A Werewolf in Office ClothingbyNaokoSmith©
Copyright 2012 Naoko Smith
Diolch! to LaRascasse for his supportive edit of this story.
Bryony started working at the office in the autumn.
The wind was tossing the leaves in the glancing sunshine: yellow brown and red up the steep sides of the Valleys. It was a bright breezy day, perfect for a walk along the wooded pathways with the leaves crisp underfoot. A day for strolling with the wind in your soft loose curls of hair, the laugh indulgent in your gentle eyes as you call and whistle to someone who has run on ahead of you.
He wasn't there for Bryony's first week; away on a training course. She got to know the others first: friendly, casually kind colleagues. They took her to McDonald's for lunch on her first day and asked her along for drinks on Friday. When she said she was going to her parents for the weekend they only said: "There's lovely." They smiled knowing gentle smiles that said: "You're just a sweetie," as they bantered the stories about what they'd got up to the previous Friday night. "Ooh shut up!" "I laughed my fucking arse off!"
The shy sweet smile on her curved soft mouth, the dip of her gentle eyes. She knew enough to know she wouldn't like it out and about with them in spiked high heels and skin-clinging tiny dresses. The admiring rueful smile dipped in the corner of her mouth as she imagined her rotund little personage bouncing along with the slender young women who were her new colleagues like a ball.
They knew she would be happier going to see her family, walking the dogs and enjoying a mildly affectionate Sunday lunch. Her soft loose curls of chestnut hair with the red and gold lights as if she'd captured the autumn in her hair, her gentle eyes glinting with a laugh like the sun shining off a secret woodland pool. She just wasn't a party animal. They were relieved that she understood this too. With her sweet curves and that shy lifted smile they knew she would get a kind of attention that she would find too hot to handle. The guys in the office called them The Grannies because they kept an eye out for other vulnerable young things. When Pete in Finance screwed Gwyn one time she was too drunk to know better they made his life such hell that he resigned and left the country. The senior partners pretended not to notice. The women senior partners and the partners' wives were on The Grannies' side; it wasn't worth the trouble and strife, even for a good accountant.
Bryony became the one who made the cups of tea. "Ooh, sweetie, I'm parched, I'd love a cuppa."
"Bryony, this is Col."
She turned from where she was standing by the desk to find herself looking straight into chocolate brown eyes.
The hard muscles of his arms and chest were bulging in the crisp white cotton shirt. (He often tore his shirtsleeves when he'd only meant to flex his arm.) He was short, stocky and fit, there was a kind of energy about him as if he were straining at the leash. She felt a quiver in her belly, a wetness between her thighs just to turn and find him standing staring into her eyes.
He tilted his strong-jawed blunt head as if cocking an ear towards her, lifted his head as if sniffing. He had thick dark hair, his pale face had sculpted lean planes, it was a serious face whose mouth evidently didn't often lift in the softness of a smile.
For a moment she thought the chocolate brown eyes had a yellowish tinge. Like caramel. Those eyes seemed to pierce her consciousness, plunge down through the cloud of dancing butterflies that were her thoughts, to the place in her belly which was quivering soft and moist.
"Hullo," she said. It was ridiculous that a sociable nicety should seem so inadequate.
She felt breathless, just a fluffy squeaky toy for him to pick up in his red mouth and play with. Her eyes dipped down, the colour flushed up her face.
"... papers for the meeting," said the office manager.
"Um yes," Bryony said.
He was standing very close to her, closer than was acceptable. She could smell a whiff of something tangy, like bonfires. Not an aftershave, it was his own scent. There was a breath off his shirt too, a fresh smell like the wind with a hint of rain in it. He smelt like a walk in the woods.
"Be seeing you around," he said. His voice was husky with a trace of thickness, an accent. She could have sworn he was on the verge of panting for breath but he was so fit and muscular, surely he didn't lose his breath easily. He seemed to move away reluctantly after the office manager, taking the gaze of his yellowish brown eyes off her slowly.
She watched through her lashes as he loped along at the manager's side. He put an absent finger up to the stiff white collar of his shirt and eased it and she saw to her surprise something under his shirt collar: a bit of black leather had shown up around his neck.
"He's gay," Ceri said confidently, picking the carrot sticks out of her lunch box with long fingers on which the nails were decorated with tropical islands.
