"I'm late!" Avery squealed as she grabbed her bag and ran for the door, waving goodbye with her keys in her hand.
"You are definitely not late," her flat mate called after her as Avery slammed the door shut.
Smiling to herself, Avery checked her watch. It would usually have taken her fifteen minutes in a taxi to reach the area of London where her first meeting of the day would be held, but she had allowed herself thirty minutes in total to find it. Now she had exactly twenty four minutes to get there. She wasn't late at all.
Attaching her name tag to her dark blue suit jacket, she checked that her name had been spelled correctly: Avery Lacey.
Making sure the badge was straight on the breast of her jacket, she frowned slightly as she recalled how a receptionist had once printed her name incorrectly - spelling her surname Lazy. Avery had forever blamed the woman as the reason why the deal had fallen through. After that she took extra precaution and prepared her own name badge for every meeting.
Avery had met her flat mate, Caroline Greenberg, in the very final year of their university course. They had both wanted to stay in London after they finished their Bachelor Degree in International Business, but neither of them could afford a place of their own so they had agreed to look together.
Their first flat together had been a small studio flat in which they had placed bunk beds to save some space. After about three months they had moved due to the cramped living and unsafe neighbourhood, but in the first three months they had discovered that they were very alike and they got on well.
Eight years had passed and they had always lived together since, and now they lived in a flat which they both loved.
It was a two bedroomed flat in a converted Victorian terrace, just a short walk from Clapham South tube station. Caroline and Avery occupied the bottom floor and had a small courtyard garden.
A black and white cat had appeared on their first day in their new home and had refused to leave ever since. They had later on named the cat 'Kitty'. She had sat on the windowsill and scratched at the kitchen window until Caroline had eventually caved in and opened it on a cold, January evening. It was minus two degrees outside and the plants were covered in frost.
Caroline felt so sorry for the cat that she had prepared a long speech concerning the reasons why they should keep her but, as it happened, Caroline never had to use the speech on Avery as Kitty won her heart in seconds by purring at Avery's feet and jabbing her paws in the air playfully while lying on her back.
Avery and Caroline were very similar in personality, which was probably why they had survived living together for so long without killing each other. Both had a laid back attitude to life and lived for the moment.
Avery had long, glossy chestnut hair and hazelnut eyes, while Caroline's hair was platinum blonde and cut in a neat bob. She had piercing green eyes and her long eyelashes would flicker at flattering comments and frame her eyes as they rolled at many a devoted admirer.
It wasn't Caroline's looks that caught men's attention, but her loud laughter and flirtatious movements which always seemed to catch their eye; something which had worked in both of their favours when out in clubs. Avery had noticed that she was more flirtatious when she was around Caroline, laughing more loudly than usual and swaying her hips more when she walked.
Stepping out of the taxi by the main entrance of Hartwick Investments, Avery had no time to think about swaying her hips or smiling flirtatiously at the rather handsome young man who opened the door for her, wearing a black penguin tuxedo and top hat. She had exactly six minutes before her meeting was due to commence on the nineteenth floor.
Inside the main entrance, the high, airy ceiling made her slow her steps. An impressive, abstract painting in blue and grey colours was hanging behind the reception desk. It was a nice distraction from the other bare walls which surrounded her, but she realised she would get dizzy if she stared at the painting for too long.
She felt slightly nervous as she stood in the main entrance, as she did before every new pitch. She had started working immediately after her Business degree as a receptionist for a law firm in South London. After a year she had become Personal Assistant to Jonathan Stone, the Chief Financial Officer.
They had worked well together and it had been an easy decision to make when he asked if she would come to work for him when he started his own company; Stone Financials. She had worked hard for three years as an Account Assistant before being promoted to her current job role as Project Manager. It was now eight years since she had graduated and she was almost exactly where she wanted to be.
She took her name badge from the receptionist and discreetly slipped it in her bag as she was directed to a glass lift sitting to the right of the reception area.
The receptionist looked her part: white shirt tucked into a black pencil skirt, her lips painted in a striking red colour and black, thickly rimmed glasses framing her blue eyes. Her brown hair was gathered in a smooth, high pony tail and even her perfect smile seemed to fit the role.
