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.
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 😉