The cold gust of wind blew hard as I walked around the corner toward the front doors of the quaint brick downtown post office. I knew it would be busy, with only a week before Christmas. I was there for stamps and hoped the lines would be shorter this early in the morning. I heard the sound of cardboard boxes tumbling behind me as I approached the post office front doors. “Aagh!” a frustrated woman’s voice cried out immediately after. Natural reaction spun me around to help. A tall woman stood next to her car parked at the curb in front of the post office. Her arms were filled with two large boxes. Two medium sized boxes were strewn on the sidewalk and a small one next to her feet in between the open BMW convertible passenger door and the car.
“Can I help you?” I offered.
“I thought I could get them all.”
“I’d be glad to carry some in for you”
“You don’t mind?” she asked, relieved but wondering if she could trust this stranger.
“Not at all,” I said. “I am on my way in too.”
“I should have realized it was too much to carry,” she confessed. “It took me two trips to get it all in the car.”
I picked up the boxes as she stepped on to the sidewalk. After retrieving the small box, I closed her car door and we headed for the line that had already begun to form inside. We both put our stack of boxes on the counter island next to the queue. The return address on the boxes revealed her name as Grace.
“Thanks again,” she said, feeling a little uncomfortable at the undeserved kindness of this stranger.
My first complete glance of her caught me by surprise. She was stunningly captivating, no longer concealed by her boxes. I was taken in by her large dark eyes as our stares locked for a magical moment. Her bright warm smile, offset by her light ebony skin, revealed more than her words. She was a tall slender 5′ 10″, wearing a navy blue Adidas sweat suit. The white line down the side of her sweatpants accentuated her long legs.
“No problem,” I said, “I was glad to help. By the size of this line I wouldn’t have gone anywhere quickly anyway.”
“Well, thank you. You should at least be in front of me in line.”
“That’s OK,” I said, “ladies first.”
“That’s very nice, but you have already done so much. You deserve to be in front.”
“Thank you, but for me ladies always come first.”
“But,” she tried to interrupt.
“I think the whole idea of deserving is over rated,” I persisted. “Kindness is a gift — the moment it deserves or comes with strings attached, the gift is lost.”
“That is so sexy,” she muttered under her breath.
“I’ve never thought of it that way,” she said. “There is always some kind of string attached — especially this time of year.”
“Ironic, isn’t it? I think a gift is something with no strings attached — unless it has a bow to be untied,” I said with a smile.
“That’s hard for me. I am not used to that.” Her discomfort showed as she unknowingly began her nervous habit of playing with the zipper on the front of her sweat suit.
“No,” she said allowing the humor to break the awkwardness, “to receive without feeling obligated.”
“It is better to give than to receive — but it is harder sometimes to just receive.”
“It is for me. I feel like I owe them something — like I owe you something. I should at least let you be in front of me in line.”
The line in front of us moved forward a step. “Receive the gift, ladies first.”
“Thank you,” she said conceding with another of her warm smiles. “You are a gentleman and very nice,” inadvertently glancing down my body as she turned to step forward in line.
The line moved at its slow predictable speed, allowing me to quietly enjoy the view in front of me. Grace was well proportioned and fit. The white lines of her Adidas sweat jacket invited my eyes down the line of her pants to her white Adidas tennis shoes. “Mmm,” I thought, “she does a lot to generate brand loyalty!” She left the zipper of her jacket a third of the way down, exposing some of her bulging cleavage. Her beauty and subtle floral perfume captivated my attention.
“Next please,” called out from the counter interrupted my daze. Grace grabbed her two large boxes and placed them in front of the clerk. She turned around and picked up the other three, offering me a wink and a smile. “Thanks again,” she said, then turned to deliver her remaining boxes to the clerk.
Two or three minutes passed as she assigned different values to the boxes and made the customary decisions of insurance and return receipts. “That will be fifty two dollars and seventy five cents,” the clerk volunteered after his calculations. Grace reached for her purse and realized she didn’t have it. “Oh no,” she said, “I must have left my purse in the car. I was so frazzled with all my boxes. I am so embarrassed. Can I run outside real fast? My car is just outside.” I saw the look of panic and mortification on her face. The crowd in line was visibly impatient as they ataşehir escort watched. She promised, “I will be right back,” halfway saying it to the clerk, the other half to reassure those in line.
