“‘You’ll tell me if anyone’s coming, won’t you?’ she asked. ‘Sure,’ I lied.”
A lot happened today.
I thought that since I was going to a stuffy office I should wear a bra, but I was still feeling sexy from last night and the weekend so who needs knickers? I felt a right little minx beneath the grey skirt and blouse.
I got to Deborah’s office for 9am and was taken straight up to the top floor and waited outside her private office. Ten minutes later I was sent in.
Her office is huge – about the size of my entire apartment – and has its own bathroom, and a separate room with files and a computer in, and views across the city. Deborah was sitting the other side of her desk and came around to meet me. We shook hands, which felt very formal, and she said in her wonderful silky voice “It’s wonderful to have you here, Kate, and I think you’re really going to enjoy working here”. I really felt like I might, if I got over my nerves.
Deborah was still standing so I stood too, then she went over to the desk and leant back against the edge and crossed her arms. I guess I still couldn’t sit, because I was going to wait to be asked.
“You know,” she said, “You really remind me of someone I met once at a party.” I said “oh?” and then said that we had met at an office party so it must be that. And she said no, it was somebody who was a lot like me, and it was a Christmas party that a friend called Mel hosted, and did I know anyone called Mel? I pretended to think and said I knew at least one Mel, but I was sure I’d remember if we’d met, and Deborah said she definitely wouldn’t forget because it was very memorable.
But, she said, this Alison said she had a boring day job, and I didn’t think I had a boring day job, did I? I said some people might think it was, but I didn’t think it was. She said that was good, because she had a lot for me to do. And I thought we were now going to talk about work, but she pushed herself upright and walked slowly towards me and said “You really do remind me of this ‘Alison’ a lot, except for a couple of things”, and as she was talking she reached out and popped open the top button of my blouse. And then she did the next button, and I was thinking: am I here to be some kind of sexual plaything for her? And if I am, and I’m getting paid for it, do I mind?
“Yes,” she said, opening another button, “This Alison was really memorable, and I think maybe even someone had called her ‘Kate’ at the time, which must have been a mistake.” I remember that: Mel’s partner, Jason, had called me by name when I’d pretended my name was Alison for the whole evening. Oh, and that was because I was naked and wearing a mask at Mel’s party.
“I remember telling her,” Deborah continued, and she pulled my blouse out of my skirt and unbuttoned the bottom, “That she shouldn’t live life wondering what might happen but should just do things rather than regret not doing them.” She took a step back and looked me up and down as I stood there with my blouse unbuttoned, but at least I was wearing a (white) bra for a change. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
“You look a bit more like her now,” she said, and then stepped towards me again, “But still not quite,” and she unzipped the side of my skirt and as I was thinking “but I’m not wearing any…” she had already dropped it to the ground, and there was a smirk on her face as she saw I wasn’t wearing any knickers.
“She had nice legs like you,” Deborah said, gripping my left wrist, lifting it towards her and unbuttoning the cuff. Then she did the same with the right.
“In fact,” she said as she gripped the top of my blouse and pushed it off my shoulders, “Did I mention that I think she was wearing nothing at all?”
I heard my blouse drop to the floor behind me. Deborah took a step back and then walked around me in a small circle, looking me up and down. I felt immensely self-conscious as she disappeared behind my back, and then I felt her hands on my bra strap. She slipped her fingers beneath the straps and pushed it down my arms and I let it drop to the floor, and yet again I found myself standing naked in a completely strange situation.
Deborah continued her walk around me and returned to lean against her desk, looking my naked body up and down.
“It’s uncanny,” she said, “But now I remember it, she was wearing a mask, a very tiny mask, but other than that I’d swear she looked just like you.”
I didn’t say anything. What could I say? She knew it was me, but I couldn’t just admit it.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” she said, “How someone can spend an entire evening naked and think that just a little mask will make them unrecognisable.”
“It is,” I agreed.
“But you know what I said to this girl Kate, I mean Alison?”
“I’m sure you do,” Deborah said, and my god she is so sexy, even at twenty years older than me, “But I asked her if she did everything naked, because she was at the party naked, and she said that it would be a lot more fun if she could work naked.”
I gave a nervous laugh, and then she said.
“Anyway, let’s get down to work.”
And, unbelievably, we did. Wearing nothing but my work shoes she led me through to the back office, started up a computer and explained that everything was on here, but it wasn’t linked to a network so I’d have to do it in this room, and that usually I’d have to be searched on the way out of the building, but if I left my clothes outside then that wouldn’t be necessary. So I guess she expected me to work like this every day… it really made my heart race to think about it. What if her secretary came in? What if anyone came in? Did Deborah even care.
But then she got serious and she said there were a few problems we had to resolve first. I suddenly became nervous wondering what she meant.
“Firstly, someone in your position needs to be a lot more careful.” She took our her phone and held the screen out to me. It was the pictures of me, naked and in chains on Mel’s floor, exposing every party of myself, and with my name beneath it now.
I started to say something but Deborah raised a hand. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ve put my people on it. The photos are gone.”
“But how…” I asked, and she just smiled and said “I have some influential friends.” It made me nervous for a second and it struck me that, as softly spoken as she was, I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of her.
I dropped my head and said “I’m glad”, because she’s right: that could have been a real problem.
“And there’s something else,” she said. I couldn’t think what it could be. “That blog of yours.”
“What blog?” I asked stupidly. She shook her head.
