A Touch of Seduction
By: Mike Brennan
Karla wasn't interested in Mark until he used a massage technique on her she'd never forget.
A Touch of Seduction
Karla leaned back from the keyboard and stretched her arms with a groan. “Chapter Five, in the bag.” She reached down and hit the keys that started the backup, and recorded the timestamp in her log. “Damn, it’s after eleven.”
Mark looked over from the desk where the flowcharts and Chinese take-out containers were spread. “Three chapters in 17 hours. Not bad.” He stood and stretched his back. “Only seven more chapters to go.” He noticed the less than pleased look Karla was giving him. “But not tonight.” He added quickly.
“I should hope not.” Karla said, looking at the certificates saying things like “Fastest Tech-writer in the West” and “Have Keyboard, Will Travel” that management liked to give in lieu of money. “I’ve been at it so long my hands are cramping.”
Mark came over and sat in the chair next to Karla’s. “I can fix that,” he said, reaching out his hand. “Let me see your hand.”
Karla reflexively said, “No, Thanks. I’ll just shake it off.” She started flapping her hands, but stopped after a few seconds because it felt silly.
“Come on, I promise I’ll give it back. I am good at this.” Mark smiled at Karla, his hand still extended. “It will make the drive home easier.”
Karla looked at him with a combination of suspicion and speculation. She was wary of men she wasn’t involved with wanting to touch her. In her experience it usually was because they wanted to be involved. She had worked with Mark on a couple little projects, and now this big one, and he hadn’t ever put any moves on her before. He was a nice guy, and generally helpful, so he might just be offering to massage her hands. Maybe.
At the same time that Karla was analyzing Mark’s motives, another part of her mind was running another line of consideration. Her last relationship had ground to a halt around six months ago, and her self-declared half year moratorium on men would be over in… let’s see, this was the third and…, tomorrow, as a mater of fact. Huh. Though she knew what he looked like, she REALLY looked at him.
Mark was one of the lead programmers, and while he wasn’t the best, he was the best at explaining what the code did. He described himself as the missing link between programmers and humans, and had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ways to deflect the question of which was more advanced. While he didn’t fuss about his appearance, he didn’t do the “geek-chic” aggressive lack of regard for clothes and hygiene that some of the programmers practiced. He wore his light brown hair longer than she wore her somewhat chemically enhanced blond hair. He was a little overweight, but not grossly so. He had a good sense of humor, and a ready smile. She didn’t know if she would call him a friend, but he was definitely a coworker who she didn’t mind working with.
But as a possible romantic interest, Mark really wasn’t her type: she was attracted to dark, sullen men, quick to take offense and slow to forgive, with deep obsessions about their careers, sports, or recreational pharmacology. Hence the moratorium. But still, he really wasn’t her type.
On the other hand, a hand massage would feel awfully good.
“Okay, thanks,” she said as she laid her right hand in his. “But no funny stuff.”
Mark turned her hand palm up, and started squeezing the end of her little finger, first the nail through to the front, then the sides. “I know,” he said as he started squeezing the first joint. “Your moratorium.” He moved farther down her finger.
“How do you know about that?”
“You told Michelle.”
“Awww. Yes. Well.” Michelle was an office gossip of epic proportions. It was rumored that she was learning Spanish so she would have an entire other culture to gossip about.
Mark reached the base of Karla’s little finger, and started again at the tip of her ring finger. Karla noted that his hands were smooth and the pressure he used firm. When he squeezed, the area he was pressing on almost reached the point of pain, but the release when he stopped left it much better than it felt before.
“Your fingers are slightly swollen from all that typing. I’m moving the blood back out of them, but you really should have let me do some of the typing.”
“Oh, yeah, that would work. You tell me what a feature does, then I tell you what to type about it, then you type what you said in the first place. This feels good.” Karla smiled as Mark finished the fingers and began working on the thumb.
“This should feel pretty good, too.” He interlaced the fingers of both his hands with her fingers, then started massaging the palm of her hand with his thumbs. In addition to the pressure on her palm his fingers spread her's wider than they had been in a very long time. Karla felt a sensation as if a blockage was removed and energy flowed through her hand. She couldn’t remember feeling anything quite like it before, and she liked it. A lot. An “Mmmmm” escaped from her lips.
Mark worked on her hand for a while, then pulled his fingers out from between hers and moved up to her wrist. He rotated her hand several times, applying gentle pressure that stretched things all the way up Karla’s forearm. He then used both hands to message up her arm towards her elbow.
When he reached her elbow he supported it with one hand while the other slid back down her arm to her wrist, and slowly lifted her hand. He placed it palm up on his shoulder, then leaned his cheek against her palm to hold it in place. His hand slid back up her arm to join the other, and they both started kneading her upper arm. Karla found that the rocking motion Mark was making as he worked on her arm caused her hand to softly caress his cheek. It added one more pleasant sensation to what was rapidly becoming the best end to a long work day she had ever had.
Mark massaged her upper arm, stopping well short of that delicate tip-of-the-shoulder/armpit area. He slowly slid his hands back down her arm to recapture her hand, which he lowered into her lap and released. There was no resistance at all when he reached for her other hand.
Although Karla now knew what Mark was going to do at every step of the way, that familiarity did not breed contempt. An “Ohhh,” was added to the earlier “Mmmmm,” as well as a sharp intake of breath when he found a particularly tender spot on her forearm. Somewhere around the wrist her eyes closed of their own accord, as if her subconscious decided the visuals were not needed, and shut them down to free up bandwidth. This felt good at a level that she hadn’t experienced in a long time. Far too long a time.
