Ladies’ Day – a little taster.

Update 2019: This short story has been unpublished some years ago, but it does form the basis of my novella, Beautiful Stranger, so I’m leaving this taster up, because in some form or other, it’s still relevant.

Why not get a little taste of it from the short except below:

“Excuse me, where’s your bathroom?” His call is coming from the back door.

“Oh please come in, it’s just over there…” I point at the door leading off the hallway.

Still the contrast between us is startling to me, he looks like everything I am not in his formals which probably cost more than my car is worth. At the same time I – at 25 – still dress like I did as a teenager, faded jeans and inappropriately tight t-shirts. The only “fancy” clothes I own are worn exclusively to job interviews and then too they’re Primark or at a stretch Next. You could mistake me for a simple idealist, not moved by worldly possessions, when in fact I am just a bit stingy and lazy.

But strangely, he looks at home, walking over the terracotta tiles and towards the door I’ve just shown him. Taking in the decor, glancing at the eclectic mix of paintings and photographs on my walls on his way. Like he is meant to be here, in my house. I try and shake off that thought. He’s just some stranger and I’m an idiot for doing this.

The ping of the oven timer brings me back to reality and I pile all the food, plates and cutlery high onto a tray, and head back out. After I’ve arranged everything on the wooden table and make another trip for the cushions, a water jug and the aforementioned cheap wine, he comes back out as well.

“Oh you didn’t need to…” He says, smiling at me. Looking at him now, more relaxed and at ease, I feel like I’m getting a hint of his usual demeanor. Charismatic is probably the best word for it. Like he should be a politician, but still strangely genuine and trustworthy.

“I sort of did, I’m starving,” I respond, “and Dominos doesn’t deliver here.”

He lets out a laugh while sitting down on the bench beside me. Thankfully it’s large and sturdy, quite over spec for my usual needs as a single woman.

“I wasn’t sure what you’d like,” I point at the food, wine and water, “unless you want coffee or tea, I can do that too.”

“Yeah, I don’t tend to drink much, is it that obvious?” He smiles again. My heart is pounding in my chest; I can’t get over how handsome he is, by body language perhaps even more so than simply looks.

“Well, whatever you need, just ask.” My eyes are drawn towards his, in this light they seem more turquoise than blue. He holds my gaze just a little longer than strictly necessary before picking up the wine and corkscrew.

“I suppose one glass won’t hurt. I promise I don’t feel ill anymore.” He doesn’t look it either, must be the fresh air.

“Don’t be so sure, you haven’t tried it yet. It’s probably nowhere near the quality you’re used to.” I say, still mesmerised by his eyes.

He grins at me. “Everything is only as good as the company it’s enjoyed in.”

I feel the corners of my mouth curl up practically by themselves, this is a game I know how to play.

“Well, and what do you know about current company other than that I was overly keen to get my hands on your car keys?”

“Firstly, you took a huge risk trying to help out a complete stranger,” winking at me, he adds, “car keys or no car keys.”

I take the glass of wine he has poured for me.

“Furthermore, I don’t recall the last time anyone has made an effort putting together a meal for me…” His gaze wanders out over the field again.

“Fine, if you say so,” I say, “but for all you know I could be a psychopath, only pretending to be friendly.”

He looks back at me again, the amused glint in his eyes reappearing. “So could I.”

“Cheers,” I say, raising my glass towards him, “to us, pretending to be friendly.”

We both take a sip, stealing little looks at each other in turn.

At Last They Meet

OK, I admit, I skipped some parts of the story, but writing this passage got me so excited I simply had to share it. Read The Job Interview and First Day at Work first for a little introduction into the characters.

I’m half asleep, nearly swallowed up by the massive sofa and no longer really registering the blue flicker of the TV, when I hear the doorbell. I glance at the clock, 1 am, who’s at the door at fucking 1am?

I get up to check, smoothing down my pjs as best I can but I know I look like I’ve just woken up. Well tough, whoever it is will just have to deal with it if they’re going to come to my place this late.

I open the door slightly with the chain on, and catch a glimpse of John. I immediately close the door again to open the chain and open wide to let him in. He looks upset, the smell of booze hangs around him.

“What the fuck, Cath!” He’s slurring his words. “Why? Why do you toy with me?”

“Umm, not sure what you’re talking about, John” I step back, giving him space to enter.
He staggers into the kitchenette and leans on the counter, his head hanging down. What’s made him so upset?

“What do you mean, toy with you?” I ask.

“You know, acting all nice. If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were dropping hints. You think you’re the first to do this? You think I’d fall for it? And then you leave me this..” He shows me the crumpled up piece of paper in his hand. The note I’d left in his bag earlier that day.

“Fall for what?” I ask, while putting my hand on his arm. He flinches as soon as I touch him.

