Gabriella © Copyright, LdyJessika@aol.com
, 2002 -2009
LdyJessika® is a registered Trademark -
Chapter 1 & final chapter 2
"Good Morning, Molly, let me know when Jackson Carter is here for his interview." Gabriella Taggert walked past the receptionist in the lobby of the marketing agency they worked for.
Walking into the main offices Gabriella greeted the men and women she worked with. She noted the admiring looks they gave her, as she walked by them. She enjoyed working with them and enjoyed being in the position of VP of Marketing. The one thing she did every day that everyone noticed was that she dressed to perfection. Her appearance to her was as important as her daily business performance. Even though her business suits were the same style of Kasper Ltd. tailored suits, she always looked stunning. Shoes always matched the color of the suit – stockings were off black, light or dark gray, but never nude or white in color. The only jewelry she wore was the Ladies Rolex on her left wrist. She preferred her austere business appearance and didn’t believe in the office culture of teams and warm fuzzy feelings. Business is business was how she was raised - it served her well in her daily routines at the office.
The morning was filled with the usual phone calls and then charting the new advertising campaign for the resort. She’d started on the text portion of the advertising for the horse riding trails and hiking trails when she heard Molly announcing over the intercom that Jackson Carter had arrived.
Gabriella stood up and as she walked to the door he walked in. For a moment she felt the breath leaving her body while an assault of recognition flooded through her. Quickly composing herself she reached out her hand and said, "Good morning - Thank you for being prompt. Please have a seat."
As she was seating herself she heard that Texas drawl that she’d have recognized anywhere, "Thank you for your time, M’am. I have a resume and samples of the work I do. My background is in industrial design, but for the last few years I’ve found I prefer advertising. My designs reflect various training."
She looked up at him after his last remark, but seeing no recognition in his eyes she continued looking over his portfolio. She came upon one sketch that would work perfectly with the new campaign she was working on. It was a pencil sketch of a couple walking on a trail in the woods with their horses walking next to them. The couple was facing away from the viewer. The man appeared as if he was either listening to what she was saying, or that he was speaking to her. It had a dream like quality in softness and the lighting seemed to be filtering through the trees onto the couple. The horse’s reins were hanging from their hands and it seemed peaceful for all of them to be walking on the trail.
"This sketch would work well with a layout I have to do for a resort ranch. The freelance work I have available would last about two months and not more than three. Are you looking for something along those lines?" She didn’t look up, but kept looking through additional sketches.
Finally, after a few moments when he didn’t answer she looked up. He looked into her eyes, "Yes. Not more than three months would work very well for my schedule."
Looking back at the sketchbook she thought that last time not more than three days worked very well for his schedule. She didn’t allow herself to dwell on that thought for any length of time. She had to finish this ranch project draft and present it to the customer on the weekend. She replied in a formal business tone, "Would you be available to start tomorrow? The reason is that I have to show an outline of my plan to the owners of the ranch this Saturday. That only leaves me this week to pull it all together. I have the text portion for the portfolio, but need some pictures to bring it to life. We’d only need to spend a few hours at the ranch for pictures."
He leaned forward and without asking permission picked up her folder that had the ranch name neatly labeled on it. Opening it he smiled and said, "I’ve been to this ranch. It was about eleven years ago, but it’s a great place for a fast weekend."
As he read the text for her ad she thought, yes, three days and then you left without a word – even a bad word would have been an improvement. She looked up to find him staring at her.
She stared back, "Well? Would you be willing to visit the ranch again, for a day? My company, of course, will pick up all expenses. I’d expect you to take sketches of different areas that I’ll be writing advertising brochures for.
He looked at her, "Do we know each other? You seem familiar in a way."
She stared back without flinching, "We may if you travel in the advertising circles. I attend quite a few organizations. Do you belong to any?"
He stammered, "Uh, no. Excuse me, I didn’t mean anything by my comment. For a moment something seemed familiar about you. About the assignment - I’ll be able to travel at any time. This week would be fine and I can start tomorrow."
Gabriella stood up and held out her hand to shake and finalize the arrangement, "Great. I look forward to working with you. We can leave in the early morning and be at the ranch in the late morning. I anticipate it won’t take longer than a few hours, at the most. Perhaps just an overnight depending on the weather and how fast you can sketch out my ideas."
She shook his hand quickly and then walked toward the office door. She walked him to the elevator and turning to him said, "Thanks for your time and I’m glad you’ll be working on this. I think your sketches will be just what I need to bank this account."
He smiled, "Well, I’m sure you could bank any account, with or without my sketches."
She didn’t smile but answered, "I’m sure I could bank any account, with or without your sketches as well, but they will enhance what I give to the client." With that she turned and walked away.
Jackson was actually stunned for a moment that his compliment had been thrown back at him. He didn’t mean anything by it other than being polite to her. He kept getting a nagging memory that he knew her but didn’t know where he would have met someone in advertising. The elevator doors opened and he left the building noting that he’d make sure that he returned on time to get their trip off on a good note.
