1. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    Grace
    by clarise


    Three novels. Dramatic sexually explicit romance, for as long as it lasts. All codes.

    Book One: Jessica Elizabeth
    Book Two: Greta Elizabeta
    Book Three: Colleen Mary

    The romances of three women from recent past thru near future, spanning the next industrial revolution, the next Internet, the next world war, the obsolescence of the nation state, multiverse engineering, transhumanism, and the conquest of the universe.




    Book One: Jessica Elizabeth

    Chapter 1: Conception






    █████████A girl ran in. Her hair was rainy.
    █████████Her breasts were breathless in the little room.
    █████████Outside the rain was falling and it cried,
    █████████too soon. Too soon.
    █████████████████
    —Lawrence Ferlinghetti



    █████Jessica Elizabeth Turner reclined upon a patch of moss and clover, where she tried to fall asleep, so as to summon a dream. She gazed skyward, sandwiched between the sun-bleached fence and the one remaining wall of the collapsed shed, with her head against a dilapidated dictionary.
    █████From her recumbent perspective she could see nothing but the walls to either side and the powder-blue sky above. Here she enjoyed complete solitude, a rare luxury within her extended family’s crowded domain, a brief respite from her six year old brother’s video games and the incessant pounding of indigent feet up and down the worn, squeaky stairs of her grandparents’ triple decker.
    █████If the day had not turned out so fine, Jessica would have shut herself in her windowless bedroom and barricaded the door with her bureau, but on lovely afternoons such as this, she much preferred to abscond to her secluded patch of moss and clover, long since cleared of glass shards and rusty nails, with her book bag and tattered dictionary. Here she would nestle into an attitude of repose and imagine herself alone at the center of an endless flowered meadow, immersed in sun-dappled petals and limitless potential.
    █████Apart from the fulfillment of her desire for quiet, the fleeting tranquility of her sanctuary afforded other compensations. She had come home from school to find her mother out again and had recalled that Mom had recently committed herself to join the ranks of the gainfully employed. Evidently Mom had ventured forth that morning on yet another round of interviews.
    █████Today happened to be one of Dad’s days off.
    █████Dear Father worked the graveyard shift at the metal stamping plant on Route Ninety-Nine and ordinarily would have fled the house by now, off to one of the neighborhood bars to fortify himself for an arduous evening of pushing sheetmetal in and out of a hydraulic press. Being a marginal producer on the shop floor, the plant foreman called him in on an inconsistent schedule that typically entailed at least one day on the weekend, when more productive workers requested time off. Consequently, the shop supervisor habitually instructed Father to stay home on random weekdays. On these impromptu mini-sabbaticals he would sleep through the morning, drag himself out of bed sometime around lunch, pop a few beers simultaneously, fill the stagnant rooms with cigarette smoke, and wait for Jessica to disembark from the school bus so he could berate her nonsensically and grope for thin pretexts to take off his belt. On this particular afternoon she had come home to find him unconscious on the sprung couch, but he would eventually revive, stagger forth, and find ways to make a nuisance of himself. Best to make oneself scarce, the young woman had long since learned.
    █████Now Jessica silently recited her multiplication tables, a diversion she had been practicing for years, whenever she wished to inure herself to the general unpleasantness. She intoned, with a soft whisper, a self-administered lullaby, “Forty-six times thirty seven; one thousand seven hundred two. Forty-six times thirty-eight; one thousand seven hundred forty-eight. Forty-six times thirty-nine....”
    █████The resultant distraction, in and of itself, provided justification enough for the exercise, since the circumstances of her existence all too often vexed her. Yet if she could manage to lull herself to sleep out here, she would be able to summon a dream and sojourn there for awhile. She had devoted most of the previous evening to homework and had managed just an hour of fitful slumber between four-thirty AM and sunrise, so she had left herself with insufficient time for idle transports, a deficit that she now sought to rectify. She favored several dreams, either for the characters who dwelt there or for their milieux. She could summon them at will, not only to relive them, but to hone and perfect them. Directing her dreams had been her favorite game throughout her childhood and life thus far. She had never met anyone else who could paint dreams at will, so this gift remained her most intimate and closely guarded secret. Jessica did not appreciate being called a freak, and she heard it far too often, her secrets notwithstanding. No sense in adding additional fuel to the fire.
    █████For the past month, since the start of term, Jessica’s homeroom and math teacher, Miss Marshall, had been drilling the class on the times tables up to twelve times twelve— material that the class really should have mastered long before having been shunted up yet again through the dysfunctional public school system. Miss Marshall excused Jessica from these drills. Most of her classmates supposed, uncharitably, that she could not handle the exercise and received a special dispensation by having been excused. Miss Marshall knew better and simply gave Jessica leave to do whatever she pleased during math hour. Jessica’s diversions at such times typically involved math drills, undertaken in solitude, that Miss Marshall could not have begun to comprehend. Miss Marshall had informed the school administrators, within two weeks of the start of term, that Jessica belonged in a higher grade, but the principal and superintendent had struck down this proposition summarily, as being politically impossible.
    █████Jessica Turner, unbeknownst to her classmates, was a bona fide mathematics prodigy. No one fully appreciated the verity and extent of this statement; neither her parents, nor Miss Marshall, nor even Jessica herself. She had always been able to do “math tricks” in her head. She thought nothing of this arcane talent. Whereupon most people might have counted sheep, Jessica calculated pi. Yet no one had ever discovered her prowess, because she lived in a place and time in which higher cognitive faculties, especially among women, held no value. Most of the adults in her vicinity placed far more value on her slender, muscular legs and lean, athletic frame. Jessica possessed a heart shaped face accentuated by a pale button nose; large, expressive chocolate brown eyes to match her waist-length umber hair, and full lips that glistened like raspberry ribbon candy arrayed on a polished silver dish. The young woman’s burgeoning physiognomy gave Dear Father and her uncles a hell of a lot to ponder, and they seldom got around to dwelling on her far more formidable brain.
    █████The precocious young lady also toyed idly with memories of erstwhile infatuations, as she stared at the powder-blue sky, recited her multiplication tables, and tried to fall asleep.
    █████In the lulls between episodes of productive cogitation, she enjoyed her ruminations on boys— not with any particular objective in mind, since she fancied no one especially— but merely as a conveyance whereby she might successfully transport herself into dreams. Mom often advised Jessica that she was too lusty for her own good and warned her that she would likely be swept away if she were not careful. She had thus far skirted the perils of romantic infatuation, perhaps due to her insistence on filling twenty-one hours of every day with academic studies punctuated by brief yet intense daily workout regimen of jogging, gymnastics, and calisthenics. The young woman very much enjoyed being a girl at heart and did not begrudge her persistent reprieve from romantic attachment, having thus far encountered no practical use for the dubious social elevation that awaited her. All the same, her idle and harmless contemplation of this boy or that could almost convince her that romance might constitute a constructive diversion. She had endured the attentions of a particular neighborhood boy over the past summer, a self-possessed and shifty specimen named Jimmy, more or less under duress. She suspected that romance could be a whole lot better, with proper inspiration. But it would take more than Jimmy.
    █████So, Jessica pined. For what, she could not have said.
    █████“Forty-six times fifty-three; two thousand four hundred thirty-eight. Forty-six times....”
    █████Her natural prowess for mathematics was, in fact, consequential to more subtle gifts: not only her talent for manipulating her dreams, but also her ability to glance at a page of text for just a moment and then recite its contents from memory hours later; and a knack for visualizing objects, seen at a glimpse, rotated through all three dimensions, and an intrinsic skill for solving problems of almost any sort geometrically, by assigning spatial orientation to their parameters. She had been able to model complex problems, as though they were fantastically intricate sculptures, for as long as she could remember. She held the conviction that complex problems were more easily solved by means of visualization and worked naturally in that modality whenever possible. In her naivety, she had no appreciation for the singularity of these talents; she assumed, perhaps forgivably so, that everyone around her possessed similar abilities and chose to squander them. Hence, she harbored resentment for anyone who, for whatever reason, neglected to aspire and failed to thrive. She lived in a place wherein such resentment and disappointment came to her all too commonly. She wanted very much to flee her family, her neighborhood, and her life, and had long since resolved to escape at the first opportunity. That was why she studied every day, and most nights, too. In the brief lulls she observed, watched, waited for that elusive and sublime opportunity to make a run for it.
    █████Jessica inadvertently distracted herself from escapist rumination with idle recollections of Jimmy, the capriciously motivated fling from down the street. Jimmy, she recalled with a pensive shudder, had been her boyfriend over the summer.
    █████The ‘boyfriend’ concept, the fact that she had possessed a boyfriend, struck her as ironic, given that she seldom had need of anyone, much less a touchy, grabby boy, and being a young woman who still clung obstinately to her essential girlhood, she had no visceral appreciation of the particular uses that girls had for boys. Oh, of course she knew that men made babies in women; she had learned the mechanics long ago, when Mom had explained the rudiments of the five minutes of caloric expenditure that males imparted to the perpetuation of the species. But Jessica could scarcely imagine herself juxtaposed with a baby and would not have wanted the encumbrance even if she were old enough to support one, and so even that utilitarian use for boys struck the young lady as being inapplicable to her needs. Jessica had barely enough time to allocate to herself and could scarcely imagine finding room in her schedule for a boyfriend, but her cousin and best friend, Colleen, had insisted that she needed one.
    █████Colleen lived downstairs, in the first storey flat of Grandpa Bill’s triple decker.
    █████The vivacious redhead, by far the prettiest girl in her grade, had the benefit of choices, and over the summer she had selected a boyfriend named Sammy. Colleen had reached third base with Sammy in mid-July, and Jessica simply could not have gone on tagging along the heels of Colleen’s sultry summer romance. Besides, winsome Colleen inexplicably regarded skinny, nerdy little Jessica as competition. So Sammy had fixed Jessica up with Jimmy, as a favor to Colleen, and Jimmy had clung to Jessica through half the summer with the single-minded goal of reaching third base, too.
    █████Jessica had griped to Colleen, once, that Jimmy grabbed and touched too much—especially in Sammy’s basement, a cool, dank cavern with charcoal shades and retro lava lamps, a good place to hide and neck on hot summer days. Sammy had the house to himself during the mornings and afternoons, apart from a couple older sisters who used the single bathroom as a pit stop and a nineteen year old brother who ignored the kids and split his time almost equally between an outdated Nintendo playset and the methadone clinic down the street.
    █████“Come on, Jess, you need a boyfriend if you want to hang with us this summer, right? Jimmy’s fun, and you do like him a little bit, don’t you?”
    █████“I suppose, but he is always trying to pull my shorts down and grope me.”
    █████“Well, he is a boy, you know. That’s what boys do. He’s just having fun. Relax and let him fool around a little bit; it won’t kill you.” Colleen added, with a giggle, “Besides, with any luck, the little pervo might accidentally do something you actually enjoy.
    █████“I couldn’t imagine what,” Jessica cynically muttered.
    █████“Well,” Colleen persisted, “Sammy does stuff I enjoy, but I do admit, when it happens, he does it in spite of himself. I mean, like, he sure as hell doesn’t have a clue what a girl’s parts are for.”
    █████Jessica grudgingly agreed to endure Jimmy’s groping, for Colleen’s sake.
    █████On one or two occasions, Jessica had tried to hold coherent discussions with Jimmy. Those isolated attempts had not worked out. Their brief and awkward flirtations with conversation had devolved almost immediately to groping, and kissing, and whining from Jimmy, who had wanted to do more with Jessica, far and away, than she had wanted to do with him. Jimmy had chosen the occasion of their second so-called date to declare, with an emphatically irrational exuberance, that he had needs now and had somehow convinced himself that it should be Jessica’s job to service those needs, even though he kissed like an eel and made her feel dirty, having as she did an absence of reciprocal feelings and no needs whatsoever, that she could discern, apart from the need to have permission to hang out with her older, beautiful cousin over the summer instead of being left behind in the stuffy triple decker with no one for company but a drunken, ogling father and a six year old brother whose eyes were permanently transfixed to his Playstation.
    █████It got to the point where Jimmy grew so frustrated by Jessica’s obliviousness to his needs that he decided to resort to the “lead by example” method. Now, if Jimmy had been older and wiser than the inexperienced youth that he was, he might have attempted to give a bit of pleasure to Jessica, for sake of incentive. Instead, being a rather simplistic boy who lacked both foresight and patience, he decided instead to stand in front of his pallid girlfriend and masturbate, to show her how it was done. Jessica watched the ninety second procedure with an ashen expression and jumped clear of the fetid little splashes just as Jimmy reached his happy moment. On the one subsequent episode, which occurred on the following day, Jessica reluctantly consented to “touch it,” but only briefly, before Jimmy gave up on her and took over with the panting admonishment that she wasn’t “doing it right.” Consequently, by virtue of a confluence of events entirely tangential to her personal needs and goals, Jessica had touched her first erect penis that summer. And while the accomplishment meant nothing to her personally, she did very much enjoy the bragging rights that it afforded: Colleen had been impressed and transparently relieved by the news that her nerdy, freakish cousin possessed a libido, after all. Still, Jessica had no intention of repeating the episode, if she could help it, even if that meant having to spend the remainder of the summer break barricaded behind her bedroom door.
    █████Jessica had avoided Colleen and her friends for an entire week. Eventually she had given in and agreed to hang around with them again, but never alone with Jimmy.
    █████Now school had resumed, and Sammy had dumped Colleen to commemorate his triumphant completion of another summer (though Colleen had icily insisted that the breakup had been mutually amicable). Jessica had supposed that the heartrending termination of Colleen’s summer romance would have absolved her of having to persist in stringing Jimmy along. She had tried to end it with Jimmy entirely, but he had obstinately refused to consign himself to this fact. Despite her many subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to convey to him that he had worn out his usefulness, he persisted in carrying on like a pathetic sluggard who had been served divorce papers and couldn’t take the hint. One morning, on the school bus, on the day after Jessica’s third attempt to effect a breakup, Jimmy had even presented her with a poem, scrawled on lined paper, which she had absently marked down for grammatical deficiencies as she had pretended to read it.
    █████
    █████
    █████jess you still
    █████act like a kid
    █████but i don’t care
    █████cause of what we did
    █████i love you most
    █████cause your the best
    █████like why would i ever
    █████check out the rest?
    █████
    █████xoxo,
    █████jimmy
    █████
    █████
    █████He had doodled a flower beside his name, with a red ballpoint. Touching. Jimmy had sent her roses.
    █████Jessica had closed her eyes very tightly, had repeated to herself over and over that Jimmy’s effort had been utterly sincere, in order to prevent herself from laughing. She had thanked him tersely and had refused to say another word, despite all his cajoling and begging and threats.
    █████Beside himself with frustration over her lack of appreciation, he had given up on subtlety. “You’ll never find anyone as good as me, and you know it, you freaky little stick,” he had declared, exploiting his full capacity for sensitivity, as they had stepped off the bus.
    █████Jessica had steeled herself and walked.
    █████“You know, Colleen’s cool, and she’s practically your big sister. What the hell is your problem?”
    █████Jessica had glared straight ahead while Colleen, within earshot, had raised a fist and had warned Jimmy to keep her out of it. Jessica had picked up her pace.
    █████“Damn it, come on, wait! Jess!”
    █████“It’s Jessica,” she had asserted stoically.
    █████“Whatever! Come on, summer’s over, but we can still hang out, right? Like, what else is there to do?” he had demanded.
    █████“School, Jimmy, and homework.”
    █████“I hate school,” he had muttered, as though he were jealous of the attention Jessica gave to it.
    █████“Well I love school,” she had declared. Perhaps she had put it too strongly; in fact school bored her, though she did love her homeroom monitor and mathematics instructor, Miss Marshall. “And I love homework even more,” she had added, to rub it in.
    █████“School sucks, and you’re a freak.”
    █████She could have lived with that denunciation if it would have meant the end of their magical romance, but he would be back. She had heard it before, after all. For a boy who ended most of their conversations with invective, he did exhibit remarkable persistence. Someday she hoped she would be subjected to half this level of tenacity from someone for whom she actually cared. In a way, Jimmy’s obsession presaged a heady future, but then again, Jessica tried very hard, at all times, to see the best side of everything. She summarily decided that Jimmy had to be either crazy or conflicted. But Jessica was no mother hen and could not have cared less about Jimmy’s demons, so once again, she left him on the sidewalk to suffer.
    █████“Fifty-three times eighty-two, four thousand three hundred forty-six....”
    █████The burgeoning math prodigy gave up on her times tables, having convinced herself that they would not induce her to doze off, and reverted to reciting primes. For the past few years she had been calculating primes entirely in her head, by factoring odd numbers in ascending series, ever since she had stumbled upon the Sieve of Erastothenes in the reference section of her public school library.
    █████By now she had identified and memorized all of the primes up into the hundreds of billions, without the aid of a hand calculator, much less a computer. The idea of elemental, indivisible numbers enthralled Jessica to a degree that Jimmy never could.
    █████Atoms—the stuff that made the weather worn fence, the collapsed shed, the powder-blue sky, and the pile of glass shards and rusty nails that she had cleared from her tranquil bed of moss and clover— were comprised of only one hundred six elements, counting the esoteric specimens that popped into existence in mushroom clouds and fizzled a zillionth of a second later, mixed with gaseous viscera. The elements that made numbers— the primes— went up and up forever and lasted for eternity.
    █████Jessica loved numbers. No silly boy— or man, for that matter— could ever come close.
    █████It was harder being home now than ever before, because Mom had recently ventured forth into the working world to beat herself up against fruitless interviews. Jessica loved Mom, even though she had her own strange idiosyncrasies, which in some respects stood out even in their unconventional household. Mom protected Jessica from Dear Father whenever she could, and she was great for female camaraderie, and advice about men, and feminine changes. But Mother was certainly a strange bird, a fact that even youthful Jessica adroitly discerned and could not ignore.
    █████Mom held nothing but contempt for Dad, for instance, not that there was so much odd in this fact, on cursory inspection. After all, Dear Father hardly garnered respect, being an archetypal example of one who both squandered his intrinsic gifts and failed to thrive. But Dad was sexually frustrated most of the time, which made life that much more difficult for Jessica, and the daughter laid blame entirely on her mother. That he was hard-up exacerbated his unprovoked tendency to leer at Jessica and undress her with his eyes. Jessica credited her Dad’s improprieties, perhaps unfairly, to the fact that Mom had no use for him and had left him high and dry ever since Tommy had been born.
    █████When Mother had given Jessica the ‘sex talk,’ more than four years ago, it really had been just a preamble to a more embarrassing yet momentous topic. That was when Mom had explained that Dad almost certainly had not been Jessica’s biological father. “He might as well be, though, since I have it narrowed down to fifty-fifty. Besides, if he is not your real Daddy, he is at least family.”
    █████Jessica had paled and had fought back the compulsion to wonder just who, in their extended clan of layabouts, drunkards and misfits, held the dubious honor of being responsible for her paternity. Instead, she had asked a more pragmatic question. “So should I still call him Daddy?”
    █████“Of course, honey. You’d break his heart if you didn’t, and he drinks too much as it is.”
    █████“And what about Tommy?”
    █████Mom had bitten her lip and had refused to answer, except to say, “Don’t think too badly of me, sweety. Most of my choices were taken from me long ago.”
    █████Jessica had not pressed. She would have to wait another five years for a more comprehensive answer, but the short version had been sufficient to leave her appalled. Her mind had swirled with questions, but she could not have had any means of knowing which ones would set Mom’s tears flowing, and she did not like to see her mother cry—an occurrence that transpired too often for Jessica’s liking. One essential question had nagged at her, however, one that she had felt absolutely compelled to ask. “Mom, is that why— with Daddy not really being my father and all— is that why he thinks he can look at me funny in the bath?”
    █████Jessica had found it necessary to take a step back, as Mom’s face had briefly contorted with rage. But Mom had somehow mastered herself, had stretched her fists into fingers again, and softly snarled, “You don’t have to be afraid of Daddy. If he so much as touches you, I’ll cut him into pieces and feed him to the seagulls.”
