Miss Callahan, ch. 04

Info ShiaWoods
02 Oct. '20

Chapter 4

The room is dark as I move closer to the bed, the only lights on by now are the soft backlights illuminating off the headboard. Lauren looks even sexier in person than she did in the photo as she pushes two fingers deeper into her folds and lets out a soft moan. She’s looking at me with darkened eyes as she pushes them in and out.

As much as I want to move on to the bed, I wait at the end for her to move down it so I can get on my knees. She slows her hand as she continues to look at me.

“Take off your dress and bra. I want to see those pretty tits as you lick my pussy,” she commands.

With two buttons already undone, my dress slips easily off my head and I instantly feel my skin break out in goose bumps. My nipples harden against my bra and I’m sure she can see the slight wetness that is already coating my thighs.

Knowing what will make her happy, I carefully fold the dress while looking into her eyes. As I do, her lips part slightly and she lets out a longer moan. I move over to the chair by the bed and place the dress on it. I quickly remove my bra, fold it and add it to the pile before moving back to the end of the bed.

“Isn’t it nice not having to also remove your panties baby girl?” She pants out the question as she continues to fuck herself. I notice her hands aren’t working as fast as they were when I came in. Maybe she was getting too close to an orgasm. 

“Yes, Miss Callahan,” I whisper back as I slowly get down on my knees.

“Shouldn’t you thank me for making things easier for you?”

“Thank you, miss,” I say as I put my hands behind my back and keep them clasped there. I can see a flash of heat cross her eyes as she notices the submissive gesture. 

Lauren removes her hand from her pussy and scoots to the end of the bed, keeping her darkened eyes trained on mine. I’m starting to get an addictive rush every time I submit to her and she gives me that look of hunger. I want her to always look at me like that.

As she moves herself so she has a leg on each side of me, I can already smell how aroused she is. I close my eyes so I can inhale deeper, suddenly more nervous than I was a moment ago. As I let out the breath I was holding, I know I’m not able to mask the slight shake.

Lauren puts her fingers gently under my chin and pushes my head up so I’m forced to make eye contact. 

“Ems, I need you to talk to me. If you don’t enjoy this, you need to tell me before we go further.”

The last thing I want is for this to end. I reach out and put my hands on her bare thighs and squeeze lightly, trying to showcase what my mouth doesn’t seem capable of right now. 

“I do enjoy this. I’m just…I don’t know. I think I’m just a little nervous. You are the sexiest woman I’ve ever met,” I say quietly, trying to steel my voice. 

Instead of giving me her signature smirk, she simply smiles softly and I’m grateful I went for honesty and didn’t try to play it cool. Because she is the sexiest woman I’ve ever met. And while I’ve never been in a dynamic with a woman with such strict submissive and dominant roles, I can’t lie to myself, or Lauren, and say I don’t enjoy it. I do enjoy it. More and more with each moment.

Without saying anything, Lauren gently takes one of my hands and plays with my fingers with her own.

“And you’re not used to being submissive.” 

It wasn’t a question. She already knows based on our conversation last night that I’m probably not used to this dynamic. But the way she reads me so easily, stating what she knows to be true with such sexy confidence, has me throbbing while on my knees. 

“No,” I whisper back, not really trusting my voice right now.

“Yet you like being submissive. My submissive.” 

As she talks, she pulls my hand up and places it on her bare nipple, allowing me to pull gently on her bud with my fingers. She doesn’t move her hand from mine but allows me to just play with her.

“Yes, miss. I like it.”

She closes her eyes as I put my whole palm over her tit and lets out a sigh before opening them. Her eyes are the same dark color thy were last night in my office and I can feel a new wave of wetness drip down my legs.

I have to move closer as she brings my hand up to her mouth while maintaining her intense stare.

“Good. Because I find you very..” she stops midsentence to slide her tongue up my index finger, “…very, sexy too.” 

She brings that finger and my middle finger into her mouth. She closes her eyes, hums quietly and sucks and all I can do is sit there on my knees staring dumbly up at her as a fire hits my crotch. She brings my hand out of her mouth and leans in for a kiss. 

But this kiss feels so different than last night’s kiss. This isn’t the fast-paced wrestling match of lips and tongues I felt the moment we kissed last night. This kiss is slow as she gently parts my lips with her tongue, holding my face in her hands so carefully that it feels romantic.  

As sexy as it is, I need more than these innocent licks and nibbles on my lip. I push up into her, moving my body onto her so I’m straddling her lap. I take her mouth more fully and for a moment, she allows me to take control of the kiss, bringing her hand around my head to place it on the back of my hair. We both moan into the kiss as our tongues slide against each other in a passionate embrace.

I’m in such a trance kissing her that I almost don’t feel her hand pushing against my heaving chest. As I open my eyes though, I can see that I’m not the only one out of breath.

“Easy tiger,” she says breathily as she smiles at me. “Lay down, Ems.”

I want to protest, grab her and kiss her again, be damned with her need for control. Or get back down on my knees and devour her pussy. But the powerful look in her eyes lets me know that arguing wouldn’t be wise. She may have allowed me to deepen that kiss, but she is now back in control. I lay back down and scoot up, so my head is against the pillows on the bed. 

Lauren moves towards me until she’s straddling me, and I can feel a sudden wetness on my stomach from her pussy resting on me. 

“One day, I will have you on your knees, but for now, I want to talk.”

My mind if a jumble of conflicting thoughts and questions. Part of me is still reeling from the promise of another night with her, but my unbelievable arousal overrides any other thought.

“You want to talk?” I breathe out. “Now?”

Lauren simply lets out a low laugh as she takes both my hands and puts them over my head. She pushes down on my hands, making her pussy slide against my stomach. She closes her eyes as she grinds down again before opening them and smiling down at me.

“Yes, baby. I want to talk. If you’re going to submit to me, we need to establish some rules. I want you to nod for consent. Do you understand?”

With all my strength going to not squirming under her, all I can do is nod anyway, so I do. 

“Good girl.” 

She leans down towards my face, so her lips are close to mine and her hands are pushing down on my hands even more. I can feel her breath as she whispers and all I want to do is kiss those lips again. 

“We won’t doing anything you will need a safe word for tonight, but I need to know you’ll stop me if you’re not comfortable with anything. Understand?”

I nod.

“You won’t come unless you have permission from me. Understand?”

I nod.

“You won’t touch me without permission.”

I nod.

“You will call me miss, or Miss Callahan, unless we are at work.”

I nod.

She moves closer to my ear and rolls her tongue around my lobe. I can’t keep in the moan I’ve been holding back since she began setting her rules. 

“You are so beautiful when you submit, I can’t believe you’ve never done this before.”

She licks up my ear again and down my neck, sucking her way to my collar bone. She moves my hands into one hand and takes her other hand to push my left tit into her mouth. She sucks hard on my nipple before she flicks it lightly with her tongue. My back arches off the bed, pushing my tits into her face.

“Miss, that feels so good,” I pant out.

Lauren looks up at me, her mouth wet from her sloppy work on my tit. 

“I’m going to let go of your hands. I want you to keep them there. Do not move them.”

“Yes, miss,” I say, desperate for her mouth to continue its assault of my tits. 

But she doesn’t go back to them. Once her hands release mine, she moves them down to cup my face and kisses me with the same fervor as she used on my chest. 

I can barely breathe as she pushes her tongue all the way into my mouth and slides it against my own. It’s not until she comes up for air that I can take in a breath of my own.

“I love how your body responds to mine. I’m going to make you come before I allow you to touch me.”

“Thank you miss,” I try to say back but my own moan cuts me off as she moves quickly down between my legs, spreads them, and latches her mouth unceremoniously on my clit. My body lifts of the bed automatically, greedily trying to get more of her mouth on me.

Part of me is screaming to push her head away and get back on my knees so I can make her come on my tongue, but the woman’s talented mouth is making me forget about that. Lauren’s clearly on a mission and I’m not going to stop her.

Before I can even get used to her mouth on me, she brings her hand to my opening and circles it, brining two fingers inside, but not pushing in deep. 

I try to move my hips so her fingers will go deeper but she presses down on my pelvis.

“What do you need baby girl?”

I lift my hips up again trying to communicate without having to speak, but that just makes her remove her mouth from my pussy and look up at me.

I’m a panting mess above her and know nothing about my current state must look very elegant. But I know she won’t continue unless I ask for what I need.

