Meeting Rachel


Work sucks, let’s be honest.That’s not to say I’m not lucky. My current job is the best I’ve ever had, but it’s never going to be my passion. I won’t ever be one of those rare people who wake up each morning full of beans and excited about going to work. Or at least so I thought.Let me introduce myself. I’m Jason, a man in my mid-forties, Irish, 5′ 11′ tall, and I’d describe myself as rocking a full dad-bod and salt and pepper hair. I’m not fat, but I’m a long way from toned too, and I’m not ashamed of it. I live a comfortable, settled life with my wife and two teenage kids. If I’m not in as good shape as I used to be that’s because I spend too much time at my desk working to pay for this comfortable life.Given the chance, I’m actually quite an outdoorsy person. Hiking, wild camping, kayaking, and boating are all activities I wish I could do more of. But alas as I said at the outset, work sucks and my schedule doesn’t leave me much time to indulge these passions.My life is almost perfect in every way so I really shouldn’t complain. The only thing that casts a shadow over my otherwise enviable existence is my sex life or lack thereof. Nineteen years of marriage, and nineteen years of a dead bedroom. Despite having “the talk” many times over the years, nothing has ever changed much. Brief improvements for a few months at a time occasionally got my hopes up, but nothing ever lasted long. It has been a huge source of frustration for me over the years, but I’d always held out hope that it was in my power to change. If I just worked hard enough I could do something to fix it, or so I believed.I’d even made a plan. I started by listing all the things that my wife told me triggered her stress and affected her libido, removing them from her life one at a time. Financial stability – check. Owning our own home with no debt – check. Therapy to help her cope with anxiety – check. No need for her to work – check. This and a hundred other small things I systematically worked on. Each time hoping beyond hope that I could magically revive my wife’s libido. If I just got the next thing checked off the list and made her that little bit happier, things might change. Spoiler alert, nothing ever worked. Her extremely unenthusiastic participation once a month (at best) never improved regardless of my efforts.They say that hope is a drug and it really is true. Now I’m weaning myself off my hopium addiction and realizing that I’ve checked off everything on my list. I’ve wasted many years doing it, and it hasn’t made the slightest bit of difference. I feel like a fool that it took me so long to admit defeat. I’m not someone who suffers from depression at all, but when the realization hit that it was NEVER going to get better, the downer was severe and lasted longer than it should have. I’ve got kids so I’m not going to leave, as tempting as that might sound. Working on acceptance was my plan, and as hard as that was I did make a small bit of progress. I focused on leaving behind anger and animosity. I was just left with disappointment and a feeling of emptiness. I didn’t expect this to ever change.It was about this time that Rachel joined the company.The company güvenilir bahis I work for doesn’t have offices. Everyone is a remote worker and this suited me down to the ground. Flexible hours, working in my pajamas, no one looking over my shoulder. It’s not exciting work, but I have to admit it has some perks.The weekly team meeting on Zoom was a low point though. It mostly consisted of my boss droning on about the latest performance figures, going through each one at a snail’s pace. It was the pure embodiment of “this meeting could have been an email”. I made excuses whenever I could, but being a team leader meant that I couldn’t get out of this hour of boredom very often. I learned to scroll Reddit just out of view of my webcam hoping no one would notice my attention was elsewhere. The entire team sat silently apart from a few words to say that their projects were “on track”, and that was it. A pure waste of oxygen. Until Rachel arrived.Rachel is American and a little bit of a cliché. Her petite 5′ 3″ frame and naturally blonde hair are complemented by an enticing hourglass figure. She was a high school cheerleader, and at forty-four years of age still retains that overly-cheerful attitude that initially I found a little annoying. Being naturally a little grumpy and cantankerous, I had a hard time believing it wasn’t fake. No one could really be that chirpy, could they?As time went on I got to see that her oddly positive outlook on life was genuine and she was a truly happy person. She’d had a tough life in recent years, beaten cancer, lost a parent suddenly, gone through a messy divorce, and sent two of her daughters off to distant colleges. She’d found herself alone in the house for the first time in many years, which has got to be tough.Rachel brightened up those dull Zoom meetings. Somehow she managed to get conversations started. People began telling jokes, and our bosses decided to introduce company “fun Friday” events at her request. Those efforts at remote team-building were more than a little cringe, but oddly I found myself looking forward to them more and more each week.Then we got chatting. At first, it was work-related DMs on Slack, and simple pleasantries asking how each other’s day was going. Asking questions about each other progressed to becoming friends quite quickly and we started chatting daily. We clicked. It wasn’t mountains of sexual tension from day one, but there was definitely a connection that quickly grew. Without any intention or planning, the messages began to get a little flirtatious, occasionally even slightly sexual in a joking kind of way. She knew I was married. I myself was not looking for anything. But she was on the other side of the planet and I was never going to meet her, so what harm could a little flirting do?The flirting intensified as the weeks went on. Nothing blatant, but compliments flowed both ways. She mentioned her disastrous dating efforts in recent months and I may have worked my Irish charm and let her know what a date with me would be like. Rachel made me smile – truly smile – for the first time in a long time. I began to realize just how devoid of joy my life had been and how güvenilir bahis siteleri deeply my self-worth had been affected by my dead bedroom. It felt wrong to go looking for affirmation