"A prick up her jacksie might cheer the miserable bitch up a bit," Shirley declared.
"And if it was stuffed up her bum, it might knock some of the shit out of her," Sally the receptionist commented, "You sure you don't mind parting with this Becky? It looks like it's silver and might be valuable."
"Yes, it is silver but I got it in a job lot of jewellery at a car boot sale and only paid a few pounds for the whole lot. I've never liked it. It's more of a choker than a necklet and I thought it made me look like an Egyptian slave."
"Do you think Bryan will go along with it?" Deborah asked.
"Probably. He's a pretty good sport at most things," Cindy Reynolds, Bryan's personal secretary answered, "I'm not so sure that she will though."
Eight of the nine girls that worked in the accounts department of P&J Porter Ltd. sat around a table in the cafeteria. Bryan Seymour, the young and recently appointed manager of the department, so far had shown little interest in any of his female staff outside of the work place. At work he appeared friendly enough and had a smile and a pleasant word for each one of them, even for Kathleen Connors but she rarely uttered more that a quick reply unless it was to complain about one of the girls or a customer. She was the object of their derision and intended practical joke.
For the last three years Kathleen, a fiery and grumpy brunette, worked on her own from a wheelchair chasing up bad debts, a job she was quite successful at. As the result of a bad car crash, surgeons amputated both legs above the knee and while she had prosthetic limbs, for the most part she relied on her wheelchair. Prior to the crash, she'd been a lively girl who enjoyed walking and dancing and was popular with the boys, but since then she'd become morose and introverted and shunned company and companionship, believing that anyone who tried to be nice to her was only doing it because they were sorry for her disability. They were just trying to be charitable and she didn't want any of that. The situation was made worse in that she had no one, other than herself, that she could blame; she was travelling too fast for the foggy conditions and failed to see the road turn sharply to the left. An oak tree took the full force of the impact and firemen, tree surgeons and doctors from the air ambulance fought for over two hours to free her from the wreckage but by then it was too late to save her crushed legs.
Bryan smiled at the hearts and cards that decorated the desks when he returned to his office early after lunch on Monday. Valentines day wasn't until Wednesday and the works Valentine Dance not until the following Saturday but the girls were already into the spirit of it and he'd received a number of cards with improper suggestions from anonymous girls that could only have come from his department. Only Kathleen's desk was bereft of cards. He knew though, the other girls had given her one or two but she'd told them heatedly, "It's a stupid thing to do and a waste of time and money. I'm never going to find real love and the cards are meaningless unless they are genuine and offer true love." She pointedly threw the ones she was given into the wastebasket.
Unusually she was the last one to return to the office after lunch and even more unusually all the others were working and not chattering and yet she knew all eyes were on her as she wheeled in and deftly stopped at her desk. And stop she did. A space had been cleared and a brightly wrapped packet and a card stood where she'd left her pile of invoices. Her first reaction was to throw the card into the basket but before it left her fingers curiosity got the better of her. "Who would send me a card and a present? None of the girls would do that surely?"
Opening the card she read,
Please accept this small gift as a token of my love and admiration for you. It is for you to keep whether or not you agree to my invitation. Over the last few weeks I've watched you from a distance but now, at this lover's time, I am asking you to do me the honour of accompanying me to the Valentine's Party on Saturday and, if you are willing, get to know each other a little better afterwards. Please say you will come.
Kathleen's mind spun in a wild whirl when she read the card a second time and noted the typed text and handwritten signature in the peculiar shade of purple ink that Bryan favoured. It almost guaranteed its authenticity. No one, but no one and certainly not a man, had invited her out since she'd left hospital. No one would want a legless woman and therefore she no longer bothered with make-up and fancy hair-dos. "Does it really mean what it says?" she asked herself. "What does he really mean by 'and perhaps get to know each other a little better afterwards?' Have sex with me? Is he that perverted that he wants sex with a legless woman? Because I'd be helpless and he could easily force himself on me? And why has he never spoken to me before except on work matters?"
