The SecretarybyCharles Petersunn©
This story was inspired by the movie, "The Secretary," starring Maggie Gyllenhall and James Spader. The movie was reviewed for this site some time ago by SexyChele, who didn't like it. However, the short story that inspired the movie was reviewed subsequently by Decayed Angel who liked both the story and the movie. I would encourage you to watch the movie before you read the story, although I do so with some reluctance as this story will not do it justice. My story is placed within the Celebrity section because it definitely needs to be there, given the identity of the characters. However, the story, like the movie, involves substantial submission, reluctance, and humiliation. If stories with this theme are not to your liking, and certainly if you find them abhorrent or appalling, then you really should not read it. You won't like it! Finally, all of the characters are at least 18 years old.
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Maggie Gyllenhall had always wanted to be a secretary. It was her life's dream. This is not a dream for many a young lady. It was perhaps a bit unusual. Most young women aspire for much greater greatness, to be a lawyer, a politician, a leader of business or industry. Maggie's aspirations were considerably more modest, likely inspired by the fact that her mother had been a very successful secretary for a very successful, well respected, and powerful man, and Maggie admired her mother so very much.
Her mother would say that being a secretary was in fact a very honorable profession. She was "his girl Friday," the lady behind a great man, helping him reach the pinnacle of his career, helping him to accomplish so many things, some of which could have important and significant benefits to all of society, or at least a good part of it.
Of course, this was not meant to imply that a woman could not also be the person who became a leader of business, law, politics, or medicine, needing herself a secretary, perhaps even a male secretary, to act as her assistant. But, that was not for Maggie. She found considerable satisfaction, fulfillment, and pleasure, in being the assistant.
Maggie though had no expectation of ever reaching her mother's potential, of matching her achievements. Her mother eventually became a secretary for one of the top advertising firms in New York that developed some of the most influential ad campaigns the country had ever seen (e.g., Maidenform's "I dreamed I came to work in my Maidenform bra;" see "Ad Men"). It was said that their campaign for Dupont nylons ("If only skirts were shorter") was a major factor in bringing on the age of miniskirts.
Any such expectations for Maggie, had they even been there, were dashed when she found herself working within a large secretarial pool for the municipal tax office. Typing all day long can be pretty boring. It didn't help when what one was typing was inherently boring.
She felt that she had prepared well, or at least well enough. She had received a certificate from Weston College indicating that she had completed their training to become an Executive Assistant, including courses in Keyboard Essentials (KEY 105), Keyboard Skill Development (KEY 110), Information Processing (CSC 104), Administrative Office Transcription (AOM 200), Office Troubleshooting (CSC 227), Web Programming (CSC 322), Advanced Telecommunications & Networking (CSC 405), and Legal Office Transcription (LSS 200). Her mother hadn't done anything like that. She had learned how to type from her own mother and then just answered an ad.
Of course, times were much different now. Secretaries nowadays had to have quite a few skills, and the down economy made finding any job so terribly difficult. So, she kept telling herself that it could be worse, that she could be unemployed.
But, one day an opportunity did arise, and it was very intriguing, if not impressive.
Mr. James Spader was looking for a new secretary.
Maggie immediately applied.
Mr. Spader was a very well known, highly regarded, and quite successful lawyer. However, it was also known that there was a good reason that he was hiring. Mr. Spader was a very exacting, precise, stern, and strict employer. He did not suffer fools gladly, expecting his secretaries to be as punctilious, painstaking, and persnickety as himself.
This did not concern Maggie. This was in fact an opportunity for her to rise above all other secretaries. If she could make it with Mr. Spader, she could make it anywhere.
Plus, when she met him she discovered that there was an additional benefit in being Mr. Spader's executive assistant. He was a rather good looking man; in fact, really quite strikingly handsome. He was a fit five foot ten inches, with short, well styled light brown hair, sharp facial features and, most impressive of all, really dreamy blue eyes. There was just something about his eyes, as they often looked a bit melancholy and troubled, although at times mysteriously distant, yet when he smiled they seemed to sparkle mischievously.
