Jenna’s suspicions were aroused again not long after she arrived on Monday. She’d been caught napping at her desk by Nathan – Handsome Nathan – who gave her a wry smile as she tried to compose herself. She frantically untangled her headphones, which she’d apparently dozed off wearing.
“I’m so sorry, I don’t normally do that,” she said, voice wavering slightly.
“That’s OK, I’m sure you needed it. As long as you get all your work done, what does it matter if you take a quick break now and then, really?” She agreed with the sentiment, but the embarrassment was going to take a good long while to fade. She noticed his eyes scanning over her and lingering for a little too long. She shifted in her seat and made a little cough. It was inappropriate, but she couldn’t bring herself to say anything about it. She still felt like she was on the back foot.
“Did.. did you need anything?” she said.
“Oh no, just saying hi,” he said, smiling broadly. He turned wandered off, looking supremely confident. She sank, and her chair squeaked.
She’d never seen Nathan ogling anybody before, and especially not so openly, but at this point in her life she shouldn’t have been surprised to discover another arsehole guy in an office environment. Nathan had just kept up the act for longer than most. No, the genuinely odd stuff that happened that day started when she then got up to fetch some coffee.
As she walked past one of the private meeting rooms, she could have sworn she heard moaning. She froze in place. Yeah, that’s definitely moaning, she though. She pressed her ear closer.
“Oh yeah, right there Sir! Please don’t stop!” the voice said. Is that… a loud slap interrupted her train of thought.
“Don’t presume to… tell me… what to do...” a man’s voice said, punctuated by what Jenna assumed was thrusting. That was definitely Mister Grey, she thought, and shuddered.
“I’m so sorry Sir, it won’t happen again,” the other voice said. It sounded familiar to Jenna but she couldn’t quite place it. One of the women from the first floor, maybe?
She took a mental step back. There was fucking going on. In one of the meeting rooms. In the middle of the morning, where people would be walking past constantly. And not just regular fucking, some kind of kinky power exchange thing. The concept of an office romance was obviously not foreign to her, but that right there was exceptionally brazen. Anybody could walk in and see them, and there was no way she was the only person who noticed this. Mister Grey was pushing sixty, he’d been bald for a decade or more, he was overweight and he smelled on occasion. There was no doubt in her mind – he must have been abusing his authority. Possibly an offer to fast track this woman’s career, possibly threats or blackmail, possibly just the unspoken implication that if you reject a pass your boss’ boss makes at you, it could completely ruin you. It made her feel sick. Then, it happened.
“Oh that’s right, that’s right, yeah, that’s a good girl,” he said through the door. Another jolt surged through her, more powerful than the ones she’d felt before. Her eyes unfocused and she felt a wave of contentment wash over her. Everything was fine. More than fine. She felt a pleasure that she hadn’t felt in years. She almost didn’t hear it through the fog in her mind, but could she could make out that the woman inside the room was having an even bigger reaction. She almost let out a scream before being muffled by Mister Grey’s hands. The whimpers could still just faintly be heard, but Jenna was a little far gone.
After a few moments passed, Jenna realised the absurdity of what was going on. Did I just have a fucking orgasm? The last of the feeling started to pass and she became extremely self conscious that maybe somebody had seen her there blissed out in front of a meeting room, but nobody was in the corridor right at that moment. Even more humiliated than earlier, she skipped straight past the coffee and almost ran to the bathroom.
She grabbed an unoccupied stall and sat down, bowl closed. She needed to think. She needed to collect herself. The words ran through her head again. That’s a good girl, they echoed. Even just thinking about it now felt so damn nice. She pulled down her panties slightly and gently reached down with one finger. She couldn’t believe how wet she was. She ran the finger up and down gently, teasing herself silently and replaying the scene once more. After a minute or less she suddenly pulled her hand out. Jesus Christ, Jenna, get a grip! There are people around!
She was breathing heavily, but forced herself to calm down. She ran through the mental exercises she knew so well. She refocused and reflected on her own thoughts and behaviours. What just happened? Think. Don’t panic. I just… I just got a little carried away. Maybe I just have a fetish I didn’t know about. After a few minutes, she felt composed enough to return to her desk and get on with her work. Who could she possibly even talk to about something like that?
After lunch, when she was deep into spreadsheets and arranging accommodation for people, she noticed a young man approaching her. She hadn’t seen him around, or at least she hadn’t noticed him before. Judging from the bundle of cables he was carrying, she guessed he was from IT.
“Uh, Jenna Greene is it?” he said nervously.
“Yeah that’s me,” she said, putting on her best smile. She didn’t really feel like smiling, but it was the expected thing.
“Ah great, look I um, I need you to come with me so I can test you out,” he said.
“What do you mean? You want me to test something?”
“Um,” he muttered. “I need you to come with me and we’re going to have sex, um, and you’ll do what you’re told.” he continued. Jenna’s internal state slipped straight out of confusion and into a mixture of incredulity and outrage.
“What the fuck did you just say?” She couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. The man looked visibly shaken by her reaction. For reasons she couldn’t fathom, this complete stranger had just come up to her, propositioned her in some kind of bizarre technical way, and was now confused that this hadn’t worked. In the middle of a workplace. In broad daylight. The man stammered, and was obviously panicking.
“I um, I’m sorry, I just...” he started, before breaking into a sprint out of the room and up the corridor. He dropped his network cables somewhere near the door.
Jenna was still reeling from what had just happened twenty minutes later. She had secured one of the other private rooms – deliberately avoiding the one she’d heard sex noises coming from only a few hours prior.
“Alright, what’s wrong Jenna, you’re freaking me out,” said Rachel. Jenna didn’t know who to talk to, but Rachel was around when she went looking, so she was as good as anybody at this point. God knows where Sarah and Cathy are. She’d called Rachel into this room and made clear that something awful had happened.
She felt increasingly sick at the thought of it. She’d certainly experienced low level harassment before – subtle comments, a lingering gaze. She had never experienced such direct, bold harassment in the workplace. Rachel just kept looking at her, waiting for her to speak.
“I um...” she started. “I was sitting at my desk and this, this guy from IT, you know, he um,” she trailed off again. She took a deep breath in. “He just comes up to me and he starts, you know, he um,”
“It’s ok,” Rachel said. “Take your time.” She grabbed Jenna’s hand. Jenna squeezed it tight. Rachel really was a good sort. She took a deep breath.
“He just comes up to me and says that he needs to take me away to... ‘test me out’.”
“Test you? Like some kind of assessment?”
“I asked him the same thing,” she replied. “Then he clarifies – he wanted me to follow him into a room and have sex with him.” That hung in the air for a while. Rachel looked extremely concerned.
“Well… did you?”
“Of course I didn’t Rachel! What kind of a question is that?”
“Why didn’t you Jen?” said Rachel, shaking her head disapprovingly.
Am I going fucking insane? Jenna thought.
“Are you really making a god-damn joke? Right now?” she exploded in response. She could feel tears trying to worm their way out of her eyes.
“Pretty girls do as they’re told, Jen.”
There was a sudden thunk in her head.
“Pretty girls do as they’re told,” she replied, her train of thought completely derailed.
“You should have done what you were told, Jen. You should have had sex with him if that’s what he told you to do”
Her thoughts resumed where they’d left off. She was suddenly pissed off again.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing, Rachel. I don’t know what fucked up process is running through your head but I am not just some passive bimbo who’ll do whatever a man tells her to!” She was shouting at this point. Rachel looked as though she couldn’t even understand what Jenna was saying to her. It was like she was speaking another language. Jenna stormed out of the room, trying her hardest not to cry.
On Tuesday morning when she woke up, Jenna was absolutely, positively determined that she wasn’t going to step foot on work grounds. She had no idea if she was losing her own grip on reality, whether she was the victim of some elaborate “The Game” style gaslighting on a mass scale, or whether she’d stepped into The Twilight Zone. But whatever it was, there was no way she was dealing with that shit today.
She opened her eyes and looked at the clock, which read Seven-Twenty AM. She jerked up suddenly. It’s imperative that I come in to work on time every day, she thought to herself. I must not leave work during work hours without permission. That was true. It was absolutely imperative that she come in to work every day and there was nothing more to be said on that matter. She stood up and started making preparations for the day. She had almost left it too late, but was confident that if she really pushed herself now she could make it. She’d have to skip breakfast, but that was a small price to pay. She quickly assembled an outfit – underwear, a pencil skirt, a blouse, a jacket and some comfortable shoes. She made it out of the shower in record time.
She couldn’t believe she was walking into the office again after how fucked up yesterday was. If it wasn’t imperative for her to be there on time, she wouldn’t have been in at all. Her game plan was as follows: raid the fruit bowl in the break room, avoid Rachel, avoid anybody that looked like they might have even heard of the IT department, then run back to her desk and keep a low profile.
The plan worked well at first. She secured a pear from the communal fruit bowl and filled her drink bottle with water. On the way back through, she glanced in one of the neighbouring rooms where Sarah and Cathy worked. She was almost getting used to seeing Sarah slutting it up in the workplace, and now Cathy had joined her. From the looks of it so had the other women on level 2. It makes sense, she thought to herself, they’re just pretty girls trying to look their best. No, what really seemed strange was the fact that they were without exception asleep at their desk with their headphones on. Synchronised napping at 9:08am was definitely new. Hell, normally half the office isn’t even in yet. Maybe they’ve finally realised how important it was to come in to work on time every day.
