The hunt was always Alicia’s favourite part.
She moved confidently down the hallway, with Zoe trailing just slightly behind her. When she reached the next doorway, she paused and turned.
“You should probably go in first so it doesn’t seem like we’re together,” said Alicia.
“Agreed,” Zoe replied. She walked in, brimming with energy as Alicia waited behind for a moment.
Alicia’s heart melted a little bit just watching her. The feelings were still so intense, even after years together. She could scarcely begin to imagine what it must have been like for the others. She felt a little surge of guilt and pleasure mixing in the back of her mind. She paused for a minute or two, reflecting on these pleasurable thoughts, then looked at her watch. That’s long enough, she thought.
As she walked in, she passed a few people in the break room, all buzzing quietly, but not seeming to notice her. The waiting room was small, but extremely clean. Actually, the whole space was borderline immaculate.
“Mister Bateman runs a tight ship,” she said. “I like it.”
“Rich, young, and good looking. I think we might have struck gold here, honestly,” said Zoe. Alicia grinned and put her feet up on the coffee table.
“You seem confident,” Zoe continued.
“Have you seen the girls around here?” Alicia said.
Zoe craned her neck around and scanned the room behind them.
“I suppose he does seem to have a type,” she whispered as yet another slender, blonde haired, blue eyed woman walked past. They all seemed to be wearing the same outfit, some kind of uniform perhaps.
“Yeah. I’d say I have the upper hand with this one,” Alicia said, laughing quietly.
“I’m sure I can find some way to get his attention,” said Zoe with a wry wink. Alicia bit her lip unconsciously at the memory.
“I win by default if that happens,” Alicia said.
“We’ll see,” Zoe replied, smiling. “Although I do feel underdressed.”
“Yeah, I feel you,” said Alicia.
Alicia would have described Zoe’s outfit as winter-slutty, and she loved it. It was a tight, low cut v-neck red sweater that blended into a set of black leggings, topped off by a lace choker. By comparison, all of the staff here were all wearing fashionable short-sleeved business jackets that covered their blouse, black pencil skirts, sheer stockings and heels. The two of them looked more than a little out of place. Zoe doubly so, since she seemed to be the only person in the building who wasn’t blonde. It was a rich, dark red that she’d been trying for the last few months. Alicia loved that, too.
A few minutes later, another figure approached them.
“Alicia Parsi?” she said.
“That’s me!” she said. She turned to Zoe. “Looks like I’m up first.” She felt a little surge of excitement again.
“Pleased to meet you Alicia,” she said, shaking her hand. “I’m Janette, but you can call me Jan. Would you like to follow me?”
Jan lead her down the corridor to the meeting room that had been set aside for the interviews. Alicia couldn’t help but noticing that she, too, was blonde. And sexy as hell, she thought, licking her lips at the sight of her curvaceous arse. I’ve got this sucker in the bag. Alicia wasn’t into women before she met Zoe. A lot of things had changed since then.
Suddenly, Jan stopped just short of the door, and started twitching slightly.
“Are you ok?” Alicia said.
Jan turned and stared at her. She was visibly shaken.
“I… you have to...” she stammered, and a single tear streamed down her face. “You have to leave before...”
The door opened behind her.
“You must be Miss Parsi,” the man behind the door said. “Please come in and take a seat,” he continued. Jan’s demeanour shifted immediately. Gone was the look of terror, replaced with an ear to ear smile. The tear was caught on her cheek.
“Yes, please do come in,” she said enthusiastically. “Would you like anything to drink?”
“I’d love a coffee, Jan,” the man said. “Anything for you?”
“No, I’m fine,” Alicia replied. The canary in the coal mines, she thought. It was nice of her to give a warning, but she hadn’t come here to be the passive victim of another angry man. She knew exactly what she was doing. He held out his hand, and Alicia met it with hers.
“I’m Alexander,” he said.
