Carpe Diem Ch. 02

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I want to acknowledge the generous contributions of lil_kitty — Lit author extraordinaire — whose editing and feedback helped me immeasurably. — Petitmort

Laying in her bed, Amanda Butterfield’s head was spinning from the surreal events of the past 24 hours.

She had been asked to fly to Zürich to help kick off their company’s big Europe launch. She flew first class with the VP of Product, the drop-dead gorgeous Josh Hamilton, drank champagne and flirted shamelessly, and even felt his face on her breasts — albeit accidentally.

In Zürich, he bought her an ultra-skimpy micro bikini, they hung out in the coolest spa ever, and she ended up in his suite giving him a full body massage. Yes, that kind of full body massage.

And, strangely enough, it all felt like the right thing to do.

She and Josh had just hit it off so well. He was charming, interested, generous. They chatted about work and life and love. They talked about their values, and what they were looking for in a partner.

Plus, his back was really killing him and he had this big presentation in the morning.

So, now she was lying in bed in the middle of the night unable to sleep. So much for resetting her internal clock.

She was reading her texts. Her work friend Marie was asking for an update.

So? How’s it going with Sweet Buns? Spill.

Sheesh, she thought, that was a loaded question. She thought about what she could and should say. She tapped out a response:

J wanted some spa time but I forgot my suit – he talked me into buying this

Then she attached a selfie she’d taken in Josh’s bathroom. It was a mirror shot of her in the micro bikini. Her boobs were pouring out of the top and the bottom was practically invisible. A tiny patch barely covered her pussy.

She decided it best not to mention the hand job she’d given him.

She checked the time. It was 4am. Which meant it was 9pm in San Francisco.

Sure enough, Marie’s response came moments later.

omg you look bootiful! I can’t believe you wore that!

Amanda smiled. She couldn’t believe she had the nerve to wear it either. But they had the spa to themselves and it just felt right. He had practically picked it out for her. And she did look good in it.

It was so cute the way he tried his best not to stare, she thought. How he tried to hide his boner. Sitting in the hot tub together, she could see just how turned on he was. How big and hard he got just from looking at her. God, that was hot.

Amanda replied simply:

I could tell he liked it too

Marie’s response came quickly:

was he perving you?

If she only knew.

They had chemistry from the start. When he looked at her on the plane with those bedroom eyes. The way he listened to her and cared about what she thought. Then, when their bodies touched, by accident at first, there were sparks.

And later, when they were together in the spa, and she saw what a gorgeous body he had, and how he reacted to seeing her nearly naked, it was inevitable they would act on it. It wasn’t pervy, she thought. It was much more than that.

Amanda replied:

not at all – he’s a gent

Marie’s reply was swift and ominous:

be careful girl

She doesn’t get it, Amanda thought.

She turned off her phone, put it on the night stand, and rolled over to try to get some sleep.

The next day, the first meeting with the Europe team started at 9am. Josh would kick off the two-day event, welcome the new team, and go over the company values, mission, and goals. Then, a series of breakout sessions would focus on different aspects of the launch.

Amanda met Josh in the hotel restaurant at 7:30.

“Good morning,” he said, smiling warmly as he sat at her table. “How’d you sleep?”

“Off and on,” she said. “Still adjusting to the new time.”

“Well, I slept great,” he said. “Thanks to you.”

He reached over and gently touched her hand.

“Glad I could help,” she smiled.

“Well, I’m going to need your help again,” he said. “I’ve got to meet a potential supplier this afternoon. I’m going to have to miss the Ops segment at 11.”

“Can’t we reschedule?” she asked.

“No, I tried,” he said. “So, I’m going to need you to present it.”

“Me?” she asked.

“You’ll do fine,” he said. “You know it backwards and forwards. You wrote the deck.”

“But if they ask questions I don’t know the answer to…”

“I plan to be back in time for the Q+A. I won’t leave you hanging.”

She felt reassured by this. She hadn’t imagined she’d be out front on this.

“I wouldn’t do this unless it was absolutely necessary,” he said. “But my meeting? It’s with Armani.”

“You’re kidding,” she said, shocked. “That’s fantastic.”

“They may be open to letting us sell second and discontinued items. If we could land them, and they agree to a co-marketing deal, it could be huge for us.”

Now, she saw why he couldn’t miss this meeting.

