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The Car Ride

By Kiki Goodman

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.


First edition. April 10, 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Kiki Goodman.

Written by Kiki Goodman.

Chapter 1

Mike Toussaint logged off the new computer he had just installed in the administration area of Callander Industries where he worked. The company had a range of services and products on offer, covering data mining and analysis, as well as the enterprise hardware arm of the computer industry. This ranged from networking equipment, firewalls, wireless infrastructure to warehousing and stocktaking equipment. In the scheme of things, they were a relatively small player in the field, given that they only had just over two hundred employees, and their competitors had headcounts ranging in the thousands. But they were good at what they did and had the sales to back that up, showing strong growth over the last three years.

Mike turned around in the swivel chair to leave the workstation when Amanda Hollister walked into the front office with her always pleasant demeanour shining through. She was one of the administration assistants at the company and was very good at her job. He always liked talking with her and found her to be genuinely interesting and not vapid like so many others had been. Deep down he found her attractive, even though many of his colleagues at times would call her plain or uninteresting behind her back. There was just something about her he found appealing, and incredibly attractive. Mike always kept his thoughts to himself, but liked how she would walk around in the tight corporate skirt and requisite white blouse that made up the company uniform. At times, he enjoyed the way her rear would wiggle and wobble as she walked, but scolded himself for having those thoughts. After all, she probably didn’t find him attractive in that way, not that he was ugly. But Mike couldn’t help it. Amanda was alluring to him, her dirty blonde hair, doe eyes that sparkled when she smiled and long neck were sexy. Not to mention how she filled out her uniform, her skirt stretching when she sat down, and her blouse buttons ready to pop as it tried to contain her figure. Mike didn’t care what people were saying about her, and in his eyes, Amanda was just perfect.

As she walked closer he tried to think of something witty to say, but drew a blank when she smiled at him and they locked eyes. It was happening more and more. When Amanda would look at him, Mike would feel his mind go blank and be drawn into to her eyes. It took him a moment to compose himself and try to think of something to say, to tell her how she was making him feel but only uncertainty filled the empty void. He chastised himself for not be able to take a chance, but then guilt replaced the uncertainty. Mike felt it wasn’t right to make a move at work, not with their colleagues around and definitely not in the office. And even though he felt Amanda had been friendlier of late, he still couldn’t find the words to take it that step further, let alone ask her out on a date. Mike, however, was thankful that they bonded on many things such as movies, music and games, relishing the chance to converse with her about a new movie that was out. He figured that since they were the same age, it made sense that they shared similar interests and could bond the way they did, the age barrier not an issue for them. For Mike, it also didn’t hurt that he enjoyed her sweet-smelling perfume, which ignited a feeling deep inside if he was around her for too long. She would often smell like strawberries mixed with something he could never put his finger on and found it to be incredibly intoxicating.

“Hi Mike, how are you?” Amanda asked in her warm, genuine tone. Today as always, she seemed as lively as ever. Mike felt his anxiety disappear now that Amanda had started the conversation and put him in a good space.

“Good. And you?” Mike replied standing up and motioning that her computer was ready to use. “All set up and ready to go.”

“I’m good. Thanks,” Amanda said moving close to him and brushing past him as she sat down in the chair.

“If there are any issues, don’t hesitate to call me,” Mike said with a smile while making sure she could log on to the computer.

“Oh, I won’t,” Amanda said looking at him warmly. She seemed to have a way of disarming Mike and making him feel comfortable around her. It was something he found endearing about Amanda and only added to her attractiveness.

“Great. Well, I’ll leave you to it,” Mike said but stopped when Amanda turned to him quickly.

