BLACK MALE - MICHAEL J. SOLENDER
Originally published at Thrillers Killers N Chillers 4/28/09
Erin tugged at her skirt. Not down, to cover her legs and what was between them, but up to enhance the view from the diagonal of the boardroom where she arrived early to get a very strategic position directly kitty-corner from United Re’s first African American CFO, Rick Robards.
This was her first time presenting to the Board of Directors and she was intent on making a lasting impression.
Only 25, Erin’s rise at United had been mercurial. Hired into the prestigious derivatives group straight out of M.I.T. at 23, she was United Re’s only hire in the post-financial meltdown year that had seen their reinsurance profits evaporate and government regulators snooping in their linens.
Her stochastic models and projections exploited a previously unknown void in currency fluctuations between the Yen, the Euro and the Dollar and had allowed United to recoup a tidy profit in her first 90 days on the job. Promoted at 6 months to lead a special project team, she again performed flawlessly in an investment strategy that boldly bet correctly on a Dow drop and the corresponding uptick.
Promoted to Director on her 25th birthday, she had gained the respect of her colleagues and notice of her superiors, even the aloof and illusive CFO, Robards.
Her smarts and business acumen could not overshadow arguably, at least amongst her male coworkers, her strongest assets; Erin Stiles was a flat-out knockout stunner.
Not a classic beauty, her nose was slightly too large for her fragile and pleasing face, but men found her intriguing and beguiling nonetheless. It was her shape that took most men’s breath away. Petite at 5’4”, she was well rounded in each of the requisite male eye resting spots. She never missed a day at the gym and her form had a toned, firm and strongly feline air that the traders spent hours debating at the pub after work.
She was not unaware of how men appreciated her other talents and was not unabashed in using these assets to advance her career to the corner office that she so coveted.
Robards was a tough nut to crack for her, however. Always the buttoned-down professional, he barely noticed her, or so she thought, when she had stopped by his office to review the monthly figures. He’d seemed immune to the low-cut blouses she wore when she knew she’d be in his company that day. He was one cool cookie.
For his part, Robards could barely contain himself. How could anyone not help but notice Erin, her tight buns, dewy eyes and obvious come-ons? He wasn’t getting any relief at home from his marriage-of-convenience wife, Delores, who had all but sanctioned his liaisons as long as he didn’t expect anything in the bedroom from her.
He needed to exercise caution, however. As CFO, he was vulnerable to particular scrutiny and, as one of only 3 black executives at United, he knew he was under a microscope. He’d have to make any moves and subsequent action on his terms.
The BOD meeting went off per usual. The highlight for Robards was the unobstructed view of leg crossing and uncrossing by Erin designed for both his pleasure and to send a powerful signal. He could wait no longer and, like a moth to the flame, cornered her after the meeting.
“How about lunch today?” he asked Erin with a rising intonation that conveyed it was more than nutritional sustenance on his mind.
“That would be great, but I need to run to my apartment to feed my cat,” Erin, purring in her own cat-like way, told Robards. “Can we stop there first?”
Game on, thought Robards. He was about to get the lay of his life and he got rock-hard right there outside the boardroom.
“Of course, that won’t be a problem,” Robards, now with a lilt in his voice, replied.
The motion activated audio/video recording device that had been set up in Erin Stiles’ apartment bedroom provided extremely high definition. The participants in the afternoon encounter were exquisitely captured in full bore passion that Erin enjoyed more than she would have liked to admit.
But this was business, there would be no encore. She fingered the jump drive with a lone video file in her hand on the elevator ride to the executive suites. She knew she had Rick Robards and he would deliver for her. She was also ready with plan B, just in case he did not.
Robards, decided to call her bluff. If she went public, he thought, her career would be as over as his. Not only that but he’d be damned if he was giving half his considerable net worth to Delores in the certain divorce that would accompany this debacle.
“You bitch,” he sneered. “Get out of here. Not only won’t you ever get another promotion, I’ll see you’ll never work in reinsurance anywhere as long as I’m around.”
“I guess I’ll just have to make sure you’re not around,” Erin coolly said and started to leave his office. She reached up to the collar of her silk blouse and violently tore it down to the waist exposing her front S clipped bra, which she also tore open, and then screamed, running out into the hallway.
“He tried to rape me,” she said to no one in particular, though she had the rapt attention of each of the executive secretaries. “Call the police! He’s been harassing me for months, I can’t take it anymore!”
The VP of Human Resources reassured Erin that the company would do anything, ANYTHING, to avoid a scandal. Of course, she could have the next month off and, of course, they would transfer her to the London office with a promotion to VP. After all, she was an extremely valued employee.
Robards’ resignation accepted, Erin had nothing to fear in the way of retribution, the HR VP assured her.
Erin stopped at Starbucks on her way home. She had made one call after leaving the office and hoped her lover would be there to meet her and offer congratulations on achieving their mutual goal.
Delores Robards greeted Erin with a Cappuccino and a big, full-on, deep-tongued, thrusting kiss. “You did it, sweetie,” she cooed.
“We did it,” Erin replied. “Is he going to settle?”
“It will be completely uncontested,” Delores said. “Half of everything should be about $6 million, including the house in Regent Park. Here are the keys. I'll meet you there next week.”
Erin smiled; she loved the rose garden at Regent Park.
BIO: Michael J. Solender is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for the Charlotte Observer and is a contributor to Charlotte ViewPoint. His fiction has appeared online at 6S, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Thrillers Killers N Chillers, Flashshot and Dogzplot (soon). He blogs here: not from here are you?
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