Kim's New Life Ch. 23
Friday morning Kelly gave me a necklace made of small, gold chain links, long enough to fit around my neck, but short enough that I couldn't remove it. She locked it on using a tubular 3-digit, 4-number combination lock, like what one might find on a bicycle lock, but only an inch and a quarter long and one-third of an inch thick. Kelly explained that she purchased it online from a company named Eternity Collars. She clipped a heart pendant to the front to "remind me of her love." After I looked at it in the mirror, we both agreed that it looked like any normal necklace, which was the whole idea. Since I could not remove it, it would be a constant reminder of her ownership. Kelly dropped me off at the airport, kissed me goodbye and wished me good luck. I promised to call her as soon as I knew anything.
In addition to my new necklace, the traveling outfit Kelly selected for me was a button-front sundress, garter belt, nylons, and new black, three-inch heels. I knew I would be self-conscious about my condition, having never traveled sans underwear. Had Kelly been flying with me, I would have been much more comfortable. However, that was not to be. She did not want to use a substitute to teach the classes she had scheduled on Friday. Because of today's high security levels, she couldn't even accompany me to the gate. I had to wait alone for over an hour.
My level of apprehension was high enough that I was concerned my necklace, new rings and ID tag might set off the metal detectors. Kelly teased, I think, by saying she'd love to watch the TSA employee who would want me, then strip search me, to insure I wasn't hiding anything dangerous. When I pleaded with her to permit me to take them off long enough to go through security, she told me to stop whining or she would make me wear some additional metal to insure I would activate the metal detector. I'd just have to take the chance that my metal wouldn't set the alarm. "You simply must tell me what they say when they discover what set the metal detector off."
When we finished saying goodbye at the airport, she said, "You are going to be away from me, slut. Remember not to embarrass you Mistress with bad behavior." I chuckled to myself wondering how I could possibly do that since no one would know I even had a mistress. Still, I assured her that I wouldn't.
As it turned out, my fear was all for naught. Somehow, I breezed through security. And, luckily, I was not selected to go through the full body scanner. As I waited to board my plane, I became more comfortable about not wearing underwear even though the lack of a bra was obvious through the cotton material. "I shouldn't care," I thought. "After all, I am following the desires of my Mistress and doing what she says I really want."
I stopped by my apartment for a short interval to shower and change into the power suit Kelly packed in my carryon case: a white lace-embroidered camisole top, a grey, above-the-knee, pleated skirt, matching blazer, along with the garter belt, black nylons and heels I wore on the plane. She had also packed a black thong, but no bra. Remembering her edict, I wore the thong over the garter belt.
Arriving at my home office early Friday afternoon, I went directly to Barbara, my immediate supervisor for a short debriefing. While this was standard procedure, I really wanted to see if she knew anything about the reason for my sudden, unscheduled, meeting with the president, which was not standard. Barbara looked up from her desk when I walked into her office, stared at me for several seconds and said, "May I help you?"
Chuckling that she didn't even recognize me, I replied, "Yes, I think you might be able to, boss." We always called one another by first names, but this time I added "boss" to see her reaction.
Suddenly the light went on in her head, "Oh, my gawd, Kim, I didn't even recognize you. I don't remember seeing you in a short skirt, and you've even cut your hair. What happened to the "conservative Kim" that used to work here?"
"Oh, that Kim realized that she was too stuffy and needed an image change. Don't you like it?" Barb had always worn short skirts, so I wasn't worried that she would disapprove of the style but wondered if she considered my change to be too drastic.
"Au contraire, my dear, I absolutely love it. You look fantastic. I just didn't expect a transformation. I don't think I've ever seen your knees," she jibed. "And the heels are fab. What's with the glasses, though?" I replied that I thought they would enhance my 'new look.' She asked me to take them off for a second then agreed with me. "You look great without them, but fantastic with them, too. I think you should wear them most of the time."
"Do you think they make me look like a geek?"
"Kim, I would say that, had you worn them with your other clothes, but not now. I can honestly say you do not look like a geek. Dressed like you are, your glasses make you look, well, sexy."
