©Maureen Radoncic, Artist
©Maureen Radoncic, Artist
“Please, please, please,” Katie pleads, inches away, her hands crumpled together in the cutest desperation, “Please, it’s just one day. One day. You’re a big strong man who can do that.” He looks away from his screen, at her, for the first time, so she rewards him with an open smile, revealing rows of whine and sharp teeth, “It’s just one day. Please. I’d be so grateful. I’d owe you; I’d so totally owe you!”
Subtle and sexy, the white blossom in her hair glows celestial, a promise of what heaven should be. And its scent is warm, but that could be her shampoo, and that pulls him closer to an answer. “Do you want to see me beg? I’ll do it, right here, right now. I’d get on me knees and let all our coworkers see me on my hands and knees in front of you asking for this one little, tiny, itsy bitsy favor. I’m that desperate. Do you really want to see me humiliate myself like that?” She’s laughing, and the image intoxicates, but he’s not seeing her as she laughs, begs, and pleads.
He imagines his hand touching her cheek, his fingers sliding up her temples, through her warm red-brown hair, discovering the electricity that’d sizzle down his arm. He’d touch the flower, touch her skin. Then he’d stand and pull her close, pressing their bodies together in a kiss.
Surprised, she’d pull away until she was lost in the heat of his body, the strength of his arms, the solidity of his chest, shoulders. Hungry, she’d get frenzied for the taste of his lips, the feel of his skin, the scent of his hair and everything else that’d make her need him too. But he’d force her to go slow; holding her wrists, he’d lower her to the floor, his body on hers, then he’d let her explore, squirming and pressing into him. She’d kiss him, and look up at him: “Please?” as he stares down at her.
So he leans down, slowly, making her wait as he pulls the flower from her hair, setting it aside and, forcing her to endure anxiety and anticipation until his lips are against hers, his hands reaching down her denim skirt.
“Please?” Katie asks in real life. She falls to one knee, her light arms braced against his office chair. She looks up at him with emerald eyes that shine. Almost trapped in fantasy, yes is the only answer.
He nods and he can smell her hair, the flower, tropical with sugar and promise. Jumping up and down, excited and clapping and she wraps her arms around him and says thank you, thank you, thank you! “This’ll mean so much to me and Mark!”
The section manager calls it an open forum where we can discuss this important issue. It’s a safe environment, a place where we can feel protected and secure, where we can be respectfully honest with one another. Twenty employees, graphic designers and editors, wrapped around a faux wood conference table to talk about sexual harassment. We’re here for the meeting that our boss calls a forum, but everyone knows it’s a public flogging.
With a glance at Richard, our manager asks if he’d like to start. That’s what he gets for whistling at a coworker on the street during lunch. He says that he is honored every day to work with us and that he always tries to be diligent to avoid anything that could be offensive. Then he says he’s human and apologizes to everyone without looking at Becky. Every word is clear and concise, what you’d expect from a Toast Master. But I’m not listening.
Her blond hair’s tied back with a white bow and I’m thinking about pulling it free, about watching her hair fall over her shoulders, pulling her close. With her pale pink blouse pulled tight over her breasts, a pastel highlight around her waist, her stomach and shoulders, I’d grab her, hold her close. I’d feel the cool plastic of the white buttons, my hand gliding down that shining silk, down her waist to the smooth fabric of the black skirt she wears to work, its edges stretching for her knees. I’d hold her, my lips against hers, my palms against the flames of her hips. She’d gasp my name and smile up at me when I slid my hands up the dark of her skirt.
Becky tells everyone that she respects us for what we do and how much she likes working with us. Then she reminds us that we need to be mindful of other people’s feelings. Certain comments aren’t appropriate; they can be offensive. They can be hurtful. She says hurtful and I think about her gasping, her lips parted to say my name somewhere in the dark.
It’s my turn to agree with Becky, and I think about her buttons beneath my fingers.
BIO: JEREMY TRIMBLE recently graduated with his MA in English. Part editor, part philosopher, part teacher, part poet, he's all writer. He loves fantasy and romance. He's not sure there's a difference between the two. Youmay see more of his work here!
Flower Chains: This piece was written to illustrate how much power a person can have without even knowing it.
Office Appropriate: I wrote this work after noticing that while there are strict regulations regarding interpersonal interactions at my office, some of the younger employees still made some rather provocative and enticing choices with their attire.