She made sure to linger with the contact just slightly longer than necessary, and to smile her most dazzling smile while looking him dead in the eyes. She could tell that he was into it. Of course he’s into it, she thought. Who wouldn’t be into me?She sat down and made a show of looking around the room slowly to give him plenty of time to stare at her body.
Alicia knew very well who he was. She was the one who selected him as the mark, after all. Alexander Bateman, age twenty-nine. He’d been making his fortune in real estate, and he was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. When she’d seen that he was hiring, she knew it was the perfect opportunity.
“So, we might as well get started. I’ve got your resume here,” he said, although he was still staring at her intently.
At that moment, she felt an ache in the side of her skull. Dull, throbbing.
“It says right here that you entered college, but you never finished your degree. Why is that?”
“I um...” she said. The pain stopped, then started again on the opposite side of her head. It was as if a headache was trying to find a window that was open to let itself in. “I… I don’t feel so good...” she managed, rubbing her temples as the pain intensified.
“Ignore the pain, Alicia. Focus on my words.” That was easier said than done.
She’d had headaches before, but never felt anything quite like this. It pushed in harder, and harder on the one spot. There was a fog descending on her. She tried to speak, but it all she managed to do was mutter slightly. Then, she felt something, or perhaps the absence of something. It was like relaxing a muscle you’ve been straining too hard. She felt a wave of calm wash over her, and the dull throbbing pain had stopped completely.
“Ahhh, there we go,” he said. “Now, you were just telling me about your studies.”
“Oh… I um…” she muttered as she struggled to regroup her thoughts. It was like someone had just driven a truck straight through them. “I’m sorry, I think I’m just a little tired,” she said, flustered.
“Not a problem,” he said affably, reaching for a tissue. “We can go over all this boring stuff later.” Alicia looked up and noticed that his nose was bleeding rather badly.
“Are you alright?” she said.
“Oh yeah, I’ll be fine, this happens sometimes if I push myself a little too hard. The hard part’s over now,” he said. Alicia was now even more confused. “Stand up,” he said.
She felt the words punch into her and take root. It was a surreal experience. It was like the feeling of giving in after someone had been nagging you to do something for hours. A kind of relief, but not quite. Her muscles carried her straight up out of the chair.
“Like this?” she said.
“Yes. Now turn around,” he said. Now wait just a minute, she thought.
“Um, I’m not sure that’s-”
“Turn around,” he said. Thump. Her objections immediately died. The issue was settled. She was going to turn around. The idea of not turning around felt draining, exhausting. “Slowly, so I can get a good look at you.” She was trying to seduce him, so what could it really hurt? If anything, him being so forward was working to her advantage. She smiled. She slowly pivoted on the spot as he ran his eyes all over her.
“Take off your top,” he said.
It was getting easier and easier to just go with it. She barely hesitated. She unbuttoned her shirt at lightning speed and dropped it on the ground below her. The cool air on her skin made her suddenly very aware that she was standing in front of this man with just a bra covering her upper body. He suddenly scowled.
“Piercings,” he said in a tone normally reserved for war crimes and in-laws. She wasn’t sure if he was referring to the belly button or nipples. Probably both. “They’re gonna have to go,” he continued. Alicia was taken aback by the comment.
Who does this fucking asshole think he is? I’m no-
“Strip to your underwear and stand still.” Her thoughts were brushed aside like so many cobwebs.
She kicked off her shoes and dropped her skirt to the ground. He stood up and paced around her, examining her like she was a piece of meat. Ok fuck the bet. I’m out of here, she thought. But on the other hand, she did need to strip to her underwear and stand still. The idea of leaving before she’d finished doing that seemed really remote. It’d be just soooo much effort.
“Very nice,” he said, running a hand along the side of her leg. She tried to swat his hand out of the way instinctively, but managed to stop herself.
“Don’t touch me!” she said in an extremely delicate manner, careful not to move her body from the spot where it stood. She was starting to have a heck of a time avoiding wobbling on the spot especially when she was being touched, but considering the alternative this was just the path of least resistance.
“Oh I’m sorry,” he said, retracting his hand. “Do forgive me.” He walked around behind his desk and sat down again.
The door to the room opened. The hairs on Alicia’s back stood up and she went bright red. It was bad enough that he could see her like this. She wished she didn’t need to strip to her underwear and stand still, but such was life.
“Here you are Sir,” said Jan, walking past her almost-naked body and placing the steaming coffee down next to Alexander. He picked it up and took a quick sip, but put it down. From his reaction, it was obviously a little bit too hot to drink immediately.
“Mmm, you’re a life saver Jan. Say, would you mind sucking me off while we finished up here?” he said. What did he just say?
“Of course,” she said, like that was a normal request. Alicia looked in in disbelief as Jan dropped to her knees and crawled around behind the desk. Alexander wheeled back slightly to make a bit of room for her.
“What the fuck are you doing? Woah woah no stop-”
“You’re not bothered by any of this,” said Alexander. “Nothing I do will bother you, in fact.” She furrowed her brow, but quickly realised that he was right. She wasn’t sure why she’d bothered to even say anything. It was unconventional and grossly unprofessional, sure, but still...
Jan unzipped his pants and fished out his cock, then gave it a little kiss. Alicia tried not to look, but the sight of the woman bobbing her head up and down really made it difficult for her to stand still. It was distracting if nothing else.
“Oh yes...” he said. “Now, Alicia. I’m… mmmm… you’ll be pleased to know that… oh- that you’ve got the job.” She was surprised. She was pretty sure it wasn’t normal to be hired on the spot. Then again, there wasn’t much normal about what was happening.
“That’s um, that’s very kind of you, but...” she said. If she wasn’t so busy stripping to her underwear and standing still, she’d already have been long gone. “But I’m going to have to turn you down. I don’t think this is the kind of work environment I was hoping for,” she continued as Jan slurped loudly.
“This isn’t bothering you is it?” he said. Jan paused for just a moment to look over to her dead in the eyes.
“I’m not bothered by any of this,” she replied instinctively. “It’s just… I don’t know,” she said. She knew she was bothered by some aspect of all this a moment ago, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Why had she decided she was going to high-tail it out of here? It seemed so far in the past, like a memory you knew you had in there somewhere but couldn’t quite grasp. She eventually gave up. It was all too difficult.
“Well then what’s the… oh… well what’s the problem?”
She struggled to think of an excuse. She was ready to run a moment ago, but now it didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. The dude was a major fucking creep, he was openly face fucking a staff member in front of her right now and he was probably going to try to touch her up again, but she wasn’t bothered by any of this.
“I… I guess there isn’t any problem.”
“Good. I’ll have Jan forward the paperwork to your e-mail and you can get all the forms back to me soon.”
“Um sure, that sounds great, thanks.” she said.
Jan had started using her hand a lot more vigorously, and Mister Bateman was starting to get really into it. For the next few minutes, Alicia stood still and was not bothered by any of this. Eventually he came into Jan’s eager, waiting mouth. She swallowed, then started winding down the motions. Alexander sighed contentedly. He sat up and reached for his coffee again, which was now at a more drinkable temperature.
“Now Miss Parsi, we have a few more things to discuss before you leave.”
Zoe was waiting cross legged, bored out of mind. She’d flicked through the one magazine on the coffee table, but refused to stoop so low as to actually read something like that. She could not have cared less about what the Queen’s niece had been up to this weekend, or the misadventures of a suburban housewife. She did appreciate some of the pictures, although none as much as the sight of Alicia returning. She felt a renewed vigour.
“How did it go?” Zoe said as Alicia sat down beside her again.
“Oh, you know,” she replied. Zoe turned to face her directly.
“Well… did anything happen?”
Alicia met her gaze.
“The details of that interview are confidential,” she said, smiling broadly.
“Oh are they?” Zoe said. She gently elbowed her. “Come on, what happened?”
“The details of that interview are confidential,” she repeated.
“All right then, keep your secrets,” Zoe said, laughing. Alicia could be such a goofball.
Zoe sent Alicia off to wait in the car for her, and it wasn’t long before she was summoned too. Jan introduced herself, although Zoe had overheard the spiel from earlier. Jan opened the door to Mister Bateman’s office and ushered her on through. She extended her hand to meet his.
“Zoe Sumner,” she said.
“Alexander Bateman,” he replied, but he didn’t seem too happy to see her. He’d barely looked at her.
I can fix that, she thought.
“I love your suit, Alex,” she said, stretching out some of the syllables and angling her body to emphasize her cleavage. He didn’t even look up.
“Alexander. Not Alex,” he replied.
“Oh, sorry,” she said, and giggled a little bit. No response.
She made an exaggerated show of bending to look over by the door, as if she’d forgotten something, and then slowly turned back. She was proud of her profile. She knew she wasn’t quite as busty as Alicia, but she kept herself in extremely good shape. She watched for his response, but he still hadn’t lifted his head out of the stack of papers. She frowned.
“Alright,” he said, “let’s get right into it, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh no, not at all,” she said, smiling again.
“I’m not going to lie, Zoe, this is not a very impressive resume.”
Her heart dropped. What was wrong with it? Sure, she had zero relevant experience, but he didn’t know that. They’d both lied their asses off to get in the door. On paper she should have been perfect.
“Um, what do you mean,” she stammered.
“I don’t have time to go into it right now. I’m sorry, I don’t want to waste any more of your time, but I just don’t think we have an opening for you. Things are really tight, and I don’t think you’re a good fit for the team.”
It clicked. Oh, is this how he plays it? She felt so stupid, then prepared to kick it up a notch.
“Are you sure there isn’t anything I could do to change your mind,” she purred. “Anything at all?” She writhed a little bit on the spot and did her best to look doe-eyed.
He looked her dead in the eyes.
“No. Sorry. Please leave. Don’t make this any more awkward,” he said. There was no hint of a game. He was telling her to fuck off. She’d barely sat down! She hadn’t been asked any questions! This wasn’t an interview, it was a giant middle finger.
Zoe’s frustration rapidly transformed into outright anger. Who does this fuckhead think he is? People like this didn’t turn people like her down. She was completely sure he wasn’t gay. You don’t staff a place the way he had if you weren’t into women. It only took a split second for her to make a decision.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not the kind of person who takes no for an answer,” she said, and she started walking towards him.
“Neither am I. Go. Leave. Door, right over there,” he said, gesturing wildly.
But she didn’t leave. She kept on walking towards him. He stood and prepared to… do something. Throw her out, she assumed, by force if necessary. She started smiling, then closed her eyes. She felt that familiar feeling welling up from deep inside her. She preferred to avoid this, at least to start with. It was always far more satisfying that way. But she couldn’t deny that this had it’s own pleasures, too.
She felt it, and opened her eyes. She couldn’t see it, or hear it, but she knew it was happening. She felt the scent washing over Alexander, just a few inches in front of her face. The reaction was immediate. His expression softened, his eyelids slackened slightly, his breathing became ragged. He was staring at her, but the anger was gone. It was replaced by something else, a look of surprise, a look of total awe. Zoe’s lips curled up at the corner and she felt flush with power. She’d never get tired of seeing this. The complete reversals were the most satisfying.
“Well then, I better be going,” she said mockingly.
“No, wait,” he replied. “Let’s just talk about this for a second,” he said, desperation creeping into his voice.
“I’m sure we can sort something out. I can… I can give you the job right now, actually” he said, desperation creeping into his voice.
“I thought things were tight?” she said. The way he was looking at her now he almost expected him to start frothing at the mouth.
“I did say that, but…”
“You know, I think I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think I want to work here anymore,” she said. “Not after you were so rude to me,” said Zoe. He looked terrified. He evidently was not used to not being in control.