“Please Miss Callahan. Fuck me.”

Lauren gives me a slow, sexy smile as she pushes her fingers into my wet opening so her hand is as far as it will go. But she doesn’t pump them in and out like I’m craving. She just holds them inside me, staring up at me. 

“Fuck my fingers baby,” she demands.

I move my hips up and down in quick succession and I can feel her fingers sliding in and out of my pussy. It feels so dirty fucking her fingers while she’s staring up at me that I close my eyes and push my hips up and down faster and faster.

“Mmm that’s it baby. You are so wet for me.”

As she speaks, she expertly adds another finger making me moan even out louder.

“Oh god miss, yes. You feel so good.”

“So do you baby. Fuck my fingers like my good girl. Faster.”

I’m pushing my hips up so hard now that may body comes down hard on the mattress with every thrust. I can’t imagine what I look like now, panting out swear words as I hump Lauren’s fingers.

As soon as I can feel my walls starting to clench around her fingers, she adds one more in. My hips slow slightly as she fills me and my thrusts become longer, allowing her to fill me.

“You are so open for me baby. One day you’ll take my whole hand.”

I’ve never been fisted but at her words I can feel a new wave of wetness drip out from my pussy and onto her fingers.

“Yes, miss. Please. Now. I’m ready.”

I can hear the neediness in my own voice, but I don’t care. I just want to feel full of Lauren. I want to remember this moment tomorrow. I need to.

Before she speaks, she gives a low laugh. 

“I know you are darling. But not tonight. Tonight, I don’t want you to feel any pain.”

My sex clouded mind is too close to orgasm to argue and tell her that I want to feel some pain. That’s something I need to process anyway since I’ve never had such a desire for that until this moment.

“Faster,” she commands.

I push my hips up into the air and don’t bring them down this time. I move up and down on her fingers, desperately trying to push her as deep as I can.

“Fuck miss, I’m going to come.”

“Not without my permission you’re not.”

“Please miss, may I come? Please? Please?”

I’m basically shouting at this point. I can feel myself tumbling towards climax as I hear her say, “come, darling.”

“Mmm fuck miss, I’m coming, I’m coming, fuck!” 

I push my hands into the bed so I won’t be tempted to move them as I feel an intense orgasm roll through my body, making me see white as I slam my eyes shut.

The orgasm is so intense that I don’t even feel her fingers leave my body. All I can feel is the slight jerks my whole body gives as I come down from the high.

I open my eyes when I feel her climb up my body so she’s straddling me again. She pushes down on my hands above my head and looks down at me with a serious expression.

“You are absolutely delicious when you come for me like that. And you were such a good girl for keeping your hands up here like I asked. Would you like your reward?”

 I don’t have much energy to do more than give her a lazy smile.

“Isn’t that what I just got?” I ask.

She takes one hand off mine and very lightly slaps under my jaw.

“Don’t sass back. Would you like your reward?”

“Yes, miss,” I say back more seriously.

Lauren leans down over my face, so her tits are right above me. If I move my nose, I’d hit her nipple with the end of it.

All feeling of exhaustion is gone and I can feel my mouth start to water at the anticipation of getting to touch her finally.

With one hand still pressed into my hands, she takes the other and grabs a fistful of my hair so she can guide my mouth to her left tit.

“You may taste,” she says in a breathless voice, betraying her own arousal.

I swirl around her nipple with my tongue, careful not to touch the bud yet. As soon as I hear her moan out, I move my tongue over her nipple so I can flick it back and forth over the hard bud.

Her grip on my hair loosens as she lets my mouth have free reign of her tits. I move my head back and forth between each, sliding my tongue all over her chest so she’s wet everywhere. She’s moaning and moving her tits up and down to get as much of my tongue as she can get.

I love how sensitive Lauren’s tits are and I could do this until she comes from just my tongue on her nipples. Which, based on the sounds she’s marking, might not be far off.

But Lauren moves up so I can’t reach her tits with my mouth and I can’t help but let out a sound of protest at the loss. 

“Don’t worry baby,” she says, “if you enjoyed that, you’re going to love the next dish.”

My pussy is throbbing again, but I focus on her body moving up my own, spreading her wetness on as much of my naked chest as she can.

