I’m thinking about trust.
When I first joined the bank out of college I was assigned a full day of a human resources team building event. I was on the management track and this was one of the stops to get my card punch before my next promotion.
I was in a conference room with about ten other fast-trackers and the words of the day were ‘team work’, ‘synergy’ and, of course, ‘trust building’. One of the trust building exercises was a ‘trust fall’. You stand on a small platform and fall backward and ‘trust’ that your colleagues are going to catch you and not let you bruise your tailbone or crack open your head.
I was first up. There were four fellow employees lined up behind me to whom I was supposed to give my trust. I kicked off my pumps and stood on the six inch platform, I listened to the facilitator drone on about the value of trust and I just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t just fall back. I couldn’t trust that these four people I barely knew were going to catch me. I couldn’t turn over my trust to a group of practical strangers.
One of them was a guy who still played at being a frat boy whose dad was a V.P. at the bank and had gotten him his job. He’d tried to corner me a few times asking me out and making passes. I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t use this trust fall as a chance for an ass grab. The second was a giggly, silly little woman who was destined to go not too far at the bank. I didn’t trust she wouldn’t just let me drop out of stupidity. The third was a guy recruited from one of our competitors. He was cut throat as hell and I wouldn’t put it past him to let me fall trying to eliminate some of the competition. Lastly, there was Bridget, a woman I’ve gotten to know. She would have caught me. But I didn’t know that then.
When I didn’t do the obligatory trust fall, it put a real damper on the ‘trust building’ exercises that day. The facilitator, some weak neutered voice guy with a premature receding hairline and no chest wearing a sweater in July, took me aside and counseled me on how my lack of trust in my colleagues would hamper my career and professional development.
I listened and nodded my head at the appropriate times, but I wanted to say: My trust issues aren’t anything deep seated. They’re not something that I’m not aware of. I know I have them and I know the cause. The cause is that old psychological standby—mom and dad. It’s hard to be a trusting person with parents like mine. They weren’t abusive or anything. They were just not all that interested in being parents. I knew there was a good chance they’d forget to pick me up from school a few times a month. I learned to make sure I always had a back up plan. I knew if dad promised a trip to Disney World that the best it would end of being was a trip to a traveling carnival in a shopping mall parking lot. I knew if mom promised a day of shopping for a prom dress that I’d better call a friend and ask if I could wear her dress from last year. With college, I knew that it was on me. With the help of a put-upon high school guidance counselor, I got all the applications and financial aid forms together and mom and dad did write a check when needed, but it was always after three late notices and a lot of grumbling on their part. It’s not that they didn’t make much money. They did. They just didn’t have the interest.
That kind of parenting is good for making a girl self-sufficient but not good for developing her sense of trust.
Maybe that’s why I always let Susan lead me around so much in high school. I knew she would always be there. I trusted that if I needed help and I called, she’d show up somehow, someway—at least until we got into college. In high school, we were each other’s rocks. It wasn’t until she wigged out in college and did her turns as a third wave feminist then as an aggressive miscegenation proponent and now what looks like a pseudo-lesbian that she became completely unreliable. Mostly, however, she was selfish. What I’ve slowly come to realize is that Susan wasn’t there for me in high school. I was there for her. I was there for her to dominate and for me to submit. It was always about her. It’s hard to have trust in a self-absorbed person. You never know when your interests will conflict with theirs.
I trusted Josh to a degree. He never broke our vows of fidelity that I knew about. I’m not sure if it was because he was a stand up guy or just, with his general goofiness, he couldn’t get himself laid. With Josh, I just could never trust that he was going to contribute to our household, be employed or, if he did earn some money, if he was doing it on the books or would get in trouble with the IRS. I learned that lesson early.
When Josh and I dated, I really thought he had his stuff together. He had a job, an apartment and a nice car and always had cash. The first sign came when we applied for a mortgage after our honeymoon. I found out his credit rating was flirting with 400 from a combination of walking out on student loans, apartment leases, audio equipment rent-to-own deals and car payments. It wasn’t until about six months after the ceremony when his boss’s business got raided by the IRS that I learned that everything Josh made was off the books and he had saddled us with four years of back taxes and penalties.