Grace ran out to her car, almost slipping on the ice at the base of the outside steps. I watched out the window as she looked into the front passenger window of her car, then her back window. She began to look more frantic. She pulled her car keys out of her sweat pants pocket and opened the front passenger door. She bent over, crawled in and began a panicked search.
I quietly stepped up to the clerk at the counter. “I am sorry sir,” he said frustrated, “I need to wait to complete the transaction with the woman who was just here before I can assist you. She ran out to her car to get her wallet.”
“I know,” I said, “it doesn’t look like she is having very much luck out there. I would like to purchase 100 Christmas stamps and pay for her packages as well.”
“Are you sure?” he asked. “That is awfully nice of you.”
“Please,” I said, “I would like to have it done before she gets back.”
“That will be ninety one seventy five,” he said. I swiped my Visa quickly and began to make my way toward the exit that served the P.O. boxes. “Wait,” the clerk called out with a puzzled look, “What do I tell her?”
“Tell her it is a gift,” I replied, “no strings attached.”
As I pulled out of the back exit of the side parking lot, I saw Grace in my rear view mirror. She was standing at the corner of the building hurriedly looking around, not knowing where I had gone or what kind of car I might be driving. She looked beautiful with her black hair blowing in the cold wind. I smiled as I pulled into traffic. It felt good that a small act of anonymous kindness turned a bad day into a good one for a beautiful creature — with no strings attached.
The image of Grace standing in the parking lot with her beautiful large eyes and dark hair blowing in the wind provided wonderful daydreaming distractions throughout the morning at work. As enjoyable as the “pay it forward” moment was, the hardest part was knowing I would never see her again. It was a chance encounter. The memory of the morning and of Grace faded with the intense year-end pressures that preoccupied the office this time of year.
I came back from lunch and found the first in a string of unusual surprises, a red rose delivered from a local florist to my desk. I opened the small envelope with my name on it. The card inside was simple and white with only a red heart hand drawn in the center. I quickly looked around to see who might be watching. There was no one. My mind raced to think of who would have sent a random red rose. Was there an office Secret Santa, or admirer?
Late in the afternoon, my office telephone rang.
“Mr. Cadeau?” the voice on the other end asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I am the Maitre d’ of Chez Bienveillance. I am calling to confirm your 7:30 dinner reservation tonight.”
“I’m sorry,” I said surprised, “you must be mistaken. I don’t have a reservation.” It is the only five-star restaurant in the city. I knew I had no reservation.
“Yes sir,” he replied, “I understand you did not make the reservation. I am calling to let you know that you have a reservation at 7:30 tonight and to confirm your presence, with no strings attached.”
“No strings attached?” I asked. “Did you say ‘no strings attached?”
“Yes sir I did. May I confirm your reservation?”
My mind raced. How could this be? Who would make this reservation for me at Chez Bienveillance? Why did he use the words “no strings attached?” Certainly this couldn’t have anything to do with Grace. She doesn’t know who I am? How could she?
“Sir?” he asked again.
“Oh Yes,” I blurted out. “Yes, I will be there.” I have no plans tonight and my curiosity was doing gymnastics. “How can I pass this up? May I ask who made the reservation?”
“Yes sir, you may ask, but unfortunately I am not obliged to say. The only request is that you come ready to receive this meal as a gift.”
“Yes sir. We look forward to having you join us tonight.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I will be there.”
My mind raced. First the rose appeared, then this reservation. Are they connected?
The Chez Bienveillance requires formal attire. The seven thirty reservation gave plenty of time to get home from work, change and arrive for the reservation. I showered and dressed in a dark double breasted suit with a colorful Garcia tie. The doorbell rang as I pulled the tie into place. I opened the door to the next surprise of the day.
“Mr. Cadeau?” the uniformed courier asked.
“I have a delivery for you. Please sign here.”
I signed the form, took the cardboard envelope and rewarded the courier with a generous tip.
The space for the return address had no writing, only a red heart like that on the card that came with the red rose ümraniye escort earlier in the day. I opened the envelope. It contained a single hotel key card. The card had the name and logo for the Hotel Seduire, the finest hotel in the city. I was perplexed. Why would a hotel key card be delivered to my door, a hotel key card from the Seduire? Who sent it? I couldn’t make sense of the events of this afternoon. I called the Hotel Seduire.
“Yes sir, Mr. Cadeau, we have your prepaid executive suite reservation for this evening,” the voice from the hotel’s front desk explained. “Your key is being express delivered and should be arriving within the hour.”
“It has just arrived,” I replied.
“Very good,” the clerk said. “Your room is ready for you whenever you arrive. If there is any other way we can be of assistance, we are at your disposal.”
“Thank you very much,” I said. “Can you tell me who made the reservation.”
“I am sorry Mr. Cadeau,” that information is not available. There is a notation here however that indicates this is a gift, no strings attached.”
“A gift? No strings attached?”
“Yes sir. Is there any other way I can be of assistance?”
“Not right now,” I said. “Thank you.”
I put the key in my pocket, picked the rose from the vase and drove to Chez Bienveillance — toward an unimaginable gift.
I walked through the door of the restaurant at 7:30. The voluptuous hostess greeted me by name. She alone would bring customers back. Her long blond hair, blue eyes and white smile welcomed me. Her tiny dress swayed over her ass as she escorted me to a private dining area near the back of the restaurant. I had not been to the Chez Bienveillance before, but found myself already enjoying the experience. The beautiful large chandeliers were dimmed to a pleasant romantic level. The leather furniture was elegant and comfortable. The semi-circle booth had two place settings with several utensils carefully laid around the plate. A single candle was lit on the table. “Here is your table, Mr. Cadeau. Please make yourself comfortable. Your party will be here shortly.”
“Thank you. Can you tell me who will be joining me this evening?”
“I am sorry sir, but I cannot. I do know however that this evening is a gift for you. You are a very fortunate man.” She leaned over to whisper in my ear, exposing her abundant cleavage. “My name is Heather. If there is anything I can do to make your evening more pleasurable,” she said smiling with a wink, “please don’t hesitate to ask.” She ran her hand across my shoulder as she began to walk away, “we take pride in our customer satisfaction.”
A number of thoughts came to mind that I immediately pushed away. She knew she had my attention. I was intrigued by the events of the day and the evening that looked increasingly promising. I had no idea the gift this night would be.
The hostess slipped away from the table toward the front of the restaurant. As she did, I was stunned by the vision walking toward me with a seductive smile. Grace’s eyes were locked on mine, never veering as she walked toward me through the restaurant. She was strikingly beautiful. She was wearing a small black satin cocktail dress like I had never seen, with matching three inch black heels. The bodice was a halter with two small pieces of satin coming from behind her neck, simply falling down over her ample firm breasts, meeting the fabric over her waistline. Below was a short miniskirt length dress opening to her long glistening bare legs. Grace was riveting, and she knew it. The dress left her entire cleavage, back and awe-inspiring legs exposed, accentuating her fine ebony features. “May I join you?” she asked coyly.
I instantly stood up. “There is nothing I would like more.”
“Ever the gentleman, aren’t you.”
She leaned over as she moved into the booth, knowingly allowing the material to loosen over her chest. The brief view of her firm round breasts was breathtaking. Her long beautiful dark legs became even more exposed as she slid further into the booth, pushing the bottom of her dress up.
“Wow,” I said. “You look amazing. You had my attention this morning, but…”
“Thank you,” she said knowing she had me right where she had hoped, in the palm of her hand.
“I assume this is not a coincidence that we meet again.”
“On the contrary,” she answered assertively.
“Fascinating,” I said. “You are amazing. I have some questions for you.”
“Shoot,” she said.
I handed her the rose. “I believe this may belong to you?”
“I am glad to see that you received it,” she said smiling. “Beautiful isn’t it? It is yours, like everything else tonight.”
“But, why …?”
“How do you say it?” she interrupted. “It is a gift, with no strings attached.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I think you’d say receive the gift.”
