This story is longer than my normal postings and I thought about breaking it into chapters. I decided not to because I believe the flow would have been interrupted. So here it is in one large bite.
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Thanks for taking the time to read my work and please enjoy.
Rebecca Colman was the bright and shining star of our college class; forever out of reach of mere mortals. She was the "impossible dream" written about in the song. She was a person that you looked at and just knew that cruel fate was telling you "eat your heart out, boy", because you can't have her. At least that's the way it looked and felt to a "working class" guy like me.
She had the classic good looks of the stereotypical California hard body beach bunny; except we were in the Midwest. Tall for a woman at 5 feet 9 with blond hair, big brown eyes, and a body that you could bounce quarters off of. Rebecca's clothes, makeup and hair style were typical of the idle rich who had nothing better to do than groom themselves and party.
I'm James Riley O'Connor, usually called Jamie and met Rebecca in college; in unusual circumstances. She was 21, the queen of the elite social click, master of her domain, a bit of a wild child, and excessively rich. I don't mean like very well to do; I mean like her dad buying the school and firing everyone if things didn't go well for his little girl. That's an exaggeration but not by much; Rebecca, or I should say her father, had a lot of money.
Mr. Colman had gotten into a few "dot. Com" companies at the beginning of the upward surge. He was smart enough or lucky enough to get out just as they started their decent back down to reality; sometimes just hours before the company began its downward slide. His net worth was somewhere around 30 million dollars. That's a lot of money by anyone's standards. I should explain Mr. Colman's and therefore Rebecca's monetary status to show how bizarre it was that Rebecca and I even met.
I was 25, a little older than most college seniors because I had worked for almost three years as an auto mechanic in my father's garage before I enrolled in school. It was at my dad's urging that I went to school; he wanted more for me than just being a grease monkey. I agreed with him; I was a good mechanic but it wasn't something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I wanted to pay my own way in college, that's why the three year stint working with my dad. The only thing I accepted from my parents was free room and board for the three years before leaving for college; that's a lot when you're trying to save money. In addition, when I started classes I worked three nights a week and two weekends a month at the UPS loading dock so I could continue my education. I didn't take a summer vacations but took a reduce class load and worked full time through the break.
It was around midnight and I was on my way back to my room after work. I was taking a short cut through the common area between the dorms and heard noises coming from the BBQ Ramada between two of the buildings. I'm no hero but I didn't like the sounds coming from the ramada. Of course I had to see what was going on and walked over to investigate.
A college campus is one of the most dangerous places in the country for young women. The instances of rape and/or sexual assault are very high per capita. I guess the three "men", and I use that term very loosely, decided that our school had to uphold that ranking. They had a young lady on her back spread eagle on a picnic table in the ramada.
One of the guys was standing between the girl's legs, spreading them apart and the other two each held an arm. They were trying to keep the girl's mouth covered to keep her quiet but one or two screams escaped. Actually she wasn't screaming so much as she was calling them names and cussing at them.
The two holding her arms were squeezing her breasts and the one between her legs was dodging her kicks and trying to get her panties off. The young lady was very limber and every time he let go of a leg to reach under her dress she would pull her leg up to her chest and then kick at him. From the looks of his face, she had already connected a couple of times. Apparently he decided enough was enough and drew back his fist to beat her into submission.
"I don't think the lady wants to play anymore, guys." My statement and my appearance startled them and they stopped to stare at me. "Why don't you let her go and hit the bricks before this gets nasty?"
"You can't stop us so stay out of this and you can have a turn when we're done pal," the one between her legs said.
He just had to call me pal; I hate that. "Do you really thing I'm going to just walk off and let you guys rape her? I'm telling you guys to let her go and get out of here. If you don't I'll have to show you that three doesn't go into one, the hard way. Believe me you won't enjoy the lesson."
I was running a colossal bluff trying to con them into leaving. I'm no martial arts guru or bad ass street fighter but I couldn't let these sexual deviants molest the girl. The guy was right, I probably couldn't stop them but I had to try. The smart thing would have been to call the cops on my cell phone except that by the time they got there the girl would have been raped; I wasn't going to stand around waiting for the police. Sometimes you have to step up even if it means getting your ass handed to you on a platter.
I told them to let her go again; the two holding the girl's arms let go and started toward me. When they freed her arms, the girl didn't just lay there. She grabbed a double handful of hair of the guy between her legs and was trying her best to give him a Yul Brenner haircut. He was yelling, trying to get her hands out of his hair, and calling her a bitch among other choice names.
The two advancing on me turned to see what the yelling was about and gave me the opening I needed. I kicked one in the groin and hit the other one with a short right to the side of his face. He went down like he had been hit with a baseball bat; I must have caught him just right. I turned back to the first one but my kick had put him out of commission.
I'm not a small guy at 6 feet 1 and about 195 pounds but the guy holding the girl was huge. He must have been about 6 feet 4 and better than 225 pounds. I needed an equalizer to handle him so I grabbed the heavy metal cooking grate from one of the BBQ grills in the ramada and advanced toward him.
The big one had finally pulled the girl off him, losing a lot of hair in doing so. He had the girl by the throat and was getting ready to punch her lights out. I hit him in the back with the heavy grate and as he turned toward me I used the grate to hit him in the throat; his jaw was my target but whatever works. The behemoth went down in a heap and just to make a point I kicked him in the family jewels.
The "poor victim" jumped off the table, stepped over to the giant on the ground and started kicking him in the face and head. I felt that she deserved a little pay back and let her get in a few shots before I pulled her away. I released the girl and started to call the police.
"Please don't call the cops. I don't want the publicity," she said.
"But these assholes tried to rape you. Don't you want them to be punished?"
"Looks to me like they have been punished pretty good." She pointed to the three guys lying on the ground. Two were unconscious and the one I had kicked in the crotch was moaning, curled up into a fetal position. I could see her point and shrugged my shoulders. As I did she walked over to the one that was moaning, kicked him in the head, and then did the same to the other one.
"Thank you, I don't think I was going to convince them to stop. I'm Rebecca Colman," she introduced herself. Other than a torn blouse and breathing a little hard she seemed unfazed by what had almost happened to her.
"Yeah, I know who you are. I'm Jamie O'Connor," I answered.
"I know it's a lot to ask after what you just did, but could you help me get home? I'm a little shaky right now."
My truck was on the other side of the campus so we walked to the main street and caught a cab to her apartment. Rebecca Colman wouldn't be caught dead living in a common dorm; she had an apartment in a very exclusive and expensive building. I told the driver to wait and walked her through front door as the security guard opened the entry way for us.
"Thanks again Jamie. Things could have really gone bad if you hadn't ridden in on your white horse to save me." Rebecca leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, smiled, and got on the elevator.
I nodded at the guard and got back into the cab for the return trip to my dorm. Damn, I hoped I had money to pay the cab fare. When we got to my dorm, I asked the driver how much I owed him. He told me that the security guard had paid the fare including a large tip. I guess he was used to paying for cabs for Miss Rebecca Colman.
The next morning on the way to class I heard on the radio that three men had been found unconscious in a ramada on campus. They claimed that they had been jumped by a gang of men and were victims of a random act of violence. I laughed out loud after hearing the news broadcast; they were victims of a non random act of payback.
When I got back to my dorm that night after work there was a package on my desk. George Taylor my roommate said that it had been delivered around two. I opened the package and found a bottle of very good bourbon inside; Gentleman Jack to be exact. The note read:
"I thought about sending flowers but thought you could put this to better use.
I fixed myself a drink and toasted Rebecca. It was a nice gesture I thought, especially from her majesty Miss Colman. Two weeks went past and one evening before I left for work George asked me what I had gotten involved in.
"What are you talking about George?" I asked puzzled by his question.
"There is a guy going around campus asking questions about you, checking you out. He caught me between classes and asked about your background, work habits and a bunch of other personal stuff. I clammed up and said that I didn't know much about you. What's going on Jamie?"
"I got no idea why anyone would be checking up on me. Haven't done anything wrong that I know of." Now I was puzzled and concerned.
Two days later, I saw Rebecca as I came out of my last class. That's strange; I had never seen her there before. Apparently she was waiting for me because she left the group she had been standing with and came over to meet me.
"Hello my White Knight. How are you doing?" She said with a smile.
"Hi Becky, I'm fine. What brings you here?"
"My name is Rebecca, if you don't mind," her smile faded a little.
"If I'm a white knight and a hero, then I can call you whatever I want," I kidded her.
She laughed and said, "Okay, you can call me Becky. My daddy sent this to me and asked me to deliver it to you." She handed me a business size envelope.