Gabriella had walked back into her office and closed the door. She continued working, eating lunch at her desk, as she always had and at 5:00 reviewed his resume. She began to read about Jackson Carter. He’d spent the last eleven years mainly in New York in communications and lived only a few blocks from her apartment. How odd New York was that you could live so close to a weekend of your past and never run into it. She didn’t expect that he’d have recognized her and was glad that he didn’t – that was a weekend she’d preferred stayed in the past. Thinking back to that time in life it was the weekend before going to the ranch she’d lost a bet and dyed her long brown hair blond, had cut it short and used the name Gina Carey. Thinking back at that pudgy time in her life she’d been sixty-five pounds heavier and wearing blue contact-lens that covered her brown eyes. Now sporting her shoulder length natural brown hair and being only a pound or two over her normal weight she didn’t look anything like the woman he met and walked away from. Thinking about it for a moment she was glad she’d never given him her real name – she was going to tell him her name the day he never showed up. Putting his resume in her right hand drawer she left the office for her apartment.
As she walked into her apartment the phone rang, but she let her answering machine get the call not wanting to bother with anyone at the moment. She walked into her bedroom and throwing her attaché case next to her desk she methodically got out of her work clothes and headed for a bath. There’d always been something about taking a hot bath that relaxed her body, but more it relaxed her mind. Maybe the relaxation came from her ritual of pouring in lavender bath oil and swirling her hand in the water - the scent drifted and filled the room. She slowly would lower herself into the water feeling it cloak her in warmth - as always it created feelings of security and relaxation. Leaning back against the back of the tub she closed her eyes. The song she’d put on the CD player in the living room drifted into the room – she began to hum while Celine Dion sang "Take me, back into the arms I love. Feel me like you did before. Touch me once again and remember when there was no one you wanted more….."
Sighing she thought how true that was, but that she’d overcome it all, and moved on with her life. Still as she drifted in thoughts they seemed to go back through the years of time. She drifted to a warm night when she’d thought she’d met the most attractive and interesting man in her life. He’d said all the right words. He touched all the right feelings within her. She imagined his arms around her and his voice as it had said at that time, "I’ve never been this lucky. Meeting you is the best thing that ever happened to me." Then she imagined that she heard that Texas as he said, "Darlin, ain’t nothing ever gonna make me leave you - now that I’ve found you." She could feel the warmth of his body as it covered hers. She could feel him as he spread her thighs and slowly pushed into her. She remembered holding on to him as her body rocked with his…she remembered as he thrust and spun them into oblivion of orgasms and feelings. She remembered it all as if it was happening that moment - quickly opening her eyes brought her back to the present. She laughed at her own folly, those many years ago, for falling in love so fast with someone that she’d only known for a few days. She admonished herself for even allowing thoughts of him to enter her mind. She finished bathing and without another thought went to bed.
At the same time she fell asleep Jackson Carter was only blocks away pacing his apartment. He kept talking out loud to himself, "It’s her damn eyes. I’ve seen them before – but where? Her voice sounds familiar – her looks seem familiar but for some reason they aren’t! DAMN – who the fuck is she and why is this driving me nuts!" He began sketching, but she kept creeping into his thoughts. Finally he thought of a woman that he’d once known and realized that in a way she reminded him of her. Now that he figured out that she’d reminded him of someone he was able to put her out of his mind. He decided he didn’t particularly care to work for her and her attitude was very formal, but money was money and he needed the check. He laughed and sketched her with horns on her head and under her face he wrote in Gothic script, Devil Bitch - But She Has The Check. He sketched for a few more hours and then got his gear together for their trip to the resort. Promptly the next morning he was parked in front of her building when he heard a knock on the window.
"Good Morning, Jackson. How about my company pays for gas and mileage and you drive?"
He was rather surprised, "Well, okay, you can put your cases in the back."
Getting out of the truck he opened the back door to the Dodge Quad-Cab and she put her things in. Without saying anything further she climbed into the passenger seat and hooked her seatbelt.
Jackson got behind the driver’s side and said, "Well, good morning. Did you have breakfast? We can stop for something in about two hours? I think it will take about three to get there, if I remember correctly."
She looked straight ahead, "That sound fine but it takes two hours at the most from here unless we hit traffic."
He pulled the truck out into the traffic and headed toward the bridge to get out of the city, "Well, I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I was there for a weekend but it was quite a while ago."
She smirked and looked out the window, "That’s for sure."
He looked at her quizzically but she’d closed here eyes and said she was going to sleep for an hour.
She didn’t wake up until he was calling her name and they were parked in the ranch parking lot, "Gabriella, wake up. Come on – we’re at the ranch."
She woke up in a panic, "Oh no. I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have had to drive, while I slept this whole time. I apologize. I can’t believe I did that. It shouldn’t have happened."
He smiled, "WHOA! Gabriella, slow down. It’s okay. I could have woken you up, but you seemed really peaceful and I knew the route. How about we just forget it and let’s go check in and see