Life Experiences

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LIFE EXPERIENCES of WORK AND PLEASURE

1

Blake slowed to a steady jog as he got closer to the group of students seated on the brick walls that lined the narrow, arching, bridge over the stream. The sluggish waters marked one edge of the village where he lived and worked. The warm sunny weather was perfect for the harvest that could only be a matter of days away.

‘Heel Bella,’ he commands on deep voice and a slap to his side. The Springer Spaniel did as was commanded and her lead soon fastened. She was panting and looked up at him. She knew the routine whenever they got to this point. Her master’s jog through the fields over the bridleways and paths was nearly over.

He makes his way over the bridge, doesn’t really focus on any one face, the boisterous voices and shrill laughter of the girls and guys silent now, but they all exchange looks and clutch papers with their fish and chips lunch, bottles of pop placed precariously on the wall. He knows the joshing will resume the moment he’s out of earshot. And why not? He’s been there too some years ago now, but not so many that he’s forgotten the high of getting exam results and knowing you’re stepping out onto a new path in your life.

‘You’ve got a lovely dog!’ he hears called out and as he turns catches sight of a slender young woman he failed to see in the group. Blake notices that she ignores the teasing of the others, and he has time to take in her radiant smile, before she crouches down to pet Bella. Her V-necked cropped top shapes her and he’s taken in the skinny jeans, bangle earrings and a necklace along with the luxuriance of her long auburn red hair. The young woman’s a stunner. ‘I’ve seen you about the square with her…’

Blake looks down into her upturned face, cannot miss the sun in her hair, the rounded swell of her breasts and the gaze of her hazel eyes. He’s instantly captivated. ‘My office is in Clarendon House…I work and live there. I guess you and your friends will be off on your holidays and celebrate some more…like you are now?’

He points behind her and she turns to look their way. Jeez, he shouldn’t be feeling the way he does about the sight of her. He’s also taken to wondering why she would bother to follow him and Bella and not just call out to him. The young guys in the group do so now and she gives them a dismissive answering wave, her bracelets jangling as they slide over slender wrists. He takes it all in.

‘In a minute!’ She turns to him. ‘They are all going away, but I’m staying put and looking for some work experience…interior design and furnishing…may go that way in my college course…I haven’t decided.’

Blake has seen her eye for style and co-ordination in what she is wearing but says nothing on it. Bella leaps up against his leg to draw his attention upon her. She wants to get home. Blake considers what to say.

‘If you know my place, then you’ll have seen some glass-fronted display cabinets…that tell you what I do. I’m about to start commissioning the fitting out of a showhouse on a scheme I’m working on down into The Cotswolds, so…if,’ he hesitated, ‘if it’s too late and you’ve found something, then fine, otherwise I could put in a word for you…’

The girl gasped and put a hand to her lips. She then laughed in dismay. ‘Really?’

She sees him smile, is taken by his long slender face and how distinguished his greying hair make the man look. He’s ruggedly handsome, his body toned and lightly tanned. Will she really be in his company, some of the time, and how does she tell her folks about this?

‘Yes, really…what I’m suggesting is a start, if you’re interested in the idea? Call in after three this afternoon or ring my office number if you don’t live in the village. You can get it off the display case. I’ll have set up an intro for you by then. Tell me…what’s your name?’

‘Evie Marklew…do you mean it, what you’re saying?’

She looked at him in wide-eyed amazement that the offer has come out of the blue. The guy’s hot, and not just from his jog…his singlet sticks to his lean body, and she sees toned arms and strong legs. His shorts are just that, short, and almost like a second skin where it matters, even to her. She’s not so practised in the ways of it, as some of the others in her group, and she’s been happy with that, until now.

‘Yes, I don’t waste my breath on empty promises…’

‘No…no, of course not.’ She sees him slick back his short hair, greying already at the temples but she loves that about him too.

‘I’m going, Evie. Think about it…talk it through with your parents…and call me. You’ll be working for me…with me…but under the guidance of Carole Soames at Tovey Interiors…’

‘I’ve heard and read about them in the County Mag…they’re from Warwick way?’ It felt unreal, all that was being said and was happening. Tovey’s were a class act. She saw their adverts in the local magazines all the time. Could it get any better than this?

