Girlfriend By The Hour

Girlfriend By The Hour

Status: Finished

Genre: Erotica

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Erotica

Summary

When Imogen accidentally interviews to be the social companion of Andre Lachlan, she never imagines what the job will entail.

Summary

When Imogen accidentally interviews to be the social companion of Andre Lachlan, she never imagines what the job will entail.

Chapter18 (v.1) - The Meeting

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 29, 2015

Reads: 1194

Comments: 3

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 29, 2015

A A A

A A A

“So most of this isn’t a big deal. Less than twenty grand in damage, the mainframe was only down for eight hours. We almost had a payroll nightmare, but I caught it and it’s all fixed now. Thursday’s pay should process normally, and I’ll be monitoring the system leading up to then.

“The big problem is right here. When the mainframe was—Lachlan? Are you even listening to me?”

“Yup.” If Andre was an honest man, his answer would have been ‘no’. And it was kind of a shame. He saw Cipex—or, according to his mother, Travis—in person maybe once a year. The guy was a bit of a recluse. He was a scrawny thing with inch-thick glasses, long, greasy hair, heavily pocked skin from uncontrolled acne that lasted well into his 20s, and a haunted look in his eyes that could only have come from the ten months he spent in a minimum-security, corporate spa prison after hacking and then leaking some sensitive FBI files. It was rare for him to leave his mother’s basement.

This meeting was also kind of important. From what Andre had caught of Cipex’s report so far, the break-in might have been more than asshole kids. Despite the damage being minimal, it was focused.

But he couldn’t shake his Imogen problem out of his mind. Clearly what Cipex was saying was far more important—please God let there not be a payroll problem, there were thousands of people on it—but for some reason establishing his dominance over Imogen possessed the entirety of his brain power.

He’d woken this morning to find Imogen still curled up next to him, her head still on his chest, her arm wrapped around his waist and tucked beneath him. Thankfully he was not an honest man because she was hot as hell, more so in the temperature sense at that moment, but he didn’t have the heart to nudge her away. He did stretch a bit and then rubbed her shoulder to rouse her gently. When she finally woke, she snuggled up even more before she lifted her head to peek at him through sleepy, sated lids. She smiled and purred in contentment, but then it faded to a frown.

“Sal hates me,” she whispered.

Andre dragged his thumb down her spinal column. “I seriously doubt that. Give her some space the next couple of days, let her calm down. I’m sure you said something the wrong way because you do that somet—“

“You do, too,” she said defensively.

“I won’t deny that. I say stupid shit all the time. Now come here.” He hooked her from under her arms and dragged her up while he rolled them over, then slid his hands under her shoulder blades. “I want to do this properly.”

She stroked his roughened cheek. “Do what?”

“Aftercare. I screwed it up pretty royally last night.” He leaned in to kiss her lips, but she immediately dropped her hand down to block him. “Seriously?”

“I haven’t brushed my teeth! Eww, morning breath.”

He rolled his eyes before taking on another approach. He carefully lowered his weight down, holding her snugly. She seemed to respond positively at first, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her cheek to his, only to say, “Uhh, Andre? Why is your shirt sopping wet?”

“Jesus, Imogen. You just slept on me for like six hours. I don’t know if you’re aware you have a body temperature, but I promise you do.”

He sat up and pulled off his shirt. For a moment, he stared down at her, at her perfectly squeezable breasts and soft belly that hid a wealth of firm muscles, at the hips that fit so well in his hands and teeth, evidenced by the mark he’d left there last night.

She stared back, touching the planes of his abdomen, dark against her thin, pale fingers. She skimmed along his waistband but dipped no lower, simply toying at the thought. And frowned again.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” he said earnestly. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I just don’t want you to feel obligated to take care of me if I don’t ask it of you. Trust me, I will. But I need you to be a lot more comfortable in here before I do.”

Her eyes dropped lower—not at him, just away from this moment. “You told me I’m supposed to follow my instincts in here. Whatever I need to do, I should.”

“I did.”

She found that awkward awareness of herself and pulled her arms across her chest and stomach. He didn’t want her embarrassed now, not when she was clearly trying to figure this out, so he scooped her up onto his lap, her knees straddling him while she sat on his. She kept one of her hands on his chest and rested her chin on his shoulder, awarding him an opportunity to smell her hair without being called out on it.

“So what if that’s what I need to do? I’m not used to being on the, erm, receiving end. And, not to sound like a, umm, weirdo, I guess, but it makes me feel good to give. No, I guess you wouldn’t find that weird.”

He inhaled deeply, that lavender and citrus now mingled with the light musk of her sweat. “Definitely not. So we’re gonna write this off as an important lesson in communication, okay? Last night would have gone a lot better if you talked to me instead of freaking out.”

