"Excuse me Miss, Mr. Costain said to see you when I needed help with the rewiring of this place and I thought it better to find out who was available and when, before I started."
Carol Pearman, Mr. Costain's personal assistant, looked at me with some distain before replying, "That had better be Nicky, she's pretty useless in this office and we'll be better off without her." I noticed the spite in her voice.
"No way, Carol. Make Sally help him or get one of the garden staff," Nicky responded angrily, "You've no right to make me go with him and do manual work."
"We need Sally to answer the phone and do the filing, and without having to correct your stupid mistakes, we can run this office more efficiently."
"I didn't expect to have a girl helper and expected you'd have the authority to hire a young lad as an apprentice because with just me to rewire this old house completely, will take months. Another pair of semi-skilled hands will reduce the time and could give a boy a start in the job market."
"No, I don't have the authority to do that. And what do you have against girls? Are you gay?" Carol smirked and went on, "Women have equal job opportunities these days, or haven't you read the papers?"
"I'm not going to work with him, and that's that. I'll go and see Daddy and he'll put a stop to it," Nicky butted in.
"Just because your father owns the place, doesn't mean he'll alter my decision."
"Okay ladies, okay, I'm setting up a workroom in the basement and when the catfight is over, perhaps one of you will be kind enough to let me know who will be available and when." The whole situation promised to escalate into a nasty scene. Not an auspicious start to my new job and I certainly hoped I wouldn't have the boss's daughter as my work mate, and he'd appoint someone more appropriate.
I'd worked on the maintenance staff for Costain Industries since leaving school at 16 and by taking night classes and attending day release school, became a fully qualified electrician as well as being able to turn my hand at almost any maintenance jobs that came up. The selling of the company to a multinational conglomeration and with it (along with many others) the loss of my job, came as a complete shock. Fully expecting to either be unemployed for a long while or having to move from my home town, the request by Mr. Costain to see him in his office on the last day before closure, took me by surprise as did his offer of employment. "Mr. Tildeman, Terry, as you probably know, I also run a financial advice business as a sideline and I intend to continue with this in the old manor house I have bought. The place is run down and the survey said much of the electrical wiring is unsafe and in parts of the house, dangerous. From the report, I understand, the newer part of the building, the part the previous owner actually stayed in, had its wiring renewed in the 1950's and while it doesn't conform to present regulations, should be safe if not subjected to undue load. Would you be prepared to do the renewal of the wiring and any other work that needs doing at the same rate of pay you now enjoy?"
Of course I accepted and we went on to discus the projects and my requirements, one of which was my need for an assistant and a properly equipped workshop. Neither created a problem for him and having sold his main company for an undisclosed amount rumoured to be several millions, money wasn't a problem but the fact that I couldn't hire an apprentice, puzzled me. "Ask Carol Pearman, my P.A. when you need assistance and she will appoint someone." Very strange but now I began to see why.
My pleading with Daddy did no good at all and I soon learned that he'd thought of the idea saw it as a way of placating Carol and her bitchiness concerning my working in the office. I know I made mistakes but doesn't everyone? Not that office work really appealed to me but to work as a lowly apprentice, for that is what Daddy said I would be, to a man not much older than me, seemed degrading, to put it mildly. My verbal protests, the stamping of my feet and my tears, were all ignored and my refusal to accept the job received the ultimatum, "Take the apprenticeship or pack your bags and look for other work. You're twenty-four now and still living with us without contributing much except for a few hours unnecessary office work for which you get paid. Not like your sister Sarah, who is doing very well for herself as an accountant." As usual he had to bring her into it. Can I help it if she has brains and I don't? It's not as though I fooled about at school, I just couldn't grasp maths and stuff and quickly forgot what I did grasp so there wasn't any chance of my getting into university.
After reiterating his ultimatum and forcing me to agree to his terms, he took my hand and almost pulled me downstairs to a large room in the basement that I knew had been allocated to the electrician when he started three days previously. Fortunately it wasn't a dark, gloomy place and looked reasonably tidy and clean.
My thoughts on being set-up were confirmed when half an hour later, Mr. Costain literally dragged his daughter into my workroom. "Terry, we can be on first name terms in this house unless I have clients, this is your new apprentice, my daughter Nicky. Treat her as you would any other apprentice, make her work and ensure she learns the trade and can handle jobs in her own home in future."
"I don't intend to learn anything," Nicky sullenly interjected.
"I'm sorry Terry but as you can see, she's not very willing. She has the alternative of moving out and finding a job herself but she's not keen on that either. Please take her on a month's trial and don't put up with any of her nonsense. If she plays up, put her across your knee and spank her bottom, something I should have done years ago."