The trust I had in Josh didn’t break down under the weight of his credit score and back taxes but with his lack of giving a damn about how they affected us and the family we both wanted to start. The cleaning up of that mess was left to me—the supposed business person.
I don’t distrust him with Danny on this trip. He’s always been good with Danny when he’s wanted to be around Danny. I just know that I’ll have to set aside some cash to cover any expenses he can’t cover.
In my work, I don’t trust a soul. People come to me to borrow the bank’s money. But everyone lies either by commission or omission. Everyone exaggerates their income and their assets. Everyone downplays their expenses and their liabilities. But it all comes out in the end. At some point, it all goes down on the forms that we have them sign under penalty of perjury. We verify what they put down on those forms. We’re not amateurs. I wonder why these people aren’t straight with me right up front. Why lie? I’m going to find out. We run credit checks, we inspect books, we run medical histories, we do background checks and drug tests before we hand over the bank’s cash. For my client’s part, they treat us the same way. A long time client who we’ve served well and worked hard for will shop our best offer and tell us to go to hell for a twenty-five basis point cheaper loan. There is no trust in my business.
So no, Mr. Human Resources Counselor Guy, I don’t do trust falls.
Which makes the trust I’m giving Ben Sheppard so unique. I agreed to go out with him after meeting him briefly. I gave him my address without knowing anything about him. I climbed into his truck and let him take me wherever he wanted. I let him see me naked. I let him put his hand tight on my throat until I blacked out. I let him put his face into my untrimmed pussy. I let him bend me over and spank me good and hard. I let him use a sex toy on me. I’ve even showered with him. I didn’t feel uncomfortable or awkward in any way.
I trust him.
I can’t explain it. Why would I do that? Why would I trust him?
He is nice looking but not great looking. Either way, that has nothing to do with trust. He has a manliness about him, for sure. That confidence of his is attractive also. He is easy to talk to. He is open and honest, as far as I can tell. He doesn’t seem to be playing any games or give off any creepy vibe. Was that enough? Why would I trust him so openly and, when I let myself think about it too much, so dangerously?
Ben Sheppard left about one in the afternoon on Sunday. He said he’ll be working fourteen hour days again through that Friday. I trusted him when he said that. He said he needed to spend much of the rest of Sunday catching up with his laundry and going grocery shopping. I trusted that was exactly was what he was going to do. He kissed me goodbye and told me I looked nice and that he had a great time with me. I trusted that I did look nice and that he did have a great time with me. He said he’d call me later in the week about getting together on Saturday. I trusted that he would.
So I’m sitting at my desk thinking about trust instead of the loan application I’m supposedly double checking before it goes off to underwriting. Danielle does her brief knock and opens the door before I can say ‘Come in’. She’s holding an overnight envelope.
“It’s from your mystery man,” she says.
“Put it right there, please,” I say pointing my highlighter to my inbox.
“You’re not going to open it now?”
“No, I’m looking over this CarpetTown loan now.”
“You know what it is?”
“And you’re not going to open it?”
“Oh, come on, Tess? Open it.”
“Put it right there, please.”
“Oh, come on, Tess?”
“Put it right there, please”
“It’s not flowers. It’s not jewelry. What could it be?”
“I have no idea.”
“Aren’t you curious?”
“Yes, but I’m more interested in finding any errors on this application.”
“Application, smaplication. Let’s see what he sent you.”
“Danielle, put it right there, please.”
She pouts at me. She looks at me as if I’m some strange creature then turns on her heels.
“You’re no fun,” she says. She slumps out of the room.
“Close my door, please.”
I hear her walk back and she closes it without looking in.
I flip through a few more pages of the application. I’m no longer thinking about trust. I’m thinking about what’s in that envelope. I look at the clock. It’s close enough to two p.m. Time for my afternoon diet cola.
