tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 64

No Future Ch. 64

bybradley_stoke©

LXIV
A Woman's Place
Primrose
2088



"I'm sure it'll be no surprise to you at all as to why I've asked you to come and see me, Primrose," said Polly who was sitting in a plush armchair on the other side of a huge oak desk with one stockinged leg crossed over the other.

There weren't many company directors who dressed like Polly, especially those who were women in their forties. The blouse she wore revealed the full magnificence of her bosom. Silk stockings accentuated the splendour of her legs almost up to the garter. Such an outfit would be wholly inappropriate in most professions, but not so for a director of Empire Cleaning Services.

Primrose was naturally wary whenever she had occasion to speak with senior management. She mistrusted Polly's effusive amiability. Perhaps a client had complained about her. She knew how very fickle they could be. It was so easy to misjudge intentions or misread the subtle signs of what a client really wanted. And if it wasn't to be upbraided for a fancied or real offense, what else might her employer require her to do? She'd participated in many orgies and knew for sure that some clients' refined and perverse tastes were well beyond her comfort zone. Would she be called on to help out where she really rather wouldn't?

"You've been exemplary in the last few years you've been working for us, Primrose," the director continued. "You're popular with the clients, you get on well with the other staff, and you show genuine professionalism. I've watched you at work many times and I've been impressed by how well you conduct your business and how much you appear to enjoy it. Of course, it's not necessary that you should enjoy having sex with strangers, but I have a notion that you don't often have to make much effort to give a positive impression. Am I right?"

Primrose nodded. "It's not always good," she agreed, "but I sometimes get more out of it than I expected."

"You're a real natural," said Polly with a broad indulgent grin. "I'm not sure I was as proficient as you when I was your age, but standards weren't so exacting then. Clients were usually less demanding. But the law regarding prostitution was very harsh around the time of the Government of National Unity and we had to operate very discreetly. However, things are more liberal now and likely to get more so."

"Is that so?" asked Primrose who was rather hoping that Polly would get to the point. Although she'd made love with Polly many times and knew her to be a passionate and considerate lover, she was very much aware that she was a company director. If Primrose was about to be sacked, it would be after precisely such a preamble as this.

"I'm not sure how much we would initially profit from full legality," said Polly. "As a cleaning agency we pay rather less tax than we would if we chose to declare the real nature of our business. But we have authoritative advice that the professional services we provide are about to be made fully legal. That means that agencies such as ours will no longer have to operate in a clandestine manner."

"How does that affect me?" wondered Primrose who could already anticipate both the opportunities and problems that might arise.

"As I say, Primrose," continued Polly, "we've been very impressed by your professional skills and not only by your talent at addressing your clients' requirements. We think that you are exactly the kind of woman who'd be ideal as the public face of our company—at least as far as our London operations are concerned."

"Am I going to be promoted?" Primrose asked. She wondered whether an increased salary would actually be worthwhile given what she made in tips, overtime and expenses.

"Yes, indeed," said Polly whose smile broadened yet further. "If you want to, that is. You can still serve clients if you so wish, but it would only be whenever and with whomever you choose. Although you may want to maintain a close relationship with your clients for the sake of your professional skills, the proposed package should be quite generous enough for you."

"What exactly is the role you're talking about? Am I going to be taking someone else's job?"

"That won't be necessary," said Polly whose smile didn't change at all. "You're right to be concerned about your continued relationship with your colleagues, but we run a very profitable business at Empire Cleaning Services. It will be a totally new role."

"What would I be expected to do?"

"As I say, Primrose, you would be the public face of Empire Cleaning Services, London."

"Isn't it something that someone like you would be better qualified for? You've worked here for far longer than me. And you know the business better."

Polly frowned slightly. "The reason you would be a better choice than I might be," she said slowly and emphasising each word, "is precisely because of the things that you are and I am not."

"What do you mean?" asked Primrose, aware of a change in Polly's tone.

"You're a well-educated young woman," Polly continued. "You are modestly dressed, well-spoken and impeccably middle-class. Our business is profitable now and will continue to be so in the future. What differentiates Empire Cleaning Service from the competition is our level of discretion, the class of our clientele and the standard of service we provide. We need to demonstrate to potential clients that we shall continue to be just as discreet in the future as we have been in the past. We need to persuade officers of the law that we shall fully comply with our legal obligations. And we need to notify potential clients that we provide a service that is second-to-none. Of all the women on our payroll, you're the one who could best promote the business. You won't make foolish mistakes that might alarm well-connected clients who want their use of our services to remain confidential. There is a risk in the new legal environment that the distinguished Empire Cleaning Services brand will become compromised and our client base will move their custom elsewhere."

"What do you think the future of ECS is likely to be?"

"It's very rosy. Our shareholders get a very good return from their investment and should expect to do so in the future. You may have noticed that while there are more and more people willing to take advantage of our services, there is also an increase in the number of women—and some men—who want to take up the profession. The more professionals there are, the more selective we can be and the better the quality of service we can provide the customer."

"Where will all the potential employees come from?"

"You know the answer to that as well as I do, Primrose. Businesses like ours have always attracted men and women when they experience hard times and who see their body as a useful commodity to resolve their financial issues. This will continue while the economy suffers and while there's no let up in the inflow of desperate immigrants from all over the world, but especially from overpopulated Africa and the ravaged Middle East. These are good times for our business and I can't see that ever ending."

There was much more for Primrose to listen to and digest, but she was whisked away into such a torrent of distraction that she couldn't properly evaluate her changed situation until almost the time she was due to take up her new position. Although her title as Director of External Communication was vague to the point of meaninglessness, Polly did at least outline the kind of duties she'd be expected to perform. These were as hazy as her title allowed, but were specific in the sense that Primrose knew when she'd be called on. And that was when an attractive but modestly apparelled woman with an unthreatening middle-class accent was required to represent the company. She'd be expected to learn her brief well enough and to think sufficiently fast to handle representatives of the law, of government and, most worryingly of all, of the media.

Polly ensured that Primrose was kept so preoccupied that she had little time for reflection. Polly excused her young ward of the need to attend to even her most regular clients and took her on a whirlwind excursion of drinks, drugs, sex and good quality restaurants. Of all the men and women who made love with Primrose in the days that followed, the one who was most attentive and with whom she enjoyed the most ecstatic orgasms was Polly. Her skill at sexual seduction and carnal pleasuring well suited her to her chosen profession.

It was only after several days that Primrose was at last allowed the opportunity to return to her own bed. Polly had judged that her young lover had enjoyed enough nights in her luxury Pimlico apartment and could now retreat to her nondescript flat in Peckham where she lived with Peredeslava, her occasional lover and full-time colleague. Primrose even felt flush enough to pay for a bicycle rickshaw ride across London. This gave her an instructive view of the city's extremes of poverty and wealth. There was a necessary diversion around the flood-waters of Lambeth which took Primrose past the army of beggars that lined the road to Southwark Cathedral, but generally the journey was fairly uneventful.

"So, you'll be my boss," said Peredeslava with a palpable lack of enthusiasm in her voice. "It'll be so different from now on."

"I suppose it will be," Primrose admitted.

"You won't want to share a one-bedroom flat in Peckham anymore, will you?"

"Maybe not," said Primrose. "But I won't move out till you find someone else. I wouldn't want you to have to pay the rent all by yourself."

But as she reflected on her changed circumstance, Primrose felt a weight lift off her chest. No longer would she have to fuck her elderly, unprepossessing and unlovable clients. No longer would she have to hurry home as fast as she could to avoid the attentions of the street-gangs that prowled Peckham's poorly lit streets. No longer would she have to make all these long journeys across London by its hazardous roads or the unreliable underground to see clients whose desires upon her were often quite disgusting.

"Whatever happens," said Peredeslava. "I hope we'll still be able to see each other."

Primrose warmly agreed, but she knew as well as her lover that this was extremely unlikely.

Unless, of course, there were good persuasive business reasons to do so.

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