Carter decided it was time to add a little pressure to Anna to make a decision. He was a master at negotiations and manipulations when it came to contracts. He wanted Anna to say yes about going to the gala and a little added pressure wouldn’t hurt.

Punching a number into the onboard phone system resulted almost immediately in an answer. John’s voice came over the speakers and Carter asked him if Lina would be in the office tomorrow. John responded yes and she was scheduled in all week. “Do you want me to tell her something?”

“No I just wanted to know if she would be available if I need her. Would you also do me a favor and get the Jones files that we put together about a month ago and have them shipped up to Joanna. I want to begin reviewing them this afternoon.”

Pulling up to the front of the tall office building Carter stopped at the curb and looked at Anna. “I have a few errands I need to run. If you make a decision before tomorrow morning let me know. I don’t want to wait until Friday to get ready for Mr. Jones.”

When she shifted in the passenger seat Carter couldn’t help but see more of her creamy thighs that were exposed when her skirt rode up higher. “Do you have any questions before I leave?”
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:49 PM   #36
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Anna knew very well that dangling Lena’s availability in her face was a carefully crafted ploy designed to manipulate her into saying that she would attend the gala. Carter couldn’t have been more obvious about it if he’d tried, but Anna couldn’t bring herself to care. She understood it was all business, but it still left her feeling like an asset: used until her ability to procure him contracts wore out or thrown away once he found someone new to focus on.

Anna would be damned if she lost this account to Lena, of all people. Although Lena was an employee with more seniority than Annaleigh, she was not afraid to say that her sharp mind for marketing and social skills made her the better choice. It was almost impossible to keep track of Carter’s whims, never knowing what she would be subjected to as she got swept up in the current that was his no-nonsense work ethic and downright ruthless personality. He was once again making it clear that there would be a punishment if she said no, albeit in a roundabout manner.

Anna was lost in these thoughts as they left the restaurant and didn’t see the oncoming cyclist until Carter had pulled her into the tight wrap of his arm around her shoulders. On pure instinct, she reached out to steady herself against him, hands sliding around his waist and gripping the fabric of his shirt. “Yes, I’m fine. Than you, Mr. Anderson. I didn’t see him until it was too late.” She tried not to focus on the hard line of pure muscle that was his body, honed and perfectly crafted out of what felt the strongest marble beneath his dress shirt. It took a few moments for her to snap out of the daze it had put her in, but once she did she pulled her hands back like she had been burned.

When they finally reached the office, she caught his glance out of the corner of his eye at her thighs. She tugged her skirt down nervously, remembering the last time he’d paid any attention to what was below her waist. His words made it clear he was dismissing her, and she grasped hold of the doorknob to climb out of the vehicle. Leaning her head back in and providing him with another good view of her cleavage, Anna asked. “What time would you expect me on Friday? Of course I’ll have to discuss all of this with Simon, but I’ll have an answer for you tomorrow morning, Mr. Anderson.”

Her plans with Simon would go down the drain if she went with her boss to this work function on a busy Friday night, especially since it had been almost all week without them seeing each other. She knew he would be disappointed but she hoped that if there was no other option that at least he wouldn’t begrudge her for it. He had always been kind and patient, and he would understand since it had never been a secret about Anna reaching for a promotion. Here was the opportunity being offered on a silver platter and Annaleigh was too busy being worried about her boyfriend's feelings. She would never get to advance in the company if she kept blowing it off for her personal life.
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Old 03-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #37
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Wednesday afternoon - Wondering about a decision?

When Anna leaned back into the passenger seat to ask what time the event started tomorrow, he was afforded another interesting view of her cleavage. He let out a soft murmur as if to be thinking about the time. Then glancing up to gaze into those piersing green eyes, he said, “It starts at 6 pm so we would leave right from work and depending on when Mr. Jones shows up and we can corner him for awhile it could about 8 or 9 or maybe later by the time you get home.” She was mulling over his answere when he added, “By the way Annaleigh this the dress is business casual. Some of the women will dress to the hilt but most will be wearing some nice they wear to the office. As for me and Edward, we’ll wear our suits but no ties.”

While running his errands which took about an hour, Carter mulled over the luncheon conversation and the bicyclist incident. He smiled thinking how good she felt when he hugged her and it was not lost on him how her fingertips lingered on his well-toned muscular abdomen. Returning to the office in mid-afternoon, he thought of stopping at marketing floor but decided, instead to go straight to his office. While he was very curious of Anna’s decision, he reminded himself that she mentioned she had to talk to her boyfriend. He chuckled thinking of the possible conversation between them. He was pretty sure that by dangling Lina’s name, Anna’s competitive nature would come out.

For the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening, he busied himself reading through the Jones notes. Scouring through the notes, he made mental notes for the potential meeting on Friday. But as he read and memorized, his thoughts often turned to Anna. It seemed her lovely face and figure interrupted his thoughts. More than once he stopped and stared out the window at the clouds, wondering what it would feel like to hold her in his arms longer than just a few seconds. When he was able to concentrate on the Jones file, he immersed in the details of the potential upcoming deal.