“You’re going to do great,” he said, leaning in. “I’m 100% confident in you.”

She istanbul escort leaned back and nodded. His confidence in her gave her the support she needed.

“No problem,” she said. “I’ll take care of it.”

He nodded and gave her a quick smile.

“Carpe Diem, baby. Carpe Diem.”

He raised his hand to summon the waiter.

The launch event attendees milled in the hotel’s large meeting room. There were about 30 in all, a mixture of full-time staff, contingent staff, and some key partners.

Josh kicked off the first session with his usual aplomb. He stood at the front of the room, dressed in a sport coat of fine Italian silk, a pullover shirt, jeans, and Gucci loafers. Casually elegant. His radiant good looks, his charm, his self-deprecating humor, and his total command of the subject won over his audience immediately.

He started by articulating his vision, painting a picture of what they were there to build. Together. A new user experience for selling and acquiring clothing sustainably. Reinventing how people intersect with fashion and the environment. It was both aspirational and inspirational.

Even Amanda, sitting in the front row, was caught up in his spell.

He went on to tell his personal story, the path that led him there. He grew up in Santa Cruz, California, fell in love with the ocean and the environment at an early age, did his undergraduate work at Berkeley, and then spent two years working for a non-profit in West Africa. He bummed around Europe and Asia for a year and then got his MBA at Penn.

He became a serial entrepreneur, starting a hemp-based clothing business and a shoe company based on sustainable manufacturing practices. Some startups did better than others, but one thing was constant — his commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly business models.

Amanda watched him work the room, commanding the floor, making eye contact with each and every member of the audience. It reinforced for her what a charismatic leader he was, and how he could rally the troops in a common cause.

She felt simultaneously proud of him, inspired by his message, and unbelievably attracted to him.

As interested as she was in the subject matter, she couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like later that night. After the workday was over. When they were alone.

Would they take up where they left off? Would he want to enjoy another spa ritual together?

Maybe they’d end up in that hot tub on the roof, enjoying the sunset. Maybe they’d decide to get naked.

She’d be looking at the beautiful sunset and he’d come up behind her. Close. She’d feel his breath on her neck, his hands on her body, his cock between her legs.

He’d lift her up in his strong arms and lower her onto his rock-hard cock. He’d spread her pussy, filling her, pumping his long cock into her, making her cum, making her cum so fucking hard.

“Amanda Butterfield!” Josh’s voice was announcing.

She looked up, shaken from her daydream, and saw Josh and a room full of people looking at her.

“Would you like to present the launch operations plan?” Josh was asking.

She realized she’d lost track of time. He needed to leave to meet with Armani. She was on.

“I’d be happy to, Josh,” she said, without missing a beat.

She stood up and strode to where he was standing. She turned and smiled at the audience.

“Good morning, everyone.”

Josh nodded in approval and walked towards the exit.

“Over the next hour, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about launch operations.”

As Josh left the room, the last thing he heard was Amanda cracking a joke and the audience laughing.

During the next hour, Amanda presented the operational roadmap and details flawlessly. She worked the room, made eye contact, asked questions to engage the audience, and generally did a fantastic job.

When she was wrapping up the last few items in the presentation, she was so into it she didn’t even notice Josh re-enter the room.

He stood at the back as she closed her presentation with an inspiring call for quality, reliability, and a laser focus on customer satisfaction.

“If each and every one of us commits to putting the customer first, I have no doubt that we’ll have a successful launch and robust earnings in the months to come.”

When she concluded, the audience burst into applause. Josh stood at the back of the room, clapping.

“Are there any questions?” she asked.

One by one, audience members asked questions and one by one Amanda answered them with specificity and precision. At one point, she looked at Josh with an expression that read “do you want to add anything?”

He responded by spreading his hands and shrugging his shoulders as if to say ‘what else is there to add?’

She had knocked it out of the park.

When they finally broke for lunch, Josh joined her at the front of the room.

“I knew you’d do great,” he said softly. “You were fabulous.”

“Thanks,” avcılar escort she said, smiling at him warmly. “How’d your meeting go?”

“It’s going,” he shrugged. “We’re gonna meet again tomorrow.”

She snapped her fingers.

“I just remembered I have to change rooms by noon.”

Amanda had been unable to reserve the same room for three consecutive nights.

“OK, go take care of that and then join us for lunch. Why don’t you sit at one table and I’ll take the other. Show everybody some attention.”

“Sounds good,” she said.

He was treating her more and more as a trusted colleague.

“I’m dreadfully sorry, Ms. Butterfield. Please accept my humblest apologies.”

Hans, the hotel manager, was standing with Amanda near the reception desk.

“I don’t understand,” Amanda was saying, “I specifically booked a room for tonight.”

“And the guest who was staying in that room decided to extend their stay.”

“There’s no other room you can give me? Anywhere in the hotel?”

“As I said, we’re at 100% occupancy.”

Just then Josh walked up to them.

“Is everything okay?” Josh asked.

“There’s a mix up with my room,” Amanda said. “I think I’m going to have to switch hotels.”

“And I’d be more than happy to assist with that,” Hans said. “It’s the very least we can do.”

Josh looked annoyed.

“Hans, can we deal with this later?”

“Well, there’s the matter of Ms. Butterfield’s luggage…”

“We haven’t got time for this,” Josh interrupted. “Just put her luggage in my suite for now and I’d appreciate it if you’d try one more time to find a solution. Please.”

“Of course, sir.”

Josh turned to Amanda.

“We better get back. They’ve already served lunch.”

Amanda sat at a large table and made polite conversation with the attendees. Every now and then, she’d look over at the other table and see Josh doing the same.

At one point, she glanced over and caught his eye. He gave her a smile and rolled his eyes.

She chuckled and went back to the conversation she was having. It was like he was saying, “oh the things we have to do for work. I’d so much rather be alone with you.”

At least, that’s how she interpreted it.

The afternoon went as smoothly as the morning. Josh even called an audible and asked Amanda to lead another session. It was on user feedback, a subject she knew well.

He let her drive the session and didn’t speak up unless he was asked a direct question. He wanted her to be able to assert her authority, without undermining her.

The confidence he showed in her over the course of the day made Amanda feel empowered and self-assured. By the end of the day, she was feeling capable of anything.

“You’re getting great reviews,” he said under his breath as they were waving goodbye to the group. “Two people asked if you could consult after the launch.”

“Which markets?”

“Italy and Spain.”

“Guido and Carlo,” she nodded. “Good guys.”

He looked over at her, impressed she was building relationships so quickly.

“Keep it up, you’re doing great,” he said, smiling and waving.

“Thanks.”

When all the attendees had gone, they walked back to the lobby.

“I feel like celebrating,” Josh said. “How ’bout we treat ourselves to a nice dinner. I know a little French restaurant with great seafood.”

She looked at him and smiled.

“The one with the secret elevator?”

“Yep. To the Jules Verne Panorama Bar. The most romantic bar in Zürich.”

She stopped walking.

“You didn’t tell me that.”

“Why? You don’t want to go?” he asked.

She slipped her arm into his.

“No, I want to go more.”

They headed up to his suite. When he opened the door, the first thing they saw was her roller bag in the entryway.

The question of where she was going to stay that night was still up in the air.

“We’ll worry about that later,” he said. “Let’s get changed and go get that drink.”

She was happy not to have to think about it. The whirlwind continued.

When Amanda stepped out of the bathroom in her vintage satin dress, her face made up, and her hair in an elegant updo, you could have knocked Josh over with a feather.

She. Looked. Gorgeous.

Her dress, cobalt blue with a low V neck, revealed just enough of her creamy bosom to be sexy and classy at the same time. The draping and flutter sleeves made her look like a movie star from the 50s.

“She doth teach the torches to burn bright,” Josh said, in a hushed voice.

She smiled at his compliment and did a twirl for him. The back, too, was a low V and he wanted more than anything to take her in his arms.

Amanda thought Josh was looking rather handsome himself, dressed in a dinner jacket, slacks, and his Gucci shoes. His dark, curly hair was swept back giving him a dashing look.

“What, no jeans?” she teased as they walked to the elevator.

“The restaurant’s pretty old school,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone’s gonna be looking at şirinevler escort me. Not with the way you look.”

She smiled and pulled him close. Knowing their next stop was Zürich’s most romantic bar was making her tingle with anticipation.

It was a straight shot by taxi from the B2 Hotel past the Italian Consulate to the Brasserie Lipp on Uraniastrasse. The belle époche brasserie sat on the ground floor of an historic building, replete with stained glass windows and tiled floors.