“No please, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I was rude, I really shouldn’t have been,” he said. “But I can make it up to you. Let’s talk money!”
“Hmm, let me think about it,” she replied. He was breathing even more heavily now, hanging off her every word. She held all the cards now, and he was starting to realise that. Zoe was getting really fucking turned on. Alicia will be getting a workout tonight, she thought.
As she was pretending to deliberate, Zoe felt something on the peripheral of her consciousness. It was a pressure. Not a severe one, but it was definitely there. It scanned around her skull slowly. She’d never felt anything like it, but whatever it was, she wanted it to stop.
“Ugh, I think I’ve got a headache coming on,” she said. Alexander just kept staring, more intensely if anything.
That’s when she noticed something else – blood dripping from his right nostril. He started wheezing slightly.
“Look, I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to cut this short. You can go get fucked, and I’m never going to think about you again,” she said, pausing for emphasis. “But you’ll be thinking about me for a very, very long time,” she said. She released just a touch more of the scent to really drive the point home.
“No, please...” he said. Suddenly, he collapsed to the ground, and the roaming headache disappeared.
Oh jeez. Maybe I hit him a bit too hard, she thought. This had never happened before. There was a tiny pool of blood underneath where his head had fallen, leaking out from his nose. She walked over and prodded him with her heel. He groaned. Well, he’s not dead. That’s good, kind of. Then, with a sudden burst of energy, he started pulling himself up. Zoe stepped backwards, and realised that this was probably her cue to leave.
As she walked down the corridor briskly, the door to his office slammed open. She turned and saw him now following her, and she sped up.
“Stop her! Don’t let her leave!” he shouted down the corridor. It was clearly a strain for him to do so, and he wasn’t able to move very quickly to pursue her.
Zoe picked up the pace once more and moved towards the exit. One of the employees had heard their boss barking orders, and moved to step in front of the exit.
“I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t let you leave,” said the woman. She was slightly shorter than Zoe, blonde hair and blue eyes just like all the others.
“Step aside,” said Zoe, not slowing.
“I will not step aside, you need to-” the woman started, before Zoe collided with her and knocked her to the side. She lost balance, and Zoe started running out the door before she had time to recover.
Alicia was waiting for her in the car park, just like she asked. Zoe thanked her lucky stars and bolted into the car.
“Floor it bitch,” she practically shouted as she stepped inside. Zoe turned and saw a small crowd of people gathering outside, receding into the distance as the car took them away. Satisfied that they weren’t being pursued, she settled into her seat and let out a big sigh.
“Went well then?” said Alicia. Zoe took a few moments to compose herself before responding.
“Yeah so we probably shouldn’t go back there. Ever.” She turned to look at Alicia. “But hey – it looks like you won.”
At first, they thought she was going to come back.
“She’s done this before,” Slade had said to Brianna. “She probably just wants a few days alone. She’ll come back when she’s ready.”
After a week, the panic had set in. The phone number had been disconnected. There was no trace of her. Slade couldn’t concentrate at work. Brianna would burst into tears at a moment’s notice.
“That fucking bitch finally got to her,” she said. “I told you she was trouble. What if we...” she said, starting to crack, “What if we never see her again?”
After two weeks, they’d practically stopped eating. They’d given her everything she wanted and more. They showered her with gifts, they took her anywhere she wanted to go, did anything she asked without hesitation. The time they had together was the happiest of their lives. What more could they possibly have done to please her? Did she not feel the same way they did about her?
As Slade was meditating on these same thoughts that had consumed his life for weeks, he finally got the phone call that he’d been holding out for.
“Yes, that’s me,” he said, suddenly energised in a way he had almost forgotten was even possible.
“I’ve got the information you requested. Will sends his regards.”
A minute later, the conversation was over, and he looked down at the scrawled notes. This was it. This was the key. He was crying tears of joy. They were going to find her, and they were going to bring her home. They were going to get their Zoe back, no matter what it took.