Soma Ch. 02


Lauren Laframboise slammed her office door shut, and then leaned against it. Her bare skin pressed against the wood, her left hand remained on the handle for stability. Her legs felt weak, as if they'd give out beneath her. She took a deep breath, and then whimpered out an exhalation. She shut her eyes, doing her best to will herself into forgetting what had just happened.

Lauren was naked from head to toe, save for a few pieces of jewelry and her pumps. In the aftermath of a sudden, psychosomatic reaction to clothing of any kind, the twenty-nine-year-old lawyer had opted to go back into the office completely naked. Evelyn Apparel had an acquisition on the line, and the successful purchase of Cortland Menswear before the end of the Third Quarter would mean millions for the company. For Lauren, the reward was more personal, as she'd been appointed lead by her boss, and knew she had a promotion and a seventeen thousand dollar raise on the line. She'd been willing to humiliate herself for the good of her employer, willing to sell her shame and her dignity for a new title and a bump in pay grade. Her body, though, apparently believed she hadn't sacrificed quite enough, as she was still shaking the lingering effects of a spontaneous orgasm she'd achieved in the middle of a meeting in her boss's office.

The blonde had bolted from the room the moment Paul McIntosh's end of the line went dead, the Corporate Development officer satisfied with sweat, tears, and man hours Evelyn Apparel's Commercial Transactions group had dedicated to the contract that day. She'd shared a smile of accomplishment with her boss, Dick Bramley, and a head nod with her colleague Danny Baldwin, but she'd entirely ignored Rachel Wilks, her closest friend in the office. In fact, only Amy Melrose had left before her, and Lauren passed even her as she charged down the hall back to her office.

Her chest still heaving, Lauren lunged for the phone on her desk. "Two-one-two," she spoke aloud as she dialed the numbers from Dave Adams's business card. "Six-nine-six..."

It took a few moments for Lauren to get past the past the psychiatrist's assistant, but the panic in the girl's voice told the assistant all she needed to know -- she patched Lauren right through.

"What the hell just happened to me?!!"

"Hello?" Adams asked.

"It's Lauren Laframboise," the girl explained. "I need to know what the hell is going on!"

"Lauren," Adams repeated her name. There was no doubt he knew exactly who she was, but he needed a moment to collect himself. "I think we established what we thought --"

"I just had an orgasm. In the middle of a conference call. In a room full of people."

"Wait...what? An orgasm? Really?"

"Yes, really!" Lauren ran her shaking hands through her blonde hair. Aside from the rash that enveloped her body the previous afternoon, Lauren had, up to that point, demonstrated no outward signs of stress. Suddenly, she felt herself perspiring heavily, breathing shallowly, and trembling in her chair. Nudity was one thing, and sure, it was humiliating. But with her high heels and jewelry, and a feigned sense of confidence, Lauren was able to convince herself she was in control. Cumming in the middle of a crowded room was not "in control."

"This is exactly what I saying earlier today," Adams offered. "Your body is trying to tell you that it needs a break. It simply can't handle the stress that you're under at work. You need to go home and relax."

"'I told you so'? Is that your advice?" the blonde shrieked.

"You're not listening," Adams explained.

"I am listening," Lauren replied. "I'm listening, I'm listening!"

"Not to me," the psychiatrist continued. "You need to listen to your body. The rash was a first attempt at communication. But it's twenty-four and some odd hours later, and you haven't heeded that call. You're still at work, still putting yourself through all that stress. And, ultimately, I don't think that being nude in front of all your coworkers is exactly helping to diminish that anxiety. So, my guess is -- and I've never encountered anything exactly like this before -- but my guess is that your body upped the volume a bit, brought things to the next level."

Lauren rubbed her eyes. Outside her office, a gentle rapping on the glass alerted her to Rachel's presence. The redhead was standing at the door with a concerned look on her face. The blonde gestured to the phone; she didn't want to deal with her friend just then. She just wanted the psychiatrist to solve her problem.

"So now I'm going to break out in a rash if I don't keep climaxing?"

There was an uncomfortable silence on the far end of the phone. Lauren was frightened that Adams even seemed to be thinking the question over, frightened that the answer might be in the positive.

Instead, he asked, "How long since your last orgasm?"

"About five minutes ago," she answered.

"No, before this one."

