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On Top: A narrative from Ms. Gimply’s collection.
I rolled my wheelchair into the board room. It was the first meeting since I had been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company. I was elated. Since the appointment I had been secretly practicing the words. “CEO,” I said to myself, “Laura Brackett, CEO. Hi. I’m Laura the Chief Executive Officer.”
The board had selected me in the wake of the accounting scandal that had toppled the previous top management and led to the criminal indictment of Harry Mueller, the former Vice President for Finance. He was facing several charges of fraud and a whole list of other things. It was an especially sweet victory to see Harry fall from grace.
My spirit was especially soaring because I had just opened the Christmas card from Paul and his family. Their picture smiled out at me and, as usual, they melted my heart. There was dear, sweet Paul, older but still youthful, still thoughtful and reserved. His wife was a beautiful woman and was beginning to look just a bit matronly. Then there were their three lovely children – the children who called me Aunt Laura on the rare occasions that I saw them. Paul, their letter said, was now chief attorney in the public defender’s office. I smiled. That was typical of Paul who had forsaken business for the law.
Inevitably, I thought about the office holiday party all those years ago. It had been almost exactly a year since the accident that had cost me my legs. I was fortunate that it did not cost my life as well. I had no memory of the night I spent in my overturned and demolished car before they found me the next day. I recovered from the concussion over the next few days. Broken arms and ribs as well as my broken pelvis were treatable and I healed slowly.
But the first few weeks were a series of progressively higher amputations trying to save what remained of my legs in a futile battle against gangrene and infection. The end result was their complete removal at the hips (a procedure that the surgeons call Double Hip Disarticulation). There was nothing left to accommodate prosthetic legs.
I had lost six months of work in the hospital and in rehabilitation. Not only did I lose the time but when I returned I sensed that I had lost a part of my hard earned status in the company.
Before the accident, I had relied on my tall and slim presence to quietly dominate and get my way. I had dressed just a bit sternly with lots of black and austere tailoring. I augmented my height with heels and could command most any situation. I was confident that my star was rising. When I came back, I was sure the tables had been turned
I was in a wheelchair and, by definition, shorter than everyone else. I didn’t seem to be a threat to anyone or even an influence on them. Some people pitied me in a condescending way. A few actually teased me.
Harry Mueller was especially obnoxious. He started calling me ‘Shorty.’ When I objected, he claimed that he was only being affectionate and that I should be able to take a joke. I hated the bastard and longed for revenge. I couldn’t think of a way to get it.
Paul was the only bright spot in the first six months after I returned. He was assigned to me for a semester as a full time intern from the business school. The school believed – correctly, I think – that practical experience should be a part of education.
Paul had a quiet charm and didn’t seem to assert himself until you watched him closely. For one thing, he was unfailingly considerate and respectful to the secretaries and file clerks. The result was that they looked out for him. His reports were always flawlessly typed. He had all the information in the firm at his fingertips. I learned by watching him that people on the bottom can help you (and hurt you) even more than people on top. It is a lesson I never forgot.
Paul had uncanny powers of observation. He could see infallibly who was in trouble in the firm and who was ascending. He could intuit the dynamics of relationships and use them to get things accomplished without seeming to manipulate. I came to appreciate his skills gradually during the semester.
What surprised me the most was the ways that he protected me. First there were little ways. I never had to juggle coffee and bagels from the cafeteria. He always timed his appetite to match mine and did my carrying as well as his own. If we left the headquarters for a meeting with a client, he always knew in advance where the ramps were as well as the accessible restrooms. We never spoke about it – it just happened.
More important, he found ways to postpone my decisions when I was not at my best. I was not at my best much of the time in those days as I was often angry, confused and conflicted. He would plead that he needed to provide me with more information or would uncharacteristically delay reports that he owed me.
Sometimes, when I left a meeting and returned to the office, fuming because I had not had my way, he would listen to me for a while halkalı escort and then say, “Let it go, Ms. Brackett. Tomorrow is another day.” Then I would laugh and unwind a bit.
Much later, I figured out that he never let me make important decisions in the two days before my menstrual period. Long after he was gone, I actually set my logs and my personal diary side by side to compare them. Sure enough, from his second month on the job, he seemed to have my cycle pegged. Of course, we have never spoken of it.
