Written by ITJohn
19 Dec 2010
closing an IT order (part 1)
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My meeting was with the local council leader of a sea-side town in Southern England. We had to talk about a possible IT services contract for the council. It was time to wine and dine: the last leg in a series of meetings, proposals, revised offers and price cuts. We badly needed this order, I had been told to close the order or lose my job.
My client, the council leader, had suggested we meet in a small Italian restaurant on a side road running up from the sea front. I had made the booking on the internet, spotting that it was Michelin listed, had a genuine wood burning pizza oven and was cosy but not too pricey.
The rain was turning to snow and the wind was cold as I arrived at 1 pm, so I pushed open the restaurant door in a hurry, was greeted by a blast of hot air, and took in the small friendly interior with a quick glance. The restaurant was long and narrow with sets of tables for two set down the right hand wall and a long table set up for a Christmas party on the other side with 10 seats. In the window, immediately to my left was a table with a reserved plaque on it. I groaned inwardly, as I could see that this was likely to be for us and we would be sitting right next to the Christmas revellers. There were two couples already eating lunch at tables on the right. But with the large table set up for a party, the chances of a quiet business conversation looked remote.
A friendly Italian of about 40 was standing halfway down the restaurant. He interrupted taking an order from one of the couples and came forward with a broad smile on his face. “Mr Prince?” he asked, “I am Ricardo the owner. I understand that you are dining with Mr Slater. We have reserved his favourite table for you in the window”. I was ushered to the table that I was hoping would not be ours. “Natasha will be with you in a moment to take your drinks order”.
I settled myself in my seat with my back to the wall, picked up the menu that he had left me and wondered how long I would be waiting for Mr Slater. Looking down the restaurant I could see the two young chefs working in the kitchen at the end and a girl with dyed purple hair behind the bar in front of the kitchen. I looked again...as even from this distance I could tell that the girl at the bar was a stunner. Wearing jeans and a white blouse, she was tall, thin with long, long legs and a tiny bum and small breasts. Gosh.
She looked up, and caught me staring, walked down the restaurant and introduced herself. “I am Natasha. Welcome to La Taverne. Mr Slater has just called to say that he is running five minutes late. Would you like an aperitif while you are waiting? I can recommend our Kir Royale.” I was quite taken aback by how genuinely nice she seemed. I mumbled something unintelligible as my tongue had somehow dried and stuck to the back of my mouth. She was even more beautiful close up than she appeared from a distance. She nodded, rewarded me with a beautiful smile and a minute later I had a drink in front of me.
Ricardo came back to the table.”Ah, Mr Prince. I see that Natasha has welcomed you with a drink. I hope that the group booking at this next door table will not spoil the enjoyment of your meal. It is a local employment agency who has booked Christmas lunch. They are very nice people, but can be noisy. We usually close the restaurant when they come for the afternoon, but Mr Slater was most insistent that he wanted to come here today. They will arrive a little later, so you should have time to complete your business before they arrive.”
I could say nothing negative. Having met Natasha, they could start using jack hammers to dig up the floor of the restaurant and I still would not want to leave.
A few minutes later the door crashed open, a flurry of snow swept in and Frank Slater was there pulling off his coat. Natasha had materialised at his side, had taken his coat in a second, received a prolonged kiss on each cheek and had run her hand down his back with some obvious affection before I had even managed to stand up.
“Hi John” said Frank Slater. “Sorry I am late. The snow is going to get bad this afternoon, so I have had to organise some emergency salting teams.” He sat down as a bottle of champagne was delivered to the table by Natasha.
“Compliments of the house, Frank” she said as she slowly un-wrapped the foil. Now, I have never in my life seen the cork of a champagne bottle taken off in such a sexy way. It was positively erotic, her fingers slowly unwinding the wire, worked up the cork with her eyes firmly on Franks, She even sighed as it went “pop” in her hands. The licking of her lips with her finger with the bubbles that had fallen from the neck was magical.
Any hopes that I may have had with the beautiful Natasha were dashed. This girl had something going with Frank and was not afraid to tell the world about it.
“You may not be leaving town tonight, John” I heard Frank say from what seemed miles away. I shook myself awake and registered that the snow was falling harder now outside and had started to settle. “But at least you are in the best restaurant in town and I hear that Sarah Ferguson’s team are here for Christmas lunch. You could not be in a better place.”
The next half hour was taken up with choosing food and discussing our proposal over our starter. Frank was very positive about the offer and things were looking good. I was just starting to think that we had the job in the bag when the door banged open again and an umbrella led three people into the restaurant laughing and giggling.