Carter knew Edward was not one to mislead him. If he knew something about Jones wanting to change marketing companies, it had to be true. He also thought about how Edward took to Anna, liking her from the instant he laid eyes on her. Edward was not an easy man to please as Anna would soon find out.

Seeing it was 6:30 pm on the wall clock, he wondered where the day had gone as he packed up and headed home. He didn’t bother to check on whether Anna was still in the building. He knew she was probably at home convincing her lover that she had to work on Friday night, or that was what Carter was hoping.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:07 AM   #38
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Anna packed up her things early that evening, just after four. She’d finished up her assignments fairly quickly that day following her business lunch. Most of the day had been spent debating on whether or not she should (or could) convince Simon to even let her go to such an event. She contemplated the consequences of letting this opportunity slip away.

When she got home she found that Simon had made her supper before he left for work and it made her feel even guiltier about the gala - he only went out of his way to do things like that when he was really missing her and couldn’t wait to get his hands on her, hopefully when she was more than a little pleased and feeling frisky (as she did when he did any chore or little thing to help her out). It was such a rare event.

She texted him, telling him how nice it was to have dinner waiting and that she loved him but to call her when he got a minute.

Anna was just finishing up the dishes when her phone rang. She dried her hands and reached for it, answering without looking. Simon’s voice floated into her ears as he greeted her.

Anna started to talk. “How mad will you be if I say I have a work thing I can’t get out of on Friday? I tried but it’s a great opportunity and I’d be crazy to turn it down. It’s a huge account and it might be the one to get me promoted,” she babbled.

Simon listened, frustrated. It seemed more and more lately she was putting her work ahead of them and he understood, truly, but their schedules were meeting up so little lately that he missed his girlfriend. “I thought we could go to that new pub and see this new live band. The guys say they’re really good. I was looking forward to it,” he whined.

“We can do something on Saturday. I’ve got nothing to do all day but laze around and cuddle if that’s what you want. I’ll be yours all day long,” She prodded.

It took a long time of bribing and promises before he eventually conceded, saying “maybe we could always go catch a late night movie if you’re up to it. I’m not happy but I get it. Whatever you need to do, baby. I understand you have to put in some work to move up in the world and I’m always going to support you.

“Listen, I gotta go but I love you. I’ll see you Friday night.” They hung up after saying their goodbyes and Anna got ready for bed. She did text Carter just to tell him that she would do go to the gala and to please send her any files on the account she may need to go through whenever he got a moment in the morning before she fell asleep.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:52 AM   #39
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Thursday - Working on the Jones account

He was tired for some reason and drifted off in his chair watching a basketball game. When he woke up, he looked at his phone and saw a text message from Anna. A broad smile creased his face as he read her brief note. A silent victory yell welled up inside him. He knew she wanted to spend time with her lover but the lure of a promotion was greater than blowing off the opportunity.

Noticing the time of her text was an hour ago, he typed a return note. "Thanks for the text. I'm happy you decided to attend the gallery opening with me. I'm sure you will find it most interesting." Carter got ready for bed and fell asleep with thoughts working closely with Anna. "you never know what can happen," he said to his empty bedroom as he fell asleep.

The next morning, Carter got to the office early and gathered up the Jones files he thought Anna would need to review on Thursday. He personally put them on her desk about an hour before he knew she would arrive. With the files, he left a sticky note. "Here are the Jones files for you to review. Take your time today and we will meet in my office at 9 am tomorrow morning to get ready." He looked at the note and then added a "Have a good day." Might as well throw a few curves at her, he mused as he walked back to his office.

Carter spent the day in his office reviewing the files, calling Edward to tell him Anna was going to attend the gallery opening. He sounded very pleased to know that she was planning to attend. During the day Carter resisted calling or texting Anna, letting her absorb the information on Robert Jones.

That night he went to the Blue Haven for dinner with Edward and talked to Bradley about the gala and then home for a good night's sleep. He was looking forward to seeing Anna in the morning.

The next morning, when Anna arrived at his office. He smiled at her outfit and said, "I'm glad to see you this morning Annaleigh. Did you have a problem convincing Simon to let you go with me to the gallery opening?"

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Old 03-29-2018, 12:53 PM   #40
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She read Carter’s text message in the am but did not respond with anything more than a simple, “yes, I’m sure,” feeling that it was more cursory than anything.

Thursday was uneventful but on Friday, she dressed herself in a white dress with blue flowers daintily sewn into the fabric, slipping into black flats and simple makeup. When she arrived at the office, she noted that Carter was already in and had left her the files she needed to review. She raised her eyebrow at the sticky note - the well wishes and a happy face drawn on seemed out of whack for his personality and it struck her as very strange.

Annaleigh was running late when she finally managed to make it up, but she’d sent a message earlier explaining that she was stuck on the phone with a client and would be up as soon as possible. It was 9:17 when she arrived at his office door. He seemed to be in good spirits and dismissed her lack of punctuality with an easy smile. She bowed in apology anyway.

She didn’t want him to know just how upset Simon had been last night. It almost felt like he was winning some game she didn’t know they were playing. Nonchalantly, she shrugged. “We’ll go out once I get home and we can always do something Saturday, anyway. He was fine with it. He understands that this is something I just can’t pass up. He’s happy for me.”