His last day at the office was the Friday afternoon of the annual holiday party. I remember that I was in a particularly odd mood that day. For one thing, Paul was leaving the company. Another thing was that I was dreading interacting socially with all those people who didn’t respect me. I especially dreaded talking to that son of a bitch, Harry.
I began the festivities by visiting the punch bowl more often than I should. It made the afternoon a bit more bearable, but my self control suffered. I could see Paul hovering nearby.
As the alcohol warmed the occasion, the joking began. Inevitably, some of the secretaries were coaxed to bare their bottoms and sit on the photocopier for portraits of their nether parts. None of them complied. I marveled at the seeming good humor in enduring the harassment.
The most insistent was Harry the swine. I knew that the secretaries called him “Dirty Harry” behind his back. After the secretaries managed to escape, Harry turned to me. “Hey, Shorty,” he said, “Take off your undies so we can take your picture. I’ll bet that with your legs gone we can get a really spectacular view.”
In a sudden insight, I realized how I had handled him and those like him in the old days. I would draw myself to my full height and press my legs together in a symbolic resistance to violation. Now, I wasn’t tall any more and I had no legs. And I was mad as hell.
Harry, the asshole, had found my limit. I didn’t give a shit anymore about my future in the company. I only wanted to lash out at the prick. I drew back my arm to throw my drink in his face.
Before I could act on my impulse I heard Paul’s uncharacteristically loud voice. He made a strong disparaging remark about the New York Yankees. Harry was a sports nut and a diehard, obnoxious Yankee fan. His attention turned from me to Paul. Harry began a diatribe about lowly interns. Paul remained calm with a little smile on his face as he absorbed Harry’s drunken abuse.
Paul had saved me again I calmed down a bit and wheeled back to the punch bowl. After that, every time I spotted Harry, I found that Paul was standing somewhere between us. He didn’t make a show of it. He was just there and protecting me. It felt good.
Harry and his cronies had left. I had outlasted the jerk – at least at the party. I picked up my coat in my office and headed to the elevator and the parking garage. Paul intercepted me. “Ms. Brackett,” he said, “Let me drive you home. I’ll bring you back tomorrow to get your car.” I knew he was right. I was more than a bit tipsy. I was still getting used to the hand controls and driving sober was challenge enough.
I said, “I’ll let you drive me on one condition.”
He looked at me quizzically.
“You have to call me Laura.” I pouted. It was the stupid company rule that everyone below my level – like Paul and the secretaries – were not allowed to address top ranking superiors by their first names. At my level and above, we were allowed to do so for one level above us. That is how I could call Harry by his name and Paul had to call me Ms. Bartlett.
“No problem, Laura,” he said. We set off down the elevator to the garage and his car. I slid into the seat. He folded my chair and put it in the trunk. He returned to fasten my seat belt – I had forgotten even to try. I guess I was tipsy.
As we drove out of the garage I began a long diatribe about Harry, the son of a bitch. After I had vented my complaints, Paul said simply, “Out wait him.”
“What do you mean,” I demanded.
“Mueller only gets ahead by intimidating people and then using them. He’s not really very clever. And he’s not honest either. He’ll trip himself up in the long run. I guarantee it.”
“But he is in my way,” I cried. “He’ll keep me from getting ahead. I’ll go before he does.”
“No,” he said. “You’re too good. You are a really fine executive. You know how to use people in a good way. I’ve watched you do it with me. You bring us all up and give us credit for our work. Harry doesn’t do that. He’ll fall and you will rise. Believe me.” I wanted desperately to believe him.
“In the mean time,” he said, “Just let it go.” I smiled.
I directed him to my apartment building. I fumbled for the card that would let us into the garage. He pulled into my parking space. He retrieved my chair and I slid into it.
At the elevator I could clearly manage for myself. He knew taksim escort that and stood as if he was about to leave. I looked up at him and said, “Please push me to my place.” We entered the elevator. I pressed the button for my floor.
At my door, I said, “Come in for a drink. I don’t want to be alone just now.” He came.
Inside, I broke out a bottle of Chivas Regal and a pair of glasses. “I’m not drunk enough, yet. And I want you to drink with me.”
He demurred. ” I have to drive,” he replied.
