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Amateur

“Send the next one in please.”

The next girl interviewing for the job entered the room and walked, or I should say limped, over to my desk.

“Hello sir, my name is Angela Wilkins.”

“Have a seat Ms. Wilkins. My name is John Forrester. The job is as my secretary and personal assistant. Mrs. Hawks is leaving due to her husband being transferred. I need someone quickly, so if you have obligations beyond this week there is no need to interview.”

“I have no obligations. I lost my last job two weeks ago and could start immediately.”

“Under what circumstances did you lose that job and what was it?”

“I was a personal secretary to a pharmacy owner. When I wouldn’t go to bed with him he fired me.”

“Are you sure that that was the reason Ms. Wilkins?”

“That is what he told another worker there. He said that I was teasing him, but I didn’t do it intentionally. The other girl let him bed her and kept her job for a while. You must think I am spouting sour grapes. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”

The girl got up and started toward the door.

“Wait a minute miss. I haven’t terminated the interview just yet. I can guarantee that you will not be pressured to provide sexual favors here. Do you have a problem with your foot?”

“My limp is the result of a broken ankle healing improperly. There is not much that can be done about it, but I can get about okay. Do you mean that you would still hire me?”

“Yes I would, as long as you have the skills I require. I need someone who is very organized and able to work without supervision. My office is busy most of the time and I often have to spend much of the day elsewhere. Your resume says that you have taken business and bookkeeping courses with good results and that you have only had the one job since school. I also see that you put yourself through school while caring for a young child.”

“My daughter Meagan; she is six now and growing like a weed. My parents have done much of the work with her and I could not have done it without them. Unfortunately, Mom is very ill and I need a place with a day care facility such as this one has. I know that I am not as experienced as some applicants will be, but I have an incentive to do a good job.”

“I have to have someone quickly and everyone else that has applied has to give two weeks notice before they can start. I was out of town when I found out about this and now I am pressed for time. Can you be here tomorrow morning at seven?”

“Yes.”

“Then you have the job as long as you can do it. Be here tomorrow and Mrs. Hawks will show you what the duties are. I expect you to be dressed similarly to how you are now and learn quickly, she only has three days left.”

The next day started with Angela filling out the paperwork, to include setting it up for her daughter to be delivered to the office after school. Ellington Communications had determined several years ago that many young women were not working because they were unable to afford childcare. Ellington had set up childcare in the office building and took a percentage out of the workers wages similar to health care. The cost was minimal to the company and much less to the workers than any reputable service in town. The childcare had been an unqualified success and all offices in the building were participating. Jobs were hard enough to come by that the service could probably be discontinued, but the worker satisfaction it engendered for such a small price was incalculable.

Angela was surprised after working with the departing Mrs. Hawks for several hours to realize that the job was not too difficult as long as she paid attention. She also realized that her new boss, John Forrester, was not the midlevel executive he appeared to be. From all that Angela could see, he owned or was the CEO of Ellington Communications. The man listed as CEO, William Dent, was just a front man and had no actual power in the corporation. All true power went through this office. She was not sure why it was this way, but Angela was sure of it.

Angela caught on quickly and by Friday, she was doing the job with Mrs. Hawks observing.

“Angela, would you come in here please?”

“On my way Mr. Forrester.”

“Okay, Angela, the big question. Can you do this job and do you want to?”

“Would you answer a question for me first Mr. Forrester?”

“What is that Angela?”

“Why do you let Mr. Dent show as the CEO when you are running the business?”

“You saw through me, huh?”

“Easily I’m afraid to say. Do you own the company?”

“Yes, I do. Easily? Mrs. Hawks has been working for me for three years and she never twigged.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that sir. She probably just figured that you had your reasons and left it at that. What about Mr. Dent?”

“Bill is actually the best salesman we have. I couldn’t sell anything and until I hired him I was having a lot of trouble getting the company going. Having him listed as the CEO means that people who think pendik escort that they should have access to the boss don’t bother me, they get Bill and he deflects them, and usually sells them more stuff at the same time. I couldn’t run this place without him. And before you ask, Ellington was the name of the guy I bought the building from. Now, are you going to stay?”