“This, what the fuck is this?” He gestures down at my hand, then looks at me. His expression is wild, angry, yet the anger does not extend to his eyes.  “It might not be a big deal to you, just a gesture, but don’t you understand… this drives me crazy!”

“Oh but it is a big deal to me.” I whisper.

“And I know, that sooner or later, when I can’t take it anymore, and I want more,” he continues to rant, “it’ll be like I’m fucking 15 all over again. If you are actually as nice as you pretend to be, you’ll let me down easy – say you just wanna be friends…”

He is looking down at the floor again, I can see tears in his eyes. I can’t believe it, he actually likes me that way. All this time it had felt like I was talking to a wall, like nothing I did could make him notice me as anything other than a colleague. But he had noticed, and misunderstood me completely.

“John,” I say, while taking his face in my hands. “You don’t understand.” I can feel tears welling up in my eyes too as I look at his troubled expression, but his gaze evades mine. I stand up on my toes, our faces only inches apart now. “I’ve had a crush on you since I first saw you…”

His eyes widen in disbelief, and our lips meet in a near perfect first kiss. Hesitant and gentle, his lips so soft against mine it makes me ache for more. One tear is started to run down my face as I kiss him, I drink in his scent, although masked by how much he’s had to drink, I can still taste him. My hands have moved on, fingers running through his hair and pulling him down into me. He is starting to react, returning my kisses, until we’re both equally breathless. I coax his lips open more, allowing my tongue to find his, dancing around it. While our tongues meet, it’s as if the floodgates open inside of me, releasing all the desire I had locked up inside. Blood rushes outwards from my core into even the farthest parts of my body until even my fingertips are buzzing. His large, strong hands find their way onto my back. He holds me so tightly against him. I can feel his warm body crushing against me and it drives me wild with pleasure. I’d been dreaming of this moment so many times and it does not disappoint. I take a step back, and he abruptly releases me.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” he stammers.

I shake my head and smile, and pull him towards the sofa by his hand.

“I’m not sorry,” I say, pushing him down, “I’ve been wanting to do this for so long…”

The disappointment that had appeared in his eyes is replaced by surprise again. I kneel next to him on the sofa, leaning in for another kiss. The excitement inside me is growing with every shallow breath I take and I can tell I’m having a similar effect on him. I keep losing myself in the moment, the only thing reminding me this isn’t just a dream is when I manage to open my eyes every so often and see is face right in front of mine. He’s here with me, finally, I can hardly believe it. His eyes seem to be losing focus, as though the long day as well as the drink is catching up with him.

“You look knackered,” I say, while tracing the tired lines under his eyes. “Here.”

I hand him the nearly full glass of water that has been sitting on the coffee table for the better part of the evening.

While watching him drink, and in spite of the fire he stirred in me I can feel how exhausted I am myself. He’s here now. We have nothing but time, and I’d rather have him sober before we do anything else.

To find out what happens next, take a look at Morning After.

First Day at Work

This is part two in a longer story, please read The Job Interview first.

For these past two weeks it seemed as though time was moving at a crawl. The job promises to be the usual 9-to-5 drudgery but I can hardly contain my excitement. The reason is of course the prospect of working with Jonathan, I wonder if my memory could be deceiving me. I suppose I’ll find out soon enough if he’s really as gorgeous as I recall.

My buzzing phone brings me back to reality. A text message from my best friend, Jase. “Best of luck, girl. Go kick some ass!”

It makes me smile. Of course he remembered, I haven’t been able to shut up about this job ever since the interview. Well, not about the job, but about the guy. Same thing really.

Now, what to wear… After pulling out nearly half the contents of my wardrobe and dumping it on the bed I settle on a slightly too tight plum pencil skirt and a cowl neck black pullover. A tad more conservative than my usual style, but I wouldn’t want to fall foul of any yet to be discovered dress code. Plus there is still that sleazy idiot, Dick Porter to contend with. A pair of back seam tights and heels should do nicely to keep things interesting.

I’m 15 minutes early coming out of the elevator at my new office. Most of the desks are still empty, as is the office in the corner.  I’m guessing Dick doesn’t take punctuality to extremes himself. Good.

I hesitate a bit on the office floor, looking around for any familiar faces. Sharon –  Dick’s assistant – is just now walking into the office as well. She is quite imposing, a bit taller than me and slightly heavier build as well as impeccably dressed. There appears to be an air of self importance surrounding her, but I don’t want to judge too quickly and give her a friendly smile.

“Hello, I’m Cath. We met two weeks ago when I came in for my interview. Today is my first day..”

“Oh yes, Catherine. Richard isn’t in yet, he’ll be here at nine. Why don’t you take a seat over there -“ Her tone sounds authoritative but polite. “- and make yourself comfortable.” She gestures towards the right side of the office where I already expected to be sitting.