“Sleep on my couch if you can’t drive. Your car is safe in the garage.” I softened my voice a bit. “Please stay.”
We drank. I bitched about Harry. He listened. He continued to reassure me that I was good at what I did. He told me to let it go.
I wasn’t satisfied with his reassurance. I went on to complain that in addition to my trouble at work I wasn’t really a woman since my accident. By then I was really sloshed. I asked him to hold me. He drew me from my chair to the couch and held me close. He felt good. I started to cry. He drew me even closer.
“Please, love me,” I sobbed.
“Laura,” he said, “I would like that, but we are both drunk and don’t know our own minds. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.” He held me and rocked me.
In the morning I woke to the smell of coffee. I inhaled deeply and luxuriated in it for just a moment. Almost immediately I became of my dry mouth and my headache. I had a vague recollection of him carrying me to bed.
He appeared at the door of my bedroom. He was dressed in tee shirt and boxers and didn’t seem self conscious about it. “Hi,” he inquired, “Do you want your coffee the usual way?”
“No” I protested, ” Not this morning. Black, no sugar,”
“That’s what I thought,” he said as he brought it on a tray with orange juice and toast. He had found his way around my kitchen.
“I’m sorry about last night,” I told him. “Thanks for taking care of me. I needed that.”
He only grinned and said, “No problem. I like taking care of you.”
I sat, propped by pillows, on the bed, with my cup cradled in my hands. “This is another day,” I told him with my eyes averted, “but I still need some care.”
Then I became acutely aware that I was wearing yesterday’s rumpled clothes and the remnants of yesterday’s makeup. My hair must have looked like a fright wig. How could I be coming on to a man looking like that?
“I need to get cleaned up,” I told him. “You can help me.”
I had formed a plan. I had not used the bathtub since my accident. Every day, I had transferred to the seat in the shower, pushed my chair away and then bathed as a sort of grim duty. Now I wanted to soak and I needed him to help me.
“Please, fill the tub for me,” I requested. “There may be some bath salts in the cabinet. I can’t remember. And put the shampoo and conditioner by the tub, too.”
When he had left, I undressed as quickly as I could and transferred to my chair. I followed him to the bathroom where the air was already thick with steam. I tried not to think about what I was doing.
No one (except doctors and nurses) had seen me naked since the accident. Paul smiled a bit but didn’t seem surprised as I rolled in the door. I placed my chair so that my left side was next to the tub and removed the arm rest.
Still trying not to be self conscious, I said, “If I do this myself, I’m likely to fall on my face and drown.”
Without being asked, he came behind me and put his arms under mine. He clasped his hands above my breasts while I joined my hands over his. He easily lifted me to the side of the tub and sat behind me there. Then he lowered me into the warm and scented water and laid me on my back. The water level was low enough to leave my face free but high enough to lap at the sides of my breasts and to tease and tickle. The sensation of warmth between my legs – or what used to be my legs – was a welcome surprise. I was flooded with the sense that I was a woman, a sensual and vulnerable woman. And I couldn’t deny it any more by clamping my legs together and standing tall to defend my boundaries. With Paul there, it was a good and safe feeling and I surrendered to it.
I noted with pleasure that the scars at my hips were not as red and angry looking as they were the last time I inspected them. I was really healing.
Paul sat on the rim of the tub and said nothing. I tried to sit up by lifting myself with my arms. My bottom slid out from under me and I was flat on my back again. I giggled a bit.
“Paul,” I asked, “Please get in here with me and help me sit up. You’ll fit. I’ve left you with plenty of leg room.” I giggled some more at my own joke.
I watched as he shed his tee shirt and boxers. His body was as handsome as I had suspected. He was slender and muscular. His penis was fully erect. He lifted me to a sitting position and slipped in behind me, cradling me in his arms. He reached forward to open the tap and more warm water surrounded şişli escort us.
“Paul, Paul, sweet Paul,” I crooned as I rocked in his arms.
He nuzzled my ear and whispered, “Sweet Laura,” in response.
“I haven’t been with a man since my accident,” I told him shyly. His hand stroked my breast and I felt like I was melting into a warm sensuous puddle.
“Yeah,” he replied simply, “I figured.”
