The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Business and Pleasure

Part 1

Not for those under 18 (or whatever the legal age for this sort of stuff is in your area). If you’re not that old, Boo! Go away now. If you are offended by graphic descriptions of sexual activities, especially non-consensual ones, then don’t read this. All characters and situations are fictional.

Copyright © 2011

Archived on the Erotic Mind Control web site by permission of the author. This story may be downloaded for personal archiving as long as this notice is retained.

Anne’s right hand brushed at an imaginary speck of dust on the left sleave of her blouse. She was nervous. It wasn’t her fault that she was in this position. Not that that made it any easier. She leant forward slightly and looked up and down the table. It was ridiculously large, she thought, for the meeting it was about to host. It could easily seat twenty people. The table’s design, with long swept edges and narrow ends, was highly stylish. A row of panels along its centre had simple fold back lids that opened to reveal ports for the myriad mobile devices that accompanied anyone in business. Three laptops were already plugged in, including hers. Anne had to admit the plush chair in which she was sitting was more comfortable than the one in her office. But despite the obvious expense of the furnishings, it felt impersonal. The grey carpet, carefully chosen so you wouldn’t notice it, the off-white paint designed not offend anyone, were, to Anne, noticeably offensive. She sighed. It wasn’t the room’s fault it was almost identical to a thousand others in office buildings all over the world. Even the corporate artwork didn’t help make it any more distinguishable. Furtively she looked at her colleagues seated on either side of her. To her right Hannah was engrossed in whatever she was doing on her laptop. Perhaps it was last minute preparations, but Anne thought it more likely she was browsing the latest fashions. Hannah was notorious for her interest in clothes. To her left Joshua was shuffling papers, his display as nervous Anne felt. She knew both were highly capable, but between Hannah’s air of casual confidence and Joshua’s edginess Anne didn’t know whether she should be alarmed or reassured. No-one had spoken in minutes.

That she was seated between them only heightened the tension she felt. She’d have much rather been seated on one end. It was an unspoken rule in meetings that the important people sat in the middle, wasn’t it? But their boss, Owen Benson, had insisted that Anne sit in the middle for this meeting. Anne shook her head. Three days ago she had been barely aware of this case. It was a large company and the legal department, where she worked, dealt with many cases. Someone in a junior position like hers wasn’t expected to be familiar with them all. Hell, she thought, corporate paranoia meant she wasn’t cleared to know anything about most of them.

Anne hadn’t intended to end up working for a large company. She’d only taken the second degree in business as an insurance policy. Just as well though, she reflected, as the global financial crisis had cut job opportunities everywhere. So rather than joining a large legal chambers, as she’d once planned, she’d been forced to apply for almost anything. She’d happily taken this job when it was offered. Two years on she was a rising star in the department, but still very junior. So it had been a surprise when Owen had asked her, three days ago, to join the team on this case. Yes, she had worked with Amelia before, but Anne hadn’t thought that made her the obvious replacement for the older woman. Everyone in the office had been upset when Amelia suddenly fell ill. She had worked there for many years and was well liked by their colleagues. From the little Anne had heard it seemed that Amelia would be away for months. If she was ever well enough to return, that is.

Anne looked through the documents in front of her. She doubted that she’d learn anything new from them, having spent the last few days going through them again and again. But it helped her nerves. Most of the documents were patents. Like Amelia, Anne had some knowledge of patent law, although nowhere near as much experience. So she could almost understand why Owen wanted her to take Amelia’s place on this case, once he explained what it was. Their company was being sued for patent infringement by a rival. It had started out as a small matter. A failed start-up, Lelil Tech, had sued them as a last ditch effort to stay solvent. Nobody gave their opponents a chance, from what Anne now knew. Not only was the case weak, but the start-up had limited resources to pay its own lawyers. But then the rival company had stepped-in and bought out Lelil Tech. And their rival had pockets as deep as those of Anne’s company. Despite the weakness of the case it could be drawn out for years. Everyone knew that all their rival wanted was to bog the case down in court. Then until Anne’s company came up with a settlement their research would be hamstrung by the injunctions. Their rival would win both by getting market lead and, if the settlement amount was more than they had paid for Lelil Tech, by making a tidy profit on the transaction. The same game was being played out in dozens of patent law suits throughout the business world.

