The man looked down from his corner office on the
seventh third story. He scratched the back of his head and reached a finger inside the neck of his buttoned collar, loosening it slightly. Bracing his arm against the window he leaned in, letting the icy glass cool his forehead. A loud honk followed by a glint of white broke his concentration and he watched as a white, two-door Mercedes SLR zipped into the parking lot below. It whipped into a reserved parking space, cutting off a red Ford quad-cab truck forcing the driver to choose between a head-on collision or an abrupt stop. The Ford driver braked.
With the top down on the convertible SLR, the man had a clear view of the driver. She wore a crisp white shirt and gray pinstriped pencil skirt. Her blonde hair was pulled into a sleek bun at the nape of her neck. He watched as she flipped down the sun visor, opened the mirror and touched up her makeup. His eyebrows rose when she removed two bobby pins from her hair and shook it out so that it hung in long loose golden waves. She opened the door, swung her high-heeled feet out of the car, stood and adjusted her knee-length skirt into place before undoing the top two buttons of her blouse.
The man’s eyes narrowed as the woman approached the automatic glass doors of the building. Her walk slowly transformed from weary to seductive, hips swinging like a metronome. He didn’t know what the woman wanted, but she had armed herself with all the weapons at her disposal to get her way.
Jenna strolled into the glass-encased atrium and headed directly to the security desk, her smile growing larger with each swinging step, timing it so that her grin had reached maximum wattage just as she stopped before the middle-aged guard. Her cheeks felt like they would explode from the strain of the unaccustomed position.
“Hi!” She said brightly. “I have a meeting with Ted Barrow on the tenth floor. Do I just go up?”
The guard blinked, unaccustomed to having a tiny, shapely blonde with cleavage approach the desk. In facilities closely linked with
the Department of Defense the city’s waste management department, nine out of ten people who passed through were male. And the few women he did see sure didn’t look like this one.
“Well, mam,” he said, “I have to call up and verify that he’s expecting you. Just a minute”
“Oh no! Please don’t do that,” she said, tucking her head and looking up at him through carefully darkened eyelashes.
He frowned, his thick fingers hesitating on the phone.
“You see, it’s a surprise. He doesn’t know I’m coming and if you ring up my entire plan, which I’ve been working on for days, will be completely ruined. Can’t you please just let me go up? He brought me here when we first started dating so I know exactly where to find his office.”
Jenna bit her bottom lip, opened her green eyes to their most innocent diameter and waited.
“You’re Mr. Barrow’s girlfriend?”
“Fiancé,” clarified Jenna, flashing a three-carat solitaire at him.
“I could get in a lot of trouble for this.”
“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” said Jenna, bouncing just enough to jiggle her breasts and distract the guard from realizing he never actually agreed.
She headed for the metal detector. He followed meekly behind, barely glancing inside the small orange leather purse she handed him before she swished through the gray magnetic arch. She claimed her bag, blew him a kiss and pushed the silver button beside the elevator doors.
Once inside, she punched the button for the tenth floor, and then quickly buttoned her shirt back up and twisted her hair into a tight bun. The elevator stopped, the doors opened and she waited. When they closed again, she placed a calm finger on the circle reading twelve. Fifteen seconds later the elevator doors opened and she walked quickly around the corner and through a maze of slate gray cubicles, keeping her head slightly down to avoid eye contact with the dozens of drone-like workers who buzzed through the space.
“One, two, and there you are,” she whispered to herself before turning down the third corridor on the left side of the room.
She continued down the hall at an even pace reading the nameplates on the steel coated office doors she passed, her high heels silent on the industrial blue carpet. Upon reaching the door that read: Jim Cavanaugh, she knocked twice, giving it the friendly sound of one who expects entry, but is courteous enough to give warning.
“Yeah!” came the gruff answer.
Jenna reached in her purse and pulled out the small liquid-filled syringe missed by the dazed guard. She slipped it in the back of her skirt’s waistband before using her elbow to push down on the metal lever handle to open the door.
Back in the elevator she shook her hair back down and undid her blouse in case the guard she had charmed was still waiting to be relieved for lunch. Eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four. Jenna’s hopes of making it back to the lobby with out stopping were dashed.
Her head jerked up at the sound of the baritone voice. Green eyes met sky blue ones rimmed with thick black eyelashes. She held her breath unable to break eye contact as the elevator doors began to close with him still on the
seventh third floor landing. With less than a foot to go, his arm shot between the doors opening them again. He stepped next to her, ending their eye’s connection. Her head barely reached the top of his shoulder.
“You almost caused two wrecks in the parking lot.”
Jenna kept her head down, not daring to meet his eyes again, and positioned her face into the cold mask to which it was accustomed.
Five, four, Three, two, one. It was almost over.
“I like to drive fast,” she said in a low monotone.
“Well be careful,” the man admonished, “Someone could have been killed.”
“Not in the parking lot,” Jenna muttered as she stepped off of the elevator and made a bee-line for the glass sliding doors.