I walk out of my office for the kitchenette. I leave my door open which I know allows Danielle to see the overnight envelope still unopened on top of my inbox. I love driving her crazy sometimes. I feed the machine my dollar and grab my bottle of cola, open it and take a drink. I stretch my legs walking around the kitchenette and I’m enjoying wondering what’s in the envelope. What little piece of delight could be in there? It was virtually flat so, as Danielle said, it wasn’t jewelry. I guess it could only be a letter. That was most likely. But what would he be writing? Oh, I thought: maybe a letter saying we weren’t going to be seeing each other anymore. I dismiss that. I trust Ben Sheppard would do that face-to-face. But why should he? He didn’t come all the way from Milwaukee to spend time with me. He is working. I’m a little annoyed at the thought. I’m stomping around the kitchenette. I tell myself to settle down. Don’t be so, so, so...high school. Go, open the envelope and find out.
I take another drink, screw the cap back on and walk to my office. I smile at Danielle who still seems to be pouting and I close the door behind me as I walk into my office. I snag the envelope out of my inbox and sit at my desk.
Okay, Mr. Sheppard, what have you got for me?
I pull open the envelope and peak inside. It is a letter with a return overnight. I pull out each. The return overnight is to his hotel in Crittenden.
The letter is on the Crittenden manufacturing company’s stationery. Pilfering the client’s office supplies are we, Mr. Sheppard? It’s written in that crisp handwriting of his in that fine point blue pen. His handwriting is still precise. It’s not elegant, more functional than that, but there’s a firmness in it that I’m learning to appreciate. There’s a dark smudge on the lower right hand corner where it looks like dirt rubbed off his forearm. This makes me think of his forearm.
It’s a brief note. He begins it with my first initial followed by a dash.
I’m having trouble focusing on my work because I’m thinking of you. I was wondering if you’d do me a favor? Please take off your panties right now and send them to me in the return envelope. I’ll get them tomorrow and keep them with me. A little talisman of you that I can hold close to me, I think, will help me focus on my work.
As if he knew what I’d be thinking, he then wrote:
Go ahead. It’ll be okay.
He signed it with a simple B followed by a dash. The words ‘right now’ were underlined.
I smile. I will be seeing him and having him again this weekend. That will be nice. But my panties? Now? While at work? I open up my calendar. I have a three o’clock with a guy from an appraisal firm we work with. Jack’s a good looking, blond guy who wears Dockers and golf shirts with his company logo printed on them. His wedding ring disappeared about a year ago. He always seems like he’s about to ask me out but never has. I’ve thought of what my answer would be. The longer Jack seems to put it off, the less I’m inclined to say yes. I get a little excited at the thought of talking to him sans panties.
My four o'clock will be the tough one. It’s my quarterly performance review. It’s my director looking over my productivity and sales figures from the last three months. She’ll be comparing me to my counterparts and assessing how I am contributing to the bottom line. It is a meeting for me to prove my worth. My director is a severe woman in her mid-fifties. Divorced, children grown, no laugh lines. I’m near the top in our group so I have no fear, but she still puts me on edge.
I look back to Ben Sheppard’s note.
Go ahead. It’ll be okay.
I think of meeting panty-less with Jack and my director. I smile again.
Go ahead. It’ll be okay.
I get up and quietly throw the lock on my door so Danielle won’t burst in. I lean against the wall and hike up my skirt, I peel down my panties making sure I don’t snag them on my heels. I toss them on my desk and flatten out and straighten my skirt. I pull a piece of stationary out of my printer’s tray.
I put the note and the panties in the return overnight envelope, seal it and step out of my office panty-less. I feel exposed. I feel a little obscene even. I feel silly. I take the few steps to Danielle’s desk.
“Please make sure this gets sent tonight for delivery tomorrow.”
“What’d he send you?”
“You’re not going to tell me?”
“For delivery tomorrow.”
“You drive me so crazy,” I hear before I shut my door.
ire in�K yؘW �Y e looked angry and frustrated and in need all at the same time. So I spanked her. I gave it to her hard. But it wasn’t hard enough. “Harder,” she said. Now I’m frustrated that I’ve not made her happy and I liked that second, harder spank even more than the first. I pull my arm back and bring that belt hard across her ass. The sound of leather on bare skin snapped across the room. She let out a loud “yes” that made me even more excited. When I pulled back, there was a bright red streak across her pale white ass. She said, “Like that. Again and again”. I was overwhelmed. I came right then and there standing in my underwear.
“It started with that, Tess. She forgave me coming so soon and over a few months guided me through the things she liked and I liked them too.