Anne had hesitated when Owen asked her to join the team working on the case. She hadn’t wanted to seem nervous in front of her boss, but the possible damages amount made her feel faint There had to be someone else more senior than her, she’d said, trying to keep her voice even. Owen had been patient. She guessed he’d realised the reasons for her reluctance. He’d gone through the other options and pointed out that she was the one available with the most knowledge of patents. In the end she’d reluctantly agreed.

The last few days she’d spent every waking hour reading the material related to the case. Her boyfriend, Liam, had been disgruntled by the sudden loss of her evening time. She’d tried her best to reassure him that the workload was only temporary. He’d shrugged. He knew what living with a lawyer meant. Anne smiled, remembering the effort Liam had made to stay awake until she joined him in bed. And what had happened after that.

“What do you think?” Hannah asked.

With a start Anne looked to her right and saw that the other woman was pointing at her laptop. Hannah had turned it so that Anne could get a better look at the screen. Anne struggled to keep a straight face as she saw she’d been right. Hannah had been browsing for clothes. Anne found herself looking at a web page showing a model in three different business suits.

“I was thinking the pinstripe,” said Hannah. A pantsuit was something Hannah sometimes wore. Anne didn’t like them, but it did look very good.

“Yes, it’s very nice,” Anne ventured.

Her eyes fell on another image, one with the model in a tasteful skirt suit. It was a style Anne liked, straight knee length skirt, tailored jacket. Of course it never looked as good as it did on the model, but, Anne reminded herself, she had nothing to complain about in the looks department. The model was no stick insect, thin but not outrageous, just like Anne. The model even had wavy shoulder length hair like Anne’s, although the model’s was a deep chestnut, where Anne’s was blonde. She made a mental note of the URL. The suit did look nice. It was probably expensive, but maybe she could afford it.

Anne could see the other woman frown in concentration. “Hmm, well, maybe.” Hannah turned the laptop back towards her.

“Where have that pair got to?” Hannah asked no-one in particular as she bookmarked the page despite her voiced reservations. Their boss, Owen, was supposed to be meeting them here with one of the research department heads, Dr. Simon Harrington. Owen had warned them that he and Harrington would probably be late. They were coming from an executive level meeting and, as Owen said, such things never ran to time.

“I’m sure they’ll be here soon,” replied Anne. She hoped her prediction came true. Meeting Dr. Harrington was the reason Owen had told her to sit in the middle. He was one of the witnesses within the company and, as the now junior member of the team; it was going to be Anne’s role to liaise with him. Owen had warned her she may even have to move her office to the building where Dr Harrington’s research team were based. If they were going to be working together for months Anne hoped that they’d get on well. Well, at least on a professional level. Anne liked to keep a strict separation between work and private. She wasn’t one of those people who liked socialising with her work mates. Oh, she liked most of them well enough. But business and pleasure were two different things as far as she was concerned. She saw enough of her colleagues in work hours.

Anne had tried to find out as much as she could about Dr. Harrington from the files she’d been given. It wasn’t much. He’d joined the company some years back, after working for the government. He was in his late 30’s, about ten years older than Anne. From the circumspect language in the files Anne suspected he had worked for some security agency or another. She wondered if he’d been reading up on her. Then she stopped. Did Dr. Harrington even know she’d replaced Amelia? It would be just like Owen to omit that little detail before the meeting. Owen was a good boss, but working for decades in the labyrinthine world of corporate legal warfare had left him with a nasty habit of keeping too many secrets. It would be just like him, Anne thought, to regard her addition to the team as a detail Dr. Harrington didn’t need to know before the meeting.