She settled in the chair in front of his desk. “I haven’t honestly had a chance to go through anything as thoroughly as I would like yet, but that will be my plan for this afternoon. My morning has been crazy. Sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Anderson.”
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Old 03-29-2018, 04:42 PM   #41
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Friday - Preparing to meet Robert Jones

Carter noticed her white dress with blue flowers and smiled as she sat down in one of the leather guest chairs. Her breasts were really on display in the tight dress and he saw her quickly smooth her dress down to the top of her knees. He wondered if it because of the inadvertent exposure of her thighs yesterday in the car.

He also wondered how she took his smiley face on the note he left her. But he wasn't going to mention it unless she brought it up. It was all part of an overall plan he devised. First, get her so pissed off that she hated him and then turn on the sweetness and charm. These were techniques he learned when negotiating big deals. Always have a game plan and be ready to improvise as needed during the negotiations.

There are ways to get someone to do things for you without being down right rude and overbearing. And so far everything was working well, finding himself becoming more enamored with Anna each day. Would anything happen tonight at the gala that could draw her closer to him. He was going to keep a close eye on her tonight and hopefully take advantage of any opening with her.

He smiled when she mentioned her and Simon would go out tonight when she got home and they always had Saturday to do something together. Secretly he wondered what she would do if she didn't get home until very late and how her fiancé would take it. Hell, they always had Saturday or did they? He wanted to dominate her time and had a feeling once she got around some high-powered players, she would want to stay as long as it took to impress them. But that was later and now they had to concentrate on the Jones memos.

"I'm glad your fiancé is so understanding Annaleigh. If you want to make an impact in your career there are things you need to do." Carter stopped and moved to the small conference table near the floor to ceiling windows. "Let's get comfortable it's going to be a long day." He had already taken off his coat and loosened his tie and noticed Anna looking at him as he joined him at the table.

When she sat down, he sat next to her and opened the files. The smell of her perfume wafted in the air and he said. "Don't worry about not having thoroughly reviewed the documents. We need to strategize on how we approach the subject with him in a social setting. He is probably not thinking about work tonight but we need to be very careful on how we approach getting his work. The best we can hope for is to impress him enough to get a face to face meeting with him."

Carter flipped open some notes he made and in so doing his arm rubbed against Anna arm. "Sorry about that," he said with a smile. Not waiting for her to respond, he started talking. "Here are some of my thoughts on how we approach him ........" And so they discussed strategy until later in the morning. "So what do you think Annaleigh? Are you excited about tonight?"
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:06 PM   #42
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There was nothing else for her to do but admit that he was distracting. He was talking about the pitch tonight and how best to approach Mr. Jones, but Annaleigh couldn’t focus over the spicy scent his aftershave put off or the stretch of his dress shirt over his chest. It’s a shame he’s such a prick the majority of the time, she thought, he’s an attractive man.

It made her think back to the note he had left her. There were good facets of his personality peeking out from under the rotten ones. She knew that the smile drawn under his messy scrawl was most likely to lure her into a false sense of security but for the life of her she was unsure as to what a man like this could want with her - why he was dedicating so much of his attention to her when they were both clear on the fact that there were better candidates for these accounts in the marketing division?

There was no denying he was irritating most days. But his behaviour had taken a noticeable turn after that episode in his office - it still boiled her blood, but it was almost as if he was trying to make it up to her. That’s the part that confused her: it was a well-known fact that Carter Anderson did not apologize. Ever. To anyone. Least of all to a nobody like Annaleigh.

He’s too close, she thought, when his arm brushed hers. It was so distracting. She wanted to move away and put some distance between them but that would be rude and make it apparent just how out of her element he made Anna feel.

“Yes, I agree that we need to be more sociable than anything tonight. I’ve been known to make friends easily so hopefully I can pull this off for us, Mr. Anderson. I’m excited to get a chance like this - it’s not every day that something like this happens to someone like me.”

Turning to face him as she pushed her chair back, Annaleigh began to stand. “I have a lunch meeting I really should be getting to shortly. I’m sure you’re quite the busy man yourself, so I’ll leave you be and meet you here this evening if that’s okay,” she stated. Anna offered him a tentative smile.

Her afternoon was uneventful, more boring paperwork than anything she could bunker down and put her creativity to use on. Just before five, Anna stood and made her way into the employee washroom. She smoothed down her dress and reapplied her makeup, slightly bolder this time, a wicked red smile painted on her lips with a new dab of eyeshadow and eyeliner. Her mascara was still okay but she retrieved her curler from the bag she had brought with her to work in preparation for the event. After doing all of that, Anna returned to her desk and stepped into the simple pair of heels she kept tucked away underneath.

Although she preferred to be comfortable at work, there were some deals that required her to “put her best foot forward” so to speak: Anna knew that she was reasonably cute, but it never hurt to slip into a pair of heels and tug her dress down a bit when trying to capitalize on an important deal for the company. She hated that her body alone kept some potential partners interested and not her actual skills in the field but at the end of the day if it made her paycheck that much more secure, you had better believe she would do it.

