The Briefcase Ch. 01byMissSenses©
This is my first fully completed series. It took me 5 months to write it. I put my heart and soul into it. It has now become one of the best pieces I have ever written. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
It was getting later and later into the evening, and Jessica was still in her office. Reclined in the leather chair, her heels hung off the edge of the desk. Biting at the edge of her pen, she held it between her teeth, tapping at the keys on her keyboard. A folder lay open, cradled in her lap while she flipped through the documents of her latest project.
"Knock, knock." the receptionist peeked in.
Jessica looked from beyond the desktop lamp. "Yes?"
"I'm leaving for the night, unless there's something you need before I go?" the receptionist asked, the door knob gripped in her hand.
"No, get out of here Sam. I've kept you here long enough." Jessica smiled, waving her on.
"Thanks, Miss Alexander. You should go home too." Sam smiled, staring at her from the door while she waited for her to answer.
"Oh, I will. I'm just finishing up." Jessica answered with a distracted tone, not looking up from her computer.
"Have a nice evening." Sam closed the door, Jessica's eyes still fixed on the flashing screen.
Moments went by as Jessica looked up realizing Sam no longer stood there. She closed her folder with an exhausting sigh and clicked off the computer. Standing too push the chair in, she glanced at the clock. 11:35 pm, another dinner missed. Pulling her sports jacket from the back of the chair, she gathered up her paperwork sliding it into her tote with a few other folders.
Jessica scooped up her cell phone and slipped it into her jacket pocket. She pinched the master key between her fingers as she locked the desk, flipping the switch off to the lamp. One last look around the office and she shut her door, finding Sam still at her desk.
Sam stood over her desk as she filled her bag. "Oh, hey... I almost forgot. This arrived for you. I would've given it to you sooner, but you were on a call." Sam explained with a worried look, as she held the yellow envelope up.
"Oh, that's fine Sam." Jessica smiled, reaching for the envelope.
"Is it from a client? It's not addressed." Jessica looked at the label.
To Jessica Alexander: Private.
"It was slipped into my inbox. I never spoke to the messenger. Sorry." Sam looked at her with curious eyes.
"Okay, thank you. See you in the morning Sam." Jessica stuffed the semi-thick envelope into her tote and pulled the strap up over her shoulder.
"Bye Miss Alexander."
Jessica waved over her shoulder, continuing to walk down the long hallway, headed toward the elevator.
Jessica locked the front door and tossed her keys into the dish next to the front door. She turned and sat at the edge of the stairs, kicking her heels off. Glancing at the tote in front of her, she dug for the package, and she pulled it from her bag. She stared at the envelope for a long moment.
I never get packages marked private...she thought.
Slipped inside the seal, her finger ripped through the sealed edge, and she spilled the contents into her lap. A cheap black cell phone, silver linked chain, and a small white envelope slid out with a stapled document.
This was in black lettering at the center of the page. Jessica flipped the page, folding it over.
You have been selected to join this private club. There are rules to this club which are strictly enforced. If you accept these rules and wish to join, sign the last page of the document and seal it in the white envelope. This white envelope should be brought with you when meeting your first client. If you choose not to sign the document, dispose of it and its contents.
Rule 1: You must use a briefcase and attach the silver chain to the handle. Place anything to do with the clients in that briefcase. Keep it with you at all times. If the briefcase is not with you upon arriving to meet with a client, the meeting will not take place.
Rule 2: No money will exchange hands. However, you may give/receive gifts, should you or your client decide to do so.
Rule 3: You must never speak of The Clients to anyone other than the people in the club. Failure to do so will result in immediate termination of the club.
The Document Handler
Jessica flipped to the next page. There was a long line requiring her signature and a small line at the bottom of the page.
*Check your voice mail. Code: Meet Me*
Jessica dropped the document into her lap, baffled. Picking up the yellow envelope, she looked into it. Thinking there was more information, she turned it over looking on the back. Not a single mark.
"What kind of club is this?" Jessica asked aloud, glancing down at the cell phone with curiosity.
Picking it up, she turned it on, waiting for the screen to light up. A light vibration went off, shaking the phone in her palm as a single message appeared at the bottom of the screen. Jessica bit her lip, dying to know what was waiting for her at the other end. She pressed the voice mail button and waited.
"Please enter your password." An automated voice said, as Jessica touched the keypad putting in the code.
"Your meeting is tomorrow evening. Press Y and your new envelope will be delivered. Unable to meet, press N and another meeting will be set."
Jessica glanced at the phone with her thumb hovering over the button. A surge of excitement raced through her limbs, as she pressed Y and then listened.
"Thank you," the automated voice said, and then the connection was gone.
Jessica stood and gathered up all the contents of the package. A brisk walk to her bedroom, and she laid the contents on the bed. Pushing the closet door open, she grabbed the handle of a briefcase and pulled it off the top shelf. Standing over the bed, she spilled the contents of the envelope into the case and then turned off the cell phone, dropping it into the case and closing it.