I then asked about the afternoon meeting. "Yes, Kim, I do know what it is about, but I promised Mr. Fields I wouldn't say anything."
"Is it good or bad?"
"That depends on your perspective. Some people fear a promotion while others consider a layoff to simply be a new challenge. Come on, Kim. We've worked together too long. You're not going to trap me into giving you one single hint what he wants to tell you." Damn! Using both promotion and layoff in her analogy didn't help.
"Do you have anything pressing to take care of in your office before you see him?"
"No, I've been keeping my reports up to date through the net. I may have a few emails to answer, but that's about all."
"Great, then we can go to lunch. It may be better if you meet with Mr. Fields after a glass of wine and on a full stomach." I couldn't decide if she was teasing me or not. Her comment certainly didn't calm my nerves, but the wine might help.
I was pleased when Barb said she needed to use the restroom while we were waiting for our table. I had to call Kelly so she could tell me what to eat for lunch. "Good morning, My Mistress," I whispered.
"Hi, pet. Where are you?" I gave her the name of the restaurant and said I was dining with Barb and explained our professional relationship. "What time is your meeting with Mr. Fields?" I told her and wondered how she knew his name, because I didn't remember mentioning it to her. I picked up the menu and read off several items that interested me. "Do they have a spinach salad?" she asked. I replied that they did. "Great. Order that with hot vinegar dressing."
"May I have something to drink, Mistress?"
"Do you mean an alcoholic beverage?"
"Yes, ma'am. Barb suggested I might need a glass of wine before my meeting."
"Then you may. You seem to have forgotten that you must be specific when making a request."
"Yes, ma'am, I understand. I apologize."
"I think a Manhattan will be perfect, instead of wine. Only one, though."
"Thank you, Mistress."
"Are you wearing the jacket to your suit?"
"Yes, ma'am, I am."
"Take it off."
"Ma'am?" I replied questioningly.
"Apparently my slut is getting hard of hearing in her old age. I said 'Take it off. You will be much more comfortable. Don't worry. You said Barb was also your friend, too. Am I correct?"
"My Mistress is always correct. I will obey her."
"Since you hesitated, though, I want you to remove your panties as punishment as soon as we finish this conversation."
"May I do it in the restroom, ma'am?"
"Yes, you may."
I saw Barb returning and quickly said my "good-byes" after she told me I could put my jacket and panties back on when I returned to the office."
"Have a fun lunch, slut."
"Thank you, ma'am. I'm sure I will."
I removed the jacket, excused myself, went to the ladies' room and reluctantly removed my panties.
Our lunch discussion was purely non-professional. Barbara quickly brought me up to date on office and community gossip. When I ordered my salad and drink, she remarked, "Damn, even the 'junk food queen,' has left us. I don't think you ever had a salad or a mixed drink at lunch. I hope you are still my friend.
I gave her a wide smile. "You'd be surprise how much I've changed and will always be your friend."
"I think I see new changes all the time. I have never seen you not wearing a bra, even when we spent casual evenings together. And, as your best friend, I must say I do like the look. I wish I had known that your nipples were pierced. We'll have to talk about that more when you're finished with Mr. Fields." I blushed and returned her smile. "I recommend wearing your jacket when talking to Mr. Fields." I assured her that I had planned to wear it.
We arrived back at the office, with a few minutes to spare, before my two-thirty appointment. Before we parted, Barb asked me to stop by her office immediately after the meeting. "We need to talk about your future and I now have a couple personal things I'd like to discuss with you." As if I weren't worried enough, her comment about "my future" just fanned the flames and added more butterflies into my stomach.
As one might expect, my apprehension increased tenfold as I approached the head office. Jenna, said, "Go right in, Kimberly, he is waiting for you." Then she added, "I love your outfit. You look different, especially with the glasses. I must admit that I am glad Barb called and said you were on the way up. I might not have recognized you." I thanked her and asked again what the meeting was about. "As I mentioned on the phone, Kim, I'm not at liberty to tell you."
"Is it good or bad?" I asked.
