Copyright© 2010 by ExtrusionUK
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 7C - A long, rambling tale describing the adventures of a idealistic young man and his encounters with the corporate world - or how his bank balance improved and his social life got a lot more complex. (Chapters vary in length and sexual content)
Much later in the afternoon I did go back into the office, if only to say hello. As I'd expected, both Naz and Seff were about and looking extremely busy ... even before they saw me. In fact the office was pretty much as I'd left it, except that Naz had sort of expanded his workspace across both my and Debbie's desks, occupying the space with some large format print outs of code models - all heavily annotated, I noticed - while Seff's desk had accumulated a variety of accessories - in trays, pen holders, etc - which somehow managed to look simultaneously professional and jokey. The only other thing that seemed to have changed was the music - instead of Naz's relentless techno, they were actually playing the Dead - Reckoning, in fact. Wonders never cease, I thought, as Seff - talking animatedly on the phone - finally picked up on my presence, waved in acknowledgement and threw a ball of crumpled paper at Naz, thereby alerting him to my arrival as well.
Someone had obviously been working on Naz's social skills - no prizes for guessing who, I thought - as he managed to not only smile and say hello but also instantly began to get coffees together. He even began talking to me, even before Seff had come off the phone - possibly the first time, I thought, that he had ever initiated a conversation - and so I was soon up to my neck in exciting programming developments, new concepts he'd come up with and generally a lot of tech speak that mostly went straight over my head. It was nice to see him so enthusiastic, though.
But still a relief when Seff finally managed to get a few words in and update me on what had been going on while I'd been away. Apparently ripples of discontent on the part of PCW had also reached the office - well, no surprise, there - but then so had a number of enquiries from potential customers, including a major pharmaceutical firm and three separate financial institutions, two of them in Germany. I had a quick scan over the latter ... realised that I was going to be really, really busy for a while ... and went back to chatting. Or, more precisely, updating the team on developments, both in terms of the relocation and more pertinently about Debbie's situation and likely staged return. As you'd expect, both bits of news went down really well and by the time I'd confirmed that in a fortnight or so they would both be going to Bremen to see our potential collaborators - and Seff's old friends - joy was definitely in the air. Which was good, I felt, the more so when I finally looked at some of the messages on my desk and realised just how much Seff had been carrying while I was away ... some of the PCW stuff was unpleasant to the point of bullying, frankly, and notably more intimidating in tone than anything that had been said to me directly. I pointed this out to Seff, asked her why she hadn't passed it directly to me ... hell, I would probably have come straight back and started shouting at the bastards in person.
In response, Seff gave me a somewhat German shrug - competent, confident, in control - and told me that that was precisely why she hadn't told me. It was nothing to worry about, she said, which I wasn't entirely sure I agreed with, but also that I had looked tired before going and she felt that I needed a break. And, she added mischievously, both she and Naz were looking forward to moving to the hills, which needed me to sort things out up there, so...
I pointed out that if PCW were to decide to pull the plug - and the threat was at least implicit in some of the comments she'd noted - then not only would we not be moving, but we'd all be out of work, too. To which Naz responded by stating rather simply that both of them - and Debbie, he said - had complete confidence in my ability to pull something out of the bag, even if it did get nasty ... just like I had with that chinese woman Carla had sent over.
I was on the point of making a somewhat sarcastic response to this - the old 'lets introduce our friendly lesbian to their closeted one' ploy was not guaranteed to work in all circumstances, I felt - but luckily was saved from doing so by the entrance of Colin, one of the partners in the architects practice upstairs. Which I guess was just as well ... not that I thought I deserved the confidence they'd expressed, but I couldn't really see much point in disillusioning them just at that moment.
So I turned to Colin, a guy I'd only met in passing - on the stairs, when borrowing a corkscrew, that sort of thing - and welcomed him in, my body language probably expressing the curiosity I felt about what brought him down to see us ... when I'd been planning to go and see him in about five minutes time.