‘Just that. I’m glad that you’ve heard of them…and you mean what you say about work experience in what interests you.’

‘I do mean it.’ She looked away in distraction mersinescort as her friends again called to her. It felt as if she was already being interviewed and her interest confirmed and not thought of a flimsy plan. ‘Sorry…I’ve got to go back, or they won’t shut up.’

He smiled in reassurance. ‘Go on, Evie, I’ve been there too. I may hear from you?’

‘You will, oh you will!’ She stopped. ‘What’s your name?’

‘Blake Edwards…and it’s Edwards Classic Homes.’

‘I won’t forget…none of this!’ she laughed out brightly and met a moment’s stilled look of Blake’s eyes upon her. Evie then turned away.

He followed her progress and knew that Evie would have to explain herself to the friends who were sure to tease her. She had skipped away from him and before he walked up the ramp to the village’s main thoroughfare. He was breaking all the rules that he set for himself, by picking someone on their looks and to work for him.

¦

Evie brought the heavy door knocker down onto its plate, twice, and waited. She had caught sight of Blake through the slatted blinds fitted across the tall casement windows on each side of the front door. They were often closed and when, she assumed, the office was closed.

She caught sight of the man, now in a smart navy-blue suit and sky-blue shirt open at the neck. He smiled wonderfully and soon opened the door.

‘Right on time…Evie.’

He stepped aside and let her pass. Gone were the revealing clothes, and in their place a pencil skirt and floaty cream blouse. The young woman before him was feast to the eye, so different from those that had gone before and never stayed with him for long. He didn’t play the field or ‘put it about’; relationships had failed to click. To pursue the young woman before him, if that was the way things played out, would be a departure from all that had passed for a love life. What Evie brought to the eye, and would to his touch, put in the shade the others he had been seen with. That also went for your youthfulness, and he supposed her comparative innocence.

‘I thought it best…’ She looked at him nervily and glanced into his open office area. He had been seen to be working at an architect’s drawing table. ‘It’s lovely office…yet it feels like home.’

‘That’s how I want it.’ Blake motioned for her to go in and he led her to corner sofa set placed facing the window that looked out on the village green and the war memorial. He waited for her to sit down. ‘I’ve spoken to Carole and she’s happy for you to be at our meetings…the first next is next Tuesday. If you agreed, you could start here…be with me on Monday and sit in on a progress meeting…then come with me to one of my finished schemes that Carole’s worked on. It will prep you for meeting her…you’ll see her approach to what I ask of her.’ He watched Evie sit very straight, demurely yet tense, on the edge of her seat, her hands folded in her lap. ‘Am I rushing you?’

She shook her head and he saw how her hair swayed.

‘No, it’s all happened so fast but it’s exciting to see the outcomes of what is designed on paper.’ She saw him nod his agreement, just loved how he looked at her as Blake listened. A dream of work experience had simply fallen into her lap, and she’d be working with an only too attentive but quietly spoken man. ‘I’ll be here…my parents have been told…over the phone. I’ll speak it all through with them when they get home. They have heard of you too so that helps.’

She took a moment to take in her new surroundings, had to stand up and now peered over the low wall that separated his work area from where they had been seated.

‘I’ll show you around…’ Blake offered and waited for her to join him. ‘Your workstation is over there by the window looking out over the garden. I converted that old pine table so that it has a lift up drawing board you never knew was there…’ he said in enthusiasm. ‘The kitchenette and a toilet and shower room are through there…along the passage to the back door out onto the garden…a separate ladies loo next door. And, close to my table is my Bella’s bed.’

He called to her in an obviously caring voice, and the dog came to them. Evie bent down to her as she had done before. She met his look upon her.

‘I want to make the most of the chance you’re giving me…’ she said, her voice breaking as she took it all in, the man, Blake’s office and even his adoring pet and companion. ‘Sorry…my friends are going away and have nothing to come back to. I want to take every chance I can get…’

‘Just take your time, Evie. The pressure’s on me to make the business work. You’ll see how the world outside of school or college really turns…and you’ll be a step ahead of them. It matters more than ever these days.’

She knew it too and so much more besides. The man she had met couldn’t be put from her mind, and in a couple of days she would be working with him and in Blake’s company more than ever.

What a lousy word ‘infatuation’ was. It didn’t get close to describing how she already felt about the man before her; he with his quiet and unthreatening ways, but with eyes that yenişehir escort were beginning to tell their own story.

2

Evie clutched the work portfolio case in her slender-fingered hands, the heavy-duty card of its sides bound by magenta-coloured laces. It held all that she had sketched and worked on with Carole Soames over the time that she had been with Blake and seen the scope of his developments, his eye for detail and demanding ways that kept things to the standard he set for himself.

‘It’s your last but one day,’ he smiled across the space between them. They were on the way back from Stow and a town centre development of classic stone-built properties that revealed how far he would go to respect their setting and the town’s history.

‘Yes, the time’s just flown by,’ she said in a soft voice, not quite believing how her time with him and others had gone by, but with Blake in particular. He had mentored her in everything that his company undertook, and the man had not put a foot wrong in his behaviour towards her. ‘Everything I do from now on won’t be the same…’

Blake drove the luxuriously fitted Range Rover effortlessly, the smell of the leather seats heavy and mingled with the light floral scent she always wore and had done, even at school, in the last few months. That life was behind her. She felt that she had suddenly stepped into an adult world on account of him. He would be the one to make that journey begin and to make her dreams become only too real. She had become besotted with him and the idea of a man taking her body and not just her mind.

The man she had begun to obsess over with every day that passed, since they had met at that bridge, lived alone. She never overheard any chats with a woman friend. He was easy and polite with Carole, whenever they met, and he would let her know by a smile, or moment’s look, that he approved of what she had chosen to wear for work. He’d not made a pass at her, said nothing suggestive and it had only beguiled her so much more. She wondered about him, had even gone to touching herself when in bed and thought back over moments of the day spent in his company. He set her tasks and left her to it, she even worked alone in the office and fielded calls when he went out for a site visit. She became his secretary and PA, after he had seen the quality of her work. Some instinct had made him trust her; they rounded off the day with a half hour chat and she was gone from him…out of sight but never far from her mind.

Blake paid her in cash every Friday and friends she talked to said she was lucky. He was doing her a favour in offering work experience, and paying her, or was he after something else and was she open to that idea. To look at the man beside her and see his vitality, hear his soft spoken but persuasive ways when dealing with business matters, and to know sometimes that his eyes were on her, made the shock of knowing that she was into him only too real.

His office was always spotless; the rooms in the old house, that looked over the village green and war memorial, in open plan but retaining its corniced ceilings and pendant lights that hung from ornate plaster ceiling roses. Paintings brightened every wall, and he had made the place feel as if work intruded on his home, not the other way about.

‘It’s gotten to be that way for me too…Evie. I’ve had no doubts about having you around, and Carole’s said you have an eye for the work that she does for me…so you must see where your next steps take you.’

‘You’ve made me feel that way, Blake…’ she used his first name as if he’d agreed to it. He had said nothing when she did so, and whenever they were alone, but now her voice expressed a different intention. ‘I’ve got no other plans when I leave your work…it’s been special.’

‘I knew it too…when I asked you that first day, ‘ Blake answered but without looking at her.

He had slowed to almost a stop and looked at the lane ahead. The fob that operated the electric gates was held out and she saw them slowly open and te gravelled driveway led up to a single outbuilding that had been sympathetically converted into a garage and store. His eye for detail and history continued to astonish her. A tended, walled garden lay between it and the house, the slabbed path lined with climbing roses, their stems forming an archway and were tied to an ornate frame over its full length. To her to walk underneath it was only too romantic.

‘Blake?’ she prompted, turning in her seat to look at him.

Evie shivered. She met his stilled look before it drifted over her body, the floaty white blouse, with its scooped drawstring collar that she had chosen to wear no longer stretched taut across her breasts, now that the seat belts had been eased away. Her navy-blue skirt revealed her slender thighs, white flats a finishing touch.

She had the chance to take in again his brushed back greying hair that lent his long face a particular attractiveness. He looked so darned fit and strong, his hair making him look older than she knew he was. Carole had told her that the man had become rich toroslar escort through hard work and by the time he was thirty-five.

‘Work has taken over his life,’ Carole had gone on to confide.

She saw him pout and finally give voice to what was on his mind.