I could see Nicky face mirroring the shock on mine but I suspect with a different viewpoint; me imagining have my hand on her bare bum while she squirmed on my lap, she with the humiliation of having her trousers down and being chastised by a man only a little older than herself. I shook my mind free of the images and asked about work clothes and tools for her, but again, money wasn't a problem.
Throughout the morning Nicky feigned indifference while we walked through the house with the survey report in hand and ended up in a bedroom in the old wing that hadn't been used for years by then I'd had enough of her attitude and wondered if I should take Ralph Costain at his word and put his daughter over my knee. Grabbing her shoulders, I pushed her down on the bed and from her struggles and swearing, I guessed she expected me to spank her but I decided to leave that for another time. "Nicola Costain, I'm lumbered with you for at least a month unless you bugger off and get yourself another job. You didn't want to be with me and I don't want you, not unless you at least try and show some interest in the work. If you're going to shut your mind to everything I say, one of us is going to end up dead! There will be times when I'll be handling 440 volt lines which can kill a person in the blink of an eye and I don't want that person to be me and despite your attitude, I don't think you'd really want to be responsible for my death either or suffer the aftermath enquiries." From the way her eyes opened at the realisation of the dangers, I knew she had at least taken that much in. "What sort of job would you really like to do?" I asked a little later.
"Anything, nothing, I don't know."
"Well at least give this one a try if only for a month. You will find there's much more variety in it than sorting paper in the office and you won't just be feeding cables through holes in walls."
The first hint of a slight breakthrough came at lunchtime. The cook provided a light lunch for the family and those working in the house and we all sat round a large table with Carol and Sally opposite Nicky and myself. "It doesn't look as if she's done any work with him either, Sally, her hands are not dirty and nor are her clothes. Maybe they found a quiet room to be together."
I saw Ralph Costain look at her but I stepped in and in a loud voice that drew everyone's attention said, "Miss Pearman, please lift your thoughts from the gutter. My new apprentice and I have enough to learn and do without suffering snide remarks from a secretary who knows nothing of the inherent dangers or the work involved. Please leave her alone because the time may well come, perhaps not that far into the future, when you will require her services." I gave Nicky's hand a covert squeeze and she looked relieved that I'd outspokenly defended her.
The next morning didn't start very auspiciously, at least for Nicky. I arrived early from my one room bedsit and in the kitchen, Karen, Nicky's mother, answered my query as to Nicky's whereabouts, "She's still in bed. Last evening she sulkily complained to Ralph and me about being apprenticed to you and being made to crawl into dark cupboards and go into the attic with the spiders and bats when she hadn't even been given proper clothing. I think she's in rebel mood again but she also hates the threat of being thrown out and made to find her own way in life. "You're blackmailing your own daughter," she grumbled to Ralph. I suppose we are but we think it is for her own good."
"Is her door locked?"
"No, none of the doors in this part of the building have locks, I guess they didn't bother too much in those days and we observe the rule that if the door is shut we don't go in without knocking."
"I guess not. In the real old days some bedrooms were passageways and the beds had curtains round them for privacy. Will you mind if I break your rules and go and disturb her sleep?" I grinned and she laughed too and shooed me in the direction of Nicky's room.
"Get out Terry, get out you bastard, you've no right to come in here, it's not..." I screamed when I heard and saw him enter. I thought to grab the duvet, but in my half asleep state, he'd whipped it off and grinned when he saw my thin, baby-doll nightdress. "Very nice," he commented and I tried to hide my breasts with one hand and my mound with the other. "Very nice," he repeated and noticing my efforts to cover myself, went on, "Don't bother Nicky, I'm not going to fuck you. Get into the bathroom and do what you have to but forget having a shower or putting on makeup, you'll get grubby later. I'll give you twenty minutes and by then you'd better be dressed and ready for breakfast."
"Get out you..."
"Not before I see you on the way to the bathroom." Thinking that I'd better move before he manhandled me, I slid out of bed and felt his hand give a light smack on my bottom before I made it through the door. He only laughed when I swore at him but sitting on the loo I had time to reflect on his 'very nice' comment. Did he really mean it? My body isn't very glamorous, I'm thin, my tits are small and my short dark hair surrounds a round face with an upturned nose. Normally I dress to hide my body and only wear a bikini or swimsuit when I'm alone.
"What are you doing today?" Mother asked my master when I came down to breakfast.
"I'm taking her clothes shopping and getting tools for her and a load of cable and fittings for the house. It's all at the wholesalers so we won't be wandering around town or visiting any boutiques."
Certainly the store held little resemblance to a boutique! He bought two 'boiler suits' and two 'bib and brace' overalls for me and after he'd adjusted the straps, suggested I kept one pair on. Then on to the tool department where he kitted me out with tools, many I'd never seen before but he said I'd soon learn to use them. Some hope of that!