“You may bring your hands down baby,” she commands and my arms tingle slightly as I move them down from their raised position. 

Lauren moves her pussy closer to my head and her arousal is even more potent than when I first entered the room. It’s intoxicating. 

“I’m going to let you taste me now. Bring your hands up to my ass.”

I do as she says slowly, trying not to betray how much I’ve been thinking of touching her sexy ass since I saw her walk into the office in that first pencil skirt. 

And I’m not disappointed. Firm and soft at the same time, I can’t help but squeeze them as I moan out in appreciation.

Lauren brings one finger under my chin and I’m forced to open the eyes that I hadn’t even realized I closed.

“That felt good. But don’t get carried away,” she says sternly and all I can do is nod.

She moves so she’s directly above me and puts her hands-on top of the headboard before she slowly lowers herself down to my mouth.

She’s so wet, the first thing I do is lick and suck around her folds so I can get more friction with my tongue. I lap up as much of her juices as I can, but the way my own mouth is watering doesn’t help control just how wet everything is. 

Lauren lets out a low moan as my tongue begins to lick up and down her length.

“Mmm good girl. Your tongue feels amazing,” she says in a low voice. 

My eyes are closed as I allow myself to have what I’ve been craving. She tastes better than anyone I’ve ever been with. As if I took the freshest spring and mixed it with a splash of the ocean.

She holds her pussy still over my mouth as I circle her clit with my tongue before flicking it up and down in fast progression. As I do, she begins to moan louder, and I can feel her clit begin to harden.

“Baby. Yes,” she says in a whisper as she throws her head back.

I don’t want this to end knowing I may never get to taste her again and already feeling starved for what I’ll be missing. I move my tongue off her throbbing clit, down her length to circle the outside of her entrance, which is still dripping wet.

She brings her pussy off my face and I try to chase it with my tongue to no avail. I open my eyes to see her looking down at me, slightly too high for my mouth to reach her. 

Her face is completely flushed and her normally well-kept hair looks wild and free. It’s the sexiest she’s ever looked.

“You’ve had your fun. But now I’m going to get myself off on your tongue.”

“Yes, miss. thank you, miss,” I say as I nod.

Lauren takes one finger and gently moves it down my face in a soft caress.

“Good girl.”

She moves back so both hands are on the headboard and I instinctively know what to do. As she brings her pussy back down to my face, I stick out my tongue so she can slide her opening on it. 

She moves up and down, fucking my face with slow, deliberate strokes. Each time she comes down, my tongue plunges deep into her opening.

As her moans get louder, I can tell she’s close to coming. She starts to bring her pussy down onto my tongue faster and faster.

“Baby, fuck. I’m so close.”

“She pushes up on her knees so she can let go of the headboard. Her hands find their way back into my hair and she grips it as she brings her pussy down onto my face more forcefully.

“Do you love me fucking your face like this?”

She pushes down on my tongue so it’s as deep as it will go and she stays like that, pushing into my face in slow, methodical thrusts. 

I can barely breathe, with my tongue all the way inside her and the rest of my face against her pussy. I simply nod and let out a sound of consent in the form of a moan.

“Good girl. Yes, yes, yes, baby I’m going to come on you.”

I simply moan and nod again, squeezing her ass a little harder so I can push her into me more. Breathing is overrated anyway. 

Just when I think I’ll have to come up for air, I hear her let out a long moan and squeeze her thighs against my head.

Sound and air gone, it’s not until Lauren is sliding off me that I’m sure she’s ridden out as much of her orgasm as she could.

She moves her body so she’s right next to me and rests her head on my shoulder, breathing heavy. Slowly she moves herself, so she’s propped up on her elbow and is looking down at me. Her eyes are still dark, and her lips look red and swollen. It’s just so sexy.

“That was amazing baby,” she says as she smiles down at me.

My body is now spent and all I can do is smile back at her. Her fingers move to my hair and she lightly plays with it through her fingers as her breathing begins to calm. The room is quiet for a few minutes, the only sound coming from our collective breathing, which is gradually getting quieter. 

“Ems, have you ever thought about having a dom? You’re a natural submissive.”

“Are you offering?” I ask, sounding bolder than I feel in that moment. 

She studies my face before answering, seeming to be thinking carefully about how to answer.

