2nd in the Trilogy
We get to Macy’s and upon getting to the women’s clothing section we ask for Teresa. Teresa is a cheerful looking woman, sharp in her dressing yet conservative enough she doesn’t out do her customers. “Hello, I am Teresa, how may I help you?” She has dark hair, probably fifty or late forties and has a zest to her that is infectious.
“I um, I’m not sure, Maria… Maria Perez suggested you.”
Carol breaks in, “Pardon her, but Samantha’s new in town and she needs some clothes for evenings out and some nice clothes as a business woman. She is in clothing and design she would like to be appropriate for being in middle management but not seen as a wallflower.”
“Well she is an attractive young woman and I’m hearing you say her clothes and accessories should be fitting for her position as someone they will recognize and see as an accomplished young woman on the rise.”
“Samantha, I am here to help, so please tell me what sizes you wear, what you would like to look at in the way of skirts, dresses, pants, also tell me your preference for colors. I can also help find various colors and looks that work well with you.” I pause again trying to process the decisions that are new for me as Samantha.
Carol, “She says a size eight in most clothing and her shoes, and is a 34 B bra. If she takes after her mother she should be well into a good C even before she has children.” Teresa laughs about her breast comments. “Skirts and blouse ensembles as well as a couple dresses. She can comeback sometime and look at slacks and jeans. Things for out on the town can be shorter and more flattering, while her work ensembles should be attractive yet not have things that can cause problems for an active woman working over a designing table or get in her way like long ribbons or sleeves that are too long or loose as she works with models or mannequins.”
Teresa takes us to look at clothes for work; there are a variety of skirts with Teresa showing me about three skirts at a time, letting me have a good look and to ask questions. She builds up to two plies of three skirts in each. For each of the three she presents the various colors and thus not only can I like the skirt, but get to choose the colors I like best.
There’s a pencil skirt brightly colored for the summer yet not over powering. I try it on liking the look but find too restrictive. Teresa asks, “Please try another skirt while she pursues another idea.” The next is a medium blue, a bit more of a full skirt. I like this one very much. As I am ready to go back and change she hands me a knit pencil skirt in a color similar to the previous one. It fits nicely having some give that Carol says moves as well as looks more flattering. This one goes as very probable. Out of the six I’ve found four that I will buy and seven blouses and tops with one or two that flatter each skirt as well as work nicely with other clothes.
By this time I limit myself to one dress and then select panties, bras. Carol insists I get two nice watches and I select a choker and a necklace bracelet set as well. Neither of us watches the time until I select a watch, as I had not been mindful of the clock.
It is time to check out, get back and change for my meeting with Ms. Jennifer Michaels. Carol has me shower and start to get ready first. She has made me a small sandwich and poured a drink of water for me.
I am out of the shower when she pokes her head to encourage me to move it along. “No, do not dry yourself like that, pat dry and make sure you.” She feels a leg, “Very nice, do you like how it feels?”
“That feels embarrassing.”
My first work outfit is simple yet sharp gray full skirt that reaches to my knee with a flare to allow unhindered movement within good reason. The blouse is a light blue print set off with white jacket with blue trim that works well with the skirt. It’s not a suit jacket but smaller. I like how the sleeves come just above the elbow and jacket is not meant to be buttoned. I turn to Carol and get affirmation on it being a good selection.
“I remember in college when girls were jealous because you have such a good fashion sense. They always liked the clothes gifts you gave me. Now you will be the benefactor of your own good taste. I also like your selections in putting on your make-up. Though, I should help with a few touch ups. It is nice to return the favor.” Carol helps with more than a few and sees I am watching closely. I know I need to become self-sufficient.
We are to Kelsey Fashions and Design some five minutes early. “Hello, are you Samantha Conrad,” Ms Michael’s receptionist asks? “I would like to take you back to her office. Ms Carol Stone, I’ve been asked if you would mind sitting out here for awhile and then she will invite you back if Samantha is comfortable when they’re ready.”
Carol whispers as I both smile, “It sounds like Jennifer Michaels is expecting a favorable outcome to meeting Samantha.” Mrs. Anderson, the Receptionist, first introduces me to Ms. Stengel, Jennifer’s Office Associate and then continues taking me into Jennifer’s office, a corner office suite on the seventh floor. “Please relax and don’t act surprised as Ms. Michaels is a young but savvy executive.”
Mrs. Anderson served me well in her suggestions as Ms. Michael’s looks like she could be in her early thirties, though I was expecting she would be closer to forty-three or so. She stands up and is coming to greet me. We take hold of both hands and she gestures for me to be seated. While I go to the nice chair she points to I wait for Ms. Michaels to begin to sit before I follow in kind.
“Well Ms Conrad, I bid you welcome to Kelsey Fashion and Design. I see a slight resemblance to Samuel; I am impressed with your coming in and sharing yourself. You have caught us a little off guard. While your credentials are impressive, our line on you is that you tend to be cautious and very reserve in presenting yourself. Seemingly you are not quite there as a young woman.”
“I was not expecting to step-out like this but decided I better be upfront. I also want to present myself so you know me, so I might know if this will work out or not. I am willing to change back if need be or to walk away if I would be let go.”
“I was glad when I first heard you were calling as I need to be in New Haven on Monday and thought you might accompany me. But I didn’t know of Samantha at the time. I am favorably impressed with how you are presenting yourself.”
Samantha, “I would be flattered to go with you, I am sure I will learn much in your company. May I ask if we would be meeting with particular general retailers, or making presentations with larger specialty stores or wholesalers?”
“Samantha if you don’t mind my saying you are quite anxious, though astute in listening and thought. I would like you to relax and share something of yourself before we continue on? Would you mind if I ask for two cups of tea or ice tea to be brought into us?” I smile and she is quickly making the request. “Are you comfortable with me asking about Samantha and sharing some thoughts of my own?”
“Ms. Michaels, I am surprised to be here as Samantha. It wouldn’t have happened last Friday, but I honestly think I am the best one to show up for the job. I have the same knowledge as Sam, but more understanding and joy for the job.”
The cups of tea are delivered with two scones; I soon have my cup of tea and half a scone on a napkin on my lap. “I expect I will need to prove I am not insane or a freak.”
Ms Michaels speaks up, “When I first acknowledged the love of my life is another woman, I too expected it might impact my position with the company. But I already know about the myths behind that thinking.”
“You don’t need to prove as much as confirm you are as good as we hope. I look forward to your starting here Friday. And I would still like you to accompany me to New Haven on Monday. Though, I am not yet sure how we will be traveling.”
“I could drive, but I am not sure you would like my Mustang.”
“Why wouldn’t I want you to drive us in your Mustang?”
“It will be too small if anyone else is going, plus an executive should be free to work on whatever she has as well as to check presentation items. It would be more fitting to take you in a Chrysler 300 or a nice Lincoln with wireless capability.”
“Yes, we will have an assistant with us. I would like you by 10:30 Friday to have the cost and availability of such transportation. I will tell you more about the trip then.”
“I will be upfront; I hope this is how you will present yourself. There is no room for embarrassing Kelsey Fashions. If a client has problems of their own that is with them as long as you are professional. I think it would be better for you to be consistent in presenting yourself.”
We talk on and have a great visit. “Before I excuse you for the day, I would like to meet your friend. Is it she or someone else I could thank for helping you to present yourself today?”
“Yes Carol helped me getting a wardrobe and checking how I put myself together today. She is a former girlfriend maybe once again, but that is not a given.”
Jennifer shows me around the floors that make up Kelsey Fashions, ending at my office and our departments major working areas. “Ms. Anderson could you have Ms. Stengel and Sheila meet us in Ms. Conrad’s office.” She then turns to me, “Sheila will likely be going with us Monday and Ms. Stengel as my Associate will be in charge here.”
“Ms. Stengel this is Samantha Conrad and she will formally be starting Friday. She was gracious in presenting this side of herself to me today. I am very sure she will fit in and make her mark even better than we hoped. Ms. Conrad, I think you will find Ms Stengel as capable as myself and good to work with as long as you take up your responsibilities, are productive and represent the Kelsey well.”
“And this is Sheila Woods who will be accompanying us Monday. She also likes the idea of a good vehicle for traveling to customers and conferences when possible. She can tell you the two companies we generally work with and who you will be advised not to work with.” Sheila smiles and greets me warmly. I am guessing she is one or two years older than me. We visit another ten minutes before they are excused and Carol is called back to my office.
My office is a nice fifteen feet wide by twenty feet long which seems very large; except it will be a working office with a fitting/modeling platform, my regular desk and chairs as well as a designer’s desk and layout area. Ms. Anderson brings in some official papers, my business GalaxyIII phone, as well as hands Michaels a company credit card for me along with a voucher for up to purchase what is needed to finish out my office.
Carol’s mouth drops open as she enters my office. I smile and gesture toward Carol, “Carol please lift your jaw; I would like to introduce you to Ms Jennifer Michaels the Vice President of Kelsey Fashions and Wholesale and Retail Operations. Ms. Michaels this is my very good friend Carol Stone; you two already talked on the telephone.”
Ms. Michaels speaks up to conclude our time. “Would tonight or tomorrow night work better for dinner with Darla and me? One should dress nice but for fun and not business.” I look to Carol.
“I need to get back to my world tomorrow, so if I’m invited, tonight will work better.”
“Good, tonight at 7:00 p.m. then; I will have Ms. Anderson make some reservations and get word to you where we should meet.”
Carol waits for her to be down the hall before she turns to me. “I like her she is not old enough to be your mother and yet old enough and she has a good head on her shoulders. Seemingly she is comfortable with you. The receptionist said you were given the larger of the two offices available.”
“I wonder if that might change now that she has met me.”
“It is my understanding that was a change within the last half hour. I take it she not only likes you but is very comfortable with Samantha.”
“Yes, but like you said, she would like it if I am consistent in presenting me as Samantha.”
“So who is Darla that we will be dining with tonight?”
“I am not fully sure but I suspect it is her love or spouse.”
Carol smiles with a pleasant surprise look.
Carol asks me to drive to my apartment and to pick up what I need for the evening. She wants us to get ready at her place and hopefully for me to spend the night with her. My only problem is I’m not sure what I need.
There is a fifteen minute loading area, so I park and Carol comes in to help me. Mary is out to greet us in the hall way. She’s happy to see us but disappointed we don’t have time to visit. She is excited seeing me take the while dress yet disappointed she won’t see me in it.
Just before we leave, Mary asks if she can wish me well. When I say yes, I’m not expecting the mouth to mouth resuscitation kiss I received. I did kind of enjoy it. Sam has never gotten attention like it. I worried a little about Carol but it wasn’t my doing.
Carol’s section of Brooklyn is pretty nice and her apartment is up on the seventh floor with a very nice entryway and elevator. Carol even had a friend’s place where I could safely park. We get everything up to her apartment in one trip.
The first thing I want to do is to take my high heels off, mostly because I want to wear them again tonight. Carol is helping me out of my outfit saying we have two hours before we need to get dressed again. “So why are you so set on getting me undressed?” As I ask the question I realize how dumb the question is.
I am backing up as Carol advances; I am not prepared for her to make advances on Samantha. It is not that I am not interested. It’s just, my mind and ego are having two very different trips about Carol liking me. Seeing out a window, I’m distracted realizing it is wide open for someone to look in and see us.
“Carol don’t you have any modesty, people could see in here?”
“Well you should be flattered this would be more than Biology 101,” I know what she’s saying is funny and I am usually a jokester, but I’m not use to joking about girl stuff especially since I’ve never been a cute girl in someone else’s eyes.
Carol backs me into a corner and begins to turn me on like playing a beautiful violin. “Samantha please understand not only do you look like a beautiful young woman. What I’m doing is to excite another young woman not a man.”
“Ms. Michaels, I think very strongly sees you as the woman you present yourself to be. I don’t think she would be amused to see a conflicted guy tonight still in denial. It would be very unusual for her to invite us to share the evening with her love.”
“But it’s true I am not sure who I am?”
“To say we’re not sure where our relationship is one thing; but what I aroused physically in you is your clitoris near the base of your maleness. If I go with you tonight it will be with me seeing you as Samantha; you need to know that. And I have a strong desire for the person I believe you to be.”
Carol continues, “Let me ask you something serious, does working with women’s fashions personally excite your juices?”
“You’re meaning something deep down more than sexually? You brought up something like this before we went our separate ways. That was especially intense then and I had to that summon all my strength to say no that night; was that part of the reason you left?”
“I thought we had shared a powerful time and I felt crushed that you couldn’t trust me. We were alone and I wasn’t making any demands on you changing or promising anything. Who you are turned my world upside down. Truthfully I am not so worried about you disappointing or misleading Jennifer Michaels. But I wonder to myself if this is déjá vu for me all over. You called me but if you plan to string me along it is tying a knot in me. I don’t mind hurting for you, if it doesn’t work out between us. But I am as much your best friend as someone deeply in love with you.”
I want to cry to get Carol’s sympathy, but that would be me playing it safe and playing with her heart. I begin to shake, “You are right Carol; it excites me deep in my soul. Before the adrenaline was more an academic and creative game. I have chosen this and I enjoy the burning it brings to my senses. I can smell subtle changes in fragrances. I love stroking not only the beauty of a woman in a beautiful dress, moving her to exercise her power and mind that open doors to what she wants to be. I believe it because I feel its truth for me. Yes, I am afraid tonight like the time I disappointed you before.”
“I want guarantees about how things will turn out when I step out. I know, no one not even you then or now, can guarantee that, because it doesn’t come with a guarantee. I am excited about going out tonight and I am glad you know I will be almost as scared as I am excited.”
Carol and I take a warm and wonderful time together before turn our attention to tonight. I submit to Carol’s leading and realize the difference between Sam and Samantha loving Carol. The time is wonderful, yet I am already wondering about how it might be in the future. I want my real nipples to be brushing across Carol’s. I want to take my time, get I want to get ahead of where we are.