"Just because he doesn't fancy you!" Gwyn laughed.
Ceri opened her cerulean blue perfectly mascaraed eyes wide in her smile. "He doesn't fancy any of us," she pointed out. "He must be gay."
Sitting with her lunch box on her lap and looking at them, Bryony was inclined to agree. They were all of them slender and beautiful, they ranged the office like gazelles, their delicate slim limbs exquisitely draped about the desks. They had all tried it on with the stocky supremely fit Col and he had brushed them all away like flies.
He started to come and hover near Bryony's desk, he always said "Yes," if she offered a cup of tea or coffee, he would sometimes try to fetch her one.
'He's gay,' she thought, observing these bumbling puppyish attempts to get closer to her. She reflected ruefully that it was the fat girl's fate; to be the bosom buddy of men who liked men, get to hear all about their carnal activities, enjoy the sweet affection they couldn't have in casual encounters -- but never suck the cherry on the top. She had always had gay guy pals who loved her dearly. It was pleasurable having a man friend. Almost as pleasurable as having a boyfriend.
His name was not Colin. The other girls told her, he was Cùchulain. His family -- whom he never spoke about -- must be Irish, that was the trace of accent that occasionally burred his speech. The girls knew as much as could be found out about him -- which was not much. He could have had any of them. He was barely interested in talking to them. But nor was he interested in any of the guys, even Gareth who went to the same gym as he did.
"Weird," Gareth said to Bryony. He lowered his voice. "Wears a dog collar. All the time! even when he's working out. I mean he's alright, Col. Comes out for a pint now and then. But don't get too close to him, there's something not right about him."
Gareth gave her an older brother sort of pat on the hip. Bryony turned her eyes to him with an absent smile and he let his hand linger on the soft curve of her hip in a way that was no longer brotherly. She only smiled as she put down his cup of tea and moved away.
Gareth could feel the hairs prickle on the back of his neck and when he turned his head, sure enough, Col was watching him. His eyes were narrowed and there was an aggressive grin lurking in the corner of his mouth.
'You're not fucking gay,' Gareth thought with a shiver.
He turned back to watch Bryony moving to give out the cups of tea. Her curving figure was softly outlined in the clinging folds of a knitted jersey dress. She was too embarrassed to wear clothes which showed off her small waist because then the size of her big breasts became apparent. She wore a little make up but her smile did more for her than a ton of the stuff on her face would have done, pouting out her full mouth and making her affectionate brown eyes sparkle. Recently she had picked up a pair of red leather ankle boots with a purely ornamental chain around the tops. It was obvious that she had no idea how sexy her legs were curving out of the tops of the little ankle boots and the teeny tiny chain jingling as she walked. The only reason Gareth and Col didn't catch each other looking at her boots jingling by was that they were both too busy looking at the boots.
Gareth was a freckle-faced lad with a heart full of flowers and songs from Disney Princess movies. He hated being single because it meant he couldn't go and see romcoms, there was no way he could ask the lads to come to the cinema and see the kind of films he liked. You had to go out for ten pints and a kebab with the lads, and complain the next day that the kebab was dodgy and had made you ill. Gareth thought of Bryony as a cherub. So small and curvy and sweet and smiling. Such sparkling fun to be with. She cycled to and from work to keep herself fit but she liked biscuits too much to go on a diet. Gareth liked biscuits.
And so did Col.
"Finished with those figures?" there was a low growl in the back of Col's inquiry. Gareth sighed. No competition. If Col had marked her out, she was as good as laid.
Although she didn't go out with them of a Friday night, Bryony of course went to the Christmas dinner. She would have gone anyway, in fact she'd paid up before Col came up to her with two mugs in his hands saying, "you'll be coming next Thursday?"
He turned his head, cocking it at her in that way he did: anxiously, as if listening not to her words but to her tone of voice, as if his nose could sniff out her mood even better than he could hear it in the tones of her voice.
"One sugar?" he said, putting the mug in front of her.
Having secured positive answers to both questions, he backed away. His upper lip lifted, baring his teeth, and his yellowish caramel eyes seemed to narrow in the unaccustomed smile.
'He's gay, he just wants to be friends," Bryony said fiercely over and over to herself.
