She couldn't stop looking at him discreetly. He was tall, distinguished and beautiful. Distant and unreachable were also appropriate words to describe him. He was a very private person, didn't socialize with anybody at the workplace, just exchanged polite and necessary remarks between colleagues and friends. His position as the president of the successful company and the way he demanded everybody to do their best... no, their outmost, in their work, instilled respect and sometimes even fear. New employees understood already at the first meeting with the boss that he didn't accept any excuses. Elena had a long time ago learned to become one with the wall when she had nothing more to add. She withdrew inside herself, pushed all personal thoughts aside and simply went blank. It was an ability she always had and it have saved her many times, from her strict stepfather, tyrannical teachers and threatening people in general.
But when she started to work at this company three years ago she quickly perfected the ability to become invisible. She was good at her work as a computer engineer and knew her value, but the hard competition made her weary. She had always been oversensitive her mother said, and being like that it was easier to camouflage herself. A couple of weeks ago she had been the last one left at the office, stubbornly and relentlessly trying to solve a problem, causing her trouble all day. She had been deeply concentrated and not heard the approaching steps until a heavy hand had been placed on her shoulder. With a stifled scream she had spun around on her chair and seen him. Raoul Kovac.
Tall and dark, like a threatening shadow. "I apologise, I didn't mean to frighten you, Elena", had he said politely. "I thought you heard me coming. But I should have known you were in your own world as usual." It was the first personal remark she had ever heard from him. He was not the type to make lots of jokes, even if his dry irony sometime was hysterically funny, in her opinion, and he never seemed to notice anybody else's personal ways like the way he just expressed.
"It's alright", she had replied and got up. "I'll be done soon, I think I know what is wrong. I can lock up when I leave."
"It is just you and me here", he had said. "I don't want you to cross that dark parking lot alone at this hour. I'll wait for you." And having said that, he had pulled out a chair and opened his briefcase. It had taken her a little time to regain her concentration but she had managed to isolate the little irritating bug from the system and then she had turned off her computer with a satisfied smile. Without any deep exchange of words he had followed her to her car and watched her drive away. His caring about her safety was not a surprise, but a little worrying in an inexplicable way.
Now, during the long drawn-out meeting where they discussed a new client and a new job where her knowledge would be highly treasured, she couldn't take her eyes off him. His gestures were modest and controlled. His jacket was hanging on the chair behind him and the shiny white shirt was unbuttoned at the top. This was also unlike him. Dark strands of hair showed at the base of his throat and this observation made her swallow hard. "Elena? Elena!" She twitched and tried to get herself together. She had no idea what the question had been about and felt her cheeks turn red of embarrassment. The colleague who had tried talking to her look at her with amazement. "I am sorry", she said quietly. "I am a bit distracted." She took a sip of water from the glass in front of her. The colleague repeated the question and she quickly became her efficient self and threw herself headlong, if just a little forced, into the technical discussion. A quick glance in his direction confirmed him noticing her unusual slip. This was not to occur during his meetings. Total concentration even if the debate was free. No daydreams.
After the meeting he asked her to stay on. Everybody gave her sympathetic look and hastily left the room. Unsure if he wanted her to remain in her chair or get up she could only look at him. "Elena, is there a problem I don't know about?" he asked briefly.
"No, not at all. I am sorry for being absentminded." He thought about that and then shook his head.
"Are you feeling alright?"
"I am fine, thank you."
"It is not like you to not vigorously follow everything that is being said. I have come to rely on your ability to discard what is not important at these meetings." Like a machine, she thought, suddenly feeling very tired. Now he had his back towards her and was heading for the door. He held it up for her to leave and watched her. Abruptly she rose and gather her papers in a folder. Carrying it in front of her she walked to the door and was just passing him when he gently grabbed her by the arm. This was also new. He had never touched anybody at the workplace, as far as she knew, except strong handshakes. Now his hand was on her arm. "You will tell me if there is something you are concerned about, won't you? With the work or otherwise..." He let the sentence hang in mid-air, unfinished and she nodded, confused. Did he mean she could turn to him with personal problems? That was as likely as snow in July.
