It was my first day on the job, the first day of my year in industry for my degree course and, though it may seem strange, I knew no-one in the company, the job had been arranged by the college. All I knew was the company was a publishing house, I had to report to a Mrs. Fenner and that I was to be working as an editors assistant, my course tutor in 'Reporting' had said that the job would be an eye opener, I hadn't understood the wink he gave when he made the comment. So here I was at the address I'd been given, I was two hours early and the reception was locked, there wasn't even a security guard in sight and I wondered how long I'd have to wait for some-one to come along. An hour later I was relieved to see a body moving around through the tinted glass of the doors, tentatively I rang the bell, there was a rattle followed by a click and a rattle then the door swung open.
"Yes?" a rather dishy female of about twenty-five asked.
"Uh," I faltered, "I'm starting work here today and am supposed to report to Mrs. Fenner."
"I see," she smiled "you'd better come in."
I followed her into the reception, to my surprise there were no pictures or covers on the walls that would give a clue to the type of publications the company did, but I had to admit that the reception was made up to relax a person. The woman went behind a glass topped, fronted and sided reception desk, opened a book, read an entry and looked at me.
"Your name?" she asked.
"Andrew West." I replied moving closer to the desk.
"Well Andrew," she grinned, "I am Candy, as you can see I work on reception."
"Pleased to meet you." I smiled a little shyly.
"You certainly are eager," Candy said with a grin "how long were you waiting out there?"
"Ahum, an hour." I coughed.
She laughed and picked up something from the desk that she held out to me, it was a badge, which read 'STAFF', taking it, I clipped it to my jacket pocket.
"I hope you don't mind me asking," I said nervously "but what does the company publish?"
"You really don't know?" Candy said in a surprised tone.
"Uh, no." I muttered, "You see, the college made all the arrangements."
"Well I won't spoil it for you," she laughed "Caroline, Mrs. Fenner that is, will explain it all to you."
None the wiser I sat in one of the comfortable chairs and waited, I must admit that the wait was not unpleasant as the chairs were all positioned so that they faced the glass reception desk, the view of Candy's stockinged legs was enough to make time pass unnoticed, especially to an eighteen year old virgin like me. About half an hour passed and people began to walk through reception, a high proportion of them were female, but this didn't strike me as odd in any way, each of them greeted Candy in a cheery, friendly way, it seemed that everyone was happy to work here. Just before nine a very attractive woman in her mid-thirties walked into the reception, said a cheerful good-morning to Candy and looked across at me.
"Are you our new boy, Andrew West?" the woman asked with a charming smile.
"Uh, yes." I replied getting to my feet.
"A pleasure to meet you." the woman smiled even wider "I am Caroline Fenner, but call me Caroline, you'll find we are all very informal here."
Candy stifled a laugh which puzzled me, Mrs. Fenner, Caroline, looked at Candy in puzzlement, Candy whispered something and Caroline laughed.
"Candy tells me you don't know what we publish, is that right?" Caroline asked me.
"Well, yes." I replied defensively "The college made all the arrangements, but they didn't tell me anything about the company."
"You'd better come along with me," Caroline grinned "I'll give you the guided tour on the way to my office then I'll explain what we do over a cup of coffee. Candy, can you arrange for a name badge to be at my office in say twenty minutes."
"Will do Caroline." Candy smiled "I'll see you later Andy."
Like a puppy dog I followed Caroline into the heart of the building and along a corridor, she pointed out the canteen, the staff shop and gym before stopping at a pair of lifts. From the outside I knew that there was four floors to the building including the ground floor, when the lift came Caroline pressed the 'B' for basement, the doors closed and the lift smoothly descended.
"This," Caroline said loudly as we stepped out of the lift "is our on site printing area, we have two other sites solely devoted to printing our publications. Most of the operation is computer controlled so we only have seven people down here, you'll meet them all later I'm sure."
She stepped back into the lift with me right behind her, this time she pressed for the 1st floor, the lift ascended smoothly and the doors opened onto a bright, cheerful corridor with doors along its length.
