There is a mother-son roleplay near the end of the story, so keep that in mind if it’s not your thing. There is no actual incest.
Comments and feedback are appreciated.
‘Are you alright?’
I open my eyes, straightening in my chair. ‘Yes, thanks. Just too many late nights.’
‘I know how you feel.’ She takes a mug from the cupboard and spoons in some coffee granules.
‘What’s keeping you so late?’ I ask.
‘If the boss works late, so do I. The perils of being his assistant.’
‘Taskmaster, is he?’
‘Not usually. He’s under a lot of pressure at the moment, working around the clock to keep our biggest client happy.’
‘Sounds stressful.’ I gesture to the chair opposite me. ‘Sit down if you need a break.’
I catch a hint of surprise, which is fair enough. We’ve never said a word to each other before now, so I might have had the same reaction.
‘Sure,’ she says, ‘I’ve got ten minutes. What is it you do here?’
‘It can be hit and miss. The latter when you’re staying late every night.’
‘Do you live close by?’
‘About an hour door to door.’
‘Oh, that’s rough.’
‘I don’t mind it. It gives me time to read.’
‘Oh, is that the one with Guy Montag and the book burning?’
‘That’s the one. Have you read it?’
‘Years ago, so I don’t remember much. I went through a dystopian phase.’
‘Sounds like me right now. I take it you’re a bookworm.’
‘I always have been. I’m on a romance binge at the moment. Think classics likeJane Eyre andPride and Prejudice.’
‘Very old school. Did you find your Mr Darcy?’
‘Not yet, unfortunately.’
She raises an eyebrow. ‘What’s with the “oh”?’
‘Nothing, you just surprised me.’
‘What makes you say that?’
‘Well, you’re successful. And you seem nice… Am I digging myself a hole?’
‘You’re trying your best to get out of it. I appreciate the effort.’
‘I’ll take that.’
She gets up. ‘I’d better get back. It was nice talking to you.’
I puff out my cheeks as she leaves, trying to decide whether it’s weird how much I fancy her. Not off the back of that conversation, obviously—she’s done it for me for a while. It might not be considered an obvious attraction; she looks late thirties to early forties, and forty on the dot would give her seventeen years on me. She’s comely without being beautiful, but what really has me hooked are her sumptuous curves. They lack the firmness or tone of a gym buff, but I’ve always had a thing for wide hips, and hers are up there with the best I’ve seen.
I make another coffee then head back to my desk, catching eyes with her along the way. She gives me a smile, then I hunker down for another late night.
I wake up the next day with her still on my mind, where she lingers throughout the morning. Though our conversation was brief, it left me intrigued to know more. I often feel as though grounded people are an endangered species these days, so it was nice to speak to someone who seemed uncomplicated and, well… nice. Around twelve o’clock, I buy lunch from my usual deli across the street and bring it back to the office kitchen. Normally I use the time to listen to a podcast, but as I plug myself in, she walks around the corner holding what looks like a salad. We exchange a smile as she approaches my table, but she has no intention of stopping.
‘Wanna join me?’ I ask.
She stops and glances around. I’m not sure what at, but it’s clear she’s in two minds.
‘You don’t have to,’ I say.
She sits down opposite me. ‘It’ll make a nice change, actually. I’m so used to eating lunch at my desk.’
‘You don’t know what you’re missing. Salad tastes a lot better over conversation.’
She smiles. ‘I’m willing to try anything. There’s no chicken or cheese—not even dressing. Just pure rabbit food. That’s what I get for dieting, I suppose.’
I don’t think she needs to diet, although I’m not about to say as much. ‘It’s worth it in the end though, right?’
‘I’m not always convinced, especially when what you’ve got smells so good. What is it?’
‘The best chilli con carne in London.’
‘Do you want to swap?’ she jokes.
‘Not a chance in hell.’
‘I don’t blame you. I suppose I should thank you for conserving my waistline.’
I chuckle. ‘Sorry for prying about your love life yesterday, by the way. I realise it must’ve sounded weird.’
‘It’s fine,’ she assures. ‘Although I think it’s only fair that you mention yours.’
‘There’s nothing to mention. I’m chronically single at the moment.’
‘You should borrow one of my romance novels.’
‘I’ll let you know if I get that desperate. Not that I’m calling you desperate, obviously.’
She smiles again, and I can’t help but think how it lights up her face. ‘You’re getting that shovel out again. So do you live alone?’
‘No, with housemates.’
‘I thought you might. You look too young to live by yourself.’
‘Good to know.’
‘Are casino siteleri you staying late again tonight?’
‘Maybe for an hour or so, but nothing ridiculous. I’m just relieved it’s Friday, I can’t wait to go to the pub.’
‘To drown your sorrows?’
‘Something like that. I’ve never seen you there before, you should come.’
‘Oh… Thanks for the invite, but I don’t know anyone who goes.’
‘You know me. Sort of.’
‘I don’t know. It’s not really my thing.’
‘It won’t be anything crazy. Just a quiet drink and a chat after work.’
‘I’ll think about it.’
‘Okay. No pressure.’
We continue chatting, losing track of time and running ten minutes over our lunch hour. It’s something I seldom do, and I hurry back to my desk when I realise I’m late for a meeting. Not that I care too much; they always seem to start with idle chatter. I apologise as I enter the meeting room, but as expected, I haven’t missed anything important.