Anna grabbed her clutch and jacket and made her way back up to Carter’s office around 5:30. He was just finishing up for the day himself according to Joanna, so Anna waited in the lobby of his office space while she waited. She sent Simon a selfie with a flirty smile and purposeful view of her ample cleavage and a “can’t wait to see you tonight!! 😘❤️“ just as the door to Carter’s office opened and he stepped out. Gently, with a hand on her back, he ushered her to the car but Annaleigh attempted to step away and maintain a respectable distance. Her back was warm under her dress where his fingers had rested but she ignored it, settling comfortably in the vehicle.
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:06 AM   #43
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Friday Evening - Arriving at the Gallery

The closeness, the smell of her perfume screamed to take her into her arms and kiss her. But they were in his office and that would be the worst mistake he could make with her ..... now. When Annaleigh stated it was not everyday that something like this, the social setting for tonight, happens to her, he told her, "You'll do fine Annaleigh. Just be yourself and everyone will like you."

She pushed her chair back and announced she had a lunch meeting and since he was a busy man, she would leave him to his work and see him this evening. Was she starting to like him when she gave him a soft smile and then left his office. Carter ordered Chinese and ate in his office, while completing his analysis of Robert Jones. Looking out over the park and the river beyond, he wondered if Anna really had a lunch meeting or was she wanting to get away from him for a while. They had gone over all the details three times so he was pretty sure she had a good grasp of what they were going to do this evening.

Carter reflected on his image in the company and in the business world as a ruthless negotiator. That image afforded him a one-up-manship when dealing with clients and employees. Once you put the fear in someone that they are not going to win, you have a distinct advantage. Most if not all didn't see his softer side come out and when it did, they were amazed. He smiled thinking about Anna hating him for the underhanded intrusion into her personal life and now obviously confused with his recent actions. One thing he was sure of, she had never seen him be really charming in a social setting.

Carter let out a soft whistle when he saw how Annaleigh transformed her image when he opened his office door. He saw her stuffing her phone into her purse and then looking at him with those alluring emerald eyes. She looked so good and sexy, knowing but not caring, that she saw his obvious stare when he gazed on her added makeup and the view of her deep cleavage. She was going to definitely turn a lot of heads tonight just like she turned his.

When they arrived at the parking garage, he put his hand on the small of her back, directing her to his BMW. He smiled when she pulled slightly away from his touch. After opening the door for her and then walking to the driver side, he smirked to himself, 'Don't worry Carter the night is only beginning. There will be ample opportunity to touch her at the gallery.'

Sharon's Gallery was located not far from the Veranda Restaurant in the upscale part of town. It once was a thriving manufacturing district that fell into disrepair as companies moved to other parts of the city. The city, seeing the decay, secured federal and state grants, allowing young entrepreneurs to revitalize the area. Now it was teeming with apartments, restaurants, and small businesses and bringing some night-life back to the heart of the city.

Sharon Gleason was one of the young entrepreneurs who took advantage of free money to open her art gallery. It was on two floor of an old abandoned warehouse and from what Bradley told Carter, she displayed photographs, artifacts, like statures, and paintings by local artists.

She had hired a valet service for the night and when Carter pulled up to the curb he could see a small crowd had already gathered inside the gallery. It was going to be an important night for him and the company. An opportunity to open the door with a new client was looming in the air and also to push the door open a bit wider with Anna.

When they were on the sidewalk and ready to enter, he put his hand on the small of her back once again and this time while she didn't try to pull away, he felt her body stiffen just a tad. Leaning over her shoulder and seeing the extra expanse of cleavage, he whispered, "Just relax and enjoy the evening. By the way since this is a social event you don't have to be so formal with everyone and myself included. You can call me Carter and I will introduce you as ....." he stopped in mid-sentence seeing her turn her head to him. Seeing her red lips pouting, yelling kiss me, he smiled and asked, "Do you prefer Annaleigh or Anna?"
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:06 AM   #44
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His raw reaction and the look in his eye when he saw her was empowering; it made her feel sexy even though she knew she should discourage him. He didn’t bother to hide his evident appreciation of her breasts and body as she met him in his office to leave for the event. For once, his eyes rose from her tits to the generous curve of her upper lip and the painted smile she wore. She could have sworn she almost saw him lick his own, at the sight of her.

She sucked one of those lips into her mouth, contemplating that. As much as she wanted to maintain her business casual but polite distance, she realized having people call her Annaleigh seemed a bit stuffy and impolite at an event such as this. ”Anna, but only for tonight,” she murmured, turning back to look straight ahead as they walked. “It would be strange to call your date with such formality, after all,” she explained. His body was so close, and when he’d leaned over her shoulder to address her there was only a couple of inches space between their mouths connecting. She could feel and even taste the puff of his minty fresh breath on her mouth and subconsciously her tongue darted out to swipe quickly across the swell of her Cupid’s bow.

His hand on her back felt like searing fire even through the fabric of her dress. She’d tried to skip away from it, but he always managed to find his way back. His hand almost eclipsed her back - the edges of his fingertips stretching all the way across her waist and almost curling around the other side with the careful placement. His much bigger stature felt like it swallowed her whole and demonstrated ownership and control over her. Even if she was unattached, no man would dare come near if Carter stuck this close and continued to touch her as casually as if she was his girlfriend and not his employee.