"What is it?
Becky just shook her head, smiled and said, "No idea. See you around Sir Galahad." She rejoined her group and left.
I was running late for work and stuck the envelope into one of my books and hurried to my job. When I got to work my boss told me that some guy had been there checking up on me. It sounded like the same thing that George had told me about. I had no idea who this guy was or what he was after.
That evening as I tossed my books onto my desk, I saw the envelope; I opened it and pulled out a sheet of stationary. As I unfolded the letter a smaller piece of paper fell to the floor. I picked it up and saw a check for five thousand dollars made out to me. The check was signed by Rebecca's father, Jason Colman. The letter read:
Dear Mr. O'Connor,
I wanted to thank you for helping Rebecca. Not many men would get involved, especially with three assailants.
I know you didn't do it for any reason other than that it was the right thing to do but perhaps this check will show my gratitude in a more substantial way than words.
Thank you sir for saving Rebecca from what could have been a very serious situation. If I can be of any assistance please don't hesitate to call me. I have included my private number.
With gratitude and admiration,
Wow, talk about conflicting emotions. I could really use the money but I wouldn't feel right about keeping it for doing what was right. I poured a drink of the very good bourbon and thought for a few minutes. It didn't take very long and I had reached a decision. A bottle of bourbon as a thank you was one thing, money was something else entirely.
The next day was a day off for me from my night job and after class I drove to Rebecca's apartment. It was a different security guard and he called her apartment before he would let me up. Rebecca was waiting in her doorway when I got off the elevator.
"Hello White Knight. Are you on another quest?" She teased me. "Come on in."
"No thanks I have to get back to the books. But I am on a quest to return something. Here," I said as I handed her the check. "Tell you father thanks but I can't take money for what I did."
Rebecca looked at me with a question so I told her about the letter and pointed at the check from her father. I smiled, waved at her and turned to leave.
"Jamie I didn't know Daddy was going to do that. If you won't take a thank you from him, take one from me. Let me take you to dinner night."
"The bottle of Gentleman Jack was enough and thanks by the way. You don't have to spend any time with me."
"It's not a matter of have to, it's because I want to spend some time with you. Think you can put up with me for an evening?"
I hesitated for a few seconds and then nodded at her. If one of the prettiest girls at school wanted to spend an evening with me, who was I argue with her? Becky made a very quick phone call, took my arm, and we rode the elevator down. When we got to the entrance, the guard had a cab waiting for us.
"Let's take a cab and leave your truck. We can concentrate on each other more that way, don't you think?" Becky suggested.
Becky gave the cabbie the name of the restaurant and off we went. The place was called the Breakers; why I have no idea. The nearest ocean was over eight hundred miles away. It was a high class, read that as expensive, seafood restaurant. Not really my kind of place for two reasons: One because I'm not big on sea food but the main reason was that I couldn't afford to eat at the Breakers.
"Err Becky, maybe we should go somewhere else. I'm not really dressed for a nice place like this," I told her. I was trying to avoid embarrassment of not being able to pay for our meal.
"Don't be silly. I know the owner and we'll eat at the chef's table in the back. And don't worry about money, I asked you out, remember?" Becky looked at me with a devilish grin. She sensed my discomfort about the cost of dinner.
Maybe some guys could have resisted her smile and those big brown eyes, but I wasn't one of them. I nodded and we went around the building to the service entrance. When we walked in the head chef smiled at Becky gave her a hug and led us to a table in a small room just off the kitchen; the chef's table, reserved for special customers and friends.
After dinner we took another cab back to her place. At the door to her apartment, she took my hand and led me inside. "I want to thank you properly Jamie," Becky said. She kissed me, did a quick sexy strip tease, and was soon down to just her bra and lace trimmed boy shorts. Becky crooked her finger and motioned me over to her.
I wasn't a virgin by any means; I had been something of a player during the three years I worked before starting college. My sex education had been more of practical hands on type rather that from some dull books or lectures and I knew what went where, why, and how to get it there. But I had never had a beauty like Becky come on to me so openly.
"Becky, this isn't necessary. You don't have to do this to thank me," I said. She didn't pay any attention to my protest. My first intention was to leave but I hesitated; I didn't want a romantic evening with Becky to be payment for doing the right thing.