“Perhaps if that’s where this led. We’d need more time to explore that, see what you’re comfortable with.”

Lauren mentioning the future again like we have one is what I want but have already convinced myself isn’t a possibility. Even if she did live here, I’m not dumb. I know that what we’ve been doing is probably pretty vanilla on Lauren’s scale of sex. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that this is as exciting for her as it is for me. I know she can see the war of emotions crossing my face as I process the turn of this conversation.

“But not if that’s not something you want,” she says.

“It’s just that you talk like we’ll be seeing each other like this again,” I say. “I assumed this was a one-time thing for you. That we wouldn’t really talk once you go back.”

“Why do you think we have to stop talking after tonight?” 

I suddenly feel like a little girl. I want to tell her that I don’t want to be just some pitch fling. I want her more than I’ve ever wanted anyone, and the distance doesn’t bother me. But all that would probably just scare her off.

“I figured this was just a quick fling,” I say instead.

“Do you want it to be?” She asks while twirling my hair between her fingers.

“No.”

“I don’t either, Ems.” 

She’s looking at my hair between her fingers with a small crease between her eyes I haven’t seen yet. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say she looks uncertain. I stay quiet and wait in case she has more to say.

“I don’t do this on every trip,” she says quietly. She opens her mouth to continue but promptly closes it, opting instead for a small smile. 

“Go to sleep baby, we have an early day tomorrow,” is all she says instead. 

I wanted to say more. This felt like the first real conversation we’ve had that isn’t laced in desire or flirtation. But Lauren doesn’t seem like the type to push to open up and I’m still reeling over what she just said.

Lauren pulls me into her body, and I shouldn’t be surprised she’s the big spoon in this arrangement. I scoot back into her and it’s amazing how well we fit together. She must sense it too as she sighs into my hair. 

“You smell so good,” she says sleepily before kissing the back of my head.

The gentle kiss and intimate embrace make my heart clench. This isn’t the controlling, dominant woman that just fucked me. This Lauren is soft, and sweet and...adorable. 

“I have to be in with senior leadership early tomorrow. Sleep in. Order room service. Enjoy the room while I still have it.”

I let out a sigh as I push myself back into her body. I don’t want to admit how good this feels to have someone wrapped around me, ordering me to stay in bed the next morning to luxuriate in the hotel’s amenities.

“I’m ordering chocolate chip pancakes on your card,” I say sleepily back.

“Ah. So, you have sophisticated taste in drinks and childish taste in food then.”

“Chocolate chip pancakes aren’t childish. They’re universally accepted as the best breakfast food. It’s science.”

She lets out a low laugh into my hair and I wish I had the energy to keep making her laugh like that.

“Go to sleep Bill Nye. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow morning.”

“Goodnight, miss,” I say and I can already feel myself falling into sleep, my body completely satisfied and relaxed. The last thing I remember before sleep takes over are thoughts of pancakes and bright green eyes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m always disoriented when I wake up in a room that’s not my own and it takes me a few moments of groggy confusion before I remember that I’m in Lauren’s hotel room. 

It’s only once I open my eyes that I realize why I woke up so abruptly. The phone on the bedside table is ringing. I have a second of indecision before I decide to answer it. Whoever is calling is annoyingly persistent.

“Hello?” I say and my voice is thick with sleep. 

“Ms. King?”

“Yes?” I say in more of a question than a confirmation.

“Good morning, Ms. King. Ms. Callahan asked us to set a wake-up call for you. She has also ordered breakfast and a package that will be sent up shortly. Would you like coffee with your food ma’am?”

“Um, yes please, thank you.” 

I hang up the phone and can’t help the smile that spreads on my face. Lauren already ordered me breakfast. And she’s sending up a package? I don’t think a woman has ever done that for me, but Lauren checks off a lot of firsts. 

I look at the clock on the table and note that it’s already 8am and I’m grateful she thought to wake me up before I missed the whole day at the office luxuriating in my boss’s bed. 

I shower as quickly as I can knowing that I can’t show up at the office much later than 10am on a Thursday or my team will wonder why I’m not at our daily stand up meeting. Given Jackie’s presence in that meeting and her ability to read me so well, I don’t want to set off any unnecessary suspicions. 