"This floor and the one above contain our studios" Caroline said as we stepped out of the lift "where we do all our interior photography, each studio has it's own facilities like changing room and bathroom. Let's have a quick look in studio 4, it should be unoccupied at the moment."
She led the way to a door about half way along the corridor and walked into the studio, I suppose it was like any other professional studio, lots of lights, cables all over the place, cameras, fake scenery and props. There wasn't really a lot to see, though I was puzzled by one or two things, like the main prop and scenery seeming to be a bedroom set, there being video as well as still cameras and, most puzzling, the array of whips and chains and handcuffs. The changing room was large and airy, one wall was taken up by a closet containing various skimpy costumes, some so skimpy that they couldn't really be classified as clothing, still following Caroline I looked in the bathroom, it was large and to my surprise was fitted out with photographic lights.
"Well" Caroline asked as we walked back to the lift "what do you think?"
"Impressive," I replied, "how many studios are there?"
"Eight," she smiled "four per floor. The rest of the space on these two floors is taken up by photographic developing labs, editing and viewing rooms, but they are all in use at the moment so you'll have to see them later."
The lift doors opened and we stepped in; Caroline pressed the button for the 3rd and last floor, the doors closed and the lift hummed upwards.
"These are the offices," Caroline said as we stepped from the lift into an open plan area in which half-screens formed individual cubicles "though none of us tend to spend a lot of time here. Morning Lisa, this is Andrew West, our new boy."
Just by the lift was another reception desk, like the one downstairs it was made entirely of glass and the girl sitting behind it was just as pretty as Candy had been. She smiled at me and looked me up and down suggestively.
"Very pleased to meet you," Lisa grinned "hope I'll be seeing a lot more of you."
"Uh, likewise." I smiled hesitantly.
"Down Lisa," Caroline laughed as she moved on "give the poor sod a chance to settle in."
Blushing I hurried after Caroline, so far I had learnt nothing about the type of publications the company produced, but whatever they were seemed to involve a lot of pictures. As we passed each cubicle Caroline greeted the occupant and introduced me, my head was awhirl with names by the time we got to Caroline's office, but I knew that these would sort themselves out in time. We entered an outer office in which a very pretty secretary sat at yet another glass desk; a couple of things I had noticed in the tour was that all the female staff were attractive and that the furnishings allowed little privacy.
"Mitsy this is Andrew West," Caroline said to the girl behind the desk "he's just starting today, Andrew this is my secretary Mitsy."
"Pleased to meet you." I smiled at her.
"Likewise." she grinned back "This is for you."
She handed me a tag on which was neatly printed my name, the lettering was large enough to be read from a distance, feeling unaccountably clumsy I took off the tag I was wearing and replaced it with the new one.
"Could you get us some coffee Mitsy," Caroline said, "we'll be in my office."
"Sure thing Caroline." Mitsy replied.
We went into the inner office where Caroline indicated that I should sit down; sitting in the indicated chair I waited for Caroline to enlighten me about the company's publications. She put her handbag in a filing cabinet and sat behind her glass desk, her dress riding up to show off most of her legs, swallowing to calm myself I raised my eyes above the desk.
"Well then," Caroline said leaning back in her chair "the time has come to tell you what we publish."
I mumbled a reply while at the same time trying to get my eyes to focus somewhere other than on her tiny knickers. Thankfully Mitsy appearing with the coffee, it gave me a few moments in which to regain my somewhat shaky composure, interrupted us. Taking my coffee I thanked Mitsy and turned my attention to Caroline's face.
"The company," Caroline continued as Mitsy left the room "publish a half-dozen monthly magazines and three quarterly magazines, if you look in the cabinet over there you will see last months issues of each one."
I put my coffee on the desk, rose and went over to the cabinet she had pointed out, opening it I reached inside and pulled out the glossy magazines inside. My heart did a flip-flop, my pulse rate rose and I breathed in sharply, every one of the magazines was sex oriented and very graphically so, blushing I put the magazines back in the cupboard, closed it and made my way back to my chair.