I felt like I had a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other; like you see in the cartoons. The angel was telling me to be honorable and leave; the devil was saying how beautiful and sexy she was and to jump her bones. Finally it seemed like the little devil walked across my shoulders and kicked the angel in the butt and pushed it off my shoulder.
I let myself be led to the sofa and she began a lap dance that grabbed my full attention. Becky rubbed up and down my body with hers and soon got rid of the bra, leaving her in just the boy shorts. My body had responded the moment she kissed me and went into hyper drive with the strip tease and lap dance.
She felt my excitement as she rubbed against me during the dance and smiled like the cat that ate the canary. Becky took my hand, pulled me off the sofa and down the hallway to her bedroom. We entered her bedroom and the cute lace boy shorts were tossed aside as she climbed onto her bed.
Once again Becky crooked her finger and motioned me over to her. She smiled at the look on my face and said, "Close your mouth Jamie unless you intend to put it to good use."
She pulled my head down to her breasts and I did close my mouth; I closed it around one perfect breast and nipple. Becky moaned, I moaned and began to explore the rest of her body with my lips and hands. In return Becky showed me that she too knew how to use her lips and hands too. The rest of the evening intensified from there.
I think I held my own pretty well but was sort of glad to see the sunrise through her bedroom window. I was totally worn out. After that marathon session I can understand why people lose weight when they have a lot of sex. There may be no better cardiovascular workout in the world.
As I was dressing Becky said, "You can show yourself out Jamie, I'm too tired to get up." She rolled over and was asleep before I got dressed. Apparently Becky didn't need the after sex cuddling or talking that most women like and want a man to get involved in.
Thank God it was the one of the weekends off from my job at UPS. I was able to go home, clean up, and get some rest. About noon, I called Becky and invited her to get a pizza that evening.
"You took care of dinner your way last night, now I would like to show you how the other half lives," I teased her as I laughed.
"I've got a thing this afternoon, but you can pick me up at 7:00 sharp. Don't be late. See you then." Becky hung up before I could agree or verify the time.
That evening I was at her building at 6:45; I wasn't anxious but would rather wait there instead of at my place. I was waiting for 7 to go into the building and get her when I saw a red Mustang convertible stop in front of the entrance. Becky got out of the car straightening her skirt and buttoning her blouse. She waved at the driver and bounced into the building.
It appeared to me that Becky's "thing" that afternoon was another guy. I know I didn't have any claim on Becky but it didn't set right with me that she would jump some guy's bones and then go out with me a few minutes later. Her appearance suggested a very hot make out session at best and banging like bunnies at the worst.
I know I sound like a hypocrite because I was a real pussy hound earlier in my life, but I never finished with one girl and immediately the same day went out with another. In addition I had matured a little since that time and I guess I was looking for more than a chance for a quick bed bouncing with just any woman.
The guard recognized me and let me into the building and onto the elevator. He must have called and let Becky know I was on my way up because her door was standing open. I entered the apartment and called out for Becky. She answered and told me to have a beer and grab a seat that she was going to take a shower and would be right out.
"Don't bother cleaning up. I can't take you out tonight after all," I said. I hadn't made that decision until I walked into her apartment.
"We're not going out?" Becky asked as she walked out of the hallway leading to her bedroom wearing only a large towel wrapped around her.
"Becky, I'm just fooling myself here. You're different that I am and I don't see us headed in the same direction. I'm sorry, I did call earlier to cancel, but you didn't answer." I hadn't really called but she didn't have to know that; I was trying to make a point here.
She smiled at me and asked, "Is this the money thing again? I'm not better than you because my family's rich."
"No, this isn't about money and I didn't say better, I said different." I answered with a little force.
Becky wasn't smiling any more. "I don't understand," she said with a puzzled look.
"Becky I saw you get out of the Mustang just now. It was apparent that you and the guy had been making out; I don't know maybe it was more. I would never rush from one date to another with just minutes to spare."
"Oh that was Roger, he's just a friend from home and dropped by to say hello. He doesn't mean anything to me Jamie." She was smiling again; sure that she had solved my problem.
"I'm not judging you Becky but that's what I meant about us being different. You don't see a problem with going at it hot and heavy with someone even if he doesn't mean anything to you and then going on a date with another guy a few minutes later. Look Becky, I don't have the right to tell you who to see or be with or what to do, but I do have the right to decide if I want to be a part of that lifestyle and I don't." I watched Becky and I don't think she really understood why I was upset.
"You said you wanted to thank me for my help. Well, you've done that better than anything I could have imagined. The bourbon, the great dinner, and then the evening with you were all wonderful. So your debt is paid, and thanks for a great evening. I hope to see you around sometime."
I left her apartment and rode the elevator down. The security guard was there and told me that Miss Colman would like for me to wait for her. I smiled, shook my head and kept walking toward the front door. "I'm sorry sir but I've been instructed to detain you until Miss Colman can get here," the guard said as he walked to intercept me.
"You will really be sorry if you try to stop me, buddy. Believe me they don't pay you enough for that." I must have made my point because he stepped aside.
The pizza joint was packed and I joined some friends for the evening. The next day I did routine things like laundry, apartment cleaning, and getting a head start on some of my classes for next week. I didn't think about Becky more than once or twice an hour. Finally, I laughed at myself and put her out of my mind. It was an amazing interlude in my life but it was just one night.
Three days later, Becky was waiting for me as I came out of my last class of the day. She was sitting on a bench outside the lecture hall and stood up when she saw me. I was surprised to see her but never once thought she was waiting for me. Becky intercepted me as I was walking away. I don't think Becky was use to people, especially men, not doing what she wanted. She had to reach out and take my arm to get me to stop.
"Hey, wait up," she said. "Did I piss you off so much that you won't even talk to me? Can I talk to you about Saturday?"
I laughed a little and responded, "I'm not mad at you; I just don't see the point in talking. Your life style isn't something I want to be involved in, so why waste time talking about it."
"That's sort of a provincial way of looking at things, don't you think?"
"Don't know about that, but it's the way I feel," I answered with feeling. "You apparently think of sex as a recreational sport and I don't. Maybe it's because I'm a little older and I've gone through that phase in my life but I want making love to mean more than just horizontal exercise." I sure sound like some bible thumping preacher, I thought.
"My, aren't you the prude all of a sudden?" Becky was insulted; I could hear it in her voice. "You didn't seem to mind my life style Friday night, now did you?"
"I'm sorry; I know I sound like a sanctimonious jerk. I don't mean to criticize you; it's your choice on how you live your life. There is nothing wrong with you or your life style; it's just wrong for me." I gave her a little hug and started to walk away; I had to get to work.
"Maybe we could have a little fun?" Becky had stepped in front of me.
"Why this sudden interest in me? I know we had a good time Friday but according to what you said, it was not that big of a deal to you. So why this full court press?"
"I enjoyed our night together but more than that you're a good person. I haven't been involved with too many good people lately and thought you and I could spend some time together. You were more concerned with my pleasure than yours; that was something new, believe me."
I thought for a few seconds and answered, "Thanks for the compliment but I think I'll pass. See ya around Becky."
For the rest of my senior year Becky would smile and wave at me when I saw her around the campus. She called a few times, not begging but just wanting to know if I had changed my mind; I hadn't. I heard through the college grapevine that she was still living the free life style and was dating several different men.
I graduated in the top 5 per cent of my class with a double major in Computer Science and System Analysis. A medium size manufacturing firm offered me a position and I jumped at it. It was strange not to have to run to a night job like I had done all through college.
Two years later a head hunter contacted me with a job offer with JCOL Enterprises, another big manufacturing company. The salary was almost twice what I was making and included some very nice perks. A company car, country club membership, and stock options were just a few of the extras. I owed it to myself to take the interview with the company just to check it out.
I had an interview with the HR manager, a Vice President of sales, and the IT department head. We discussed the building and revamping of a web site, internet marketing, and other general IT aspects to the business. It was a strange interview and the questions were general and not very probing. I felt that the three men were stalling and waiting for something. Oh the job offer was real and we did discuss the duties and area of responsibility for the position, but something wasn't quite right.
The door to the office opened behind me and the three men stood up to greet whoever came in. I also stood, turned, and got a surprise. The man joining us was Jason Colman, Rebecca's father. I recognized him from the pictures in her apartment and the stories in the financial section of the paper. The stalling tactics were explained, the three had been waiting on Mr. Colman.
"Hello Jamie, I understand you prefer that to James. It's nice to finally meet you," Mr. Colman shook my hand and motioned for me to sit back down.
