A Train Ride to - Love Ch 05bytotallyatease©
Sarah and Maggie entered the firm of solicitors at dead on ten o'clock, and Maggie marched over to the receptionist's desk and handed over a business card.
"Hi there..." She smiled at the young woman behind the desk in a friendly fashion. "'SCraMBle Computers' - Sarah Chester, and Margaret Belling... we're here to see Mr Conrad; we've a meeting booked for ten o'clock."
The receptionist looked down at her appointment book. "Ah yes... the computer people." She looked up at them both, and then stood up and indicated to a waiting area. "Please, Miss Chester, Miss Belling, if you'd like to take a seat, I'll just tell Mr Conrad that you've arrived."
They both sat down and the receptionist went and knocked on a door and went inside.
A few moments later, she came back to them with a friendly smile.
"If you would just follow me this way please; Mr Conrad is ready to see you now."
The girls entered a large room with huge windows letting in lots of natural light, and Mr Robert Conrad was sitting behind a big, square, wooden desk with a computer sat on it. He stood up to greet them as they walked across the room. A short round, middle-aged man, with a grey balding head, rosy red cheeks and very shrewd looking pale blue eyes.
He held out a hand which each girl shook firmly in turn.
"SCraMBle Computers? Miss Chester and Miss Belling... who is who?" he peered at them in turn.
"I'm Margaret Belling," Maggie pointed to herself. "I believe we spoke on the phone last week. You were good enough to send me one of your business cards along with confirmation of this appointment." She indicated Sarah. "This is Sarah Chester my business partner, and extremely knowledgeable colleague. What Sarah doesn't know about computers isn't worth knowing," Maggie added confidently.
Robert Conrad looked at Sarah with a little doubt. "Is that so?" he asked, "I must say you both seem very young, and I have to admit that I did not realise that you were both, well... female," he finished awkwardly.
"Mr Gibbs didn't seem to think that either of those facts lessened the value of our assistance, with his problems earlier this year," Maggie told Mr Conrad firmly.
"That's true. He was very generous with his praise of you," Mr Conrad admitted, he smiled at them suddenly. "Oh well we shall just have to wait and see... won't we?"
He sat forward at his desk, and shuffled a few papers around before drawing out three identical looking sheets of paper with lists of information on them. He handed one each to the young women and kept a third one for himself.
"Before we begin can I offer either of you any refreshments? Tea? Coffee?" he asked politely.
They both nodded their heads gratefully and requested coffee; and Mr Conrad pressed an intercom button on his telephone. "Could you bring in three coffees Mrs Brown, mine as usual, and our two guests with milk and no sugar for both of them."
A detached voice said something that neither of the girls could understand.
"Thank you," Mr Conrad said after a moment and took his hand of the button.
While they waited – presumably for the refreshments, he sat talking casually with Maggie; and Sarah took the opportunity to study the paper in her hand.
It was a list of computers with corresponding numbers and names allocated to them. There was a brief technological description next to each computer, listed as followed:
Computer no User Password Computer description
001 R Conrad XXXXX Desktop P4 with 40GB HD and 512 DDR
002 S Reynolds XXXXX Desktop P4 with 40GB HD and 512 DDR
003 B Roberts XXXXX Desktop P4 with 40GB HD and 512 DDR
004 R Brown XXXXX Desktop P4 with 40GB HD and 512 DDR
005 Server XXXXX Tower ML150 G2 80GB SATA 1 Gig DDR
The list went on and Sarah scanned down the description column trying to get a feel for the setup of this organisation. The first few computers were all the same - bar one, which was the server; indicating that they were all PROBABLY purchased at the same time. The four laptops were also identical in specification, so again they would PROBABLY, have been purchased at the same time or most certainly close together. There were six computers of better specification with bigger hard drives, more memory; she figured that these had been purchased within the last five years. She glanced at Mr Conrad's monitor on his desk to see that it was an old 15" CRT monitor.
Maggie finished diverting Mr Conrad and glanced across at Sarah.
"So what do you think?" she asked.
The receptionist came in with a tray of refreshments and Sarah had a moment to gather her thoughts; whilst the drinks were handed out. She thanked the receptionist politely and sat nursing her cup as that woman left the room. She took a sip of her coffee and then looked at the other two people.
