Ann: A Love Story Ch. 33

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I was having trouble concentrating. I sat at what had been my desk for the last 4 years, thinking about the decision Ann and I were making. Not the getting married decision…that was easy. I couldn’t wait to have her in my arms again. And that thought brought a warm smile to my heart. I’d be holding her before the night was over. But as wonderful as that thought was, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was having.

It wasn’t regret, really. I still thought the new job was the right decision. But I couldn’t help but be a little melancholy about the thought of leaving a place I’d worked at for seven years, and a department that I’d built mostly by myself. It was my success story, especially if I landed the new customer I’d been courting for months. The fact that I’d never been given the proper credit for the success of the department on my own merits, or that I had never received what I’d felt I deserved as far as compensation, left a bad taste in my mouth. But the reality was, this was my home…and I was leaving it. At least, that’s what I thought. It was almost lunchtime, and I still hadn’t gotten a call yet from Marlin that the compensation package had arrived.

“Maybe I’m not going anywhere,” I thought to myself.

I had told Carol I needed the package by 10AM. That would give Marlin time to get it to my house, so Dad and I could go over it during lunch. I had everything planned out, but it was all contingent on the package arriving on time. It was closing in on eleven o’clock, and nothing had happened of any significance during the day, other than the ordinary. I was hoping for a lot more than an ‘ordinary’ day. I was hoping for extraordinary.

Dad stopped by my office around 10:30, popping his head around the door. “Anything?” he asked.

I shook my head and said, “Nope. I haven’t heard from anybody about anything I was hoping to wrap up today. Not about the job, not about the contract…nothing. It’s a little unnerving.”

“Have faith, Neil. It’s all going to work out. I’ll see you at the house. I’m going to run down to the post office and see what I can find out.”

“Okay, Dad. Thanks.”

I was concerned. I had planned to leave work a little early, because I had to catch my flight. So there weren’t many hours left in my work day. I looked at the pile of things on my desk, which was not a pile at all. There wasn’t much left to do. I’d worked my ass off during the week to try and leave my assistant, Howard, in good shape. I’d called my top ten customers, including my buddy Mark, to remind them I would be gone for a week. Howard was very good at running the floor. But I worried about his ability to interact with customers. Calling them was a preemptive strike to keep the department running smooth while I was gone.

As that thought passed through my mind, I wondered for the first time who my boss, Dan, would pick to take my place. I had always sort of naturally assumed it would be Howard. But as I gave it more serious thought, I knew that that wasn’t going to be likely. The job was more about people skills than it was about machine skills, and that was certainly not Howard’s strength. I felt a twinge of angst, and decided I wasn’t going to say anything to him before I left for California about leaving the company. He’d want me to put in a good word for him, and I didn’t want to lie to him and tell him he was the best man for the job.

It was only then that I totally realized that Howard wasn’t cut out to be my successor. But it was true. If I had to go to such great lengths to cover the department just because I was leaving for a week…then that spoke volumes as to what would happen if I were going to leave forever. And Dan knew all of that. He knew it, because I’d let him know all of the things I was going to do before I left to ensure the department ran smoothly while I was gone. I always did that; setting things up so Dan could make a cursory check and just make sure there were no catastrophes that would end up on his lap unexpectedly before I would return.

Yet, as the bell rang to announce my lunchtime, the point seemed moot. I hadn’t heard anything about the package, so I might not be dealing with it before I left. I might be dealing with calling Carol, and telling her I wouldn’t be able to give notice until I got back.

The car drove itself towards my parent’s house. My body was inside, sitting in the driver’s seat. I’m not sure where exactly my head was at, but it didn’t seem to be with me. More than halfway through my workday and nothing I’d hoped to accomplish had been resolved. My lousy morning was looking to morph into a crummy afternoon. It was not the way I wanted to head off to California. I sighed, and thought of Ann, somewhere on the West Coast working her last day at her job. I prayed her day was going better than mine was turning out to be.

That was, until I drove down my parent’s street. There, in the driveway next to my Dad’s car, was Marlin’s truck. I practically ran into the house to find the two of them sitting at the dinette table, casino siteleri both eating lunch. I glanced toward the family room and saw Jean and my Mom talking and laughing as they ate their sandwiches.

“What’s going on?” I asked as I looked at the guys.

Dad nodded toward the counter in the Kitchen, and the various papers spread out for me to review. The package they came in was to the side, already opened.

“I looked them over, son. And if you don’t sign the damn thing, I’m going to. They gave you one hell of a deal. You must have blown them away in the interviews for them to give you that kind of money and those kinds of benefits. Their 401K is amazing. And, they provide you with a life insurance rider that has a built in disability pay out.”

Those were things Carol and I had never discussed. I stared slack jawed as I read the contents. “Holy shit!” I said as I read the salary.

“Neil! We have company!” my Mom snapped from the living room.

“Sorry Mom. But come here and look at this.”

Looking at where my finger was pointing, she laughed and hugged me as she said, “Holy shit is right! This is wonderful!”

It was. For whatever reason, Carol had added the entire $2000 that Ann and I had ‘negotiated’. I knew I was going to have to ask her about it, wondering if she assumed that there would be more of an obligation just because she added it. It made me a little nervous, but there was little I could do at the moment. After reading the rest of the proposal, I signed and dated in all the places it indicated.

Dad patted me on the back and stuck out his hand. “I’m proud of you, Neil. I’m sorry that you’re moving away, but I’m so happy for you and Ann. What a great way to start off your life together.”

I sat down and had something to eat, sitting across from Marlin. He had this wonderful expression on his face. I think he was just as proud of me as my own father was.

“I suppose that’s a load off your mind, isn’t it Neil?” he asked.

“Yeah, it really is. I was thinking you would call me. I came home thinking it wasn’t going to happen today.”

“I’m sorry about putting you through that, Neil. I had to go to Kokomo this morning to get it.”

“Kokomo? Seriously?”

“Yeah. The plane from DC was delayed last night because of thunderstorms over Indianapolis. So, it didn’t make it to the postal center until early this morning. I put in a call to a friend. Actually, I didn’t go all the way to Kokomo…he met me half way with it. That doesn’t usually happen. The truth is, it probably would have been here in time, anyway…but I didn’t want to take the chance.”

“Wow…thanks Marlin. I can’t believe you did that for me.”

“Why not? You’re family.” Just his saying that made a chill run down my spine. He and Jean already treated me like I was their son-in-law, and the fact that they were at my parents house, and they all seemed to be getting along so well, was something I never imagined. It certainly wasn’t something I had in my first marriage.

As I finished my sandwich, Dad put the papers I’d signed in a new mailer for Marlin to take. There was an extra set…a copy for me that he left on the counter. “You ought to take these with you to show Ann,” he said.

“Good idea. I’ll put them in my carryon,” I said as I got up and walked back to my room to get my luggage. A minute later, Dad loaded my stuff in his trunk; the package of papers that needed to go back to Carol held secure in Marlin’s strong grip. Dad was going to take me to the airport a couple of hours before the end of work so I could make it on time. Since Ann and I were driving back, there was no reason to take my car. The five of us stood outside next to Dad’s car, knowing it was time for me to go back to work.

I got a big bear hug from Marlin, and I thanked him again for going the extra mile for me, literally.

“That’s our future in your hands, Marlin,” I said, referring to Ann and myself.

“Neither rain, nor sleet, Neil. It’ll be on its way in a couple of hours. Say hello to my daughter for me, and enjoy the trip. You’re going to see a lot.”

All I could think of when he said that was seeing a lot of his daughter…hopefully without any cloths on. I choked a little, holding in a naughty little laugh.

Jean took my hands in hers, staring into my eyes. She was a little misty, and she said, “I want you to take care of my daughter, Neil. And have a good time, okay?”

“Of course, Jean.”

“Good. And thanks again for bringing us closer together. We’ve had some really good conversations over the last few weeks. I know Ann’s not looking forward to living with us again, even though it’s just for a little while…but try and get her to be good with it if you can. You seem to be pretty good at getting us to see things differently when it comes to our relationship.”

“Wow, Jean, there’s no pressure there, is there?” I laughed.

“You know what I mean. But, hey, it wouldn’t hurt to remind her from time to time of all the things slot oyna that I taught her that prove I’m not just a useless old woman,” Jean laughed.

“Right. Don’t let your head bang against the wall all night; and make sure you stuff something in your mouth if there are kids in the house. Got it!”