As Mark lowered her hand to her lap, she felt a mild regret that it was over. She took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, and opened her eyes. She was about to thank him when he started running his left hand up her left arm, and stood up. He stepped around behind her chair as his hand came to rest on her shoulder, and his right hand settled on her right shoulder. Karla was pretty sure that a shoulder rub had not been discussed, and that if it had she would have said, “no,” and if she had it would have been a mistake. She willed her shoulders to relax, and willed Mark to begin.
Instead of squeezing her shoulders as she expected, he lightly ran his hands up the sides of her neck, with his fingers sliding into her hair. Using his nails and medium pressure, he began to scratch her scalp.
Until that very second, Karla was not aware how very much her scalp wanted to be scratched. Now it felt as if each hair was dancing in its follicle, celebrating this unexpected relief. Her eyes closed again, and a sound that didn’t have a lot to do with language came out of her throat. A picture formed in her mind of chimps grooming each other, and she was OK with that.
After a timeless moment that seemed far too short, the scratching changed to fingertip massaging. Karla would have complained, except that the massage felt marvelous, and she had temporarily lost the power of speech. Mark’s fingers held her head firmly as his thumbs pressed on places on the back of her skull where the neck muscles attach. Karla’s head flopped forward, offering complete access to the back of her neck. More wordless sound came out when his strong hands started loosening up her neck.
After he had worked on the tops of her shoulders he let go with one hand, and placed it next to her shoulder blade. He held her shoulder with the other hand, and gently but firmly pulled. It was like he was reaching inside her to untangle the ropes in her shoulder. The release of tension made her feel a little light-headed.
The feelings she had had when she thought he was done earlier was nothing compared to the regret she felt now as he again slid his hand down her arm, ending up holding her hand in his as he took his seat. She kept her eyes closed and just breathed, trying to fix in her memory how she felt at this moment. After a while, she opened her eyes and smiled.
She was about to thank him when he casually said, “You know, I bet those high heels are tight on your feet.”
It was like a bombshell. It was as if those words transformed her shoes into vices, crushing her feet. The pain that had been deferred for hours came due all at once.
“I could rub your feet,” Mark said with a slight smile.
Karla would swear she could hear her feet shouting, “Yes! Yes! He could rub the feet!”
The smile widened slightly as he observed the echoes of her inner monologue play across her face. “It would feel good.”
“Yes! Yes! It would feel good!”
Karla knew that even if she wanted to say, “no” she was out-voted, and she couldn’t think of a reason why she might say no. “OK. Thank you.”
Mark pushed his chair back and slid into a cross-legged position on the floor. He reached out and took one of her feet, and pulled the shoe off. That helped, but also served to highlight how much her feet hurt. Mark positioned his hand, then squeezed hard and slowly let go. He then started working with his thumbs.
Karla wouldn’t have called it orgasmic, but she wouldn’t have argued with someone who did. She wouldn’t say it was better than sex. At least, not all sex. There were, however, a couple of times where she now knew she should have taken the time and got her feet rubbed, instead.
Mark continued to work on her foot; pressing with his thumbs on the ball of her foot, pressing the heel of his hand into the arch of her foot, and squeezing her heel very hard. It all felt wonderful, and Karla floated in the feeling.
Mark gently rested that foot in his lap, then picked up her other foot and removed her shoe. Then he stopped.
“I just realized that this might be viewed as unwanted attention.” Mark said as he lightly held her foot, carefully not squeezing.
Karla didn’t open her eyes. “It’s wanted. Attend.”
“But it could be considered a violation of your personal space.”
“Violate, then. For the love of God, violate me!”
Karla opened on eye and looked at him. She said, “Mark, if you don’t squeeze my foot, I will have to try to kill you. I will be unhappy if I succeed, but I will have to try.”
Mark’s smile broadened. “OK, if you insist…” And he did something.
It was transcendent. Karla achieved Enlightenment, and had the Mysteries of the Universe reveal themselves to her. She met God, and had a lovely chat with Him on the Meaning of Life. Later she would on occasion doubt the revelation that the Purpose of the Universe was to have your feet rubbed, but in general it seemed sound.
She became aware that both her feet were resting in Mark’s lap, and that he had stopped massaging them. Perhaps some time ago. She cleared her throat, “That was really good. I mean really good.” She thought for a moment. “And I am sorry about saying I would try to kill you. I meant it, but I am sorry I said it.”
Mark waved it off as he put her feet on the floor. “It’s nothing. Happens all the time.” He got up. “You get ready, I’ll grab my stuff, then I’ll walk you to your car.” He turned to go.
“Mark, why don’t you have a girlfriend?”
He stopped, still facing way from her. “I don’t play the game well. Women want me to change, but they don’t tell me what, and I get confused. I don’t have the right look, or the right car, or the right attitude.” He turned. “I don’t brood enough. The women I am attracted to seem to like a good brooder.” He smiled. “And it is rumored I tease.”
“You know, most men who touched me like that would have tried to seduce me.”
“Oh, I did. I think I succeeded.” He smiled at her.
He stepped forward and reached towards her hands. She reached out and took his. “We now have a friendship where touching is allowed,” he said, as he slowly moved forward. Karla realized he was going to kiss her, and she parted her lips and closed her eyes.
“And I’ve shown you that you have a friend who can make you moan with pleasure with the touch of his hands, and respects you and the limits you set.” He was so close she could feel his breath on her lips. “How seductive is that?” he whispered.
Then he stepped away and said, “I’ll just get my coat”, and walked briskly off towards his cubicle at the far end of the office. Karla stood there, dazed and deeply longing for a kiss that an hour earlier she would have refused.
When Mark got to his desk his phone was ringing. He picked it up. “Yes?”
“It’s five minutes after midnight.”
“The moratorium has expired.”
“You can keep the look and the car, and definitely keep the no-brooding attitude.”
“But we are going to work on the teasing thing.”
© Copyright Mike Brennan
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