“Yes, I believe I will. This job is very rewarding and I can do it. As long as you don’t lie to me or try to hide things from me that I need to know, I will do it.”

“If you think I am hiding something, please ask before getting upset. I may not even know that I am doing it. Welcome aboard Ms. Wilkins.”

The next couple of weeks passed quickly. Angela proved to be intelligent and insightful. She kept John on schedule and provided a sharp witty sense of humor to the flow of the day. A casual comment about the father of Angela’s daughter brought an unusual reaction. Angela would not actually comment on the father, but her obvious distress caused alarm bells to ring in John’s head. He quickly dropped the subject with Angela but did some research on the internet later. What he found disturbed him greatly.

Angela had been raped. He vaguely remembered the story now. She had been the subject of a police manhunt several years ago in Denver. Reading the stories brought it back to him. Angela had been taken from the street as she was returning home from a friend’s house. A dark car had pulled to the curb and two men had jumped out and grabbed her from the sidewalk. A neighbor had seen the abduction and called the police. The car proved to be stolen and was discovered later in a parking garage. No clue was found as to the child’s whereabouts or the identity of the abductors. She was 15 at the time. There were no leads or anything until a security guard at the same parking garage heard something from a car that had been left and discovered Angela’s bruised and broken body inside. She had been gone for 5 months and was emaciated and pregnant when found. Her rapists were never found. Angela was unable to supply much information as she had been held in a dark room and blindfolded when her captors wanted to use her. Her ankle had apparently been broken in the car door when she was abducted and just bandaged during her internment. Attempts were made to repair the damage, but resulted in limited mobility. Her parents would not allow her to have an abortion and moved away to an unknown area as soon as Angela was released from the hospital. John was surprised that they had not changed their name when they relocated. Now he knew why Angela did not want to discuss the child’s father and he kept his new knowledge to himself. The fact that Angela had moved on and was trying to build a life for herself and her daughter spoke volumes about her character.

Disaster struck three weeks after Angela started working at Ellington. She was called by a neighbor telling her that there were fire engines at her parent’s house.

“Mr. Forrester, may I speak with you please?”

“Certainly Angela, come on in.”

“Mr. Forrester, I have a problem. A neighbor just called me to say that there are fire trucks at my parent’s house and I cannot get through to them. May I leave to see what I can do?”

“Of course you may Angela. Do you have a way to get there? I know that your father usually drives you to work and picks you up.”

“No I don’t. I guess that I can get a cab or something.”

“Let me take you. Maybe I can help.”

When they got to the house, they saw that it was almost totally destroyed, including the garage and storage shed. The policeman they talked to said that it looked as if the fire started at the storage shed and quickly spread to the garage and then the house. Apparently, the fire started shortly after eight in the morning. No one had come out of the house. Angela said that when her father returned from taking her to work and Meagan to school, that he usually returned to bed for an hour or so before beginning his day. Her mother was bedridden and her father’s day was mostly taken up with caring for her. Her mother had been on oxygen and that seemed to have caused the fire to spread very rapidly.

Angela was devastated. Further questioning showed that she had no knowledge of her parent’s finances or insurance, or much of anything. The house had belonged to her grandparents who had passed away a few years ago. She knew of no other relatives in the area, there should be some of her mother’s people around somewhere; but Angela had had no contact with any of them. Her parents had been shielding her from inquiries about her ordeal.

The police offered to put Angela and Meagan up in a shelter for the night. She had no money and everything she owned was gone. There had only been one paycheck from Ellington so far and that had been given to her father. She had no bank account of her own and no access to her parent’s account. She and Meagan had been living in the garage apartment. sefaköy escort She had a driver’s license but no car. John offered to put them up until other arrangements could be made.