    █████The girl had resolved to never again tell her mother about the way Dear Father sometimes looked at her. But Mom and Dad must have had a talk, or something. Things got better after that. Sure, she took hand spankings and belt thrashings on a regular basis, just like every other kid on the street, but she would enjoy a long reprieve from getting the strange feeling that her own father— or her probable father, at any rate— wanted to make babies with her.
    █████Now that Mom was actively interviewing, Tommy and Jessica were latchkey kids most days and were left in the clutches of Dad on the rest, because Dad habitually spent too much money on beer, smokes and Keno down the street, and because Tommy and Jessica wouldn’t stop growing and eating him out of house and home, and because Jessica had become too big for her britches yet couldn’t seem to get herself whisked off by some smelly old sugardaddy to be bred on her back like a good whore. Dear Daddy’s words, uttered with candid resentment. Even with Gramma Mary and Grampa Bill living upstairs and feeding Jessica and Tommy every Friday and Saturday night, the Turner family still could not make ends meet. So Mom had commenced her bid to enter the workforce. She had only been interviewing for a couple weeks, and it was already getting difficult. Dad had reverted to ogling and drooling, as he used to do when he would hover at bath time. But Jessica had matured a bit in the past few years, and she knew what his apparently convivial yet disconcertingly touchy overtures meant, now. She knew that her father took far too many liberties, the way he spied brazenly from around corners and always seemed to be hovering in the narrow hallway whenever she emerged from the shower, which was why she so often found it necessary to hide either behind her barricaded bedroom door or in the patch of moss and clover between the fence and the collapsed shed.
    █████Jessica didn’t think anything more would come of it. Dad might have possessed unwholesome and inappropriate hungers, but he was a coward through and through. She felt certain he would never get up the gumption to act on his proclivities. Besides, she had been working out for the past two years and had transformed herself into eighty-or-so pounds of wiry sinew and muscle. Freaky stick, indeed. She could throw herself into a hundred-fifty pushups without a pause and could have high-jumped right over Dad’s head to escape his clutches, if necessary. Dad, in contrast, smoked like a chimney, guzzled cheap beer morning noon and night, and had bones made of glass. She felt certain she could snap him in two with little effort, should it ever come to that, and she suspected he knew it, too, and what was more, the concept of patricide made her tummy not the least bit queasy. She did tolerate the occasional episodes of corporal punishment, in the interest of maintaining the harmony of their happy home, but the bimonthly thrashings were becoming a bit pathetic. Dad usually gave up, breathless and cradling a sore arm, long before he made an impression.
    █████“Shit,” Jessica muttered.
    █████The wind had turned, her pristine powder-blue sky now torn in two by fresh airborne effluent from the stacks of the nearby power plant. She reverted to her times tables and closed her eyes.
    █████She reached seventy-nine times eighty-two when she finally gave up. Neither sleep nor dreams would come. Her powder-blue sky, inerasably marred, portended another evening just like the last, yet another in a series, and her quick mind visualized her antipathy as the border of a fractal surface, infinite in extent on every point upon its serpentine length, a path of inescapable misery, and with a torpor that belied her tender years she sighed, stood up, and gazed at the sagging clothesline; the lopsided, ant-infested porch; the gray, rotted siding of their triple decker; the crumbling walls of the hovels adjacent; the muddy rubbish-strewn yards to her left and right, visible through rusted chain link fences, and the maggoty stench of the tenements behind. Yes, she resolved, the Mandelbrot Set, a continuous domain of penury, desolation, and prurience at every point, hell indivisible, hell ad infinitum, hell here and beyond, every interminable moment an eternity of fire.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  2. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████Jessica Elizabeth Turner had gotten her ultimate start by accident: the unwanted culmination of heavy petting on the night of her mother’s Christmas Cotillion. Carol had come close to ditching the event, but that one fateful misjudgment had resulted in the immaculate conception of Jessica.
    █████A child of traditional Catholic parents and a freshman attending an atavistic parochial school that still celebrated the birth of Christ, Carol had lacked the precocity to ask a boy, and no one had asked her. As a freshman she would not have been able to attend the Cotillion unless an older boy took her. Yet all her other frosh girlfriends had already been invited by upperclassmen. Girlfriends in drama club had been telling her, for months, that a certain surly, unintelligent boy, whom she had known only by way of his predilection for teasing her in corridors, had been working up the gumption to pop the question.
    █████Finally, just two weeks prior to the big night, the sophomoric lad did ask, and Carol, as yet dateless, replied with an ambivalent yet relieved ‘yes.’
    █████During the two week run-up to the Cotillion, Carol found herself filled with fresh regrets. First, she still possessed the stick figure, acne, and awkward angles of an adolescent. Second, Billy Turner’s incessant teasing had morphed into nearly constant clinging and possessive pawing. Billy met her outside each and every one of her classes and molested her all the way to the next bell. This demeaning routine humiliated her in the presence of her friends and damaged her already tenuous grip at self-esteem.
    █████Third, she realized early on that she did not really like him at all. The inane, crass fool possessed not a single redeeming quality. Though Carol certainly did not have the benefit of a noble upbringing, Billy heralded from the bottom rung of the social ladder— even from Carol’s admittedly modest perspective. She had met his parents one afternoon in the school parking lot. His family had relocated to the Boston area from somewhere down south two generations ago, yet somehow had never shed the sharecropper inflection. They slurred every consonant and cussed like deckhands. If anything, a couple generations of exposure to the Irish/Italian/African American mélange known as the ‘Boston accent’ had made their elocution even worse.
    █████Fourth, Carol’s parents detested Billy. He never would have gone to Carol’s house to introduce himself to her father without being dragged by his fingernails, but her entire family did inadvertently meet him at the school one day, and her parents had decided almost instantly that Billy was not good enough for their daughter. Carol could see why and could not reproach them. Had she been a parent, she would have reached the same first impression. Billy came off as a smarmy, guttural boy with a shifty demeanor. He gave her father a limp handshake and would not meet him in the eye. Carol’s mother had introduced herself with fastidious and diffident grace, to which Billy had responded, “Now I know where yer little girl gets her knockdead looks.” Carol had wanted to crawl into a hole.
    █████She had apologized to her mother that same evening.
    █████Her mother had asked, “Are you absolutely sure about this? You can still say no. After all, that boy’s Christmas party is coming up, not yours. It’s not like you’ll miss out on your own, in two years. By then we will have completed the move to Wenham. You will be in a new school. There will be new friends, other boys, in a town with better people. Someone nice will ask you to your own holiday prom when the time comes.” But Carol had already bought a dress with funds from her savings, and all her friends had dates, and she had really wanted to go.
    █████The big night came all too quickly.
    █████Father drove Carol to the school. In the cruiser. He had not changed out of his dress blue uniform. His golden badge gleamed brighter than oncoming headlights. Father pulled right up to the front, where Carol’s date waited. Father wore a loaded semiautomatic sidearm, yet he took one look at the boy who would be dating his teenaged daughter and felt imperiled.
    █████Billy Turner, Jr. stood in the midst of a scrum of raucous friends. He scowled with shock at the sight of his date’s ride and hastily stubbed a cigarette. The rest of his friends did not bother. Billy projected both guilt and defiance by slouching his shoulders and ducking his head like a dog that had been caught lifting hot steak from the sideboard.
    █████Carol hunched with burning cheeks in the front passenger seat of her father’s police cruiser: yet another formative experience that she would never live down.
    █████“Smoking on school grounds is strictly prohibited,” stated Father.
    █████She expelled a deep breath, ground her teeth, and gripped her pink formal gown at the knees.
    █████“I will pick you up promptly at ten thirty, young lady.”
    █████Carol scowled at the cruiser’s spartan interior and hissed, “Billy’s father is driving us home, Dad. Mom agreed. So that it would feel like a date. My first real date with a boy. Daddy, please.
    █████Father cursed under his breath, nodded silently, and kissed his daughter on the forehead. Then he said, with transparent difficulty, “You are right. I love you. Enjoy your evening.”
    █████Carol returned her father’s kiss, stepped out of the cruiser, and waited for him to leave.
    █████The shame of parental censure, two minutes removed, both rankled and motivated Carol to greet her date. She did attempt to steer Billy toward the worn stairs, but he resisted her efforts and repeatedly muttered something to the effect that he’d be damned if he would spend all night at some boring party without first ‘getting some.’ With a light head and gathering indigestion, she consigned herself to the requisite episode of pre-gala molestation behind the shrubs that overgrew the school’s central façade.
    █████While prior to that night they had never taken off a stitch of fabric, Carol had submitted to more than a bit of petting through their clothes, in their shameful encounters between classes. Carol already had advance warning that Billy was a hair-trigger kind of guy, because on one such occasion he had soiled his pants just by clenching her breasts through four layers of clothing. Therefore she tried to refuse his scrawny claws access beneath her gown, but she did allow him a presumptive and sloppy kiss, which he promptly exploited with all four limbs. In the ensuing frenzy, Billy managed to pull her gown up around her waist and worked himself up out of his trousers. His hands delved and explored unfamiliar yet paradoxically compelling terrain. She groaned around his probing tongue and tried her best to persevere. She knew that if she let this go on, given the jerky agitation of his fingers, he might inadvertently tear her virginity with his ragged nails, without even knowing it.
    █████“We should get going. The dancing began a half hour ago,” she whispered, grabbing his wrist with an insistently tight grip.
    █████“Party’s right here, missy. We ain’t goin’ nowhere. Let’s make out, uh, just a little, uh, longer,” and now the boy clenched upon the swells of her bodice, at which point he lost control and groaned as though stricken by cramps. With a perfunctory absence of flourish, he shot off onto his cummerbund and soaked Carol’s exposed lap in the process.
    █████Billy panted, “Uh, uh, shit, uh,” and groaned, “oh God, oh God,” as though mighty Yahweh somehow shared culpability and would deign to take a moment out of His preoccupations with running the universe to give a damn about the state of the no-account jerk’s seminal vessicles.
    █████Not three seconds passed before Billy slumped over Carol’s shoulder and exhaled steam into the shrubbery, having made a mess of the two of them. Yet he had come nowhere near actual penetration, so Carol could perhaps have been forgiven for failing to appreciate her peril.
    █████She giggled nervously and said, “Y-you didn’t, did you? You did?”
    █████He apologized sheepishly, to which the girl quietly said, “That’s alright; umm, I guess it’s a good thing you’re wearing dark pants.”
    █████Billy laughed nervously and said, “Shit, really, uh, sorry.”
    █████“What for?” young Carol asked, honestly perplexed. Even as the tell-tale wetness spread insidiously across her lower tummy, she believed that they had resolved their impasse with no damage done. Now, she reasoned, they could get this nightmare of a date over with. “Let’s just go to the party, okay?”
    █████Billy picked himself up off Carol. They extricated themselves from the shrubbery, the episode of detestable frottage behind them, and proceeded inside.
    █████At the dance, not ten minutes went by before Carol began to attract funny looks from the unsuitable and often malfeasant city boys with whom Billy typically consorted. Several buddies had seen the stain across the front of his rented tux, and his perspiration did not quite mask the stale sour-milk odor, so the gallant fellow had explained it away by bragging that Carol had given him a handjob out in the parking lot. She herself did not discover this betrayal until an hour later, but when she did, she furiously insisted that Billy take her home. By that time Billy could no longer grasp that their date had ended, having rendered himself drunk on his buddies’ smuggled hip flasks.
    █████Carol spent the remainder of the party in the company of her girlfriends, who provided refuge until Billy’s father returned to take them home.
    █████When William Sr. pulled up, he found Carol waiting outside without Billy, worked himself into an apoplectic fit, and dragged his heavily inebriated son out of the school by the ear. Billy crawled into the back seat and promptly vomited. The father opened the windows and vowed to beat the boy to within an inch of his miserable life with a tire iron, should he ever recover to the point of being able to feel the blows. Carol took the front passenger seat, turned her knees toward the door, and leaned against the window, in an effort to make her disenchantment abundantly clear.
    █████Not that it helped.
    █████William Turner, Sr. gallantly drove the girl back to her neighborhood but stopped at the far end of her street and parked at the curb.
    █████“Mr. Turner, this isn’t my house.”
    █████He winced at the darkness, irritated by the bright reflection of a streetlight off a placard in Carol’s front yard, and drawled, “I know, I know. That’s yer house down there. The one fer sale.”
    █████“Shall I walk the rest of the way?”
    █████For reply, he reached behind his seat, rummaged through a brown bag, and produced two cans of warm, skunky lager, one of which he handed to Carol. “Naw. What’s yer rush? Yer curfew ain’t fer another half hour.”
    █████The freshman’s cheeks burned as she stared at the beer can that he had set in her lap. This date, for lack of a better term, had ended long ago. Her companion for the evening, Billy Jr., lay unconscious in the back seat, soaked in a puddle of caustic effluent. The open windows sufficed only to render the atmosphere both cold and foul.
    █████William Turner, Sr. wore holey, stained jeans that had been shorn by coarse scissors somewhere below the knees. A beergut shunted his belt below his hips. Grayish underwear protruded and bulged around his spare tire. His toneless arms dangled listlessly from cropped shirtsleeves. This epitome of the male form caught saliva with his tongue just before the mucilaginous teardrop broke free of his upper lip.
    █████“Mr. Turner, I had better go home.” She picked up the unopened beer can with her thumb and index finger and handed it to him.
    █████He did not take it. “Nice neighborhood.”
    █████“Not for much longer.”
    █████“Hah! I see that. Fer-sale sign on yer lawn, eh? Where you movin’, anyways?”
    █████“North Shore. Wenham.”
    █████“Never heard of it.”
    █████Carol shrugged.
    █████“Yeh gonna skip town to another school, eh? Leave my boy high an’ dry?”
    █████Carol seethed through her teeth and refused to dignify him with a response. She would leave that dissolute boy high and dry regardless. She reached for the car door, having consigned herself to walking the final sixty yards.
    █████William Sr. reached right across her torso, pulled back on the door handle, and grabbed her beer can with his free hand.
    █████“Mr. Turner, I really have to go”—
    █████He popped the can with his teeth, passed it back to her, and retorted, “Take off yer coat an’ stay awhile.”
    █████Carol glowered at the lid of the open beer can. She had never tasted alcohol and had no intention of starting now. Not only would Father, the city police chief, smell it on her from across the room, but she had been raised to abstain without effort.
    █████Billy’s father tipped his own can of Bud, grunted, “Bottoms up,” and chugged the entire twelve ounces in one breath. Then he came up for air and urged, “Yer turn, missy.”
    █████Carol demurred and said, “Mr. Turner, I am far too young to drink. I’ve never tasted beer in my life.”
    █████“Yeh,” he slurred, “an’ that makes you an easy drunk.”
    █████She had to cringe all the way into the pliant vinyl seat. He still braced the door with one arm and intentionally rubbed his elbow up against her torso.
    █████“Mr. Turner, this date is over, and I have to go. Please let go of the door.”
    █████“Nah. First yeh gotta pay fer yer ride.” He wrested her beer can away and chugged that one, too.
    █████Carol, angry as she was, felt her knees go weak— but with revulsion rather than arousal. God, he was such a pig! She couldn’t even find the words.
    █████He dropped the second empty beer can onto the floor, and sufficiently emboldened, got down to business by pressing his palm to her thigh.
    █████Carol trembled and quietly said, “You can’t do that.”
    █████“Why not? It’s yer Christmas Cotillion, missy. Let yer goddamned hair down fer once, an’ give Santa Claus a big wet kiss.”
    █████She threw her weight into the door handle, but he grappled her by the waist and pulled her right back over the center console. His sour, skunky breath panted into her mouth. She pushed back at his chest, to no avail. He gripped her waist easily with one arm and worked on his fly.
    █████“What are you doing?” she cried into his fetid mouth.
    █████“Jist doin’ the job m’boy can’t, is all.”
    █████Carol felt his bare erection against her thigh, its progress demarcated by a trail of cloying wetness.
    █████He panted, “Don’t worry yer little head. Save yer cherry fer m’boy, yeh stuck-up wallflower. Havin’ a little fun, is all. Just foolin’ around, so relax.”
    █████“No. No, Mr. Turner. Don’t! I could get pregnant!” Even as she uttered the words, she did wonder about that, now it came to it, after what that dork Billy had done to her in the shrubs earlier that evening.
    █████He ignored her feeble denial, took her in both arms, and pushed her straight down over the console. The automatic shift dug into the small of her back. He misinterpreted her writhing and frenzied resistance for ardor. His tongue slavered her collarbones. She yelped with fright and tried to push his head away, but he caught her slender wrists and easily held her arms out to her sides, whilst forcing her thighs wide open with his legs. In the course of her struggles and his insistence, the hem of her dress worked its way right up around her waist.
    █████He released her arms. Far too many tasks commanded his addled attention. She wordlessly pounded her fists upon his back and saw nothing but the rhythmic humping of his flabby buttocks, up and down in the darkness, a sight reminiscent of over-exuberant dogs that she had seen, working on their favorite pillows. The rapidity of the attack paralyzed her only briefly, yet with a brevity that gave the vile creature ample time to fulfill his single allotted purpose.
    █████She felt his tell-tale shaking above her, a re-enactment of the son’s memorable performance earlier that evening, in the shrubbery. The first pulsing jet soaked the crotch panel of her panties, and then another, and she cried, “Mr. Turner, oh God, what are you”— and another warm pulse, and now, too late, she began to appreciate her peril.
    █████He witlessly muttered, “Take it, take it missy, yeh little slut.”
    █████“Mr. Turner, nooo, you’re getting it in me, oh God, no!”
    █████Carol’s predicament hardly resonated with the man. He hoisted himself up off the girl, and she scrambled backward, finally able to open the passenger door.
    █████“There,” he magnanimously announced, “now yer night’s complete.”
    █████Carol fell backward, out of the car, and landed on her posterior, skinning her palms on the cold asphalt in the process. William Turner, Sr. started the old station wagon and threw it into a U-turn before she returned to her feet.
    █████A few weeks later, when school reconvened after Christmas break, a tearful Carol confronted Billy Jr. and told him that she had missed her period as a result of their heavy petting in front of the school. She silently conceded, to herself alone, that both the son and father shared equal complicity, but either possibility amounted to the same thing.
    █████Billy, who could not have suspected that his father might have been responsible, reacted badly. “Don’t blame me, slut, I know yeh’ve been sleepin’ aroun’ with half a dozen guys behind m’back.”
    █████“That’s a filthy lie!” she cried.
    █████Billy stalked away, with hunched shoulders, and left her sobbing in the center of the corridor.
    █████That night Carol’s parents called Billy’s parents. They met for the first and only time.
    █████William Turner, Sr. went berserk on his own son, while Carol’s parents looked on, both revolted and appalled. “Goddamn it, boy, yeh done put this here nice girl in a family way, and now yer gonna face the music, shit-for-brains! Yer gonna grow up real fast, an’ lie in that there bed yeh done made an’ provide for missy here, or I swear teh the livin’ Christ I’ll drag yer sorry ass out back and shoot yeh myself! I brought yeh into this world, boy, an’ I can sure as hell take yeh out of it!”
    █████Billy and Carol met for a shotgun wedding that winter, on the second floor of Everett City Hall, before her pregnancy started to show. Father did not attend. Mother drove, and Carol watched herself fall apart in the passenger seat, from a perspective underneath and behind, as though disembodied. Mother parked, leapt out of the car, and strode toward the granite staircase of the main entrance without waiting. Carol watched from within the car, cheek against the cold window, and bit her knuckles bloody.
    █████She watched herself shuffle through the lobby and up the stairs, as though on her way to her execution. She turned a corner. There stood Billy Turner, Jr., working on his slouch and staring at his shoes.
    █████Ten minutes later, on a bench in the dim corridor outside of the clerk’s office, Carol’s mother presented a credit card and a stark choice. Carol stared with incredulous fury at the credit card for an apparent eternity, and considered the choice that it represented, an alternative that repulsed her to the deepest sinew, yet filled her with obsessive hunger. The credit card, and its choice, represented her escape. She panted with desire, and every cell in her body compelled her to grab the card and run.
    █████Mother hissed, “Your father would never have to know. We will tell him you have had a miscarriage. I have already made the appointment. Take it.
    █████Carol tore her eyes from the gleaming plastic and set her gaze upon Billy Jr., who had been staring at it, too, with desperate yearning. The pair locked eyes, and he nodded with clenched teeth. ‘Take it,’ his nod begged. ‘Just take it!’
    █████Carol watched her fingers cross the gulf toward her salvation.
    █████Then she heard the one plaintive dissent.
    █████One small murmur, from below and behind her heart, whispered its pathetically feeble entreaty and rebuttal: a nascent life that begged, subliminally, for mercy.
    █████Bile rose in Carol’s throat. She fought the caustic acid back down. Then she stood up, told her mother to go to hell, and never spoke to her again, for as long as she lived.
    █████She clenched Billy Turner’s forearm in her fist and dragged him toward the City Clerk. “Come on. We’re late.”
    █████
    █████
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████
     