With the handle grasped in her hand, she entered the kitchen and laid it on the kitchen table. Opening the freezer, she pulled out a frozen dinner, and popped it into the microwave. Staring at the case, she opened it and ripped the bottom sheet off the document. Scratching a pen across the paper, she signed on the black line and then folded it, placing into the white envelope.
Jessica took a deep breath and then laid the envelope next to the cell phone inside the case. She pulled the silver chain out and looped it around the handle. The microwave timer went off and Jessica sat quietly, forking through her dinner. She stared at the case and then her cell phone rang.
"Hello?" answering her cell phone that she pulled free from her pocket.
"Aren't you supposed to be asleep?"
"Hi, Eric. I'm eating my twice-cooked frozen dinner." Jess said dryly.
"Another late night huh?" Eric said softly, as though he was just getting ready to fall asleep.
"Yeah, work's been a little crazy lately. Why are you still up?" she asked, noticing the time.
"I worked late as well." Eric sighed.
"That sucks. Any signs of it letting up?" Jess asked, making small talk as she studied the case.
"Hopefully soon, but who knows. You know how these things go." Eric coughed, clearing his throat. "Say, would you like to try to go out for a drink tomorrow?"
"I can't. I'm meeting a client."
"Anyone you should give my card to?" Eric chuckled.
Eric Jackson was just one floor down from Jessica's, in the silver high rise near the center of downtown. Jessica's nasty court battle had thrown them together, which was a lot closer than Jessica wanted. She knew when she met Eric that their similar lifestyles would have them bumping into each other, long after their business was concluded.
Jessica never mixed business with pleasure. It was a complication that never worked out in her experience. Someone in the office always caught wind of the gossip, making business that much harder, and Jessica didn't need another scandal surrounding her office. It's bad enough that some people were willing to sue you at the drop of a hat, simply from choking on a piece of food. Eric had gotten Jessica out of a serious and potentially damaging situation. Jessica was grateful, but she never wanted to owe Eric anything and somewhere along the way it had gotten personal.
One night after a meeting with Eric and his partners, it was drinks over a big victory after coming across a vital piece of information that put Jessica's company back in the clear. Most of his partners had left the bar that night, leaving Jessica alone with Eric. Eric was a successful partner at his law firm. A great sense of humor and he had a body that was made to be worshipped.
"Nah, this client doesn't need your help." Jessica replied with a smirk. "It's time for me to go. I really should get some sleep. You've done it again, it's almost 1 am!" Jessica laughed, knowing that between the two, she was the one that who could never get off the phone, especially listening to his intoxicating bedroom voice.
"Alright, well... I'm sure I'll beat you to work tomorrow. I hope you have a better day." Eric's voice dropped closer to a whisper, as if he wrapped his arms around her body.
"Sleep well Eric. We'll catch up soon. Goodnight." Jessica exhaled softly.
"Goodnight." Eric hung up the phone, the dial tone ending the call.
The horrifying sound of an alarm went off and Jessica flipped over, knocking it off the nightstand. It hit the floor with a loud thud and went silent. Once out of bed, Jessica rushed through her shower and dressed as though she was in a race, flying around her bedroom like she was on fire. Being late to work was never an option, especially since she didn't have an excuse, like a hot body still lying next to her in bed.
A half-hour later and, she arrived at her building, entering the elevator in the basement of the parking garage. The heavy silver doors opened after finishing the speedy ride to the seventh floor. She briskly walked down the hallway toward her office with the briefcase clutched in her hand.
"Hi, Miss Alexander" Sam smiled, watching her approach the desk. "Your first two appointments have canceled and have rescheduled for next week. Also, your 5 o' clock is now moved to tomorrow at the same time." Sam held her hand up as Jessica grabbed the messages along with a few envelopes.
"Thank you, I'll be in my office." Jessica walked away, shuffling through the envelopes. Walking around her desk, she tapped the button on the phone. "Sam, could you get Eric on the phone for me and buzz him through?"
"Yes, right away." Sam's voice came over the speaker.
"Thank you." Jessica dropped her briefcase onto the desk and releasing the latches, as she pulled out the folders from the night before.
She glanced at the cell phone, stuffed into one of the pockets of the briefcase. "The Clients"...how many are there?
Suddenly the phone on her desk beeped. "Yes," she tapped the speaker button. "So, were ya late this morning?" Eric chuckled, teasing her.
Jessica glanced out at Sam, a perfect view, where she sat at her desk. Jessica took it off speaker by picking up the phone. "Lucky for you I made it here on time, otherwise I'd have to bill ya!" Jessica said firmly.
"I can think of countless ways that I could pay you." Eric's seductive tone sent the fine hairs on the back of her neck to a stand still. "My offer still stands for that drink."