She said it while putting on a fetching white lacy bra and knicker set with a couple of cheeky little red bows at the sides. She said it while rolling up a stocking, putting her toe delicately in the gossamer web, easing the stocking up over her dimpled knee, snapping the suspender clips onto it. She said it while she zipped up the red ankle boots the other girls had persuaded her to buy. She said it while she put on the festive red dress with a sweet hood to it, she lifted up the hood over her head and smiled a sparkling smile in the mirror then laughed at herself as she put it back off her head to lie softly over her shoulders. She outlined her puckered mouth with red and put on more make up than she ordinarily wore.
She felt breathless, like a creature dashing through the snow with some other creature in laughing pursuit. The dashing creature will play the game for the fun of it although what she wants is to be hunted down in the end. Bryony looked at her own brown eyes dancing and sparkling and said through teeth which she clenched in frustration, 'He's gay! he just wants to be friends.'
They came into the restaurant in a laughing bunch, already intoxicated with the unaccustomed pleasure of dressing up and going out in the afternoon when they were usually working in the office. Bryony was the most excited. She rarely came out with them and they weren't used to seeing her glammed up. The kind-hearted girls clustered about her and told her how lovely she looked, she was dimly aware of the guys looking at her differently. She was laughing with Gwyn, her head tossing so that the soft chestnut curls fell glossy about the red hood on her shoulders, the red and gold lights sparkled in her hair, her brown eyes sparkled. She sat down with Gwyn, turned her head and found that Gareth had got the seat on her other side.
Col was circling the table with his chocolate brown eyes narrowed. He prowled over to the seat opposite hers, looking at Gareth and then at her. Gareth only grinned at him and he grinned suddenly back.
OK, bro'! but I will get you for this.
Management had laid on drinks back at the office, mainly for key clients whom the senior members of the firm plied with the choicest of the canapés. The junior workers hung about in giggling groups surreptitiously taking what they could get and enjoying an occasional avuncular attention from senior partners.
Bryony wasn't drunk -- oh well, only enough to feel golden happy and relaxed. Both Gareth and Col were keeping their distance, she was enjoying being with the other girls. She stayed longer than she'd intended. Not really in hopes that Col would come over and chat her up. Not really. He was with Gareth, they were talking with a couple of the senior partners. It was just fun to be with the other girls even though the party was thinning out now and when the girls started giggling and sidling off into the board room she just went with them.
They all sat on the floor at the end, giggling and squeaking as they got down off their high heels to sit cross-legged and Gwyn complaining and sitting with her legs primly to her side. Col and Gareth and a couple of the other guys had suddenly appeared and squeezed into the circle and Col sat between Bryony and Gwyn, Gareth grinned and went to sit by Ceri. The carpet was tufty and soft under Bryony's hands. Col was sitting very close to her because he had squeezed in between her and Gwyn. He was reaching up to loosen his tie and undo the button of his collar. He didn't pull the collar open but she saw the edge of leather around his neck.
"Truth or dare!" sniggered Ceri, producing an empty wine bottle and putting it in the middle of the circle.
Bryony started to move, she was not exactly thinking it, this wasn't her kind of game, but Col leant back, his arm was behind her now. If she tried to get up she would have to push his arm away. She wasn't sure what would happen if she started pushing his arm and looking into his yellowish eyes. Ceri was spinning the bottle.
They found out that Ben had snogged his teacher at school and that Gwyn was wearing no knickers. Ceri squealingly refused to divulge the weirdest place she'd had sex in and was obliged to snog Gareth. The green glass bottle with a trickle of red wine darkly lying along its side spun on the tufty soft carpet and came round to point at Bryony.
In a flash Col's head had come round, he was leaning in to her, staring into her eyes. His eyes were bright yellow with a dark grey rim round the edge. He was audibly panting, his muscular chest lifted and fell in the white cotton shirt, his lip lifted from his yellowish teeth, there was a drool of spit down his chin. His voice was a low growl as he grunted out to her: "Do you dream about doing it with dogs?"
Her scarlet blush, as bright as her dress, was an obvious enough answer. But the other girls had drunk more than she had and Gwyn had been obliged to tell that she wasn't wearing knickers, Ceri to snog Gareth.
"Oh My GOD!" Sîan was giggling and snorting. Gareth was spluttering, "What the fuck!"