"Well I would guess that four computers were all purchased at around the same time probably when you first went on a network another half a dozen were gradually purchased... maybe as you're staff increased..." She glanced at Mr Conrad who nodded. "I would guess that your server and your network are no longer anywhere near good enough for your requirements; which is why you're having so many problems. If all of your monitors are CRT's like the one in this room and on reception," she pointed at the one on Mr Conrad's desk; "then they are not very adequate for any length of time - for the user. And the power they need is harder on your energy budget than if you were to invest in TFT's..." She stopped talking as Mr Conrad began to vigorously nod his head.
"Yes, yes that is exactly what I thought," he told them. "I've been saying for a while now that the whole thing needs a complete overhaul." He paused nodding to himself again and looking at the two girls with respect. "So then, just off the tops of your heads – what would your recommendations be?"
Maggie leaned forward and started firing off suggestions and Mr Conrad sat forward responding in a surprisingly knowledgeable fashion.
Sarah sat quietly listening again; and scanned down the list of user names. The second one caught her eye and her heart skipped a beat.
There was a rap on the door and Sam walked in - tall, smart, and even a little arrogant looking.
"Hi there Robert sorry I'm late... what's the verdict?" he looked at the two girls who had turned at his entrance and stopped dead in his tracks.
"Sam!" Mr Conrad exclaimed. "Good of you to join us. These young women are Miss Sarah Chester and Miss Margaret Belling from 'SCraMBle Computers.'"
Maggie stood up and held out her hand politely. Sam took it in his and looked down at her. "Samuel Reynolds," he told her politely, "Miss?" he lifted his brow as if in enquiry.
"Margaret Belling," she informed him cheerfully. "And this is Sarah - my associate."
Sam moved past Maggie to shake Sarah's hand as she rose from her chair. His movement put his back to the other two people and hid Sarah from view.
"Miss - Chester I believe?" he said solemnly whilst his dark eyes twinkled naughtily at her.
"How do you do Mr Reynolds." Sarah responded woodenly, and her cheeks pinked prettily.
He held her hand for a moment longer than he needed to, before he let it go and stepped back again.
Sam looked again at Mr Conrad. "Well?"
"Well... it's just what I was telling you the other day. This young lady," he pointed at Sarah, "hit the nail right on the head. Just from looking at mine and Mrs Browns computers she was able to sum up our entire system and almost all of its potential problems."
Sam looked across at Sarah with his brow raised in query. "Oh, don't you think you need to look at a little bit more of our setup before you commit to anything?"
Sarah flushed a little; as Mr Conrad began to protest. "But Sam, she was dead on right in her assessment."
"Never the less I think it would be appropriate for these people to get a complete look at our systems rather than a glance at one or two. Why don't you take Miss Belling to go over the server; and I'll shut down my computer so that Miss Chester can have a good look at its workings - if that is what she needs to do."
He scooped Sarah up and led her from the room before any one could argue with him.
"I'm in a meeting for the next ten minutes Mrs Brown... and not to be disturbed. Thank you."
He still had Sarah by her arm as he marched her through his office door, and closed it firmly behind him... and then leaned against it as if he thought she might try to escape.
Sarah stepped back nervously and licked her lips.
"Hello again Sarah... we just keep on bumping into each other; don't we?" he said softly.
"How are you Sam? The world does seem to be shrinking on us; doesn't it?"
He stepped forward and she jumped back. He frowned at her.
"I said that I'd shut down my computer so that you can look at it," he told her, as he moved past her and over to his desk.
"That won't be necessary Mr Reynolds... if you could just come out of any programmes that you may have left running... I can get the computer to tell me everything that I need to know," she told him politely.
The log on message was on the screen and Sarah turned her back to him while Sam keyed in his password.
"Okay," he said a few moments later. "You can come and do your stuff now..." he paused. "There is a lot of sensitive information to be got at from here; you know?" he observed.
"That's alright," Sarah soothed, "you can just watch over my shoulder to make sure that I don't access anything that I'm not supposed to."
"Fair enough." Sam nodded as he stepped back so that Sarah could sit at his desk.
She went for the computer's settings, and the computer bought up all sorts of interesting information about the hardware and programmes; but Sam could clearly see that there was nothing, which could be - 'potentially compromising', that she was looking at.
"Am I okay to print of this page?" she turned her head and looked up at Sam as he leaned over her, his fingers hooked on to the back of the swivel chair looking at the monitor screen.
"Yes that looks fine to me. Send it to that printer in the corner." He indicated a printer sitting looking a little forlorn on a small desk in the corner of the room.
Sarah did this, and then sat back looking around her curiously. Sam's office was not as large as Mr Conrad's office, but it was big enough; and again, it was light and airy due to the massive windows behind her.
His desk was the same as the big wooden one in Mr Conrad's room, but there was no clutter on Sam's, he had several letter trays some with files in and some that sat empty. There were shelves of books on the sidewall; big heavy volumes, that must have cost a fortune to purchase. There were several framed certificates of law alongside the bookshelves and opposite them were two small expensive looking paintings. 'This was the office of a successful man', she thought to herself and she glanced back at Sam.
He was watching her with dark eyes, and as their eyes met, a gleam entered his; which caused her to remember some of the things he had said last night, and she blushed and averted her eyes demurely.
Sam stared at Sarah's bent head, and seeing that blush moments before caused him to recall last night's ramblings as well. The colour came and went in his cheeks and his body responded in the same way that it always seemed to around Sarah.
She was wearing a smart looking suit this morning with a tight little skirt, which stopped just below her knees. Her blouse was pale pink and the matching suit jacket was slightly over large. The suit was a dull grey colour, and her hair was scraped ruthlessly back - obviously to try to give her a sexless, efficient kind of look; and he thought suddenly, to try to make her look a little older.
He thought he had never seen a woman look so sexy, as she did at that moment.
He glanced down at her feet, and there that image she seemed to be striving to achieve was shattered. Tiny impossibly high-heeled dark blue stilettos were covering those tiny toes of hers. The heat flooded through him and he closed his eyes and strove for control.
He thought of the work; which always seemed to be threatening to overtake him, and the meetings lined up over the next few days. His world calmed, and his body calmed; and order was restored.
Sarah stood up and walked over to the printer, leaving a seductive waft of her perfume; and chaos reigned supreme!
As she took the paper from the printer, she became aware of the stillness of the man behind her. She looked back at him.
Sam was still hunched slightly over his chair as if he were still reading off the computer screen, but his eyes were tightly closed and the colour came and went in his cheeks.
"Sam? Sam are you ok? Are you ill? Shall I call for an ambulance? Sam are you in pain?!" her voice rose slightly in panic, as she rushed back to him and laid one hand on his back, and the other flat on his chest as she tried to straighten him up.
"Sam for god's sake... Talk to me!" she begged.
It was the final straw. He could not help himself; he could not stop himself...
Thought went out of his head, and need came in. He let out an anguished groan as he reached for her and pulled her tight against his body.
Sarah let out a startled squeal, just as his mouth came down and crushed hers.
His tongue invaded her mouth pushing and probing, searching out those soft vulnerable parts, that made her groan ecstatically at him.
Her hands went round his neck and Sarah reached up and pulled herself closer still to Sam, her hands went into his hair and tugged to bring his head down to harden the contact of their mouths.
Sam growled hungrily, as he sat back on the edge of his desk; and pulled Sarah towards him; not once letting his mouth leave hers. His hand pressed on her bottom so that her groin was rubbing against the hardness of him, as he widened the stance of his legs to gather her in. He felt her tense slightly, as she became aware of the erection, which she seemed to be so delightfully moving against...
Sam lightened his kiss, and began sucking on her bottom lip. His hand drifted up to cup her breast lightly, and she moaned and sagged against him. His fingers found the buttons on her blouse and he slowly began to unfasten them.
Sarah was lost... lost to the world around her. All she wanted was for this man to keep doing the things he was now doing to her.
There was suddenly a loud buzzing noise, and they both froze.
Sam swore viciously. Putting Sarah away from him, he swept his fingers through the mess his hair had become and after taking a quick controlling breath, answered the phone.
