Co-Workers Turned Couple

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He glanced up from his computer and realized that Shantel and he were the only ones in the office.  Everyone else had left.  It was Friday.  Most people left either minutes before or exactly at five.  And it was summer.  People wanted to enjoy the nice weather.

He wasn’t in any rush to get home.  All he did when he was there was watch television, play the stereo, read or spend hours on his laptop.  After living most of his life on a farm, it took a while to get used to living in the city.  In spite of the hustle and bustle and all that the city had to offer, his was a very boring life.  He didn’t have a girlfriend and he wasn’t interested in dating, at least that was before Shantel came on the scene.

Two years ago, she joined the company when Ruth who had been working there for over fifteen years, decided to move back to Toronto.  He was sorry to see her go because she was like an older sister to him.  However, when he saw her replacement, he was bowled over.  She was beautiful!  He was tongue-tied and couldn’t help staring when Ruth introduced them.

Shantel was quiet and reserved like him and they got along very well.  Some times they had lunch and took the subway together.  They learned a lot about each other.  He was relieved to find out that she was single like him.  They shared a lot in common and had similar tastes.  Sometimes, they went to the park to have lunch and after work, they went to the shopping mall or the library to browse before hopping on the train.

It wasn’t long before he started to develop feelings for her and he wanted so badly to ask her out but he was afraid of rejection and ruining their friendship.  He watched her now as she sat at her desk.  She glanced up and caught him looking at her.  She got up and went over.  She looked amazing in the purple dress which ended just above her knees.  What lovely legs she had…Realizing that he was staring, he turned away, his face red.

“Are you working late?” she asked.

He looked up.  “I wasn’t planning to,” he replied.  “What about you?”

“No.  I’m ready to leave when you are.”

“Okay.  I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

“I’ll go and get ready.”  She smiled at him before walking away.

He switched off his computer and quickly cleared his desk.  Grabbing his jacket, he went over to her desk where she was waiting for him.  They walked to the elevator.  On the ride down, she turned to him.  “Are you doing anything tomorrow evening?” she asked.

He shook his head.  “No.”

“Well, I was wondering if you would to have dinner at my place.”

His heart began to beat faster.  “I would love to, Shantel.” 

“I’ve wanted to ask you that for a long time but just couldn’t work up the courage until now.”

His eyes darkened on her face and he reached for her hand.  “And I’ve wanted to ask you out so many times but was afraid to.”

She smiled and squeezed his hand.  “I’m glad to know that we both feel the same way and that we’re finally reached this stage in our relationship.  No more hiding or pretending…”  Her voice trailed off as his lips found hers and moved ever so gently, like a caress, making her catch her breath.

When they exited the elevator, they were smiling and holding hands.  They were a couple now.

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today’s prompt, Farm.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

Two Ships

Herieth-Paul2Ife saw him waiting for the elevator.  She tried not to make it obvious that she was watching him as she pushed the cart down the hallway.  She knew he was in no. 406, the Royal suite.  He was very handsome and a sharp dresser.  He must be rich, she thought.  This was a 5-star hotel he was staying in.

He was looking straight ahead and appeared to be in deep thought.  He didn’t notice her and when the elevator doors opened, he went inside.  After they closed behind him, she continued down the hallway to the different suites she still had to clean.  When she got to his, she looked around.  It was in impeccable order.  The bed looked like it hadn’t been slept in.  Out of all the suites on this floor, his was the one she didn’t mind cleaning.

As she got to work, she wondered how long he was staying in Kampala this time.  The last time it was for two weeks and the time before that, three.  He wasn’t the first Japanese businessman she had seen in the hotel or in Kampala.  More and more Japanese were flocking to the city to live, holiday or set up businesses.  Was he planning to live here or to set up a business?  What about his family?  Did he have a wife and children?  He looked young–in his mid to late thirties.

Well, it was none of her business.  A man like him would not be interested in her–a single mother working as a maid in a fancy hotel and living in a run-down neighborhood.  And they were from different cultures.  No, she would be better off finding and marrying a decent Ugandan man who wouldn’t mind being a step-father to her daughter.

Toshiro leaned against the tree, looking up at the hotel.  She was probably in his suite 62_ac32e335-d1d8-4e7c-bffa-e98b58858fd7now.  He knew that she was watching him as he waited for the elevator.  He could feel her eyes on him.  He appeared not to have noticed or acknowledged her but he had.   The temptation to look at her was very strong but he resisted.  She could be married for all he knew and he was in a relationship.

To be honest, he was staying at this hotel because of her.  The first time he saw her was last year when they passed each other in the hallway.   Their eyes met and held for a long time before she lowered hers.   Since then, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her or wanting to see her again.  Perhaps, one of these days, he would say hello to her.  There was no harm in that, was there?

Just then a taxi pulled up in front of the hotel’s entrance.  He glanced at his watch.  It was time to go to the meeting.  Moving away from the tree, he hurried over to the taxi and climbed.   As it drove off, he glanced up at the fourth floor.  Hopefully, he would see her again tomorrow.

This is a prequel to Ife’s Toilet Crisis.

A Familiar Face

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After losing her fiance, Boris in a horrific car accident, Claire packed up and left Montreal and moved to Paris when her company opened a new office there.  It took a while but she soon settled into her new life and immersed herself in the Parisian culture.  On the weekends, she went sightseeing and to museums and art galleries.  It wasn’t long before she fell in love with the city.

One Saturday, she was standing in the Place de Furstemberg when she felt someone staring at her.  She glanced up from the guidebook and her eyes met those of a very fine looking black man.  He looked familiar.  She was sure that she had seen him somewhere before but couldn’t remember where.

As they continued to stare at each other, a slight smile tugged at his perfect looking mouth.  She felt her heart flutter.  That never happened to her before–not even with Boris.

A man with his looks couldn’t be unattached, could he?  Several women threw admiring glances his way as they walked by but he was oblivious to them. She was flattered and flustered at the same time.  Dressed in a yellow tee shirt and denim Capri pants and her hair pulled back in a ponytail, she didn’t think she looked all that but he was just staring at her as if she were the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  She wasn’t sure what to do.  It feel a bit awkward just standing there locking eyes with a perfect stranger albeit a drop dead gorgeous one.  Part of her felt guilty for being attracted to another man but it had been three years since Boris died.   Boris, sweet guy that he was, would want her to move on with her life and be happy again.  Francois Angoston3

Okay, I getting ahead of myself, she thought.  For all I know this guy may be married and is looking for a summer fling.  Maybe I should just turn right around and walk away with my pride still intact.

Perhaps he had read her thoughts or her body language but the next thing she knew he was walking over to her.  She watched him get closer, trying to appear calm when she was anything but.  He had a graceful, unhurried walk and the denim jacket, white vest and jeans looked good on him.  It was then that she remembered where she had seen him before.  It was in a double page spread in the January issue of Vogue.   He was a model.  If anyone had told her that she would meet him in person…He was standing in front of her now and holding out his hand, he smiled.  “Laurent Baptiste.”

She shook his hand.  “Salomé Leblanc.  I saw your two page spread in Vogue.”

“Yes.  I’m in Paris for Fashion Week.”

“Are you from Martinique?”

“Yes.  Saint-Pierre.  Don’t tell me you’re from Martinique too.”

She laughed.  “As a matter of fact, I am.  I’m from Fort-de-France.”

“Are you here on holiday?”

“No.  I live here.  I moved here about five years ago.  I left Fort-de-France after I graduated from university and moved to Montreal, Canada.”

“Do you mind if we continued this conversation over lunch?”

“No, I don’t mind at all.  It isn’t every day that I bump into someone from Martinique.”

He smiled making her breath quicken.  “Let’s go.”

Over Roasted rack of lamb and Home made duck confit, they got to know each other better.  Before they parted company, she had an invitation to the Fashion Show he had mentioned earlier followed by dinner for two at Le Jules Verne restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

 

Source:  The Culture Trip

Pauline’s Predicament

Pauline was walking down the street heading towards the subway when she heard someone call her name.  She turned and saw Larson, her fiance’s friend.  Smiling broadly, she stopped and watched as he approached.  She was always delighted to see him.

When he reached her, they hugged.  “You look great,” she said as they separated.  He was wearing a grey pinstripe suit and a matching tie over a white shirt.  With his looks he could have been a model but he was a CFO at a multi-national company.

“Thank you,” he replied.  “You look terrific, as always.”

His compliment made her feel good and her smile deepened.  “So, how are you doing?  It has been a while since Karson and I last saw you.”

“I’ve been keeping busy.  How are Karson and you doing?”

“Fine.  He went away on a business trip to Toronto.”

“For how long?”

“A month.”

“What are you going to do while he’s away?”

She shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Maybe hang out with my friends or catch up on my reading.  Or maybe you’d like to come over on the weekend and we can spend time together.”

“I’d like that.”  He glanced at his watch.  “I’m sorry I can stay longer and chat but I have to get back to the office now.  I have a meeting in twenty minutes.  It was great running into you, Pauline.  I’ll be in touch.  Please tell Karson I said hi the next time you speak to him.”

“I will.  Call me.”

“I will,” he promised.  He watched her walk away before heading in the opposite direction.  As he walked, he wondered if it would be wise for him to visit her when Karson wasn’t there.  He was totally attracted to her.  When they hugged, he tried to hold her in such a way that she couldn’t feel his arousal.  The last thing he wanted was for her be aware of his feelings which were growing by leaps and bounds.  Those feelings were the reason why he hadn’t been visiting.  When he called her, he would suggest that they go somewhere.

Pauline reached the platform and waited for the train.  It was great running into Larson.  It had been a while since she last saw him.  She missed him.  In the past, he used to visit Karson and her often but lately, he wasn’t.  Perhaps, he was just very busy since the promotion or maybe he had a girlfriend.  The mere thought of him having a girlfriend made her jealous.  I shouldn’t be feeling this way, she chided herself.  He’s Karson’s friend.  But, she couldn’t stop thinking about how it felt when they hugged.  She had her arms around his neck and he had his around her waist.  The scent of his cologne and the feel of his hard body against hers made her head spin.  The hug seemed to last longer than it should have.  And when they parted, she wondered if he also sensed the sexual tension between them.

She somehow managed to act as if nothing was amiss but her body and senses were in turmoil.  Inviting him over to the house while Karson was away was a crazy and reckless idea but she wanted to see him again.  She couldn’t let another month go by without seeing him.  Maybe instead of them being in the house, they could go somewhere.  When he called, she would suggest that.

Three weeks passed and he still hadn’t called Pauline.  He had come to the conclusion that it would be best if they didn’t see each other.  He would wait until Karson was back and maybe drop by for a visit.  On a Saturday night, the week before Karson was due back in London, Larson was relaxing on the sofa, reading a book when the doorbell rang.  He closed the book and set it down, not particularly thrilled at the interruption.  When he looked through the keyhole, his heart leapt in his chest when he saw Pauline standing there.  What is she doing here?  Sucking in his breath, he drew back the latch and opened the door.  His expression was tense as he looked at her.

She was wearing a red dress which accentuated her lovely complexion.  “Good evening.  May I come in?”

He moved aside so that she could enter the foyer and closed the door.  His heart was pounding and his head was spinning.  When he turned around he tried not to let his gaze drop below her face.  “You shouldn’t be here, Pauline,” he said quietly.

“You didn’t call so I thought I would come by to see if you’re okay.”

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“I’m fine.  I was reading.”

“I wasn’t sure that you would be home on a Saturday night.”

“My weekends are usually very quiet.”

“What about a girlfriend?”  She had to know.

“I don’t have one.”  Was that relief he saw on her face before she turned away?  He moved away from the door and followed her into the  living-room.  While he sat down on the steps, she walked over to the windows and looked out.

“What an incredible view,” she remarked.  “I remember the first time I came here.  While you and Karson were talking, I came over here and stood for a long time just admiring the view.”

He didn’t answer.  Instead, he watched her, a pulse throbbing along his jawline.  This time he couldn’t prevent his eyes from traveling down her slender body as she stood with her back to him, watching the flickering lights of the city.  The dress hugged her in all the right places and it revealed her shapely legs.  He fought to resist the temptation to go over there and…

She turned around and came over to him.  “So, why didn’t you call me, Larson?” she asked.  “You said you would.”

“I’ve been busy,” he muttered.

“Too busy to call?”

She was standing in front of him now, looking down at him.  He was finding it hard to breathe now.  He should get up and move as far away as possible from her.  Maybe he should tell her that he wasn’t in the mood for company or that he just remembered, he had somewhere to go.  Anything to get out of this but, he just sat there, looking up at her and thinking about how sexy she looked in that bloody dress.  “Pauline, I think you should go,” he muttered tightly.

For a moment she looked a bit taken aback and then she shrugged.  “All right.  I’ll go.  I’m sorry I interrupted your evening.  I’ll see myself out.”  She started up the steps when contrite, he stood up and blocked her.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “It’s not that I don’t want you here.  The problem is that I do.”

“Then why do you want me to go?”

His eyes darkened on her upturned face.  “I’m afraid that if you stay I will be tempted to make a pass at you.”

She looked straight into his eyes and said, “Maybe that’s why I came over tonight.”

When he saw her eyes drop to his mouth, it was his undoing.  Groaning, he caught her by the shoulders and pulled her against him.  His head swooped down and his hungry mouth sought hers.

Pauline put her arms around his neck and kissed him back.  She knew that coming over here tonight could lead to this but it was something she had wanted for a very long time.  Deep down she knew that if she had met Larson first, she wouldn’t be with Karson.  Desire raged inside her like an inferno and breaking off the kiss, she dragged the denim jacket off and then pulled the tee shirt over his head.  She bent her head and pressed her lips against his heaving chest.  He closed his eyes as he felt her warm breath on his bare skin.