Seff picked up on this and stepped in to explain - she'd negotiated the use one of the offices upstairs to do the interviews the next day, as we had no private space in our own bit of the building. Which I thought was good thinking on her part - if I'd thought about it all I think I'd envisaged putting the phones to voice mail, sending both of them off to a cafe and holding them right here. As it was, I agreed it was a good idea and asked Colin if it was OK, that we wouldn't be putting them to any trouble?
He gave a slightly bitter laugh in response, told me that the most interesting thing he had to do all day was come down and check with Seff whether there were any particular arrangements she wanted made, room wise. Things, it appeared, were not going well in the eco-architecture business ... which was music to my ears, at least.
In fact, I think he was a bit pissed off when I responded to his tale of woe and imminent corporate dissolution with a cheerful "Good!" ... so I had to quickly recover myself ... very quickly recover myself, in fact ... by outlining the progress we'd made on our new building and the fact that I'd been planning to come see him about it that very afternoon. He perked up a bit at that, said that Debbie had asked him to do some preliminary work on plans - which I'd seen, of course - but hadn't been able to give him any definite time-scales, then didn't look remotely nonplused when I told him that I'd been hoping he - or someone from the practice - might be able to go up and do few days on site the next week.
He agreed that that should be possible ... becoming more certain when I suggested that we would book - and pay for - hotels and transport and finally, completely convinced when I mentioned that he would be working for the duration with Debbie. Who, he informed me was just an amazingly lovely woman, and someone he'd like to get to know a whole lot better.
Which sentiment I could understand, I thought, acidly ... as Seff choked back a laugh ... and I managed to maintain a polite smile.
Next morning, I was actually in quite late - I came via Euston, where I managed to catch Debbie - and May - just before the former got the train up to Glasgow, giving her a couple of books to read on the train and promising to give her a call over the weekend. And once she'd got on her way, I came back to the office with May - who'd be sitting in on the interviews, later, anyway - to find Colin The Architect already ensconced at Debbie's desk, print outs of the building plans for our new HQ competing with Naz's stuff for desk space.
We had a brief discussion about working arrangements, preferences for office layouts and stuff - most of which would only be defined in detail after his initial visit - and then talked rather more about our vision with regard to sustainability and minimal environmental impact ... as well as using local materials and local craftsmen as far as possible. At the end of which he looked quite excited - well, there was more actual design work to be done than he'd probably expected - while Seff and Naz were completely distracted from whatever it was they were supposed to be doing ... and May just looked gobsmacked at the amounts of money we were talking about spending. I made a mental note to formalise our corporate charitable giving policy - I thought 5% of profits, minimum - and to include CareSpan in the recipient list as soon as possible. In the interim, I did at least give her the benefit of £ 2.50 of our corporate wealth by taking her out for a coffee.
Which largesse had a purpose - not just in giving Colin some space to start doing some thinking, rather than listening to our daydreams - and Naz and Seff the opportunity to get back to work - but also in giving us a moment to discuss interview tactics prior to the arrival of the HR bloke from PCW who was to be the third member of the panel. Technically, this is called 'stitching up' the process, given that the pair of us constituted a majority...
It was also, of course, not necessary - May and I understood each other quite well, by now - and both had a clear idea of the way that I was trying to set things up ... and the sort of person who'd thrive in that sort of environment. So we didn't have a huge amount to talk about, task-wise. In fact, I thought we'd have to resort to discussing the weather, or something - it was another lovely afternoon, since you ask - when May quite abruptly changed the subject, raising stuff she quite clearly thought important to say.
Which, of course, concerned Debbie ... or Debbie and me ... or the three of us ... Whatever. I listened to what she had to say, explained that Debbie had already told me all about it and that, no, I wasn't at all upset about events and, yes, she was still on my christmas card list. Or, at least, would be if I actually celebrated christmas. She looked profoundly relieved at this ... rather strangely, I felt, given that it was a no-brainer from my point of view, so I went on: