“Well, that’s the last file, closed up and put away for the night, Sir. Is there anything else I can do for you before I head home?” She spoke with an air of professionalism, tinged with familiarity.
“No, Lora, that’ll be all. See you in the morning. The Smiths tend to be early, so I’ll need you here a bit before the usual time, just to make sure the conference room is ready. This is a big case…we don’t want to blow it.”
She smiled at him, nodded, and assured him everything would be taken care of as expected. He had nothing to worry about. She gathered her things and headed down the long corridor to the elevator.
“Hey, Lora, wait up!” From behind her, a young woman appeared, breathless and a little disheveled, her hair in frayed wisps around her face, framing her reddened cheeks.
Lora turned toward her, “What’s wrong, Georgia? You look a mess.”
“Well, I just…I seem to have misplaced the Smith file…the one you gave to me to take down to the conference room earlier. I can’t for the life of me recall where I might have left it….”
“Oh, shit, Georgia! That’s a classified file; what the hell did you do? We’ve got to find it. Where have you been since I handed it to you? Let’s back track…”
“I’ve been all over, Lora. You know Mr. Jensen; he has me running all over the place all day. I think he does it just to prove he can. So much of what I’m asked to do seems senseless.”
“Never mind that. We’ve got to find that file. Where did you go first?”
“The break room, to grab Mr. Jensen a cup of coffee.”
“Well, then let’s go there.” She adjusted the heavy leather bag on her shoulder and motioned for Georgia to walk ahead of her quickly, shooing her forward as if she were a bothersome child. As Mr. Jensen’s head office supervisor and personal assistant, she knew this would come down on her head if she didn’t find that file.
The two women walked purposefully back down the hall, passing Mr. Jensen’s office door, and turned the corner toward the break room. From inside, Lora could hear the loud banter of some of the employees, “Lora? That bitch? Who the hell does she think she…”
As they walked into the room, Lora bold and defiant, having little time to deal with petty office drama, she met the eyes of a young man in an expensive suit. She scowled openly, “Good evening, gentlemen…” she nodded to both of them and bumped into the good looking one in the Armani with the spotless, too-trendy shoes. “Carl…hope things are going well with Mr. Giovanni.” She smiled sourly, and rolled her eyes. She’d wanted that job at one point, but Carl had turned out to have better ass-kissing skills, and just played dirtier…which was obviously what Mr. Giovanni had wanted. So much for professionalism, cleavage, and a devilishly dangerous glare. It wasn’t what all lawyers were looking for. Mr. Jensen, however, appreciated all she had to offer and used her skills (and looks) to his advantage. Having her in the room beside him made him feel in control, and he very much needed that. She was an expert at making him look like a hungry lion in the board room. Nothing was ever out of place.
Which is why she had to find that file.
Carl and his friend took their coffee cups and left the break room with exaggerated apologies about being in the way and hoping she found what she was looking for. On their way down the hall, Lora could hear them laughing…”I bet she’s fucking him. that’s the only reason Jensen could ever have hired a frigid hag like her.”
“Wow, Carl doesn’t have much love for you, does he?” Georgia inquired.
“No…no he doesn’t.”
“Does it bother you that he talks that way about you?”
“No, he’s just jealous. It’s what little boys do when they know they’ve been outdone by a girl. It goes all the way back to college. There’s a long history of competition and well…let’s be honest – I usually won. But, who cares…we’re here to find a file. A very important file. And Carl can go fuck himself.”
Georgia left it that and began to dig through piles of papers and boxes of files. Lora looked behind things, under things, in the wastebasket. And there, under several manila envelopes and file folders, was a red file labeled SMITH. Lora grabbed it and began thumbing through it to be sure nothing was missing or damaged.
“You found it! Oh, God…I’m so glad you found it – he’d have had my head.”
“No…he’d have had mine. I would have had yours.”
“And rightfully so….I will never lose another thing as long as I work here.”
“Oh, shit…quit lying and take this directly to the conference room. Lock up, and I will see you here at 7 tomorrow morning. Everything has to be perfect. These are big potential clients.
Lora grabbed her bag and slung it back over her shoulder, making her way back down the corridor and back to the elevator.