"Don't be late," she said in a low voice, glancing at the time on her computer screen. "Meetings never go well when the visitor is late," she continued, winking quickly before
sitting back down again to take a call.
"Thanks, I appreciate the advice," Avery replied quickly, smiling back as she walked over to the lift.
Only a few steps away from the lift, the strap around her ankle began to come loose and her foot started to slip out of her shoe. Struggling to tie the strap again, Avery almost hopped on one leg as the lift doors opened.
Inside stood a man in grey gym clothes, sweating around the neck and under his arms from what must have been a hard work out. His stubble made him look older than he was and his blonde hair looked wet from sweat. He had blue eyes which he used to inspect her closely from under his long eye lashes.
She guessed he was in his early thirties and by the look of his straight teeth and clean-cut hair style he took good care of himself. It was his intrigued look that made her realise she had frozen to the spot, still with one foot in the air.
Stumbling in to the lift with still only one shoe attached properly, she pressed button number nineteen, noticing that the floor above had already been pressed. When the doors started to close, she bent down to attach her shoe to her foot.
Reaching into her bag she picked out a number of black folders for her meeting and checked her details again. Yes, she was meeting with Mr William Hartwick, CEO of the company.
"Important meeting?" the man asked with a bemused smile.
"Yes, very," she replied, checking her shoes for one last time and giving him a polite smile.
"This meeting could determine my future in my current job and I really hope I do well, or they'll fire me," she said a little too openly, remembering what her manager had said jokingly before she left the office last night.
"Then maybe you're not very good at what you do," the man said with a smile.
"Oh, I'm very good at what I do, but the man I'm meeting with has a reputation for being difficult to negotiate with. My manager has been trying to make a deal with him for months. He was supposed to be with me now, but his wife went into labour this morning so I had to cover his meetings alone today," she ranted on, before realising she was revealing too much information to a complete stranger.
"Sorry," she continued. "I talk too much when I'm nervous."
The lift had reached her floor and as the doors opened she received a brief smile from the man.
"I'm sure you will do just fine and I wish you the best of luck," he said as she exited the lift, bowing slightly as she left him alone.
"Thank you," she replied and corrected her skirt before meeting his gaze for a final time.
She hoped she would do well in the meeting; she wouldn't mind running in to the man from the lift again! A polite man who kept himself in shape and worked on the top floor could only mean one thing: determination and the drive - things she found incredibly attractive in a man.
Taking a final look in a mirror which hung on the wall, she had to say, for eight o'clock on a Friday morning, she was looking pretty damned good.
An emergency meeting had been called in the apartment last night to discuss what Avery should wear for the meeting and both she and Caroline agreed that this outfit would make a great first impression.
She was wearing a dark blue pencil skirt with a matching jacket and a pale blue top underneath, matching details on the shoes and a necklace to complete the look.
Avery took a deep breath before pushing the door open to the reception area. Inside, there was a light grey, glass wall behind the desk, stating the name of the company, Hartwick Investments, etched in large grey letters.
The receptionist was about Avery's age, with vibrant red hair tied neatly in a French plait and large fashionable glasses framing her green eyes. Her surprised look when she saw Avery's name badge revealed that she had been expecting a man for the meeting, but she was clever enough not to comment.
It was not the first time Avery's name had confused people who were expecting her. At first it had annoyed her, but now she was more oblivious to it. She would probably have done the same herself, so why become repeatedly upset over it?
She followed the receptionist to a large conference room and was showed inside.
Standing by the large window, a tall man in a dark grey suit was speaking on his phone. She could only see him from behind as he was standing with his back to her - his dark hair moving slightly as he tilted his head backwards, laughing softly. She took the time to look around the room. It was expensively decorated with more abstract oil paintings, a large flat screen TV on one of the walls, a projector installed in the ceiling and a large screen on the opposite wall.
"Mr Hartwick will be with you shortly," the receptionist informed her and poured her a glass of water. "Tea or coffee?" she asked.
"Coffee, please," Avery replied, putting her folders on the table, a little more loudly than she had intended.