Furiously she tore open the package and saw it covered a jewellery case inside which nestled a silver choker collar. "A bloody slave collar!" she thought, "The perverted bastard. Wants a helpless woman to fuck."
Only vaguely in the background did she hear the girls giggling and maybe if she'd stopped to think, she might have realised it was a joke but no, her temper rose rapidly and she wheeled her chair at high speed to Bryan's office. "I'll have the bugger, it's sexual harassment." Ignoring Cindy sitting at her desk near the office, she crashed through the half-open door and barely stopped at his desk. "You dirty perverted bastard inviting me to become your helpless sex slave. Trying to use your position to get a hold on me and using this bloody Valentine's Day nonsense as an excuse to get your prick in me. Probably I'm sacked if I don't. Well we'll see who gets sacked; I'll see the General Manager about this. I'm not a fuck slave and will never be yours!"
Bryan just sat there open mouthed for a few seconds and then started to stand. Kathleen, thinking he was about to grab her, picked up a glass paperweight and threw it. Without looking and not caring where it landed, she spun the chair and speedily made her retreat, almost bowling Cindy over on the way, and found isolation in the disabled person's toilet where she could cry without being watched by the office girls.
Security first alerted her to the trouble she was in. A woman's voice loudly ordered her to open the door and when she did the uniformed woman pushed her back to the office in time to see the paramedics arrive and start to treat Bryan who lay unconscious on the office floor, blood covering his face. The paperweight hit his forehead directly between the eyes and he'd only managed to stagger a few yards before collapsing on the floor.
Kathleen spent Valentine's Day sitting gloomily at home wondering what her fate would be. The police had taken her away and questioned her for hours and it was from them, she learned that the whole episode was a practical joke, a joke that had gone very wrong. They'd allowed her home that evening but she'd been told to keep away from Bryan and not to go to work until the matter was resolved.
The doctors sewed five stitches across the cut and forced Bryan to stay in hospital overnight because of concussion. Before releasing him the following day they explained, "The wound's a bit ragged and will probably seep blood for a while so you'll have to wear a bandage and it may take a week or more for that enormous lump to go down and longer for the bruise to fade. Don't drive for a few days and if you pass out again, get someone to bring you back to the hospital immediately." He didn't go into work that day but asked Cindy to pick him up on Wednesday because his head hurt and his car was still in Porter's car park. Most of his enforced day off he spent trying to decide what to do about Kathleen. The police hadn't yet charged her and they'd told him that if they did, she could get anything from a prison sentence to community service but because of the bad publicity and the fact that she believed he was forcing her, a severely disabled woman, to be a sex slave, they were reluctant at this stage to press charges. "We're going to pass this on to our legal team Mr. Seymour. This whole business could become a very messy affair for everyone if she gets a good lawyer and the newspapers on her side," the detective in charge explained, "You can insist we charge her and then we'll have to go along with your decision but it could backfire on you and the office girls that are the root cause of this fiasco."
Wednesday dragged. His head ached and he wanted to lie down but he tried to carry on. The office girls apologised for their part en-masse and he accepted it knowing it was really Kathleen's temper that caused his wound but they weren't entirely blameless either. For a Valentine's Day, the atmosphere in the office was very subdued. The general manager called to see him and discussed the situation. "I expect you'll get rid of her now," he suggested.
"I'm not sure Sir. It could give rise to a lot of bad publicity and she's very good at her work. She'll find it very difficult to find a job elsewhere. At the start we only employed her to conform to the employment of disabled persons regulations but she's actually been of benefit to us. I've still to make up my mind though."
By three o'clock he'd had enough for the day. "Cindy, would you mind driving me to Kathleen's and then home please. I don't think I ought to drive yet; my brain's not totally in gear."
"We could send her pay and cards Sir... or are you really going to keep her on? After what she did?" Cindy sounded incredulous that he was even considering it.
