Mandy arrived at the restaurant early, not wanting to be late. This was an important client, and she didn't want anything to go wrong.
She hadn't been back to Chicago since she moved to the west coast five years ago. Her husband was offered a great opportunity, so they decided to make the move. She was pretty sure she wouldn't have any trouble finding a good job there, and she was right. She liked her firm, and she had moved up the ladder. If this client liked her proposal for a new project, it might mean another promotion. She was a little nervous but had confidence in herself.
And then she heard it.
"Candy Cane? Is that really you?"
Only one person in the whole world called her Candy Cane. And she would only tolerate it from one person.
Steve was her best friend at work when she lived here. He had started at the firm a year before she did, and she worked with him on her first project. They immediately hit it off, working well together and having fun at work. They would tease each other about anything and everything.
There was always a little sexual tension between them, but Mandy was married, so she was off limits. But it didn't stop the comments, which dripped with innuendo. It peaked when Steve found out Mandy Kane's middle name was Candace. Ever since, he referred to her as Candy Cane and frequently made references to how much he'd like to lick a candy cane. Mandy was never sure if she hated when he used the nickname or loved it; she had certainly fantasized more than once about him licking her.
Toward the end of her time in Chicago, she found herself thinking about Steve more than she thought she should. So when she moved west, she decided it was best not to stay in contact with him; it wouldn't be fair to her husband.
And after five years, here he was.
She turned toward the voice, stood up, and had a huge smile on her face. Steve walked up to her, and they threw their arms around each other in a tight embrace. When they finally released each other, Steve gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Holy shit, Mandy, what a pleasant surprise. And you look fantastic!"
Guess I'm glad I've been going to the gym and killing myself for the last 6 months, Mandy thought. And glad he noticed.
"Thanks, Steve. You look pretty good yourself. How have you been? Are you still with the company?"
"Yep. I thought about leaving a hundred times, but they treat me well and I'm usually having fun. I'm a Vice-President now, so things are good. Truth is it's too easy to stay and too hard to look for something else. How about you? Didn't you hook up with a growing firm out west?"
"Yeah, I've been having a good time, too. In fact, I'm making a pitch to one of my biggest clients tonight. It would be good for me if she likes it. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to meet... oh, wait, there she is. Hold on."
Mandy looked toward the door and saw a beautiful, tall blond with a perfect figure waving to Steve. He walked up to her, gave her a tight hug and then a quick kiss on the lips. For no rational reason, Mandy suddenly felt jealous and hated the woman.
Steve grabbed the woman's hand and led her to Mandy's table.
"Jenn, this is Mandy, an old friend from work. Mandy, this is my younger sister, Jennifer."
Mandy suddenly felt better about Jenn and didn't hate her anymore. She had a big smile on her face as she extended her hand.
"Hi, Jenn. Very nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, too, Mandy."
"I'll let you get ready for your meeting," Steve said. "Any chance you're available for a drink later?"
"Gee, I'd like that, but I don't really know how long I'll be."
"Okay. Look, let me give you my cell phone number, and maybe you'll call me after you dump your client. Give me your phone."
He grabbed the phone and created a contact for himself. Then he sent himself a text message so he'd have Mandy's phone number. As he handed the phone back to her, he said, "Good luck with the meeting."
"Thanks! Maybe we'll talk later."
Steve and Jenn walked back to the Host desk to get their table, and Mandy tried to get back into business mode. Shit, she thought, it was great to see him. I'm gonna' have to really concentrate to get back on track here. This client is a big deal.
When Mandy's client, Melissa, arrived, she gave Mandy a hug. Mandy's firm had done a lot of work for her, and they became pretty friendly. Melissa had a reputation for being a tough bitch, but she and Mandy hit it off from the beginning. Mandy thought she was tough, but not unreasonable.
They ordered drinks and went through small talk, with Mandy asking about Melissa's kids. Finally, Melissa put down her drink, looked Mandy in the eyes, and said, "Let's talk business."
This was typical Melissa. No bullshit. But the look on her face concerned Mandy.
"I read your proposal. There are some good ideas there. You clearly understand some of our biggest issues, and I like a bunch of the solutions you suggest. I've got some questions we can talk about, but I've got one major showstopper."
Mandy moaned to herself. Showstopper. Not a word she wanted to hear. Her face must have accidentally disclosed her feelings.
"Jesus, Mandy, take it easy. It's a showstopper as proposed, but let's talk. I haven't said 'No', have I?"
Mandy gave a strained smile. She was being her usual, pessimistic self. "No. You didn't say No."
Melissa continued. "Like I said, lots of good ideas. But here's the deal. Tyler cannot be the project manager on this."
Mandy was surprised. Tyler had done a couple of projects for them, and they always seemed happy with his work.
"Huh? Why not? Didn't you like the work he did on his last project?"
"The project worked out well, and we liked the results."
"Then what's the problem?" Mandy told herself to slow down. She was starting to sound defensive before hearing Melissa out.
"Your guy's an asshole. He generally isn't very nice to people. Look, we deal with a lot of consultants who are assholes, and up to a point, I can live with it. But toward the end of the project -- and if it had been earlier, I would have said something -- but toward the end he was making really inappropriate comments to women."
Mandy's eyes widened as if she had been told Santa Clause really exists. She had worked with Tyler on a number of projects, and she never saw this.
"Jesus, Melissa, I'm sorry. I wish you had told me when it happened. Obviously, we'll find someone else, and I'll confront him about this. Are you willing to give me specifics?"
"I heard from a lot of women toward the end. But on his very last day here -- literally as he was walking out of my office and heading toward the airport -- he said, 'Nice working with you again, Melissa. I hope to work with you again. And I hope you wear more of those tight blouses that make your boobs look so good.' And then he walked out of the office. I couldn't decide whether to call you immediately or to call him back to the office to tell him to fuck off, or what. So instead, I just stood in my office, dumbfounded."
"Oh, God, Melissa, I'm sorry."
"Stop apologizing, Mandy. It's not your fault, and I'm not holding it against you. But your boy's not coming back here. Ever."
"I think my boy's not going ANYWHERE! Let me ask you something. If we fire him and he sues, would you be willing to sign something saying he said that to you?"
"Oh, yes! Absolutely! Oh, one more thing. Just so you know... when I wear certain blouses, my tits look GREAT!"
Mandy just stared for a second, not sure what to say. But once Melissa started laughing, Mandy was able to lighten up a bit and start laughing, too.
"Don't worry... you'll get the project. Just find us a new manager. Now let's celebrate with a good bottle of wine on your expense account!"
Mandy let Melissa pick out the wine, and the rest of the dinner she was feeling really good. A combination of the alcohol and knowing she'd be getting that contract signed was definitely a high. Suddenly she thought about seeing Steve earlier. She looked around the restaurant, but she didn't him or his sister. She was a little disappointed he didn't stop by to say goodbye. But it wasn't going to spoil her celebration with Melissa.
When dinner ended, after decadent desserts and a little too much wine, Melissa and Mandy gave each other a hug.
"Send over the exhibits and I'll get them signed. Send me the resume of the new person who will be the project manager, and I'll let my team take a look. They might want to talk to him or her."
"No problem. Thanks, Melissa. And, again, I'm sorry about Tyler. If I had known, I would have yanked him out of here immediately."
"I know. I decided not to say anything since we were toward the end of the project. And his comment to me, like I said, was as he was walking out the door. I probably should have told you anyway so he didn't pull this crap at another client of yours. So maybe it is I who should be apologizing to you. But you know now. Just do what's right."
"Oh, don't worry. I will. Thanks again. We'll talk soon."
Mandy hailed a cab and was back in her hotel room in 15 minutes. It wasn't very late, and she was still excited about the night. And then she started thinking about Steve again.
When they worked together, they always had fun. She definitely caught him a number of times checking out her boobs or her butt. And every time he joked about wanting to lick a candy cane, she felt a little tingle.
Often if they were walking together, when they got to a door, he would open it, step to the side, and put his hand on the small of her back to guide her through. It was the kind of thing that he did without thinking, but she loved it when he touched her like that.
But he never crossed the line with her. He knew she was married, and, apparently, he didn't want to be the reason she cheated. She'd like to think he would have wanted to sleep with her if she was single, but who knows for sure.
Before she could change her mind, she pulled out her phone and pressed the entry for Steve's cell phone.
"Wow, what a pleasant surprise. I was afraid you decided you weren't interested."
