Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Changing Jody - Episode IV

Episode IV

Exhilaration drummed through my entire body as I walked out of the bathroom and back into the throng of bodies on the terrace.  The music hummed in the background, making me feel dizzy with need.  Although what I craved was beyond me.  As if in answer, Blake appeared in my line of vision and raised his glass in salute.  I lowered my chin and gave him a sultry grin.  Rose was one hell of a flirt. 

Praying I wouldn’t trip on something, I walked slowly and it became my walk of seduction.  I smirked when his eyes took me in from my four-inch stilettos to the top of my head.  For once, having curves was a good thing.  He seemed to enjoy the view. 

“I see you found another drink.”

I looked down and smiled.  “Yes.  But I think this will be my last.”

He turned and grabbed something from the granite counter that housed a bar complete with bartender.  “I have one more for you.  It’s lite.”

I put the one I had down and took what he offered.  I wasn’t about to drink them both.  There were limits I had to adhere. 

Studying the cobalt blue glass, I swirled the liquid and tilted my head.  “Pretty.  What is it?”

“Blue dragon.  It’s a new drink we are introducing at the restaurant.”

My stomach flipped, bringing my reality back into focus.  Jody spoke in my head and I didn’t want to hear what she was saying.  I wanted tonight to last forever. 

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“Yeah.  Just tired.”  I took a sip and the sweetness hit my tongue, making me close my eyes.

I felt his hand cover mine as he took the glass.  I watched as he sipped where my lips had been. 

“Perfect.  Don’t you think?”
I studied his handsome face then lowered my gaze to his broad shoulders.  “Perfect.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the penthouse.  I followed only because I was too curious not too.  The living area was huge but at the end of the hall was the largest master suite I had ever seen.  It had it’s own seating area complete with a mini bar. 

I tugged my hand back.  “I don’t think I should be in here.”

He turned to face me.  “I just want to be alone with you—away from the crowd.”

I put both hands on my hips.  “For what?”

He smirked and walked over to a large black leather chair.  “For this.  Have a seat, Rose.”

My hands dropped to my sides and I sat opposite him, just to be sure he didn’t think I was loose. He leaned back all sexy and nonchalant while I perched on the edge of the chair, my back rod straight.  The drink was still in my hand and I was afraid to drink it.  My gaze swung to the huge king bed just a few feet away. 

“Do you want to go back outside?”

I thought about his question for a moment.  Would he think me a prude if I said yes?  We were in his bedroom but he hadn’t implied anything or made a move.  I could do this.  The champagne had helped, otherwise I would have already bolted.

“I’m good.”

“Good.”  He crossed his legs at the ankles.  “So tell me, Rose.  What do you do for a living?”

My brain scrambled around to answer his question.  I couldn’t very well tell him I was a waitress, the series of follow up questions would be too risky so I went with my major instead. 

“Law.”

His brows rose.  “I didn’t see that one coming. Nice.”

I smiled a secret smile.  That’s because you haven’t seen me in my natural state, which includes glasses and books.
           
“Well, don’t let the outside appearance fool you.  I’m really a closet nerd.”

He busted out laughing.  It was rich, sexy and hot.  He rose and gestured for me to take his hand.

“Come on.  I want to show you something.”

I glanced toward the bed. 

“Not that.” His eyes twinkled. 

I reached up and let him guide me to the massive windows on the other side of the spacious room. 

“Since you like the views.  Take a look at this one.” He grasped my shoulders; the feel of his skin against mine sent a shock through my entire body.  I allowed him to move me closer while he took a stand behind me.  I looked out into the night, my breath hitching at the beauty of the city and the lights.  I couldn’t imagine going to sleep with this view and waking up to it.  My entire life had consisted of apartments and rentals.  My parents were lower middle class and had to bust ass for everything they had.  Being an only child, I got a little more but not much.  I was glad they were both retired and living in a one-bedroom condo up north.  Their pension sustained them and I swore they would be comfortable when I became a lawyer.  All this wealth could make you take everything else for granted.  I never wanted to be that person.

“Well?”

“Splendid.  You’re a lucky man.”
 

He must have noted the slight resentment in my voice. He turned me to face him; his hands remained on my shoulders.

“I wasn’t always so lucky.  Hard work and patience got me where I am today.  No one gave me anything.”

Part of me felt ashamed for making him think I had doubts—The other still had a tad bit of skepticism.
He glanced down.  “I’ve never told anyone this and I never felt the need until now.  The doubt in your eyes is slaying me.  You’re not like any other woman I’ve invited up.”