“I was gagged,” she reminded him. “And when I took it out, you bit me.”

“Right, right. Then tell me now what I did wrong. That should not have been a safe word scenario.”

She smushed her cheek into his shoulder. “You stopped. Everything seemed okay and then you just…stopped. And then I thought I’d done something wrong and I panicked and—did I do something wrong?”

He pushed her off him so he could look at her. Her elbows folded in to cover herself. “Okay, that’s wrong right there, and you know that because I’ve stopped it how many times now? And when you pulled the gag out, that was wrong. Looking at me when you weren’t supposed to and falling after I told you not to were both wrong. And I punished you for those. So ask me again if you did something wrong when I in no way reprimanded you.”

She jutted her bottom lip out. “Then why did you stop?”

He grabbed her hands and extended her arms out, deliberately perusing her body. “I happen to enjoy looking at you. I didn’t realize this was a hard limit. Do I need to keep the lights off in Hell? That may complicate things.”

Her blush traveled all the way down from her cheeks to her collarbones. “No,” she said weakly.

“Then how can I fix this?”

Her eyebrows pulled together while she considered this. “Umm, I want to be able to look at you, too. Not all the time…I don’t think I want that either…but I’d like to not be punished for it if I do. Sometimes I just…need to see you.”

Andre dropped their hands to his side, pulling her close to kiss her lips a few times. “Then you won’t be punished for it. See how easy that was?”

She kissed him back. “Thank you. Follow up question: we’re both sweaty now and touching you is kind of gross. So—“

“So let’s take a shower?”

“Yeah, but separately. I realize you own LE, but I don’t. So I’d like to get to work and I’m thinking showering together isn’t nearly as efficient as it sounds.”

He could have used that shower, he thought now. He was pretty sure he couldn’t get Imogen out of his brain because there’d been no proper aftercare. He could have gotten all his affections out then and stayed completely focused on Cipex, who was now saying, “Dude, what is his problem today?” to Midas.

Midas—which was legitimately his last name—laughed with the full girth of his estimated four hundred pounds. He was so shameless with his mass that Andre had been forced to ban any company events which might call for swimsuits, but he was also the paragon of fat and jolly. It was nice having him balance out the dour seriousness of Cipex. “From the stupid look on Imogen’s face this morning and how late they were, I’d say way too much sex this weekend.”

“You’re screwing the new beta tester? Nice.”

“I’m not ‘screwing’ her,” Andre growled. “We’re dating. We’re in a normal relationship.”

Which would have sounded convincing if Cipex didn’t counter with, “Not according to payroll.”

A switch flipped inside Andre, making him see red. The arrangement between Andre and Imogen was none of Cipex’s business, and definitely not Midas’s. He was about to state exactly that as professionally as he could when his intercom buzzed.

“There’s a Salina Rodriguez here to see you,” his assistant said from the opposite side of his door.

He blinked, trying to figure out who Salina Rodriguez was. There was a Salina he went to high school with, and a couple of employees had the last name Rodriguez but they were all men, so Sal—

Several choice words passed through Andre's brain, none of them appropriate in even this informal of a meeting. He cleared the lump in his throat as well as good before letting Michael know he could let her in.

"If you'll excuse me, gentlemen," he said. He'd deal with Cipex's nosiness later.

"I didn't even get to the important part," Cipex grumbled. “One of the computers they took—“

"Is it in the brief you sent me this afternoon?"

"Yeah, but--"

"Then I'll read it this afternoon. Thank you for making yourself available," Andre said as an afterthought. Cipex really was going out of his way for Andre, so he felt a little guilty about ending the meeting so abruptly even if it was heading that way anyway. "Midas, mind sending Imogen up?"

Cipex was nearly hit in the face by the door as Sal flew in, already yelling at Andre. "You are so much an asshole, Lachlan!"

Cipex pulled one of those clearly-I-don't-see-real-women-ever moves, but Midas grabbed his arm and pulled him out before Sal caught on to the obvious stare.

"Where is she?" she shouted, but before he could respond she'd reached into her gigantic fake leather purse and chucked a change purse at him.

He winced. There was a lot of change in it. "Jesus, what is it with you two throwing shit at me?"

Sal halted at the desk. Her fists were balled as though she was about to throw a punch that he, as a man, could do nothing about. But she just stood there, huffing like a horse after running the Kentucky Derby. "Did you work some slimy black penis magic on her?!"

"I can't even—Is that a racial slur? What's black here, my magic or my penis?"

Sal frowned and flopped down in one of the chairs. "I don't know," she pouted. "It sounded right in my head. Give me back my change purse.”

“I’m guessing you taught her that move as well,” Andre muttered as he got down on the floor to retrieve the bag from under his desk.

“She taught me that, I think. My girl’s got a good arm, right?”

‘My girl’. That made Andre feel better about this interruption in his work day. “She has very nice arms,” he agreed.

“Don’t make this pervy. Is she okay?”

Andre sat across from her, keeping a safe distance in case Sal was also the type to throw punches. She didn’t look it, though. She looked like she’d spent a great deal of time crying. Her dark eyes were rimmed in red, with heavy bags beneath them. Her usually proud shoulders sunk low. “She was upset, but I calmed her down.”

“I told you not to make this pervy!”

Andre grinned. “That little math trick worked like a charm.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I can’t believe I defended you last night. This is all your fault, asshole. Gen and I never fought before you came around.”

“I apologize for that.” It was one of the most sincere things he’d said today. He didn’t want to come between them, but it was impossible to avoid now. The more he explored Imogen, the less willing he was to give her up. He’d never seen the appeal of an untrained girl before, but it was intoxicating. “If it’s any consolation, I believe there’s room for both of us in her life if you want to try.”

Sal took a deep breath and crossed her arms. “You’re bad for her. You have to understand that.”

He didn’t have to understand anything, but he humored her. “How so?”

“Seriously? I saw the bruises.”

“She liked it.”

Sal met his eyes unwaveringly, but the incessant tapping of her finger on her bicep betrayed the crack inside her. “And she hasn’t told you why, has she?”

He shrugged. “Some people just do. If they didn’t, bondage wouldn’t exist. I would never do anything she didn’t want me to do.”

“No, she’s different. She’s not like that.”

He stretched back, lacing his fingers behind his head. “I assure you, she is. Not to share too many details, but when she came back last night, all I wanted to do was have a quiet evening with her. She was the one who insisted I dominate her.”

“Did you?”

“Her wish is my command.”

Michael buzzed his intercom then to let him know Imogen had arrived. He excused himself when she entered to give the girls space, but he knew she’d be returning home that evening.

 

~..~

 

“I want to quilt.”

The statement was met with silence from Dr. Thorn. He glanced from Imogen to her case file sitting on his lap several times before saying, “You’ll have to give me a refresher here. I haven’t seen you in far too long and, frankly, this file folder is too thick. I’ll be sure to review it before we meet next.”

Imogen couldn’t blame him. She didn’t want to look over that file either. Plus, he’d only been given two days to prepare himself. Sal had set up this session herself to force Imogen to go. “It’s okay. You told me I should quit the hobbies I had as a child. And I did. I haven’t camped or collected dolls or touched my sewing machine in three years. But my quilt’s in really bad shape so I’d like to patch it.”

There was another long silence, during which Dr. Thorn took off his wire-rimmed glasses and polished them. Imogen was positive the glasses were clean and this was some therapist mind game. She’d seen this move more times than she could count.

“As I can’t imagine you’ve come to see me for permission to fix your blanket, now would be the time to give the real reason.”

Right. She shifted uncomfortably in the stiff-backed chair she’d chosen over the plush recliner and leather sofa. Sal had also insisted she tell Dr. Thorn about the relationship she had with Andre. She could lie and tell Sal she had, but she could also try it out. Maybe Dr. Thorn would support it. Wouldn’t that be nice? “I’m seeing someone now,” she blurted out. That was a good start. “Not Sal.”

He looked genuinely surprised. “Oh? She didn’t tell me you two had broken up.”

“We didn’t. Or…” Hmm. She wanted it to sound good, at least. Honest but good. She felt pretty good about it all, so it shouldn’t be this hard. “We’re okay. We’re like we’ve always been. Just nothing sexual anymore.”

“And this new person, is this a sexual relationship?”

Uggh, the difficult questions. “Yeea…sort of?”

“You’ll have to clarify. I’m used to that being a simple yes or no.”

“We don’t have sex. But, like, we do other things.” She looked away and mumbled, “Bondage things.”

Dr. Thorn polished his glasses again. Crap. But then he very calmly said, “And are you submissive or dominant?”

Imogen relaxed back. That was a good response. “Submissive.”

“And the person in the dominant position—“

“Andre.”

“Andre. What does he do with you?”

That sounded nice, too. Sal had asked what he did to her, like she just stood there and took it. And that was true to a point, but she was there. He acted and she responded. They were partners in it. “He ties me up and, you know, spanks me and stuff. But then he’s really gentle with me when I ask him to.” It was weird explaining something that had only happened twice and been so different.

“And what do you enjoy the most? The restraint, the pain, or the transfer of control?”