She let out a sigh of exhaustion and relief as she pressed the down arrow and watched the numbers light up above the door, letting out a an annoying little chime with each one. The doors opened, she rubbed her hand over her eyes, and stepped on, turning to face the number panel as the doors closed. She selected the lobby, and glanced behind her to make eye contact with the other passenger, when suddenly the lights flickered and went out with a groan.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me!”
The other passenger, a tall younger man from what she could tell of the few seconds she had seen him, reached across her and felt around on the panel for a panic button or an emergency call.
“Must be the storm,” he said.
“Yah, well…I don’t have time for storms. I have to be back here at 7 for a meeting, and the only thing standing between me and a nice big glass of wine and a hot tub are these fucking metal doors.”
“Sounds like you had a lovely evening planned…a lot more relaxing than mine.”
“Yah? Who the hell are you? Maybe I should be more concerned about being stuck in a dark elevator with a psychopath.”
“Name’s Alex. Working for Carter & Row, across town. How ’bout you?”
“Ummm…Sandra. I’m a legal assistant for Mr. Perry.” Why she’d done it, she didn’t know, but giving him her real name seemed like a dumb idea, so she’d just thrown out the first thing that came to her.
“Perry? Hmmm…I’m not familiar with him.”
“Different firm. I was just here dropping off some paperwork.”
“Ohh….well – this shouldn’t take long. Once the fire department gets the signal, we should be outta here in no time.”
The problem was, the signal never went out. He hadn’t even pressed the button.
“So, Sandra, what should be talk about while we’re stuck here in the dark?”
Lora, digging in her purse for her cell phone – which was dead…as ensured by Murphy’s Law, had little patience for small talk in the best of circumstances. This was
hell for her. Stuck alone in a 6 X 6 space with a talkative stranger. What kind of shit could she make up to keep him entertained? The dead silence would have been more uncomfortable, so she began to fill it with lies. And for whatever reason, they seemed to flow easily and smoothly from her mouth.
Sandra was 26 and had just moved to San Francisco from Portland. She was going to Law School at Stanford, travelling the long commute several times a week, and living with family in Palo Alto, since she couldn’t afford to live on her own.
They talked about the sky-high cost of real-estate and the cut-throat world of Law and Order.
“You know…this seems like a bad movie. A man and a woman stuck on a dark elevator, chatting and getting to know one another. Seems like the most natural thing to come next in the script is for them to engage in a torrid sex scene, and then leave the elevator, never to cross paths again.” He laughed. But his comment made her shiver. Who was this creep and what the fuck was he up to?
“Bit cliche, don’t you think?” she responded, adding in her own nervous laugh.
“‘Spose we could change it up however we wanted.” His words hung in the air for what seemed an eternity while Lora breathed silently and tried to keep her heart from beating too loudly.
The rational part of her brain said, ‘find a way to turn your purse into a weapon in case this guy tries anything stupid.’ But her unintentionally celibate body begged her to just say, “Fuck it…he works across town…you’ll never see him again….And you’ve got those hopeful little condoms sitting at the bottom of your bag just screaming to be used…finally…”
She took a deep breath in and exhaled, “I’m not much for suspense. I like it when I know how a movie is going to end. It’s comforting.”
“Really? So you’re good with the cliche?”
“Ummm…well…are you?” she bit her lip, stunned by her own behavior and poor decision-making skills.
She heard him shuffling around a bit and felt the elevator move as he shifted his weight towards her.
“Don’t be scared. Really…I’m just a normal guy in a really abnormal circumstance. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“This seems so dangerous and stupid,” she said.
“Well, it might be stupid. I’ll grant you that. But, there’s no danger. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to.”
“Are we really going to do this?”
“Well, there a million reasons…none of which sound better to me than just doing something completely hair-brained – something I’d never actually do in real-life. But with the lights out, somehow…this seems like a dream. It doesn’t feel real.”
“If it were a dream…what would you do?”
“I’d probably be braver and more forward than I am in real life. Like this…”
She reached out into the darkness and found his body, patting her hands upward to find his face. She pulled him down toward her and kissed him, her pulse pounding in her chest, so heavily she was sure he could hear it. She hadn’t had sex in over a year, and everything in her was crying out for release with this stranger. For some reason…the fact that she had no idea who he was, couldn’t see him, wouldn’t ever see him again, made it possible for her to relent to her own fears.
To be continued….in the morning – cause I’m exhausted and cannot continue tonight. Forgive me.
This has been a Wicked Wednesday post. Click HERE to find out who else is being wicked.