  3. thinskin

    thinskin Porn Star

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    11,718
    brava bambina!

    ts
     
  4. Once@twice

    Once@twice Porn Surfer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    11
     
  5. Once@twice

    Once@twice Porn Surfer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    11
    Can't get enough of this.
     
  6. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735

    Thanks for reading. Much more to come. Next scene tonight or tomorrow.

    @thinskin: thanks for visiting as well!
     
  7. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████William Turner, Sr. evicted a second floor family that had been in arrears for ninety days, and he put his son and new daughter-in-law in their stead. Billy Jr.’s payment record fared no better, but his father took his compensation, at least twice each month, from Billy Jr.’s new teenaged wife. Carol cried and begged piteously through every episode, but he obliviously retorted that he had to have her, and that she owed him the rent, and that was that.
    █████In hot, languid mid-August, just a couple weeks before Labor Day, Carol gave birth to Jessica Elizabeth on a kitchen table, attended only by a part-time midwife, with the entire Turner family in the room, including Mr. William Turner, Sr., most likely the real father. Carol watched her mother-in-law hand the newborn off to a gaudily painted sister-in-law named Penny, who in turn posed the babe in the lap of a one year old cousin, a rosy cheeked redhead named Colleen. Carol begged to have the newborn infant returned to her, but the family ignored her. She had fulfilled her sole purpose, and the celebration proceeded in the next room, while she laid upon the table, spent and effectively marginalized.
    █████All too soon, the novelty of a newborn in the household wore off, and Carol all too gratefully took sole custody of her new chore.
    █████From that point on, Carol could remember nothing but living with pigs, and being a pig herself, and learned how to shut her mind down sufficiently to be able to subjugate herself as necessary to Mr. William Turner, Sr. and his friends without slitting her own wrists after the depraved episodes ended.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████Now, going on two decades later, Mrs. Carol Turner inhabited purgatory, the mother of both Jessica and six year old Tommy, indentured on the second floor of a vermiculated triple decker set amid crumbling weed-choked cement.
    █████While perhaps there could have been some uncertainty as to whether Billy or William Sr. had sired Jessica, Carol at least had narrowed the question down to one or the other. Not true of Tommy. She had no clue as to Tommy’s paternity apart from her certainty that her own husband, Billy Jr., could not possibly have been the father.
    █████Billy had been too effective in drowning his sorrows, for the past nine years, to have done the job more than once a month. Meanwhile her father-in-law had been using her off and on, right under Billy’s nose, ever since she had joined the family. And on top of that, the inestimable Mr. Turner had traded her off with his friends on a few poker nights right around the time Tommy had been conceived. To Carol’s undiscerning and disinterested eyes, her six year old son vaguely resembled half the men in the neighborhood. Her pregnancy had come as no surprise, none whatsoever, yet it did pose a lingering mystery that would go forever unsolved. No one in the household ever would have sprung for a paternity test, and Carol had never summoned sufficient motivation to take interest in the question.
    █████Carol’s disinterest in Tommy had never quite crossed the line into neglect. For the past six years she had attentively clothed, fed, and watered the boy. In a way, Tommy constituted a valuable asset, a form of insurance. Carol and her family had a roof over their heads, largely rent free, thanks to William Sr., who owned the triple decker in which they subsisted. Carol attributed this largesse to some deeply ingrained paternal instinct, a silent acknowledgment of his responsibilities to her little bastard. All the same, she drew herself up far short of actually loving Tommy and had long since confessed to herself that her inability to love him would never change. How could she be expected to perceive Tommy as more than a rape-child? The boy ultimately amounted to yet another feature in the landscape of her personal hell.
    █████Jessica she perceived altogether differently. Jessica was special, despite having origins that were most likely identical to Tommy’s. The young mother could not have explained the difference, except that her own choices had been taken from her all too soon, and that she had forfeited those choices by having given up everything for Jessica. Carol’s fate, she had long ago decided, would not be passed on to her daughter. For Jessica life would be different. For reasons that Carol could not have adequately explained, she loved her daughter with an intensity that sometimes made her wonder, with a guilty pang, whether she endeavored to live Jessica’s life vicariously.
    █████Come what may in this accursed life, Carol had taken steps to ensure that Tommy would be the last bastard. On the morning after she had birthed him, she had tearfully and soulfully begged the attending physician for a hysterectomy. The physician, filled with pity, had reluctantly and secretively obliged by performing the pro bono act of mercy.
    █████By now Carol could no longer remember her parents’ faces; she had not seen them since a family wedding which had taken place back before Tommy had been born. On that occasion she had espied her parents from across a ballroom, and with the mere sight she had fallen to pieces. Although she could not clearly recall that wedding, having repressed it, she believed that Jessica could not have been older than four. Carol had not even exchanged Christmas cards with her family since the falling-out, and her parents did not know that Jessica had a little brother.
    █████
    █████
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    End of Chapter One. More to come, as long as there are readers.
     
  8. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    Chapter 2: Accessory
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████Now, in the persistently bad economic climate, Carol had to find a job.
    █████Billy had never been able to provide them a decent living, but William Sr. had been subsidizing their income, first by putting them up in an in-law apartment, and then by granting them zero-interest family loans. This largesse did not come without a price, which Carol paid viscerally, on behalf of the family, on a bimonthly rota. Only for the sake of William Sr.’s cynical charity could Carol put up with his constant pawing at her breasts and bottom in view of the family, and with his occasional insistence on putting her to more carnal use as the need arose.
    █████Lately, Billy Jr. had taken their dependence on his father’s charity too far. Billy Jr. had been gambling on the side, with money that his father had loaned them to fix the car, and now they were broke. With the recession piled on top of Billy’s gambling habit, William Sr. couldn’t afford to support them anymore, so now Carol found herself out looking for a job for the first time in her life.
    █████She had made only one stipulation on the night before she had first hit the pavement with her dismally thin resumé: in exchange for bringing home the rent, the purgatory would have to end. No more favors to William Sr.; no more favors to his poker buddies; no more favors to anyone.
    █████A poor typist, with no office administration skills whatsoever, Carol bombed more than a dozen interviews before she finally landed a clerical job for a family owned manufacturing company that had headquarters in town.
    █████On the day of Carol’s interview and subsequent hire, Dr. Spencer, for that was the name of her interviewer, scowled silently at her application for awhile. Then he took a call and made her wait for nearly twenty minutes while he prattled on, for some inscrutable reason, given the unseasonably warm fall weather, about snow and ice. The whole time, she sat in the chair opposite and tried to ignore the discourtesy implicit in the callous man’s presumption that he should feel entitled to make her wait. Internally she seethed. But she had bombed so many interviews, and could ill afford treading pavement fruitlessly forever.
    █████She assessed him, from behind her downcast eyelashes, while he indulgently gabbed. He sat straight and erect, shoulders back, upon a Spartan oak chair. Striated musculature vied in amiable contention upon his neck and cheeks. He could not have been thirty, yet he comported himself with so self-assured and superior a mien that her self-perception of comparative insignificance exacerbated her growing resentment.
    █████Dr. Spencer hung up, set his gaze upon Carol, and brooded for a long moment with forest green eyes. Then he declared, “You have no applicable experience whatsoever, apart from a typing course in high school. What have you been doing for the past ten years?”
    █████So, he had made her wait twenty minutes just to tell her that she didn’t have a chance in hell. The man infuriated her, but she fought to rein it in. ‘Speak calmly, clearly, in complete sentences,’ she told herself. ‘No contractions. Pronounce your r’s and g’s.’
    █████“I have been raising two children since high school.” Despite the internal coaching, she murmured this admission like a confession to murder. Little could she have suspected that her answer would have raised his estimation of her qualities considerably.
    █████A stay-at-home Mom. One possessed of the prescience and wherewithal to put her family and future first. “I do not see that information on your resumé.”
    █████“Sir, I am applying for an entry level clerical position. I did not think that my, uhh, experience would matter.”
    █████“Why the change in lifestyle?”
    █████“Financial difficulties. The recession. I need a job, and the children are both in school full time this year, which frees up my day.”
    █████“Can you read?”
    █████She blinked and gulped. Could that have been a serious question? But how could she possibly have known, having never entered the workforce, that Dr. Nelson Spencer interviewed functional illiterates three times out of ten? “Of course I can read,” she replied haughtily.
    █████He either ignored her barely concealed umbrage or completely failed to register it. Since he had already put Carol on a short fuse, his next words really put her back up. What he said was this: “If I am to hire you, I will expect you to dress and comport yourself professionally, and to actively assist me in the cultivation of our business partners.”
    █████What she heard, fairly or not, was something quite different. In her mind, he had told her, in so many words, that her physical appearance was the sole reason he could possibly have had for hiring her, since she had come begging for employment devoid of any concrete business skills, and so he expected her to look and act attractive, and to visually complement the office, in order to improve the atmosphere, for the amusement, entertainment, and titillation of business guests.
    █████Carol Turner scowled, half-stood, and nearly stalked out the door, but at the penultimate moment she sighed with the realization that, given her lack of experience, merely having to look attractive was probably the best and least humiliating deal she would likely find, so she stayed put on the hard oak chair.
    █████He tilted his head contemplatively, with a corner of his mouth curled into a smirk. He challenged, “Mrs. Turner, you look as though you are not convinced this would be a fit for you.”
    █████Carol detested the man for his arrogance. He had nailed her sentiments, another fact that she had difficulty conceding. His smirk irritated her. Perhaps it was another power trip, like making her sit and wait for twenty minutes while he gabbed on the phone about snow and ice. Carol needed the job desperately, and she surmised, with yet another twinge of resentment, that he alone had the sole power to grant or deny the positive outcome that she wanted and needed. Yet his question had implied that she had a choice in the matter. So, with a timid voice, staring at her shoes, she said, “Sir, whether the position is a fit is of no relevance to me. I need the job, and I can be flexible.”
    █████With a cold, toneless voice, he commanded, “Look at me, Mrs. Turner.”
    █████Carol forced herself to look up, both resentful and irrationally afraid.
    █████He looked, long and hard, into her wary hazel eyes and finally said, “You desperately need this job, don’t you, Mrs. Turner?”
    █████She nodded sullenly.
    █████“I could take advantage of that,” he advised her.
    █████She nodded again, without looking at him. Of course he could. Power advantage. Sexual advantage. She had heard of such things and did not for a single moment imagine herself to be immune, given her intrinsic vulnerabilities. But then he surprised her.
    █████“But I am not the type to exploit those who have no choices. I believe in picking on people my own size. So, what I need from you, Mrs. Turner, most of all, is discretion. Do you understand?”
    █████She looked up at him now. He looked down upon her as though she were a child called to the principal. His green eyes brooded beneath dark eyebrows, and his shoulders appeared to span the width of his desk. Carol blinked and tried to clear her head. He had asked her a question. Whether she had understood. “No, sir,” she replied.
    █████“What I mean, Mrs. Turner, is that I need an assistant whom I can trust. One who knows, without being told, that what transpires in this room, stays in this room. Is that more clear?”
    █████Carol knew that she needed a job, and had told herself, after the tenth interview had bombed, that she would put up with absolutely anything for a somewhat respectable paycheck. She did know one other thing with certainty. “Sir, you are saying that I must keep my mouth shut.”
    █████“Precisely, Mrs. Turner.”
    █████“I will not have difficulty with that, sir.”
    █████“Very well, Mrs. Turner,” he said, “then in that case, I am prepared to offer you an entry level position. The pay is modest, but you would have the flexibility to meet your personal commitments and responsibilities at home. Opportunities for advancement at this company are few, but you would be afforded a professional, respectful environment with which to put solid office administration experience on your resumé. Is this offer acceptable to you?”
    █████Carol almost succumbed to her instinct and declined, but she heard herself say, “Yes, sir, it is.”
    █████“Good. Welcome aboard, Mrs. Turner. Now you may return to Human Resources. They will have some forms for you to sign.”
    █████“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir,” she faintly said to her shoes.
    █████
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
     
  9. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████Perhaps Carol should have fled at that point, but her desperate need for the paycheck prevented her. He had left the particulars of her duties and responsibilities vague, but she really did feel, given her practical experience as a homemaker in an unconventional household, that she could put up with anything. In that sense she had to concede that he had been correct in his supposition that her life experience had applicability, after all.
    █████Besides, she had been taken with Dr. Spencer at first sight. He was objectively gorgeous, intelligent, and some kind of doctor. Young, too. He couldn’t possibly have been as old as thirty. Powerful musculature rippled beneath the seams of his impeccable business suit. The mere act of looking at him, at his smouldering rosemary green eyes, fired up all sorts of pent up wishes that her life could have turned out better if only she had not gotten herself mixed up with infantile Billy Turner and his scummy father.
    █████She spent an hour in Human Resources and returned to find Dr. Spencer immersed in deep concentration. He did not acknowledge her return, except to gesticulate toward a far corner, where stood a broad, virtually bare oak table and backless hardwood stool that presumably constituted her work area. A computer and printer occupied the far edge, adjacent to a wall entirely obscured by book shelving that climbed to the ceiling.
    █████Carol might have felt, as she surveyed her work area and the hard, backless stool, that she had been transported into some Dickensonian novel populated by skeletal, impecunious scriveners chained to their chairs, were it not for her observation that Dr. Spencer’s own desk and chair conformed to the exact same style. His oak desk had only one narrow row of drawers, and stood completely open, on four plain square legs, revealing his gleaming black shoes, his pressed trousers, and the wall behind. His work area had, for a backdrop, a floor-to-ceiling window that ran the length of the far wall. The remaining three walls of the office were concealed either by filing cabinets or by bookshelves. Dr. Spencer kept the thermostat at sixty degrees fahrenheit, and she shivered in the brisk air.
    █████A half hour after Carol’s return, he took a five minute break from his tasks to further explain the particulars of the job: filing, dictation, transcription, occasional errands, and above all, discretion. He did not hint at any specifics as to why discretion should be warranted. Upon her desk she found a small stack of materials, none of which provided further elaboration. She found a thick Employment Handbook, a corporate mission statement, an organization chart, and atop the stack of papers, a single sheet that listed her daily duties in writing. Paraphrased, the list of duties amounted to exactly the job that had been verbally conveyed: filing, dictation, transcription, occasional errands, and discretion.
    █████In fact, Carol would not even be required to answer the phone. He apparently preferred to take calls personally, on his direct line, to lend an impression of accessibility to the clientele. Carol didn’t have a phone, but he assured her that this lack would be remedied within five business days.
    █████Not until around eleven-thirty did he finally reach a lull in a seemingly endless stream of phone calls. Carol watched him as he set the receiver off the hook and turned down the volume, apparently his only means of assuring that he would be able to give her five minutes of undivided attention.
    █████“Mrs. Turner, your task for the remainder of today, which shall consist only of the next half hour, will be to begin reading the Employment Handbook. I typically take lunch here at my desk, at or around twelve. As for yourself, please feel free to come and go as you please. Take as much time for lunch as you need. Today will be a half day. I shall not expect to see you again until Monday morning, but I will of course mark you down for a full day’s work today. Hopefully by Monday, when you return, Information Services will have provided you with a phone, but they are notoriously unreliable. I like to think that this is an easy job, as discretion is the single most challenging item on the list of responsibilities, yet neither I nor my predecessor have been able to keep the position filled for more than sixty days at a stretch in the past three years. I am hoping that you will break that trend, Mrs. Turner. Do you have any questions?”
    █████Carol knew that she would seem shallow and unprofessional if she could not think of at least one coherent question. She tried to meet his eyes, but could not do so without losing her train of thought, so her eyes fixated on his red silk tie, an object of focus that intimidated her to a slightly lesser degree. “Sir, according to the corporate organization chart, you are a middle sales manager, and not a vice president.”
    █████“That is correct, Mrs. Turner. I report to the senior vice president of sales, Andy Donner.”
    █████She worked her jaw nervously and persisted, “You have the same last name as the president and founder.”
    █████“Yes, Mrs. Turner. Your question?”
    █████“Umm, well, I am wondering whether that is just a coincidence.”
    █████ “It is not. Mr. Vernon Spencer is my father. Like everyone else who works for this company, I am expected to advance by merit alone. Nevertheless, I do own one third of the company, as you will no doubt be apprised soon enough in the cafeteria by one of the many wagging tongues who try, with dubious efficacy, to convince themselves that nepotism is the only path to achievement in life. Do you have any further questions, Mrs. Turner?”
    █████Carol, trembling, had understood less than half the words he had said, but she murmured, “No, sir.”
    █████“Very well. Incidentally, this is an old-fashioned organization. Though I do not consider myself stodgy, my sphere of influence over the culture, at least for the present, has limits. Therefore you will address my father as ‘Mr. Spencer,’ should the need ever arise. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
    █████And with that, he turned the volume on his phone back up, took a call, and paid no further attention to her.
    █████Dr. Nelson Spencer definitely posed a great number of mysteries, and her instinct at several points that morning had goaded her to flee without looking back. The biggest warning sign had been his insistence, above all else, that she be able to keep her mouth shut. About what, he had never hinted. But apart from that minor mystery, he did seem harmless enough. And he was the owner’s son. And she finally had a real job, out in the world.
    █████At lunchtime, she stepped out onto the sidewalk and realized, having spied a silhouette of herself in the revolving door’s smoked glass, that she had worn the same outfit to all twelve job interviews. She ground her teeth together, walked six blocks to a discount retailer, and over the course of three hours spent the entirety of her first paycheck, which she would not receive for at least ten days. The exercise battered at her conscience and imposed a frustration that threatened to engulf her, right there in the store, between the crowded aisles. Nevertheless, for the first time since Jessica Elizabeth’s birth she felt as though she had achieved a semblance of progress.
    █████Carol rode the transit bus home that afternoon with an attitude of relief and elation, a rare combination of emotions in her experience.
    █████
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
     
    lotsjizz likes this.
  10. lotsjizz

    lotsjizz Porno Junky

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    427
    Good story
     
  11. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735

    Thanks! This book is cooking on a slow flame, but it comes to a boil and that's a promise!
     
  12. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████Owing to the shopping excursion, Carol did not make it home in time to catch her children off the school bus. They had been home awhile. She spotted Tommy first, on his way from a pit stop back to the parlor. Characteristically oblivious to his mother’s transformation, the first grader rushed past her without a hello and proceeded straight to the Playstation.
    █████Billy sprawled across the couch, with his pot gut upended and exposed by his hiked up tee shirt. His rank perspiration evaporated into the room and exacerbated the humidity. The Playstation did not rouse him. Tommy ignored his snores.
    █████Carol sat at the narrow kitchen table, pressed her hands to her temples, and listened.
    █████At some point Jessica came in through the back porch door, trundling a book bag. Evidently she had been hiding behind the collapsed shed again. Carol pretended not to know.
    █████Jessica set her book bag on the kitchen table, pulled a chair up to her mother’s, and took a seat. Carol glanced from the laden book bag to her wiry daughter and smiled, pleased to be sitting with someone more her size. Her neck still felt sore, from having had to look up at her towering supervisor through the unnecessarily protracted interview. Small-boned Carol stood just five-foot-three, and all too often felt as fragile as she looked. The sole compatibility that she shared with her despicable husband was his diminutive stature: Billy was skinny, pock-faced, and short. Poor Jessica, who so often dreamt of growing to be high-cheeked and statuesque, would likely not far exceed the height of her mother. Presently, Jessica stood not quite five feet tall in her shoes.
    █████“Another bad interview?” Jessica surmised.
    █████“Why do you say that, honey?”
    █████“You look pensive.”
    █████Carol blushed. She had once known what the word meant, but the connotation escaped her. It pained and embarrassed Carol to realize that her school-aged daughter possessed a superior vocabulary. But this fact should not have troubled Carol overmuch; if she had been paying closer attention, she would have realized, long ago, that Jessica was far more advanced, intellectually, than anyone in their social circle, irrespective of age.
    █████Having no idea what her daughter had just said, Carol simply answered the original question. “The interview went well, I suppose, because I got the job.”
    █████“Oh!” the daughter exclaimed. “That is, umm, great.”
    █████“You don’t sound convinced,” Carol observed.
    █████Jessica shrugged and said, “That was fast, that’s all.”
    █████“Yes and no. I’ve lost count of the interviews that bombed. Uh, Jess, I know you don’t like being left here alone all that much.”
    █████“We need the money, Mom. I will manage.”
    █████“Aunty Penny and Gramma will watch Tommy. My taking a job will not mean any extra work for you.”
    █████Jessica wanted to say that she was less concerned about extra work looking after Tommy than with being left unsupervised in the house with Dear Father. But Jessica knew that Mom had enough to worry about, without Dad’s proclivities on top of everything else. She simply reassured, “No sweat. I know we have bills to pay.”
    █████Carol smiled at Jessica’s assertion and agreed, “We do. Or I would not even consider leaving you alone here with Tommy on the afternoons.”
    █████“When do you start?”
    █████“Technically I already have. I’ve been paid for the full day today. But I officially start on Monday.”
    █████“Mmm. Well, good luck.”
    █████“I’ll do all right. My boss is very stern and severe, but he seems nice enough, all the same. I think I will like working for him.”
    █████“Oh? What is so nice about him?”
    █████Jessica’s mother shrugged and said, “Easy going. Doesn’t talk much, doesn’t get too emotional. Keeps to himself. I think he’ll leave me alone and let me do my work. Lots of bosses are so in-your-face.”
    █████Jessica nodded sagely, but really had no idea what her mother was talking about. Her tattered dictionary really did not help much with real life. She had long since learned that the names for things were seldom enough. One had to touch, feel, smell, and taste them, too. Jessica wanted so much to start living. Yet the prospect scared her, since, in her experience, most of the people who had ever really lived had nothing to express but regret.
    █████That Jessica had not really understood Carol’s assessment of her new boss was just as well, and would have come as no surprise to one familiar with the Turner family, because Carol really didn’t have any idea what she had meant, either. She had never worked in an office, after all, and had merely been comparing her morning with Dr. Spencer against expectations she had gleaned from movies and television.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
     
    lotsjizz likes this.
  13. thinskin

    thinskin Porn Star

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    11,718
    I have some catching up to do!

    thinskin
     
  14. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████That afternoon, Jessica held off on her homework, being far ahead of the syllabus and having the entire weekend to extend her lead; instead, she practiced aerobics with her vivaciously fiery and freckled elder cousin, Colleen, who lived downstairs. The pair donned spandex leotards, locked themselves in Colleen’s room, and started with stretching and calisthenics. Jessica performed hundreds of sit-ups and pushups. Colleen gave up on the pushups after four sets of ten, but wiry little Jessica went on and on, up-down, up-down, like a machine. Then the girls danced along to the moves of a buff male instructor on DVD.
    █████Colleen could perhaps be forgiven her minor deficits with respect to calisthenics and aerobics, because she had given much of her attention to dealing with her rapidly developing bodily proportions and with the avid interest that said proportions inspired in just about every male who encountered her. The freckled redhead had recently split with Sammy, her summer fling, and now she had her eye on an older boy who lived down one of the side streets. Colleen and Jessica often passed Carl’s house whilst jogging in the afternoons, and it could not have been coincidental that the strapping youth had discovered an affectation for yard work at that time of day.
    █████After aerobics, Colleen and Jessica joined the entire extended family upstairs, at Gramma Mary and Grampa Bill’s flat, for Friday pizza night, a time-honored and rather tedious tradition. These nights were attended not only by Colleen, Jessica, and their families, but also by Uncle Phil, Aunty Claire, and their brood, who lived down the street. Jessica liked to think, charitably, that Grampa Bill’s habitual largesse on Fridays and Saturdays might be motivated by a quest for redemption. Yet she had already acquired more than enough sagacity on this lovely earth to suspect, with her characteristic cynicism, that his true motivations had more to do with watching Colleen and herself grow up at his leisure. This cynicism would not have been mitigated in the least had she known that dear Grampa Bill might well have been her biological father.
    █████That evening, Jessica inhaled her pizza, said goodnight to Colleen, and retreated to her room and her books. Several hours later, Jessica took a break from her studies, put herself to sleep, and dreamt one of her favorite dreams. Although she could select her dreams and manipulate them as they occurred, she often found herself handicapped by not yet having lived all that much, a fact she acknowledged with a grudging mixture of impatience and resentment. She possessed only vague notions of what constituted the emotive forces behind romance, having never been so moved herself. All the same, this was a romantic dream, after a fashion, painted to the full extent of her present repertoire. Jimmy, her erstwhile summer boyfriend, had no part in it, but the dream did feature masculine protagonists and antagonists: older gentlemen who dwelt upon the borders of Jessica’s limited experience, since the men with whom she enjoyed the most familiarity gave her too many reasons for detestation.
    █████She imagined herself imprisoned in a basement cell by Mr. Carter, her school vice principal, for instance. He would leave a plate of food every morning. There she would have to await him, bound to the wall by a short leash, to dread his return, all day long, until he came back to ravish her, as he did on most nights, after school. Both his presence and his absence would terrify her to equal degrees, because the only thing worse than being rudely debased by him against the cold masonry wall was having to spend the entire night alone in that horrible place when he neglected to appear. The particulars of the ravishment were necessarily vague, since Jessica had no personal experience in the sensations derived from being used by a man. The molestation would persist until Jessica grew bored with the dream and its annoying somatosensory gaps, at which point she would either awaken or change the tableau by having herself rescued, usually by some stranger she had glimpsed in public and who had struck her as particularly handsome— or even sometimes by Sammy’s nineteen year old brother, whom all the neighborhood girls found hawt, when he shaved, despite his being an irremediable heroin addict and part-time disc jockey at the seedy strip club on the next block over.
    █████While Jessica had always enjoyed her singular ability to manipulate her dreams, she deeply suspected that her nocturnal pastimes could be much improved, with a modicum of worthy inspiration.
    █████She desperately needed new raw material.
    █████Ultimately, she gave up on the dream, awoke just before midnight to the rumble of persistent activity by the adults upstairs, and tried unsuccessfully to lose herself in Anne of Green Gables. All too soon, the oddly vacuous intensity of L.M. Montgomery irritated her. She tossed Miss Anne Shirley, reached for yet another ongoing project, and successfully lost herself in Engines of Creation, a sprawling treatise on nanometric fabrication.
    █████Upstairs, the adults had been celebrating Mom’s new job, hence the challenge imposed by Jessica’s intense desire for distraction. Late night celebrations of any sort typically involved drinking themselves into heedless stupors while grainy porn flicks ran in the background, on Grampa Bill’s cheap television. Jessica could easily hear the cheesy soundtracks and heavy moans and groans through the floorboards, and she had caught many protracted glimpses over the years. Colleen and Jessica had even succeeded in breaking into Grampa Bill’s stash of VHS tapes one time, before Gramma Mary had learned that she had to hide them better.
    █████In addition to the porn cartridges, Colleen’s dad kept an old second-hand computer downstairs. The machine had an undersized monitor, a tinny monaural speaker, barely enough power to run the obsolete operating system, and a dial-up connection to the Internet, nowhere near adequate for watching sleazy video online, but just barely up to the task of pulling full-color still images of gaping vaginal orifices and spurting penes off Google.
    █████The cousins had abandoned the old computer’s varied entertainments when the images that they had been able to find, with just a few minutes’ effort, had both scared and disgusted them to equal degrees, but not before they had learned the single most indicative defining characteristic of the Internet:
    █████
    █████That the much-vaunted World Wide Web neither promoted nor produced anything of lasting merit, whatsoever, and never would.
    █████
    █████Neither the pornographic videos upstairs nor the Internet images that the girls had dredged up in the course of their cybernetic explorations constituted adequate raw material for Jessica’s dreams. Those tawdry scenes had never happened to her and consequently failed to invoke the essential sensory immersion. Dreams worked best when they were based, even loosely, upon memories of authentic experience delivered to the frontal cortex via the hippocampus. Screen captures of some filthy harlot earning her rent just didn’t cut it. One had to live it. One had to feel the sensation of ravishment in one’s bones, the compression of subcutaneous lipids and muscle against cowering nerves, to transform the dream to the real.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████
     
  15. UncleB71

    UncleB71 Horny Horseman

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2014
    Messages:
    12,548
    This is the type of story that brought me to this site. Well written, well thought out, and most of all, a plot.

    I miss the days when there were stories of this quality here.

    Without bringing site drama into it, I encourage everyone to give this story a read, and look beyond the common quick rub and tug post. As it is in real life... a little bit of time and effort gives a much better return in the end.
     
    1. thinskin
      Clarise is a quality act!

      ts
       
      thinskin, Feb 19, 2017
  16. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    Thanks so much, UncleB71. And right back at you: love your work not only for its hotness but also for your attendance to craft.
     
  17. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    Let us turn up the heat back at the office. Just a little. ;)

    █████
    █████
    █████
    █████On Monday, Carol found out why the single most important aspect of her job description stipulated that she keep her mouth shut. She arrived at the office an hour and a half early, carrying a small cardboard box laden with personal effects, with the intention of decorating her workspace on her own time, before Dr. Spencer’s arrival. She found him already there, and he was not alone.
    █████“Ahh, Mrs. Turner,” he acknowledged, without even looking at her, “Good morning. Please come in. Pay us no mind, and just go about your business.”
    █████A peppered, paunched man of perhaps forty occupied the chair that Carol had taken on her interview. He barely glanced at Carol. She watched him mop sweat off his cheeks. In response to an unarticulated query, Dr. Spencer absently explained, “Andy, meet Mrs. Carol Turner, my new assistant. Mrs. Turner, this is my supervisor, our senior vice president of sales, Andrew Donner. Now, Andy, back to our topic. Will you please terminate her, or shall I do it myself?”
    █████“Nelson, let’s take this down to my office.”
    █████“To what end?”
    █████“To sort this out with her personally. And to reconsider.”
    █████“There is nothing to reconsider. Go back, set her down for a talk, and show her the door.”
    █████Carol spun on a heel, clutched the cardboard box to her chest, and stared unblinking at the overloaded bookshelves across her bare worktable.
    █████“At least come talk to her.”
    █████“I have nothing to say to her.”
    █████“Now, hold on, Nelson. Try to meet me in the middle, here. Work with me. You have eyes, don’t you? We’re talking about Sara Rice.”
    █████“Dime a dozen.”
    █████“Ahh, Christ”—
    █████“I want her gone, Donner.”
    █████The man named Andrew Donner, purportedly Dr. Spencer’s supervisor, whined, “Nelson, even if she weren’t a ten; even she were totally forgettable”—
    █████“She is forgettable.”
    █████“Jesus! Listen, Nelson! Forgettable or not, she’s the niece of our fourth biggest customer.”
    █████“Yes, Donner, exactly. And what did she do with our fourth biggest customer in Kyoto?”
    █████“If you’re going to get stuck on that”—
    █████“She put eight of our fourth biggest customer’s procurement staff in a hotel room with our most aggressive Asian competitor.”
    █████“That meeting was purely social”—
    █████“Her role with our company is purely social! Her role is hospitality! You are supposed to be our senior vice president of sales. Why do I even have to explain this to you?”
    █████“Nelson, with all respect, you’re not thinking big picture.”
    █████“I am not thinking with my dick, either.”
    █████“Now, hold on”—
    █████“Sara Rice breached her contract, and I want her gone.”
    █████“We need her, Nelson.”
    █████“Who? Who needs her? I sure as hell don’t need her. I have no use for her. None.
    █████“Nelson, at least come down and talk to her. Not to play. Just to talk. She’s been asking for you. We can still salvage this.”
    █████“There is nothing to salvage.”
    █████“Fine. Christ. I’ll have your uncles drop by. The three little pigs will straighten her out.”
    █████“Do or don’t; it makes no difference to me. Either way, it won’t save her job.”
    █████Andrew Donner spluttered, “Maybe your uncles will have something to say about that. I’m on my way up to Bruce.”
    █████Dr. Spencer lunged for his phone and punched a speed dial number. “Max. Would you mind coming into town this morning? I’m calling Pop downstairs in the next hour.”
    █████That was Andrew Donner’s cue to leave. He had no stomach for Maxwell Barsamian Westford, Esquire this morning, and the prospect of an encounter with Nelson’s father repulsed him even more. He stopped at the door and turned to silently appraise Carol, who still clutched her box and had to tear her eyes off the stacked bookshelves in order to look at him. Sweat dripped down his puce neck. A nervous tic at the corner of his left eye echoed his runaway heart rate. His gaze roved from her neck all the way down to her toes and back. He ground his teeth, shook his head, and stalked out of Dr. Nelson Spencer’s office.
    █████Carol’s head snapped back to the far wall.
    █████Apparently the lawyer named Maxwell Barsamian Westford, Esquire would not be coming into town that morning. Dr. Spencer convened a conference call with the lawyer instead, and brought someone named Pop— presumably his father, the company president— into the conversation.
    █████The debate did not go Dr. Spencer’s way. He became ever more strident, commensurate with the likelihood that the woman named Sara Rice would keep her job.
    █████“Yes, Max,” Dr. Spencer harshly grumbled, “we still have the contract. But Donner came back without a renewal, and the renewal of that contract was the biggest objective of the Kyoto tradeshow. I do not agree that Miss Rice is the lynchpin on this deal. She could just as likely help lose it for us. Moreover, it is high time we thinned the herd. We have six other sales interns on staff. The wining-and-dining budget is sky high. How many accessories do we need on the payroll?”
    █████Carol tried not to listen. She faced the far wall, stood at attention before her wooden table, and clutched her corrugated box with both hands. Heat poured off her face into the air. She tried to concentrate on the contents of her box; tried to imagine herself removing those contents and setting them on the desk in an orderly and presentable fashion. She could not help but listen to one side of the debate that proceeded not ten feet behind her.
    █████Sara Rice was a new employee as well, having been with the company for little over a month. The woman had already staffed a trade show in Kyoto, Japan, which suggested to Carol that she had a very important role with the company. Perhaps Sara Rice was a sales executive. Yet Dr. Spencer had stated, during his altercation with the man named Andy Donner, that Sara Rice’s role in the company was “purely social.” He had also referred to her as an “intern,” hardly a stellar attribution. Now the woman seemed to be in some kind of trouble. Dr. Spencer wanted her to be fired. Apparently the two men on the phone were overruling him. What specific role did Sara Rice serve for the company?
    █████Carol still clung to her box, at a loss as to whether she should empty its contents or flee. Dr. Spencer ignored her. He comported himself, in the conference with his father and the lawyer named Max, with a measured, strained civility. Carol could hear the tension in his inflection and felt an overwhelming compulsion to flee his brewing fury.
    █████Dr. Spencer presently hung up. He took two more calls. Finally he set the phone in the cradle and approached Carol. She had never taken a seat and still clutched her box.
    █████Dr. Spencer stood eighteen inches taller than Carol. He looked down upon her, and she felt an overwhelming compulsion to drop her eyes. She forced herself to look up and blinked at him from behind her steel rimmed glasses. He looked right back at her hazel eyes, and she could not take the stress. Her eyes retreated again. She felt sweat beading on her head; could feel his eyes boring into her. She felt herself blushing. Again she looked up, and his eyes drilled into hers once again.
    █████“So, Mrs. Turner. I asked a question of you on Friday, on your interview, and your reply was satisfactory. I will ask it again, now, and this time your answer will be more meaningful to me. Can I count on your discretion? Can you keep your mouth shut?”
    █████Carol gulped, stared at him with wide eyes, and nodded. Then her words spilled out in a rush. “I didn’t expect you to be here, sir; I came with my personal effects, to make an early start; if I had known, I would not have come. Sir, I will never intrude on your early morning meetings again.”
    █████He calmly and coldly said, “Mrs. Turner, this is your office as well as mine. I appreciate your initiative. You should feel free to come and go at any time of day, in the fulfillment of your duties. After all, what you have witnessed this morning could as easily have occurred in the course of the normal business day. And since today is Monday, I regret to say there will be a distressing level of distraction today. Monday is the day on which all the road warriors convene for their sales and customer service meetings, you see. The only thing I shall require is that what you see here, stays here. As I am sure you surmised whilst standing here and playing the proverbial fly on the wall, we have some in the employ of the Sales Department who fulfill purely social roles. If that sounds arcane or even archaic to you, know two things, Mrs. Turner. First, I could not agree more. Second, our methods of dealing with the likes of Miss Sara Rice shall never apply to you. I will, however, terminate you without warning, if you fail to exercise discretion.”
    █████“Yes sir. I will not forget it, sir.”
    █████“Very well.”
    █████Carol timidly removed from the box a stack of three framed photographs, and she set them up on either side of her computer. The photographs of Billy and Tommy she set to the left of the computer. To the right, in view of Dr. Spencer’s desk, she placed the four-by-six portrait of her daughter, Jessica Elizabeth.
    █████She heard, behind her, Dr. Spencer’s phone receiver being set on its cradle. He had been in the process of making yet another call, and had changed his mind. She wondered if he could be looking across the room at Jessica’s photograph that moment.
    █████Not much else remained in the box. Just odds and ends— a grammar rulebook, a dog-eared thesaurus, and a couple packs of chewing gum. She cradled the box in her arms and turned to face Dr. Spencer, just in time to see him avert his eyes to a sheaf of papers on his desk.
    █████“Sir?”
    █████“Mrs. Turner?”
    █████“May I be excused for fifteen minutes?”
    █████Without inflection, he said, “I have told you that you have liberty to come and go as you please, Mrs. Turner.”
    █████“Yes,” she nervously mumbled, and walked slowly toward the door. He certainly had his idiosyncrasies. Nevertheless, Dr. Spencer seemed too good to be true. Not that she did not harbor anxieties. She had leave to come and go as she pleased. For now. She stepped hastily out, before he could change his mind.
    █████
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████

    █████Dr. Nelson Spencer sighed. Of all the luck. It had been his own fault. He should have advised Mrs. Turner, back on the previous Friday, to take her time coming in for her first official day. He had wanted to ease Mrs. Turner gradually into the all the drama that tended to occur on Monday mornings. Before he could finish the thought, or give much contemplation to what, if anything, he could do about it at that point, he reluctantly took one call that he really would rather have done without. Jeffrey Anderson, one of the vice presidents of Sales and Marketing. Second in command to the senior vice president, Andrew Donner, whom Nelson had just spent the morning ripping up one side and down the other. Jeffrey Anderson never called without looking for a favor.
    █████“Jeff, what can I do for you?”
    █████“Nelson, you know I wouldn’t ask if I had a choice.”
    █████Dr. Spencer levelly said, “Not another one. For some of us, Monday is a work day. Donner already corralled me in the parking garage, and I’ve just wasted two hours in spurious meetings over that new tart, Sara Rice.”
    █████“Say, she’s a looker.”
    █████Dr. Spencer uttered a belabored sigh.
    █████“Come on, Nelson, be a sport; I’m in a real bind here. A last-minute thing. I have to go out on a sales call. Fill in for me. Be a pal, Nelson. I’ve asked around, and no one else can do it.”
    █████Dr. Spencer seethed. Anderson sounded like he was trying to pass off an unwanted pair of baseball tickets. “And you think I can? You think I have nothing better to do?”
    █████“Come on, kemosabe. I’d owe you, and I’m begging. Besides, she requested you.”
    █████“Who,” Dr. Spencer demanded.
    █████With the tone of a gambler playing his ace, Jeffrey Anderson replied, “Vanessa Curtis.”
    █████Dr. Spencer’s libido almost overcame his irritation. “Isn’t she supposed to be in San Diego?”
    █████“Yeah, yeah, but she caught wind that you’ve hired a new flavor of the month. So she crossed the country last night, just for you. For recreation.”
    █████“Damn it, Jeff!” He took a deep breath, gathered up a head of steam, and railed, “I told you guys last Friday that I have just hired a new admin. Mrs. Turner is actually literate, if you can grasp the concept, and I want her to work out. And she has already bagged me once this morning, duking it out with Donner over that trash, Sara Rice, at seven-thirty!”
    █████“Sara Rice is not trash.”
    █████“Whatever. Now you are tossing another one at me? My new admin is not going to last through her first day.”
    █████“Send her out on a long lunch. Look, Nelson. I know you’ll be signing my checks someday, but I gotta say this for your own good: get the stick out of your ass. You’re making it sound like you’re actually gonna suffer. The whole office knows you and Vanessa have something going. And from the purely mercantile angle, you know damned well she’s the Princeton roommate of our third biggest client’s daughter. Christ, talk to your old man if you have a problem with this.”
    █████Dr. Spencer seethed, “Pop doesn’t appreciate you guys dragging me into your Sales amd Marketing cesspool.”
    █████Jeffrey Anderson rolled his eyes and pressed, “But you’ll do it? Come on, say you’ll do it.”
    █████Dr. Spencer glared at the phone and didn’t answer. Instead, he said, “You had better close the sale today, Anderson. Don’t come back without a signed contract; do you understand? If you do, I will have Donner clean out your desk.”
    █████“So you’ll do it?”
    █████“I will pencil her in. No promises.” He hung up before the sales manager could retort. Who was he kidding, to think he could spurn the girlfriend of their third biggest client’s daughter, an occasional romantic interest taking time out from a San Diego trade show, here for recreation? Who was the harlot in that scenario? Certainly not Vanessa Curtis. Dr. Spencer had to follow his mother’s advice and find a wholesome, respectable woman, and he had to find one fast. He struggled to lose himself in work, in open defiance of his office and its presiding assemblage of malicious spirits.
    █████When Carol returned twenty minutes later, she found Dr. Spencer standing a few feet from her workstation, with a couple file drawers open, but for just a moment, she could have sworn he had been looking at Jessica’s photograph. She could not have blamed him. The photo had been taken back in July. Jessica had posed upon the porch stoop wearing faded denim shorts and a white cotton blouse with spaghetti straps. She had smiled saucily at the camera. She had arched her spine and had draped her silky brunette tresses straight down across her perfect derriere. It made for quite a picture.
    █████Carol nervously expressed the possibility that the photograph, perhaps, might have been too racy for Dr. Spencer’s conservative office. “I could replace it with something less, uhh, suggestive.”
    █████He shrugged and indifferently said, “Do, or do not, as you wish. The photograph neither offends nor suggests anything to me.”
    █████Carol sighed and sat down on her wooden stool, thinking to herself that giving him offense had not been her primary concern. She strongly suspected that he did not mind the photograph in the slightest, and if anything, would have preferred that it be even more risqué. Then, some traitorous corner of her mind wondered what would have been wrong with that.
    █████“By the way,” he said, “I may have been roped into another sales and marketing appointment, sometime after lunch. I am determined to make a spirited and emphatic attempt to ditch it, but things have not been going my way lately. Her name is Miss Vanessa Curtis. The point being, that if you were to take a long lunch this afternoon, and make yourself scarce, nothing would please me more... and, oh well....” and his voice drifted off, the thought unfinished, as he returned to his desk.
    █████Carol leafed through the stack of paper on her work table and found the Employment Handbook, a sixty page document, loose-leaf bound. She had barely made it through the table of contents on the previous Friday, and now set herself to the task of wading all the way through it by lunch. She had not made it past the cover page before realizing that something had changed. The handbook that she had begun to read on Friday had been switched for this one. The title of this version had been intentionally personalized, Employment Handbook for Mrs. Carol Turner. She blinked, frowned, and flipped to the table of contents, which had changed as well. The chapter names now had nothing whatsoever to do with general employment policies. The first chapter in this version was entitled, “Dress Code and Posture.” When her eye caught the fifth chapter, “The Correction of Sales Accessories,” she gasped and slammed the document shut. She stared forward at her desk and listened intently for any sign that Dr. Spencer might have observed her shock and consternation. But he industriously typed at his desk, apparently oblivious to her racing anxiety. Either he had set the handbook on the desk himself, or this was some kind of elaborate practical joke orchestrated by a coworker. He did not seem to be aware of her indignation. If he had set the book on her desk, he would have been watching now for her reaction, but he was not paying her the least bit of attention. She began to think that this must have been nothing more than some sort of gag, perhaps perpetrated by the other administrative assistants, a crass initiation rite. But she couldn’t be one hundred percent certain, and she needed this job desperately.
    █████Carol stared at the book, fraught with indecision, for several minutes, and finally gave in to her burning curiosity. She cracked the cover, as nonchalantly as she could. Again, Dr. Spencer appeared not to notice. She started on the first page, and had to fight to prevent her legs from trembling. She tried to read the handbook, or practical joke, or whatever it was. She could not properly concentrate, what with her turbid mind’s many and diverse preoccupations. Nevertheless, the words assaulted her eyes, sentence by sentence. “Mrs. Carol Turner must pose herself prettily at all times and must submit to the lewd attentions of her admirers, in whatever form those attentions might take,” said the purported Employment Handbook. “Mrs. Turner must grow used to being handled by ladies and gentlemen, and must submit to such handling graciously and obediently.”
    █████This had to have been the arrangement that governed the employ of Miss Sara Rice, Miss Vanessa Curtis, and an unspecified number of others. Had those women consented to these terms upon the commencement of their employ, or had the concession been wrested from them after the fact? Could Carol herself have been vulnerable to such coercion? Did some iniquitous play for her subjugation loom?
    █████The illicit manual had much to say with respect to the specifics of that subjugation. “Mrs. Turner will spend a good part of her day filing, and for this menial task she will be required to present herself with legs spread and back arched. At other times Mrs. Turner may have no apparent use whatsoever, in which case she will pose upon the credenza, on her knees and elbows, so as to entice visiting gentlemen to put her to servile use, should they so desire. Mrs. Turner shall know her place and remain mindful at all times that she is, first and foremost, an accessory of Dr. Spencer’s office.”
    █████Carol Turner tried to read, and given the distraction of Dr. Spencer’s frenetic and apparently oblivious typing, she could barely attend to the printed words, yet it did not escape her attention that the handbook grew progressively more explicit and prurient with each sentence. Part of Carol’s mind told her that this had to be a practical joke. On the other hand, Dr. Spencer himself had alluded several times to secretive and unseemly activities in the office. That morning, Andrew Donner had given Dr. Spencer the opportunity to participate in working out their differences with Miss Sara Rice. What would that process have entailed? What if this was how it all started, how the women here were ensnared?
    █████The fifth chapter of this illicit Employment Handbook had quite a bit to impart, with respect to the “correction” of “accessories” such as Miss Sara Rice. The vile thing digressed for pages on permissible methods of chastisement and the recipient’s voluntary submission to same. Carol repeatedly closed the book, yet inevitably felt herself drawn to its lurid discourse, and would open it again, and attempt to read. Nearly two hours had transpired in that fashion when she straightened with a guilty start and realized that morning had ceded to afternoon.
    █████Dr. Spencer’s fingers never slowed on his keyboard. If he had any awareness of her tribulations, he betrayed no sign.
    █████Carol shut the document again, snatched up her bag, and fled the building without a word. On her way down to the street, her preoccupations returned constantly to the illicit Handbook. Her turbid imagination interwove thoughts of her new supervisor. He had an odd, out-dated, almost archaic name. He must have come from old money. She tried to tell herself that the Handbook had to be some kind of practical joke perpetrated by the adminstrative staff, but the more she thought about it, the more she convinced herself of the equal likelihood that Dr. Spencer might have set it upon her desk purposefully. And if that were the case, to what end had he done it?
    █████The one possible saving grace— the one reason why she did not simply flee without looking back— was that Dr. Spencer appeared to be oblivious, or at least indifferent, to the goings-on. Whatever transpired on these Monday morning meetings with the sales interns, he appeared to be reluctant to participate. And then, she caught herself making excuses for him. She reproached herself for that, and briefly wondered what motivated her to do it. But then she knew. Of course she knew.
    █████Her mind raced on, way ahead of her common sense, to some imagined resolution to the impasse, whereby Dr. Spencer somehow emerged appearing noble. And yet Carol had every reason to adjudge him detestable. Why did the question matter to her? She could have sworn she had caught him, that morning, checking out Jessica’s photograph. Maybe he felt some genuine attraction. And if that were the case, what would have been so wrong with that? Carol cursed herself, cursed her guilt, cursed her compulsion to find Dr. Spencer rich and powerful, cursed the maternal betrayal inherent in the act of wishing a grown man and likely brute, such as Dr. Spencer, upon her own teenaged daughter. Carol agonized between the disgust she had for herself and the vicarious sense of fulfillment she derived from the clandestine notion of matching Dr. Spencer with Jessica.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
     
  18. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████Upon returning to the office, Carol learned that Dr. Spencer had gone out himself. She took the opportunity to conduct an impromptu exploration. She located the three nearest photocopiers, the supply closet, and the cafeteria. On the way back through the hallway that led to the bank of elevators, she turned into the restroom and stared at herself in the mirror. Not for the first time since her hire, she considered fleeing down the elevator, never to return. But she needed the money, and Dr. Spencer had explicitly taken pains to assure her that their professional relationshiop would be founded upon mutual respect— so long as she could keep her mouth shut. Carol remained in the bathroom, before one of the vanity mirrors, and splashed her face with cold water while struggling to calm her pulse.
    █████She had been standing there for twenty minutes when an older woman strode in smartly on sharp heels, well dressed and accoutered, with a hairstyle that probably exceeded Carol’s monthly salary. The woman turned straight into a stall without a glance. Carol thought to hurry out, but from whom was she fleeing, and where could she go? Back to the office? To witness her supervisor’s unseemly dalliance with Miss Vanessa Curtis? What if the illicit handbook had a basis in truth? What if Carol would be forced to witness scandal such as had been described in those pages, and what if she were to adjudge those events as coerced and therefore non-consensual? Would she not have a responsibility to report them? Yet a voice warned in her head with the severity of a klaxon alarm: she now occupied a position that the company had been unable to fill for more than sixty straight days at any time in the past three years. And she had been charged, upon her hire, with just one indelible standing order: to keep her mouth shut. Behind her, a toilet flushed. The older woman emerged from the stall, stopped at an adjacent mirror, and rinsed her hands.
    █████Without so much as a glance at Carol, the woman surmised, “You’re the new hire working with Nelson?”
    █████“Yes.”
    █████“I’m Abigail, but call me Abby. Your name?”
    █████“Carol.”
    █████“Mmm. Producer, or accessory?”
    █████“Excuse me?” Carol gasped, affronted.
    █████“It’s either one or the other around here. I presume you’ve noticed. The ones who don’t pick up the difference by day one never last.”
    █████This remark bemused and intrigued Carol. She inquired, “How long have you been here?”
    █████The old woman turned to Carol for the first time, gave her a level stare, and replied, “From the beginning. I catch on quick.” She winked.
    █████Carol took a shocked step back, and Abigail’s pursed lips turned into a smirk.
    █████“Good luck, Carol,” Abigail said, and strode out without a backward glance.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████At that very moment, approximately five miles away, Miss Marshall called Jessica Elizabeth Turner to the front desk. The teacher handed her star pupil a thick manila folder, bound tightly by a stout rubber band.
    █████“I’ve put this together over the weekend.”
    █████“Miss Marshall, thank you. You should not have done.”
    █████“Don’t be silly, dear,” the teacher replied kindly.
    █████Jessica clutched the extra homework to her breast.
    █████Miss Marshall’s eyes darted up and down the girl’s features, assessing several salient points in a split second: that Jessica had come to school that morning in her one good dress— not even a dress, really, but a rather crass outfit with polka dots and a bare midriff. Miss Marshall suspected this outfit might have been her top student’s most prized possession. In that split second, she had also checked the girl’s limbs for fresh bruises and had spotted nothing that absolutely necessitated sending her to the nurse.
    █████“Jessi, some of those exercises toward the bottom of the pile involve long division and square roots. The rest of the class will be using calculators when we get to those.”
    █████“I will manage, Miss Marshall.”
    █████“Jess, I have a calculator that you could borrow. When you get to those assignments.”
    █████Jessica smiled and said, “Thank you, Miss Marshall, but I could not impose. You will need your calculator for demonstrations. Please do not worry about me. I have talked to my Mom. A calculator is at the top of my Christmas list for this year.”
    █████Miss Marshall felt her pulse quicken in sympathy for the girl.
    █████“You’re already way ahead of your entire class. Please take your time with this packet. Balance, honey, remember?”
    █████“Yes, Miss Marshall. Have fun. I will; I promise.” Jessica Elizabeth Turner walked back to her desk, clutching her homework like a life buoy. Her groupmates had been too busy fooling around to notice her absence.
    █████Miss Marshall bit her lip so hard that it almost bled.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████
     
