VAMP: 1 Roast Beef, Rare


“I think we’re ready for lunch now.”

Sam glances up from her computer at the forty-something man she now calls her boss as of two weeks ago. He is an easy study: driven, self-absorbed, humorous only towards a purpose, but still, a risk-taker of sorts. She smiles at him, hoping her expression conveys its intended attitude — energized and willing, but also callow.

“Sure!” she chirps, rising quickly from the black office chair.

“Can you fax these right away to Baker and Ashton?”

Sam gracefully takes possession of the sheaf of documents that her boss is thrusting at her. Without real eye contact he adds, “After you do the lunch.”

He’s gone, back into his conference room, back to his prospects. Sam sets the to-be-faxed paperwork on her desk and walks toward the coffee and kitchen area of the small corporate office. She passes coworker Mary on her way, giving the small sturdy blonde a nod of camaraderie.

The catered sandwiches are sitting on the counter by the coffee maker, still covered in plastic. Sam had ordered them this morning and they’d arrived half an hour ago. They are an assortment including vegetarian wraps, various poultry and cheese combinations and roast beef. Rare.

Sam carries the sandwich platter into the conference room, not making specific eye contact with anyone, but aware of sets of male eyes taking her in, along with the food. The four men in the room are all multitasking their way through conversation and tapping virtual keys on little digital devices.

What delightful little power totems, Sam muses to herself as she pulls off the cellophane wrapping of the sandwich platter, comparing the smart phones at the conference table here to the polished tobacco pipes and cigars of an earlier era.

One of the men reaches immediately for a sandwich, it’s roast beef. He takes a bite of it and continues talking to her boss. Sam can’t resist a quick glance at the bitten sandwich, the beef is really blood-red rare, and it’s making her suddenly hungry.

She looks away from the sandwich and straight into the eyes of a young, good-looking blonde male in a blue work shirt. It’s not a real work shirt, it’s an expensive Italian-made, casually elegant camisa. The new uniform of successful entrepreneurs. The man isn’t yet thirty, and his muscles are solid, well-defined, no doubt sculpted under the tutelage of a personal trainer. Sam instinctively glances at his neck, at the fine smooth carotid artery. Guy must have a rest pulse of sixty, maybe even fifty-five. Aerobic fitness definitely adds to the pleasure.

Sam realizes she is smiling at the guy, and immediately softens her dark brown eyes. Don’t broadcast dominance.  He’s not smiling back, but she knows he wants her, wants her strong, agile body beneath the form-fitting jeans, her smooth skin and the dense red hair that falls to her shoulders. But he wants her on his own terms.  He’s an easy study, too, another risk-taker. But, he’s a calculating mesomorph, not a romantic.

She turns from the table and leaves the room, returning promptly with a basket filled with exotic brands of bottled water, and bottles of organic fruit juices which include cranberry-pomegranate — a gorgeous shade of red. With meek and professional efficiency Sam sets the basket down near the sandwiches and then sets down the tray of chocolate cupcakes she has also carried in.

Blondie with the runner’s pulse is burning holes through her blouse with his hazel eyes. Probably O or A positive, but he reminds her a lot of an A negative she was recently acquainted with. Let it go, she tells herself, you need his brains at the moment more than you need his blood.

“Enjoy your lunch,, gentlemen!” Sam smiles at them as a group and closes the conference door behind her as she leaves the room. Time to go see about faxing those documents.

— to be continued —

Vamp — a new novel by A.C. Houston,  copyright 2010

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