I feel fingertips lightly touching my brow following its contour down its curve to the hollow of my temple then across my cheekbone. It feels comforting and I snuggle into the unfamiliar touch until it somehow penetrates through the fog of my unconscious state. I jerk awake with the suddenness of a combat veteran prepared to defend his life but the hand that had been so softly caressing me was now restraining me. Holding me in place. Keeping me from rising from my prone position.
“Easy, Kate. Easy.” murmured Steve while holding me firmly in place as my panic had me looking around trying to determine just where I was and what happened.
We were still in the conference room and I was draped across Steve’s lap. He is not a small man but rather tall six foot two with a husky build, so my five foot five frame fit comfortably across his lap. The conference room had acquired a small leather sofa and my legs were stretched out across its length while the top half of me was cradled in Steve’s arms and against his chest.
I tried to get up again but Steve kept a firm hold, “Let me up.” I demanded.
“Take it easy Kate. I’m not letting you up until I’m sure you aren’t going to pass out on me again.”
“I’m not. Please, let me go. Someone might come in.” I pleaded. I refused to think about how his touch had made me feel in my semi-conscious state.
“No one will come in. Everyone left long before our meeting with the client was over. It lasted longer than we expected.”
“They left?” I was still feeling weak, hearing there were no others in the office, I allowed myself to relax. Telling myself I was only doing so in order for Steve to see I was okay.
“Yes. When I saw how late it was getting and we still had a lot to cover, I sent a text to my assistant and told her everyone could go home and that I would lock up on my way out.”
In my struggles a lock of hair had fallen across my brow. Steve lifted his restraining hand, tucking the lock of hair behind my ear. Goosebumps rose on my flesh at his touch while my brain tucked it all away in a dark corner refusing to acknowledge how it made me feel. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t let it.
“Well, I’m fine. See?” As I lifted my head, without any apparent dizziness or weakness.
He let me sit up but slowly. Then watched as I stood. “Are you sure you are all right?” Steve’s tone was worried.
“Yes, I’m fine.” I looked at the clock and seeing the time, I pretended to be running late for a dinner date. “Oh, wow, I have to go. I’m supposed to meet a friend in fifteen minutes and it will take that long to get to the restaurant.”
Steve watched as I walked out of the conference room. I rushed to my desk, shut down my computer, and quickly gathered my things. Just as I was leaving the office, Steve caught up to me and walked with me out of the office, all the way to my car. His car was only parked a couple spaces from mine. I saw him watching me until I pulled out of the parking stall and headed on my way home.
Inside the car, I breathed a sigh of relief. I couldn’t, wouldn’t let him know how his touch had effected me. Nothing could ever happen between the two of us. If it did, it would be the end of one of our careers. Most likely mine. I drove home and slipped inside. It would be my usual Friday night of watching movies, or reading.
Okay, so it didn’t end up being a typical Friday night for me. I got on my computer and checked out a couple of dating sites. I posted a profile on a couple of them and then decided to check out a chatroom. I had been going into one on occasion but I didn’t chat. I was too frightened to, even in the main lobby. I had gotten a few requests for a private chat but I ignored them.
Finally, after the way the day had gone for me at work, something broke loose inside of me. When I received a private chat request, I accepted it. Just accepting it send a hot rush through my body. I felt my breathing quicken and an energy shoot through my body. I felt afraid. Or was it excitement?
At first the conversation centered around descriptive questions, like how old, gender, race, and eventually to a general location, to eventually, hair and eye coloring, height and weight. Then into likes and dislikes. This all eased my fear and helped me to think this wasn’t so bad and what had I been so afraid of and soon we were conversing about all sorts of things. Slowly the conversation moved into a more personal level of sexual orientation and then we would have a good laugh about describing our personal preferences or what we hated about people we dated or how awful they were in bed, and so on until it wound around to him leading into what he would like to do with me.
I had allowed it. After all he didn’t know me, we never exchanged pictures. He lived half way across the continent from me. And to be honest, some of what he said sounded so wonderful, I let my imagination go. It quickly became obvious that as much as he wanted me to masturbate while he talked about all the sexual things he wanted to do, it was too difficult to do so and type my responses, so I learned to pretend and lie. It was a totally weird experience but one which had my adrenaline pumping.
The next night I found myself online again, in the same chatroom and the next thing I knew he requested another private chat. I accepted and in no time at all we were back at it and I began to be more creative in my responses.
It became addictive. Before I knew it I was chatting with three men at the same time. My heart was racing, and my libido was having a rather good time of it. And after the chats with the men, and signing off for the night, I went to my room and let my fingers relive some of the moments and pretending I was a lone woman having sex with three men. I did things with them in my mind, I had never done in real life.
I thought about all three men looking at me, watching me undress, feeling their eyes on me. It was thrilling. It was so totally taboo from the morals and standards I was taught growing up.