‘Can you stay a while…have supper with me, perhaps…later?’ Blake offered a moment’s fingertip caress to the soft skin of her thighs, his touch moving enough to make her move them, open the way to his touches. ‘Well?’

Evie stilled his touches for an instant.

‘Be careful with me…this is so different from what I know,’ she confessed on a whisper as Blake hesitated before he leant in to kiss her, his hand slowly smoothing her skin until it touched her panties and she squirmed; opened her mouth to meet an older man’s expert and hungering kiss. ‘I want to be with you…have to tell someone I’ll be late!’

‘Do that when we’re inside!’ he called after her.

Evie had opened the door and she now ran towards the house. She heard him behind her and then felt his restraining embrace, his hands on her belly arousing shivers of longing and fear for what she was doing and knew that she wanted from him. She met his stilled look and did not stop Blake’s hands as he slowly cupped her breasts and she kissed him; loved his slow ways of persuasion that vied with the fury of her longing for him and that he had aroused in her. It was so different, every moment she’s spent with him at work and now, from all that she had gone through with the few guys she’d let in to touch but not fully claim her.

‘I want this…want you…but only if you’re ready for this and with me,’ she heard him say, his breaths on her skin exciting her responses. She clamped his hands to her body, turned in his embrace to meet his soft, wondering look before he bent to kiss her once more. ‘Nothing’s forced…you can leave, Evie. I’m not using you…and I want it to mean something for us both.’

She nodded through their kisses and believed that it was so. Blake was unthreatening in his ways with her now. He sought to bring her on in his chosen ways, the devotion that she had seen him bring to his work would now be upon her. His restraint, and now, Blake’s soft words only made her want him more.

‘Show me…help me with it!’ He felt so strong and that she would drown in the look of those wondering eyes upon her and never tire of being kissed by his wonderful lips, that she would willingly become ensnared by his touches upon her and what she knew he would ring. She had felt the hard insistent press of his prick against her bum as Blake could not keep that certainty from her. ‘Be gentle…please?’

‘Is it a first time for you?’ The breeze rustled the leaves of the roses, their scent heavy on the air and fronds brushed their faces as they stepped slowly towards the back door.

‘Like this…with someone like you, yes it is.’ Evie lingered under his slow understanding kisses. She felt that he would make love to her, behave as she had imagined when alone in her bed and her thoughts turned to him.

3

Blake felt her clutch his arm as he led the way into the cool of the house and the echoing hallway, the staircase to his apartment before them. Bella nuzzled and licked her greetings to their hands before she went outside, only to quickly return and settle in her basket as Blake commanded.

‘She’s a wonder….’

‘Yes, she’s always been true and dutiful company for me.’

Evie wondered on what lay behind that remark. She watched him drag away his tie and unfasten two buttons of his shirt, shove his suit jacket over the back of a chair. She saw downy hair on his breastbone, remained hesitant in what she should do in these new circumstances between them. She met his distracted look.

‘You’d better call someone…say you’re working late,’ he said on a knowing pout of his lips.

‘They’re all out…still at work.’

‘Just tell them, please?’ he answered in a low voice.

She met but a moment’s touch to her face before searching for her iPhone in her bag that she had put on the floor by the stairs. Evie sensed him step away, looked to see that he was deep in thought as he wandered into the office part of the glorious room.

‘Blake?’

He held up a hand. ‘Make the call…please?’

He was unsure of his actions, even if the young woman beguiled him and aroused errant longings for her. Evie had done so from the moment they had met by that bridge. He stifled a groan of dismay. She was so young and beautiful, so wonderfully made and only too desirable; what he had held so firm and promising so much, whether she was experienced or not in the ways between two people. He wondered if his lust for her, and the knowledge that she would soon be out of his sight and company, if not his thoughts, had overcome all reason. He was a man who had become rich as a result of carefully considered judgements, who weighed up the pros and cons of a situation. But with this young woman other instincts and emotions prevailed. He wanted to take her to bed and feast on what he knew lay under the clothes she had worn for work and a meeting with selling agents. The memory of their first meeting, and her cropped top, had plagued him ever since but he had chosen to take things so frustratingly slow. Bodies and minds had to meet in whatever would now play out between them.

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