“Touché,” the waitress mimicked as she approached the table. “It sounds kadıköy escort like interesting conversation already,” she said suggestively. “Welcome to Chez Bienveillance. My name is Monique. Any way I can make your dining experience more pleasurable, anything,” she said pausing to look each of us in the eyes with a smile, “please ask me. It will be my delight.” Monique had short light brown hair and ocean blue eyes. She wore a deep green sheer low cut tight-fitting dress that stopped just above her knees. “Anything I can get you to drink as we begin our experience together?”
“A bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne, year 2000” Grace asserted according to her plan.
“Very nice. As you wish,” Monique said confidently. “I will be right back with it.” The two women smiled at each other as if there was a conversation going on that I was not privy to.
“Would you prefer the privacy curtain remain open, you may I close it for you?”
“You may close it,” Grace said confidently.
“Of course.” Monique closed the curtain and vanished. Grace turned toward me and locked her eyes on to mine. “So, you have some questions,” she said smiling.
“Well, let me first say thank you. This is all very kind. I never imagined with our encounter this morning, with the boxes …”
“I can’t imagine anything more sexy.”
“Kindness and generosity, as you say it, with no strings attached, is rapturously sexy. I have thought about it all day. I decided I wanted to get to know you better.”
“You get what you want?”
“You have pursued that creatively.”
“Thank you. It is a strong suit of mine, only the beginning however.”
“How did you find me? I made a point to remain discreet.”
“Yes you did, which made you irresistibly attractive. My whole life people want something from me. No matter what it is, there are always strings attached. You not only gave with no strings, you tried to cut the strings by sneaking away. I have never experienced that kind of unsolicited generosity.”
“Apparently I wasn’t very good at sneaking away” I said. “I did experience regret throughout the day that I would never see you again. Today is full of surprises.”
“You have no idea,” she said.
“So, you never answered my question.”
“The receipt,” she said offering that warm smile of hers and feeling clever.
“I was so aggravated when I returned to the post office after looking in my car for my wallet. I had no idea what I would do when I walked back in there. The clerk told me it was taken care of as a gift with no strings attached. I quickly looked around for you and realized what you did. I ran to catch you and was so disappointed when you got away.”
“Or so I thought.”
“Or so you thought,” she smiled. “The post office clerk handed me the receipt for my packages with their tracking numbers. Your name was at the bottom of the receipt from your credit card.”
“Ahhh,” I said feeling out-witted. So how did you find me?”
“Oh, that was easy. Evidently you are one of a kind, the only Cadeau in the area. I did a simple internet phonebook search, then googled you. In 30 seconds I knew where you lived and where you worked. I decided what I wanted to do, put my plan into effect, and here we are.”
“Thank you,” Monique said as she came around the curtain with the Champagne. She popped the cork, poured the customary sample and offered it to me. At my approval she poured our glasses and placed the bottle in the iced bucket. “Would you like to order now or start with an hors d’oeuvre?” We ordered some calamari. “A wonderful aphrodisiac” Monique said as she slipped away.
“A toast?” I offered.
“A toast, to no strings attached.” Our glasses clinked and our eyes locked. She took a drink and dropped her glass to her neckline.
“So,” I continued, “tell me about the Hotel Seduire.”
“The finest in the city,” Grace said.
“And this card?” I said as I pulled it out of my pocket.
“I am glad you received that too,” she said. “That is for your room. I believe you will be quite pleased.”
“Just me?” I asked.
“Well now, that is up to you,” Grace said. “You can see how the night unfolds, but there are no strings attached.”
“Very classy,” I said.
The next two and a half hours of dining was the most pleasurable dining experience I had ever had. The experience unfolded course by course with a different wine paired with each part of the meal. By the third course, after a bottle of Champagne and a few glasses of wine, both of us were feeling very relaxed and comfortable. We talked and laughed easily, like old friends, with the sexual tension never fading. Grace surprised me when Monique showed up to clear the dishes from our third course in anticipation of the next installment.
“Monique,” Grace initiated, can you pull the curtain closed behind you for me? I have a favor to ask.”
“Sure,” Monique said as she pulled the curtain closed. “How can I be of service?”
“You look very attractive tonight,” Grace said.
“Thank you” Monique answered. “You however are the most stunning woman in the restaurant.”
“Thank you,” Grace said receiving the complement. “I can see,” Grace continued, “that you have a very sexy bra under that beautiful sheer dress of yours.”