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Office Party

“Another day, another end to the work week,” I said to myself as I sat in traffic on a cloudy Friday afternoon, impatiently waiting for the upturned SUV and three other vehicles to be cleared so that I and the several other cars can go through. “I fucking hate rush hour. Whoever invented it needs to get shot and dragged along the expressway while tied up to someone’s tailpipe.” Letting out a few more curses, I turned on the radio, and heard the sweet singing of Christmas carols. I thought about what I was going to wear to next Friday’s holiday bash, and how I was going to do my hair and makeup. Luckily for me, I have a sister who does hair and makeup for a living that can help me look like a supermodel for one night, and not like a bookish spinster without any fashion sense.

Creeping along the expressway, I finally made it to my exit, got off of the congested road and made it home. I got to my apartment and was greeted by Roxie, my two year old dachshund that needed to be let out. I took out Roxie, and daydreamed about the upcoming annual holiday party. Last year, the annual party was held at the governor’s residence in Springfield, with the after party at Starved Rock in one of the private cabins. I heard about what went down at the party, and was glad that I went home right after the first party that night. This time, it’s being held at an upscale hotel and everyone is expected to attend. I don’t want to attend and I don’t want to be seen as antisocial by my fellow coworkers, either. It’s not like I’m going to get laid at the party, like some of the people have and now regret it. I guess that’s what happens when you buy two-buck chuck instead of real Chianti for everyone to drink.

Taking off my business attire and throwing on a pair of jeans and a turtleneck, I went shopping to buy something to wear for the event. The mall was crowded, as is typical for this time of year. You would think that people would get their Christmas shopping done on Black Friday; there is always some moron who waits until the last minute to do their shopping. I stayed at home and did mine online. Amazon and Overstock are my two best friends, next to my credit card.

I walked into a very popular department store and found an amazing little strapless dark green velveteen dress. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I had to find matching bra and panty set that matched the color of the dress, just in case some guy wanted to get lucky at the hotel. I also found a pair of thigh-high stockings that matched my skin tone, and a dark green garter belt with a tiny Christmas tree on it. I went into the discount shoe store and found a pair of five-inch dark green stilettos that came with a matching clutch bag. I left the mall with my finds, an appointment for a manicure and pedicure, and a smile on my face.

The day of the party arrived and everyone was in happy mode. I brought in a batch of extra decadent Christmas brownies to share with everyone, including the incompetent son of a bitch boss I have. The office was decked out in every decoration for each holiday that comes at this time of year. I have to give the upper management people some credit for making sure that every holiday that’s celebrated got some equal representation.

I got to my work station and checked the interoffice email for any special directions from Alan, my boss. A tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed handsome man, I suppose you can say that he is the type of man who always gets what he wants, even when he doesn’t deserve it. I enjoy working for him when he’s in a good mood, which is a rare event around here. When he’s pissed off, the whole office knows it. Everybody walks on eggshells for fear of facing his wrath. Since I wasn’t scared of him, he took notice and decided to treat me a little bit better, not by much. I checked my inbox, and saw that there's an interoffice memorandum. Clicking it open, I saw that there’s a meeting at three in the afternoon, and everyone is invited, even the lowly administrative assistant like me.

Throughout the day, Alan was in good spirits. I transcribed a meeting he held earlier in the week and handed him the transcript. He just said, “Good work, Sharon.” I was shocked. Usually, it’s a “What the fuck is this shit? You got holes in your head or something?” Not thinking about it too much, I just said thanks and went back to my work station. I finalized the times and made sure the food and drinks were ready to go by the time everyone showed up for the party tonight. Three o’clock rolled around, and everyone filed into one of the larger conference rooms to find out what this meeting was about. Alan walked in, with the upper management people trailing right behind him like they’re his henchmen or something. Perching himself at the head of the table, he began his spiel about tonight.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As you all know, tonight is our annual holiday party. The board of trustees and the president of this company will be there to talk to everyone, especially the latest recruits. We don’t want a repeat of what happened at Starved Rock last year, and we’re still recovering from the after-hours keg party that occurred. I hope the person who posted those pictures online took those down. The shareholders of this company weren’t too pleased when they saw those, and I don’t want to catch hell again this year. Tonight, we’re all going to have a good time, and we’re all going home early to get ready. I’ll see you all at six.”

When I got up to leave, Alan stopped me and said, “Nice job you've done these past few weeks, Sharon. You’ve improved in transcribing the minutes from each meeting and got way better in making my coffee every morning. There might be a big promotion for you. I can guarantee that. Now, go home and get dressed.”

“Thank you, Alan,” I replied.

I headed home, fed Roxie, rolled my hair, laid out my clothes and turned the shower on. The jets of hot water felt so good on my skin, almost like having a second pair of hands on my body. I thought about the many times I had a chance to date somebody at work; I never got the chance to go through with it because of my own fears. I’m sure some people do date within the office, that isn’t for me. I do know that some people are going to be piss drunk after tonight’s affair. In the event that I finally get to fuck someone I work with, I shaved off that ugly-ass crotch hair and any hair that decided to make its home on my body.