"What? Why?"

"How long, Lauren?"

The girl massaged her temples. "I don't know. A few weeks, I guess?"

"Were you alone?"

"Was I alone? What? Where are you going with this?"

Adams sighed. "Did you reach orgasm through self-stimulation or with a partner?"

The girl hesitated, but eventually squeaked out, "The first one."

"Masturbation," the psychiatrist said aloud, more to himself than to his patient. "And how long since your last partner?"

"I don't know," Lauren answered, honestly. It had been a while. "A few months, maybe?"

"How many is a few?"

Scott Tydeman. A guy she'd met at the gym. They'd gone to dinner, and had ended up back at Lauren's apartment. She never put out on a first date, but that night had been different. It had been a few months since Lauren had broken up with her previous boyfriend, and she'd been horny. Scott didn't call after that. But Lauren hadn't called him, either.

"Seven," she answered. "Maybe eight."

God, had it really been that long? And Scott had been a one-night-stand, a brief oasis in a desert of self-imposed celibacy. She was nearing the one-year anniversary of her split from Jon Derby -- November of the previous year.

Getting no immediate response from the psychiatrist, Lauren sarcastically offered, "So that's your prescription, I'm assuming?"

"No, no," Adams half-chuckled.

I'm glad he's finding this amusing, Lauren thought to herself.

"So I'm rethinking what I said earlier," Adams offered. "Maybe the orgasm wasn't another warning. Maybe you've been getting warnings all along -- tense shoulders, blurry eyes, so on and so forth. Maybe the rash was the last warning. Maybe it was your body's last ditch effort in trying to get your attention."

"And so the orgasm is...?"

"Your body taking the matter into its own hands, in a way."

Lauren was puzzled.

"Let's try something," the psychiatrist suggested. "The gray pair of underwear from this afternoon."

The blonde eyed the duffel bag in the corner of her office.

"Let's try again."

Lauren had calmed a bit since walking into her office. Maybe it was Adams's voice. Maybe it was talking about it. Maybe it was just that a few more minutes had passed, that she'd put a bit more time between herself and the incident itself. Whatever the case, the blonde reached for her bag, and extracted the cotton panties from within. Knowing full well the itchiness and burning that awaited, she took a deep breath, bent at the waist, and slipped her ankles through the holes in the fabric.

The sting was instantaneous, the sensation like running barbed wire along her naked thigh. Yet - and perhaps it was just her imagination -- the pain didn't seem quite as intense as it had that afternoon. Wishful thinking, she told herself. She was probably just learning to bear it better. A few seconds longer of gritting her teeth, Lauren slipped back out of the panties and placed them on the desk. She related the perceived amelioration to the psychiatrist.

"You were warned," Adams explained. "Your body tried to tell you to relax, to ease off the pace you've been keeping over the past few weeks. And since you blissfully ignored its pleas, it opted to seek release in the only way it knew how."

"So, I'm just going to keep orgasming until I'm cured? Until the rash goes away?"

"I don't know," he answered. "Maybe."

Lauren groaned. "I can't keep doing it in public."

"Then go home!"

The girl shook her head, mostly for her own benefit. "No," she said, for Adams's. The equation had changed a bit, to be sure, but the solution had remained the same. The underlying stress was being caused by the acquisition of Cortland Menswear. If she were to go home, the stress wouldn't just magically dissipate. She'd be just as anxious, but without the outlet of work. Moreover, the burden that she'd failed at her task might crush that lingering fraction of her consciousness that wasn't apparently bat-shit insane.

There was a knock at Lauren's door. She looked up and saw Ginger, the dark-haired girl gently tapping the glass window with her knuckles.

"I need to go," Lauren announced.

"You need to go home," Adams corrected her. Sensing it was a lost cause, though, the psychiatrist concluded, "I'll be by tomorrow afternoon."

"No need," the blonde replied.

"It's no bother," Adams insisted. "I'll see you tomorrow." With a click, he was gone.

Lauren took a deep breath, and gestured Ginger into her office.

"How was the status call?"

"Fine," the blonde answered. "Nothing of note."

Ginger knew her boss well enough that she correctly surmised this wasn't entirely true. And Lauren knew her assistant well enough that she knew the dark-haired girl saw right through her. But it wasn't important just now, as Ginger had something else to offer.