As her nerves reached new heights the door finally opened and Owen entered, ushering another man through. Anne guessed that it was Dr. Harrington. Medium build, short blonde hair prematurely flecked with silver and grey. His expression seemed carefully, deliberately, neutral although Anne noticed his eyebrows rise slightly as he looked in her direction. Was he wondering who she, the stranger, was? Had he been told Amelia was ill?

“Dr. Harrington,” Owen began, “I’d like you to meet Anne Robson. Unfortunately Miss Taylor has taken ill and we’ve had to replace her.” Oh god, Anne thought as she rose, Owen didn’t tell him. The table was only just wide enough for them to reach over to shake hands. Nervously she reached her hand towards his.

Anne tried to watch Dr. Harrington’s expression without being obvious. She couldn’t see any of the surprise he must be registering. She wasn’t sure, but she thought he might have been checking her out. His eyes had flicked away from hers, but if he was, his focus was back on her face almost before she noticed. Perhaps she was wrong, her nerves making her overly-suspicious. Their hand shake was quick, neither seeming to want the touch to linger. Anne was relieved, no over-lingering grip, no bravado masculine show of strength. Just a short, professional, greeting.

“Now, as we agreed at out last meeting,” Owen said after everyone was seated and the normal preambles to any business meeting dispensed with, “we’ll be placing a liaison in your section, at least for the foreseeable future. I know this is going to take up a considerable amount of your time, so rather than dragging you over here every time something needs to be discussed, having someone on your end to talk with you and check through the documents should be a significant saving. I’m suggesting Anne for that position.”

Dr. Harrington had laced his fingers together, his arms forming a triangle. He rested his chin on his hands, considering. “I see. Yes.” He looked straight at Anne, his expression severe, “Do you have any relevant background experience?”

Anne swallowed “Well, I don’t have any technical knowledge in this field, but I do have significant experience in patent disputes.”

Dr. Harrington nodded, a smile softening his expression, “Good. I’m no lawyer and I didn’t expect you to know anything about my field. But I’m sure we’ll find a way to make this work.” Dr. Harrington’s gaze turned to her boss. “Seriously Owen, how much of my time do you think this will take?”

Anne could see Owen shift uncomfortably in her seat. “Well, there’s a large amount of documents to analyse. Some of it I’m sure you can delegate but I wouldn’t be surprised if Anne needs a couple of hours of your time every couple of days, at least for the next few months.”

Dr. Harrington leant back in his seat. A distant look crept over his face, as if he was absorbed in some mental calculation. After some time he shrugged. “Oh well. No worse than I expected. So, you were going to ask me about prior art from third parties today, I think?”

Hannah had quietly closed her web browser. Joshua had cased his nervous shuffling as soon as the other men had entered the room. As the meeting went on Anne realised that Dr. Harrington was no sheltered scientist. From what she’d read he appeared to be an outstanding researcher. But he also showed an insightful, although somewhat cynical, ability to dissect an argument. More than once he shot down one of her colleagues when they suggested a legal manoeuvre he thought too transparent.

“I thought,” he said at one point, “that it was our opponents that are trying to bury the court in unnecessary argument. I’ll leave the legal tactics to you, but when it comes to the science I’d be more comfortable if we kept it straightforward.”

By the end of the meeting Anne was unsure of what progress they’d made. It wasn’t as if they’d done nothing, but the sheer bulk of documents related to the case made her feel as if they were trying to move a mountain using tweezers.

“I’ll see you out Simon,” Owen said at the end, “there’s a couple of other little things we need to discuss.”

As the two men left the room Anne realised just how tense she felt. She was sure iron bars had been inserted into her shoulders. No surprise, she told herself ruefully, any mistake here could cost her company hundreds of millions, if not billions. She knew it wouldn’t just be her working on the dispute. As it developed more lawyers and experts would be brought in, even from outside the company. But if it all went wrong there would be a search for scapegoats. As the junior member of the team she’d either be beneath notice or the first to take the blame. All she could do, she reflected, resignation seeping through her, was do her job as well as she could.