It made her wonder about girlfriends. He was very discreet with his relationships. She’d never heard of a single one but with his attitude when he’d slammed her face into his desk and spanked her raw the other night, she guessed that his sexual appetite was large and not always straightforward. Her own sex life with Simon was pretty vanilla; she wanted to explore more things but he always turned her down immediately, preferring to remain in the realm of things he was comfortable with and not venture any further. The thought of Carter’s more... unusual or darker proclivities sent a shiver racing through her and goosebumps to pebble on her skin.

They entered the exhibit and Anna was able to turn her thoughts away from areas they should not be venturing. For a while, they just browsed through, with Carter saying hello and having quick conversations with people he knew (almost everyone, go figure). Annaleigh had adjusted her grip at one point, slipping her hand into the crook of his elbow as to not be parted from him. She was a social butterfly most often yes, but not with people of high-society and had no idea what she would talk about if anyone bothered to address her, so she stood by and let Carter take the lead.

He really is charismatic, she observed. He was able to make someone laugh at the drop of a hat or turn a sharp-edged comment into a dagger at will, striking down his opponent’s barriers and piercing deep into the heart of an issue to find the weakness inside. Women, on the other hand, were continually butting in and almost throwing themselves at him with sly flirty smiles or outright comments despite Anna’s presence at his side. He was cool as he proferred his own smile and it certainly didn’t help; she was sure she could see panties dropping all over the room. The worst thing was that he was acutely aware of it - he could probably fuck anyone of those women in the bathroom as a quickie if he pleased, and the thought most likely sent a wicked sense of power lancing through him. It seemed like everything just fell so perfectly into Carter Anderson’s lap. She frowned.

Snatching a glass of champagne from one of the waiters (her second of the night so far), she resolved that she would go find something to distract her from the sick feeling that had settled in her stomach just now. She dropped his arm and went to step away, but his hand quickly grasped her own tightly preventing her from leaving. She tried to pull it away subtly so as not to direct anyone’s attention to it, but his grip was firm as his fingers slipped between hers and his palm flattened to swallow her tiny hand against his. She sighed but it was interrupted by a booming voice on her left addressing Carter.

“Carter, there you are! I’ve been looking for you all evening but I see you’ve been tied up with showing off your lovely new girlfriend - of course you’ve no time for me!”
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Old 03-30-2018, 12:56 PM   #45
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Friday night - Settling into the Gallery opening

While Carter was very comfortable attending social functions, he could tell from Anna’s mannerisms this was all new to her. Oh, she probably went out with Simon to some social functions but nothing like this one. The people attending this function were the movers and shakers of society and business. The mayor and council along with other political persons all wanting to take credit for the new business opening. Most of the married women were stay at home wives who did charitable work while the non-married women were always on the lookout for a good catch. And everyone knew Carter was an eligible bachelor swimming in shark infested waters.

Walking with a hand on Anna’s back felt good but soon she shifted and put her hand in the crook of elbow. Turning his head sideways, he smiled at her, pulling his arm tighter against his side as if to keep it captured. Carter saw the exploratory looks of the women lurking to find that one eligible man while they secretively watched Anna holding onto his elbow.

It seemed to him that Anna felt really comfortable holding onto his arm and on a few occasions as they talked with patrons, he put his free hand over hers. He was pleased that she didn’t try to pull her hand away. He could tell the women were giving Anna the once over, asking the silent question what does she have that they don’t. Occasionally, when Carter stopped talking, he glanced over at Anna, seeing her eyes surveying the crowd as if looking for someone she knew. He was well aware of the women giving him the come-hither look while measuring his date. But that came with the territory of being an eligible bachelor and a rich powerful one.

He also grabbed a glass of bubbly champagne when he noticed Anna grab her second one of the night. He made a mental note to keep tabs on how many she drank. This was an important night for the company and the last thing he needed was her getting tipsy and ruining the introduction to Robert Jones. She let go of his arm and he quickly grabbed it, swallowing her small hand in his large paw. He squeezed her hand a little harder when she tried to pull it away. But it was not enough to hurt but hard enough for her to realize he didn’t want her to leave his side. He didn’t want her running off, leaving him to fend off the advances of the female sharks. Besides she seemed to be enjoying being with him, socializing with the upper crust. He really felt that once Anna got a taste of his world, she would want more but it would also mean making a commitment.

Then out of the blue came a shrill voice and Carter could only smile and let out a laugh. Mayor Gibbons I have not been trying to hide from you,” he said with a feigned hurtful laugh. Marilyn Gibbons was in her second term and took credit for all the new development in the city. She was an experienced politician, using her influence with various agencies to get what she wanted. Carter sometimes thought she was like him in her sphere of influence, a tough negotiator, getting what she wanted. But socially she was complimentary to all and now she stood in front of him.

“Aren’t you forgetting something Carter,” she laughed as her gaze left his and fell on Anna.

“Yes ma’am,” he snickered, leaning over to kiss her cheek.

“Now tell me who this wonderful looking woman is that’s clinging to every word you say.”

“Mayor Gibbons. May I introduce Annaleigh Brayden. You may call her Anna. She is the bright star in my marketing department and I asked her join me tonight. We are looking for Edward Hartman. Have you seen him?”

