When the music started after dinner, Chuck rescued her from any more talking by taking her onto the dance floor. "You look calm, cool and collected. How do you feel?" he whispered as they slow danced.
"So far I've liked everyone I've met. I notice this job works with a lot more women."
"Pick the one who will be your mentor," advised Chuck, "And be friendly with the others. Just don't get too friendly. I watch the politics in our front office. You don't want that."
"I've gotten lots of oohs and ahs over you," she teased. "You should spin me out to show them your best move." Without hesitation Chuck spun her under his arm and pulled her back into his embrace. She gave him a mischievous grin, "I'm sure that will do it for me."
Chuck and Marti returned to their seats when they saw a gentleman heading to the podium. It was time for the summer vacation auction to begin.
The auctioneer began with a Mexican cruise. Next was a Caribbean cruise. Marti sat up straighter when he announced an inclusive Hawaiian package. Chuck entered the bidding at $500.00. It quickly rose to $600. Chuck kept going to $650. Bidding narrowed down to two competitors as Chuck countered $700 with his $750. People began to cheer on the bidders. The exchange climbed - $800 to $850. Finally, Chuck won the bid at $900.00. Marti clapped along with everyone else before the next bid started. "Thank you" she mouthed silently to Chuck and squeezed his hand under the table.
Shirley had her own bid war getting a weekend for two in Key West so she could take Tom away for his birthday. By the end of the evening, spirits were high from the lively exchanges. Marti made a point of stopping by Margo's table to say goodnight and thank her for the invitation. "You did well tonight," Margo said. "I got good feedback from the Atlanta Manager during the dancing. I'll call you tomorrow."
Aunt Shirley hugged Marti good night after they arrived home. "I'm so proud of you, punkin', I can't wait to hear what Margo says tomorrow."
"You sure made it easier for me, auntie. I promise to call the minute I know something." She and Chuck said their good nights and walked home. The minute he was in the door Chuck took off his tie and shrugged out of his jacket.
"I know how you feel. I just want to get out of these clothes," Marti said untying the halter top of her jumpsuit while she kicked off her heels. "Would you like some hot chocolate we can take to bed with us?" she asked.
"All I need is you, liebchen." Chuck tugged her hand pulling her to his bare chest. "I'm just full of love from watching you tonight. Let's go cuddle and wind down from the excitement."
"Um-h, that sounds wonderful," she murmured leaning her head on his shoulder. "Now that I'm out of those heels, I can feel my energy dropping. It's been a long night."
"Are you ready for a job offer tomorrow?" Chuck asked. "From everything I saw tonight, I wouldn't be surprised."
"It would be wonderful but I don't want to jinx it by thinking about it too much," Marti said, "but I love that you think so and were willing to fight for a vacation in Hawaii."
"That was money for a good cause and I'll need a tax deduction with my new salary." Leading her toward the bedroom, they stopped just long enough to brush their teeth before collapsing in bed.
"I saw you chatting with your client, Dave. How's he doing?" Marti said snuggling under Chuck's arm and wrapping her leg over his.
"He's coming back to Jacksonville in two weeks so I get to do the travelling for a change."
"Let's talk about Hawaii. I need a vacation," Marti yawned.
"We'll be staying at the Marriott in Maui," Chuck said. "It includes a sunset sail and tickets to their luau."
"Sounds wonderful. Now, when can we go?"
"I need a couple more weeks to get the training program ironed out. How about your work? Will you take you a while to wind down your projects?
"Not long at all if I have access to John. I just hope the IRS doesn't monopolize him."
Chuck pulled her close, "As much as I want to make love to you right now, I'm thinking we both need the rest. How about we have breakfast in bed in the morning?"
"My heart wants you but my eyes are falling asleep," Marti whispered dropping her head to his chest. He smiled holding her as she fell into a deep sleep.
Chuck kept his promise waking Marti with a feast of loving along with strawberries and croissants. They lazed in bed touching and stroking each other after their passion was spent. She felt like a new person when they moved to the backyard, not bothering to dress, and began planting a couple of morning glory vines along the fence.
"I'm shocked that I don't miss the ocean. Usually I’m out walking the beach on a day like this," Marti commented digging her hands into the potting soil. It was a clear summer day and the sun felt good on her back.
"We could go kayaking this afternoon to get out on the water," Chuck suggested.
"No, I think it's just my priorities changing," Marti said. She went back to mixing the potting soil when she heard her cell phone ringing on the patio table.
"I'm almost afraid to answer it," she commented wiping her hands with a towel.
"Want me to answer it for you?" Chuck offered.
"No, I'll get it." She touched his hand before racing to the phone. When she looked at the screen, she saw it was Shirley.
"Hi, this is Marti."
"Hello, dear, have you heard anything yet?"
Looking at Chuck, she shook her head, "No, auntie. I thought you might be Margo."
"Well, I'll just take a minute but I wanted you to know. Tom got a letter from Serino's attorney today agreeing to cease and desist any actions against Whispering Palms."
"That's great news." She turned to Chuck, "Serino's agreed to back down."
"Now we can simply enjoy putting on the concert," Aunt Shirley said, "But we'll talk about that later. I just had to share the news."
"So Whispering Palms is safe," Chuck said, "That was your goal, Marti. You did it."
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish