The alarm barely had time to sound before Abi's hand darted at the off button. She was so used to waking up at 6.30 every morning that she no longer needed an alarm in truth. She preferred to start the working day abruptly however and so she used an alarm. As usual, Jason didn't even stir at the interruption to his slumber. She swung her bare legs out of bed and stretched silently. The sun was just starting to glow over the horizon and was causing her curtains to glow softly. The gentle light framed her naked body which, shuddering slightly at the spring cold, she forced out of bed. Her long dark hair floated gracefully down her waist. She stared at her reflection in her mirror and visualised getting dressed. This was another routine she practiced daily. As Abi's mother told her, "routine is good for the soul."
She started the practice by thinking of her underwear. She imagined putting on a small black thong, translucent at the front but with a delicate lace frame. She thought to herself "I'm so glad I shave myself there or my favourite underwear would be rather ugly." She mentally slapped herself at her own interruption and continued. She then imagined putting on a matching bra. Still thin and translucent, but easier on the lace. She had relatively large breasts and did not need to drag more male notice to them by having lace poking through her blouse.
Underwear sorted, she then considered what else to wear. She knew that today could be the day. The day she finally got her promotion in motion. All the right senior managers were in today. She just had to look the part. No excuses. She decided on a red silk blouse. It cost her a fortune and she last used it in the interview for her current job. She now considered it her lucky blouse as, amazingly, she had been offered a place at Thinemans, Bank of London at just 18 as a trainee corporate investment account handler. She finally settled on a short skirt. Abi was proud to look after her body. No harm in showing a temporary charm, she thought to herself. The skirt came only halfway down her thighs but at least had enough give in it that she could bend over relatively freely. She settled on a pair of 4 inch heels which pushed her height up to just under 6 foot. She preferred being tall -- particularly when dealing with men. Men and interviews..., she admitted.
Abi's job was her life. Considered a mathematical prodigy by her school, she shocked and appalled her teachers and parents both when she declined University. A model student, few could imagine a better place for her to go. Abi wanted to work and felt that University was just delaying the inevitable. The job at Thinemans was exactly what she wanted. She earned enough to move out at 18 and was quickly known as a unusually skilled mathematician. None of the other trainees could beat her in any of her exams when it came to maths. Even though she was by-far the youngest trainee, Abi was determined to go far at Thinemans. She knew that the business was doing well and she wanted to be a big part of it's success.
Feeling confident, she stealthily navigated the bedroom and showered. Jason would sleep through an earthquake!, she thought to herself. Indeed, upon returning he was still asleep. Hardly surprising, he came in so late last night... She sometimes wondered if his late hours were simply the rigours of being a policeman or if there was more to it. A battle for another day, she decided.
The drive to work was, for Abi, the same as every other drive to work. Another routine of hers was to visualise the day. Today was a little different however as today could be the day. Someone in corporate investment had retired and all the trainees were told that interviews would be happening soon. Some of the trainees had already been told that they were not ready and thus would not be considered yet. Abi was not one of these people. This job was what she had wanted since she was at school. A real job. Not a trainee. A PA. An office. A company car. Everything. Abi lusted after this job like a teenager lusted after a boy. She needed it. She visualised getting called for interview. She thought of questions. She even spoke some of the answers aloud. Preparation is everything, thought Abi.
Abi arrived at work with 10 minutes to spare, just like every other day. She passed security and gave the man behind the desk a nod. He looked her up and down and winked but Abi pretended not to notice. At least that confirms I look OK today, even if I do get perved on, she thought. The could feel the guard's eyes following her all the way to the lift and was pleased when the doors finally closed.
Two floors up, Laura got in. The lift immediately started to fill with a scent of light roses -- Laura's trademark perfume. Abi reflected, It would be a lot nicer if she didn't wear so much of it., It was common fact amongst the trainees and even some of the qualified staff that Laura despised Abi. Abi had spent a lot of time trying to work out why and even build bridges with Laura but all efforts were futile. Laura was cool to most people but to Abi she was freezing.
"Good morning" said Abi brightly.
Laura didn't even acknowledge her other than a slight baring of perfect white teeth. Abi was not jealous of Laura but she could not help but admire how beautiful she was. Laura was a few inches taller than Abi but all those inches were in her legs. Laura was in her mid twenties but most would not have put her a day over 19. It was well known that Laura had modelled at university and that she still maintained the diet and fitness routine required of a model. Laura's breasts were a little smaller than Abi's, but she advertised them more. She wore a dark blouse, unbuttoned to show slightly more cleavage than the average woman could get away with. A white, lacy bra strained to show through the top of her blouse. Her skirt came even shorter than Abi's and was tighter besides. Now, she will have trouble bending over!, thought Abi smugly. Where Abi dressed for professional elegance, Laura dressed for professional sex appeal. Abi had heard the men speak in hushed tones about Laura on more than one occasion and the topic of conversation was never fit for the office. In fact, she had heard them speak about herself like that too. Men should think of something else sometimes..., reflected Abi.
The lift arrived at Abi's floor and she walked smartly over to her desk. She sat down and began her usual routine of emails and in-tray, followed by low-value accounts and voice messages. A few of the girls came over for chit chat but Abi was a little shorter with them today than she normally was. I will not be found slacking today!, she vowed. She wondered if Laura had ever slacked. Abi may have been top of the class in mathematics, but Laura was a close second. Laura was renowned around the office for her clinical decision making. There was a reason that Laura had few friends. Abi had read the report on one of her corporate account handling. She advised the CEO to make 10 people redundant in order to increase overall profits by 3%. That said, Thinemans had made a good deal of profit out Laura's decision making and Abi knew that her and Laura were the favourites for the promotion. A soft chime from her computer roused her from her thoughts. An email from Mr Strachan!
Please come and see me in my office at 11:00 for an interview. It will last no longer than 30 minutes. I'm sure you are aware for what position the interview is for.
Please note that Mr Lovegood and Mr Kirtman will be advising in this recruitment process.
Please ensure you come appropriately prepared.
Abi's heart skipped a beat. This is it! She could have danced around the office. 18 Months of hard work to get to this point. Do not fuck this up! She scolded herself for thinking negatively but that did not take away from the pressure that she was feeling. She looked down at the time. 10.30. Only 30 minutes to go! She looked around the office and was surprised to see so many disappointed faces. She overheard Charlotte telling Gina about how she was just sure that this was her chance and how Mr Strachan was a fool for saying she needed more development. Gina made sympathetic noises but her face looked otherwise. So did the tears on her face. Abi peered around her computer screen to look for Laura and was slightly surprised to see that she wasn't there. She look around the room but couldn't see her. Maybe she is having a break? She immediately squashed that thought. Laura never took breaks.
Abi wondered how exactly she was to prepare for the interview anymore than she had done over the last 18 months. She brought up the "About Thinemans" page on the Intranet but she knew it all by heart anyway. She considered visualising the questioning and answering process again but thought she might get some funny looks if she started talking to herself like she did in the car. She eventually decided on partly-validating a low-value clients tax return. My last low-value client... She thought wistfully. The clock on her computer dragged itself around to 10:55 and she decided to make a move. She only had to go up one floor but she felt it would be polite if she was a few minutes early. In the lift she couldn't help but put one hand over her stomach.
"Stupid butterflies..." she grumbled.
The lift doors opened and admitted her to the hallway which led to the only office on the floor. She walked over to Mr Strachan's PA and opened her mouth to say why she had come but the PA got there first.
"Please take a seat Abi. Mr Strachan is interviewing another candidate right now. He will see you shortly."
Abi barely had time to flatten her blouse and smooth her skirt before the office door opened. Laura walked out baring her perfect smile.
"Thank you Mr Strachan. I look forward to hearing from you soon" Laura said sweetly.
"No later than the end of the day" said Mr Strachan smartly.