“All of it,” she said immediately then amended to, “The control.” She did like it all, and in the moment the control was the least tangible element, but it was what made her glow in the morning. It was what made her feel better whenever they were together. She’d dodge a question or struggle out of his arms when they were with people—because for some reason that felt weird now—or she’d wrap herself in her cardigan when she was embarrassed, and he’d reprimand her. Every time he did she felt the most wonderful peace inside.

She hoped for some feedback, even if it was negative, but Dr. Thorn jotted a note down on his tablet and said, “Is there a romantic element to this relationship?”

The guy was good. She started to respond negatively, but the word wouldn’t come out. She had feelings for Andre. It was stupid to say she didn’t. It definitely wasn’t love, but it was something. Something she didn’t feel with Sal. That was comfort, a safe place. Andre was…a craving. But then she said, “No,” because it wasn’t a romantic element. That would be dates and flowers, which they had as a business arrangement only. And supposedly there was other stuff—lying in meadows or some shit like that—stuff she didn’t know because she’d never been in love before. That wasn’t in her past or future. Love was not something for Imogen.

He accepted this answer as well. “So then, outside of your sort-of sexual relationship, do you interact with him at all?”

Imogen decided to skip over that other arrangement. “Well he’s my boss…’s boss,” she admitted instead. “Boss’s boss’s boss? There might be someone in between them. The board of directors or something.”

“I see.” Which wasn’t a great response. “Does Andre know about your past?”

“No.”

“Good.”

Imogen had braced herself for a stern lecture and perked up at this. “Really?”

Dr. Thorn took his glasses off entirely and leaned forward, making her think he was about to say something really awful to her. Which wasn’t too far from the truth. “This may be hard for you to stomach, but there are people out there who prey on girls like you. You know there are people who have unhealthy obsessions over celebrities as well as those who seek out particularly notorious criminals. As awful as it is, some would love to have bragging rights as the man who dominated Aubrey Burberry.”

He was right; she felt his words in her stomach. “That can’t be true. That’s disgusting.”

“I won’t disagree. But I would have been remiss in my responsibilities if I hadn’t researched you when I learned your identity. And I recommend you not research that identity. I’m just glad they changed your name and sealed your record when you were still a minor. And mind you, I’m only telling you this now because it gives me peace of mind knowing that Andre is likely not one of these men.”

“He’s not!” Imogen snapped then covered her mouth, embarrassed at her outburst.

Dr. Thorn’s smile was irritating. Stupid psychologists, always reading too far into stupid words. ”Now, I know you and Sal have been struggling with intimacy problems. According to Sal, you frequently have panic attacks and are unable to finish. Are these panic attacks persisting with Andre?”

“We’re working on it,” Imogen grumbled, not wanting to confirm it explicitly.

“How are you working on it if he doesn’t know why you have them?”

Dammit. Here comes the lecture. “Well, there’s this thing called a safe word. When I say it—“

“I know what it is. Do you think it’s a viable solution to your problem?”

The invisible speck of dust on Dr. Thorn’s glasses must have traveled across the room because Imogen couldn’t seem to get it out from under her nail.

“Do you know what I’m about to say?”

“That I have to tell him?”

Dr. Thorn nodded. “Don’t automatically assume he’ll reject you, Imogen. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Andre’s likely giving up a lot for you, which means he cares enough about you to stay. He may even appreciate knowing.”

“Or it might freak him the fuck out and send him running,” Imogen pointed out.

“I make no promises. And I’m not telling you to run right over and tell him—“

“Oh good, because I’m not.”

“—But you need to prepare yourself for it. So let’s go back. Andre is in a professional and sexual position of power over you, but there’s no romantic element here. Why exactly do you want to go against advice that seems to have helped you in order to give him a gift?”

Imogen pulled her legs up onto the seat so she could hug them. It had seemed so simple at the time; his family was coming up for Christmas so she had to give him something. It was impossible to shop for him—another tie he hated? A video game he designed? What the hell?—but a handmade blanket showed thoughtfulness and would spruce up his drab bedroom. Not that the Forest wasn’t nicely done, but it needed a centerpiece. A quilt was the perfect gift.

Thankfully, she was getting better at saying things. “Because I want to.”

Instead of cleaning his glasses this time, Dr. Thorn tapped his pen on his pad while he thought about it. “There are a lot of things I want to discuss with you before our time is up, so we’ll go more in-depth with this next time we meet—next week, right? Not next year?”

Imogen nodded.

“Good. So here’s my dime store psychology. You’ve made a huge leap here, so the small step back to quilting is okay. But you have to realize this is going to mean far more to you than it does to him.”

That was okay with Imogen. She was pretty sure this whole thing meant more to her than it did to him.


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