"You seem embarrassed." Caroline commented softly "I hope you don't disapprove of what we do."
"It's, ahum," I coughed "it's not that, it's just that, well, uh, I'm, well, that is, I am very shy."
"I bet you are still a virgin." Caroline laughed, and then said in surprise "My god you are!"
Blushing a deep crimson I hung my head and wondered what was going to happen, probably I would be told I was unsuitable for their requirements, somebody at the college had pulled a real practical joke at my expense.
"I'm sorry," Caroline said softly "I didn't mean to embarrass you like that, but it was such a surprise."
I looked up as she spoke, surprised at how kindly she was speaking.
"I get the impression somebody has tried making you the butt of a joke," she went on "never mind, let's see if you can't have the last laugh. Now then Andrew, do you think you could handle working here?"
"I don't know," I replied nervously "but I am willing to try."
"You can't say more than that." Caroline smiled "Well, your duties will be to act as my assistant, basically that means you will do the jobs I assign you. To be honest the work isn't that hard, but it is interesting. You'll have an office next door to mine and Mitsy will act as your secretary as well as mine, most of what I do is concerned with ensuring the smooth running of the building, the title of 'Editor' is very misleading, but it sounds better than 'General Manager' though not as impressive. A lot of my time is spent wandering around the place talking with the staff, keeping an eye on the photo-shoots and the like, you'll join me in this, the rest of the time is spent with paperwork and publication planning meetings, again you will join me in these activities, I feel sure that you will pick up the gist of the job fairly quickly."
I wasn't so sure myself, my shyness had always been a major obstacle in my life, how I was going to cope with working in the soft porn industry only God alone knew. Nevertheless I decided that I would give it my best effort, Caroline had been so understanding and I felt that not to try would be to let her down in some way.
"I'll do my best," I said after a deep breath "only I hope my best will be good enough."
"I'm sure it will," Caroline laughed "and don't worry about being shy, if you can stay that way longer than a few days here then you need professional help, in which case I know just who to send you to."
"You mean..." I faltered.
"Look Andrew," she smiled "I understand how you feel, I was a shrinking violet myself once upon a time, believe it or not, this place brought me a new outlook and a new lease on life. I'll have a quiet word with Mitsy and she'll spread the word, you'll find that the rest of the staff will help you along."
I didn't know what to say to thank her so I stayed silent, Caroline buzzed Mitsy and instructed her to show me my office and then come back to see her. Mitsy was waiting for me as I left Caroline's office, she showed me the door that led to my office, it was, as was only to be expected, smaller than Caroline's, but it was still spacious and bright. On the obligatory glass desk sat an intercom, a telephone a writing pad and a pen set, two filing cabinets and a cupboard rested along one wall while a sofa and two easy chairs occupied the wall facing the desk.
"Here we are then," Mitsy said, "you settle yourself in while I see what Caroline wants."
I had a good idea what Caroline wanted, but I managed to thank Mitsy without blushing and as she left I sat myself behind the desk and looked through it at my legs, sighing I stood up and went to the first of the filing cabinets, I had expected it to be empty, instead I found a number of reports and memo's neatly placed in folders. Taking the first of the folders I went back to my desk and began reading, within minutes I was engrossed as I read the file, reaching out I picked up the writing pad and a pen and took notes. One by one I read the dozen or so files that I found in the cabinets, they weren't large, but they certainly were interesting and concerned the day to day running of the company and the problems involved with arranging photo-sessions. By the time I put the last file back in it's place I had about ten pages of notes and the time was just after twelve, I was surprised that I had been undisturbed, but also thankful for the time I'd spent studying the paperwork had calmed me no end. Rising from the desk I went to the door and jumped back slightly as it swung open, Mitsy's head appeared round the edge of the door.
"I was just going to ask you if you would like to join me for lunch in the canteen." she smiled "I did look in earlier to ask if you wanted some coffee, but you were engrossed so I thought I'd leave you in peace."
"Lunch sounds fine," I replied "and now you mention it I do feel quite peckish, but I insist on paying."
"No need," she laughed, "the canteen is free. Come on then."