Then, he pulled her head back to devour her mouth.  For several minutes his lips plundered hers as his insatiable desire for her consumed him.  He picked her up and carried her to his room.  After kicking the door shut, he carried over to the bed and laid her on top.  He dragged the dress off before removing the rest of his clothes.  Then, his hands and lips were all over her body, driving her wild.  Her nails clawed at the skin on his back.  They made love on top of the duvet.

When it was over and they lay there entangled and spent, she turned her head towards him and said, “When Karson comes back, I will give him back his ring and move out.”

“What if he asks why?”

“I will tell him the truth.”

“I’m going to lose a very good friend.”

“I know,” she said, her face lined with deep regret.  “I wish I’d met you first.”

“Me too.”  He leaned down and kissed her on the shoulder.  “I’d like you to move in here with me.”

“Are you sure?” she asked, reaching up and brushing the hair back from his forehead.

“Yes.”

She smiled.  “Okay.”

He gazed into her eyes as he whispered, “I love you.”

She reached up and pulled his head down to hers.  “I love you too,” she murmured against his lips.

The following week, she gave Karson his engagement ring back and moved out.  He was livid and that was to be expected.  She moved in with Larson.  A year later, they got married.

Clemency

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Photo Credit: Fandango

I stood there, gazing at the city across the bay.  Somewhere in that concrete jungle was the prison where I spent fifteen years before I was granted clemency and released on parole.  It felt good to be standing there in the open, the sun hitting my face and listening to the lapping water.   It felt good not being behind bars.

When I turned sixteen, I never thought I’d wind up in prison.  My life changed when I killed Mick, the man who forced me to prostitute myself.  I was a victim of sex trafficking but I was treated like a criminal and sentenced to life, a sentence which the governor now considers to be too harsh.  Thanks to the celebrities who came to my defense, I’m standing here now.

I didn’t want to kill Mick but I feared for my life.  He would have killed me that night if I hadn’t defended myself.  I don’t hate him.  It wouldn’t do me any good.  I want to focus on rebuilding my life.  While in prison, I earned my Associate’s Degree.  I know that opportunity came from God.  I thought my life was over but, it’s not.

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This story was inspired by the true story of Cyntoia Brown who was arrested and charged with homicide of Johnny Allen who offered to have paid sex with her.  She was accused of murder and robbery and sentenced to life.  

This was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here.  To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.

Direction

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps – Proverbs 16:9

Have you ever made plans without consulting God first? You decide that you are going to go into missionary work because you saw a program on TV or know someone who is in the mission field but have you asked yourself if that is what God wants you to do? He might want you to be a missionary where you work or where you live instead of you going off to another country.

You might be planning to quit your job and move to another city or country but is that what God wants? What if He wants you to stay put because He has plans for you? You may be planning to get married but what if God wants you to wait? What if the timing is not right? OR what if the person you want to marry is not the right person? How many people could have avoided heartache, unhappiness, failed marriages if they had only waited on the Lord.

Let the Lord direct your steps. If you have plans, share them with Him. You may or may not have His blessing but either way you will be much better off than if you were to go ahead and follow your own plans instead of waiting on Him to give you direction.

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Making Plans

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,” whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you are rejoicing in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin – James 4:13-16

How many of us make plans way ahead in the future? And how many of those plans end up going nowhere? Why does the Bible liken making plans to boasting? It could be because we are doing so without consulting God. We act as if we are in control of our destiny when He is the One who is. As Christians, we should make our plans based on what God wants or think is best not what we want. He may have much better plans for us. Take the prophet Jeremiah. What would have happened if he had made plans for a career, travel or marriage? Those plans would have come to nothing because God already had plans for his life.

Remember the Tower of Babel? The people had the bright idea of building a tower so high that it would reach heaven. What were their reasons for building the tower? “…let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). They wanted to stay put instead of going abroad and populating the earth. In other words, they were making their own plans which were outside of God’s will. They were boastful in thinking that they could do things their way instead of God’s way.

Nothing is wrong with having plans but they must never be contrary to God’s will. To them, it seemed reasonable to stay where they were and build up a city instead of going out into the world to start new lives. There are times when we want to stay put but God wants us to step out in faith as He did with Abraham. And there are times when we want to go places but He wants us to stay put like Jeremiah. We have to be attuned to what God wants for us so that our plans will line up nicely with His perfect will for us.

It is always best to say, “if the Lord wills…” when it comes to making plans. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that God approves of your plans and will bless them?

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