I got out of the shower and dried off my body. On my bed were the clothes I was going to wear: a strappy, dark green strapless velveteen dress, matching strapless bra and mesh thong in the same shade, thigh-high stockings, the little Christmas garter belt, and a pair of dark green five-inch stiletto heels. Lucinda, my sister, applied the makeup and did my hair, giving me a look that rivaled the biggest female in R&B music today. It’s definitely a departure from the usual work attire I wear: a conservative pantsuit or a skirt and cardigan. I put the outfit on, and I saw no evidence of a panty line, my bra wasn’t showing, and the garters really hid the tops of my stockings well when I sat down. I thanked my sister for helping me get ready. Now I have to babysit her bratty sons when she and her hubby go out for Valentine’s Day. Ooh, I can’t wait.

Grabbing my wool coat and clutch, I got in my car and headed to this uppity hotel, where the party was being held. I followed the signs that pointed toward the ballroom, and walked in to a place that got transformed into a winter wonderland. A giant Christmas tree was in a corner, with presents underneath. The tablecloths were a winter white, with a silver trim along the hemline. Tinsel were strewn about, the buffet table had holly and garland along the edges. I was really happy that the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa decorations were mixed in as well. A menorah and a kinara were burning bright on a small table, along with the lights on the tree. The clear lights were hung high above the tables and outlined the dance floor. The DJ, wearing a bedazzled Santa Claus hat and sunglasses, was in his box playing a mix of modern music and Christmas songs, while some people were on the floor dancing. A waiter wearing a tuxedo handed me a glass of champagne and a little plate with a gingerbread man on it. I thanked him and found a table to sit at.

I was taking in the scenery when a voice asked, “Is this seat taken?”

I looked up and it was Alan smiling down at me. “Not at all,” I replied.

Alan took the seat next to me. God, he looks so damn good in his Armani suit, I thought to myself. “How are you enjoying yourself this evening?” he asked me.

“I love everything. Now, if only Santa would give me the one thing I want for Christmas.”

“What do you really want for Christmas?”

He would ask me the one question I don’t think about, I think to myself. Coming up with a cheesy answer, I said, “I want a new car.”

Alan laughed. “That’s it? All you want is a new car? Just out of curiosity, what kind of car would you like to have?”

“I would like a brand new black mustang, with black leather interior, a sunroof, a deck for my mp3 player, and satellite radio. The car must get great mileage on the highway. I like to travel when I go on vacation.”

“Oh, really? You’re one of those women who know what they want, right down to the smallest detail. I see why you pay so much attention when you write up reports for me.”

I leaned a little into my boss, inhaling the scent of his cologne that made me moist. I said to him, “I take what I do for a living seriously. I also know what I want to buy once I do a real good job at something.”

“Well, it shows. That promotion I promised you is still a priority on my list. Have you talked to any of the people in upper management, yet?”

“No I haven’t gotten the chance to do so.”

Looking up, Alan spotted somebody. “I see George Harris right now. He’s one of the upper management people I report to on a weekly basis. Those reports I have you do, he reads them and likes what he reads. Come with me and I’ll introduce you to him.”

I followed Alan to see this mysterious George Harris that he works with. A man with smiling brown eyes and brown hair with splashes of gray in it; he noticed Alan and asked, “Alan, who is this young woman on your arm?”

Alan laughed. “George, this is Sharon, one of the secretaries who work for me. She is the one who writes those reports for the department that you read, and she is also a graduate from your alma mater, if I’m not mistaken.”

Taking notice, George asked me, “How do you like working for this crotchety old man here?”

“Alan’s not a problem, sir. He asks me to do something, I do it in a timely manner,” I answered.

“Very professional, I like that. We have to talk again real soon, Sharon. Nice meeting you."

“Nice meeting you too, Mr. Harris.”

“Please, call me George.”

“Alright, George.”

When George walked away to talk to someone else, Alan turned to me and said, “I’m pleased. You have manners and charmed George. The last secretary I had made a fool out of herself and me when I introduced her to George.”

“Thank you. Growing up, my parents were very strict when it comes to public behavior and manners were beaten into me from infancy.”

A slow number came on and Alan asked, “Would you like to dance?”

“I would love to.”

Alan took me into his arms and held me close. I got another whiff of his cologne, this time making me fantasize about the last time I was this close to a guy. My boyfriend at the time wore the exact same fragrance. I touched the lapel of Alan’s suit, just thinking about the two-year-old memory of me and my then-boyfriend. Alan looked down at me and ran his fingers through my shoulder-length hair. I looked up and locked eyes with Alan. He leaned down and kissed me, in front of everyone. I think I'm going to enjoy myself tonight!

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