The ladies room was empty, it felt as a relief. Elena leaned against the mirror, welcoming the cold surface on her blushing skin. His arm seemed to still be against hers. Through the fabric she could feel the warmth spread over the skin. He was so tall, she had to tilt her head back to look him in the eyes. At least when she stood so close to him as she just had. She could hardly breathe but what little breath she had left fog on the mirror and she could not see her widened eyes any longer. What had got in to her? Why was she reacting like this to a man whom she had regarded as a work machine, as an amazingly skilful boss, but as personal as a wooden doll.
Coming out from the ladies room she realised she had failed to give him some important papers to use as a basis for forming his opinion of this new client. Her estimates were an important argument for or against and he would be utterly discontented if he had to go looking for them. She rushed to his office and as his personal assistant, Monica, wasn't at her desk she knocked on his door. No answer. Carefully she opened the door and stepped in. The office was empty but his jacket was hanging on the back of the leather chair behind the desk. Hastily she browsed through the papers in her folder, found the right ones and went around the desk to put them where he would instantly spot them. Leaning across his chair she felt the scent of his discrete cologne originating from his jacket. Absent-mindedly she put down the folder and sat down in his chair. With both arms crossed over her chest she pulled the lapels closer to her and breathed in the good smell of a man. Cologne, a little musk, a little cigar. She rubbed the jacket against her cheek. The dark blue fabric was a little rough but no doubt expensive. She closed her eyes and leaned back. The chair followed her movements. Surprised she sat up again and noticed the chair doing the same. With a smile she leaned far back, forgetting where she was, and the chair turned in to a reclining chair. Dreamily she let herself be embraced by his scent, as if he was really there. As he had looked steadily at her with those serious, concentrated, distant eyes. He was beautiful, but rigid, much to rigid. What was there beneath that stiff surface? Was there a warm and tender man or was he a technocrat through and through? Stuck in her thoughts she let one hand slide across her cheek and down her throat. The skin there was soft and a little damp. Her own perfume, a faint vanilla based scent, released itself to her senses and she inhaled eagerly. It was like this they would have smelled together, she thought. Musk and vanilla. The hand now reached one of her breasts and now cupped around the covered fullness. She had not very large breasts, but they were warm and soft. Softly she rubbed the familiar shape. She was accustomed to her body but seldom paid it much special attention. Now she was trembling slightly and her lips parted in a faint sigh. The fingers found the nipple through the fabrics and gently pinched it a little. Time and place stopped to exist, now there was only the fantasy about him, the man beyond her reach in whose chair she was sitting, whose jacket enfolded her thin shoulders. The idle hand found the other breast and now she held them more eagerly, imagining his hands. The tip of her tongue moistened her lips, over and over. She moaned faintly, mumbled silently his name. Her thighs, now stirring restlessly, rubbed against each other. The heavy feeling inside her entire body was clear, the sweet warmth irresistible. Like a cat wanting to be patted, she arched her back, striving for her own hands. "Elena." The low voice seemed to come from afar, she thought and still it was like a bucket of freezing water on her hot skin. She looked up, rose from the chair and tore her hands from her body in one single motion, fast as lightning. Raoul! How long had he been standing there? Terror ripped at her. Words like embarrassing and awkward didn't match what she felt by a long run. She was devastated, crushed. "Raoul", she whispered hoarsely. "I... I..." She couldn't speak. Tears of utter shame rose in her eyes and all she could do was to stare at the floor, waiting for the axe to fall. "I have visitors outside", he said in a low voice. If he talked calmly trying to stifle his outrage she couldn't tell. "I have a meeting scheduled with them, it will take about an hour, than I want to talk to you. Are these the papers I need?" he asked in a neutral voice pointing at the desk. She nodded, stunned, and walked in a daze towards the door. Like he had done a while ago he extended his arm and grabbed hers when she was passing him. "I went in ahead of them to see if Monica was in here", he said quietly. "Nobody else saw you. Just me." His hand held her firmly. Could he feel her trembling like a leaf? Didn't he understand she had to get out of there? Now! "I'm sorry", she whispered without being able to find her usual assertive voice. "We will talk later. I'll look you up when the meeting is over." He let her go and she left the room, managed to give the people outside the door a friendly nod and then she disappeared into her office, three doors down the hall.