"Of course not. My dinner only ended a little bit ago. I hope I'm not calling too late."
"Don't be silly. Are you up for a drink?"
"Yeah, I'd like that."
"Where are you staying?"
"At the Fairmont."
"Perfect. They've got a great bar. Meet you in 20 minutes?"
Mandy pressed the End button, and suddenly she got nervous. She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. She brushed her teeth and touched up her makeup. She added some fresh perfume. She left on her navy skirt but ditched the matching jacket. The white satin blouse looked good, she thought, but it would look even better if she undid one more button. So, she did.
She turned on the TV, as she had to kill time before heading downstairs. After 10 minutes, she turned off the TV and grabbed her purse. She was about to leave and walked to the door, but then she did a U-turn.
"This is really stupid," she said out loud to no one. She walked over to her suitcase and pulled out a clean pair of red lace panties. She hiked up her skirt, pulled off her panties, and slipped on the new, sexier pair. She pulled her skirt down, brushed her hands down the front to flatten it, and looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She smiled to herself and walked out the door.
She looked in the bar, but didn't see Steve. She waited by the door -- she hated walking into a bar by herself. After a few minutes she saw him walk into the lobby of the hotel. He saw her, and a huge smile came over his face. Hers, too.
When he got to her, they gave each other a tight embrace. Steve's hands were just above her butt, but he pulled her in tight. He could feel her boobs press against his chest; she thought she could feel him get a little hard. She smiled to herself as she felt the familiar tingle down below.
When they broke the hug, Steve moved his head toward her and gave a short kiss on the lips. This surprised her, but she certainly wasn't complaining.
"I'm really glad you called. C'mon, let's go get you drunk," he said with a laugh.
They found a couple of chairs on the short end of the L-shaped bar. It was a little less out in the open, though it was still loud. They ordered some drinks.
"How did your business dinner go?"
"It was fantastic! Thanks for asking." Just like him, she thought, to ask about me about something important to me. He always was considerate like that.
"So, how's Burford or whatever your husband's name is," he said with perhaps a little less genuine interest.
Mandy smiled. "Burford, who more often goes by the name of Randy, is just fine. However, ..." Her voice trailed off.
"However, we're not married anymore." Suddenly Steve looked down at her ring finger and realized she wasn't wearing her wedding ring.
"I'm sorry, Mandy," Steve said, meaning it only half way. He was sorry if she was sad. Not particularly sorry she wasn't married. "What happened?"
"I don't know. People change. He was always very jealous and very possessive of me. He really started to suffocate me. He never wanted me doing anything without him. So, I told him I wasn't happy, that things had to change. But they didn't. So I served him papers, and a year later we were divorced."
Steve didn't say anything. He just thought about it.
"But I've got some really bad news for you, Steve," she continued.
Steve looked at her with a confused look.
"I've changed back to my maiden name. So I'm no longer Candy Kane."
Steve laughed loudly.
"You know, I didn't know you before you were married. What's your maiden name?"
"First of all, you should know that Candace was my grandmother's name, although she went by Susan. Probably because of people like you making fun of her name."
"Okay. But what's your maiden name."
"Second, I'm sure my parents never thought about anyone calling my 'Candy' so they never thought about how it would sound."
Now Steve was chuckling. "Okay, so what's your maiden name?"
It only took Steve a nanosecond until he let out a huge, loud laugh. He tried to speak, but it hardly came out. "Candy..." More laughing. "Candy..." More laughing. "Candy Corn!" And again, a loud laugh.
Mandy was laughing too, though she was a bit embarrassed at how loud Steve was laughing.
"And just for the record, Korn is spelled with a "K", so, you know, nothing funny there."
And then Mandy started laughing pretty hard, too. Steve put his hand on her arm as he laughed.
"You went from Candy Corn to Candy Cane, and back to Candy Corn." She liked the feel of his hand on her. Another little tingle.
"Properly spelled, sir, I went from Candy Korn with a K to Candy Kane with a K. Actually, I just went from Amanda Korn to Amanda Kane and back again."
"Yeah, sure you did, CANDY! You can definitely hear the different spelling when you say Candy KORN with a K or Candy KANE with a K. Sounds totally different!"