He was also very impeccably dressed and groomed. He wore the finest hand-tailored Gucci, Armani, and Donna Vinci suits and, on this day, when he was interviewing applicants, he wore his finest suit, his pin-striped blue Alexander Amosu, a blend of Himalayan Pashmina, Qiviuk and Vicuna, with nine 18-carat gold and pave set diamond buttons. The suit made it clear that he was a very successful man. Yes, she could work for this man, no matter his peccadillos.
Well, there was one peccadillo that he made very clear. He was an avid collector of antiques, and he did not simply display them. He continued to use them, and he expected his employees to do likewise. More specifically, his secretary could not use a word processor. She would have to use a typewriter.
Maggie was nonplused. Now, that did seem strange indeed.
Mr. Spader looked dispassionately at his seventh interviewee that day. "Will that be a problem..." His eyes went to her application form. "...Miss Gyllenhall?"
"Oh, no sir," Maggie quickly replied. It would indeed be a significant problem, but what person would admit to such a concern, such a skills deficit, during a job interview? One might as well not have even shown up for the interview! And, besides, her mother had never used a word processor. If she wished to achieve as much as her mother had done, then she could do it too. In fact, as she thought about it, using a typewriter just like her mother made the job all the more attractive. "I won an award, sir."
"At college...for typing."
"You won an award for typing...at college." Mr. Spader didn't realize that a college would give such an award.
"Yes sir," she softly replied. She glanced around the room. She was feeling a bit self-conscious.
The phone rang. Mr. Spader picked it up.
'How odd,' Maggie thought. His phone was a large, heavy, black molded Bakelite handset Western Electric desk phone, with the round dial. She hadn't seen one of those in years. Actually, she had only seen them on old television shows. "Operator," was printed over the number zero. Maggie wondered if you really would get an operator if you dialed it.
"Please," he said to Maggie as he covered the receiver with his hand, "get me some coffee?"
"Absolutely sir, yes sir, immediately." She left to get Mr. Spader's coffee.
She thought she lost any chance for the job though when she tried to make the coffee. It wasn't really that easy, as he used a Mirromatic percolator. It took her awhile to figure it out. She spilled some water on the front of her blouse as she clumsily tried to fill it. She did her best to dry the blouse, but all the rubbing only made her nipple poke out even further. She tried to keep it hidden during the rest of the interview, but she seriously doubted that she was entirely successful. Maggie was hired, albeit she didn't really understand why. It could have been her unambiguous confidence with a typewriter. She would have imagined many other applicants balking at such a requirement. She felt good that she had been so positive and assertive.
On her first day she wore one of her best outfits, a bright red St. John slub knit jacket with princess seaming, a high collar and low V-neckline, and front button closure and patch pockets, with a matching elasticized waist, slubbed knit sleek pencil skirt that went just below her knees. The skirt hugged her body well, perhaps though a bit tight. Beneath the jacket she wore a very frilly violet silk blouse. She felt she looked both femininely pretty yet also business serious.
She kind of hoped that he would pay her a compliment for her dress and appearance on the first day, as she felt that she had never looked better. Her make-up was impeccable, she was having a real nice hair day, and she was wearing her most favorite perfume, Knowing, by Estee Lauder.
But, he barely acknowledged her existence, let alone presence. He just provided a curt good morning as he headed out for some sort of meeting, and indicated that she needed to type up a recording of a deposition, as soon as possible.
Well, she supposed that she shouldn't be too surprised. None of her outfits would ever compare to his.
She worked very hard on the deposition, not wanting it to contain one single error, which really wasn't that easy without a word processor. Her mother often spoke of the perfect performance, hitting a true 10 in secretarial achievement. Her mother said that she did at times achieve such moments of perfection but it had required a considerable amount of care and concentration.
Maggie was at least relieved to see that her typewriter wasn't a complete antique. It was actually one of the more "modern" Smith-Corona electric typewriters with a self-correcting tape so that she wouldn't have to scroll up the paper to try to erase an error or use white-out.
When Maggie was finished she left the document on Mr. Spader's desk for when he returned.
He apparently came back later through a back door directly into his office as she had not noticed his arrival. She was in fact startled by his voice suddenly appearing on her desk through his more truly antique Webster Electric Teletalk office intercom.