“Thanks,” I mutter while looking around anxiously for Jonathan. There is a backpack lying on what I remember to be his desk but he’s not around. So I put my stuff on the desk right next to him and sit down to wait. If there was any way I could be more nervous than I already had been since last night, now would be the time.

“Hi.” His baritone voice behind me makes me jump up instantly.  It sounds pleasantly warm but slightly raspy as though he’s fighting a cold.

“Err, Hi. I’m Cath Davies. I mean my full name is Catherine but nobody actually calls me that. They tell me I’m going to be working with you…” I babble, my nerves already getting the better of me.  I look at his face while offering my hand to greet him formally. Gorgeous as I remembered. But in spite of the rose tinted specs which are currently clouding my vision, I can’t ignore that he looks tired. His formerly flawless face is showing the signs of stress or sadness, I’m not sure which. Grey circles under his eyes are the most obvious indicator, paired with slightly puffy eyelids. Even his skin tone has changed from the healthy subtle tan I remember to ashen and dull. I fight the urge to stare, my fingers itching to reach up and touch his face.

“Yes indeed. I’m John Hall,” he says as we shake hands.  His hand slightly colder than mine but strong, it takes a lot of willpower to let go..

I hold my breath to fight my nerves and look into his eyes momentarily. They’re a warm shade of amber, but at the same time betray more than the rest of his appearance has already done. Tired and empty. Looking into them feels like a stab right through the heart, forcing me to look away again.

I dare not look make eye contact again all morning while he is giving me the introduction on all the systems I’m supposed to be using. There is no hint of small talk, only work and even then he is a man of few words.

Whenever I glance at his face, I notice he’s consistently avoiding the sight of me. If he’s not looking at the computer screen, he’s leafing through the mountain of papers on his desk. Now I’m not expecting every man to act like Dick – pervert – Porter and shamelessly ogle my boobs all day (I can only imagine how he’s looking at me while I’ve got my back turned). But to avoid looking in my direction completely is another unusual extreme. And it’s especially frustrating because I really want him to notice me.

While John busies himself with some papers in the filing cabinet behind his desk, I allow my eyes to wander. Ever since I could remember I’ve liked men with a bit of meat on them. I don’t quite understand it, I don’t have any identifiable reason for this preference. But I’ve long given up trying to analyse myself. All I know is, I want to feel his soft skin under my fingertips. I want his belly brushing against me as he leans down for a kiss. I want…

“So,” says a familiar voice behind me, shattering the devious fantasy I had started to play out in my head, “how are you enjoying your first day?” Dick. His presence makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and not in a good way.

“Great,” I say, “there’s so much to learn.”

“Good, good. Carry on!” I can hardly suppress a sigh of relief as he stalks off towards another cluster of desks.

“What time is lunch?” I turn to ask John.

“10 minutes.”

The lunchroom is spacious and bright. There is a buffet of sandwiches on offer and a suspicious looking “Soup of the day”. I buy myself a ham and cheese sandwich and join a group of women who are already sitting and chatting at one of the two large tables. There is no sign of John.

“Hi, I’m Cath. I’ve just started today,” I introduce myself as the 7 or so women give me the visual once over. The only one I’ve already met is Sharon, who gestures at me to sit down next to her.

“Catherine, join us. I’ll introduce everyone.” She’s smiling at me but her eyes look guarded. Maybe my first impression was correct after all, looks like she is the big gun of office politics. Sharon quickly rattles through the names of everyone at the table.

“This is Linda, Shelley, Jessica, Miranda, Heidi and Jackie.”
I nod at them before taking a seat.

“So, Cath. How do you like Aspect so far?” The woman further along the table asks, I think her name is Miranda but I’m not entirely sure. Her smile seems a tad more genuine than Sharon’s, but perhaps she’s just a better actress.

“Oh, it seems nice. Of course I’m just overwhelmed at all the new things I’m supposed to learn.”

“Right. So you’ve been paired with John,” she says.  I can detect a hint of contempt as she speaks his name.  “How’s that going?”

“Fine… He seems knowledgeable,” I say.

“He should be, he spends more time here than at home. Sometimes I wonder if he has a bed hidden in the office supply room,” one of the others buts in. The group laugh in response.

I smile politely and eat my food. The group moves on to other topics such as TV talent shows and Big Brother. Exactly the type of things I have nothing to say about.


Fucking great. Not only have the past two weeks been hell, now that moron Richard has me train his insufferable new recruit.

I had caught a glimpse of her from behind as she arrived for her interview. Exactly Richard’s type. Long legs leading up to probably the greatest ass ever to have set foot in this building. I’m sure she’ll fit right in with Sharon and her gang, so why couldn’t one of them train her?