Laura turned and walked past Abi and Abi could not help but notice the filthy look that she gave her. Abi returned a smile but for once actually wanted to return the look and maybe even a good kick to match. Why did it have to be her that got interviewed first!! She tried to force her face into a serene expression but thought it probably still looked as bitter as she felt. Her bitterness was eased considerably when she saw a damp, faintly white mark on Abi's blouse, just above her right breast. She puts so much effort into looking the perfect woman but when it counts ends up getting something on her top. Karma is a bitch... She thought vindictively. Her train of thought was halted by Mr Strachan.
"Abi, please go into my office and take a seat. I will be a few moments."
"Yes, Mr Strachan", she said obediently. She immediately regretted saying it as it made her sound like a schoolgirl. She had heard the whispers of the odd new trainee saying she was too young for such a serious job. Mostly, they stopped complaining when they heard how good she was. Mostly. Still, she found people talking about her age more than irritating and made a lot of effort to at least appear like she was the same age as everyone else.
She went inside Mr Strachan's office and sat down in front of his desk. It was huge -- even compared to the qualified account handlers offices. He had 3 large windows looking over the London skyline. A large bookcase full of books filled one entire wall up to the ceiling. There were a handful of personal items she saw, a picture of his family, a small table, some comfier chairs and a mirror. Mr Strachan had worked for Thinemans for nearly 26 years and his office reflected his wisdom and seniority.
Abi started absent mindedly playing with Mr Strachan's stationary. Do I know enough? What did Laura say? Does she know something I don't. Mr Strachan's pen fell through her fingers and slid a few feet behind her towards the door. She stood up took and look at the rear of the door. A hierarchical structure of Thineman's management poster was stuck to the back. She smiled thinking, one day... She turned around and bent over and picked up the pencil. She felt her skirt slide up her thighs and wasn't quite sure if it stopped sliding where she thought it did. That will teach me for wearing such a stupidly short skirt! You are at work you silly woman, not a brothel! She stalked back to her chair.
"Sorry about the wait Abi. We will get started now. How are you?"
Abi jumped. Lost in her thoughts, she hadn't even heard Mr Strachan come in. She wandered how long he had been at the door and flushed at the thought of him seeing her so exposed. The skirt didn't go that high... Did it?
"Not at all. I am very well thank you. Yourself?" she said, trying to keep the note of surprise out of her voice. Mr Strachan's face was a mask of serenity.
"Well, thank you. Please call me Nick." It was not a request -- more of an instruction.
"OK Mr Str- Nick." She blushed a little but thought, so far so good...
Mr Strachan frowned for a moment then sat at his desk. Abi look at him and thought to herself you might have been good looking once. He was around early 50's, hair beginning to grey at his temples but otherwise black. He had a slight paunch beginning but he hid it well through a smart, well fitting suit. She thought that there was something different about him than from when she saw him in the hall but couldn't quite put her finger on it.
Mr Strachan began in a formal tone, "Abi, firstly, you should know that we are only interviewing you and Laura. You are our only candidates. You do not need me to remind you that this is an important position in the company and we will only accept the best candidates. I hope you understand that."
Abi opened her mouth to agree but Mr Strachan continued.
"Secondly, this interview will not be about your knowledge of the company or evaluating your current skill set. You have been regularly examined in the last 18 months and you have come in the top 2 every time. This interview is more about assessing your... people skills." He ended the sentence with a wry smile.
"OK..." said Abi. She wanted to say something witty but her brain was still trying to work out exactly what he wanted from her. Not assessing my knowledge?
"Are you familiar with Laura, Abi?"
Abi thought this was an odd question but replied, "err Yes! We erm.. chat sometimes. Kinda..." She inwardly groaned at her less than polished response but he appeared not to notice.
"What do you think of her?"
This is weird... Thought Abi.
"She is very skilled at what she does, Nick. She is a good decision maker and quick with figures and solutions." She said honestly. She added, "I think she could work on her people skills a little however." She could not help but smile at her own joke.
Mr Strachan shared her smile. "Perhaps you are right. I guess I will find out soon enough. Tell me Abi, what do you think of Laura physically?"
