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Erica Davenport weaved through traffic on her way to the office, her Jaguar handling like a dream through the L.A. traffic. Things were going great! INSIGHT, the magazine she had started just out of college was about to go weekly! This would quiet all the critics that said it was just a vanity piece for the heiress of the Davenport real estate fortune! It had taken plenty of sweat and over 20 years, but she had done it, making the publication a financial success with only her father's initial investment to get the thing started!
If only daddy had lived to see it. He had been very skeptical when she decided to go into journalism, having plans of his own for his only child. But she had wanted to succeed on her own terms, just like he had, and the real estate tycoon had supported her decision to study journalism, provided that she minor in business.
Upon graduation, he presented her with her magazine. She had been so angry with him! Like she couldn't see his plot to drive her into management so she could take over his empire! But Erica resolved to show him she could both manage the Davenport fortune and her magazine and still be the best damn editor in the business. And she had done it! Her father's fortune continued to grow under her guidance and now INSIGHT, her baby, was going weekly!
<beep beep beep>
Her pager went off. She grabbed the little device while deftly avoiding the asshole in the Chevy that had just cut her off.
Dale, her old schoolmate, was a correspondent for the society pages of the Los Angeles Times. With her wealth and striking beauty, Erica was a bit of a minor celebrity and Dale delighted in exposing the soap opera that was her life. Erica thought about answering her, thinking a plug for INSIGHT might be worth the aggravation of an interview with the insipid woman, but then decided to blow her off. That article on her divorce from Corbet last year still smarted. 'After marriage number 5 self-destructs, Ms. Davenport must be asking herself, Maybe it's me?'. Bitch!
Well, that's why she had the pager. She had a cell phone, of course, but only her personal assistants had the number. Her third husband, a heart surgeon, had referred to himself as a page-slave, but Erica considered her pager to be her guardian not her master. Any supplicant who wanted to speak to her had to beg admittance through her electronic doorman. If she wanted to, she would get back to them at her convenience. If not, she would hit the 'clear' button and forget about it. It saved the callers the embarrassment of having to be told that they weren't worth her time.
She pulled into her reserved spot at INSIGHT's office. Her magazine. Actually, the entire Davenport fortune was hers, but not like the magazine was. This she had built. Let the gossip columns call her a poor little rich girl if they must, no one could claim that INSIGHT had been inherited. She had built it from the ground up, owner and editor-in-chief from day one. She had nurtured her magazine from 5000 copies distributed quarterly to L.A. newsstands to 5,000,000 copies distributed throughout the English speaking world every month.
And next month, they were going weekly! God, it felt great!
She checked herself in the Jaguar's vanity mirror--she prided herself in always looking professional. Her soft auburn curls were held perfectly in place in a style that was professional while still being very feminine and bordering on glamorous. Her make-up was understated but enhanced her piercing green eyes behind the gold-rimmed spectacles that perched on her aquiline nose. Her ivory suit was Armani and her jewelry was expensive but not noticeably so. She would much rather be known as the owner and editor-in-chief of INSIGHT than one of the wealthiest women in California. That didn't mean she had to look like Lou Grant though.
Everyone tried to look busy as she walked in to the office. She projected an air of confidence, leadership, doing her level best to hide her nervousness about the jump to weekly. This next issue was key. Yesterday they had sent off the March 1st issue to the printers, the first issue ever to have a date instead of a month on the cover. Now they had to put together another issue to go out March 7th and have it be spectacular enough to demand that the readership buy it. Once they had gotten over the hump of buying it more than once a week, they would be hooked.
And they would be hooked! She had a top notch reporting staff. People with all sorts of connections, including the kind you didn't talk about in polite company. She would put her reporters up against anyone that Time or Newsweek had. Actually, that was exactly what she intended to do. She cheerily greeted all of them there in 'the bullpen' outside her office and then let Marcie know that she wasn't to be disturbed--she had a cover story to pick!
Erica started back into consciousness. Her spectacles hung out of the corner of her mouth. She was thinking of Parsons--Why? She was in her office, sitting at her computer. She blinked. Her computer. That was it! She was trying to open the story Parsons had e-mailed to her. There was some problem--probably due to that damn Bartlett he insisted on using not jiving with the Cybersoft word processor on her PC. It had crashed her computer and she had rebooted and then... what?
She must have dozed off. She had been working awfully hard lately. INSIGHT was rising fast, giving Time and Newsweek cause to sit up and take notice. The pressure to keep the magazine's popularity building was enormous. Understandable that she should lose track of time. She put her glasses back on and checked her hair.
Parsons... Well, she'd better tell him about the problem. His desk was right outside her office. With the blinds open she could see he was there. She gave him a quick call and saw him pick up.
"Parsons, come to my office please," she said before he had even spoken.
He looked up at her through the glass, smiled and said "Be right there."
It occurred briefly to Erica that she would normally have either stepped over to his desk or explained the problem over the phone but before she had a chance to puzzle over this her beeper went off. In an instant, it was in her hand. Years of use had made the motion reflexive.
That was odd. The 555 prefix was reserved for television and movie phone numbers--it didn't correspond to any number in the real world.
She surmised that it must be somebody's code and that they had dialed her pager by mistake when she first noticed the itch. It was right below her bra strap. It was barely noticeable at first, but once she noticed it, it was impossible to ignore.
It also seemed impossible to reach. And she was desperately trying to reach it. She took off her jacket to try and get better access but without luck. She was trying to get it with her straight edge when Parsons came into her office.
Parsons! Thank God!
"Parsons, can you scratch my back?" she asked. "I've got an itch."
"Um, sure Ms. Davenport," said the reporter.
She turned her back to him and placed her hands on the side of her desk.
"It's in the middle, just below my shoulders. I can't seem to reach it."
"Right here?" he asked, finding just the right spot. Such sweet relief!
"Yes, that's it!" she cried, "That's it! Oh yes! Harder!"
He scratched harder. It felt so good! But now the itch was moving. He had to follow it!
"Lower, Parsons, lower!" she cried and he moved lower, scratching her lower back. It was bliss, pure bliss.
"That's it, Parsons, that's it! That's the spot!"
But it was moving again, lower. Parsons had to follow it.
"Lower, Parsons, lower," she pleaded.
"Lower?" he questioned.
"Yes! Please! Lower!"
"OK, Ms. Davenport," he said and his hands moved lower, scratching her itchy ass. The relief, the pleasure, the utter, ineffable joy.
"Oh, thank you Parsons," she said, panting, "Thank you!"
She stood from her bent-over position and saw the bemused look on her employee's face.
Oh God--what had she just done? She struggled to regain her composure.
"Thank you, Parsons," she said. "I... couldn't reach."
"Was that all that you needed Ms. Davenport?" he asked.
Was it? There was something else, wasn't there? Maybe there were a lot of things--things she couldn't let herself think about right now.
"Yes, um, that's all Parsons," she said. "Back to work."
"Right, back to work," he said and left, to her relief. She looked out to see several heads quickly turn away out in the bullpen. She blushed furiously.
What had she been doing? A report... She had been reviewing a report by... Parsons. She blushed and turned back to her computer. There it was on her desktop.
Erica started. Her computer was rebooting. When it was done, the monitor clock read 2:30. Damn! She checked her watch--it was accurate. Where had the time gone?
.... There is more of this story ...