At my request he reached for the removable shower head. I soaked my hair and slowly shampooed. All the while his arms were around me and gently stroking.. As I rinsed my hair, he fondled my breasts. I wanted the moment to last forever.
He leaned me forward on one arm and began to wash my back with the other. He rinsed me and the shower head sprinkled little tickles along my spine. His hand lowered to my hip. I felt him trace the line of my scar. I was surprised that I liked it. He shifted to the other hip and I waited for the inevitable.
With other lovers, my ultimate sense of autonomy was the knowledge that I could clamp my legs together and shut them out. I didn’t do that very often, but the knowledge that I could was a source of power. Now I felt as vulnerable as I could possibly be. I succumbed to it as his hand parted my labia and began to make little circular motions. I laid back and I accepted.
Inevitably, his fingers found my clitoris between the folds. I laid back in his arms and breathed deeply of the perfume of the water. I gloried that I had no more legs to close. I climaxed quickly and twisted around him to face him. I kissed him long and hard on the mouth. “Take me to bed,” I told him. I hadn’t intended it to sound like an order.
He left the tub as I clung to the side for support. At my direction, He spread a large bath towel over my chair. He lifted me and wrapped me in the towel. He retrieved a smaller towel to wrap my hair. He pushed my chair to the bed.
I sprawled there with my towel open. He lay down beside me and drew me to him. He was inside me immediately and my second orgasm came soon and strong. He continued with a slow and persistent rhythm.
“Roll over,” I demanded, “I want to be on top.” He complied. He was still in me. I raised myself with my arms and hands came to rest on his chest. Without legs to steady me I almost fell backwards. He raised his knees a bit to support me.
Now, I was on top. I reveled in it. I looked at him from high above and I felt a thrill of domination. I found that without legs I could not rise and fall on him. But I could twist and pivot and feel his coarse hair scratching my clitoris and everything around it. His cock twisting inside me tortured me to new heights. Now I was oblivious to him and to anything but my passion.
My twisting, back and forth motion, was like what you would use to extinguish a cigarette butt on the sidewalk with your shoe. Then, I thought, it was like killing a bug or some other obnoxious creature and I writhed even harder.
It was a mistake to think about obnoxious creatures because, unbidden, Harry came to mind. I imagined that I was grinding and stomping on his face. Briefly, a picture flashed. His face was on the copying machine and I was sitting on top. “You bastard,” I cried, perhaps aloud. I drove down as hard as I could. I heard my voice almost laughing as my breath came as “ha — ha — ha.”
From a long way away, I heard Paul saying, “Let it go, Ms. Brackett. Let it all out.” His voice quavered, telling me that he was about to let it out himself. It drove me to a frenzy. I pushed and twisted to squash the loathsome thing under me.
My body exploded. My scream – more of a high pitched growl – filled the room. Liquid sprayed from me and joined his. I imagined the loathsome thing exploded and its slime squirted out and it drowned in its own puddle.
I rejoiced. I had won. Harry was just a puddle now. I was on top. I was a winner. I savored it for a time. But then, “Oh — my — God,” I mouthed silently, “What — have — I — done?” I was on top of Paul, sweet Paul. I had made a fool of myself. I couldn’t face him. I kept my eyes closed and held myself perfectly still. The only sound in the room, was my still husky breath.
He broke the silence. I heard him in the most innocent and dead-pan voice asking, “Was it good for you?”
I opened my eyes and laughed. I twisted on him a few more times and moaned a bit at the sensation. Then I let myself down on him. He embraced me and I nuzzled his ear. “Sweet Paul, you dear man. You dear, sweet, sweet man,” I whispered.
It was Sunday morning when we went to retrieve my car from the company garage. As I transferred from his car to my chair, Harry appeared, apparently coming from the office. I was sure that he was up to no good. He was not the type to work on Sunday. I was certain that he had been doing something that he did not want anyone else to know about. I made a mental note to snoop about and to find out what was going on.
As he saw Paul and me, he leered and asked, “Working on the weekend?”
“Sure, Harry,” I said, staring him down. Slowly I added, “Just like you.” He had no hold on me. I was determined to bring him down.
On Monday morning I got to the office early with resolve and energy that I hadn’t had since the accident. I threw myself into the work. The week was pure joy.
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