The Wrong Type of Seduction

7 Volunteer Val


7: Volunteer Val

“Ms. Braun.”

Val looked up from her laptop to the man who smiled down at her with keen interest. His eyes tried not to venture to her breast, but failed. He was an older man with salt and pepper hair, maybe in his late forties early fifties. Not bad looking, thin and we’ll manicured from head to toe. Black business suit, neatly trimmed hair, and he smelled nice, he seemed like a safe easy prospect if she were interested. She wasn’t. But clearly by the way he looked her up and down, he was.

“Yes, can I help you?” She asked setting her laptop aside.

“I’m told you are getting the invitations ready for the gala coming up in a little over a month.”

She nodded and smiled politely. “Yes. That’s what I was working on just now.”

“Oh. Okay, um…” He cleared his throat. “I’m told you have a reputation for creating miracles…”

She chuckled. “No, I just donated enough money to the foundation to make sure this year’s gala happened.”

“Well I want to personally thank you,” He held out his hand as if she should be honored to take it.

“Oh…” She looked him in the face and recognized him as one of the founding members of the charity. “Yes…Nice to meet you, Dr. Harrington.”

“And nice to meet you.” He smiled hesitantly and just stared at her awkwardly. When her lips quirked in amusement, he cleared his throat and said, “Yes, I would like to ask… we need some negotiators if you know any.”

Yes, but she wasn’t mixing her professional life with her private life. She thought for a moment. “If you want negotiators, I might be able to help.”

“Really? Good. The local music school, you know the one up the street that has all those gifted…kids…”


He groaned as if he didn’t even like hearing its name. “Each year we try to get their participation, but each time, they can’t give us one volunteer. It’s for charity! For a good cause! And yet…” He stuffed his hands into his pants pockets. “I know those students have a busy schedule. And most of them already have volunteer work they do, but just once-“

“I’ll help.” She smiled cutting him off. Should she go now or after lunch? With a glance at her watch to check how long before noon, she said, “Anyone in particular I should speak to once I get there?”

“Someone in the admin building should be able to help you. Its been a year since I spoke to anyone there, so things have probably changed.”

A year? Shouldn’t the man have continued speaking with the school to build a rapport so that when it was time he could have easily scheduled someone? “I’ll see what I can do.” Even though she had a bad feeling there was already history between the school and the foundation.

After a twenty minute walk, Val stood at the administration front desk smiling politely at the agitated woman.

“That Harrington does this every year. And every year we tell him he needs to let us know in advance. I need at least a week or two to access the students’ schedules. He needs to remember these students don’t just attend school. Some have other engagements. And some have major projects that take up their time. Then you have other foundations and events that want them and contact me months in advance. I can’t just grab a student, one month before an engagement when others have booked months in advance.” The woman finally came up for air and Val honestly felt sorry for her.

“I apologize for the inconvenience. I didn’t realize this was an ongoing issue. I can’t speak for Dr. Harrington, but I do hope there is something I can do… maybe volunteer some of my time to help you look through the students schedules or maybe-“

“The offer is nice, but student records and their schedules are confidential.”

“Maybe I could go directly to the different departments and ask around?”

She looked at Val thoughtfully. “That might work. But I suggest you go to each head of the departments and get there permissions before proceeding. They may even be able to tell you who would be a good fit.”

“Thank you. Should I make an appointment first?”

“Give me a second. I might be able to make a few quick phone calls . Some of them are here today. One or two may be willing to see you right now.” The woman sat down at her seat and began to work. “I wish that Dr. Harrington sent you last year. And the year before…”

After ten minutes of phone calls, Val trekked to the dance department. There she spoke to a short woman with gray curls and a business suit that looked like it was tailored to fit her perfectly. She spoke pleasantly and confidently about the program before she told Val it was a shame she didn’t come to them sooner. She did introduce her to some of the students who directed them to other students that may have open schedules. After about an hour and a half of running around…nothing.