The knock on the door comes quicker than I expect and soon a large cart has been wheeled into the room, full of covered silver trays and a hot pot of coffee. A large, white package is placed on the bed.

I can’t see myself, but I know I’m now smiling like an enamored teenager who was just asked out to prom. The bell boy must be wondering why I’m acting like Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman. 

Once he leaves, the coffee hits my nose and my stomach responds with a low grumble, but I’m desperate to open the box. I move over to the bed and lift the lid. Inside is a small white note resting on top of some tissue paper. I pick up the note and read Lauren’s handwriting for the first time.

Ems,

You’re far too sophisticated and elegant to be doing a walk of shame. This should fit you.

I took the liberty of asking the hotel to make your breakfast extra special. I hope you enjoy.

See you at the office gorgeous girl.

-L

My hands shake slightly as I put the note aside and quickly move the tissue off whatever garment is under it. I feel like a kid on Christmas and my insides are a ball of butterflies.

Inside the tissue is a simple yet beautiful dress that almost exactly matches the blue of my eyes. On top of the dress is a slim black belt, evidently meant to go with the dress at the waist. While simple, the dress is obviously expensive, and I let out a small gasp when I look at the tag. 

Dior.

I can’t help but let out a loud laugh as I think about Lauren’s cheeky confidence. How this woman had time this morning to order me an outfit, breakfast and set my wakeup call is beyond me. I also can’t believe that she probably spent thousands on this dress just to make a joke.

But as I put the dress on after carefully applying some of the extra make-up I always take with me to a pitch, it’s not funny anymore. It fits me so perfectly it feels as if it was made just for my body. I’m again astonished by Lauren’s talent for knowing me so well and what I’m beginning to see as a deep sense of kindness and generosity.

As I’m standing at the mirror, I realize that she didn’t send a fresh pair of panties with the dress. I look around the hotel room, but it doesn’t take long to confirm my underwear is gone. And there aren’t any in the box she sent up. I can feel a blush creep up my neck and face as I think about walking into my office after a night at her hotel room, pantie-less. I’m sure Lauren knew exactly what she was leaving out.

Luckily my heels from the pitch work perfect with this dress. Once I’m satisfied with my look, I note that I’m pushing it with my time. I know I don’t have time for a full breakfast, but I lift the lid on the tray so I can at least take a couple bites.

I let out another loud laugh as I look down at what’s in the tray. Beside a bowl of fruit, is a plate full of chocolate chip pancakes, all cut into the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. 

As I dig into the pancakes, I feel the same sensation in my chest that I did when I was falling asleep last night, and I know I could easily fall for this woman.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve only just sat down in my office chair when Jackie gives my door a quick knock and comes into the entryway holding a mug of coffee. 

“Guy wants to see all of us in the kitchen for some company-wide announcement.”

“Well that’s never a good thing,” I say as I stand up and move towards the door.

I can see Jackie’s eyes appraise my outfit as she looks me up and down with a frown. For a moment my heart begins to race, and I can feel a persistent blush forming on my face and chest. But once she speaks, I relax a little. 

“I can’t believe you went shopping without me,” she says in an accusing tone.

“You know my wardrobe too well. It’s kind of creepy,” I deadpan back to her.

“Or you just don’t own that many outfits,” she teases as we head towards the kitchen. 

Apparently, my team stand-up meeting will have to wait, but I’m even more grateful now that Lauren had thought to wake me up before I missed some big announcement.

I try not to make it obvious as I scan the room for Lauren’s face. I don’t know when she’s flying back to Austin, but I want to see her again before she does. Maybe have a quickie in her rental car. Stop it. You. Are. A. Vice. President. 

My thoughts don’t have time to turn back to a safe PG rating as my eyes lock on green ones across the room. Eyes that have been possessed my every thought this week. I see Lauren’s gaze roam up my body, finally resting on the small buttons at the top of the dress. 

A small smile settles on her plump lips before she averts her gaze away to Guy Adams, our head of office. He’s whispering something in her ear and for a moment it almost looks like surprise crosses her beautiful features. She looks over at me again, this time with concern in her eyes and my stomach tightens for reasons I can’t even place.

Apparently, this exchange wasn’t subtle because Jackie leans into me so she can whisper in my ear without any of the close bodies near us hearing.