Turning to the three men he asked, "Well, how does he stack up? Can we put him to use and will he be an asset for us?" All three nodded their heads or verbally indicated that I was the real deal.
"What do you say Jamie? Would you like to join us and bring our IT department into the 21st century?"
Until Mr. Colman walked in I had decided to take the job. His presence put that decision on hold for the moment. "I'm not sure Mr. Colman."
He seemed surprised and asked, "The starting salary and perks are quite generous but I guess we could negotiate on those."
"It's not that Mr. Colman. I wonder if this offer isn't because of what I did for Rebecca."
"Jamie I won't lie to you. Even though that incident was three years ago, that's part of my interest in you but only because it showed that you are a young man with character and good morals. I admired your actions in saving her from those men and the fact that you stood by your convictions concerning her wild life. Yeah, I know all about you breaking up with Rebecca because of her life style." He smiled at me, offered me a cup of coffee, and continued.
"Let me assure you that even though I am grateful and admire you, gratitude only goes so far. I'm always on the lookout for good people that can be an asset to my company; that's why I have scouts always looking for additions to my business. When my people came up with your name and explained the great job you had been doing, I already knew about your character so I had them offer you this position. This is strictly a business proposition, nothing else is involved. So do you want the job?"
I looked at Mr. Colman trying to gage his sincerity. "It's a great offer Mr. Colman, but I would like to think about it for a day or two, if that's alright," I told him.
"Jamie, you can have until tomorrow noon. The assistant director of our IT department is going to England in three months to manage the IT department in that branch and we have to get on the stick to get someone in here to replace him. You're my first choice but there are other candidates also and we can't afford to wait too long. Okay?"
I nodded, shook hands all around, and left the office. When I left my current office for the interview I had made arrangements to take off the rest of the day. I grabbed some lunch and went to my condo to think about the job offer. As I had told Mr. Colman the offer was a great opportunity for anyone but especially someone my age.
Sitting on the balcony with my first and last Gentleman Jack of the day, I thought about the offer. The only drawback that I could see was that the position may have been offered to me because of Mr. Colman's gratitude over the incident in college. But Mr. Colman denied that was the reason.
After about 20 minutes I realized that no matter why I got the job, I would do well and be an asset to the company. I may get the job because of Mr. Colman's regard for me but I would keep it because I could do the work. Take the job dummy, I told myself.
I called the HR manager the first thing the next morning and accepted the position but told him I would have to give a month's notice to my current employer. There was a project winding down and I didn't want to leave them in a bind. He understood and told me to report to him in 30 days. In the mean time he said he would send over some documentation on their systems so I could hit the ground running when I reported in.
For eighteen months I did exactly what Mr. Colman had asked in my interview, I brought the company's IT department into the 21st century. The head of the IT department, Bill Myers, was more a sales orientated type and running the department was pretty much left up to me. I was the fair haired boy and had received a couple of large bonuses, and received another perk for my work.
The company provided me with a large suite in a concierge type hotel. The apartment had two master bedrooms separated by a large area that consisted of a living room, dining room, and a galley type kitchen. It came with all the amenities; all I had to do was sleep, eat, and leave for work.
The hotel provided maid service, laundry service and just about any other service I could think of as part of the package. I could even leave a menu with the main desk and dinner would be ready at whatever time I told them. It was a great way to live.
I wasn't dating very much, maybe going out for pizza and beer once in awhile; I used my spare time to develop a program for purchasing and inventory control. It was designed for a small business and my company had no interest in the soft ware.
One small addition to my contract that I had asked for stated that any programs I designed that weren't wanted by my employer were mine to sell. I got the okay and clearance from Bill Myers and licensed the program out; receiving a large initial dollar contract plus royalties from future sales.
I had missed my first company Christmas party because I was working after hours on my program. This year it was suggested by higher ups that I make it a point to attend; actually it was more of an order than a suggestion.
The company's Christmas party by invitation only was held at one of the finest hotels in the city with no expense spared. My invitation read: Mr. James O'Connor and guest. I wasn't dating anyone; I had been concentrating on my job and on my inventory program, so I went alone. My plan was to put in an appearance, stay long enough to satisfy the powers to be, and then join a couple of friends at a neighborhood tavern.
There was a buffet that would have done justice to any five star restaurant and at least five free bars scattered around the ball room. The seating arrangements were a little unusual; each table had assigned seating with representatives from each of the major departments of the company required to sit together.
