The Other C-Word(3)

By: MK Schiller

I laughed. “Yeah, looks like you got more from mama than I did.” I glanced towards the clock and gasped. I had to go. I snatched the email from the printer, hugged Stevie and thanked her for her tutelage before bounding down the stairs. My mother, thankfully, had coffee waiting for me.

“Can’t talk, Mom, got to go. I have to pick up this cheapskate consultant at the airport,” I said hastily, grabbing the travel mug she handed me.

“How do you know he’s a cheapskate, sweetie?”

I shrugged my shoulders, smiling at my lovable mother. “What else would he be when he can’t even spring for a rental car?”

“Okay, sweetheart, let me know what you think of the sweetener I put in your coffee. It’s chocolate almond milk this time.”

I stifled my groan. My mom had become a vegan a few months ago and had managed to force the lifestyle on us. We all loved her so much that we suffered silently while she found herself through food.

“Marley!” Stevie yelled, standing at the top of the stairs.

I turned to her, letting out an exasperated grunt. “What now?”

“Don’t forget to clean your car. If he’s riding in it, you want to make sure it’s presentable.”

Damn! Why didn’t I think of that? My car was a complete sty. I jumped into my little Honda, cursing myself as I drove with a lead foot to the nearest car wash. After my car was thoroughly bathed, I pulled over and started vacuuming the insides, ignoring the catcalls of the carwash boys. It wasn’t smart for a girl to be vacuuming her car in a short skirt and high heels. I noticed a speck of lint on the driver’s seat floor, which I had missed with the hose when I was on that side. I leaned all the way over from the passenger side to vacuum it up. Instead of sucking up the lint, I managed to knock over my travel mug. Almond-flavoured coffee spilled everywhere.

Crap! The hot coffee rolled in rivulets down the passenger seat, drowning the email with the flight info. I ran around like a lunatic looking for towels to soak up the mess. The car wash guys took pity on me and found me some. I guess a short skirt can come in handy at the right moments. I wiped down the seat, but it was still damp.

Screw it! Let this jackass, cheapskate consultant sit in the wet spot. It served him right for ruining an otherwise mundane Monday for me. I placed the soaked email on the dashboard, hoping feebly it would dry. I jumped into my car then proceeded with an even heavier lead foot all the way to the airport.

I parked in the intimidating parking garage, cursing repeatedly until I finally found a spot. With a deep breath, I realised I had no idea what this consultant looked like. I snatched the email off the dash. It was still damp and part of the paper didn’t lift completely. I tried to piece it together, but it had torn right through his name. I stared at the smudged, ripped letters in complete disbelief. I couldn’t very well go through the airport and yell out, ‘Mr Cheapskate consultant. Your ride is here!’

I put it out of my mind, running into the airport and praying I didn’t trip or break a precious heel on Stevie’s Louboutins. By the time I got into the passenger pick up area, I was a panting, wheezing mess. I looked around the bustling lobby, trying to regain my composure and hoping it would be obvious who I was supposed to pick up.

It wasn’t.

The airport looked like an orphanage for business executives. There were tons of suit-clad men talking on their cell phones, working on their laptops or just walking around. Was this for real? Where had they all come from? Did a stork deposit them at the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare? At least the view was nice. Although I wasn’t a dressy kind of girl, I did enjoy a man in a good suit, and this was an all you can eat breakfast buffet of hot men in suits.

One in particular made me gasp for a deeper breath. It felt like those movies where the girl and guy catch each other’s eyes and the soft music plays while they exchange lovesick looks across a crowded room. That’s complete bullshit. My reaction to this man was so strong it frightened me, but it was completely sexual. There was no music, except for the drastic beating of my heart, which was not soft at all. He bit his lower lip and I clenched my thighs, aware of the sudden dampness emanating between my legs. Sex was real—tangible, visceral and primitive. Love was mystical, elusive, vague and obscure. Sex was atmospheric, but love was ethereal. I chose sex every time.

I stared at him a little too long and he held my gaze, which did not aid in my attempts to control my breathing. The planes of his face appeared chiselled with a strong jawline that was clean-shaven. His sandy brown hair forked effortlessly across his forehead. It was neat, but not slicked back or groomed perfectly, which I liked. It was a head of hair that could sustain a friendly tousle, but still look flawless. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I imagined they were sexy like the rest of him. He wore a charcoal suit with an emerald-green tie and looked comfortable in the tailored fit. A suit like that coupled with the designer briefcase led me to conclude he was wealthy and definitely not my cheapskate. He was talking on his cell phone, but even from this distance, I could see he was studying me with the same intensity. I looked away quickly, trying to hide my lustful leering.

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