The next few days were a nightmare for Angela. Meagan cried for hours when she found out about her grandparents and Angela seemed to be in a daze. When she finally got access to her father’s bank account, she discovered that there were almost no savings and the insurance had lapsed on the house. All she was left with was the empty lot the house used to be on and what she had taken to work that day. John took her to Walmart for essential supplies for her and Meagan and was patient as the shattered woman tried to go on with her life. It was only a few days before she got back to work and started to pick up the pieces. The firefighters’ fund took care of the funerals and the city razed the property after the cause of the fire was determined to be oily rags in the storage shed.

One week after the fire, Angela asked John over dinner what she should do next.

“The first thing we need to do is to get you some transportation. After that we can see about more permanent housing. You and Meagan may stay here as long as you need to, but I am sure that you would like to have your own place.”

“I don’t know how I can thank you Mr. Forrester; you keep doing so much for us.”

“Here in the house, please call me John and you don’t have to do anything to thank me. I am glad that I can help.”

“Well, I think so. If nothing else, it will be good for you to have me out of the house so you can get back to dating. You haven’t had a date since we have been here.”

“Don’t worry about it Angela, I don’t date.”

“Why not John? You are a very handsome man and I am sure that most of the women at the office would be glad to go out with you, and they don’t even know that you own the company.”

“That fact is to remain a secret Angela. I would have to beat off the gold diggers with a bat if that were known. As it is I have to discourage way too many women.”

“Why do you discourage them John, are you gay?”

“No I am not gay; I just don’t want to get involved with a woman. I can see no benefits to being married. Now please drop that subject.”

“If you wish John; I don’t understand, but I don’t need to.”

Life went on. The next crisis was less than a week later.

“Mr. Forrester, you have a call on line one, your sister.”

“I don’t have a sister Angela. It must be a mistake or some kind of crank.”

“Okay sir, I’ll take care of it.”

She came into his office later and sat in the chair without asking.

“What was that about sir? Why did you lie to me?”

“What are you talking about Angela? How did I lie to you?”

“You are not the only one who can use the internet sir. Yes, I know that you know about me and Meagan, I know because you quit asking; no one quits asking that quickly. Plus you did not say anything when I mentioned your love life the other night. You already knew that the last thing I would want would be a dirty man pawing at me. Back to today; you do have a sister, Elizabeth Miller, and she is very sad. When I told her what you said, she cried. Then she asked me if you were seeing anyone and when I told her about our conversation, she cried harder and kept saying that she was sorry before she hung up. Now I need to know the story, at least to some extent, so that I can deal with her in the future.”

John sat there stunned; this girl was a lot sharper than he had given her credit for. Keeping her in the dark was no longer an option. How could he tell her without telling too much?

“Okay Angela, you’re right, I do have a sister. She said something to me when I was 17 that hurt me very deeply and I haven’t spoken to her since. When she calls again, and she will, tell her that I forgave her a long time ago. Tell her that I could not stay mad at her for telling me the truth, but my shame will not let me talk to her or see her. That is really all I wish to say on the subject for now. I have not bothered you about your ordeal because I did not wish to pry, please give the same consideration to me.”

“I will for now sir, because you have been so kind to me and Meagan. I will tell her what you said, but if she continues to call I will not lie to her.”

“Fair enough Angela; and I am sorry about lying to you, it has become a habit with my secretaries. None of the others bothered to check on it.”

“So you have been keeping away from her for what, seventeen years?”

“Yes, now that I think of it, it has been that long. If that has been taken care of for now, have you made the arrangements for the conference in Phoenix?”

“Yes sir, you are booked into the Radisson with Mr. Dent in the adjoining suite. They are expecting you to address them on the second day and several of the organizers are looking forward to talking about some of our new products. You and Mr. Dent should be silivri escort able to sell quite a bit in four days.”