“Oh…Neil!” Jean said, covering her mouth as she blushed.

Marlin cracked up and said, “Don’t forget to remind her to clean up any messes she makes. That’s my advice.”

“MARLIN!” Jean said, turning bright red.

“Ann already does a pretty good job at that,” I said with a snicker.

“Like mother, like daughter,” Marlin said, pulling Jean to him to give her a kiss on the forehead.

My Mom slapped me on the arm and said, “Stop being bad, Neil. You’re making Jean upset.”

“No he’s not, Betsy,” Jean said. “There’s nothing wrong with a little flirtatious talk. Some wise young man once told me it keeps you young.”

Mom looked at me, and said, “Like Father, like son, I suppose.”

Dad laughed and said, “That’s my boy.”

“He IS a lot like his father,” Mom said towards Jean.

“And we both have to get going, Betsy,” Dad said, looking at his watch.

I gave my Mom a hug and a kiss, and she did the normal things Mom’s do when you’re leaving for a while…like crying.

“You be careful driving home, honey. I love you.”

“Love you too, Mom. I’ll see you in about a week…and I’ll call tonight to let you know I got there safe, okay?” I said as I opened the car door.

Dad had gotten in the car, and he started the engine. It was his way to tell me it was time to go back to work, and begin the process of changing my life as I knew it. I climbed into the car, and buckled up.

“Okay, sweetie. Bye,” Mom said through the open window as she closed the door after I got in.

Dad patted me lovingly on the thigh. “Let’s go bud. You’ve still got a full day ahead of you,” he said with a laugh.

~*~*~*~*~*~

When I walked around the corner to my office, I was a little surprised my door was closed. I knew I hadn’t left it that way. I looked around, and saw all of my employees, including my assistant Howard, on the production floor ready to resume their workday. I shrugged my shoulders and turned the doorknob.

Something told me to be wary, so I opened the door rather slow, and peered around it to look inside. Sitting behind my desk was Nancy. She looked radiant in a tan business outfit that was a size or two too small. Her large tits were threatening to explode the front of the blazer open, the buttons straining to hold the fleshy globes trapped inside.

Nancy smiled and stood up, walking around my desk, offering me a view of her long, toned legs. Her skirt was short, but I’d come to expect that. She loved to prove that she wore stockings instead of nylons, and she left little doubt most of the time. Her long red mane flowed as she moved gracefully in her heels. She strutted to the edge of my desk and struck a pose.

“Hello Nancy. It’s been a long time since you’ve been back to my office,” I said, wondering why she was there.

“Hello Neil. It has been a while, hasn’t it? I was just sitting at your desk thinking about how much I enjoyed the fun we had here.”

I was a little nervous. I really didn’t have time to deal with a horny Nancy. Actually, I just didn’t have time to deal with Nancy. Horny really wasn’t a relevant factor, since I was pretty sure she was always horny. But with my leaving early, I had a lot of loose ends left to tie up. Tying up Nancy wasn’t one of them…not that that was what she wanted. But with her, who knew?

“So…what brings you back to see me?”

Nancy smiled, staring at me intently. “Well, it’s not what you’re obviously thinking, so relax.”

I freaked a little, and tried to cover. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

She laughed and said, “Sure you do. Look, I may have wanted to fuck you a while back, Neil. But frankly, I’m not comfortable chasing a young guy…I’d rather them chase me. It’s much more fun. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re engaged…isn’t that why you’re leaving early today? Flying to California to get Ann?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it would have been nice. But I think that time has passed us by, don’t you?”

I nodded, relieved. But I was still puzzled. “So, you walked all the way to the back of the plant just to tell me you don’t want to fuck me anymore?”

“Hey, I never said I didn’t WANT to. I’m saying we missed the opportunity, and I moved on. Like I said, it would have been nice, but I’m not going to dwell on it…and I doubt you have either.”

“Well, no…not really. Okay, I give up. Why the trip back here then?”

Nancy picked up a couple of pieces of paper off of my desk. From the slight curl in them, I could tell they were from the fax machine we had in the front office.

“These came over the fax a little while ago, and I knew you’d want to see them right away.”

Nancy handed them to me, and then she leaned in and canlı casino siteleri kissed me on the cheek.

“Congratulations, Neil…on you and Ann, and on this. I have to get back to the phones. Have a good time, and a safe trip,” she said as she started to pass me.

“Nancy?”

She turned sexily, pirouetting on the toe of her heels, making her flowing short skirt ride up a little in the breeze she created. “Yes,” she said; the glint in her eye more mischievous than before.

I got the impression she thought I’d suddenly changed my mind. I raised my hand and gave her a soft smile, letting her know I hadn’t. “I just wanted to tell you that I talked to Mark the other day.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” she said, trying to be coy, but perking up a little.

“Yes. He wanted me to mention that he and Jill, his girlfriend, will be coming down for the wedding. He thought that you’d like to know that.”

“Really? And why would that interest me?”

“Well, it might interest you that they’re interested in you. Specifically, he wanted to know if you’d be interested in getting together. I told him it would be incredibly dangerous, but I’d at least ask you.”

“Dangerous?”

“Yeah…we kind of likened it to putting a match with dynamite.”

“And which am I?”

“I’m actually thinking you’re both,” I said with a chuckle.

“Well, I suppose I need to talk to Mark a little more the next time he calls. But, why didn’t he just ask me himself? Why have you do it?”

“I’m not exactly sure. But if you remember, I was the one that suggested the three of you get together. I mean, I kind of threw it out there, anyway. And if I recall, you weren’t against it, but you said you hadn’t been with a woman before. Maybe he thought since I planted the seed, I needed to water it a little too.”

“Men…always beating around the bush when they could be fucking it. Well, thanks for the heads up. I hope he calls next week.”

“Probably not, since he knows I’m out,” I said, leaning over my desk and scribbling his number on a note pad. I tore off the sheet and handed it to her. “Why don’t you call him yourself? I’m sure he’d get a kick out of it.”

Nancy smiled, wickedly. “Wow…now that’s a novel idea. Thanks. Gotta go. Like I said, have a good time, and be safe.”

Nancy walked out of my office and headed down the aisle. The whole encounter was so bizarre that it left me shaking my head. It took me a minute to try to decipher what had happened, and I’m not sure I ever did. Turning to walk behind my desk, I saw the papers I had placed there when I wrote out Mark’s number for Nancy. I had forgotten all about them. I sat in my seat to look them over, and in seconds, I was standing up again, my eyes all bugged out as I read them. I had to read them a second time to make sure, not believing my eyes.

It was a signed contract from the company I’d been pursuing as a potential customer. I held in my hand the final piece of the puzzle for my department. Actually, it was three-year contract that would instantly make them the new number one customer of the growing entity that was my responsibility. Well, it had been growing…but with two big customers in the fold, along with the dozens of other steady ones I’d cultivated, it wasn’t growing any longer…it was all grown up! In fact, I wasn’t so sure the annual revenue of my department wouldn’t surpass that of the main plant.

I practically ran up to the front offices; stopping at my Dad’s first to share the news with him.

“Wow…this is amazing, Neil!” he said as he looked over the contract. “I knew you could do this. And I know you’ve worked your rear end off,” he said, looking at me with pride in his eyes. He glanced back at the contract, tapping his finger on the top page, pointing at a paragraph. “I’m really impressed with the way you structured this…I never would have thought of doing it that way. In fact, I’m going to have to look over some of the contracts we have in the main line and see if we can use this type of strategy there. This could really work to our advantage.”

“Thanks, Dad. It feels great to go out like this…this feels so huge!”

“I’m sure it does. But does it seem odd that you’re not going to get to enjoy the fruits of all the work you put in on this?”

“Actually, I really don’t look at it that way. I look at it as proving what kind of guy I am. I like the fact that I worked as hard as I could for this company until the very end. It’s like my free parting gift to my department, and the company.”

Dad sat back in his chair, his mouth dropping open for a second. “Wow…you know, that’s a great way to think of it. You DID bust your ass, even though you were pursuing a better career opportunity. If that doesn’t show you’re a man of integrity, nothing does. I’m proud of you, son.”

“Thanks Dad. I’ve got to go tell Dan,” I said, referring to my boss.

“About what, winning the contract, or quitting your job?”

“Both,” I said with a laugh.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I sat in one of the plush chairs that were placed in front of the huge mahogany desk in my boss’s spacious office. I looked around, feeling out of place like I always did when I sat in that chair. The whole room screamed ‘pompous’.

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