This whole thing must be his idea of a joke, parading her in front of me for a few days before swooping in for the kill. She will most definitely go for it too, they always do.

I hadn’t even seen her up close until this morning. She’s his ultimate check list personified; gorgeous figure, curves in just the right places, obvious underneath the slightly clingy outfit she’s wearing. And her face…  I am not the type of guy who tends to objectify women, far from it. But this one- I can’t even look at her without having to fight one physical reaction or other. So I’ve been trying my best to ignore her. I just want to get this training over with, preferably without making a total ass of myself.

I look at my watch, lunchtime is almost over. Back to the grind… Quickly I hide the bottle of vodka behind the stack of unused copier paper.

When I get to my desk she is already sitting at her computer, peering at the screen with intense focus. I sit down and retrieve the sheet with today’s training topics from the mess on my desk. The letters are blurring a little, but I can just about manage. At least I’ve managed to numb myself a bit. Here goes nothing…

“Let’s continue, shall we?” I say, wishing for the day to just end.

I’ve just added a new part to this story – At Last They Meet, admittedly skipping some bits to get there. If you want the full thing, you’ll just have to wait until the book is ready 😉

The Job Interview

It’s only 9:30am and already I can smell his armpits from across the large, shiny desk. What a complete creep! If I didn’t need the money I would’ve cut the interview short and made my escape by now…

My brain is on autopilot as he witters on about what he expects from me, I try to keep eye contact to a minimum while uttering generic responses where appropriate. “Yes I understand,” I say. Punctuality is important, got it. My eyes wander around the room, over the posed photographs of him sharing a handshake with some equally pompous looking dick. Dick – an appropriate nickname for Richard Porter – purchasing manager at the large electronic components distributor where I will be working soon. By now I’ve seen enough of the over dressed hardboard office from where he rules his domain and I stealthily glance through the window that overlooks the office floor. The desks are arranged in groups of three or four with partition walls surrounding each cluster. Most group arrangements that I can see are fully occupied except one.

“Yes indeed I’m very excited to start my career here …” I hear myself say. I give Richard – Dick – a quick glance. Pointless, he’s still looking at my cleavage. Perhaps I should offer him a tissue. I try to breathe through my mouth to avoid the “manly” smell he’s producing.

Outside on the office floor the man who sits alone in a grouping of three desks catches my eye. He turns around on his chair as he answers the phone and only now I can fully appreciate him. His full head of dark blonde hair, a bit messy and just slightly longer than intended. A perfect face, if there can be such a thing. Completely regular features and a straight nose as if copied from an ancient Greek statue; not that I recall seeing many Greek statues of a man of his size. I can’t tell their exact colour from here but even at this distance his eyes exude kindness and warmth. He looks so serious, speaking into the phone with his full, sensual lips and a thoughtful look on his face.

I let my eyes travel down over his body – he’s definitely a big guy, but it’s hard to get a good look while he’s sat in the chair. I can tell however that his belly is straining ever so slightly against the white pin striped shirt he’s wearing, in fact he should probably go a size up. The sight is delicious although I’m certain I’d prefer the shirt off all together. The extra weight he’s carrying excites me beyond belief. He is so exactly my type, it’s unnerving. My mind instantly conjures up glimpses of him, on top of me, his broad arms cradling me as he leans in for a kiss. Oh what I could do to this man.

“So you’ll handle a few easier accounts at first, we’ll look at expanding this subject to successful completion of your trial period which lasts three months,” Dick says.

“Mm-Hm,” I answer, “three month trial period, yes. “ I try to regain composure, to hide the breathlessness I feel, but I can’t take my eyes off my favourite future colleague outside.

Oh No! What’s wrong? The gorgeous face I had just been admiring has twisted into an expression of pain. He’s still on the phone but stopped speaking. Instantly my feelings of lust have dissipated, replaced by concern. It’s as if I can feel his pain from over here.

“So who will I be working with?” I turn to Dick who is now finally looking up from my chest as well.
“Oh you’ll be working under Jonathan Hall, Senior Purchaser here at Aspect Technologies” he says as he motions over to the one occupied desk in a cluster of three, my Mr. Perfect.

“Great, I guess I’ll see you in two weeks then.” I shake Dick’s hand as I get up, still a bit flustered by the sights I had been admiring just moments ago. While Dick walks me towards the elevator I steal one last look at my future colleague. He is sitting completely still, staring at nothing while still holding the phone in mid air. I try to give him a warm smile as I walk right through the path of his gaze, but he is completely oblivious.

This will serve as the prologue to my current WIP, would appreciate any feedback to let me know if I’m on the right track! 🙂

Please continue reading First Day at Work for the next installment of this story.