I’m putting on the little white dress and realize that even now the dress is looking better because I am carrying myself better as a woman. My necklace and earrings are a simple gold and ebony yet look eloquent. My 3 ½” heels have my legs looking great.
Out the window I hear a whistle and across the way I see a boy who is probably not even twelve. I catch his eyes and he’s embarrassed to be caught looking, but he doesn’t look away. I call to him, “Do you think I look that nice?”
He shyly says, “Yes, but please do not tell on me?”
I ask his name and he tells me, “Johnny Henry”. We talk and I learn he’s eleven and has two brothers and two sisters. He’s the youngest. When Carol comes back in the room I confirm Johnny Henry is his real name. “So is he one of your student admirers?” She giggles when I tell her I was only teaching the 101 class. We both appear before the window as we are ready and get Johnny’s approval for the evening.
“We are going to Ferraro’s.” Carol informs me, “It is a very, very nice place with atmosphere and very good food. It is even better as one does not need to put on airs of pretense. We will however need to inform people at the door we are with Ms. Michaels, as it is a club of sorts where one need to be known by the establishment.”
My car is parked for the night at Carol’s and we take the taxi to Ferraro’s. Ferraro’s has a very nice entrance from where you take the elevator to the twelfth floor. A maitre de greets us shortly after we step off the elevator and shows us to Jennifer’s table and Jennifer quickly introduces us to Darla Fischer-Michaels. She kindly asks, “Jeffrey (the Maitre De) please approve Samantha Conrad here as a regular if you would. She is under my sponsorship. The dinner is a delightful blend of good food and goes good with our great visit. We move to the lounge with a nice dance floor. Some men as well as a woman or two want to share the evening. While it is a fun evening it is not a night to share with others. Instead of around a tall table and stools we are sitting in comfortable furniture, casually visiting and dancing now and then.”
Upon leaving, I turn to Carol and ask, “What was this evening all about?” Carol has a puzzled look that relaxes into a smile and soft laugh. “You still think like a boy? She just wants you to feel welcome; there wasn’t a hidden agenda from what I sensed.”
When we get back to Carol’s place and settled in, I am again getting anxious. Carol pulls me into the shower and it is a great time in a relaxed sort of way. Once we are ready for bed, Carol pulls me in. “Relax Samantha, just learn to relax. I love you but love is much more than sex. While I do need to get up and to work in the morning, a quiet evening with you is one of my dreams of a beautiful time in bed with you.”
I relax and enjoy a little light silhouetting her face; her breath is like a welcomed breeze. I am in her arms and at first I am uncomfortable thinking it should be the other way. Her hand gently slides down my back and suddenly I am enjoying being her girlfriend.
Come 6:30 in the morning I awake to my phone. It’s Patti, “I am so glad to hear you are still Samantha. Please don’t tell me you are still in bed?” I look around and Carol is finishing getting dressed and smiles at me. “Whose there with you,” Patti asks?
“You just woke me up at Carol’s and she is already up and getting ready for work. I don’t begin work until tomorrow.” I can hear a purr in Patti’s voice. “Yes thank you, we are back together. We’re going to see where life takes this love of ours.”
“So is it Cousin Samantha from now on?”
“Patti, you might not believe it, but I drove up here from your wedding, I went to meet Jennifer Michaels at work, she’s my top boss, I’ve shopped in the Big Apple and added to my wardrobe and I enjoy being with Carol very much. With all that I am happy to tell you I am going to take this one day at a time. I have a hope where things are going, but I expect surprises and make no promises.”
Carol gives me a nibble on my ear, “I need to get going soon. I want you to know you are welcome to stay, to be here tonight but I agree it is one day at a time.”
I scoot out of bed carrying my phone talking to Patti, but seeing if Carol has had anything for breakfast. I watch her do her makeup. “Patti, I need give some attention here, I miss you and glad to hear that he has been the greatest part of your honeymoon so far. …No you can’t assume I will be her godmother. I love you too, good-bye for now.”
“Carol, would it be okay if I stay to fix dinner for tonight? I plan to be at my apartment tonight so it is easy to get ready for work in the morning. If you want you can stay with me tonight.” We share a cup of coffee and visit before she is off to work.
“You know Sam, your neighbor Mary is going to make a play for you as well. I am not sure if she is interested in Sam being Samantha or talking you into being Sam, but she too can help you figure out who you are.”
“I can’t believe you just said that.”
“It isn’t that you didn’t notice her. I don’t promise I will be able to keep my claws from scratching her eyes out. …Come six months I want to honestly know where we are at. You will probably always be a friend, but I want you heart, mind and soul if we are for each other.”
I can’t believe with that she gives me a kiss and leaves for work.
To be continued…
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