The Man in the Elevator – Future take
My team and I step out of the elevator on to the 27th floor. This is our biggest job to date and, despite my confidence in my team and our proposal, I must confess I'm nervous, but I'm determined not to show it.
The snotty looking PA looks up from her computer, a disinterested expression on her face.
"McCarty Construction. We have an appointment."
She glances down at her screen, as if she needs to check that our appointment is valid, but I know she's the sort who has his schedule memorized.
She looks back up with a scowl. "He's expecting you. Follow me." She leads us the short distance down the corridor, despite me knowing the way like the back of my hand and her knowing this.
A brief knock on the door, followed by a sharp, "Enter," has her announcing our arrival and ushering us into the room.
He is sitting behind his large imposing desk, his three VPs opposite him. As we enter, he rises from his plush, black office chair and walks around to great us, his lips curled up in a lopsided smirk. "Ms. Swan, welcome. Your proposal was very interesting. We look forward to hearing more."
"Thank you. Let me introduce my team."
I introduce Alice, even though he knows her well, as well as the other members of my ever-expanding team. In fact, this is only a proportion of the people I now manage, but it's my "A" team, my top people. Only the best for this project.
"Please, take a seat," he says, directing us toward the large boardroom table that I can attest to being very sturdy.
I take my position in the center of one side, my team positioning themselves around me. He sits down directly opposite, his team around him.
"So, Ms. Swan, what exactly can you do for me." I smirk across at him. There is plenty I could do for him, and he knows it. But this is business, and I'm a professional. I won't let his little games put me off.
"Let me present to you our vision for the future working environment of Cullen Masen Holdings."
With that, I launch into my well-prepared presentation, setting out for him how we plan to transform his new, expanded headquarters into the innovative office space a company like CMH deserves and requires. I point out the features that have been shown, in several studies, to increase productivity as well as increase worker engagement and satisfaction. The design incorporates many safety features I know will keep Embry happy. Each member of my team seamlessly answers all his and his team's questions with confidence, despite me knowing several of them were a little intimidated at the prospect of meeting him; his reputation, as always, going before him.
It's a great proposition. We know it, and more importantly, they know it too.
Once we've finished, he looks across at me, his fingers steepled, all business. "I won't deny it's a good proposal. It's inventive, cutting-edge, but also us. You've thought about our needs, and I can't fault the thoroughness of your design, but your quote is significantly more than several of the others we've received. It seems an awfully large premium to pay for a few gimmicks."
So here comes the hard ball. I knew it was coming. He's known for it. But I'm prepared.
"Mr. Cullen, you know as well as I do that what we've presented to you today is not just some fancy gimmicks. If CMH wants to be seen as one of the best employers, if you want to recruit and retain the best employees, you have to offer the best, and to be honest, that's what we're offering you. And the best doesn't come cheap. Look again at the productivity figures I've shown you. With the increase in retention, reduced HR costs in addition to these figures, you should be getting a significant payback on the extra you will be paying up front."
"The cost is still too high," he says, throwing the proposal he was looking at down on the table dismissively. "If you can drop ten percent off that cost, we may have a deal, but without that, I'm sorry this meeting is over."
"I'm sorry you feel that way, I had hoped that giving CMH this opportunity to work with us would have led to future projects together, but, as I'm sure you are aware, we have other projects we can be working on. If cost is your only consideration, I'm sure one of our competitors will be more than willing to do the job for you, but then, of course, you don't get to brag that you have a McCarty-designed office."
We stare each other down for a moment. Then I start to pack up my things. My team looks at me, shocked, but then start to follow my lead.
"Thank you for your time, Mr. Cullen. I wish you all the luck in getting the office set up that works for you. Now if you'll excuse me, we have a meeting with Mr. Thompson over at Zentak; it would appear we may now have time to work on his office, as we won't be working here."
"Zentak is looking to renovate their offices?"
"That is the rumor. He's requested a personal meeting to discuss his plans. Obviously, if my team is busy on a very large project, we would be unable to do that work for him too."
"Five percent, Ms. Swan. Knock five percent off and I'll sign now." I'm on the way to the door; my back is turned to him. I smile. I've got him. I stop and slowly turn around.
"Please, don't insult me, Mr. Cullen. You know this is a very fair price for the service we offer. You either pay that price or we leave. We're busy people; we have more work than we can handle. You sign today at that price or the number increases by 10% should you change your mind after this meeting."
He practically growls at me. I know he wants us, and he knows I know this. We're the best, and he likes to get the best.
"Fine, Ms. Swan. You win. This one. Give me the paperwork."
I hand it over graciously, and he signs.
"I presume you can start straight away?"
"Of course, sir," I say, looking straight at him as I bite down on my bottom lip. He narrows his eyes. He knows I know exactly what my words and actions do to him.
I turn slowly and lead my team out of the office and toward the elevators. His three VPs follow, discussing some of the finer points of the design with members of my team, mainly concerning their own offices, I notice. But that's what we offer—a truly personalized service.
We're just about to get into the elevator when I hear him. "Ms. Swan, I don't suppose you have a moment. There are one or two details about my personal office I wanted to discus with you. A couple changes I may need to make."
I hold open the elevator door.
"Well, Alice is our main designer, and she will be personally taking charge of your office, Mr. Cullen." I turn to her. "Alice, would you mind staying to talk to Mr. Cullen about his needs?"
She looks at me and narrows her eyes. She knows he doesn't want to talk to her just as well as I do. "But I have that other appointment today, Ms. Swan," she says before turning to Mr. Cullen. "I'm afraid I'll have to meet with you another time to iron out the changes, but then that may lead to delays if there are any significant changes." She sounds genuinely disappointed she won't be able to talk over the design with him. She really is a good actor. "The only solution I can see is if you discuss the changes with Ms. Swan herself, and she can fill me in later. Would that work for you, Mr. Cullen?"
He looks my way. "That would certainly work for me. How about you, Ms. Swan?"
"I think I could make that work." I take my hand off the elevator door and start to walk toward him. "I'll see you all back at the office," I say over my shoulder.
As I walk away, I hear the door closing but not before I hear the newest member of our team, Alistair, stage whisper, "What meeting do you have? I thought we'd all kept the rest of the day free, so we could go and celebrate?"
"Shush," hisses back Alice. I just grin, looking my man up and down as I approach him. I hear a tut from his PA.
"I'll cancel your next appointment, Mr. Cullen," she says with an ever-suffering sigh.
"Make it the next three, Tanya. Ms. Swan and I have a lot to discuss."
Fuck, I'm in trouble. Hardball-playing Edward turns me on, but perhaps it doesn't go both ways. I step into his office, and I instantly know my thoughts couldn't have been further from the truth. I'm pushed up against the wall as he kicks his door shut.
"God, you're hot when you talk business. It was all I could do not to order everyone out of here and throw you over the boardroom table in the middle of your presentation."
"You're not cross with me for holding my ground? For not giving you a discount?" His lips are at my neck, his hands rubbing up and down my sides, and I must admit it's hard to concentrate, but I need to know we're still okay.
"Fuck, no. I've never been so turned on in a business meeting in my life. Or so proud. Besides, as you said, it's actually a good deal." His hand runs up my thigh, discovering my panty-less state. "Fuck me," he exclaims as he starts to explore between my legs. "If I'd known you were dressed like this under this sexy skirt, I'd never have made it through the meeting."
"Good job you didn't know then."
"Tell me one thing though, Isabella. Is Mr. Thomson really interested in your services?"
"That's something you will never know," I say with a smirk, following quickly with a loud moan as he pushes a finger deep inside me.
He pulls back to look me in the face. "I was right. You make a fucking formidable businesswoman. You're sure you won't consider coming back to work for me?"
The offer is tempting. Being in the same office as him every day and enjoying the perks that could no doubt come from just being able to nip upstairs to see him whenever I wanted. But then we'd probably both never get any work done. I shake my head. Besides, I love my job. Almost as much as I love him.
But I'm determined to make the most of working with him over the next few months, starting right now.
"There's only one position I'm interested in with you, Mr. Cullen, and it's one where I'm laying spread out on your boardroom table and you're fucking me senseless."
"Your wish is my command, Mrs. Cullen."
I cock an eyebrow as he lifts me, wrapping my legs around his waist, and starts to carry me across the office. "So, I'm Mrs. Cullen now, am I?"
"Too fucking right you are. You are my wife. You may have kept your name for business, but when we're together like this, you're Mrs. Cullen. You are mine, and don't you fucking forget it."
I still love it when he gets all domineering, even after five years together.
He lowers me onto the boardroom table. "I miss being able to do this," he says. "You know those big windows you want to put in my new office? They have to go." As he talks he slowly pushes into me. "I know the aim is to make me more approachable, but if we still want to be able to do this, Isabella, if you ever decide to visit me, and with the new office that much closer to yours, I hope you'll be able to visit me so much more often. And when you do, I want to be able to make you scream without half my employees watching." I can't believe he's talking about his new office while he slowly fucks me, moving in and out at an excruciatingly slow pace.
"Edward," I groan, "I really don't want to talk about work at the moment."
He smirks at me. "And what would you rather talk about, Sugar Lips." I love that he still uses his old nickname for me.
"I'd like to talk about how you're going to stop fucking teasing me and fuck me properly instead."
"Since you asked so nicely. Hold on, Bella, this is not going to be gentle." With that, he grabs my hips and thrusts into me hard and fast. I let out an involuntary cry and grip onto the edge of the table. This is us. Raw, passionate, insatiable. I can feel all the usual feelings building as he looks down on me, his movements become impossibly faster, harder, deeper. I'm so close, and the tension in his jaw tells me is too.
"Fuck, Bella, this feels as good as the first time. I'll never get tired of this. I'll never get tired of you. I so fucking love you." As he says the words, I cry out, clamping down hard around him, my release surging through my whole body. I'm vaguely aware of him thrusting once more before I hear him join my cry.
As we both come back to Earth, our breathing gradually returning to normal, I hear him mutter, "Sound-proofing too. My new office definitely needs sound-proofing."
A/N: So that was just a little bit of fun to cap things off. I hope you liked it.