“I’m sure they all throw themselves at you?”

He looked past me and out to the glittering lights.  “At my money but I haven’t had it as easy as you might think. My childhood was not—” He struggled for his next words. “Pleasant.”

My head snapped back on my neck.  “How so?” Now I was interested. 

“I was orphaned at the age of ten. This—” He gestured at the richness of his bedroom. —is my hard work and sacrifice.”

I could believe him.  My gut told me he was being sincere but I didn’t know him.  He was the rich owner of the restaurant where I worked, coming in once a month to survey the establishment and go behind closed doors with the management team.  I hadn’t heard any negative comments and everyone seemed to genuinely like him but I didn’t know him.

His hands moved to my neck and before I knew it, his face was coming closer.  My heart accelerated in anticipation of something that should not be happening. 






Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Changing Jody - Episode III

Episode III

Deep blue eyes squinted as he sipped his drink.  I remained deathly still, terrified he would recognize me.  He probably wouldn’t.  I mean,  what big-shot boss remembers a single waitress out of a dozen restaurants and bars he reigned over?  True, my location was headquarters—but between meetings and flights to who knows where, he couldn’t possibly know every single employee. 

I glanced away and studied the look on Crystal’s face.  It was almost comical;  her eyes sparkled with repressed mischief.  She thrived in this environment while I dreamed of getting in a cab and hauling ass back to the apartment. 

Blake was gone when I moved my gaze back.  Crystal was telling me something and I realized we were still poised inside the elevator, which opened up to the rooftop.  The view was something out of a movie: Lights glittered and fell off into blackness, and a subtle breeze brought the scent of sea salt, reminding me we were very close to the water.

“Going to get us some drinks,” Crystal whispered in my ear.  Somewhere there was techno music playing, but not loud enough to make one scream.  I nodded and moved onward as my eyes took in the dim, square lanterns that littered the space.  Low couches and chairs upholstered with bright red material in a checkered pattern were spread throughout the open terrace—some were canopied with curtains for privacy.  I walked in a daze, taking it all in.  When the pool came into view I know my jaw dropped.  It was lit and glowing in a soft blue, which transformed into a light purple.  It appeared to be suspended on the edge of the building. 

“Enjoying the view?”

I jumped, startled to hear a voice so close behind me.  I turned just enough to catch Blake’s smile.  Lowering my eyes I smiled back. 

“It’s stunning,” I replied.

I couldn’t be rude so I turned to face him.  His eyes scrutinized me once more.

“Have we met?”

I shook my head.  “I don’t think so,” I lied.  We had been introduced when I started working for him three years ago; I wasn’t going to count that. 

His head tilted to the side. 

“My friend works for you.  I’m her date.”

His brow rose in question.  I blushed at his thoughts. 

“She’s my best friend—like a sister.

He glanced into his drink.  “I’m glad to hear that.”

Crystal’s blonde head bobbed behind Blake’s shoulder.  She was grinning from ear to ear.  With my eyes I begged her to save me, but the bitch toasted both of our drinks together and disappeared just before he turned to follow my gaze. 

I smiled warmly when he turned toward me once more.  “Just saw someone I know.”

“Must be someone you don’t feel too fondly for.”

I fiddled with my clutch.  “You’re right, but I don’t like to be rude.” 

He followed my hand as I pulled at the hem of my dress.  “Did you want something to drink?”

I opened my mouth to decline but he was already snapping his fingers to the waitress walking by with flutes of something bubbly.

Shit.

Maybe a drink was good.  Yes.  I needed to steady my nerves and just have a normal chat.  Who was I kidding?  My employer was hitting on me, his employee, and he didn’t even know it.  Awkward?

He handed me the drink and I gulped it down in one chug.  He scowled when I put the empty flute down on a nearby table. 

I giggled.  I never giggle.  “I was thirsty.”

“I can see that.  Another?”

Hell no.  “Sure.”

Why was I drinking like a lush?  Because I was by myself, that’s why.  I scanned the crowd and no Crystal.  Not even an excuse to flee.  I didn’t know anyone.  This was the executive team and management.  No lowly waitress or bus boys here.  I found another drink in hand and sipped this one a bit slower.  Two gulps.  Blake laughed and nodded.

“What did you have for dinner?  A bottle of salt?”

I laughed with him, my ridiculous nerves finally taking a back seat. 

“You are too cute.  No, I actually like the bubbles.”  Did I just say that?  I needed to step away and gather my scatter-brained self.  This was Blake Steel and I was making a complete idiot—

“You’re cute too.  What’s your name?”