Maggie pushed down the switch to speak. She leaned in close, not sure how sensitive was the microphone, wherever it might be. "Yes, Mr. Spader, is there anything you want, sir?"
"Yes, Miss Gyllenhall, could you come in here please?"
"Will I need my pencil and pad, sir?"
There was a moment of silence. She couldn't tell if he was considering the option or was simply annoyed with the question. "No, that won't be necessary."
"Yes sir," she replied. He didn't sound happy. He sounded a bit stern. But, of course, his usual tone was neither chipper nor cheerful. He was always very businesslike and dispassionate in his manner, perhaps even somewhat somber and solemn.
She hurriedly made her way into his office, albeit not before she checked her hair, make-up, jacket and skirt. When everything seemed to be in order she took a deep breath and entered through the very heavy, thick, mahogany door. Mr. Spader paid dearly to have the door be truly, entirely mahogany, not simply mahogany veneer glued to pine.
Maggie had been in Mr. Spader's office a few times now, but it takes more than just a few visits to truly appreciate it.
Mr. Spader had a large, dimly lit, and quite luxurious office, filled with "modern" art from the first half of the twentieth century, a dark Safavid East Persia rug from the late 16th century (the charcoals were a bit oxidized), and, of course, an impressive collection of antique furniture, including a Mexican copper inlaid Pablo 6-Drawer coffee table. Behind the desk were dark antique Japanese wall scrolls depicting villagers at a market, farmers loading bails of some crop, and bathers within a pond. All the way across the room was an orchid garden, enclosed in glass to provide precisely the correct degree of moisture and temperature. Mr. Spader would occasionally flip a switch on his desk to mist the flowers, provide a gentle rainfall or, behind them, as a backdrop, a peaceful relaxing waterfall.
His pride and joy was a classic, antique mahogany partners desk from the first half of the 19th century by the London firm of M. Wilson. The desk was 5 foot 6 inches wide, made with well figured mahogany timbers. The top had a black hide writing surface with gilt and blind tooling surrounded by a cross band of mahogany with a thumb molded edge. All drawers had mahogany linings with hand cut dovetail joints, ogee moldings to the front edge, turned mahogany pull handles, and the original brass locks and escutcheons. It was really very impressive.
And, sitting front and perfectly centered on his princely desk was the deposition that Maggie had typed. It was hard to miss, as it was the only thing on the desk, other than the Tiffany lotus lamp.
Mr. Spader was standing to the side of the desk, a dispassionate expression on his face, his hands clasped before him. He let go of his hands to gesture slowly toward the deposition. "Miss Gyllenhall," he solemnly announced, "there are a number of errors within this deposition. I wonder, perhaps, if you might wish to correct them."
"Oh my goodness, Mr. Spader. I'm so sorry! Yes, yes, of course." She made her way quickly to the desk and the deposition, lying there patiently, waiting for her.
But, she stopped when she arrived. She wondered if she should pick it up. Of course, she probably should. How else was she going to read it? But, this was her first day on the job, and Mr. Spader was notoriously finicky. Shouldn't she ask his permission first to take something from his desk? She glanced at him, and then realized that she was being far more timid and uncertain than was necessary.
Mr. Spader's office had that effect on a person, intimidating opposing lawyers with its atmosphere of power and authority.
Mr. Spader noticed his secretary's hesitation. He had naturally assumed that she would just pick up the document, and then return to her desk. Why was she just standing there? Was she so incompetent that she didn't know what to do next? She needs to be told to pick up the papers? Serious doubts as to his decision to hire this young lady swept over him. He wondered if perhaps he had been too heavily influenced by her physical appeal.
Mr. Spader did always consider physical attractiveness when hiring a secretarial assistant. He did not find that to be in any way inappropriate. One would not hire a secretary who gave little consideration to her physical appearance. Nobody would question such a decision. If she gave little attention to her own appearance, what attention would she give to the job? In addition, an appealing, even elegant, physical presence was important, as the secretary would be the first person whom new potential clients would meet when they arrived. She was a visual representation of his firm, his taste, his choices. Why not then have this person be especially attractive and pleasing to the eye. First impressions are really terribly important.