Next was the music department. Bigger than the dance department, she had a feeling that she would be there the rest of the day. But she wanted to at least try to accomplish something other than defeat. True, if she called her own office, it would have been done by now, but Val liked getting her hands dirty herself.

The man showing her around the music building was an assistant to one of the professors since no one else had time to help her. He tried to pretend he was being helpful, even thought he clearly didn’t want to. They were going from class to class, with a lot of blank faces and head shakes of refusal, when she saw him.

Or more like, he saw her. Standing in the hall with a group of students his age, he lifted his short cropped brown hair and their eyes locked.

“Hey!” He waved, leaving his group to jog up to her grinning. “You’re here!”

“Hi.” She groaned inwardly at her horrible luck. Why was she still running into him? With so many people living in the city, she didn’t think New York City was this small.

Dressed in loose jeans ripped at the knee and a plain black t-shirt that fitted over his broad chest, he grinned the most adorable smile with those heart melting dimples. She almost forgot why she swore him off.

“Oh, Mr. Delarosa, you know Ms. Braun?” The young man asked coming to life in front of the guy.

“Not as much as I’d like. So… Ms. Braun,” He drew out her last name like it was delicious on his tongue. “What are you doing here?”

Val opened her mouth to speak, but her tour guide suddenly became chatty.

“She’s looking for talent for the charity gala the women’s foundation down the street are throwing. I was just telling her that because so many students were usually booked this close to the date, it would be hard to-“

“When it is?” Matt asked taking out his phone. His face drew up serious showing a business like attitude.

“Next month on the eleventh.” The guide answered.

Matt let his thumbs takeover as the guide told him the details. “How many people did you need?” Matt looked at her pointedly.

Because the guide didn’t know that information, Val finally got a work in and said, “We already have a few acts booked. I do know we still have about two hours to fill up.”

He nodded continuing to enter the details into his phone. “Where is the location?”

“The small theater on twenty-sixth.”

He paused and looked up at her. A curious expression crossed his face before he shook his head. “Nope.” He pressed a number in his phone then put it to his ear. “Have the invitations gone out yet?” He asked her.

“I’m still working on that.”

He nodded. Then his face changed. “Hey, it’s Matt. Check the schedule for the Music Hall. See if they can take a large event on the 26th of next month.” He pulled his face from the phone for a moment. “So can I get your first name?”

She cocked an eyebrow.

“Worth a shot.” His attention went back to his phone. “They do? Can you book it for me?” Pause. “Thank you! I’ll have Pete call you with the rest of the details.” He smirked. “Yeah, I know. Later.” He hung up and then went back to letting his thumbs control his phone. “Have you had lunch?” He asked glancing up at her with the most shy expression. If she were any other women she’d have swooned.

At that moment a chorus of sounds echoed as phones began to beep, chime, ring, sing, and play music.

She just looked at him in wonder. Had he just sent out a mass text?

“I know this restaurant around the corner that serves good soups and sandwiches.” He blushed as he ran his hand over the back of his neck. When his phone vibrated he looked back down at it and began to read. “I can get you fifteen acts. Including me, sixteen if you give me your name and have lunch with me.” He looked up at her cautiously a blush tinting his high cheekbones. She wasn’t sure if he was doing the captivating thing on purpose or if it was his natural charm.

“Val.” She answered because he helped more than she hoped for. Plus the persistence…the persistence!

He didn’t cheer out loud, but his face showed the most excited “Yes!” face she had ever seen. “Okay. I’ll be there.”

“You mean your schedule isn’t already full?” She asked curiously.

“Not anymore. My manager’s going to have a tantrum, but he gets paid to put up with my antics…plus its for a good cause.”

“Which cause? The abused and battered women? Or me?”

Matt grinned that adorable smile and said, “I’ll go with the safe answer and say the women.”

“Good man,” she said turning to her guide. “Thank you for your time. Have a good day.” Then she turned back to Matt. “I guess I owe you lunch.” He held his hand up to his heart his face alighting in the most happy blissful expression and said, “Yes, please.”


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