Randy Smyth-Jones, the head of HR, explained to me that this arrangement was conducive to a better understanding between departments of their needs and requirements. It was a good idea because a person was a little more receptive to other's problems if they had partied together. You have to hand it to Mr. Colman; even at a party he was trying to improve his company.
The executive table was no exception; Mr. Colman and the head of the departments were seated together. For some reason my presence was requested at that table; actually it wasn't a request, again it was an order. I wasn't a department head but I was told "you will sit here, Mr. O'Connor".
My fellow table mates were Randy the head of the HR department, Gillian Grisham head of Sales and Marketing, Rob Johnson head of Production and Mr. Colman himself. The two men department heads were accompanied by their spouses; Gillian's guest was Mel, her current live in boyfriend.
Mr. Colman, Jason at least for the party, had a young lady that had to be about half his age as his guest. Her name was Cindy and after ten minutes you understood that she was a trophy and nothing more. I never learned what had happened to Rebecca's mother. There was a rumor about her and a personal trainer but I didn't have the nerve or the interest to ask for more information.
There were nine people at our table and one empty chair. I felt of out of place because I didn't have the plus one that the invitation allowed; but it didn't really matter because I planned on ducking out ASAP. About thirty minutes after every one sat down, the empty chair was filled. Rebecca swept in and sat down next to me, smiling at the surprised look on my face.
"Hi Jamie, it's good to see you. How have you been?" She talked as if we had parted as the best of friends.
I nodded, said hello, and looked at Mr. Colman as if to say what the hell? Rebecca has crossed my mind once in a while in the three years plus since college. Every time I saw Mr. Colman I had to think of Rebecca and our short time together. I wasn't carrying a torch for her but considering my lack of female companionship recently I did think about the one fantastic evening we shared and had played a little "what if?" in my head.
Now here she was, sitting next to me. Rebecca hadn't changed very much, if anything she was even more beautiful than before. Her blond hair was now in a pixie cut rather than worn down her back. From what I could see, and the dress she was wearing let me see a lot, her body was even firmer and more toned than it had been in college. The dress was maroon, mid thigh, low cut in the front and back; not slutty but a blind man would have watched her walk across the room.
"I didn't know you came to these company things Rebecca."
"Normally I don't." I must have looked puzzled so she continued," I was another party at the hotel across the street, that's why I'm dressed up, and Daddy called and asked me to come over. I wasn't going to until he told me why he wanted me here."
"And why did he want you here?" I was puzzled.
"He said that one of his rising stars came to the party alone and need a companion for the evening," Rebecca answered with a small smile.
"Is that something you do a lot, be a stand in date I mean?"
"I've never done it before and wasn't going to this time until he told me who my "date" would be." Again she was smiling, but bigger this time.
"Okay, I'll bite. Who is this guy that gets the pleasure of your company?" I felt sorry for the poor guy, because Rebecca looked amazing. He was going to look at, dance with, and spend the evening with someone he would never have a chance of being anything more than a onetime date; and only as a favor to her father. It would be torture by temptation.
"For a rising star in the company, you can be pretty dense sometimes," Rebecca replied, again with that smile.
"Huh?" That was my brilliant response.
"You're the rising star Jamie. Daddy said he wanted you to have a fun evening. If you sat at the table all evening watching and listening to the other couples you wouldn't have any fun; ergo Rebecca to the rescue. "Enough talk, let's dance," Rebecca said.
Gobsmacked is what our English friends call it. It means you're so amazed or surprised at something that your mouth opens and closes involuntarily. That was me, gobsmacked. Why would Mr. Colman care if I didn't have a date and why would he draft his daughter to remedy the situation?
The band was playing a set of only slow songs which allowed Rebecca and me to talk and get caught up to date on our lives since college. I found out that she had went to Europe for two years after graduation and then came back and was now working at a subsidiary of father's company. She had just moved back to the main office here in town a couple of months ago. Rebecca told me that she didn't even know I was working for her father until he called and asked for her help that evening.
Buried in the IT department like I was and she being with an autonomous branch of the company, our paths hadn't crossed. I told my tale of working at another company for two years and how the head hunter found and recruited me. She smiled when I told her I almost didn't take the job because of my concerns as to her father's motives for hiring me.
"Only my White Knight would worry about why instead of how much. You're still Sir Galahad aren't you?"