"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, Kimberly." Ok, why did she use my given name this time?
My stomach started doing flips as I walked through the door. Normally I was very comfortable when meeting with the Mr. Fields. I didn't mention that he founded the company immediately after graduating with a master's degree. He has been its only president, and, in only ten years, has expanded into a multi-million-dollar corporation. I guess one could say that he is even responsible for my success. I consider him to be one of my primary mentors. Right now, however, I wondered if Barb's suggestion about a full stomach was a good one. I suddenly was fearful that my lunch might end up in the middle of his carpet or on his desk.
He stood when I entered his office. "Good afternoon, Kimberly." After returning his greeting and shaking hands, I was directed to sit in an overstuffed chair near the corner of his office. I surprised myself by considering my obedience to Kelly even though I was in the office of the head of my company. He sat in a matching
chair that was positioned at a right angle and to the left to mine. I carefully pulled up the back of my skirt as I sat down, doing my best to insure he wouldn't notice. I was pleased the arms of the chair would hide the fact I was not sitting on my skirt. The cloth seat felt great against the bare skin on my ass. "Do you have any idea why I asked to meet with you?"
"No, sir, I really don't," I gulped. I couldn't remember when I had been so nervous. Gads, I was calmer during my job interviews with him.
"Well, I'm glad to know we can still keep a few secrets around here. I had a feeling someone at Hunter might have said something to you, though, since a phone call from them is the reason you are in my office right now." Ready to upchuck again, I simply nodded. He continued, "I guess I should begin by saying that I think you have been one of the hardest working employees I have ever had, and I truly hate to lose you."
"Oh shit, here it finally comes. He IS firing me," I thought. There was no doubt that my relationship with Kelly had been reported to Hunter and they had complained. My personal life should be none of their fucking business, or his. My contract did not contain a morals clause. I quickly prepared myself to argue the point. I started to make a comment when he said, "I can see the worried look on your face. Please, Kimberly, hear me out before you say anything." His grin was a little too much for me, considering the fact that he was about to can my ass.
Mr. Fields calmly leaned back and continued, "As I started to say, you have been one of the hardest working employees I have ever had, and I must add the most competent. Please do not repeat that outside of this office, though. I don't want to demoralize the rest of our employees," he laughed. "You have truly made a difference in our bottom line while you have been here, Kim. The call I received was to ask me to release you from your employment contract."
I am sure he could recognize the irritated look on my face. I immediately started to interrupt, "But..."
With a stern look on his face, Mr. Fields held up his index finger. "I distinctly asked you to hear me out before saying anything, Kimberly." Ready to fight for my job, but feeling rebuked, I quickly realized that it was probably in my best interest to remain silent before I lost it all and started yelling. After all, no matter what happened I would need a recommendation from him if I wanted a good job after this one.
"Do you know they have promoted their CIO?"
"Yes sir. Denise informed me of that fact just this week." I knew my voice was a little harsh but didn't feel like making it any more cordial.
"Well, they have obviously seen the same qualities in you that I have. They want you as her replacement."
Because of the rage boiling within, I really wasn't really listening to him and most definitely wasn't hearing him. Still thinking he was giving me the boot, I said, "I can't believe you are letting me go and are still able to grin like that."
Now he really laughed. "Kimberly, you are not listening to me. I am not firing you. I am offering you an opportunity you deserve, and one I am not able to offer you right now. Hunter wants you as their new CIO."
Reality suddenly hit me. "Oh, shit! I'm sorry I sounded like that." Then I added, "Oops, sorry for the language." He just kept smiling as I continued. "But I enjoy working here and feel I have a good future working for and with you. Even if you can't promote me, I don't have any desire to leave."
"Kim, without even knowing your salary, Hunter is offering to pay you twenty-five percent over what we are paying you; and they have better benefits. I told them you were due for a significant raise and they even agreed to increase that by the twenty-five percent. And, finally, they are crediting you with the vacation you have accrued here. You have impressed them and, obviously, they really want you. I would be paying you a disservice if I did not recommend that you take the job."