“Yes dear I have. He is over by the hor d'oeuvres with his lovely wife.”

“Thank you, mayor we need to go, say to him.”

The mayor smiled and held up her hand, moving to stand in front of Anna. “All in good time young man.” She grabbed Anna’s arm and pulled her against her side. “The boy is all business and here we are a social function. You come with me for a moment. Has Carter been nice to you? Are you enjoying yourself tonight?”

The mayor talked nonstop and sometimes didn't give a person a chance to answer. But she loved meeting new people and she saw Anna as a new acquaintance who would vote in the next election and she wanted to make sure she had a friend at the ballot box. The mayor glanced back at him and he heard her call out. “You go ahead Carter. I will deliver your precious cargo in a few minutes.” Carter could only laugh at the mayor’s humor and then walked to where Edward was standing.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:55 PM   #46
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The mayor made her feel very comfortable despite her holding Annaleigh so tightly to her side. Anna had never been one for such physical contact but it seemed that those with money or power crossed that boundary and invaded her personal space whether she wanted it or not like they had always been meant to be there. Carter was one such example - he’d never shied away from placing his hands on her but it was explicitly different; Anna beginning to understand that his interest in her was not business-related at all.

“Carter’s been very pleasant, thank you, Mayor Gibbons. I know he doesn’t always play very well with others but he’s been nothing but wonderful tonight,” she blushed as she murmured. “It’s been a beautiful evening and I’m so glad he’s given me the honour of being his plus one,” she found that she responded honestly.

“Oh yes, Carter can be devilish when he chooses but he’s full of hidden delights. No woman has ever managed to uncover some of those, though. But you, my goodness, that man cannot keep his eyes from you, my dear,” the Mayor smirked, gesturing across the room where indeed, Carter’s eyes were tracking her movements as he spoke with Edward, leaning against the refreshment table.

Anna laughed nervously. “Oh, I’m nothing Mayor Gibbons. Just someone to help increase the depth of his pockets,” Anna said, quietly. “I’m afraid this situation has become all muddled up - Carter is just my boss who sees the potential in me and wanted to offer me a valuable chance to make connections.”

The Mayor chuckled outright. “You silly woman - you think Carter goes out of his way for just anyone? No, sweet girl. That man has claims on you whether you realize or not. I’m afraid you’ll find it very difficult to escape his affections, now. This is just as much a statement to the rest of these sharks as it is a thinly veiled business proposition - fuck off, she’s mine - is the breaking news I’m hearing. Doll, you don’t see it, do you?” She responded, gently tugging her along to rejoin her date.

The words from the Mayor were spinning around crazily in Annaleigh’s head as she reached Carter and Edward, numbly offering her hand to who she correctly guessed must be Edward’s lovely other half as introductions were made. Her attention was wandering now as she thought over such a bold statement. Suddenly it clicked that it was most definitely something he would do; exerting his control over the situation with a hidden message such as that. When he reached again for her waist, Anna ducked out of his grasp. She played it off by stepping forward to browse the selection of hors-d'oeuvres but she caught his eyes narrow in speculation at her.

It was apparent to him that something had happened while she spoke with the mayor and it was obviously eating at him throughout the conversation they were having with his longtime friend and his wife. It wasn’t long before Edward cleared his throat and straightened, Anna following his gaze to where a tall man with salt and pepper hair was currently stalking across the floor in long, purposeful strides. He radiated power and wealth almost more so than anyone in this room and Anna realized this must be Robert Jones in the flesh. Following Edward’s lead and straightening up to her full negligible height and relaxing her face into a soft, friendly smile, Anna prepared for battle.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:00 PM   #47
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Edward and his wife, Regina were all smiles when Carter joined them. The three of them watched the mayor take Anna, introducing her to a few of her council members. Carter knew the mayor had a perchance for talking a lot and not saying much like a real smooth politician. It was no wonder why people of the city liked her, with the way she was so cheerful and available to the public.

While he talked to Edward and Regina, he kept looking to see where Anna and mayor were in the room. The mayor was looking at him with a huge smile as if she just said something funny to Anna. Carter got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, that not was all well. The mayor knew all the rumors floating around about his prowess with and the way her and Anna kept looking at him, he got the feeling the mayor was telling her some of the rumors. But they were only rumors as Carter kept his personal dating life close to the vest. His partners so far were not part of the elite circle now assembled to open the gallery.

When they returned, the mayor smiled warmly. She took Carter to the side and whispered, "She's quite the catch Carter. Do whatever you can to keep this one." When she walked away to find Sharon Gleason, he could tell there was a change in Anna's demeanor. Prior to the mayor filling her head with whatever they were talking about, she seemed to like being with him. Now she was shying away like he had the plague when he started to put his arm around her.

He noticed when she returned with some hors d’oeuvres, she stood across from him, next to Regina. He would have to talk to her quickly to find out what the mayor told her. He was about to excuse them and take her to a quiet corner, but then Edward cleared his throat and nodded at the tall man across the room.

Carter moved next to Anna as they waited for the right moment to approach the man. When Robert worked his way to their area, Carter nudged Anna. "Are your ready?" She nodded nervously and then he looked at his friend. "Edward would you kindly make the introductions."