Mr Hartwick turned around quickly, spotting her standing by the table. She just had time to catch the surprised glint in his green eyes before he turned around again, ending his call. His dark skin tone made a fresh contrast to the cream walls which surrounded the room.
"Milk or sugar?" she heard the receptionist ask her.
"Both, please," Avery replied, tearing her eyes away from Mr Hartwick before he could catch her staring at him.
A knowing smile sat on the receptionist's lips as Avery faced her and thanked her for making the coffee, before the receptionist turned and left the two of them alone, closing the door silently behind her.
"Ms Lacey, what a pleasure to finally meet you," Mr Hartwick said and walked towards her, his phone in his left hand and his right reaching out for hers.
She shook his hand firmly, meeting his gaze. He was better-looking in person than in the photos she had found while researching him online. His straight nose sat above full lips and his jaw line was sharp and clearly defined. A dimple appeared on his left cheek as he smiled and laughter lines crinkled as the smile reached his eyes; she felt a sense of warmth and ease spreading through her body.
"The pleasure is all mine, Mr Hartwick," she replied, finding her voice as she withdrew her hand. "I do apologise that it will be only me attending the meeting today as my manager..."
"...is in hospital with his wife," Mr Hartwick finished her sentence for her. "Yes, I know, he called me himself just before you stepped in the room. Apparently it was a false alarm, but he can't make it back here in time so it will still just be you and me," he finished as a look she couldn't quite read flickered across his face.
"Are there any advisors you would like to have present?" she asked, as it was often the case.
"Unfortunately they're busy, but they have already been briefed on the project by Mr Stone, hence why you're here now," he added.
"Right," she replied, opening the first folder, annoyed that this piece of information had slipped her manager's mind when briefing her on the project. The first part of her introduction would be entirely unnecessary and she decided to skip it completely.
Taking out a USB stick from her bag, she plugged it in to the flat screen and waited for it to load.
Their meeting went smoothly; she had prepared well and had predicted some of his questions. She took notes of the remaining queries and promised that she would get back to him as soon as she could. The project focused on how Stone Financials could make Hartwick's investment system more efficient and how they could bring their investment strategies to the next level.
Sitting on the opposite side of the table, he watched her as she paced back and forth in front of the flat screen, pointing out different paragraphs in the hand-out while she spoke. Her knowledge was impressive and there was no doubt in his mind that she would be able to deliver everything she promised him.
He followed her curves when her back was turned, while she couldn't see where his eyes wandered. He took the opportunity to memorise the shape of her behind, hidden under thin layers of fabric. There were so many things that she made him want to do to her. He pondered what she would be willing to do for him.
The name Avery Lacey had made him expect a man to walk through the door, but when a loud noise had disturbed his call, the feminine silhouette standing on the other side of the table had been a pleasant surprise. He had to say that he was far from disappointed. Watching her curves was exactly what he needed this early on a Friday morning.
"Do you have any questions?" she repeated, searching his face attentively as she spoke.
"If there's anything else, I'll email you," he replied with a smile, hoping she hadn't noticed how he had completely lost focus for the last few minutes. "That was excellent," he finished.
Avery exhaled in relief. She could have sworn that the air was vibrating between them and she had really had to make herself focus hard on what she was saying during the last few minutes of the presentation. Every time she had turned around she could feel the intensity of his stare on her back, something which had made her whole body tingle.
She pulled the USB out of the screen and started to gather her things together, putting her phone on the table as she began to place the folders in her bag. The phone vibrated against the hard surface of the table and Mr Hartwick caught a glimpse of the text before she had time to pick it up.
"Don't forget to feed Kitty," the message said.
"Who's Kitty?" Mr Hartwick asked, intrigued.
"Oh, she's just my flatmate's cat. She is going away for a week-long conference and wants to make sure I don't forget about the cat with my long hours at work."
"I thought it was a code word for something else," he replied and winked - a glint of mischief in his eyes from where he sat in a large leather chair.
She felt her cheeks becoming increasingly warm but chose to ignore his comment. How incredibly rude of him.
"No, sorry. Just a cat," she replied with a forced smile on her lips, putting her phone back in the bag.
Her keys fell out of her bag as she placed her remaining folder inside it, scrambling for them as they fell hard on the floor.