"Damn, you are making it difficult to say 'no,' but, on the other hand, I think the bonus I would receive here at the end of the year would exceed the twenty-five percent additional they are offering. And I would be entering an unknown commodity from one in which I feel very comfortable."
"If you remember my exact words, I said I truly hate to lose you. After a lot of introspection and out of selfishness, I have decided that I am not going to release you from your employment contract." I didn't know whether I should love or hate him.
"Let me offer you an alternate proposal. You can then weigh the options and make your decision. You are solely responsible for landing the Hunter contract. They do not want me to assign anyone else to work on the installation if you accept their offer. After reviewing your progress on the installation plan, they feel you can handle it together with the position as CIO. The biggest surprise, to me, is they said that if you accept their offer, they would not ask for a reduction in the contract price even though you would be their employee. They know that the contract price already includes the cost of your time, travel and on-site expenses. Personally, I cannot believe they are making such an offer to us. You already know they are a Fortune 500 company so they can afford it. Hunter has deep pockets.
"They specifically said that they were still willing to pay the full contract price if you accept the position. Hell, Kim, you negotiated the contract. If I release you from your contract, we would not be paying your salary or your travel expenses, with one exception that I will mention in a minute. That translates into pure profit for us. By the way, I appreciate the fact that you were able to reduce your expenses by finding a friend to live with. Not many employees would take that initiative. That just shows how dedicated you are to us, and I appreciate it."
"I must admit, Mr. Fields, that was almost an accident, but I couldn't refuse my friends offer." I'm glad he would never know the truth.
"Adding it all together," he continued, "I feel we would reap a nice profit windfall as a result of the cumulative effect of those savings. You should, of course, share in that windfall. My proposal is that we amend your contract to pay you a reduced salary of, let's say twenty percent of your current salary, but still base your year-end bonus on your current position and annual salary level. This dual employment will not be a conflict of interest because Hunter has given their approval. Also, as their CIO, you have an inherent reason to insure the installation is perfect. I must admit that I am surprised they agreed to every point I made.
"I know that moving from a known commodity to an unknown one, as you so succinctly put it, is taking a chance. Let me sweeten the pot. I agree that there is a small possibility you might not like being a full-time employee at a company like Hunter. Sometimes large companies do not always have the best working environment. For that reason, I will agree to rehire you with a minimum three-year employment contract if you want to come back to us at any time in the future. The only thing I will require of you, in return, is that you promise, send us the usual weekly status reports, and fly back every other week for an update meeting, until it is completed. That is really a formality, since we still have an inherent interest in the project, and, as I said, as their CIO, you also have an inherent interest in the completion. I'll also want to know how your new position is progressing."
I sat there and stared at him dumbfounded. Finally, when I could find words, I said, "I'd be a fool not to accept, wouldn't I, Mr. Fields? And the company could technically lose money if I said no."
"Correct on both parts, Kimberly. And from now on, please call me Brian."
"And you really mean that you'd give me a job at any time in the future."
"Yes, for a minimum of three years even if you want to come back five years from now. I'll even put that in writing. As part of that promise, I'll even guarantee a minimum salary by year, with increases for inflation."
Instinctively I jumped up and hugged him. "Thank you very much. I won't let you down, Mr. Fields...I mean Brian."
"May I take that as a yes?"
"Only one other person knows the full terms of our deal, Kim: our VP of finance. Your supervisor knows about Hunter wanting to hire you away from us, that they are offering more money, the terms of completing the contract, and that I will hire you back if you are unhappy there. She does not know anything. Please do not reveal any of the financial terms." I assured him everything would remain confidential.
We then called Hunter on his speakerphone and advised them of my acceptance. As we shook hands and I turned to leave his office, he called my name, "Kimberly!"
"Please don't take offense. I know commenting on the way someone dresses can constitute harassment, but I just have to say I like your new look."
"Thank you, Brian. I accept that as a compliment and appreciate your honesty."
Barb had a wide smile on her face when I walked into her office. "Well, Kim, did you accept Hunter's offer?"