Anne had packed up her laptop before Joshua and Hannah. She wanted to get back to her office and make a start. Well, her soon to be ex-office. Or was it? Everything had happened in such a rush she didn’t even know that. Yes, she was going to be based in Dr. Harrington’s department for a few months, but after that she’d be coming back to the legal department. So would her office be kept for her in the meantime or not? And if not, did that mean she’d have to move everything? She shook her head. The uncertainty didn’t help her mood.

Distracted by the thoughts of everything she’d have to check, Anne hurried along as fast as her three-inch heeled pumps would allow. Voices coming from around the corridor corner brought her to a halt. Owen and Dr. Harrington. Should she let them know she was here? Turn around and walk away? Curiosity won out as she heard her name mentioned. Anne stayed were she was, listening.

“So Owen,” she heard Harrington say, pointedly, “exactly when did Miss Robson join the team?”

“Three days ago,” Owen replied, firmly, “Amelia was taken ill very suddenly. I had to replace her.”

“Is she going to be off that long? This case will take months.”

Anne could hear Owen sigh. “Yes. She’s really very sick. We don’t know when she’ll be back.”

“Hmm. All right. Is this Anne up to it? She looks fresh out of university.”

Owen gave a short laugh, “Well, I’m sure she’d be flattered to hear you say so, but she’s not quite that young. Look Simon, she’s very good. I know my people.”

“Well, if I’m going to be working with her that much I’d like to know a little more about her. What’s she like?” Anne could tell Harrington still wasn’t convinced.

“Very professional. Actually if I had to pick one word to describe her that would be it – professional. She likes to keep her private life very separate from work. She doesn’t let office chat distract her”

“Good,” Harrington cut in. “Suits me. But the next time there’s something like this, shoot me an email or something, hmm?” Anne could hear the edge of ice in the scientist’s voice.

Anne wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or not. She was pleased at the praise Owen had given her. And she admitted that she had no interest in socialising with her colleagues. But Harrington’s brusqueness had her wondering just how easy the next few months would be.

Two days later, Dr. Harrington, or Simon as he insisted she call him, was showing Anne the room that would be her temporary office. His coldness of the other day had disappeared, replaced with a friendly warmth that surprised her. Anne allowed herself to think that her worries had been exaggerated. The office was right next door to his and even shared a decent view across the business park.

“I’m not kicking someone out of here am I?” asked Anne, concerned for whoever had made way for her.

“No,” Simon smiled, “we used this as an extra meeting room. But we can do without it for a while. And being next to mine it will save time when we need to meet.” Anne had to admit the furniture did look new. And the direction it faced promised some nice afternoon sun. Natural light, thought Anne. If there was one thing she hated about the corporate world it was the amount of time she spent in meetings in rooms with no outside light. Rooms like that made her struggle to stay awake.

“And if you need anything, just ask Chloe. She’s the one who got this furnished for you.” Chloe McFarland was Simon’s administrative assistant. It was nice of Simon to offer to share her services, but Anne was sure she’d seen some hostility in the other woman’s eyes when they had met earlier. Chloe was probably fifteen years older than her. Anne had seen that look before, older women who took an instant dislike to her because of her looks and relative youth. Some women in her position would go out of their way to tone down their looks. But it wasn’t as if Anne paraded around in short skirts and caked on makeup. Knee length was as short as she went. And her use of makeup was restrained. She wasn’t going to give it up for anyone. She could have gone for a severe hair style, but she was proud of her wavy locks. Anyone who was jealous of her could just put up with it. Anne thought their glares well worth the price.

Well, she was pretty sure it was worth it, as sometime later Chloe favoured her with one of her special looks, over her glasses like a disapproving librarian.

“Chloe?” Simon’s assistant had insisted that Anne call her by her first name.

“Yes Miss Robson.” Chloe refused to call Anne anything other than Miss Robson. It seemed a courtesy but to Anne’s ears Chloe said it in exactly the same way her teachers had used when she was in trouble. The emphasis was always on the Miss, her surname slightly drawn out.

“Could you order some dividers for me? These files are going to start building up.”