"Reynolds!" he snapped and waited for a response. "Yes Mrs Brown, Miss Chester is just checking my computer for a suspected computer virus, and I need to monitor her while she does this. Tell Mr Conrad we will be with them presently."
He replaced the receiver, and turned to look at a trembling Sarah, her hand up to her mouth, she looked liked a child trying not to cry.
"I could say that I'm sorry again, but I would guess that you are getting a little bit fed up of hearing that from me; aren't you?" He put his hands behind his back and moved away from Sarah, and the temptation she represented.
She stood there for a few moments, almost overwhelmed by the ache, which throbbed deep inside of her. After long painful moments, it finally seemed to ease a little, and she lowered her hand and fought desperately to pull herself together. As her arm came down, her blouse came apart, revealing the lacy, white bra that cupped her breast.
Sam sucked in a breath and turned away.
"I think you need to straighten your clothes a bit," He told her over his shoulder gruffly.
He could see her moving even with his back to her. A little bit of her arm here, her shoulder there, he could imagine her hands going over her clothes, fastening this and straightening that.
He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and put meetings and work in his mind.
"How do I look? Will I do?" Sarah asked uncertainly.
Sam turned and looked at her. "You look like you've just been kissed!" he snapped at her in frustration.
Her eyes filled with tears and she spread her hands out to the sides helplessly.
"Well how do I stop from looking like that?" she asked a little desperately.
Sam sighed and walked over to her. "Just sit there at my computer and check it for virus's; like I told them you were doing."
She held the computer mouse in a shaking hand and started to point and click and then she briefly typed in something before sitting back in his chair.
"You have a more than adequate virus checker on your system. What makes you think you might have a virus?" she asked curiously, as she felt her rational mind kick in; and the stress caused by the emotional turmoil began to dissipate.
Sam shrugged his shoulders. "I thought that since I had an expert in here; that I might as well make sure," he told her wryly.
Just as the checker was finishing its job; Sam's office door was flung open, and Mr Conrad walked in, with Maggie right behind him.
"How's it going Sam? I've got that meeting in five minutes and so I need to leave these young ladies with you. You can finish up with them can't you?" He nodded his head in a satisfied manner and walked out again closing the door behind him.
"Everything alright in here Sarah?" Maggie frowned as if picking up, on some of the happenings moments earlier.
Sarah smiled up at her friend and said, "Yes everything's fine here. We thought that there might have been a problem, but everything came up okay."
She stood up and moved around the desk to stand next to her friend.
"I'll let you have your computer back now Mr Reynolds; thank you for your time."
"Have you seen enough?" he was looking at Maggie now. "Do you have enough information about our needs, to be able to properly tender a quote?"
Maggie nodded her head. "Oh yes, Mr Conrad seems to be very knowledgeable about the setup here; and was able to give me very detailed information."
"Good." Sam nodded his head and glanced at his watch. "How long do you think you will need to come up with this quote?" He stood up and moved purposefully towards the door.
"Oh... no more than a few days I should think." Maggie told him confidently. "A week at the most."
"Excellent." He led them back to the reception area and spoke to that lady, sat at her desk.
"Mrs Brown could you book another appointment with these ladies for the middle of next week. Make sure that both Mr Conrad and I are available for it. Put it as "referral of computers, network and security." he said with a wave of his hand.
He turned back to the silent women and shook each of their hands in turn.
"Until next week then... it was a pleasure." He nodded his head at them in a dismissive way and the turned and went back into his office closing the door with a quiet thud.
Maggie turned to the woman on reception, and grinned at her engagingly.
"It looks like fun working here," she said mischievously.
The receptionist raised her eyebrows in slight exasperation.
"Honestly," she said, "you have absolutely no idea what it's been like recently... things going wrong all the time; and the computer specialists that we've got at the moment are... well let's just say, that we've not been very impressed with the service that we've been getting lately."
She looked at her appointment book and then to Maggie. "What do you say to next Tuesday about ten o'clock again?"
Maggie pulled out her diary and opened it up.
"Yes, that will be fine we're both available then." She got out her pen and scribbled in her diary; and then returned both to her shoulder bag.
"We'll send you a letter of confirmation in a day or so." Mrs Brown promised