Each night when signing on, I knew the men would be there and I could feel myself becoming wet in anticipation of the evening. And before I knew it, our chats became nothing more than a wam-bam-thank-you-mam session. They came in, jumped right in, and as soon as they got off, they were literally offline within moments. With barely even a thank you. There was no sharing or discussions of other topics. I started feeling used. I started seeing myself as an object no different than the fake pussies I read about which men can use to help them masturbate.
Before long I stopped going to that chatroom and I went to others, ones which had names that implied discussions were about other safer topics. However, no matter what chatroom I went to, it was the same thing. Depression hit and I stepped away from my computer. I left it to gather dust.
I returned to my sexual fantasies about Steve. I watched him at work. I sat through conferences with clients, with other employees while fantasizing about him and remembering his touch. Then one day, he called us all into a meeting. He announced that one of the other leaders in the company was retiring and they wanted him to take over his role. They had decided upon his replacement and for the next couple of months he would be training his replacement and working to learn his new responsibilities.
My world was falling apart. I felt his eyes upon me when he announced his transfer. He would no longer be here where I could see him every day. But even worse, I had come to rely on him being there in our client meetings giving me the support I needed and the courage to continue to present the data I collected. I would still find myself exhausted and crashing after those meetings but his presence helped me to keep it together until I was home. No one, not even Steve knew how badly I reacted to those presentations. I didn’t understand it and I wasn’t able to control it other than to keep myself together until I could be alone. Then the trembling would start and it would feel like I was about to jump out of my skin.
At the end of the meeting, I stood to leave. I was about to join the exodus of people when Steve called to me. I turned and looked at him. I was unable to smile or act happy about his promotion. Inside, I felt sick. Once everyone had left, he stepped over and closed the door.
“Kate. I can see you aren’t happy about this.”
I stood rooted to the spot where I stood and said nothing.
“You’ll see. This will be good for both of us. You are doing great with the presentations. I have already suggested they create a position to split my responsibilities. You already know most of them having filled in for me when I’ve been on vacation. Between you and Carl this department will run even better than it did when it was completely under my leadership. The other leaders have approved my suggestion. I just couldn’t announce it to everyone yet, not until we have it all worked out with Carl.” Steve had reached out putting his hand on my shoulder, and as he spoke he was rubbing it soothingly up and down the upper part of my arm. Then he repeated, “You’ll see. It will be good for us both.” as he looked me in the eyes. I didn’t want to believe there was anything more behind what he said than a professional concern for us both.
I left without saying a word and feeling devastated. I couldn’t see how this would be good for either one of us. To not see him every day. To not hear his voice every day. And the few times he had touched me to not have that possibility ever again was ripping me apart. I walked around the office in a daze.
That night I went home, logged onto my dusty computer, entered the chatroom, and let myself drown in session after session with different men, pretending to enjoy myself, pretending to play their sexual games, until it was almost 3 a.m. and I decided to try and get some sleep.
I tossed and turned. I knew I would be in bad shape for work the next day and I had a presentation to give to a client. Luckily it wouldn’t be until the end of the day, maybe I could get a nap at lunch.
Nothing went right. I was exhausted. Luckily I had finished the presentation a few days ago and had everything all ready. Lunch came and went with demands from work and I ended up eating at my desk. I saw Steve walk past several times. Felt his eyes look into my cubicle at me, but I refused to look at him. I had to get over this obsession with him.
Finally, the time came to give the presentation. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to focus on it but I did. I knew from the look on Steve’s face that he could see I was not my usual self. I still found myself being pulled into the numbers, into the data, and becoming consumed by it. I still had no perception of how others saw me. These were the same three men who had been present the first time I had ever given a presentation and though I could still feel their eyes upon me and recognized their nods of approval and look of appreciation, it did not effect me in the same way it had that first day. Every time I looked at Steve, I saw confusion and concern in his eyes. I worked harder, I dove into the material with an almost manic drive.
I answered question after question until I thought I would scream at all of them to leave. And when they did, I practically ran from the room, ignoring my boss when he called to me. It was the end of my work day, so I picked up my things. When Steve tried to stop me, I mumbled something about having an appointment I needed to get to and he let me go. I could feel his eyes on me the whole way until I entered the elevator and turned around. He still stood there looking at me. Did I see confusion and hurt in his eyes? Confusion maybe, but hurt? No, it couldn’t be. I had to be imagining it.
At home, I looked at my computer, and turned my back on it. Then it began, as it always began after a presentation. I started crashing. My body started trembling uncontrollably. And this time the tears came unbidden. This was the first time for the tears and no matter how hard I tried to stop them, I couldn’t. My world was crashing in on me and I couldn’t stop it.
Then I heard the ring of my doorbell.