“Certainly. But do you know we have an online stationery system? If you put your order through that I can get them for you much more quickly.” Chloe sounded polite but Anne was sure there was a certain delight lurking there, in making Anne look ignorant.

“Oh, umm, thank you. Could you email me the URL?” Anne hastily retreated to her office before Chloe could reply. Once safely inside Anne let her anger show on her face. How could she know about the online system if no-one told her? And if it was any one’s job to hell her, it was Chloe’s. Anne knew it would have been useless trying to argue that point with Simon’s assistant.

She had no such troubles with Simon. He went out of his way to make her feel welcome.

“Any time you need to, just pop in. Chloe will tell you if I’m with someone,” he’d said. Anne wasn’t sure about braving his doorkeeper, but she knew she’d have to summon her courage.

Simon’s office was larger than hers. Its walls were lined with bookshelves, mainly holding technical books and journals, but also a few more personal texts. It seemed that Simon liked classic writers. She could see Austen’s and Bronte’s amongst the titles. And a scattering of detective stories. That was if the books actually represented his tastes. None of it really appealed to Anne. She had had enough of the classics in school. Her bookshelves were filled with more contemporary literature. Ah well, she mused, they weren’t here to discuss books.

Simon’s desk was set well back from the door. It was a solid oaken piece, looking slightly out of place amongst the more modern furnishing that occupied the remainder of the room. There was a computer on his desk, and another on a table on the left hand side of the room. On a shelf on the right was a large café machine, which Simon took great delight in using to supply tea and coffee to whatever guests he had in his office.

“Settling in?” he asked her after they had finished going through another pile of documents spread out between them on the large desk.

“Yes, it’s a lot to get through, but I think I’m getting there.”

“I was thinking,” Simon continued, “that we really should give you a tour of the labs. Just to give you a bit of context for our work here. I could show you around myself tomorrow if you liked.”

“Oh, well, I’d like to see it, but do you really have the time?” Anne knew this case was a burden on Simon. They had spent hours together already, plus there was the extra time he spent examining the documents, and it was all in addition to his work as head of this research department. She knew that he was working late to make up for it. Chloe had taken great delight in telling her exactly what Simon was being forced to do. However cheerful a face he put on it, Anne was worried about the effect that the extra work would have on him. She was sure the stress on them both would only get worse before it was over.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said reassuringly. “Look, I know you’re worried about the amount of my time this is taking, but really, it can’t be helped. I appreciate the concern, and, well, the support but it’s all part of the job. If you’re worried, finish your cup and we’ll call it there for the day. How’s that sound? We don’t want you burning out either.”

Anne nodded. The next pile could be left for tomorrow. She certainly had enough to go on with for the rest of the day and she was sure that there were other things Simon needed to do. She drained her cup and looked past Simon out the window behind his desk. She shook her head. She was sure the shadows from the afternoon sun hadn’t been that long a moment ago. She must be imagining things. Simon had asked to finish the meeting. He wouldn’t have let her sit there dozing.

That night Anne lay awake in bed next to Liam. She watched the shadows flicker across the ceiling of their bedroom, cast by the streetlights and the odd passing car. Despite the calm Simon projected she knew he must be stressed. It couldn’t be easy for him, juggling his normal job and the demands of the case. Anne felt a bit guilty, he’d said how supportive she’d been, but really, had she been that much of a help? Yes, she was certain she was doing her job as well as she could, but, really was that enough? He’d been looking after her, making her feel welcome, even worrying if she was working too hard, but who’d been looking after him? Not Chloe, that was for sure. It wasn’t as if Simon could go home to a supportive partner. As Simon had told her, he was single. Anne gnawed her lip. She had Simon, plus she had Liam. It wasn’t fair. She frowned, wondering what she should do. She couldn’t do for Simon what a girlfriend would. That idea was silly. She wasn’t his girlfriend; she had no interest in him that way. Quite apart from Liam she was determined to keep her work and private lives totally separate. And the idea of an office affair left her cold. She wasn’t that sort of person.