Half an hour before lunch we wandered into the office to present the invoice for payment, both of us dressed in overalls and with a toolbelt around our waists. Carol and Sally looked smugly at me and Carol in her superior, snooty voice remarked, "Well at least you look the part dear, but where is your little yellow hard hat?"
"It will be you that needs a hard hat if you make any more snide comments, I'm fully armed to deal with bitches like you." Pulling a hammer from the belt I mock aimed it at Carol's head and then produced a pair of pliers and threatened to nip Sally's breasts.
I had to smile and Daddy, who'd entered the room when he heard the noise, did too. "Now you just need to learn the proper use for them Nicky," he grinned as he said it and it diffused the situation but not the antagonism between the girls and me.
Over the coming weeks and with a number of setbacks, Terry and I began very gradually to work as a team. The month long trial period passed without comment on my leaving or his wishing to be rid of me, indeed, he began to try to get us together on a more social level but I always refused his offers to take me to the cinema or for a day out. I feared that might lead to sex and at that time, I wasn't sure I wanted to go that far with him. I'd begun to like him and we could joke and tease each other without rancour but nothing more intimate and I fended off the few attempts he made to touch and feel me.
That changed too when on a three-day weekend, he proposed we work the three days and get the computer benches in Carol's office done while she was out of the way. "We can take the days off afterwards and go to the seaside or do something else," he suggested and while by then, I'd begun to have thoughts on agreeing, I only agreed to work the holiday days, mainly because the office bitch would be away, but didn't commit myself to the days at the seaside. At least I'd have days off when Carol worked. On the Saturday morning we started to run the cables from the new consumer unit to the office. Terry stayed in the basement to connect the wire to the unit and didn't see Carol come into the office to collect a ticket she'd left in her desk. I did, although I swore that I didn't. The office bathroom and toilet had at one time in the past, been the entrance to another room and unusually for a bathroom, the door opened outwards and when Carol decided to use the loo, I quickly pushed a heavy table against the door and then another against that, trapping Carol inside. "That'll teach the bitch," I thought and went downstairs and suggested we had a pub lunch because cook had taken the day off and Mother was out and it was supposed to be a day off. I persuaded him to try a country pub the other side of town so our lunch hour would be longer than normal and drove my car instead of going in his van, even so it took nearly half an hour to get there. I wondered if he had any suspicion that I had set him up, especially when I suddenly became amorous and held his hand when we entered the pub. Being a holiday, the pub had more than its usual number of customers and it took a while to get served and we'd barely started our meal when his phone rang.
I could hear the humour in Ralph's voice when he said, "Carol just phoned, says she's trapped in the toilet. She said there are desks blocking the door. She wanted me to free her but I'm halfway round the golf course and I wondered if you did it and would free her before she calls the anti terrorism branch."
"Carol's not in today."
"She popped in to collect something."
"I've been in the basement most of the morning but I know someone who has been upstairs and who tricked me into taking her to lunch in Felthamstead. I'll go as soon as I can get away from here."
Nicky denied knowing that Carol had been in the office but from the way she looked and grinned I knew she lied and from the way the tables were placed, it didn't take a detective to know it had been deliberate. "I had to move them to clear the space for the computer bench and to give me room to pull on the cables," she avowed, but I knew she had no need to move them that far or to that position. Carol furiously berated Nicky and me and threatened legal proceedings for false imprisonment but Nicky continued to assert her innocence.
"I think you deserve that spanking your father authorised me to use on a wayward apprentice," I told her when we were alone, "But I think that can wait until Tuesday morning when the ladies can hear you yell, "Unless we are on our way to the seaside together," I added.
"You're blackmailing me."
"You just want to get into bed with me!"
"You're a bastard."
"Yes, but I didn't falsely imprison someone, perhaps I should now." Before she could move away, I wrapped my arms around her and held her tightly to my chest and suffused her struggles with a mass of kisses on her face and neck. Finally she quietened and kissed me back.
"You're a blackmailing bastard but I agree to go with you."
"Well we'd better get this office finished so they can work in it on Tuesday."
Ralph and Karen came in and found us working late that evening. "I hope you've tanned her arse for that little escapade, Terry."
"No Sir, I intended to do that on Tuesday when the girls were at work but she took up my earlier offer of a few days at Corsham-on-Sea to help relieve the stress she's been under for the last few weeks."
"Sounds like an enjoyable punishment to me, I'll have to think of something like that and maybe Ralph will take a few days off work and take me away," Karen laughed.
"Your few days away would be somewhere like the Caribbean and not a little seaside town, dear. But to get back to her prank, this feud between Carol and you has to stop..." He read the 'riot act' to us and made it perfectly clear that there were to be no more catty remarks, no more practical jokes, neither from us, nor Carol and promised he would have strong words with her when she came back to work.
"Please Terry, be gentle with me, I haven't done it before."