Now they were both laughing loudly. Somewhere along the way both of their stools had rotated toward each other, and their knees interlocked, with one of Steve's knees between Mandy's and one of Mandy's between Steve's. Steve put his hand on her knee as they were laughing. Mandy closed her eyes for just a tenth of a second as she felt herself get a little wet.
"How about you," Mandy asked. "Are you still with Rebecca?" Mandy was always a little jealous of Rebecca. They had only met a few times, but she was perfect. Absolutely beautiful with a perfect body, long legs, and great hair. And she had Steve.
"No, we split up about a year ago. I'm not even exactly sure what happened. She ALWAYS wanted to go out and do something. Go to bars. Go to movies. I don't mean SOMETIMES; I mean ALL the time. Like five days a week. I think she finally decided I was just boring. So, we agreed it was time to split. By the time we finally did it, it wasn't even painful. We both knew for a while that we just weren't looking for the same thing."
"Sorry, Steve," Mandy lied.
"Thanks. It was obviously the right thing."
There was an awkward silence for a couple of minutes until Steve excused himself to go to the bathroom. Mandy was facing the bar when he came back, and he gently put his hand on the back of her shoulder and stroked across to the other shoulder as he sat down. Again, Mandy closed her eyes as she felt the familiar tingle.
They continued talking for a long time. About old friends at work. About current work. About clients they hated. All during the conversation, there was incidental -- and not so incidental -- hands touching hands or arms. Or, best of all, hands on bare knees and even once on her thigh.
Mandy excused herself to go to the bathroom. When she came back, instead of sitting down, she put both hands on Steve's shoulders and leaned close to his ear.
"It's getting kinda' late. Walk me to my room?"
Steve nodded and quickly settled up with the bartender. As they walked toward the elevator, Mandy grabbed Steve's hand.
When they got to her room, Mandy paused. She turned to Steve and said, "I need to talk to you for just a minute. Can you come inside?" Steve nodded.
When they got inside, Mandy rolled the desk chair up to the couch. She sat in the couch and asked Steve to sit in the chair. He was a little confused, but he complied. Like when they were in the bar, their knees were intertwined.
After a little hesitation, Mandy looked at Steve.
"I was really excited when I saw you at the restaurant tonight. And I was really excited when you walked into the bar. But I need to tell you something." She paused for a few seconds. "You made me feel very uncomfortable tonight."
Steve's head jerked back. He thought things were going well, but apparently not. He wasn't exactly sure what he did.
Mandy continued. "You made me uncomfortable when you hugged me."
This surprised Steve. He remembered the hug -- he thought SHE pulled HIM tight.
"You made me uncomfortable every time you touched me at the bar. When we hugged, when you touched me... every time you did that, I got excited and got very wet. I was wet the whole fucking night. My panties were soaked. And that felt very uncomfortable. In fact, it was so uncomfortable, when I went to bathroom, I couldn't even put my panties back on."
A small smile broke onto Steve's face. When she said she didn't put her panties back on, he - almost involuntarily -- glanced down to her thighs where they peeked out from her skirt. Steve got off the chair and kneeled on the couch right next to Mandy, facing her with his knees touching her thighs. He put his hand on the inside of her thigh, just above the bottom of her skirt. Mandy gasped. He looked directly in her eyes and spoke very softly. With each word, his face slowly moved closer to hers.
And as his face moved toward hers in slow motion, his hand moved at the same slow pace up her thigh. Mandy started breathing heavily. She spread her legs as far as her skirt would allow. He paused between each word.
"If... getting... you... wet... made... you... feel... uncomfortable..., I... intend... to... make... you... very..., very... uncomfortable."
Just as Steve's lips met Mandy's, his hand reached her pussy lips. She let out a long moan as he gently kissed her and stroked her pussy. He pulled his face back for just a second and then gently kissed her lips again. As he did this, his middle finger slipped between her pussy lips, causing another moan. She thrust her pelvis up.
Then Steve kissed Mandy hard, pushing his tongue into her mouth. At the exact same time, he slipped his finger into Mandy's soaking pussy. This brought the loudest moan yet from her. As his tongue moved in and out of her mouth, playing with her tongue, his finger moved in and out of her wet pussy. There were loud, wet, squishy sounds as Steve's finger quickly stroked her.