Ed Washington, Chief Information Officer for Motivos, found it natural to be on his knees when he met with his boss. When he’d first admitted this, she’d been nice about it, praised him, even, for being so open about what he needed with her. These days it was just routine. Today, he’d printed up the reports Lavinia wanted, presented them to her and bent down, hoping to be given permission to stroke his cock.
Just another day at the office.
“The formal reports look good,” Lavinia said. Oh God, that voice! “You may stroke. Tell me what else you’ve learned this week.”
“Oh, thank you, Lavinia!” Some part of him hated how naturally he sang that out. But he needed relief.
“Your new VP of Engineering, Ms. Thorne, is asking a lot of questions.”
Lavinia looked up at the ceiling. “Abigail comes from Alight, they’re great innovators over there.”
“Not as great as you,” he said, feeling his cock leap in his hand when he said it. It felt so good to say nice things to Lavinia.
Lavinia smiled and rolled her eyes. “You’re just saying that because you’re brainwashed.”
Oh fuck, hearing that was good. Ed felt a shiver run through his body. The idea that he was brainwashed took him like an orgasm, though, of course, he didn’t get to orgasm yet. He hadn’t finished his presentation to Lavinia.
“Ms. Thorne... Abigail, she doesn’t like that she isn’t allowed to meet with everyone else at her level throughout the company. She wants to get together with the other department heads, exchange ideas. She says that’s how things work at Alight.” He lowered his eyes to the soft carpet for a moment. Sometimes if he came hard, Lavinia let him lie there for awhile while he worked. He wanted to rub his face into it.
He looked up again in time to see Lavinia give a regal shrug. “Five minutes after Alight puts out a new phone, there are knockoffs with the same capabilities. We need to be tighter about security, you know that.”
The annoyance in her voice made his hands slow down. He was already desperate to cum, he woke up that way on days when he was supposed to report to Lavinia, but when she got irritated, his strokes got slower. It was just how it worked, how he worked these days.
“Yes, Lavinia,” he mumbled.
“Did you explain my information security protocols to her?” Lavinia asked.
“Yes, Lavinia, several times. But she just doesn’t seem to understand.”
“Does she understand that if there’s any industrial espionage, the nondisclosure agreement she signed will ruin her?”
So frustrating. He wanted to stroke. “I didn’t explain it like that,” Ed said, “But I told her.”
“Fair enough.” Lavinia said. She looked at the hand he had wrapped around his cock. Her gaze made him get hard again. “Tell me more. You may stroke.”
“Feels so good,” he said. He rolled his eyes a bit, focusing on the pleasure. He didn’t really need to think, he just let the words flow out. “Abigail wants to meet, I told her to clear it with you. She tried to email the other department heads, I bounced it back. Asked about interoffice messaging, I told her it wasn’t allowed.”
“She might not fit in here,” Lavinia mused. “I’ve poached more employees from Alight than any other company, you know. Nate says some of them aren’t worth the money. But we could do a lot worse than to be the ‘Alight’ of motivational technology. They make technological discoveries, we make psychological ones. I’m going to be a silicon valley legend, just like Derek Luxfeld was.”
Ed grunted, his pleasure fully ramped back up. “So picky,” he said.
“All these executives come from ‘Alight’ and they want everything to be like it was at ‘Alight.’ They hang out together in bars. They message each other about how things were. You know that Abigail used to work with Derek Luxfeld? I do, because she never stops texting about it on her company phone.” Even while he was closing his palm around his cock, he couldn’t keep his bitterness about Alight Technologies out of his voice. He knew his boss had some kind of thing about Alight, and their founder, Derek Luxfeld, but it had to be the smuggest, most pretentious bunch of bastards in the Valley. His cock gave a squeeze. So good.
Lavinia was really staring at him now. “Our Abigail knew Derek Luxfeld? Of course she did. She was one of his executives.”
“Yes...” Ed said, the word coming out of his mouth in a hiss.
“You’re going to get me copies of all the text messages where she talks about him. I’d like to read what she has to say, then I’m going to meet with her. I might have to meet with all of my hires from Alight. Individually.”
“Yes,” he said. He was so close.
“This has been productive. Thank you for meeting with me, Ed, and thank you for all the hard work I know you’re doing keeping my company safe from intellectual theft.”
“I jus’ want to be of service,” Ed whined. “I got eyes on company phones, laptops, cameras. The whole system. Somebody sneezes in this place? I know.”
“I’m so glad,” Lavinia said, her voice almost warm. “You may cum.”
Jaiyana perversely preferred to have her secret meetings in diners. Ever since Conrad quit, the rumor was he’d gotten fired for embezzlement but Jaiyana didn’t believe it, Lavinia had been watching her. Jaiyana was pretty sure her internet use was monitored. So she’d actually tracked down the new head of engineering and product development in person and asked her to lunch.
She smiled out the window, seeing her lunchdate walking up out of the mist. It had turned out to be a great day for a secret meeting, stormy and cool. Jaiyana had been too hungry for green juice, so today she was eating stir-fried vegetables over quinoa. It wasn’t good but at least it was warm.
Abigail came into the diner and stood in the doorway, looking around. She was older than Jaiyana was, with streaks of gray in her black hair. Jaiyana had a few engineers on her team and all of them seemed to respect Lavinia’s latest hire.
