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|The Nice Guy (standard:romance, 4956 words)|
|Author: Rick||Added: Feb 24 2003||Views/Reads: 2532/4883||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Jack is a stressed-out, overweight and veteran business traveler who dreams of a romantic interlude. When a close female business associate needs his help, he finds out whether the dream can become reality.|
Jack settled into his seat and stared out at the airport tarmac. He was on yet another Sunday night red-eye flight to Europe for yet another weeklong business trip. He purposely did not bring a magazine on the plane figuring he would work on the flight over. Instead, he rationalized that his stressed-out psyche required that he spend this time relaxing rather than focusing on something as dry as the contract that he and his Telebotics colleagues would have to face this week. On the other side of the table would be the Flemish delegation from Euro Business Systems (EBS)...pleasant enough socially, but very impassioned about this new collaboration, and flush with European venture capital. Getting the contract signed was the team's sole mission for this trip. Telebotics was a typical high-technology firm located west of Boston. Originally the brainchild of an MIT professor, many MIT alumni, including Jack, had worked there through the years. Jack title's was Vice-President of Engineering, but he spent a significant portion of his time drumming up business by selling the technology to potential customers. Telebotics was in the communications switching device development business, catering primarily to multinational financial institutions and their network providers. He had been with the company since its start-up days back in the early 1980's. The company had successfully grown during the telecommunications revolution of the 1990's; Jack was fortunate and just fanatical enough to have been along for this ride, so had accordingly been promoted through the ranks. During his 18 years with the firm, he had picked up a substantial businessman's paunch from the combination of rich restaurant food, constant stress and lack of exercise. This was a far cry from his MIT days when, as a member of the crew team, he had developed a fine male physique. Those previously sculpted muscles had now softened considerably, but he retained rugged good looks with a square jaw, thick black hair with only a modestly receding hairline and reasonably good teeth. He had been married for a short time after college, but the total dedication to his work at Telebotics has gotten in the way. In Jack's mind, this dedication precluded a commitment to another significant relationship, or even a regular workout routine, for that matter. Jack had always had a hearty appetite, especially for rich ethnic foods, which he often used to ablate the ensuing loneliness. His girth gradually expanded, further diminishing his confidence around women. Thus was established a repeating cycle of working, eating and lonely desperation that had gone on for nearly two decades. After so many years of solo travel, he knew all the most common techniques to pass the time. The in-flight British Airways magazine was predictable, and alcohol was rapidly becoming his amusement method of choice. He had stopped in the terminal pub for a beer, and was now nursing his second mini-bottle of Chardonnay. Jack longed to talk to someone but his neighbor to the left was Italian. There was an attractive forty-something looking woman in a flannel shirt across the aisle. They had locked glances a few times. He imagined that she was British. How easy it ought to be to strike up a conversation... “I noticed you reading Hello!. Are you from the UK?” “Well, yes. Actually I was born in New York, but my mother and father divorced when I was only nine. My mum moved back to London after that. So I have a dual citizenship.” “Funny, I was also born in New York. However, my parents could drag me only as far as Connecticut.” Jack imagined them both having a good innocent laugh at that. With the ice broken, they would spend the rest of the flight in pleasant and witty exchanges. After disembarking the plane, they would split a cab into the city, and have a drink together. With the alcohol-induced release of inhibitions, they would end up in an impassioned embrace and quickly agree to spend the night in his hotel room... “Chicken or pasta?” “Huh? Oh, uh, chicken, please” The flight attendant had interrupted his little revere. As his fantasy encounter with this attractive woman faded, Jack crossed his arms over his large belly, once again reminding him how out of shape he was. He Click here to read the rest of this story (485 more lines)
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