"Alright, so I know that we're trying to keep your situation under wraps..."

Uh-oh. Lauren didn't like where this was headed.

"...but I was talking to Brian this afternoon..."

Brian Pinova worked in IT. He was a bit of an odd duck, though, not at all as geekish or socially inept at the usual computer support staff. Tattoos peeked from beneath his shirt collar, and he tended to wear more jewelry on average than even Lauren was wearing at that very moment -- earrings, nose ring, eyebrow piercing. He looked more like Hollywood's ideal punk-turned-computer hacker than the usual overweight, bespectacled nerd that populated the real world. Lauren wouldn't have been surprised if Brian had picked up his computer skills in rehab or through some sort of prison correspondence course. All of which, of course, explained why Ginger was constantly flirting with him.

"...and I told him how you'd spent last night here, and were probably going to spend tonight here, as well. And he said he did the same thing, a few months ago, during that SAP implementation."

Lauren raised an eyebrow.

"Well, he did the 'sleeping here' part, anyways. And he figured out a way to take a shower."

Lauren did perk up a bit at this, but the reality of the situation quickly reared its head. "I'm not going to go traipsing through the building like this for a shower." No, she could continue to bathe in the sink in the women's bathroom. It was annoying, and nowhere near a real shower, but it didn't require her to take the elevator down to the IT floors to bathe.

"No, you don't need to. He...well, he's right here." Ginger gestured with her head down the hall. "I can have him explain."

The blonde rubbed her eyes. On top of everything else, she didn't want to deal with someone else from outside their suite at that moment. But she'd put up with Charlie Peasgood; how bad could Brian Pinova be?

"Fine," Lauren agreed.

Brian was clearly taken aback as he answered Ginger's summons. He swallowed hard, though, and after regaining his composure and making an unfunny joke about the dress code, got down to business. He did his best to avoid looking at Lauren in any way, instead glancing from the computer screen to Ginger and back to the computer screen, trying to pick up social cues from either the administrative assistant or the desktop hardware.

As it turned out, Brian and a few of his friends had hacked into the building's fire control system, and after putting together a relatively simple interface program that Brian installed onto Lauren's computer, they'd used the used the sprinklers to take showers down on the fourth floor. There had been a few kinks in the beginning, like when Brian had activated the wrong spigot and soaked a conference room three floors up from where he'd intended. Or the time that the fire alarms had gone off when they'd activated their makeshift shower, and the entire building had to be evacuated. But, as Brian clicked through the few commands that Lauren would need to operate the system, he explained that there wasn't anything to worry about anymore, aside from the water itself.

Lauren looked up at Ginger, who nodded.

If Lauren were to hack into the building's sprinkler system, illegally turn the spigots on, and shower beneath what she assumed would be ice-cold water, it only made sense that she'd do so in the girlish pink women's bathroom. On the other hand, the men's bathroom was already flooded. Taking advantage of a fortunate, pre-existing problem that had already compromised the men's room, Lauren's bathwater would simply sit among the rest of the water that already covered the floor. It wasn't as if she were going to shower when anyone was on the floor anyways, so what difference did it really make if she were in the women's room versus the men's?

Lauren allowed Brian to show her the commands that identified the sprinklers in the men's room on the twenty-sixth floor. She jotted on a post-it the prompts she'd need to follow in order to turn the water on and off again. And, while the idea of taking a cold shower in the men's room might have appalled her twenty-four hours earlier, a lot of things had changed in that time. The prospect of an actual shower excited her, and given what had just gone down in Bramley's office, perhaps a cold shower was best.

Only after Brian and Ginger had gone did Lauren notice her gray cotton panties still sitting on the surface of her desk. She blushed, at first kicking herself for leaving her underthings out where anyone could see them. But taking stock of how she was currently dressed, the blonde couldn't help but laugh to herself. Brian Pinova seeing her unoccupied panties was the least of her humiliations.

Ginger, Brian, and the system hack still open on Lauren's desktop had allowed Lauren a few moments respite from the shock and horror of her climax in Dick Bramley's office. Alone in her office once more, the girl tried to shake the memory, busying herself by jotting down a few notes she recalled Paul McIntosh launching into that might have an effect on her work. She was unsuccessful, however, and after just a few minutes of hand-scratched notes in her legal pad, Lauren was swept back up into fretting over and recalling her orgasm.