But, well, Anne did have to admit she was probably the most attractive woman that Simon had regular contact with. That wasn’t hard, as Anne was far more attractive than any other woman she had seen around the department. A bit of feminine support would probably do wonders for Simon’s stress-level. But what could she do without overstepping the bounds, hers included? She was determined to stay professional. Simon, the thought struck her, was a man. And men liked looking at pretty women. She wondered if Simon had been sneaking surreptitious looks at her. She remembered her thought from their initial meeting, where she’d wondered if he was checking her out. Not that he’d see much if he did. Her clothes might be stylish, but they were conservative. Hmm. She didn’t want to change that. She had a position and an image to maintain. Not to mention her self-respect. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t let Simon see things that nobody else did. Smiling Anne rolled over and went to sleep.

The next afternoon Anne paused outside Simon’s office. She went through her plan again. She’d been thinking about it all day. Really it wasn’t very much. But it might help Simon’s morale. The case depended upon him. She had to make sure he bore up. So if she could cheer him up with something so tiny it would be worth it.

“Is there anyone with him?” she asked Chloe.

“No, but he is working on an important report, perhaps I should check.”

Anne didn’t wait. She’d summoned up her courage and she wasn’t going to let Chloe distract her. “This is important as well, I’m sure he won’t mind.”

Ignoring the other woman’s disapproving look she knocked on Simon’s door

“Come in,” she heard him say.

As she entered the room Simon looked up. He smiled. “Good afternoon Anne,” he said as she closed the door behind her.

“Sorry to barge in, but I really need a quick explanation of this.” Anne held up a technical report in her left hand.

“Certainly,” Simon replied, “let me have a look.”

Faking a cough Anne quickly turned away and undid the topmost fastened button on her blouse with her right hand, pulling the sides apart to show as much cleavage as possible. Not that she had an awful lot, she admitted ruefully, B-cups didn’t exactly thrust themselves forward, but she hoped it would do the trick and give him something pleasant to look at. Normally she kept almost all the buttons done up, certainly enough to reveal nothing at all of her breasts. If Simon was as observant as she hoped he was sure to notice.

As the meeting went on Anne furtively searched for signs Simon had noticed her little gesture. She was sure his eyes dropped from her face from time to time. And that he seemed a little more relaxed than he had been over the past few days. She smiled to herself at the success of her plan. It wasn’t as if she was flirting or anything. She was sure both of them understood that. But she knew that a little bit of attractive female flesh could brighten any man’s day.

The one regret Anne had was the amount of sleep she had lost coming up with this plan. Towards the end of the meeting she felt herself dozing off. Concentrating on Simon’s technical explanation combined with her fitful wakefulness of the previous night had taken their toll. Anne forced herself awake. She really did need this report explained. She came back to herself holding the cup of tea that Simon had given her. Funny, she thought looking at the empty cup, I don’t remember finishing it.

“So, is that clear enough?” Simon asked, “I know some of this material can be a bit dense.”

Like I feel just now, thought Anne, still struggling to fully wake up. But Simon was very good at explaining the technical material. If this ever comes to court, she thought, he’ll make an excellent witness. “Yes, thanks, I get it well enough now.”

Before she opened the door to leave Simon’s office Anne redid her button. What she’d done had been for Simon alone. She certainly didn’t want Chloe seeing what she’d done.

Over the next few days it became a little ritual. Whenever they were alone Anne would give a quick cough, turn away and undo a button before pulling back her blouse as far as she could. Simon never gave any sign that he noticed, but Anne was sure he took his chance to admire the view she gave him. And she was sure her little gesture of support was helping his mood.

Her satisfaction in helping Simon certainly helped her mood. And helped her deal with the inconveniences Chloe occasionally threw her way. Such as the pile of research meeting notes and invitations she was met within her email inbox one morning.

Anne exited her office to find Chloe, as always, working at her desk, “Umm, Chloe?”

“Yes, Miss Robson,” the same condescending intonation as ever, Anne noticed.

“Do I need to go to these research staff meetings? It’s not as if I’m really part of the department and the next one clashes with a meeting I have with Owen.”