Edward waved to the tall man and they saw him smile in return. Carter felt a bit of relief that the man really knew Edward when he made his way to where they were standing. "Let me take that," Carter whispered to Anna, taking her plate and setting it on the table near them.

Putting his hand on her back, he felt her stiffen just like she had the first time he touched her earlier in the evening. He promised himself to talk to the mayor and find out what the hell she put in Anna's head. But now there was more important things to attend to, getting Robert Jones attention.

Edward extended his hand to the tall salt and pepper haired man. "Great to see you again Robert. You're looking dapper as usual."

"Thanks Edward." His eyes shifted to Regina. "Good to see you again Regina." She smiled and told him, "Thank you."

The tall man's eyes shifted once more and now landed on Carter and Anna. Edward was quick to say. "Robert I want you to meet Carter Anderson and Annaleigh Brayton. I think you may know Carter. Ms. Brayton is a key executive in the marketing department at Anderson and Clemens."

Carter watched the man take in Anna's figure and he gave them both a soft smile. "Nice to meet you both. I do know of Mr. Anderson." He let out a soft chuckle and added, "His firm wants some of my business and I keep telling him no." It was evident to Carter that the man was bating him but Carter knew better. This was not the time or place to banter with a prospective client.

"Well if you would give us an opportunity to meet and discuss how we can make you a lot of money, maybe you would give us a shot."

Robert Jones looked at Carter and then at Anna. "Young lady tell me why I should give this son-of-a-bitch a shot at my business."

Carter had been called that and much worse as he turned his attention to Anna waiting for her to sell the company. Was she up to the gauntlet Robert had thrown to her?
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:34 PM   #48
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"If I may be honest? He's one persistent son of a bitch like you've just mentioned. But that's all well and good sir because he's never failed to put forth the results he promises and more. Mr. Anderson can be a pain in the ass to work with at times but there's no one more skilled at negotiating his way into the money like he is. He doesn't take shit from anyone; always ensuring the deal on offer is going to be a lucrative venture for both parties," she responded without overthinking.

"I'd like to think that his track record speaks for itself. Needless to say, Anderson & Clemens is an industry leader and would open up many profitable avenues for you. If his rough attitude dissuades you, I would be happy to manage client relations. I've been told my eye for product marketing and ability to think outside the box are great assets and my client profile is beginning to reflect that as I take on larger accounts and manage them well. Although I'm relatively unknown as of yet, I'd like to think that you wouldn't be making a mistake by investing in my skills.

"Unlike Carter, I seem to have a better understanding of social cues and can secure connections that he may not. Likewise, I feel that statement may also be used oppositely; his firm negotiating style brings in clients that I would be otherwise unable to. The pair of us together? I think you would find us unstoppable. Although it is not my company and I'm still relatively new, it is impossible to deny the results of our teamwork thus far," she stated frankly.

"I think you would be making a mistake if you do not even give us the chance to sit down and offer you a proposal."

The shocked silence that followed her declarations were nerve-wracking and she almost hunched her shoulders in anxiety. Had she said the wrong thing? She knew maybe pointing out her boss' bad qualities may not be a good plan in the long run but she hoped that her complimenting skills may be enough to tempt him; she soothed the rough edges that Carter left behind in his dealings with clients as she was well on the road to finding out.

Plus, she knew no one else had ever pitched to Robert Jones just as she had - it would certainly be memorable! Annaleigh was not born into this world and clearly didn't fit, but it was obvious that her refusal to tip-toe around socialites and businessmen to tell them like it is was refreshing to some and offensive to others. She was just hoping that Mr. Jones fell on the prior end of the spectrum.

Edward's booming laugh broke the silence first before Regina's giggles accompanied him. It eased the tension out of Anna's shoulders and she raised her eyes to meet Robert Jones'. He was watching her with a poker face for a moment before his eyes turned up at the corner and he smiled a wide toothy grin at her.

"Where the fuck did you find this one? She's a keeper, Anderson! Look at her sticking it to you like that and still managing to impress potential investment partners. You need someone like her - able to rein you in and keep a firm grip on your balls!" He cackled. "Any woman who knows the measure of you but still stands by your side is a woman I'd be happy to work with. Let's discuss this next week sometime."

He pulled a dark black business card from his pocket with fine white lettering and held it out for Anna to take. She reached for it and he pressed it into her palm, shaking her hand firmly. The smile she doled out in response was perhaps brighter than any Carter had yet seen, and she carefully tucked the card into her clutch.

"Please call my secretary and tell her when you're available. I'll make time for you - if only you were my employee and could set my own company straight. Any chance you're in the market for a new job?" He teased.

Anna giggled, politely declining but thanking him for his offer. She figured now would be a good time to start smoothing things out with Carter before he became too mad at her impromptu speech. "No thank you, Mr. Jones. Like I've said, I think I'm in the best possible spot with Carter at the moment. He's provided me with outstanding opportunities and I would hate to abandon the man who found the potential in me and allowed me to come here tonight. I'm thrilled with my position working for him."
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:02 PM   #49
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Friday night - Anna's speal to Robert Jones

Carter’s eyes widened when Anna started off telling Robert Jones that he was a son of a bitch. ‘What the fuck is she doing,’ he thought as she then told him about the results the company produced for their clients. She was cutting him down, painting him as a bastard and then praising him. But the key he picked up on was, she never undermined the company and what they did for their clients. He could take the heat and be called all sorts of bad names personally but the image of the company should not be tarnished.