There was a long pause. Abi tried to work out what he wanted to hear from her.
"She is attractive, I guess." She laughed hollowly. What on earth is going on?
"I agree, Abi." Mr Strachan shrugged his shoulders. "Anyway Abi, this interview is about you. Please stand, let me have a look at you. I saw that you had made a lot of effort with your clothes today. But then, you always do, don't you."
Abi stood. He actually notices what I wear? She walked to the side of his desk so he could see her fully.
"You are a beautiful young lady, Abi" Mr Strachan said, very matter-of-factly.
"er.. Thank you" Abi flushed, somewhat embarrassed.
"I'm afraid I will have to be more forward. How badly do you want this job?" he asked.
"More than anything" she replied truthfully.
"Laura said the same thing." He chuckled slightly. "She proved it too I think."
Abi didn't know how to reply to that so she stayed silent. There was a long pause before Mr Strachan said quietly.
"A man in my position enjoys certain privileges. Perks, if you like. You trainees are my responsibility and thus, one of my perks. I am like the gatekeeper of your career Abi. If you please me today, I can open to gate so you can start collecting and enjoying your own perks. You do want to please me, don't you?"
Abi wondered if he could be suggesting what she thought he was suggesting. She hoped that it wasn't. "Of course!" she said, a little too brightly.
"Laura pleased me very much, Abi. You have a lot of work to do if you want this job."
Abi realised that she was still standing and was nervously toying with the bottom of her skirt, rolling it up an inch and down again. Mr Strachan's eyes had forgotten her face and he was largely addressing her skirt now. She stopped toying with skirt and smoothed it again. She looked at Mr Strachan's face and he looked hungry.
"How can I please you more than she did then Nick?" she said, hoping to get a straight answer out of him.
"I won't tell you that but have you noticed that I changed my shirt?" he asked rhetorically.
That is what looks different about him! Abi couldn't believe she didn't notice it before.
He continued, "In truth, I think she needed to change her top too but I think the embarrassment of walking around all day with my cum on her blouse might bring her down a peg or two."
Abi's suspicions and her fears were confirmed. So that's what that damp mark was... That little slut!!! Mr Strachan seemed to be waiting for a reply from Abi. She needed time to think. How am I going to get out of this?
"er... It might I suppose..." she mumbled.
"Needless to say, if it is obvious that you want it less than Laura, you will stay with the trainees until a new opening arises. If you breathe a word of this... arrangement to anyone, I will dismiss you and ensure you never get a job in any bank in London again. If you impress, you will be a significant step closer to getting the job. Am I understood?" He spoke as if he was speaking to a waitress ordering food.
"I do understand Nick. Is there another way I can impress?" She hoped fervently that he would have something else for to do.
He sighed and said "Such a shame, Abi. You are so gifted. Perhaps next time." He turned away from her. "Please leave my office." he added sadly.
Abi felt numb, everything she wanted was falling apart from her. She wondered if she really did want it that much. Would Jason understand? Maybe if it was just the once... Besides, if Laura did it then I guess I could to. Once it's done... She scolded herself for daring to think of doing what Mr Strachan wanted but she couldn't help her thoughts snowballing. No one else would know. Most people think that either Laura or I will get the job anyway. It's not like he advertises this arrangement. Besides, Jason is a bit older and Mr Strachan isn't that bad. She looked at the man who was old enough to be her father and tried to convince herself that what she just thought was true. Jason's extra 6 years of age was not the same as Mr Strachan's 30 years. Should I? God I want this job so badly.
Mr Strachan coughed loudly. She realised she been staring at the bookcase for 10 seconds and ignored his command to leave the office.
"Mr Strachan... er Nick sorry.. I err..."
Just the one time. Never again. Once this is done, no one can blackmail me again. Plus I can get one over Laura. Thinking of Laura gave her a little conviction. Maybe it will be worth 5 minutes with this... this... PRICK just to see Laura's smug grin wiped off her face. I am better than her and I deserve this job!