Before she had time to react, he had bent down to pick them up, almost brushing her leg as he stood.
"Nobody puts baby in a corner," he read out loud after picking them up, holding out the keys for her.
"Dirty Dancing," she replied with a small smile, still a little stiff.
"Excuse me?" he said, with another expression on his face that she couldn't quite read. Was he appalled or surprised?
"The movie?" she tried to explain as she reached out for the keys.
Shaking his head, he placed the keys in her hand, briefly touching her fingers as he handed them to her.
"A chick flick which has touched almost every girl's heart since it was released," she explained quickly, dropping the keys into her bag.
"I still don't understand," he replied.
"It was a quote made by the lead character as he came back to get the girl. Very romantic moment," she explained, "but an inside joke between me and my girlfriends, hence the key ring," she added, clearing her throat. She had definitely revealed a little too much to a newly opened account holder and she was starting to feel disarmed.
"I see," was all he said, smirking slightly.
"Thank you for your time, Mr Hartwick. I will be in touch with you shortly regarding your questions and I hope we will see each other again soon."
"So do I," he replied, taking her hand and shaking it slowly with a firm grip.
Throwing him one last glance, Avery walked out from the conference room with as much grace as she could manage, smiling politely at the receptionist before she let herself out.
She tried to ignore the tingling feeling which had spread from her fingers, but by the time she reached the lift she felt her knees becoming soft.
Avery was unable to relax completely until she was back at her office desk later that morning, sitting behind her computer screen and flicking through the emails she had received during the course of the meeting. Flashing images of Mr Hartwick sitting by the desk in the conference room kept interrupting her focus, but eventually she managed to suppress them.
She had already replied to more than half of her emails when she saw Stone's still heavily
pregnant wife Alice waddling through reception, only moments after he had rushed off to another meeting across town. Alice's unwashed, brown hair hung in a ponytail and a few spots were present on her forehead, her tired, brown eyes rolling as she spotted Avery behind her desk.
"False alarm," she sighed, as she walked through Avery's door, waddling like a duck.
"Is the bastard that did this here anywhere to be found?" she asked, pointing to her very large bump.
"Sorry, you've just missed him," Avery said pushing her chair back from the desk and offering Alice a seat in the visitor's chair across from her desk.
"Between you and me, I was hoping that he would do me a little to get this baby out. I was due yesterday and I can't take anymore, I've tried everything but she just won't come out. I really thought it was time this morning, but the nurses said it was false contractions. False contractions for fuck's sake! I can't take it anymore," she complained, leaning back heavily.
"Wait a minute," she exclaimed and sat bolt upright. "Doesn't your chair have an inbuilt massage function? Maybe that would do it," she added and heaved herself out of the small, wooden chair.
"Oh, yes. Yes, it does," Avery remembered and opened the first drawer of her desk, handing the woman in need the remote control.
Sinking down onto Avery's chair with great difficulty, Alice leaned back in the chair and turned one of the buttons on, immediately triggering a buzzing sound.
"This is perfect, just what I needed," Alice said. Leaning back in the chair, Avery could see how Alice's whole body was beginning to relax.
"You are so kind. Jonathan always says how he would never have been able to run the company without you," Alice mumbled before closing her eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep, saying a few more words which were inaudible.
Hesitating, Avery wasn't sure whether or not if it was safe to wake a woman waiting for her labour to start. She decided to sneakily retreat to one of the small conference rooms down the hallway instead.
Quietly she disconnected her laptop from its docking station and picked up one of the brown files from her desk, tiptoeing out of her office.
Stopping at the coffee machine in the hallway on her way, she eventually settled down inside a small meeting room, opening her laptop again and typing in her access code.
Immediately some more emails popped up on her screen and she threw a fleeting eye over them, to check if any were urgent.
William Hartwick's name made her stop scanning and she quickly opened the email which had been received only a few minutes ago.
"Dear Ms Lacey,
Thank you for an outstanding and very informative meeting.
Please get back to me as soon as possible with a solution to my queries as I feel that this project needs immediate attention.