“As I told you before, I don’t sell shit, Bill does all of that. I am there as a techno weenie for him to show off. I haven’t developed anything new for years, but I do know everything we sell. While I am gone, I will keep in touch via E-mail and phone. Oh, by the way, your new car will be in the garage tonight. It’s not really new, a 2002 Dodge Stratus should meet your needs pretty well though don’t you think?”

“Mr. Forrester, I did not give you enough money to buy that nice a car. You said that you would be sure that I got a good deal, not that you were going to buy it for me. I can’t pay back that much.”

“You don’t have to pay back anything Angela. You said that you wanted to sell the lot your parent’s house was on, so I bought it and put a little of the money into getting you a good dependable car.”

“I don’t know how to thank you sir.”

“Just keep on doing the good job you have been doing and that will be thanks enough. Have you found any apartments in the area?”

“Josie down in childcare says that there are some units becoming available in her complex, but it may be another month or more until they are ready. I really like her complex because it is the only one that I can afford that has full time security. I am sure that you understand why I want that for Meagan.”

“Yes, I do. That will be fine Angela, let me know when you are ready so I can help. Is there anything else for now?”

“No sir, that does it for the day. I’ll go down and get Meagan and meet you in the garage.”

When John got back from the conference he was fuming. The whole four days he had been fighting off women trying to get into bed with him. Even the fake wedding ring did no good because they all knew that he wasn’t married from the program. If this kept up he would have to stop going to conferences. Bill Dent didn’t help any by having at least one woman in his room every night. John hoped his wife was alright with it, but he had never asked her or really ever even spoken to her. Pamela Dent was a very assertive woman who did not deal well with shy retiring people like John.

Sitting at breakfast the next day watching Angela deal with Meagan gave him an idea. He thought about it and all the pro’s and cons for hours. He barely was able to respond to questions all morning

After lunch, Angela finally cornered him in his office.

“Okay Mr. Forrester, what is bothering you? You have barely been here all morning and we have quite a bit of work to do today. If you don’t get with it we may be here all night.”

John looked up at her and asked, “Angela, have you considered getting married?”

“What has that got to do with anything? You know how I feel about men, or at least you should know. The answer is no, I have no plans to ever get married. The very thought of sharing my bed with a man makes me ill.”

“Have you thought about women, taking a female lover?”

“Any thought of sex brings pain and shame. I don’t want to do any of it. Now why are you asking me this?”

“Would you be willing to marry me if I promise not to try to have sex with you?”

“Marry you? Why would you want to marry me? Are you hoping to get to Meagan, is that why you don’t want women, you like little girls?”

“NO!! Not that! I don’t want sex at all, just like you. I have been having a lot of trouble keeping women away and I will have an excuse if I am married. That is all. The gays call it a beard. I would take care of you and Meagan without asking anything in return except that you stay with me and provide me with a ready-made family to keep the wolves and gold diggers away. I would provide college money for Meagan and also for you if you want to continue with school. You would keep the rooms you are staying in now and would not have to have any more contact with me than you do now. I can adopt Meagan if you wish and make her my heir. I will never have one otherwise. I just keep thinking that we are a perfect match that way. I don’t love you, but I do have a high level of respect for you.”

“You are serious. You hate women so much that you would enter into a loveless marriage just to spite them.”

“I don’t hate women per say, I just don’t want to have a sexual relationship with one.”

“I have to think about this, and I would definitely have to talk to Meagan about it.”

“Of course Angela, I would not expect any less from you.”

Angela went back to her desk and sat and thought for about an hour. She then went down to the daycare facility where Meagan had just arrived from school. They talked for almost an hour before Angela returned to the office.

“Mr. Forrester, do you have time to talk?”

“Yes Angela, come on in.”

Angela entered the office, hesitantly for the first time in a while. “Did you mean everything you said before; that we would be married but without the sex?”

“Yes I did Angela. The more I think about it the better I like the idea; heck, we wouldn’t even have to move you in. I would just make sure that you and Meagan are better cared for. You would want for nothing.”

“Well, I have been thinking about it, and I have some conditions before I will say yes. I know this may be

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