Ricardo was by the door sorting coats in a jiffy. First out of her coat was a brunette of about 25 in a LBD, tinsel around her neck and long stilettos. “Miss Karen” Said Ricardo “You should be more careful of what you wear in the snow”. Karen just giggled “Oh Ricardo, you are always looking after me. This is our Christmas party and you know that we like to dress up for this. Just wait until you see what Sarah is wearing...and she is the boss!”
Ricardo just smiled and took the coat and hat of the second girl, revealing a short silver dress and what suspiciously looked to me like stockings and suspenders before she tugged the dress down at the sides where it had ridden up. “Miss Becky, you look somehow different.” he said.
“You spotted it Ricardo!” said Becky with a giggle, do you like the new colour?” Becky gave Ricardo a big kiss on his cheek which left a smudge of lipstick as he replied “Yes, it is beautiful like you. Red is a very Christmas colour and I do like you with the bob”.
Ricardo turned for the coat of the man standing between the two girls. “Ricardo, this is Stuart” said Karen, introducing the young man of about 18. He has joined us from Australia on a work placement. “Senor Stuart, you are very welcome” replied Ricardo. “Come to the table. Please”.
The door thumped open again and three more revellers in hats and coats entered shaking snow off their shoulders. “Sarah is right behind us” said the first to Ricardo. Here was a very self assured woman with long straight auburn hair, perhaps 30 years old, and a scooped neck blue dress that left her best assets on show. “Help me please Ricardo” She said, fishing in a plastic bag for a pair of high heels and placing one hand on his shoulder. To put her new shoes on, she leant on him, twisted around and somehow managed to plant his face firmly between her breasts. “ Magnifico Rebecca” Sighed Ricardo as he popped up for air while she transferred her weight to the other foot for the second shoe. This was said just in time before being submerged again. Rebecca stood up and hugged Ricardo. “Wait till later, gorgeous” I distinctly heard her breath in his ear. Ricardo went bright red.
The two other girls that had come in with Rebecca just giggled and looked around sheepishly. Both had large plastic bags that were full of presents. “Hello Mr Slater” went one, acknowledging our presence as we sat at the window table. “Hello Stacy, Hello Michelle” went Frank Slater. “You’re in luck. I see that Ricardo has called in Pedro to help him in the kitchen today”. Stacy jumped. “Oh Michelle, come and meet Pedro. He is divine. Do you remember the hunk I was telling you about at the council’s summer beach BBQ?” The two young girls skipped quickly down the restaurant to the kitchen and started a long conversation with the chef. I started to suspect that our service was about to slow down.
The door was swung open again and an older man held the door open for three more girls to enter. “Thanks Ian” went the first girl to the man holding the door. “A pleasure, Sue” went Ian while Natasha the waitress bustled up to take the new coats. Sue was wearing a short bolero jacket over a blouse and a long skirt. She was in her early 40’s and had the biggest diamond for a wedding ring that I had ever seen.
The second girl was a youngster. Perhaps 20 she looked shyly around her as she peeled off her coat to reveal a modest black dress...But when she took off her hat a cascade of genuine blond hair was released and fell in soft curls down her back...Here was a girl that could break the heart of any red blooded male...and she seemed to have no idea of her power.
Finally there was Sarah Ferguson. I knew this must be the boss, just because of her sheer presence. A lady in her mid 30’s with the figure of a ballet dancer. A Long neck, perfect posture, graceful step...and dressed in the sexiest and most expensive Santa dress that I had ever seen. “Hello Frank” She said and stepped over to peck Frank Slater on the cheek. I spotted a look of fire in the eyes of Natasha over her shoulder as the kiss got landed. But, I didn’t know where to look; as in kissing Frank on the cheek, the front of the Santa dress had fallen open to give me a full view of Sarah Fergusons firm and perfect bosom. NO Bra! OH MY GOD!
“John, I would like to introduce you to Sarah Ferguson” said Frank Slater, seemingly unaware of the show that I had just been given. “John may be stuck here today Sarah, as the roads look to be becoming impassable”.
“Hello Sarah”, I said. “I love the Santa Costume”.
“Yes I can see” said Sarah who had obviously clocked me looking and the reaction that I was trying to hide under my table napkin. “A friend of Frank’s is a friend of mine. I hope we don’t disturb your lunch. In fact, perhaps later you can join us for a drink?”
“That would be a pleasure Sarah” Said Frank. “John was just ordering some more champagne. Can we offer your team a glass with us?”
I jumped, as I had offered no such thing! Lunch was about to get expensive. Champagne for 12? What would my boss say? There was no escape as the snow had now begun settling heavily on the road outside. There had been no cars up the street in the last 10 minutes and I suspected that Frank’s council workers had other priorities.
Frank saw my worry. “Don’t worry John. You have our IT order and we can add the cost of lunch to order value. We are about to have the time of our lives. My road teams have been told to leave this end of town alone”. There was a real twinkle in the man’s eye.
Clever, Frank, clever.