CEO Hartwick Investments"
She debated as to whether she should keep him waiting for at least another few minutes, but was unable to stop herself as her fingers started to type a reply.
"Dear Mr Hartwick,
Your concerns will be addressed immediately. I will get back to you later this afternoon in relation to your queries.
Project Manager, Stone Financials"
Expecting him not to reply, she was surprised when another emailed quickly popped up on her screen.
"Dear Ms Avery Lacey,
Please do not work overtime on my behalf. I need you alert and observant.
CEO Hartwick Investments
Alert and observant! What did that mean? Had she not been alert or observant during their meeting? She wanted to reply by saying something rude back to him but came to her senses. He probably didn't mean anything by his comment and she decided to let it drop, returning to her other emails and then composing a response to his queries which she would send him later the same afternoon.
William waited for her to reply but there was nothing. He couldn't risk being too flirtatious in his initial contact with her. Yet, he had found it difficult to stop himself from sending another, far more intriguing email, which would either make her respond immediately or hand the project over to a male colleague.
Annoyed with his actions, he caught himself checking his emails every ten minutes until it was long after office hours.
When the clock struck nine o'clock he realised with disappointment that she would have him waiting until Monday morning for a response.
He was about to turn off his computer and use his Smartphone from home when an email from Stone Financials came through. Almost feverish, his mouse moved quickly to open it, scanning through the formalities at the top. He then checked the document attached; a document with all his queries addressed and some extra information besides.
However, it was the very last few words that he found himself reading over and over again, convinced that she must have responded to his mildly flirtatious comment in some way, consciously or unconsciously.
"Please do not hesitate to contact me if there are any other questions.
No matter what time of day.
Project Manager, Stone Financials"
He was certain that there was another meaning behind her words. Smiling triumphantly, he leaned back in his chair.
He had to adjust his growing member as it stood to attention, then realised that he would not be able to control himself until Monday unless he found some relief now.
Picking up his phone he dialled Christine Farrell, his latest partner-in-crime.
"Yes?" he heard her voice answer after only one ring.
It was obvious that she was desperate for him merely from her voice, but this time it didn't turn him on as much as it usually did. He imagined her toying with her full, lower red lip, playing with a lock of her dark Mediterranean hair from where she was sitting.
He had kept her waiting longer than usual this time and he knew it must have dawned on her that he may be finished with her soon.
"Are you free tonight?" he asked, in a straightforward manner.
"Yes," she replied quickly, a little too quickly for his liking.
"I'll be over in thirty minutes," he said before hanging up on her.
He would pound her without mercy tonight, which she had been begging him to do the past few times they had met up.
He hadn't been able to do so for a while, and he could tell that it frustrated her. She had
started to bore him to be perfectly honest. He needed something new, something intriguing. He needed Avery Lacey. Feel how she caressed him and how wet she was while he moved in and out of her, sending her towards climax.
Just the thought turned him on and he quickly looked through a few files on his computer until he found her CV stashed in there.
Reading through it quickly, he was impressed by the amount of larger projects on which she had worked, and the letters of recommendations from a variety of CEOs, account holders and investors which were also attached.
There was nothing but professionalism in her CV, not really anything which he could use against her. Not even a single gap from the time that she had graduated from her Business Degree.
The only thing that stood out was the fact that her native language appeared to be French. He took a second glance at her full name: Avery Élise Ledoux Lacey. Possibly a French mother, he guessed.
How could he turn this around to his advantage? Slowly, a plan came together in his mind, in case everything else failed. He had to smile at his own genius.
Leaning back against his chair, he stroked his hard dick through the fabric of his trousers, scrolling up to the photo of Avery which was attached to her Curriculum Vitae.
A confident woman looked back at him, inviting but also with a professional attitude. She would definitely be hard to break. A challenge he could not possibly turn down. If only she knew what was coming.
He would picture Avery Lacey while taking Christine Farrell from behind, imagining that it was Lacey on the receiving end of his cock, her moans with every thrust. He fantasised about what colour her nipples would be, of what she would taste like and how she would take him in her mouth.
With one last glance at the time, he turned off the computer and headed off into central London. He wanted this weekend behind him so he could get back to his new mission: Avery Lacey.