“Ems, why is she looking at you like you just killed her cat?”

“I don’t know,” I say back. 

And I don’t. She’s looking back at Guy, talking to him about something, but I can’t shake off the look of dread she had in her eyes a moment before.

Jackie doesn’t have a chance to ask any more questions though as Guy quiets the room with a raised hand.

“Thank you all for stopping what you were doing for this impromptu meeting. But I promise, this is good news!”

As he speaks, two of the office admins open up a couple boxes of pastries and begin pouring champagne and orange juice into small cups.

“We found out this morning that we won the Interplay contract our team pitched for just yesterday.”

The office breaks out into loud applause and I can feel a few people around me clapping me on the shoulder. But I can’t take my eyes off of Lauren who doesn’t seem pleased at all.

“Congratulations to the team. The client said they knew what their decision was before the team even left their conference room. I’d like to specifically call out Lauren Callahan from our Austin office for leading the charge,” he motions to Lauren and the applause around the office picks up. Lauren gives a small smile that doesn’t reach her eyes.

“And Emma King, who led the strategy and was hugely instrumental in the win.”

He pauses again with his hand outstretched to me so the office can continue their applause. I smile at the few people around me and Jackie pinches my side in a playful way.

“This win makes Interplay one of our top technology clients, with a monthly budget bigger than our tier three client retainers combined. It’s a big win for our office, hence the alcohol being offered before lunch.”

People around the room laugh and give another round of applause. Guy lifts his hand again, apparently not finished.

“Just one more bit of good news as well. With the rush of new business we’ve won this fiscal year, Altitude’s global leadership are eyeing Seattle as our next hub of West Coast growth. For that, we need a leader who can come in and help us scale and grow. I am beyond pleased to announce that Lauren Callahan has graciously accepted the role of West Coast Head of Development, sitting right here with us in Seattle.”

There was a sudden rustling of noise from people in the room, most of which sounded excited. Guy put his hand back up to quiet everyone.

“Your direct managers will speak with all of you on how this will impact your workflow. But all strategists and creatives will now report directly into Lauren. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do here. I’m sure you’d rather hear from her than me and I’m eyeing one of those bear claws, so Lauren, the stage is yours.”

Guy bows dramatically and Lauren moves into his space before turning her attention back to the office. Whatever she felt right before Guy began his presentation is no longer visible. In its place is the same confident, cool executive that I’ve come to associate with her professional demeanor. 

“Thank you, Guy. I have to be honest, I didn’t know this announcement was going to be made so soon and I didn’t prepare a speech. But as you all know, Guy is a kid in a candy shop and can’t be controlled.”

She gives Guy a teasing smile as the group gathered around the room give her an appreciative laugh. But I feel like my mind is working in slow motion. Lauren is moving here. Seattle. Is that why she was so confident that we’d be able to continue whatever it is we started? And if I understood what Guy was saying, Lauren is going to be managing all members of the development team. That’s both me and Jackie.

“Last time I was in this office, I was so impressed with the talent and passion that I knew I needed to be here in the action. The way this office has been able to grow business while retaining the culture of a family led agency is almost unheard of in this industry. Being here to help with the Interplay pitch only solidified my decision to make this move. I’ve never worked with a smarter, more strategically minded team and that win was all on them.”

On that last sentence her eyes rested solely on me and as we maintain eye contact, I have no sense for anyone else in the room.

The trance is broken when Guy stands back up and claps Lauren on the back.

“We are the lucky ones, Lauren. Congratulations. And all those foodies in the office— I expect you’ll be emailing Lauren all the recommendations for where to go once she’s here. She may be missing Texan BBQ, but I’m sure we can show she and her wife some classic Seattle spots.”

Jackie says the word that is rolling around my head like a pinball, not able to stick to any tangible thought.

“Wife?” she asks curiously. “Didn’t know she was married. No ring.”

I think back to Lauren’s hand. No, there was no ring. But there was also no mention of a wife. My eyes find hers and she’s staring right at me. I will my legs to move my body back to my office so I can get my coat and get the hell out of there. But all I can do is stare and look at her.

Because even if I tried not to let it happen, I’ve started to fall for this woman. And everything she made me feel and want and desire for the future.

And she has a wife.


 

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