Jaiyana waved her over and then gave her a moment to settle in. They snuck awkward looks at each other as a waitress came by and Abigail ordered a bowl of tomato soup, which was the least strange thing Jaiyana had ever heard of someone from Silicon Valley eating.
“This is very weird, but I’m glad you asked me to meet,” Abigail said when the waitress had left them alone.
“We’re not meeting,” Jaiyana said. It was a violation of their nondisclosure agreements to even be talking about work outside of the office. But she wanted to have a conversation where she wasn’t being spied on, and she didn’t think that could happen at Motivos. Besides, Abigail was kind of cute.
“Fine. So do we think the problems are on the design side?” Abigail asked. Well, that was getting to the point. Jaiyana guessed that engineers from Alight technologies didn’t fuck around.
“I’m really not sure what aspect of the development it is at this point,” Jaiyana said. “It could also be the testing. If our subjects are getting motivated, but we don’t have a way to ask about that which reflects it in the testing. I mean, I’ve got a PhD in cognitive psychology and I don’t know how to design a test for some of the things Lavinia claims we’re measuring.”
Abigail sighed, pushing her big glasses farther up on her face. “Does the technology work at all?”
“Lavinia thinks she can make it work. Or really, she thinks she can convince investors to keep paying us to develop it while I figure it out and you make it work.”
“Lavinia convinced me to give up millions of dollars in Alight stock options. She can make anything work.”
Jaiyana couldn’t argue with that. “It’s not impossible,” Jaiyana said. “You’ve seen all those studies about how addictive social media can be. There’s no reason in theory why we can’t figure out a way to apply those principles to productivity. That little rush of dopamine you get when you check your Instagram and someone ‘likes’ your selfie. Why can’t you get that for completing a task? Gamify it or something. Take that old personal trainer everyone liked, have him be happy with you when you get something done. Toss in some pretty lights and ASMR and let the placebo effect do its thing.”
The waitress picked an excellent time to deliver Abigail’s soup. The smell almost made Jaiyana wish she ate dairy again.
“So you’re still working on the theory?” Abigail clarified. “Lavinia said that was why she was hiring me. She said that the theory was solid, she just needed better developers to get the app itself working.”
“She’s telling the engineers that the problem is implementation of the theory?”
Abigail nodded. “That’s what she said in my job interview. Your team identifies the vulnerabilities in human psychology and my team exploits them. That’s not how it works?”
Jaiyana sighed, taking a bite of zucchini. “I’m on the design end, so I don’t see any of the data. Have you seen it tested?”
Abigail sighed. “Not in person.”
“Did you ask her to use it on you?” Jaiyana said.
“No. Well, I sort of did? I mean, you’d think it would make me a more productive employee for her?”
“Yeah, she won’t test it on me either.” Jaiyana said. Her voice was cool and steady. She looked away. “Do you have any more questions for me?
“Yeah, so what’s up with Nate Brewster?” Abigail had lowered her voice when she said Nate’s name.
“I don’t know. He works with Lavinia doing something on the finance side, why?”
“He’s kind of a big deal here in Silicon Valley. He’s a big time venture capitalist. I thought he’d like retired a couple of years ago or something. Like, to spend more time with his money? But he’s here a lot. I don’t get why he’d work for Lavinia.”
Jaiyana shrugged. “I really don’t know how the financing works. Lavinia hired me right out of grad school just as she was starting out. Nate’s been with the company as long as it has existed. I think he wrote Lavinia her first million dollar check. Maybe Lavinia just wanted him to work here. She’s pretty persuasive.” If Abigail only knew.
When Jaiyana thought about it, it didn’t seem particularly strange that Lavinia had hired a big deal venture capitalist to raise her venture capital. That was just kind of Lavinia’s way. She liked to have the best people everywhere. Jaiyana herself had been the best PhD student in her cognitive psychology department not that long ago. Dr. Day had said as much. And now Dr. Day herself was on Lavinia’s board of directors.
“No kidding,” Abigail said. “It just seems weird.”
“A lot of things about this place are weird.”
Abigail’s soup bowl was empty. “I should go?” She said. “I mean, if we get caught meeting...”
“I know,” Jaiyana said.
Abigail pulled out her phone. “Shit,” she said.
“I have a text. Lavinia wants to meet with me, 4pm today. To talk about my old boss?” That made sense. Lavinia wanted to be the next Derek Huxfeld, so hiring engineers he’d worked with before he died made a weird sort of sense.
Abigail was still staring into a black phone, completely different from the phones Motivos employees carried. “That’s your company phone?” Jaiyana pulled out her own phone, which was almost a tablet. Abigail’s was tiny by comparison.
Abigail smiled. “No, my company phone is at my desk? That way the company thinks I’m there. You think I want Creepy Ed from IT knowing that you and I met in the same diner for the same chunk of time?”
Jaiyana nodded. “That’s very smart. But won’t he notice when you use your code to let yourself back into the elevator?”
“I figured I’d social engineer that somehow?”
“Are you going to social engineer your meeting with Lavinia?” Jaiyana teased.
“I wouldn’t try. She’s the master of that. I guess I can talk to her about my old boss, but shouldn’t I be designing a motivation app?”
Jaiyana shrugged. “Go talk to her about Luxfeld, then go build me a dopamine dispenser.” Abigail gave a playful salute, then she slipped out the door into the rain.