"Cindy I shouldn't have to remind you of your part in all this. You were the one who borrowed my special purple ink pen and forged my signature on the card. That could be construed as a serious offence too. I want to have a word with her and see what we can do to resolve the situation. I don't like sacking people and that's one reason why you are still in a job."
Tears flowed down Kathleen's face when she saw Bryan and Cindy arrive at her small cottage. She knew they were going to terminate her employment and she'd never be able to afford the mortgage payments on benefit money. The white bandage around his head and the spot of blood on it immediately caught her attention and reminded her of the possible court action that awaited her. "Keep your temper Kathy, keep your temper girl," she muttered when she opened the door.
"Do you really need me to stay Sir?" Cindy asked.
"Depends on whether this fireball is going to crack my skull again," Bryan tried to joke although he really didn't feel up to it.
"No Sir, I know now that none of it was your doing but maybe there's some of them in the office whose heads I'd like to knock together! But if you've only come to tell me not to come back, then you might as well get it over with and both leave."
"That's something I've come to talk about Kathleen. As I'm sure you will understand, I'm pretty mad at you but I've not made up my mind about sacking you. First I want to hear what you have to say and see if this little feud between you and the office girls can be resolved. How about a cup of tea to calm us both down? No, there's no need for you to stay Cindy, she's calm enough now."
For nearly an hour they discussed what happened and the way they related to her work and the problems she had in socialising with the other girls. He admired the way she'd organised her home so that everything was accessible from a wheelchair and he could see what hardship it would bring if she had to give up living there. Finally Kathleen asked bluntly what had been on her mind ever since they'd released her from the police station. "What are you going to do now Sir? Prosecute? Sack me? Both?"
Bryan leaned back in the armchair, his head throbbed, "I know what I'd like to do... now don't get mad and start throwing things... if I had my way I'd put you over my knee and give your bare bum a damn good slippering and then make you attend the Valentine's party with me and you wearing that necklet thing. A good old-fashioned spanking would do less harm and more good than prosecuting or sacking you. What would you say if I made that a condition of your continuing in our employ?" Kathleen looked shocked and clenched her fists and was about to give him a piece of her mind when Bryan held up his hand and went on, "Yeah, I know. However much I would like to, I wouldn't dare do the first because I could end up in court too but it would be good to know that you felt sore like me even if it was a different part of your anatomy. It was just your words when you burst into my office about my wanting you as a sex slave. Like most men and perhaps some women, I've fantasised about having one, but that's not reality although I suppose I could try and blackmail you by holding your continued employment as a threat. However, I don't have anyone in mind to take to the party so perhaps you would consider accompanying me? With or without a sore arse." He kept his tone of voice light as though making a joke of it but at the back of his mind he wondered if it could really happen.
"It sounds as if you do want me as your bloody sex slave. You really are perverted despite your charming manner so perhaps I shouldn't work for you." Anger flared and her face became flushed and Bryan thought she might attack him again but he kept calm.
"That's your choice Kathleen but it might be wise to think of what alternatives are available to you. Very few I suspect."
"You are bloody blackmailing me. Bastard!"
"Control yourself girl. I said I hadn't made up my mind about sacking you. I'd like to keep you on, but the atmosphere in the office between you and the others is most unpleasant and the fault is not all on one side. I'm going to talk to them tomorrow but if they are like Cindy, I know what they'll want me to do."
Kathleen knew too. "Sir?"
"Can we go back to being on first name terms? I'm Bryan as you well know. Do your friends call you Kathy?"
She nodded but added a little spitefully, "Shouldn't it be 'Master'? Slave master?" Bryan glowered at her but she went on, "Is my job at Porters dependent on my getting my bottom pasted and attending the dance with you?"
"No, but I would be obliged to keep you on if you did and it might help things get back to some sort of normality. I know you weren't entirely to blame but you were a large part of it. The girls wouldn't have tried to trick you had you been more amiable to them."