“You know what blog. And it needs to stop. Because even if you don’t use your real name, like Alison at the party you’re only hiding behind a small mask.”
I was about to protest, but she had a point.
“And I do not want to read about my company on your blog. If my people can find it then so can those who want to undermine me.”
I didn’t dare ask how they’d found it. I haven’t used a single real name either. I thought I’d been careful enough.
“Do you want me to delete it?” I asked.
Deborah smiled and said: “I don’t think you need to do that, but if you’re going to be working here then after today you must promise not to continue it.”
I nodded. Of course I would.
But now I’m here writing what’s going to be the last post I feel quite sad about it. It’s been two years exactly too, and quite a journey.
“Well, then,” Deborah said, “With that out of the way I’ll leave you to start work.” After so much strangeness lately being naked in front of Deborah’s computer didn’t seem to be the worst of it. “And if you want anything you can buzz through to my assistant and she’ll have it brought to the outer office. It’s probably best to keep the door closed if you do, to avoid any questions.”
I smiled because I definitely did want to avoid any more questions.
She was about to leave when she turned to me and said.
“Oh, I know I’m confusing you with Alison again, but do you know a woman called Elise?” I didn’t say anything but I’d almost forgotten that she knew Deborah. “Well you’ll be seeing some more of her soon. I’ve just hired her as my new office manager. She asked me if I knew of any friends with jobs going and if she’s been running a pub for the past couple of years she’ll find this place easy. I wonder if she’ll confuse you with Alison too?”
Well, I’m sad that I won’t be writing any more, but Elise is moving in soon, and it sounds like she won’t be going back to France, and I’m going to be working naked three or four days a week in Deborah’s office, so this cloud has a lot of silver linings.
Thanks for reading.
I saw Jo today and all was okay, and we didn’t talk about Saturday, but Jo said good luck for tomorrow at Deborah’s company and she expected me to tell her everything about it on Thursday. So I think we’re fine there.
Other than that I had a really long day getting ready and I’m feeling a bit stressed and very excited. And Elise is moving her things in soon!
I didn’t get a chance to talk to Jo today to make sure she wasn’t weirded out by my failed seduction attempt. I don’t know what I’d say anyway. But I did do something very decisive.
I was stewing all day about Elise disappearing so soon and I just realised I couldn’t let it happen. I text Mel to say I’d have to come around for a naked run around the streets some other time but I really needed to see Elise. She actually texted back and said “Yes. That’s important.” I felt very grateful to her for that.
So straight after work I went to Elise’s pub. I knew she’d be there, and it wasn’t really empty. I said I wanted to persuade her to stay. She said she really couldn’t because she had no long-term plan, and no idea what she’d do, and just going back to France was the only option. I said it wasn’t because she could stay at my place for as long as she wanted, and she said it was really nice, but she would only do that if she had some idea of when she’d be independent again. I said I didn’t care and we could solve that problem afterwards.
Then some random guy was listening and asked why we were arguing. I said that Elise didn’t believe me when I said I wanted her to move into my flat. He said “oh, you’re friends then,” which is an understatement to my mind, and I blurted out “we’re in love” and he sort of went “oh” because he obviously wasn’t expecting that.
Elise said “Kate might think she’s in love but she’ll be fine”, and that was like a red rag to a bull for me. So I said, “If that’s what you think then I’m going to prove it to you. I’m not going anywhere until you agree to move in.” Elise laughed and said she’d have to throw me out at closing time, but until then I could stay as long as I liked.
The guy laughed and said she does have a point, but now he has to go home. But I was determined and a bit crazy, so I stood up, and I was wearing a full-length dress, but not for much longer as I pushed it off my shoulders and wriggled out of it, and stood there naked, with the half a dozen people in the pub staring at me. And I folded up my dress and handed it to the guy at the bar and I said “Take this with you. Because if I’m naked she can’t throw me out.”
Elise laughed even more and came and leant on the bar with her chin on her elbow and said I should just wait and see if I couldn’t be thrown out naked into the street. And besides, she said, it wasn’t far back to my place. I turned to the guy who was holding my dress and said “Weren’t you going to leave?” and he said that right now, with me like this, he didn’t want to go anywhere.
Elise was still laughing and said I win, and my heart jumped, but she said only that she’d talk about it, and that the guy should give me my dress back. He said good, because if he turned up at home with another woman’s dress his wife would have some questions.
I told Elise, though, that I wouldn’t put it back on or go anywhere until she’d agreed to stay at mine, at least for a few weeks. She said that was no incentive, because she was more than happy to have me sitting naked at the bar, and the guy asked if I’d be back next Tuesday or any other time because he’d make sure he was here. I said unlikely as Elise wasn’t going to be managing it much longer and he said “shame” and also a shame that he really had to go home.
Well, I spent the next couple of hours sitting there naked, although I didn’t get to spend much time talking to Elise because all the regulars wanted to talk to me instead. But finally around ten the place was empty enough and we talked, and finally Elise said she’d move in for three weeks but if she couldn’t find a job here she’d have to go back to France. I said that was a start but I wouldn’t let her leave and she said “What are you going to do? Threaten to strip naked everywhere? Isn’t that what you normally do anyway?” I stuck my tongue out at her, but I finally left feeling so much happier.
“‘Let’s do the naked bike ride’ they said. Stupidly, I said I’d turn up naked so I had less to carry. Even more stupidly I got the wrong day.”