  19. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████Dr. Nelson Spencer returned from a meeting to find that his new personal assistant, Mrs. Carol Turner, had not yet come back from lunch.
    █████Earlier that morning, he had penciled in an afternoon appointment with Miss Vanessa Curtis. Just moments ago, on his way out of an impromptu sales meeting, he had pulled Andrew Donner and Jeffrey Anderson aside to cancel the appointment. They had not been pleased. He shared their irritation, for his own reasons. Vanessa Curtis had her qualities. Even now, he kicked himself for having cancelled the appointment.
    █████He reminded himself of his loaded calendar. He had fifteen trade journals to read. A board meeting presentation to prepare. A Shanghai scouting mission to plan. Ten articles to read, on arcane subjects such as crystalline accretion, three dimensional molecular tiling, and programmable covalent bond breaking.
    █████Despite his overloaded schedule, still he harbored misgivings. Due to Vanessa’s qualities. Vanessa could be fun. Vanessa had spirit. And imagination. And lean, muscular calves that she effortlessly and enthusiastically wrapped around his neck. She would be returning to grad school, at Princeton, upon the termination of her sales internship. She would resume the semblance of a normal life. She would covet, and be coveted.
    █████Nelson would owe Jeffrey Anderson big, for having cancelled the appointment. He would owe the spurned young woman in question, as well. She had returned to town specifically to see him. She had requested him, in particular. Vanessa had come to play.
    █████Now, having been spurned, she would be incorrigible.
    █████At the upcoming Board meeting, Dr. Spencer would have to make his pitch, once again, to downsize the Tyngsboro foundry and brazing operation; to roll the divestment capital into nanoengineering research; to give a more serious effort to the notion of developing a viable method of replacing precision castings with macroscale tiling. Myriad details vied for Dr. Spencer’s attention.
    █████Yet Vanessa Curtis incessantly impeded.
    █████He would not put her back on the schedule. He would not.
    █████
    Dr. Spencer’s thoughts drifted to his new assistant, Mrs. Carol Turner, and how he had most likely botched their professional relationship, by having failed to consider the likelihood that she would have arrived at the office two hours early that morning. He had underestimated her gratitude for having landed the job, and her enthusiasm. Consequently, he had inadvertently exposed her to the illicit sales internship system on her very first official day.
    █████He wondered whether Carol Turner already had fled. She had left the family photographs on her desk, so he could not be sure. How long would he manage to retain her? Would he somehow hold onto her for six months, or a year?
    █████The photograph caught his eye again. The picture of the daughter.
    █████He wondered, how old could the daughter be? Eighteen? No, not yet eighteen. Could she have been younger than seventeen, when the photo had been taken? He wondered why the question mattered to him. He cursed himself for thinking of the photograph again, cursed himself for finding the young woman attractive. Had he been born perverse, with lascivious tendencies ever-present, yet latent, like a ticking time bomb, or had the Sales Department’s incessant debauchery twisted him and made him this way in the two years since he had joined the company full-time? Was he turning into an animal, an unscrupulous libertine? Did he have no hope of ever achieving the semblance of a normal relationship, after the liberties he had taken with the likes of Vanessa Curtis, without consequences and with no reason whatsoever to exercise normal restraint? How would he ever hope to experience normal attraction to an ordinary woman, after so many liaisons with hired help, with women trained to respond to every proposition, no matter how debased and profligate, with the word, “Yes?” He forced himself to return to his desk. He riveted his eyes to the price listing of raw metal stock that scrolled down his monitor. He fought the compulsion to return his attention to Carol Turner’s desk. A dozen pretexts for going to her desk cascaded through his head, and he struggled to repress them. He knew the real reason that he wanted to return there, the only reason, and it was the damned photograph of the woman’s daughter. Carol Turner had already caught him glancing at her daughter’s picture once that morning. Did she suspect the depth of his depravity? Maybe she had not been sure, at the time, whether or not it had been her daughter’s photograph that had drawn his eye. The uncertainty, he supposed, had to be the only reason she had not yet fled. But if she were to walk into the office and catch him there yet again, there would be no room for doubt, and he would break his previous record by losing an administrative assistant in just one day.
    █████Presently Carol returned, shut the door, and sat at her desk without a word. He waited a few minutes, put in an order for five hundred kilograms of palladium, and then approached her work table, shuffling papers to advertise his approach. She looked up warily.
    █████He tentatively said, “I have cancelled my appointment with Miss Vanessa Curtis, but there can be no assurance that she will not show up, regardless. She has come a long way, after all, on the San Diego red-eye, for this appointment. I should be flattered, I suppose. I am surprised to see you back. I have hinted that you should feel free to take extra-long lunches, at your sole discretion.”
    █████Carol sighed. She could not meet his eyes, so she focused on a nearby filing cabinet. “This is my first day. I am trying to make a good impression, sir. I need to do well here.”
    █████He nodded. She had said it before, on more than one occasion, that she really needed the job. “It is just that, this being your first day, I suppose I am not making the best impression myself. I am sorry that you had to witness that encounter with Andy Donner this morning.”
    █████Carol forced herself to look straight up into his eyes, and she asked, “What encounter?”
    █████His breath caught, as he considered her question. Of course. Keep your mouth shut. She was demonstrating that she could practice discretion. Even when they were alone behind a closed door. Carol Turner might work out after all.
    █████They stared at each other for a long minute, after which she tentatively murmured, “Sir, can you assure me that I will not take the place of these interns, or escorts, or whatever they are?”
    █████“Yes, Mrs. Turner. Most assuredly.”
    █████“Could you just tell me, why not?”
    █████A smile teased the edges of his scowl, and he wryly asked, “Are you feeling left out, Mrs. Turner?”
    █████“Not at all,” she snapped, suddenly irate. “But I would feel better if I could be certain that those other women have not been drawn in. By blackmail, or something else. Something that could ensnare me, too.”
    █████“Hardly,” he muttered. “You need have no worries there. None whatsoever. What would motivate you to suggest such a thing?”
    █████She glanced down significantly at the illicit adaptation of the Employment Handbook and said, “I have nearly reached the fifth section.”
    █████He blinked and shook his head, as though distracted and unable to make the connection, and said, “It’s been awhile since I’ve so much as glanced at the Handbook. Please refresh my memory.”
    █████Without taking her eyes off him, she opened the booklet to her current spot and said, “Section Five is entitled, ‘The Correction of Accessories.’”
    █████His reaction shocked her. He turned deathly pale and slowly put out his hand. She gave him the handbook, and he coiled it into a tight cylinder. “I will remind you again, Mrs. Turner, that you should feel free to come and go as you please, and to take a very long break, if you so desire, to enjoy the afternoon. Please excuse me. I have to make a phone call.” He turned his back on her, stalked to his desk, and punched an interoffice number.
    █████“Donner. Send in Vanessa.”
    █████There was a brief pause.
    █████“I don’t care how busy she is. Send her now. Tell her to swing by H.R. on the way, and to bring a fresh Employment Handbook for my administrative assistant.”
    █████He hung up, turned on a heel, and said to Carol, who simply gaped at him, “One more not-so-subtle hint, Mrs. Turner. If you would like to get a bit of fresh air, and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather, now would be a very good time to make your exit.”
    █████He had just advised Carol, emphatically, to retreat. She nearly took him up on his offer. But she had to see for herself what “the Correction of Accessories” really meant. She had to know.
    █████“I have quite a bit of work to do, sir.”
    █████He sighed, “As you wish.”
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
    █████Dr. Spencer waited at the door for Vanessa’s arrival. Carol hid her face in her hair, but she glanced up out of the corner of her eye, without turning her head, to see him watching her fitfully, no doubt hoping she would change her mind and leave. He seemed... restless to her. Then he came around to her desk again and pretended to be inspecting some paper on his clipboard. She did not look up, but she suspected, with female intuition amplified by conviction, that he must have been looking at her daughter’s photograph again and trying to pretend otherwise.
    █████Carol took a chance. “Her name is Jessica.”
    █████“Pardon me, Mrs. Turner?”
    █████“The photograph. My daughter.”
    █████“She is a lovely young woman.” Innocuous enough, as compliments went. The thoughts on his mind were nowhere near as innocuous. That Mrs. Turner’s daughter had an enchanting and compelling figure, the sinuous, youthful grace that women in their thirties sweated for and starved themselves for, with utter futility as they labored for the unattainable and yearned for the figure they had possessed in their teens, before they could appreciate the power that their fleeting charms had over men. Could Jessica Turner really be as old as seventeen or eighteen? She looked even younger. Hopefully she was at least a high school senior, in which case his prurient imagination would be less repugnant to him later on tonight, once he got away from this place and had a chance to clear his head and review his lascivious tendencies with a semblance of objectivity.
    █████“Jessi is growing up fast,” Carol commented.
    █████He nodded in spite of himself, and with horror he realized that the mother had just summed up, with that terse statement, all the turbid thoughts that had just rushed through his mind. That was when he realized that somehow, in the course of the morning, with nothing more than a four-by-six photograph for inspiration, he had formed an attraction to the woman’s teenaged daughter. He returned to the door, shuffled the papers on his clipboard, and quietly said, “I am sorry, Mrs. Turner. That is twice you have caught me looking.”
    █████She glanced up at him and smiled thinly, saying, “That’s what photographs are for.”
    █████“She is just a girl. It is not right.”
    █████“She is a woman, sir, and you are a man. And if your looking bothered me, I would not have put the photograph there.”
    █████On that enigmatic note, a tentative knock on the door diverted his attention. A slim, short brunette entered. She had a pixie face and bobbed hair. She wore a knee length denim skirt and a skin tight sweater without a bra. Vanessa Curtis looked up at him, glared resentfully, and held out a new handbook. He took it from her and tossed it upon Carol’s clean work table, hard enough for it to slide the length of the oak surface and stop in Carol’s hands.
    █████Vanessa stared at the tightly coiled handbook that he gripped in his fist and said, “I worked hard on that.”
    █████He grunted and said, “You are lucky you work for Donner. Only he could put up with you.”
    █████“He receives adequate compensation,” Vanessa retorted.
    █████“Still, I am half-inclined to tell him the price is too high.”
    █████Vanessa’s eyes went wide, but then she gave him a blasé sneer and remarked, with thick resentment, “We’ve reached the tipping point, Nelson. Desperate times.”
    █████“Whatever your expectations were for flying out here, you can forget them, Vanessa. By rights, I should beat you with this trash,” he declared, holding up the coiled handbook, “until it falls apart in tatters.”
    █████That was when Carol stood up, holding her new, authentic copy of the Employment Handbook, and muttered, “Umm, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go read this in the park.”
    █████Without taking his eyes off Vanessa, Dr. Spencer absently said, “As you please, Mrs. Turner. I ought to formally introduce you, though. You will be seeing more of each other, no doubt. Vanessa, meet my new administrative assistant, Mrs. Carol Turner.”
    █████“Charmed,” the young woman mumbled.
    █████Carol Turner nodded imperceptibly and nervously stammered, “Okay... well, I’d better get going. I will be back, uhh, later.”
    █████Dr. Spencer nodded curtly.
    █████Carol slipped out the door.
    █████Vanessa scowled at Dr. Spencer and snarled, “So, Nelson. Is she next?”
    █████“Mrs. Turner is my administrative assistant and nothing more. A highly competent professional,” he coldly replied.
    █████“Hmpf!” Vanessa grunted.
    █████He abruptly gripped her elbow and threw her face down over Carol’s work table, just a foot or so from the workstation and photographs.
    █████“Easy, Nelson!” she cried sharply. “Christ!”
    █████He ignored her laments and pressed, “You hopped the red-eye from San Diego. Yet you still found time, at some point this morning, to switch the handbooks.”
    █████“You left the door open and stepped out. A minute was all I needed. I didn’t fly out here to play a stunt with the handbook, and you know it. I didn’t even know you’d hired someone until I was already in the air.” Her breath caught in her throat as she heard him pull down his fly. “Nelson, go easy, okay? My boyfriend suspects I’m sleeping around.”
    █████“You are sleeping around. But have it your way: if you are really that torn about being here, I should just send you back to Andy Donner.”
    █████Vanessa contemptuously scoffed, “Very funny, Nelson. Andy Donner is a pathetic slob.”
    █████“Oh, yeah? And what am I?”
    █████She bit her lip and murmured, “You’re worth flying the red-eye for. But please, go easy.”
    █████Her resistance and exhortations for mercy collectively amounted to nothing but empty histrionics. Vanessa Curtis had come here for this, had ditched the San Diego trade show for this, had boarded the red-eye for this, had requested him by name. For precisely this.
    █████That being said, the consummate professional’s terpsichorean stridency impressed.
    █████Dr. Spencer settled into his respective role. The pair had danced this waltz before.
    █████He had attempted to cancel their appointment that morning and did not want this encounter to persist for a moment longer than absolutely necessary. He plunged into the debauched intern, to his full length, in one deep lunge. Then he commenced his earnest yet paradoxically dispassionate task.
    █████Vanessa for the most part disassociated herself from participation in the act and stared straight ahead. She babbled off and on about the impending termination of her internship, and she remarked that he should take time off that winter to meet her at Princeton. They could spend time together at her grad school residence. Real time, quality time. As an ordinary couple. Her monologue failed to penetrate, however; she possessed sufficient presence of mind to glare up at him every once in a while, and to silently communicate her resentment of his callousness. That was how she noticed that Dr. Spencer’s mind, inexplicably and insultingly, had drifted elsewhere.
    █████Vanessa angrily snarled, “Who’s that?”
    █████He absently said, “Who’s who?”
    █████“That picture,” she groaned. “You’re bashing me to pieces and dripping your sweat on me and you’re not even looking at me; you’re looking at that picture! Who is it?”
    █████With a guilty start, Dr. Spencer realized that he had been gaping at the photograph of Carol Turner’s daughter all this time, as he had been making lubricious use of the graduate student beneath him. He had been imagining the teenager, Jessica Turner, bent over the work table, in Vanessa’s place. Jesus Christ, he had to be losing his mind. He quickly regrouped and tried to play it cool. “She is no one, just my assistant’s daughter.”
    █████“She looks like a kid. How old is she?”
    █████“Who knows? Seventeen or eighteen, I would guess.”
    █████Vanessa emitted a bitter laugh. “Hah. A lot you know. I’d bet she’s not even fourteen. You’re a pervert. I’ve heard that about you, and here’s the proof.”
    █████“You’re assuming too much. I wasn’t even looking at the picture.”
    █████“Bullshit.”
    █████“Believe whatever you want,” he said, coolly, and rammed into her body with extra force.
    █████Vanessa cried out, got a lungful of air, and petulantly accused, “Flat as a board, but the little lady does have a cute ass. We’ve established without question that you’re an ass man, Spencer.”
    █████He chuckled darkly.
    █████“And to think all this time that I’ve thought my competition for your heart and mind was your old classmate, that MIT math-slut named Merry Wendy Rosenthal.”
    █████“Watch yourself,” he warned.
    █████Vanessa threw caution to the wind and persisted, “But Merry Wendy would be too old, wouldn’t she? Your so-called admin-assistant must be a sicko, too, letting you get your cheap thrills from that picture of her kid.”
    █████Dr. Spencer did not lose his temper. He did not strike the woman. Instead, he abruptly ripped himself all the way out, left her gasping with the void, and slammed himself all at once into her guts.
    █████She bowed her head upon the desk and moaned plaintively. Not many more minutes passed before she could feel him trembling at the penultimate moment, and she begged, “Please pull out.”
    █████He gave her three more thrusts, drew himself out, and groaned through a series of volleys that splashed upon her backside, from the bottom crease of her thighs all the way up to her shoulders. He zipped himself up. She remained bent over Carol Turner’s worktable and cursed the likely ruination of her sweater.
    █████He coldly told her to shut up. “This is what you wanted. You flew here overnight, for this. You have had your way, Vanessa, as always. Now get dressed and clear out.”
    █████She expelled a deep breath and hissed, “So this is it, then. Thanks a million, Spencer, for all the good times. Let me use your bathroom. I need to rinse off my sweater.”
    █████“No.”
    █████“Nelson, please. Be reasonable. I can’t walk out into the office like this.”
    █████He scoffed, “No one will notice. Get yourself together and get going. Mrs. Turner could return at any moment, and I don’t want her walking in on this pathetic scene.”
    █████Vanessa stood up and glared. She scathingly suggested, “Maybe I should hang out and tell Mrs. Turner what you think of her precious little daughter.” But then Vanessa gurgled breathlessly, because a large calloused hand wrapped around her thin neck. Her eyes bulged.
    █████He whispered, “Don’t forget your contract, Vanessa. The first and foremost rule: discretion.” Then he shoved her away with a mixture of disgust and regret. He stood over her with crossed arms until she opened the door and limped out. Her sweater clung to her back, affixed by thick ribbons of congealed unguent that had soaked through the cashmere. In the main office, Vanessa crossed paths with Carol Turner, just now returning. Neither woman looked back at the other.
    █████Dr. Spencer held the door open for Carol and closed it behind her as she returned to the desk. She set her new Employment Handbook, its spine obviously uncracked, upon the table in front of her keyboard. “I regret your having to start again on that, Mrs. Turner,” he said, with just a hint of humor in his inflection. “Miss Curtis is a practical joker.” Then his forced smile devolved silently into something else: a regret that echoed his final sentiments toward the graduate student whom he had just used and dismissed.
    █████He had long known that he would have to do something about the Sales Department’s internship program. He understood its purpose and grudgingly acknowledged its necessity. Virtually every major manufacturing corporation carried budget line items for entertainment in overseas sales and marketing operations. Dymetrix Corporation had long ago taken its wining-and-dining services in-house, for reasons of expedience. The in-house escorts were comparatively expensive, but generally more discrete, more manageable, less dangerous, than escort services. All the same, Dr. Spencer regarded the practice as antiquated and unprofessional. His Dad, Mr. Vernon Spencer, knew that the anachronistic tradition still went on, but he did not like to hear about it, did not like to be reminded of it. It had to end, somehow, before Dymetrix would ever expand to the next stage. And if his father ever raised him to a position of real authority, he would bring an end to the anachronisms, even if it meant having to clean out Andrew Donner and all the rest, including some of his own uncles, the “three little pigs” who had non-binding votes on the Board of Directors. Maybe, he considered on reflection, that was why he still had the role of a middle manager. Too idealistic. Too green, too naive. Dad might not condone the office accessories, but he had to be the world’s most staunch pragmatist.
    █████Through a significant portion of this reverie, he had been staring, once again, at the small photograph of Miss Jessica Turner. He suddenly jerked up with a start, glanced guiltily at Mrs. Turner, and realized that she had been assessing him the entire time. Judging him.
    █████“Uhh, sorry,” he muttered, and straightened up.
    █████“That’s the second time you’ve apologized for admiring my daughter, and the third time I’ve caught you looking. I really don’t mind. I’m used to it. You should see men at shopping malls. They’ve been known to trip on their feet and tumble down flights of stairs.”
    █████He grimaced, with furrowed eyebrows, and demurred, “In this instance I was really, honestly, staring through her picture, at some point a hundred yards away. I have a lot on my mind. All the same, I know what it must have looked like to you. Your daughter is winsome, I do admit. But I can assure you that I am not attracted to her in that way.”
    █████“I can change the picture, or even simply take it home, if it makes you uncomfortable.”
    █████“It does not. I will keep my eyes to myself.”
    █████She smiled wryly, forced her lips into a thin line, and said, “As you please, sir. I’ve said I’m not offended. I would not even be offended if you were attracted to her, in that way, when it comes to it. She is, after all, developing a figure that any woman my age would envy, and men are beginning to notice. Something would be wrong with you if you didn’t find her attractive on a purely physical level.” Then she added, with a shrug, almost as an afterthought, “And when it comes right down to it, what really matters is whether Jessica would mind that you admire her picture. And taking one look at you, I can say that I sincerely doubt she would mind.”
    █████Carol Turner refused to look at him, until the silence compelled her, and when she looked up, his expression of mock umbrage made her giggle. She stifled that impulse, bit her lip, and said, as lightly as she could, “All I am saying is that, well, I know my daughter pretty well. You would catch her eye, if you were to pass each other on the street. Your intelligence would attract her, too. She does have a boyfriend, but not much of one. He’s just a kid, with less than half her maturity, and she’s looking to trade up. My husband grumbles that Jess gets more action than he does.”
    █████He mused, “If only I were eight years younger, she could make an honest man of me.”
    █████“I daresay she could,” the young mother said with grin, staring at her Handbook.
    █████Then she looked up at him, with a careful expression, and said, “Sir, you’ve been kicking me out of the office all morning and all afternoon, or at least attempting to. I get the feeling you have been expecting me to flee all day long.”
    █████“You are very perceptive, Mrs. Turner.”
    █████She pursed her lips, and her eyes narrowed. “A woman in the restroom, an older woman, introduced herself and asked me whether I am a producer or an accessory.” She realized in retrospect that she had been flattered by the question from the older woman named Abby, not unlike the illicit thrill she derived from being carded in a package store at her age.
    █████“What was her name?”
    █████Carol ignored his question and focused on her own. “All morning I’ve been wondering whether I am an accessory-in-training. And since I myself did not have an answer to that question, I’ve been thinking of fleeing, all day long, just as you’ve suspected.”
    █████He nodded and waited for her to finish the thought.
    █████“Sir, I think I have the answer that I need, now. I believe we’ll be able to get along. Do you mind if I ask a question?”
    █████“Not at all. I have been urging you to ask questions, Mrs. Turner.”
    █████She nodded curtly, took a deep breath, and inquired, “Are the distractions more or less limited to Monday? Will we be, ahh, producing for the rest of the week?”
    █████“We will. And, between us, Mrs. Turner, this whole in-house hospitality business has grown far too stale, for far too long. I would beg you to try to appreciate that, while I have essentially lived here at the company since childhood, I am nevertheless a newcomer here, professionally, and nearly as green as yourself. And ever since I have come aboard full-time, I have been thinking that it might be time for a change of practice. But I also know I will have to take it slowly. Our customer base is, shall we say, old-school.”
    █████She nodded and levelly observed, “That’s your business, sir. I know you’ve said it ten times already, but do I have your assurance that my deal is not Vanessa’s deal, or Sara’s deal?”
    █████“You are not an office accessory, nor will you ever be. As I have said.”
    █████“Very well. I’ll keep my mouth shut, and I’ll attempt to stay. At least through the week. And then we’ll see. Who knows. You may grow weary of my filing errors by then.”
    █████He tersely said, “Do not count on it, Mrs. Turner,” and returned to his desk.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████
     