"And will I have to go home with you afterwards for sex, Master?" Bryan noted her flushed, tensed face. Her anger was rising again.
"Calm yourself Kathy. Remember, I didn't write that message. If we have a nice time, then yes, I would like to take you home with me. It will be the first time since we broke up..." His voice faltered and Kathy looked at him with askance but he never went on. "More likely we'll just sit together and we'll each go to our own homes. I'd better go Kathy, think about it. Take the rest of the week off, I'll phone tomorrow about this time for your decision about the party. I'll call sometime later in the week when I've talked with the girls about the atmosphere in the office. I'm not sacking you without going through all the options but things will have to change, you and them. I'll phone for a taxi to take me home."
"Why not order your slave to take you? Or do you object to a legless driver?"
"You're not a slave Kathy. I'd better phone for a taxi."
"Sorry Bryan. I will take you. I know you are doing what you can for me and you could just have sent my wages and cards. And thanks for trying to keep my job." He knew, of course, she had a specially adapted car where all the controls were on the steering column but he hadn't seen the dexterity with which she hoisted herself from the chair onto crutches, slid the chair into the hatchback and then swung her artificial legs alternately until she could get into the drivers seat. Thereafter, he wouldn't have known she wasn't a normal driver in a normal car.
Kathleen lay awake for a long while that night going through the unexpected turn of events. Her logical mind said, "At least I could still have job but that's only guaranteed if I get my arse walloped and go to this party with him. Probably we'll sit like wallflowers and watch everyone else having a good time. It'll just bring back memories of how I used to dance. How will the other girls treat me now? Bryan doesn't seem to dislike me like I thought he would, but he's still pretty angry and seems to blame the others as well. Perhaps he really does want a secret sex slave. Sounded as if he really wants to spank me. He made that clear enough and it might be the only way I get to keep the job if the girls pressure him to sack me. Would a slippering be so bad? Nothing like the pain of the car crash and afterwards. That would keep my job even if the girls are against it but they would make my life even more unpleasant. Or is it really me? And what about going to the party with him? As his date? It'll be mainly dancing and I can't do that and I can't take the booze much these days and probably I'll have to drive as I find many cars difficult to get in. Don't suppose he will want to do much dancing either, not with a sore head. I guess he has to go for appearance sake but may leave early. Hope so. Will I really mind if he takes me home for sex? Might be nice. I've not had a prick since before the crash and I've kept up with the pills. Will he be able to prevent my being prosecuted?"
It wasn't long though before her irrational mind took over. "Why should I let the bastard thrash me? It wasn't my fault the girls tricked me. Why didn't he duck when he saw that glass paperweight coming? Why did he leave it in front of me on his desk in the first place? He just wants to fuck me; he as good as said that. Yeah, why would a man like that even consider a woman who can't walk except to get a bit of cunt? Someone he can get his prick into and then discard. Is my job at Porter's worth it?" Her logical mind knew these arguments were spurious but nevertheless, as her anger built, they held sway.
Bryan didn't phone the next day. His head throbbed and he'd gone home early to lie down and mull over the comments from the office girls. Only Hannah had suggested he give Kathy another chance, the others all wanted him to get rid of her. So did his boss but the decision was his and his alone. Friday lunchtime, he took a taxi to Kathleen's home.
"I'm sorry Kathleen, only one in the department wanted you to return and in view of your behaviour to me, I am going to let you go. I'll do what I can to help you get..."
Kathleen's ire instantly surfaced. She'd been prepared to tell him to stuff his job but he'd got in first and Kathy wasn't having any of that. "So Mr. Bryan Seymour, your word counts for nothing. You're going to welsh on our agreement, such as it was. Those bloody office girls probably did this in the hope I would get the sack and you're going along with them and even though you suggested humiliating me in order to keep my job, you won't even keep your word on that. Is that the sort of manager you are? Unreliable? Led by a few girls to do their wishes? To get into their knickers?"