They entered the restaurant, gliding across the checkerboard floor, turning more than a few heads in the process. To assorted diners, the striking couple — dressed as they were in elegant vintage clothes — looked like two movie stars from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

The restaurant felt like it belonged more in Paris than Zurich. An international crowd of the well-heeled clustered in groups of two or more. Formally-clad waiters scurried with platters of oysters and lobster.

Josh said something in French to the maître-d and then led Amanda to the rear of the restaurant, past the coat racks and the kitchen, to a small elevator. They rode it to the top floor.

When it opened, it was as if they’d been transported back in time.

The bar on the top floor was small, but it was exquisite. Filled with dark wood and ornate fixtures, it was a perfect octagon, with windows on all sides overlooking the city. In the center of the room, a gorgeous bar was manned by a single bartender.

It felt like something conjured from the pages of a 19th century novel.

They were able to get a table by the window, a small one with a view of the Bahnhofstrasse and Lake Zurich. The evening sun shimmered on the water and cast the buildings in a romantic glow.

“I’m glad we made it in time for the sunset,” Josh said. “It’s the second-best view in Zurich.”

Amanda looked at him, puzzled.

“What’s the first?”

“You are.”

She took his hand in hers and smiled.

They were leaning across the small table, their faces just a foot apart. She wanted so much to kiss him.

“Good evening,” a handsome server said. “May I get you something from the bar.”

He spoke to them in French-inflected English.

“Good evening,” Josh said. “What do you feel like?” he asked Amanda.

“What’s good here?” she asked.

“I always have the Boulevardier,” Josh said. “It’s their signature drink.”

Amanda looked at the server.

“Make that two,” she said.

The server nodded and stepped away.

She turned back to Josh, and looked at him coyly.

“I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure what’s in a Boulevardier,” she said under her breath. “It’s whiskey, right?”

“Rye whiskey,” he nodded. “With Campari and a splash of vermouth.”

“That sounds yummy,” she said, leaning in to him.

Her low cut satin dress offered a lovely view of her gorgeous breasts.

“You look yummy,” he said in a low voice.

She smiled at him, feeling a warm tingle between her legs.

“You look good enough to eat,” she said.

“Well, we’ll have to leave room for dessert, won’t we?” he said.

She bit her lower lip and arched her back.

“I’ve been thinking about dessert all day,” she said, sexily.

“Yeah, what have you been thinking?”

“That I want to pick up where we left off last night. You owe me a massage.”

“And I always pay my debts,” he smiled. “With interest.”

“What’s the interest on a massage, I wonder?”

“I was thinking…maybe a tongue bath?”

She squirmed in her seat.

“Oooh, I like the sound of that. I love being licked.”

“Then I plan to lick you for a looong, looong time.”

Just then, the waiter returned with their drinks.

Amanda leaned back in her chair, with a Cheshire cat grin.

“Un Boulevardier pour la Mademoiselle. Et encore pour le Monsieur.”

“Merci,” Josh said.

They raised their glasses to each other.

“What shall we drink to?” she asked.

“To the mountains we’ll climb,” he said.

She clinked her glass against his and they both drew a sip.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

“I do. It’s nice.”

She pressed the cool glass against her cheek, thinking.

“And what mountains are you climbing, Monsieur Hamilton? Tell me.”

He looked out at the sunset.

“So many,” he said. “The main ones are about work, I suppose.”

“The launch?”

“For sure,” he said. “That’s a big one. There’s a lot riding on it.”

“And?”

He hesitated, considering how far to take her in his confidence.

“My future prospects.”

She gave him a quizzical look.

“There are things going on,” he said, “that you don’t know about yet. We haven’t made it public.”

“Such as?”

He took a deep breath.

“I’m going to tell you but you have to keep it confidential. You can’t repeat it to anyone.”

“You can trust me,” she said, simply.

“I know I can,” he said. “Frank is going to step down.”

Amanda looked at him in disbelief. Frank was the founder and CEO of their company.

“He has a heart condition,” Josh said. “His doctor says he has to reduce his stress or else. He’s going to give up the CEO role but stay on as Chairman of the Board. He’s going to announce it at the next team meeting.”

“Oh my goodness,” Amanda said. “That’s huge. Who’s going to take his place?”

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