“But in the end we weren’t for each other. The love wasn’t there. Helen and I started talking and eventually me and this girl split it off. Helen and I graduated and a few weeks later we were standing in a church getting married. I took Helen’s virginity that night in a Sheraton by Milwaukee’s airport when our flight got delayed. On our honeymoon I tried some of the things I learned with that girl, but they were non-starters for Helen. I tried every few years, but Helen thought them borderline sick.
“Helen wasn’t bad in bed. She was just unadventurous. I wasn’t unhappy at all. There was always that itch, but it wasn’t anything Helen was going to enjoy and it was anything I was going to push.
“But now that she’s gone, now that I’ve mourned her, now that I’ve moved on with life, I’m going to have sex and make love like I want to have sex and that is—what’d you call it?—rough. Yeah, I like it rough. You seem to also.”
“Yes, I do,” I say. “Will you keep being rough with me?”
“Of course,” he says.
“Will you do something else?”
“Will you stay the night again?”
We’re the last table to leave. We finish sampling their hamburgers and Ben Sheppard pays the bill and we walk down the road to his truck. As we climb in, someone inside Terry’s Turf Club throws the switch that cuts off all the outside neon lights. It tosses us into darkness.
He opens the door for me and I climb in. He gets in on his side and starts that truck and heads for my house.
“About spending the night,” he says.
Oh, no. Is he going to or not?
“Well, this afternoon was good, but I’m not fully recovered yet...to make love to you again.”
I pout at him. I think of a joke.
“Oh, well, if I’m in need there’s always that friend I have in my nightstand drawer.”
“Are you in need?” he asks with a smile.
I hold up my left hand to him as he looks at me. I have my forefinger and thumb in the ‘a little bit’ symbol.
“Scoot over here,” he says.
He pulls the truck off into the parking lot of an office supply store and leaves it running. He flips a switch that cuts all the interior lights. It’s pitch black.
He takes my left hand in his lap and turns my wrist up. He rubs my forearm softly.
“Close your eyes.”
I close my eyes.
He strokes the soft skin of my forearm. I breathe deep and enjoy his touch. His fingers on my skin are hypnotic and I feel myself fall into relaxation. I’m so comfortable with him.
“Now spread your legs slightly.”
I spread my legs.
“Now lean forward just a touch.”
I lean forward and I feel the vibration of the truck’s engine move from my ass to my pussy.
“Got it? Feel it?”
I nod yes.
“Okay, just hold yourself there.”
He strokes my forearm three more times then with his right middle finger he taps my left wrist right at the pulse point. It’s a strong tap. He does it rhythmically. Tap. Tap. Tap. I don’t know what that is—an acupressure point?—but it’s going right to my pussy and I feel myself get wet and the truck’s slight vibration feels so nice. I feel Ben’s leg move. He gives the truck some gas and the vibration increases.
“Oh, yes,” I mumble.
He’s still tapping and tapping on my wrist. I push my hips forward to get more of my pussy exposed to that wonderful sensation he’s sending through the engine into the seats then to me. Tap. Tap. Tap. He lessens the gas then puts more into it. I hear the motor loud in my ears now and hard in my pussy. And still the tapping doesn’t change its rhythm.
“God, Ben Sheppard, this is nice.”
The tap, tap, tap continues. It is strong, slow, methodical. I feel his leg move. Ever so slowly he’s pressing down his foot and ever so slowly the engine revs faster and faster and the noise increases and the vibration is incredible and suddenly I’m coming. It’s different than the times before, but I’m coming and I take my wrist away from Ben and grasp the dashboard with both hands. He still has the gas pressed down and I’m still coming. I let out a long, unintelligible moan until it passes.
I lean back. Once I catch my breath, I look over at Ben who seems smug and satisfied with himself.
“Thank you,” I say. “Anything I can do for you?”
“Give me your panties,” he says.
I lift up my behind and shimmy my panties to my feet and step out of them. They’re wet. He takes them and puts them to his nose and inhales.
“Thank you,” he says.
He leans over me and puts them in his glove box.
We go home, wash, brush and kiss goodnight. I lay in the crook of his right arm and I bury my fingers in his chest hair. His right arm settles on my right breast. That’s how we fall asleep and that’s how we wake up.