Plus, it just made her presence all the more pleasant and pleasing. A secretary can do far more than just type. She can brighten up the office with her presence, provide some cheer, beautification, and flourish to an otherwise dull and frustrating day of dreary briefs and depositions.
And, Maggie was very attractive indeed. She had dark flowing brown hair, pink full cheeks, smooth, impeccable skin, and a perky cute nose. Particularly endearing were her lips, which were often slightly open, revealing just her top two front teeth. It seemed to provide her with this innocent, self-conscious adorableness, magnified even further when she would nervously bite her lower lip, which she did so often. Plus, there was a hint of a dimple when she smiled.
But, what was most distinctive about her were her eyes. She had these saucer-shaped light blue eyes that were so darned expressive. They suggested a winsome coyness, yet also an alluring seductiveness. One just wasn't sure, yet one couldn't look away. One could just sit there and gaze upon them, if not for the fact that one had nothing to say and it was obviously terribly awkward to be staring at her, simply because one found her eyes so mesmerizing, so beguiling.
Mr. Spader realized that he was himself quiet for some time, lost in thought as his new secretary seemed uncertain what to do. "Miss Gyllenhall, if you would..." He paused. "If you could, please find your three errors. I assume that you have the capability of recognizing that they are indeed errors."
Well, no pressure there. If she had made the errors it was certainly quite possible that she would be unable to identify them now. "Yes sir," she softly replied, and leaned forward to get a closer look, still hesitant to actually pick up the document from his desk.
Mr. Spader furrowed his brow. How so very unusual, he thought. Well, if she apparently did not wish to pick up the deposition, perhaps she shouldn't. "Please, Miss Gyllenhall, if you would, leave the document resting on the desk."
Maggie was relieved. There was no longer any uncertainty, any ambiguity. She leaned over further, bringing her eyes closer to the deposition. She was just a bit near-sighted and so had to lean over quite a bit to be able to read the 9-point font. She wondered if her back might stiffen. "Sir, um, may I, well, please, rest my elbows...on the desk?"
He nodded affirmatively. "Yes, yes, certainly. Whatever makes you most comfortable."
Maggie was again relieved. She rested her hands and elbows on both sides of the document, her eyes just inches away from its pages. She began to carefully study the words, the grammar, the structure.
Proofing a document is not an easy task. It not only requires knowledge as to correct spelling and grammar, but also the ability not to be drawn into the content. Errors are at times missed because one's mind corrects what the eyes see as one quickly reads through the sentences, absorbing the material, not wanting to be delayed or distracted by minor, technical errors in spelling or grammar. One of her colleagues at the tax office would even go so far as to read documents backwards, that way one would not have any appreciation whatsoever what was being written and could fully concentrate on spelling. However, reading sentences backwards was not particularly effective in discovering grammatical errors.
Maggie didn't find one mistake on the first page, and began to feel a bit nervous. What if she went through the entire document never to discover any errors at all? Would he fire her on the spot?
She glanced over at him, waiting for him to give approval that she be allowed to touch the document, to turn the page.
He nodded affirmatively, in his dispassionate, aloof manner.
He was not though displeased. It was just his usual manner of expression. He found it quite important within a courtroom to remain dispassionate, never showing any expression in response to the testimony of a witness, or to the outlandish charges of an opposing attorney. Of course, when an expressive reaction to a witness would serve the interests of his client then he would accommodate, which was all the more striking to the jury as he was otherwise so stoic, so unmoved.
He shifted his position, moving away from the desk to stand behind Miss Gyllenhall as she continued to study the deposition.
Maggie paused as she noticed him stepping behind her.
She suddenly realized the potential awkwardness of her position. Her business skirt was conservative but still quite feminine. The sleek pencil skirt was already a bit tight around the derriere and now even more so bent over as she was, her bottom thrusting out behind her. The position was really quite suggestive. She couldn't help but wonder if he was now gazing at her bottom, studying it as closely as she was studying the document. Well, of course, that really couldn't be true. Mr. Spader had far more important things on his mind than the curves of her derriere. She returned her attention to the document.