It was the best she'd had recently, that much was for sure. Lauren had been working herself to the bone the past few weeks, and she mostly just collapsed onto her bed each night after work. She was up and on her way back to Midtown each morning, leaving little time for anything else. Lauren couldn't honestly say that she hadn't thought about masturbating every now and then, but so consumed by the Cortland acquisition she was that such thoughts never had any time to ferment at the forefront of her consciousness.

To be honest, the orgasm she'd just had was better than just about any she could remember. Certainly better than her night with fumbling Scott Tydeman, and perhaps more intense than she'd ever felt in her short relationship with Jon Derby prior to that. She hated to admit it, but Lauren's climaxes were usually better when she was alone, and even those lacked the residual inner warmth and satisfaction that Lauren felt now, more than a half hour since she'd stormed out of Bramley's office.

Her legs had gone weak, her spine had tingled, the very hairs on her head had stood on edge. Deep inside her, further than any finger or penis had ever penetrated, Lauren's pussy had exploded in carnal bliss. Wave after wave of delight had washed over her, even as she clenched her teeth, stifled a moan, and did her best to pretend that nothing was happening.

The blonde glanced at the glass across from her desk, and satisfied that no one was watching, just at that moment, touched the top of her slit. It wasn't sexual in nature, exactly, even if Lauren felt a few vaginal tremors that served as aftershocks to the orgasm that had rocked the Richter scale earlier. She was still wet - and not just damp, but sopping, soaking wet. Her whole pussy was drenched, lubricated all the way through. Maybe she should get herself off again. Maybe Adams was right, that she needed a release.

Horrified at herself, Lauren pulled her hand from her lap. Fingers still moist, the girl flipped back through her notes from the call two days earlier, eager to get her mind back on her work.

Rachel stopped by a bit later to check on the blonde, and though she, like Ginger, knew that Lauren was holding something back, she accepted her friend's explanation of a sudden sensation of embarrassment without pressing further. Danny stopped in to announce he had to meet his wife for a parent-teacher conference downtown, but that he'd comb back through Sections 11, 12, and 13 afterwards, at home, to make sure that everything looked copasetic. Dick Bramley wished the girl a good night on his way home, making sure that she knew to call him if she needed anything. Kevin Tolman, Stephanie Kidd, Yvonne, and others all trickled by, saying their goodnights and using the opportunity to stare at Lauren one last time for the day.

For the most part, though, Lauren kept her head down and her nose buried in the contract before her. Five thirty became six, and six became seven, and before the blonde realized just how much time had passed, Ginger was standing at her door with a menu for the Indian place around the corner. Lauren stood, placed an order for chicken tikka masala, stretched, and excused herself to the bathroom.

About half of Suite 2600 had already emptied out, judging from the orders Ginger had collected from up and down the hall. While Lauren was certainly annoyed, given how much work was still to be accomplished between now and five o'clock on Friday, she was also greatly relieved. She'd made it through the day, as naked as she was, with only a few minor hiccups. Okay, maybe one major hiccup. But the day was done. Tomorrow, her humiliation would be old news, no longer quite the novelty it had been today.

Lauren stepped out the rear door of her suite and into the long, darkened hallway that ran to the elevators. As she passed the men's room, a sudden curiosity struck the blonde, and she stopped. She'd never been inside, and could honestly say that, before that week, she'd never once thought about going inside. Earlier in the week, sure, she'd been tempted to poke a head in, to catch a glimpse of the flood driving her male colleagues to the twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh floors. But that evening, owing to the plan devised by Lauren, Ginger, and Brian Pinova, she had a sudden interest about what lay beyond the door.

She knocked first, pushed the door open a crack when no one answered, and hollered, "Hello?" Hesitating a moment longer, Lauren added, "This is the janitor!"

When no response came a second time, the girl decided the coast was clear. She glanced towards the front door of Suite 2600, and then the rear, and stepped into the darkened bathroom.

Lauren had to flick the light switch as she entered, the safety of which she wondered about, given that her heels splashed in a shallow puddle the moment she stepped into the bathroom. The tiles and paint were blue, complementing the pink of the women's room. Even as adults, Lauren observed to herself, girls were pink and boys were blue.

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