She took my arm as I walked out of the office and guided me down to the canteen gaily chatting away about herself, the company and anything else that she could think of, even if I hadn't been shy I would have found it hard to get a word in with Mitsy. When we got to the canteen I was surprised to see how full it was, yet it didn't give the impression of being crowded, people were chatting away, filling the air with sound and laughter and as we crossed the room to the counter Mitsy yelled out greetings to almost everyone in sight. I was surprised to find that the place was not self-service and that there was a range of items to choose from, I chose fish in sauce with chips and peas, Mitsy chose a salad with a slice of cheesecake for dessert and together we found a table. The food was good, which was even more surprising, and I enjoyed every mouthful, while we ate Mitsy kept up a constant stream of chatter that seemed to in no way interfere with her eating.
"Oh dear," Mitsy said a while later "I haven't let you get a word in. I really do natter on don't I."
"I don't mind," I grinned, "I never know what to say any way, especially to pretty girls."
Goodness knows why I added the comment about pretty girls, it wasn't normally something I would say, but I felt so relaxed that it just slipped out. Blushing I opened my mouth to apologise to Mitsy, but I never got the chance.
"Why thank you Andrew," she beamed "it is so nice to hear a genuine compliment."
Flabbergasted I shut my mouth and smiled weakly, it seemed my slip had been the right thing to say, for me that made a hell of a change.
"Would you like to see the gym?" Mitsy asked.
"Uh, yes, that would be nice." I replied.
Once again she took my arm as we left the table, I smiled and nodded at the people we passed while Mitsy kept up a constant chatter as before. The gym was well equipped with weights, exercise machines, mats and the like, I'm no great athlete, but I did like to work-out at least once a week, this looked like the ideal place to do it.
"Nice isn't it." Mitsy grinned waving her hand at the gym.
"Very." I replied, "I must bring my kit in."
"Perhaps we can workout together." she laughed suggestively.
"That would be nice." I replied cautiously.
"Don't worry," Mitsy laughed at my tone "I don't bite, well not often anyway."
I had to laugh at her comment and in doing so relaxed, perhaps what Caroline had said was correct, working in the company would help to cure my shyness.
"By the way," Mitsy said as we made our way back to the lifts "there's a planning meeting scheduled this afternoon, Caroline would like you to sit in on it with her."
"Uh, fine," I responded, "what time is it."
"Two thirty," came the reply "I'll come and fetch you in good time."
"Thanks." I smiled.
Soon I was back in my office waiting nervously for the summons to the planning meeting, I hadn't expected to be thrown in at the deep end so quickly and I hoped I would only be expected to observe. Just before two thirty Mitsy popped in. picking up a pen and the writing pad I followed her to a comfortably furnished room that was more like a living room than a meeting room. Caroline was already there along with a half dozen other people, mostly females, but with a few men here and there, Caroline smiled as I entered the room and patted a chair beside her, crossing the room I sat in the indicated place.
"Okay," Caroline said loudly a few minutes later "shall we get this show on the road."
People took their places and the meeting got under way, across the room I could see Mitsy ready to take notes.
"Firstly I'd like to introduce our newest member," Caroline said "this is Andrew West, he's acting as my assistant."
I took her cue, stood up, and nodded to the gathering receiving a smile and a greeting from each of them.
"Now then, Andrew is a little shy," she said to my surprise "so I want you all to help him to settle in. Now on to business, the layout for everything but Candid seems fine, I'm a little concerned that we may be a little too serious in our approach in Candid. Comments?"
There were plenty of comments, everyone seemed to have their own idea on how the magazine Candid should be put together, while the discussion raged around me I flicked through a pre-publication copy of the mag and was immediately struck at how matter-of-factly it was laid out, more like a text book. It seemed to me that a few cartoons in the headings and perhaps a couple of lighter articles would improve the thing immensely, the room fell silent and I looked up in surprise, everyone was looking at me and I suddenly felt nervous.
"You've been looking through the magazine Andrew," Caroline said gently "what do you think?"