“Albert’s looking for volunteers,” Amanda said which wasn’t the first time Mike had been told this. Albert Minsk was the head of marketing and would gather employees to help on trade show days or to hand out flyers at events across the city. Mike realised that tomorrow there were a few events that the company was going to attend and market their products. Having the company name out there with anybody and everybody was Albert’s way of making sure no one was missed. It was colloquially coined the ‘shotgun’ technique by the staff or ‘spray and pray’ as Mike like to call it. Albert would take four staff around and get them to setup a stall, handing out brochures and flyers, while talking technical with customers. While Mike didn’t really mind it, it wasn’t something he was looking forward to, given that he enjoyed being behind the scenes.

“Hmmm, I might have to make myself scarce,” Mike said with a chuckle.

“You don’t want to help out?” Amanda asked a little forlorn.

“It’s not that. It’s just that I don’t want to be stuck with some douche bag from accounting or those pricks from programming,” Mike replied with a shrug. “They would make the day suck. That’s all.”

“Oh, I get you,” Amanda said seemingly warming up again. “Would it help to know that Katie and Olivia are already lined up?”

Truth be told, Mike didn’t mind either of those two, but wasn’t sure he wanted to be stuck in the car on such a hot day. Being the tail end of summer, there were still some hot days left and this week had already proven that.

“Well, that’s not so bad I guess,” Mike said trying to be polite. “And of course, Albert is going as well of course. I mean why wouldn’t he, he is the marketing guru, right?”

“Yep. And just to make you feel better, I’m going along too,” Amanda said twisting playfully in her chair. Mike felt his heart jump for a moment and saw a glimmer in her eyes as she looked at him. Was there something there that he hadn’t picked up on before? Or was this simply a ploy to get him to help out? Perhaps everyone else had already said no and this was Albert’s plan to get someone to go along. Mike was cautious but if he got to spend some time with Amanda perhaps it was worth it.

“I see. Well, I might just have to go see Albert then,” Mike said with a comical tone which caused Amanda to giggle.

“Come on, it’ll be fun. Then we can hang out like we always said we should,” Amanda said practically egging him on. True, they often talked about hanging out but it was just that, talk. When a date seemed to suit both, one of them would come up with an excuse as to why they couldn’t make it. A proverbial cat and mouse game that seemed to be stuck in a loop. If it wasn’t Mike saying at the last minute he had something on, it was Amanda who did the same. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so hard this time to hang out. After all, they would be stuck in a car together all day.

“True,” Mike said mulling it over in his mind while looking at Amanda. There was this unexplainable hope in her eyes and he could feel her almost pulling him to her, to come along for the ride. “I probably should help promote the place. Do my bit. I’ll see Al.”

“Great!” Amanda said almost too excitedly. If Mike didn’t know any better he would have said Amanda was excited about the possibility of him helping. “He’s in his office.”

“Thanks, I’ll catch you later,” Mike said walking out as Amanda waved before turning back to her computer. Mike looked back and had a strange feeling that he was being played. Not in a bad way, but he felt as though something was going on, she seemed a little too enthusiastic. He quickly brushed it aside thinking he was being juvenile and decided to take it at face value. Perhaps his charm had finally worked, even though he was your average guy with short dark brown hair and pleasant personality. He was fairly tall, always clean shaven and well-built but didn’t have a six pack which most women seemed to want. He was fit, but when women found out he was a system administrator they usually stereotyped him as the geek and put him in the friend zone. That was a lonely place to be in, not that he was unpopular but Mike never seemed to be boyfriend material. Then again, perhaps he was reading too much into it. At thirty years old he was still single, having had a couple of short lived relationships with women who only seemed to want him for his money. Not that he was rich by any means, but he earned quite well and lived quite comfortably. He was sensible and perhaps that was what brought him undone.

Mike stopped at Albert’s door and knocked.

“Come in,” Albert said and Mike complied. Albert was sitting behind his desk, the fifty-year-old with greying hair and youthful flavour savour which looked wrong now that he was middle aged. Albert was good at what he did and knew how to excite people when it came to products, but he had a strange sense of self, that came across at times as a teddy bear crossed with a Lothario. A strange mix given he was married with five kids. “Hi Mike, what’s up?”

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