in the flirtations of another woman, but it also felt like healing had begun. After almost two decades of putting someone else’s happiness first, I got the tiniest taste of how it felt to follow my own joy, and it was addictive.I never intended to take it any further. I couldn’t take it any further since she lived 6000 miles away, and that helped me rationalize my part in the flirting. Rachel occupied my thoughts and occasional fantasies too, but I was content to leave it there. Real-life and fantasies rarely work well together.But then it happened. I opened my email one rainy Tuesday morning to find an invitation to the first-ever company team-building retreat.It was to be an all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury villa in Italy, complete with a private pool, its own cinema, a private chef, and days filled with fun activities in the sun. How could I say no to that? The thought that I would also get to meet Rachel in person actually made the decision harder. How would online flirting translate to real life? What if she didn’t like me? If I didn’t have a few seconds to think before typing a witty response maybe she wouldn’t find me funny anymore? Maybe I should stay away and just maintain the status quo? In the end, the decision was made for me when another team leader couldn’t get a travel visa in time. I was now the only leader from our section attending so I couldn’t cancel.In the weeks running up to the trip, I was more than a little nervous. I wanted to look my best so I made sure I had a fresh haircut, bought some new clothes and new shoes, spent far too long choosing a pair of sunglasses, and even started slapping on a little moisturizer on occasion. I’m not a vain man normally, but I was desperate to make a good first impression.It turns out I didn’t need to worry. Stepping through the arrival doors in the airport, jetlagged and dishevelled I had expected to get an Uber to the villa but was surprised to see Rachels’s face contorted in laughter above a comically oversized sign with “Welcome back from jail Jason” scrawled on it. I have to admit it was funny and I’ll do the same to one of my friends one day, but it broke the ice immediately and from the very first moment, there was no awkwardness between us. I gave her a huge bear hug and a peck on the cheek, proclaiming how good it was to finally meet her in real life.She looked stunning in a way that suggested she didn’t try too hard but just woke up looking this good. I noticed a little lip gloss and eyeliner, maybe a light touch of mascara, but very minimal makeup. Not that she needed it. Her skin was flawless, her eyes sparkled, and her full lips were more inviting than I could have imagined. The physical attraction I’d felt via chats and video calls immediately transferred to real life, multiplying fivefold in the process. Clad in a loose cotton summer dress that hung to mid-thigh in a green and white print, surrounded by a thin white fabric belt. She completed the simple outfit with iddaa siteleri green strappy sandals and long blonde hair in a loose braid.After holding the hug just a fraction longer than necessary, I raised my head and looked around for my other colleagues but couldn’t see anyone. “Is it just you?” I asked, trying to keep my tone as neutral as possible.”It’s your lucky day,” Rachel said. “Dinner was late so everyone else stayed at the villa. I volunteered to come to pick you up. I do hope you are going to make it up to me?”I grinned like a school kid at the thought of a thirty-minute drive back to the villa with Rachel all to myself. “I’m sure I can find a way,” I said with a theatrical wink that drew a quick laugh from her. “Let’s get out of this hell hole of an airport and I’ll see what I can come up with”.Rachel led the way as we strolled through the crowded terminal, always walking close. She held my arm as we passed through a crowded area, guiding me in the right direction. Her touch seemed to linger, as did her eyes. As much as I wanted to play it cool I just couldn’t look away from her either. At the elevator, I subconsciously placed my hand on the small of her back guiding her in beside me. There, crowded behind nine strangers in a tiny metal box she leaned into me and placed her head on my shoulder. My hand slipped around her waist pulling her closer to me as we took the short three-floor ride down to the parking lot level. Electricity crackled between us and I barely dared to breathe in those precious few seconds. It just felt right. She fit against me perfectly, completing me.When the elevator stopped and the doors slid open I must have done a double-take, shaking myself out of a daze. I caught Rachel grinning at me in a knowing way, mischief written all over her face. “The car is a long way off, sorry,” she said in her soft Utah accent. “The parking is so confusing here I didn’t realize how far from the terminal I ended up. The silver lining is that they said I could hire anything I wanted, so I may have taken advantage a little.”She wasn’t joking. A tall sign with the letter C was outside the door we exited from, and I could see A and B on signs behind us as we walked away from the terminal. After almost ten minutes of walking, in the far corner of a quiet parking lot, near a big sign proudly proclaiming that this was parking section T, we approached a brand new Range Rover that glistened in the amber light of the street lamps. Sleek white exterior, heavily tinted windows, plush cream leather interior, it was a huge step up from the Ford sedan I was used to at home.”Wow! Sweet ride,” I exclaimed. After the briefest pause, I lowered my voice and added, “and the car isn’t bad either”. It was a corny line I know, and I instantly kicked myself, but while Rachel was blushing furiously she wasn’t looking away. A grin spread across her beautiful face. She took a step toward me, reached out, and placed a hand on my chest. “Why thank you. You’re looking pretty tempting yourself you know,” she said softly, eliciting an immediate response inside my shorts.I turned, a little embarrassed at my own forwardness, and quickly stowed my suitcase in the trunk. A moment later as I slid into the passenger seat, I got a chance to properly check out the car as Rachel pointed out some of the features and gadgets. Looking around I glanced behind. “Big back seat too,” I said with a raised eyebrow.

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