I searched my brain for a name, afraid he might make the connection. 

“Rose,” I blurted.  Rose?  How innocent. 

His eyes sparkled with interest.  Oh no.

“I live far away.  Very far.”

He grinned.  “I have a private jet at my disposal.  That’s not a problem.”

Double damn.  I am going to murder Crystal. 

“Is that supposed to impress me?” I smacked my hand over my mouth. 

His eyebrows rose in surprise.  “Complete with thorns, I see.” His gaze dropped to my neck and bare shoulder. 

My skin burned under his stare.  What was in that drink?

No matter, because I finished it anyway.  I turned and studied the area where we stood.  It was suddenly a great place to be.  The music got louder and I started to sway to the beat.  My eyes fluttered closed and I forgot Blake stood beside me.  I had to contain myself. 

Opening my eyes, I found his smiling down at me.  Suddenly, I wanted to do something spontaneous.  I grabbed his hand and pulled him out toward the dance floor.  Jody would be mortified at my behavior, but 'Rose' didn’t give a shit. 
His hands rested on my waist as the beat pumped around us.  I raised my arms into the air and shook what my momma gave me. 

I caught Crystal’s slack-jawed expression across the way and waved.  She continued to stare and I laughed, throwing my arms around Blake’s neck.  The song ended and I found myself in a cheesy dip, Blake’s arms holding me back from busting my ass. 

“Do you mind if I go to the little girls' room?”

“Not at all.  First door down the hall.  I’ll be at the bar.”

I winked at him and walked toward the penthouse, shaking my ass the entire way because I knew he was watching.  His place was unbelievable, all glass and modern lines.  The guest bath was a dream.  I had managed to snag another drink from the waitress on my way in.  It rested on the counter as I glanced in the mirror and applied more lip-gloss. 

The door clicked shut and I knew exactly who was there.  I turned and Crystal’s expression was picture-worthy.

“I never thought I’d see the day.”  She studied the drink on the granite counter and nodded. 

“Are you drunk?”

“Not at all.  I’m just having fun.”  I adjusted my dress, turning to make sure nothing was showing that shouldn’t be. 

I watched as she pursed her lips.  “You’re definitely drunk.” 

I grabbed my clutch and drink then waltzed by her.  “If you will excuse me, I have a hot guy waiting at the bar.”

Chrystal blanched and I laughed at her expense.  This is what she had wanted the whole time—she should be on cloud nine.  “Isn’t this what you wanted?”

She threw her hand up in the air.  “Not with the owner of the company!  I mean, have fun, but you are in no condition right now.  There are plenty of other hot guys out there.”

“Oh please—this coming from the girl who tongued her manager to get an invite?” 

“Holy shitballs, Jody!”

I came close and whispered.  “It’s Rose tonight.  That’s what I told Mr. Steele.  No way am I giving him my real name.  He doesn’t have a clue who I really am and I want to keep it that way.”

Crystal rolled her eyes.  I barely recognize you—how would he?” 

I grinned at her.  “Exactly.” 



Friday, December 5, 2014

CHANGING JODY - Episode II

EPISODE II

I shook my head vigorously when I glanced at my reflection in the full-length mirror. 

“There is no effing way I am wearing this.”

I watched the scowl spread over Crystal's face as she stood behind me. 

“I can’t believe you won’t even say the real word.  Seriously, you need to lighten up.”

I tipped my head back.  “I don’t see the need to curse every other word.  Anyway, I am not wearing this.  My entire backside is out.”

“Oh please!  It’s just your back.  Don’t you show it when you wear a bathing suit?  Even the one piece you insist on wearing all the damn time?”

I pulled at the hemline, which rested dangerously close to my crotch. “That’s different.”

“My ass.  This party is not some stuffy crap show.  The best of Miami will be there.  We might even see some celebrities,” Crystal squealed excitedly.

Suddenly, I felt old and prudish.  My best friend was full of life and energy.  At just twenty-one, I was already basically a spinster.  Sometimes I thought I would do better out on the prairie in North Dakota somewhereI certainly wasn’t cut for this city life.  Crystal had begged me to come down south with her; I had rebelled for all of a week before buckling under the pressure. All year, she had invited me and I had always come up with excuses—I had a final. My head hurt. I was cramping. 

Lame.  All of it. 

“Fine.  I’ll get the dress.”

The ginormous smile on my friend's face had even me smiling.