She closed the door behind her and leaned against it. Her legs betrayed her and she slowly let herself slide down on the floor and buried her face in her hands. She was finished at the company. She would have to find another job. What had got in to her?
The hour went and she couldn't get anything done. When she finally found enough strength to get up from the floor she had gone to the window with a view over the park below, and remained standing there. Her thoughts had both rushed through her head and stood absolutely still. She had relieved the moment of extremes over and over. From a toxic, lustful daze to a terrified awakening. What was he thinking? What was he going to say? And do? She stood in the same spot for so long her circulatory system slowed down and her nose, hands and feet got freezing cold.
When there was a knock on the door she twitched and closed her eye. "Come in", she said without turning around. Perhaps it wasn't him. Perhaps... but of course it was. She heard him walk up to her desk and knew he pushed the button that lit up the 'do not disturb' light next to her door in the hall. Then he turned the key and the sound made her twitch again. And he noticed it, she thought anxiously. He understood that she was scared and humiliated beyond words.
"Elena? Are you alright?" He sounded disturbingly friendly. Did he pity her? Awful thought. It would be better if he were contemptuous. She couldn't answer, just shake her head. Then she felt her hands, warm and heavy on her shoulders. Her fist were so tight, her nails made marks in her palms. "I don't know what to say, Raoul", she managed to say. "There is nothing I can say... except to apologise for what I... for my inexcusable..." She grew silent and bit her lower lip hard. His hands squeezed her shoulders. "You were so beautiful." She stiffened. What was he saying? Was there something wrong with her hearing? Was she hallucinating? "What were you thinking of, Elena? Now his voice were low and vibrant, close to her. "H-how long were you s-standing there?" she stuttered. "Not long. Half a minute perhaps. I couldn't believe my eyes." Oh, God. Her knees felt like giving in... he had watched her. Longer than she'd ever guess. "I can imagine you couldn't", she said with faint sarcasm. "You probably thought your engineer had gone off the deep end... and rightly so, probably." "Stop it, don't say that. I was surprised and terrified that some of the others would come in behind me." "Yes, that would have been something... such a sight would have given your company a sordid reputation." Now she was crying quietly. The shame and the feeling of being totally exposed. "No. Not because of that. I was afraid that someone else but me would see you. I didn't want to share it with anyone. Most of all I wanted to close the door behind me and lock it." Now she was hallucinating. It was impossible that he had said anything remotely like that. His hands now moved in little circles on her shoulders.
With a whimper she tried to turn around and finally face him but his hands held her there, her back against him. The movement made him take a step closer and his body now radiated warmth to her back.