"Uh, well," I said licking my lips nervously "the first thing that struck me is that it seems so dry, like a text book. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I gain the impression that Candid is meant to be an informative publication."
"You are essentially correct." a man I had heard called Martin replied.
"That being the case" I went on "the first thing to do is to grab the reader's interest. I haven't had time to read the articles, but the headings give no clue to the content, I would have thought that they should."
"Hmm," Caroline commented, "go on Andrew."
"Well," I shuffled in my chair "it did occur to me that a cartoon or a picture or the like beside the title would perhaps attract the reader's eye. The article could also be broken up in the same way so it isn't just lines of text. Certain points could be emphasized by either changing the print style or colour."
"Anything else?" Caroline encouraged me.
"It occurred to me that a few lighter articles, more humorously written, would make the reading easier and more enjoyable." I responded.
I fell silent and looked around the room, feeling very self-conscious I looked at Caroline; she smiled at me then addressed the others.
"Four very interesting and excellent points," she said, "one of the major complaints we've had from our dwindling number of readers is how serious Candid was. Martin, Grace and Linda, I'd like you to do a layout based on Andrew's ideas, don't go over the top, but see if a few changes will brighten up the magazine. Let Andrew have your revised draft edition as soon as you can. Okay let's move on to the planned photo-sessions for next month."
Relieved at not having to contribute further to the discussions yet shocked at the thought that I was going to have to pass judgement on work done by more experienced people I sat back and listened to the rest of the meeting. At four the meeting came to an end, rising with the others I prepared to make a dash to my office, however it was not to be, first the three that had been assigned the task of revamping Candid came over and congratulated me on my constructive suggestions. After them the others came over in ones and two's and wished me well, soon only Caroline, Mitsy and I were left in the room and I was feeling a lot better.
"Well done Andrew." Caroline smiled as we walked out of the meeting room together "It looks as though you are going to be just fine. Come into my office and we'll talk about your first day."
A little nervous I went into her office and sat in one of the chairs, to my surprise she sat beside me in another chair, Mitsy came in and Caroline ordered coffee.
"So how do you feel now?" Caroline asked as we sipped our coffee.
"A lot less nervous than I did this morning." I replied.
"That's good." she smiled "Mitsy tells me you spent the morning studying the files I left in your cabinets, it's good to see you take an interest like that. Anyway, you did well at the meeting; your ideas were not only simple but also workable and inexpensive. There's little more to do today, but tomorrow I want you to join me at a photo-session then I want your help with some paperwork. I'll get Mitsy to dig out some back-issues, you can study them tonight and get a better idea of what we do."
We finished our coffee and I went back to my office, Mitsy smiled at me as I passed through her office, ten minutes later she came in with a box of magazines.
"Caroline said you should have a look at these." Mitsy grinned putting the box on my desk "Have fun with them."
At five I picked up the box and stepped out of my office, Mitsy was just leaving with Caroline and I joined them in the lift, as we left the building I wished them a goodnight and went off to catch my bus home.
That evening, after dinner, I settled down on my sofa and began to read through the thirty or so magazines in the box, it was the most pleasurable home-work I'd ever had, but at the same time it left me feeling frustrated. Most of the articles were exciting in one way or another and the pictures were a real turn-on, what I found most interesting though were the readers letters, most of which seemed more like fantasies than real events. At about midnight I went to bed and dreamt of naked women, when I woke there was a damp patch on the bed, wet dreams were the nearest I ever came to sex. Quickly I changed the sheets, showered and dressed for the day ahead, after a quick breakfast I took up the box and my gym kit and left for work.
Once again I arrived early, this time by only an hour, Candy arrived only minutes after me and greeted me cheerily. The first thing I did was to take the box up to my office where I dumped it, and then I went down to the gym, changed and started a gentle workout.
"Hello Andrew." a voice said as I was in the middle of a set of bench presses.
Looking in the direction of the voice I nearly dropped the weights I was holding, it was Mitsy, she was dressed in a very tight, semi-transparent leotard, her curvy figure filling the outfit fantastically.
"Hello Mitsy." I said averting my eyes.