"I know what a drink would do, we've already been there." Jessica sighed from the memory of his hands, pulling at her flesh.
The memory always made her heart jump. She had just exited out the ladies' room when she saw him against the far wall. The low lighting made his golden eyes glow, and as he pushed off the wall, heightened his height advantage as she looked up keeping their gazes locked. Her breath caught as he reached out and lifted her. Pinning her to the wall one hand supporting her weight by cupping her tight ass, the other claimed most of a breast. Still surprised, he stole the rest of her breath with a deep kiss. Her hands fisted in his raven hair, as her body melted from his assault. As they broke from the kiss for much needed air, he stared into her soft brown eyes. She knew he read her panic as he slid her down his length, holding her up until her legs recovered to hold her up.
"We were drunk that night. It never should've happened. We just got caught up in the moment of winning." Jessica added quickly, trying to break the path of the conversation. "Time to get back work; I just called to give ya hard time about keeping me up even later than usual."
"It was more than just winning and the alcohol." Eric teased. "Have a good day Jess, and stay out of trouble, will ya? I don't want to have to bail your ass out again." Eric chuckled.
"Ha! Bye, Eric." Jessica hung up the phone, shaking her head at his remark.
Signing the bottom of a few forms, she walked out to Sam's desk. "Can you make three copies of these?" Sam looked up with a nod, as she answered the ringing phone.
Jessica turned and walked halfway down the hall, stopped to pour herself some coffee and then returned to her office. She sat down taking the first few sips from her cup and then realized her briefcase had been moved. A plain yellow envelope was now placed on top of her folders. She set her cup down and looked out to see Sam still on the phone.
Taking the letter opener, she sliced the edge. A keycard spilled onto the desk as Jessica looked into the envelope and pulled out a small index card.
6pm. Hotel: Ashton Heights
Jessica swallowed hard. Her skin began to tingle as if millions of spiders had just run down her back and then covered her thighs. She set the keycard in the briefcase and then closed the case.
Picking up the phone, she hesitated, and placed it back on its cradle. She then stood and walked over to the edge of the office door. "Hey Sam, did you see anyone come by here?" Jessica asked, puzzled.
"You mean your office?" Sam questioned, looking over the counter.
"No, I haven't seen anyone, anything wrong?" Sam studied her closely.
"Oh no, everything is fine." Jessica smiled passively and turned, leaving Sam casting a look of wonder at her.
The rest of the day crawled by. Even as busy as Jessica was, her thoughts were never far from the hotel. Sam stepped into her office, dropping the copied forms on top of her desk. "Here are the copies you wanted." Sam looked at the briefcase for a long moment before she smiled and then turned leaving her office.
"Thanks." Jessica placed them into the outbox, glanced at the clock for the last time and started to gather her things.
Locking her office door, she turned toward Sam. "I'm done for the rest of the day," she informed her, folding her jacket over the arm that held her briefcase.
"Leaving early huh? You got a hot date?" Sam said with a giggle. "You work too much Miss Alexander."
"Gooooodnight Sam." Jessica rolled her eyes with a friendly smile, walking toward the elevator.
Three floors down, the elevator door slid opened and two gentlemen got in. The big silver door shut enclosing them in. The feeling of descent was felt as the elevator car began to move. Jessica glanced at the gentlemen's tailored suits and then she gazed at buttons on her blouse.
"Are we all meeting them at Jakes?" The gentleman spoke as Jessica looked up, the elevator counting down floor by floor.
"Yeah, Sheri said that they were an hour ahead of us..." The gentleman to the left nudged him, "...you know what that means don't you?" He chuckled under his breath as the man to his right only replied with a satisfied smile.
The elevator stopped a few floors up from the lobby, as the gentleman to Jessica's left stepped out. "Why don't you come with me, we'll drive over together." He said, and then turned to look at his partner, who stood in front of Jessica.
Jessica smiled, trying to appear disinterested in their conversation. She watched his partner exited and just as the doors were about to shut, she glanced at the gentleman to the left. A silver linked chain caught her eye, dangling from his briefcase, as the door came to a close.
A member of the club, how many more are in this building? Jessica thought, suddenly feeling apart of something much bigger.
After a short drive, Jessica pulled into the parking lot at Ashton Heights. She reached across the seat and opened the case, grabbing the key.
This is just another client meeting to do another piece of business. Jessica sighed, trying to convince herself, tapping the card key against her nose. Who am I kidding... this is more fun than business. She stepped out of the car and walked toward the hotel. The hotel double doors opened before her and she entered the hotel lobby. In the palm of her hand, she read the key.
Jessica found the elevators only a few feet from where people were gathered, circled around a roaring fireplace in luxurious lounge chairs. Light music played over the hotel speakers as Jessica made her way toward the set of elevators.