"There, there", he calmed her. "You have nothing to be ashamed of. Don't you think I understand how you feel? To be surprised in such a private, intimate moment must be awful. But nobody but me saw you. Nobody else will ever know. He wouldn't tell anyone. She knew that. He was too much a gentleman to do such a thing. "Can you forgive me?" she asked, breathless. "There is nothing to forgive. I don't think you can imagine how it felt, of course, to stand there and se you in my chair, covered in my jacket. You hands, so sensuous... your lips parted and moist, like you were waiting. Your hips wriggling, rubbing you against the chair." His words travelled through her like shivers. He had not only seen her, he had studied her carefully in detail... remembered. That photographic memory which had so many times given him the victory when it came to business deals. "When I was sitting in the chair during the meeting I could smell your scent. Vanilla, faint but definitely there. The chair, still warm from your body. I had a hard time concentrating." His confession made her tremble. She raised her hands and took his where they gentle caressed her tight shoulders. "Why?" he asked. "I don't know", she moaned. "It came over me and it is so unlike me as anything possibly can. I don't mean I don't have needs, just like the next person. But to do like that... to put me through... and you, for this. Without considering the consequences. That is not me..." He turned her around, facing him. Black eyes looked into her green. Noticed the red-brown hair in a neat bun. The blue suit with a knee long skirt. The white silk blouse. The little pearls in her earlobes. The modest makeup. He, on the other hand, looked perfectly calm and collected, at least on the surface, she thought. "You are a seemingly cool woman, Elena. Assertive, skilled and a bit cold when you communicate with colleagues. It was like being kicked in the solar plexus seeing you lying in my chair with your hands around your breasts and such a lustful expression on your face that I..." He cut himself off suddenly. "Now I want to know what you were thinking of. Or I should perhaps ask who?" She quickly lowered her gaze to the floor, standing there between his strong hands. Now her shame would peak, she was sure of it. But to be anything else but truthful was out of the question. "You, Raoul. I was thinking of you." Her whispering voice could hardly be heard but she felt the way he twitched and knew he heard her. "I knew it", he mumbled to himself. Then he let go of the firm grip of her and raised her face towards him, holding her trembling chin. "You know what you do to me when you talk like that", he claimed, almost growling. "I am just being honest. You asked", she pointed out. With his thumb he traced her lower lip. Several times he stroke her back and forth until she parted her lips. Then he let his forfinger slide in between her teeth and she could just stand there, like hit by lightning in his arms. With the tip of her tongue, she hesitatingly met his finger and he tasted clean, a little salty and of course cigar. "Your tongue is like silk", he said matter of fact, but his voice was somewhat unsteady. The words made her lift her hand and hold on to his shoulder. Slowly she brought it closer, his finger slid further into her mouth. With long, smooth movements she sucked, curled her tongue around the long, slim finger. Now he closed his eye and pulled her closer with his free hand. She was pressed against his chest and could again inhale his good scent. He pulled out his finger and replaced it with his mouth. His lips were firm and soft at first, encouraged her to open her mouth but didn't invade it. She whimpered and tried to part his lips but he kissed her in a way that gave him control over what happened. Eventually she pressed so hard against him that he nearly lost his balance and then he gave in a and let his tongue meet hers. They embraced harder and closer like lovers and his taste filled her entirely. His hands traced down her back and over her hips.
The startling sound of the phone ringing made them twitch and withdraw from each other as if the person on the phone could see them. Elena had to draw several breaths before she could answer. A colleague apologised for disturbing but needed immediate help as half of the computers had jammed when they tried out a new software. Elena could only stare at Raoul over the phone. He nodded briefly and after checking his impeccable appearance in her mirror he unlocked the door and left the room. She noted the fact that he didn't stop to check if anyone saw him. That pleased her.
The rest of the day was filled with trivial computer problems and she was surprised to see that she had been working a full hour more than her usual schedule without being aware of it. She was clear, however, of her reasons for doing so. If she worked late enough there was a chance that he might have left the building before her. But she ought to have known better. When she got her coat and her briefcase in her office and headed for the elevator, he was there, waiting calmly.
She slowed down and hesitated. What was he expecting of her now? Was he going to take what he thought was offered without thinking about what was the right thing to do? If it was what she wanted? Did he think she offered herself to him just like that? The fear returned. Was that it? If she refused to accommodate him, would he make it impossible for her to still work here? She didn't want to believe it... but she didn't know him. He looked at her and turned around and pressed the button. When the elevator arrived she quietly went inside and stood next to him but at a distance. He smiled a little, noticing that, which made her furious and embarrassed.
The elevator reached the ground floor and they got out. After a polite 'good evening' to the guard they went out through the bit glass doors and continued towards the parking lot. The he stopped and turned to her. "If you like you can follow my car, to my place. You decide and I don't expect anything. But we need to talk about this. We can't ignore what happened today. You are a valued colleague and I don't want to loose my best engineer. But I don't want to give up on what we found out today. But it is your call. I will drive home now. You follow or go home. What ever you do is fine." He didn't give her a chance to respond but headed for his car and got in. He sat there with his motor running until he saw her getting in to hers. Then he calmly drove off.