"Truth or dare," Ceri exclaimed. "You'll have to snog ... Gwyn if you won't tell!" Gwyn started expostulating. Gareth was pop-eyed staring from Gwyn (who wasn't wearing knickers) to Bryony. Col's head swung round at them all with the grin becoming a snarl on his mouth.
It was Truth or Dare, Bryony blurted out: "Yes!" She scrambled to her feet and ran out of the room, her cheeks aflame. She burst into tears as she ran past the tables of dirty glasses and plates, through reception to the sudden freezing chill of the outside air.
Col running after her was silent on his feet. She couldn't go very fast in her jingling little ankle boots and he had no difficulty keeping just behind her as she fled through the debris of the office party.
When she came out the cold December air was like a slap in the face to bring her back to her senses. What was she doing out here with no coat, no handbag; no money, no phone, no keys. How could she have told them! the dirtiest deepest secret of her life. (But Gwyn wasn't wearing knickers and Ben snogged his teacher.)
How did Col know?
He was there, his hands gripping on the tops of her arms so tight it was hurting. He didn't even say anything, not Sorry or It was just a guess. His eyes weren't chocolate brown nor caramel, they were properly yellow with the dark grey rim around them and as he pushed her back against the wall of the building he was sniffing her. He was sniffing her neck, his head moving about to push his nose close under her ear, to the hollow in her throat, at her armpit, up to her neck again.
She just leaned luxuriously back on the hard cold wall. She couldn't care less about Truth or Dare now. It had become abundantly clear that Col was not gay.
She could feel the rough stucco bits of the wall through the thin red cloth of her dress but her senses were all focussed on him: the sound of him eagerly snuffling at her neck, the head of thick dark hair stooped towards her, his warm hard muscular body under her hands as she crept them under his jacket to press on his back, the tangy smell of the wild woodland that he always carried about him.
His tongue was wet and warm on her collarbone, on her neck, under her ear, around her ear. She sighed in the grip of his powerful arms, feeling him licking her neck and now her face. He had come to her mouth and was licking at it and then it was as if he remembered himself and his lips came pressing to her mouth. She puckered her full lips to his kiss, pressing into his arms, his chest, his kiss. She pushed her fingers into his thick rough hair, gripped them in the unruly locks, pressing his kiss to her mouth.
He was panting now in the kiss, starting to whimper and push against her. His tongue came caressing and licking at her lips, into her willingly open mouth. She felt his hips shoving against her and the hard bundle of his erection press to her soft thigh just above the stocking top. His mouth was parting from hers, he was whining softly and shoving to her.
"Take you home, shall I," she murmured to him.
She had to push him from her and tell him clearly twice that they must fetch their coats and money for a taxi. He seemed to recollect himself. In a husky voice he growled something about his car and she said she would fetch the coats and meet him out front again.
Gareth was hovering anxiously in reception when she walked in and he came up to her saying, "Are you OK?" She gave him a dreamy smile of such exquisite soft open femininity that he had to restrain himself from grabbing and kissing her as he was sure Col had just done. "Are you OK with Col?" he asked, a little forlornly. "The others made me come and check," he said, embarrassed. "They're saying Col's gay and just wants to prove he's not with you but you do know ... Col's not gay." It was evident that she knew that by now.
"I know what he is," she said softly. "Thank you, Gareth. I'll be fine." She gripped her hand affectionately on his arm and gave him that beautiful soft warm smile. Her smile pierced his heart like a piece of broken mirror. It took him three months to get over her and start shagging a lovely lady from the next village with whom he could enjoy two-for-one deals on romcoms.
She had gone to get the coats and he saw Col pulling up outside in his red Alfa Romeo Spider. Gareth pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck and went out to Col in the car. He walked in the stiff boxy way that men use to make themselves seem bigger than they are.
Col wound down the window and tilted his head up to Gareth. It was dark inside the car. Gareth couldn't see Col's face but he didn't like the way Col was panting.
"I'm just saying, boyo," he muttered. "If you hurt Bryony The Grannies will do you for it."
Col made a husky snuffling noise, possibly he was laughing. "I'm a good boy," he said.
His voice was thicker than usual. "Sure you're alright to drive?" Gareth demanded.