  20. clarise

    clarise Precious princess

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    17,735
    █████
    █████
    █████They did not speak again until the end of the day. At five o’clock, Carol cleaned up and prepared to go, but he would be working into the evening.
    █████“Sir, I’ll stay, if I can be of help.”
    █████“No, that is quite alright. Go home to your family. But tell me, have you made it through the Handbook? I mean, the authorized one?” He said this with a hint of a grin on his lips.
    █████“Just about.”
    █████“Do you have any questions?”
    █████Carol considered this, and wondered how much she was at liberty to say. “Sir, I do have questions. Quite a few. But my questions pertain, umm, to the other handbook.”
    █████“Ahhh.”
    █████“Is it real?”
    █████“Real, as in authorized? Of course not,” he replied. “Vanessa Curtis indulged an unseemly and entirely unwarranted jealous streak, and played a crass practical joke.”
    █████“Yes, I’d gathered that. I meant, is it real as far as the interns are concerned. I mean to say, is it factually accurate, as applies to them? You don’t have to answer, sir, but I thought we had established a level of trust. I had agreed to keep my mouth shut. In the presence of others.”
    █████He thought about how to reply. “I can answer. Factually accurate. In what respect, specifically?”
    █████She blushed, scrambled to summon the easiest of her many questions, and stammered, “Well, for instance: how does the book apply to these Sales and Marketing interns, or whatever they are? What I mean is, who are they, and how do they qualify for their, uhh, terms of employment?”
    █████Dr. Spencer replied, “You would, no doubt, classify the sales escorts as whores, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are well-to-do and generally highly educated. Virtually all of them are somehow connected, through client or vendor relationships. After all, their positions can hardly be posted publicly; they come to us exclusively through referrals. This was not always the case, of course. The company brought the social marketing function in-house, nearly twenty years ago, to more effectively regulate it. Now, if there is nothing else....”
    █████But she did have questions. Hundreds. And one spilled out. “One more, sir, please.”
    █████“As you wish.”
    █████“I understand that Vanessa embellished the handbook to shock me. But some of it seemed over the top. The section about the Correction of Accessories. Is there any truth behind the whole corporal punishment business?”
    █████He sighed and carefully explained, “Mrs. Turner, you have to understand that the escorts do have productive roles to play. They staff our booths at trade shows in far-flung locales. Industrial cities abroad, in Oceania and the Pacific Rim, where woman of—how should I say it— their sort are considered expendable. They often find themselves entertaining international strangers who are accustomed to fewer inhibitions than purported libertines here in the States. So, let’s just say the so-called Correction Clause keeps the escorts respectful. That is why it has been left in. Moreover, the handbook has also evolved to indulge the, ahh, peccadilloes— kinks— of the interns themselves. Although I do not pretend to understand them, I do not feel qualified to judge them.”
    █████Carol considered this and continued to nod. He waited. Finally she concluded, “I think I feel better about this, then. It sounds consensual, despite appearances. Meaning, you are evidently not quite the monster you appeared to be this morning and afternoon.”
    █████“So, does that mean you really don’t mind my dalliances with the likes of Sara Rice and Vanessa Curtis?”
    █████“No, sir, I don’t mind. Why would I? It’s your business, not mine.”
    █████He chuckled at her disarmingly diplomatic response and urged, “True. But I was asking you what you think, personally. You don’t have to answer. Your thoughts are, after all, your business.”
    █████She smirked and suggested, “You, of all people, should not have to settle for casual partners. I think you could do better,” she concluded, and left it at that. Before he could end the conversation with finality, she rushed, “But I do have one more, sir, just one, and then I will never mention the other handbook again.”
    █████“Very well. One more.”
    █████She hesitated at first, as though afraid to speak, and blushed like a school girl.
    █████“Really, Mrs. Turner, if you have concerns, I wish to hear them.”
    █████She nodded and conceded, “I’m being silly, I know. Umm, Vanessa Curtis. She did not seem too pleased with her experience, when I passed her on the way back into the office. Yet you insist she consented to whatever happened here.”
    █████He replied, “More than that, she actively sought it out and engineered it, as you well know. Last night she hopped on a plane from San Diego to be here this morning, surprised her managers by showing up, and harangued them until they agreed to ask me if I would... service her. When I cancelled her appointment this morning, she took revenge by playing that little ruse on you. As I have said, I do not pretend to understand her.”
    █████“Well, I suppose I could understand her attraction to you. And her anger over being rejected by you.”
    █████“There is more to it, of course,” he conceded with a sigh. “This was not the first time for us. We have made a few attempts to— ahh— legitimize our association with each other. Vanessa wants more from me than... this.”
    █████Carol forced herself to admit, “You could do worse. She is certainly beautiful.”
    █████He acidly said, “They are all beautiful. That is what they are for.
    █████“None of this is my business.”
    █████“No, no. You are right to be puzzled, and I have invited you to ask. Who knows? If I had met such a one as Miss Curtis under different circumstances, perhaps at Princeton or MIT, at an intercollegiate event... but it is not to have been. I have pondered the notion of pursuing a relationship with Miss Curtis after the termination of her contract. But I fail to see how it would be possible. The memories of this phase would always encroach. Our relationship, for lack of a better term, is defined by profligacy, and ever will be.” Even as the words spilled from his lips, he comprehended that the terms of his relationship with Vanessa had never troubled him in the past— not prior to this day. What had changed? At what point had Vanessa’s formidable charms become insufficient to assuage him?
    █████Carol watched him carefully. His eyes cast about the room, in search of an object to which they might anchor, and yet again she watched his focus settle on the photograph of Jessica Elizabeth.
    █████Dr. Spencer’s eyes snapped back to the woman who shrewdly regarded him, and he seethed at himself, because she had caught him. Again.
    █████She blushed and hurriedly murmured, “I’ve told you I don’t mind your looking, sir.”
    █████Once again, they had come around, like moths in a death spiral, to the topic from which he had been trying to distract her. Well, he resolved with conviction, here stood another opportunity to get it over with and drive the woman out before she could settle down into the job. Better to have it all out, and let there be no confusion on the matter. “Mrs. Turner, I have a confession. This afternoon, when I was, ahh, busy with Vanessa, I had been looking at your daughter’s photograph the entire time. And I confess it because you keep telling me you don’t mind, but perhaps you should.”
    █████She slowly said, “You’re right, sir, maybe I should. But that would depend on why you were looking at Jessica’s picture, while servicing another woman.”
    █████He sighed and said, “That is precisely the point. I am not sure, myself. I have been trying to convince myself, ever since the episode, that I had not been exchanging Vanessa for your daughter in my imagination.”
    █████She stammered, “Imagination does no harm, as long as it stays there, and you are a man, and my daughter is becoming attractive to men, but you do realize she is not yet of age”—
    █████“Of course, Mrs. Turner; what do you take me for?”
    █████Carol impulsively snatched the photograph up, clutching the image to her breast, and explained, “I’ll say, one more time, that I don’t mind your looking at Jessica’s photograph. But it’s obviously causing a problem for you, and maybe it’s not appropriate for the office. I am thinking I’d better take it, sir. No offense.”
    █████He shrugged and said, with forced diffidence, “As you think best. She is your daughter.”
    █████She nodded curtly, and still clutching the photograph tightly, wished him a good evening.
    █████He returned the sentiment and watched her go. Then he stared at the void left in the wake of the departed four-by-six photograph.
    █████
    _________​
    █████
    █████