She threw herself at me.  “Oh Jody!  Thanks so much for doing this with me.  You will not regret it.  I’m so stoked you’re going.”

“The things I do for you,” I spat.

“Oh come on.  You have to admit you look fantastic.  I’ve always said your body rocks.  I have to basically kill myself at the gym and here you are sitting around reading books with buns of steel.”

I rolled my eyes.  “My butt isn’t the most important thing.  I do have a brain.”


She smiled and hugged me again.  “You are gonna look incredible.  Wait until I do your hair and makeup—”

“Whoa there.  I am not letting you make me look like a drag queen.”

“Oh please.  I know you don’t like the caked on look.  I got you.  Don’t you worry.”

I did, especially when she insisted on buying the dress and the skimpy underwear to go underneath.  Crystal came from big money.  Her father was a hotshot attorney and her mother, his trophy wife.  Crystal favored her mother with her blonde hair and bright eyes but her calculated moves were definitely her dad’s. 

I watched as she whipped out her American Express (with no limit) and spent an outrageous amount on the both of us.  Fighting her would only result in an embarrassing moment.  I had learned that lesson when I accompanied her to shop for our high school prom. 

She signed her name on the receipt and turned to hand me my precious bag.  Placing my fingers around the handle gave me a feeling of euphoria.  My stomach flipped at the thought of parading around a top floor with tons of rich people who didn’t know me. 

Shaking my head, I squashed the feeling of excitement and attributed it to experiencing something new.  It couldn’t possibly be real.  No way.


I glanced over my shoulder and cringed at the skin on display.  The dress wrapped around my body like a glove, covering one shoulder and leaving the other bare. Right along with most of my back.  Crystal yelled from the door, hurrying me.

“Coming!”

I took one last look at myself and didn’t recognize the sexy woman looking back.  My lips were blood red, hair pin-straight and parted to the side.  The secret smile spreading across my face scared the shit out of me.  I adjusted my smirk and went back to serious. Glancing down, I studied my shoes.  I considered them to be weapons if needed.

The heels were going to be my biggest challenge, never mind keeping my snatch covered.  I walked slowly into the living area where Crystal waited. 

“Fuck me sideways.  You look hot!”

Crystal had left me to finish with the dress and shoes. Now the entire ensemble was before her and she was beaming.   I had to admit I felt a thrill course through me.  But then again, my nerves were making me jittery.  On a night like tonight, I would be curled up in my bed with Kit on my lap and a steamy book. 

“I don’t know as much about the act, but I think that would be rather uncomfortable.”

She slapped at my shoulder.  “Don’t be a smartass.  It’s just an expression.  Now let's go.  I can’t wait to show you off to my friends.”

I watched her prance out of the door and nodded my head.  With a quick prayer, I followed.

We cleared the elevator and the valet was out waiting with Crystal’s BMW.  I had been told there would be no dorm life for us when her father owned a penthouse in the same vicinity. So once again, Crystal had gotten her way.  We moved in our freshman year and had been there ever since.  I couldn’t really complain.  The place rocked and we each had our own room with a Jacuzzi tub included.

 I watched precariously as the doorman opened the door.  The distance from my ass to the seat was steep. I crouched down and struggled to get into the car.  A sigh of relieve left my lips once I was buckled in and we were on our way.  Crystal chatted away on how to walk and hold your drink, blah blah blah…

  I heard about 50% of her blather—my stomach was too busy twisting itself into a knot.  Too soon, she pulled up to another valet station.  The building was absolutely beautiful, all modern lines and very white.  The windows in this place went on forever.  I looked up and lost count of how many floors it had. 

Crystal walked up to the desk and presented her invitation. The one she had tongued our manager for.  I didn’t even know how I was going to face him on Monday. 

Crystal shoved me forward.  Did I stop walking?  Seemed like I had. 
I scowled at her and started to walk with a sudden fear that made me want to bolt like a frightened animal.  Men stared at us and while Crystal thrived with the attention, I grabbed at my sleeve and tried to cover my ass with my handbag.  Ridiculous, I know. 

The elevators were glass, which made me cringe and seek some kind of privacy.  There was none. 

“You aren’t afraid are you?  I know you despise heights but it’s perfectly safe. 

I swallowed.  “I’m fine.”

She gave me the “sure” glance and I turned to watch the floors speed by as we went up and up.  Finally, the ding we were waiting for came through loud and clear.  Like a gong announcing my impending doom.

The doors opened and on the other side was a vision I would never forget. 

Blake Steel—very up close and personal.