How did it start? The same way these things always start. You get your dream job working for a woman you have admired all through school. She's powerful and charismatic and you fall completely under her spell. You've been with your boyfriend for seven years, you love him, you're planning to spend the rest of your lives together. Then you go out into the big wide world and suddenly everything shifts. You still love him, of course you do, he's a great guy. Kind, good looking, supportive of your career, but he's got a career too. Your busy, he's busy, there just aren't enough hours in the day. You come home exhausted, your head spinning with information and your pulse still pounding from the stress of the case. He's working late, he's a junior doctor he's always working and you know this and you love him but you need someone to talk things through with. You need more than a grunting response and then a lengthy rundown of his day and all the pressure he faces and how important it all is. Life and death, literally and you feel guilty and needy and vaguely resentful, which is wrong, you know it's wrong but you can't help it.
It becomes easier to stay late at the office rather than go home to an empty apartment. It makes sense to go in early so as not to disturb him when he's on night shifts and needs the rest. You may as well eat take out with your boss at her desk than fall asleep on your couch at home without eating at all. She understands you, she knows what it's like to be a woman craving success and driven by ambition. She tells you stories of her early career and seeks your opinion and ideas. Even when she's driving you crazy with her demands and manipulation you know it's because she's testing your mettle and giving you opportunities to gain experience. Your conversations become more natural and unguarded. You guess that her own home life is lacking. Her husband’s work regularly takes him out of the country. Her son is seventeen and flexing his wings of independence in readiness for college. She seems content to have your company. When she suggests coming over to her apartment in the evenings to carry on working in the comfort of her home rather than the confines of the office you jump at it. It's a chance to learn from the master, an opportunity to impress your boss and a break from loneliness that grips you lately.
David is distant and distracted. He's angry at you for the mess his sister has landed herself in. He blames you and Patty and everyone else besides Katie who true to form behaved recklessly, lied about it and then cried over the consequences. It's a mess, the whole situation is a bewildering mess and you need to work out where your priorities lie. You suspect Katie was the reason you were hired in the first place and you begin to wonder if Patty is playing you and you've fallen for it and she will toss you aside once you've outlived your usefulness. Then her smile is soft and genuine when you arrive armed with Thai food and a new angle of approach for a witness. She praises your ideas and expresses concern for your weary countenance. Soft music plays and bourbon is liberally poured and you find yourself relaxing. The conversation is not limited to work, she talks about her worries for her sons lack of direction. How difficult it is to juggle a personal life with an all consuming career. The anger that drives her to pursue her cases. You listen carefully and respond by sharing some of your own fears and frustrations. During the cab ride across town you admit to yourself how much you enjoyed the evening. As requested you text her when you arrive home. The reply of ’Get some sleep’ is neither personal or incriminating. You delete it anyway.
The case twists and turns and you become mired in the investigation. Your colleagues treat you with open suspicion, jealous of your meteoric rise to prominence and affinity with their leader. Your engagement party is looming and you feel overwhelmed. You ignore calls from the caterers yet snatch up your cell eagerly when Patty rings at gone midnight with instructions for the following day. David sleeps on as you slide out of bed to arrange a breakfast meeting barely six hours later. When you arrive early at the allotted café she is already seated with coffee and pastries. Patty smiles and cajoles you into eating something that contains a months worth of your normal sugar intake. She is all business and radiates so much positive energy she could illuminate the city on this dull November day. You march into the office with renewed vigour ignoring the sidelong glances of your co workers as you share a joke with your boss. The day is long and stressful. Phil is in London on business, Micheal is spending the night with a friend. David is on call at the hospital so you agree to share dinner at a small Italian restaurant close to the office. It's quiet, there are candles on the tables and you drink too much red wine. Your face is flushed and you're talking too much to cover how you much time you spend simply staring at her. She still looks immaculate fourteen hours after you met this morning. Her shirt is crisp, her hair and make up still fresh. Your feet hurt, your clothes are creased and you’re weary but you linger over coffee and brandy because Patty still has important points to make and you like the way the tiny candle flames dance and weave in her eyes.
Patty says she feels like walking. It's a nice night, cold but clear so despite the protests of your feet and the lateness of the hour you walk alongside her to her building. You're a nice girl, you've always been a nice girl. A good daughter, a responsible student, a faithful girlfriend. A nice girl like you offers half of the check and walks her dinner companion home. The November air is sobering and the short walk revives you. Your brain clears and Patty invades it completely. Taking over your mind and your senses, leaving no room for anything else. Your eyes meet as you reach her building and without invitation you follow her inside. You know what you are about to do. You know you are about to pull on the thread that will unravel your future and possibly your whole life and you don't care. As soon as the door closes behind you she has you pressed against it and you realise with a jolt that her desire matches your own. You hadn't thought about that, about how much she is risking or how much she has to lose. You expected her to have an air of entitlement or worse, she would appear smugly satisfied. You did not expect the desperation in her eyes or the way her hands are bunched into fists on your shirt. Her teeth scrape the sensitive skin behind your ear and your knees almost buckle. You kick off your shoes as your skirt is hiked up to your waist and she lifts your leg around her hip. She cups your sex and massages it, feeling the dampness of your underwear, sliding the material across your skin. Her insistent fingers move the flimsy barrier aside and you hiss when two fingers enter you without hesitation. Your head thumps back against the door as she drives them in to the hilt and then she remains completely still waiting for you to open your eyes. You grab her face between your hands and kiss her, whispering ’fuck me’ between kisses and she obliges putting such force behind her thrusts the door thumps and rattles in the frame. Her tongue is in your mouth and her other hand grasps and kneads your ass so roughly you know she's leaving marks and you don't care. You don't care about anything except clinging onto her as her wrist rubs along your clit with every stroke. She's breathing hard and you hear yourself whine as she slows the pace slightly to curl her fingers inside you and grind the heel of her hand against you. You grind back without shame or restraint because you are completely gone. So far removed from the nice girl you have always been you wouldn't recognise your own reflection in a mirror and you just don't care. Your orgasm is sudden and violently intense. You freeze in place for long seconds, your heart thundering, clinging onto her slight frame as the doorway supports you both. Her hands are gentle now as she unwraps your leg and strokes your quivering thighs. Your hand is buried in her hair, her face is tight against your neck, her breath hot and heavy in your ear. You finally lurch away from the door and you both stumble towards the couch. You press her down onto it and drop to your knees. You slide your hands under her restrictive skirt and take off her panties. You use your hands behind her knees to tug her towards the edge of the couch and you simply bury your face in her. Tasting her, breathing her in. You hear her gasp and her thighs fasten around your head. You push them apart impatiently and hold them open as you feast on her with more enthusiasm than ability. You move your mouth around kissing and nipping, you tongue her clit before sucking it into your mouth massaging it with your lips and she tenses and cries out within seconds. You let go of her legs, slide your hands beneath her ass and press your tongue inside her as she comes in your mouth, her back arching, her body lifting off the couch before crashing down limp and spent. You rise on your knees and lean against her. Her head is back against the cushions, her eyes are wide and she's muttering about God and Jesus. You hear yourself laugh, still in a sexual haze. You wipe off your face and kiss her again and again until she's kissing you back and holding you close and you don't think and you still don't care about anything else but this moment.
The cab smells strongly of sweat and stale bodies. Strong enough to mask the smell of her that's all over you. You hold your cell like a teenager and wished one of you had been clear headed enough to have a conversation before you upended both of your lives for sex. Your phone pings as you enter your apartment.
“Do you regret what we did?”
You send a one word reply before heading for a shower.
You arrive at the office early the next morning. Patty is meeting with the clients and you get a head start on the day. She marches in at midday and summons you to her inner sanctum sliding the door shut as you enter. Your heart thumps, your smile is forced and strained. She leans against her desk but the set of her frame is tense and her eyes are narrowed and wary.
“We need to talk”
You nod like a marionette and wait for something else. Nothing comes. Her eyes bore into yours and she takes a sharp intake of breath. You know she's thinking of last night. Her eyes dart around the office and you know she's weighing up the risks. She's been inside you but she doesn't trust you. You don't trust her either but you want her and she wants you and that's a start.
You arrange to meet after work and she spends the rest of the day ignoring you. It's so far removed from your usual relationship at work the rest of the staff smirk at each other knowingly. They think your time as the favoured one is over. You keep your head down and your eyes on the clock. The day lasts an eternity. Years and years go by before you are sat in a deserted hotel bar with a glass of red wine. Patty takes a sip and looks at you expectantly.
“I'm not a cheater.” Falls out of your mouth.
Her eyebrow rises sardonically.
“I never have before.” You finish weakly looking away.
“Neither have I”
She responds defensively and then lets out a mean little laugh at your expression.
“What? Do you think you're the latest in a long line of conquests. No, I'm many things but not that. I've never been unfaithful to my husband.”
She watches your response carefully. The word ’husband’ rings in your ears like a siren. This is the reality. She has a husband and a son. She is fifty seven years old with a well earned reputation for deceit and deception. She is ruthless, charming, manipulative and paranoid. You have never been so attracted to anyone in your life. You are less than half her age. Your boyfriend, your job, the whole life you had planned since your teenage years had disappeared in less than an hour of brain melting lust. You are assailed by the scent of her, how she tasted, the sounds she made. So much for your game face because she looks at you and she knows. Her lips tighten into a thin line and she looks away. You suspect this is one of the few occasions that Patty Hewes has been at a loss. It only lasts a few moments. You can see the cogs in her mind start back up. She's going through her options and what your responses may be. You know what she's capable of, how she operates. You have never been afraid of her and it suddenly occurs to you that perhaps you should be. She looks cornered, dangerous and ready to fight. To fight and defend everything she has worked for and measures herself by. It makes you feel both angry and incredulous.
“You don't have to worry about me. I'm not expecting anything from you or about to use this against you. I'm no threat to you or a problem you have to solve. I'll just leave, I'll walk away and you'll never have to....”
You choke on the words, gather your purse and attempt to get to your feet and stride away with at least some dignity intact. Her voice stops you.
“Sit down. Sit. Down.” She hisses the words out and pins you to the spot with those hypnotic eyes. You blink several times and swallow hard. Your nerves are strung taught. Your insides coil and squirm. You actually feel you are about to be sick.
“Spare me the dramatics and calm down.”
She exhales in a long stream.
“What a fucking mess.”
“It doesn't have to be...”
The words die on your tongue because you know it does have to be. You know you have to leave your job. You know you have to break up with David and you know there is absolutely no chance at all of developing a relationship with this woman who has completely taken over your life. It's written all over her face, it's in the set of her frame and it's in the words that are pouring from her mouth in a quiet tirade. You barely hear them, just snatches here and there. Mistake. Blame. Fault. Loss of control. Tears are falling and you have to get out, to get away from this deserted upscale bar and that quiet, deadly voice that is cutting through you like a knife. You hear her calling your name as you jump up and push through the doors into the bitter November air and onto the slick pavement. You hail a cab and ride home not even attempting to halt the tears.