Morbidly curious, she decided to wait around for a bit. At 9:15, nobody had moved a muscle. Everybody was breathing in a calm, measured way. Starting to get a bit bored, she approached Sarah and tapped her on the shoulder. No response. These were the kind of over-ear headphones that companies loved to buy in bulk even though they were fairly uncomfortable, hopeless at noise isolation, and had poor microphones. They weren’t even that cheap, but they were “certified” for the office suite, so that’s what they got. This did mean that she could hear quite a bit of sound leaking out of it as she pushed her head closer to Sarah. Somebody was speaking, a low, comforting voice. It was repetitive, but a little hard to make out.
“Pretty girls do as they’re told,” the voice said, over and over. Everybody knows that pretty girls do as they’re told, she thought. Why the hell is she listening to some audio file about it though? What was it going to say next, the sky was blue? Water is wet? A few moments later, the voice changed it’s rhythm. It took her a few loops to understand what it was saying clearly. “You would do anything to please your superiors”, it said, over and over. Wait, that’s not right… Sarah’s lips were mouthing the words along with the voice from the headphones.
Something finally clicked in Jenna’s mind. This is… this is some kind of brainwashing thing. She pulled her head away as quickly as she could, the gravity of the situation suddenly sinking in. She looked over at the group of women. They were all just sitting there soaking this all in. They’re all… they’re hypnotised, or something, she thought. She had to get out of here, immediately.
She thought back to the voice playing on whatever recording Sarah had been listening to. “You would do anything to please your superiors”. Jenna thought about it, but it was basically bullshit. She wouldn't even fetch coffee for her boss, let alone “do anything” for him. What it had said earlier was true, though – pretty girls do as they’re told. She strained to think back past the last seven days. Pretty girls should always try to look their best, but despite that basic, universal truth, she did recall that there was a sudden, dramatic shift in what all the pretty girls around her seemed to consider “looking their best”. She struggled to reconcile all of this.
Running through her thoughts, Jenna felt increasingly panicked by all of this. She thought back to the sleazebag from IT who had come to “test her”. Whatever was going on, he must have had something to do with it. Mister Grey and Nathan were both acting extremely recklessly. Did they know something was going on? If all of the other women in the office were already six layers deep into this Svengali shit, then she knew she was in major danger. I might be the only person here who hasn’t been affected. I need to talk to somebody outside of this office, immediately.
Jenna found the most secluded corner of the office she could – the second supply room. Nobody ever came in here. Generally nobody remembered there was a second supply room. She pulled out her phone and started looking through her contacts. These days, her friendship circle outside of work was scant. She settled on Yuki. She hadn’t kept in touch with her since the final year of University, but for a little while there they were extremely close. She pushed call and waited anxiously to see if she’d pick up. To her relief, the call connected.
“Oh my god, Jen, what’s up! It’s been forever!”
“Hey! I know, I’ve been meaning to catch up for ages,” she replied.
“How are you? What’s going on?” Yuki said. Jenna froze for a moment.
“I’m actually in kind of a spot right now, Yuki.”
“Aw shit, what’s wrong? Can I help?”
“I um,” she started, but then froze again. You should never talk about what happens at work to outsiders, it suddenly occurred to her. What had she been thinking? Of course she would never talk about what happens at work with Yuki. Yuki was an outsider. How could she have been so stupid? “Actually I’m… Look sorry to bother you,” she said then abruptly hung up. She received a message almost straight away afterwards.
“If you need me, I’m here,” it said.
Jenna spent the rest of the day hiding. Somebody was going to notice her missing, if they hadn’t already, but there was no way she wanted to go back to her computer and risk having god knows what fucked up ideas put into her head. Maybe I’m immune to whatever it is? Still, I need to be careful.
That night, she had a dream.
In her dream, she was dancing with a man in a business suit. His tie had been loosened and the jacket was open, but they were going for it. Normally she hated dancing, and she hated noise, and crowds, but doing it for him? That was a pleasure. She was practically grinding a hole in his pants. He was so fucking hard, and she was so fucking wet. Suddenly, they were in a private room. Nobody else was around.
She couldn’t see his face, but that didn’t matter. She tore off his clothes with implausible ease, like it was made of tissue paper, and she shoved the dick straight into her mouth. She sat there for an eternity just sucking it and teasing it and stroking it. She wasn’t experiencing any physical pleasure, but she knew that if she made him happy, he might say the words. Oh fuck, please say the words, she thought to herself. He grunted and unloaded into her mouth. She swallowed every single drop, and then cleaned him up with her tongue enthusiastically.
She looked up at him with anticipation. Say the words say the words say the words say the words
The alarm buzzed. “Fuck”, she shouted out loud.