She talked about his track record and he noticed a nod of approval from Edward. But then he let out a snicker when she told Robert Jones that she had more social skills than Carter. Carter frowned at that comment. Sure, he was a bastard sometimes but there was no mistaking his social connections far outweighed Anna’s connections. He thought she was starting to tread on thin ice, building up herself while tearing him down.

When she finished, there was an awkward silence. Carter could see Robert Jones was trying to put on a poker face but he could see by the twinkle in his eyes, that he was enjoying Anna’s put-downs of her boss. And then Edward let out a loud laugh and the people around them giggled. It was evident they all liked the way Anna seemed to have a good grasp on Carter.

Carter knew as soon as Robert opened his mouth that he liked what Anna had to say and he too enjoyed hearing someone else say things about him. But Carter knew when Robert was calling him a son of a bitch, it was something said in the industry that showed respect. One competitor to another competitor. Carter didn’t think Anna understood his real meaning but her tirade paid off. They were going to have a meeting with Robert Jones next week.

"When Anna told Robert that she was in the best possible spot with Carter, he smiled. It made him want her all the more knowing that she was loyal to him and the company. He smiled and thanked Robert for the opportunity and told him he and Anna looked forward to the meeting next week. Robert shook hands with everyone left but not without turning back and winking at Anna.

Edward and Regina said they were going to look at the art exhibits. "Let's meet in about an hour." Carter told him sure thing just as the Mayor made her speech praising Sharon for opening the gallery and also expounding on how she help get some needed funding. They listened to the litany of speeches, congratulating each other and wishing Sharon the best in the future.

When the speeches were done, Sharon suggested everyone take the time to stroll around and look at the art exhibits and to eat the food that was catered. She made a joke about not wanting to have to take any of it home and everyone laughed.

Carter hooked his arm around Anna’s shoulders and smiled when she gave him a tentative smile. He could tell she thought she was in trouble. “Let’s go look at the exhibits and while we do you can tell me why you think I am a son of a bitch and why you love working for me. You did a wonderful job with Robert, thinking out of the box and getting him to like you.” He heard her snicker knowing she was not in trouble. But was she?

He directed her the area where paintings adorned the walls. “We have about 45 minutes before we have to meet up with Edward again. I asaw you had an interesting talk with the mayor. Did she fill you in on all the juicy rumors going around town about me?”
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:27 PM   #50
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As Robert meandered off to mingle with others and everyone else eventually dispersed around them, she felt the nerves settle into her gut once more as Carter's steely gaze trapped her and froze her in place. She was unsure of what she could expect, but he certainly wouldn't have appreciated her talk about him and was most likely going to let her know exactly how sourly her comments had struck at him.

His arm was a tight band of muscle around her shoulders, pulling her into his side as he led her around the exhibits. His words made her feel as though he were asking for an open assessment, but Anna knew it must be a carefully planted trap. It was very rare to get away with talking to your boss like she just had, let alone a man as dangerous as Carter was. There was no way he would let it slip the second time - but then again, hadn't he spanked her for being dishonest?

"I believe you told me that honesty is the best policy when you put your hands on me in that appropriate manner several days ago," she initialized. "As such, I felt it was only correct that I should tell the truth. You are a handful; you're exhausting and domineering and only take what you want from others just as you did me that evening. But you've earned the ability to be that way. I'm slowly learning that you are fair - you give what you get. Respect is earned and I can appreciate that. You're a powerful ally to have and I would be stupid to waste this chance, Mr. Anderson," she replied softly, switching back to her formal patterns of respect now that they were alone.

"You have an incredible ability to read people and manipulate them into doing what you want them to. You may look at it as negotiating, but when you always come out the winner there's little other way to describe it. You're unpredictable, but that just means you're also flexible and adaptable to meet changing demands. If I can be honest, you're truly intimidating. I never know just where I stand. I'm always watching my words and actions, considering how you might react. I know that's ridiculous, but your power over me is something that terrifies me," she admitted, turning away from him to pretend she was looking at the paintings.

It was only a handful of seconds before she began talking once more but it felt like minutes. "The Mayor believes that you're interested in more than purely business with me - no 'rumour mill' involved. She says she's never seen you so attentive to one woman and that a man like you doesn't go out of his way for someone like me unless he plans on keeping her around - that you were exerting dominance over me in a subtle manner for everyone in the room to back off," she finally stated, chewing her lip. "It was very unsettling. Of course I see your glances, but there can never be anything to that. It's just something to brush off. When someone else feels the need to bring it up, that's when I realize this has become an even bigger issue than I initially thought."

She ducked her head. "I apologize - I think the alcohol is getting to me. Perhaps I should head home. I'm beginning to babble nonsense and I know how much that drives you insane," she said as she popped open her clutch and dug for her phone.

"Let me call a cab and I'll be out of your hair."
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