“Oh, no, sorry, did you get that?” Chloe sounded surprised, but Anne was suspicious. “I’m sure you were added to the mailing list by accident. The IT section must have put you on. They did connect your computer you know, so they must have thought you were on the department staff.”

Yes, thought Anne archly, I do know who installs computers. She also wondered whether the IT staff would have added her to the list without someone’s authority. Someone like Chloe. “Oh, oh well, no problem, but could you get them to take me off?”

“Of course.” Chloe said of course, but Anne was still deleting emails by the time of her meeting with Owen.

“How is it over there?” Owen asked.

“Pretty good, really. Simon’s been very generous with his time. He even showed me around the labs.”

“Really?” asked Owen sceptically.

“Yes, he said he wanted me to get some context on their work.” She hadn’t understood much of what they did, but at least the work of the department wasn’t quite such a mystery now. The researchers had mostly been what she expected, typical science types. Some friendly, some obviously resenting the intrusion. One of them, she thought the woman’s name was Charlotte, had struck her as particularly attractive, but she seemed fairly junior, not someone that Simon would spend a much time with. Pity, Anne had thought, if she was then it would be another outlet for Simon’s stress.

“Hmm? Oh, good then,” Owen nodded, “don’t push him too hard though, we don’t want him offside.”

“Oh, I won’t,” Anne replied, “I think I have a strategy to keep him happy.” Not that she was going to tell Owen it what was. Perfectly innocent her gesture may be, but she didn’t think her boss would understand.

“Hmm, good, now look, I suspect the other side are about to drop a new filing on us, so be ready.”

Just as well Owen had warned her. Otherwise on Monday she might have missed the notification message amongst the emails still unnecessarily crowding her inbox.

“I’m going to need Simon to walk me through some of this,” she mused as she pored over the technical parts of the new documents. She knew that there wasn’t much time to prepare the affidavit to match this new claim by their opponents. Yes, they could ask the court for a postponement, but even preparing that would require time. The decision would be Owen’s but she needed to be on top of the technical side. At least from a patent point of view. “This is going to take a couple of meetings.” And not just dropping into Simon’s office. This meant serious blocks of time. And that meant talking to Chloe.

Anne rose from her chair and headed to the door. She could have used the phone, or even email, but she preferred taking the other woman on face-to-face.


“Yes Miss Robson.” Maybe I should pull out one of my old school uniforms, thought Anne, maybe that would make her happy.

“I need to schedule a couple of meetings with Simon. This week if possible.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Anne wondered if Chloe had taken a course in insincere regret, “He’s booked up. How about late next week?” Late next week? The court wouldn’t stand for that. Anne wasn’t looking forward to explaining to Owen that they’d need to ask, half-prepared, for a postponement because she hadn’t been able to get through the material. But without Simon’s help she couldn’t make enough sense of it.

“Are you sure?” Anne asked, already accepting defeat.

“Sure about what?” came Simon’s voice from down the hall. He must have been out of his office, thought Anne.

“Miss Robson,” cut in Chloe before Anne could say anything, “was asking to arrange some meetings with you, but as I was explaining to her that you’re fully booked until late next week.”

Simon came over and examined his schedule on Chloe’s computer screen. “Hmm” he said.

“What’s it about Anne?”

“The other party have dumped a new claim on us and we have to have something back to the court in a few days. But I need a lot of it deciphered before we can put in a filing or even ask for a postponement.”

“I see.” Simon’s lips pressed together.

“Look,” he said to Chloe, “those conference calls can be put back a few hours. Puts it into their office hours anyway. And the meeting with Ben will wait a few days.” He indicated some times on the screen. Anne saw that the first of them was the next day, Tuesday. “Will those do?” Simon asked, looking up at her.

“Yes, yes, but umm, won’t you have to be here very late to make up?” Indecision caught at Anne. She needed the time with Simon. But she didn’t want to make his life any more difficult than it already was. She could sense Chloe fuming, but Anne didn’t mind that in the least.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m a big boy, I’ll cope. But can you email me the material beforehand?”

“Umm, most of it, but there’s a couple of hard copies.”

“Oh that’s fine. Get someone to run them off on the photocopier and bring them in.”

Half an hour later Anne was entering Simon’s office with the new copies still warm. She’d been half tempted to ask Chloe to do the copying but had thought better of it. In the end she’d gone to Julie, one of the more junior admin staff who Simon had said she could ask for things like that. Simon was standing in front of his café machine, two cups sitting there. Anne watched the steam rise as her hand rose to undo her button and push the sides apart.

“Here,” he said, “take this.” He offered her one of the cups. “I’ve got a couple of minutes before my next meeting, so give me a quick rundown on what you need explained.”

Anne quickly took him through the relevant parts as she sipped at her coffee.

“That’s it?” Simon asked. Anne nodded. “Good,” he smiled and looked at the clock on his desk. “Just in time for that meeting. So if you could finish up that cup and…,” he gestured towards the door. It was an unusual, almost impatient, gesture from him. Anne was sure she could detect signs of stress in the way his lips pinched together.

Anne quickly drained her cup and then caught herself. It was almost as if she’d been dozing. She couldn’t have been, Simon had just said that it was almost time for his next meeting. But she couldn’t shake the thought that she had dozed off, even if only for a moment.

That night Anne again had trouble sleeping. While Simon had been willing enough to change his schedule to suit her, that only made her feel more guilty. The extra hours he was putting in could only be adding to the pressure he was under. Irritably she tossed and turned. She remembered the tight look on his face this afternoon as he’d asked her leave so he could make his next meeting. Despite her efforts Simon was still showing signs of stress. Well, really, she only had herself to blame. After all, she was only showing him was what he could see if he looked out the door. She might be showing more than she usually did, but that only put her where most women were. Yes she was more attractive than the other women in his department. Well, maybe apart from Charlotte, but Simon didn’t see much of the junior scientist. But Simon could walk down the street and see more female flesh than Anne was showing him, even with her little gesture. No wonder it wasn’t having much affect. She would have to do better. As relief at her decision seeped through her, she was finally able to get to sleep.

Anticipation, mixed with hesitation, ran through Anne as she entered Simon’s office Tuesday afternoon. She paused for a moment, looking across the office at him. The light from the afternoon sun, angled low in early spring, streamed in through the window. It picked out the colours in the carpet and bathed Simon’s oak desk in a warm glow. This time Anne didn’t cough, or turn away. She was making an effort to help Simon, so she wanted to be sure he noticed. Her hand rose and undid one button, then another, and another, the last below the line of her bra. Firmly she pushed the two sides of her blouse apart, revealing as much of her bra and her breasts as she could. Anne realised Simon had been watching her the whole time, but she hadn’t looked in his direction. She’d been staring into the distance out the window. What she was doing was, she admitted to herself, a little unusual. If someone else saw it they might misinterpret what she was doing as being something inappropriate. She was sure, though, that Simon would take it for what it was, a simple gesture to make his day a little easier. After all, she thought, there’s nothing wrong with having a pleasant appearance. It really wasn’t any different than giving someone a smile. But she knew that there were those who would deliberately misunderstand.

“Anne?” Simon’s voice broke her out of her reverie. “Are you ready to start going through this?”

“Oh, yes, of course.” As normally as she could Anne walked to the empty chair by Simon’s desk and sat down across from him. She desperately wanted to know if he was looking at her breasts. But staring at him would be rude. Instead she gave her attention to the documents they had to discuss.

As the meeting wore on Anne risked the occasional glance in Simon’s direction. She thought she saw him looking in the direction of her chest a few times. Still, she wasn’t certain. What was obvious though was the improvement in his mood as the meeting went on. Gone was the tightness in his expression that she’s seen yesterday. By the end of their meeting he was almost relaxed. Anne had to admit that she felt less stressed as well. It was almost as if every time she thought Simon was looking at her breasts she could feel the tension running out of her.

To Be Continued