One of my project managers takes us through some concept logos for a tinned fruit brand. Not the most riveting of things, but even if it was, my mind would be wandering all the same. I still don’t know her name, and guessing what it might be is more compelling than the ’emotions’ a fruit company wants its logo to provoke. Carol, maybe. Or Helen. Something not too old or too young. Kate would suit her, too.
The meeting ends, and I head back to my desk. I speed through my remaining work, aiming to finish in good time in the hope that she’ll accept my offer. Just before six o’clock, I see her heading to the kitchen and follow to put my mug in the dishwasher.
‘Hey,’ I say.
‘So have you thought about it?’
‘I think I’ll call it a night. I don’t want to intrude.’
‘You won’t be. I’ll even get the first round.’
She chews her bottom lip as though pondering a difficult maths problem. ‘Why do you want me to come to the pub with you?’
‘Because I like talking to you. Is that a bad thing?’
‘No it’s just… never mind.’
‘People gossip. I’ve already been asked who I was talking to at lunch.’
‘What did you say?’
‘Just one of the designers.’
I feign a hurt expression.
‘I didn’t mean it like that. You know what I’m getting at.’
‘How does it feel to be holding the shovel for a change?’
She smiles. ‘Pretty silly.’
‘How about we go to a different pub? I know a nice one about ten minutes away. No one from the office goes.’
‘I don’t want to keep you from your colleagues.’
‘You still haven’t got that it’s you I want to talk to.’
Her expression tells me she’s still unconvinced. ‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes. So does that mean you’ll come?’
‘Eight if we’re quick.’
‘Alright, just give me five minutes to go to the ladies and I’ll meet you outside.’
‘What’s your name, by the way?’ I ask as she heads off.
She turns. ‘Jenny. Yours?’
‘Nice to meet you, Callum.’
We arrive at the pub, and I buy the first round as promised. It’s a warm evening, so we take our drinks to an outside table.
‘So,’ I say, ‘If pubs aren’t your thing, what you do after hours?’
‘I’m more the stay-at-home type, to be honest. I’ll occasionally go out for a drink, but more often than not I’ll be reading with my feet up. Sorry if you were expecting a more interesting answer.’
‘Too good for your colleagues, is that it?’
‘No, it’s not—’
‘Oh.’ She smiles, bringing with it a cute look of embarrassment. ‘Sorry, maybe a generational gap there.’
‘It can’t be that much of a gap. How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?’
‘First my love life, now my age. You’re really ticking off all the personal questions.’
‘I suppose I should rethink my plan to ask your cup size, then.’
‘Maybe try something else. I’m thirty-nine, how about you?’
‘Wow, you just made me feel old.’
‘They say you’re only as old as you feel.’
‘What if you feel as old as you are?’
‘Then you probably know that saying is bullshit.’
She laughs. ‘It certainly feels that way. So how should I talk to you? What’s the slang twenty-three-year-olds understand these days?’
‘I’m glad you asked. ‘Have you heard of the word “yeet”?’
‘It’s like “yes”, except when you’re super excited about something.’
‘Is this you teasing me again?’
‘No, I promise it’s real. You should say it next time I ask you to come to the pub.’
‘Should I be excited about that?’
‘Of course you should.’
‘Let’s see how tonight goes first.’
I take a sip of my pint. ‘Now that you know the modern lingo, maybe you can help me with something.’
‘What’s a good show on the wireless? I’m always looking for new stuff to listen to.’
She opens her mouth in indignation, a sight I can’t help but laugh at. ‘I’m thirty-nine, I wasn’t born in 1939.’
‘You’d look pretty good if you were.’
‘That’s güvenilir casino the nicest thing you’ve said to me today.’
‘Must be because it’s the weekend.’
She smiles. ‘So how long have you worked at the company? I can’t remember you being here for long.’
‘Just over a year. I moved to London after taking a year out after uni.’
‘What were you doing?’
‘Voluntary work, mainly, while I figured out what I wanted to do. Not that I like to brag.’
‘I’m sure. What kind of work?’
‘I looked after dogs at a local animal shelter. Walking and feeding them, that kind of thing.’
‘Sounds fun. I’ve always wanted a dog, but I don’t have the time or space to look after one. There were always two in my house growing up.’
‘That’s how a lot of them ended up at the shelter. People bought them without realising how much work they are to look after.’
‘It’s a shame. What’s your favourite breed?’
‘It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I’d say German Shepherd.’
‘Really? Those are what we had growing up. Moxie and Bryson, then after they died, Prince and Matilda.’
‘Not exactly conventional, though. My parents had Moxie and Bryson before I was born, then my brother and I got to name the others.’
‘Which one was yours?’
‘Matilda. It was my favourite book at the time. We usually shortened it to “Tilda”.’
‘And was Prince named after the singer?’
‘No, funnily enough. My brother just thought it sounded cool.’
‘Well, it’s a good one either way.’ I drink the last of my pint. ‘Fancy another?’
‘Go on then, one more.’ She gets up. ‘I’ll get them. Same again?’
I nod and she goes into the pub. It’s a little busier then when we arrived, meaning she might be a while. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; I can see her waiting at the bar through the window, bum looking lush in her jeans.
‘Sorry it took so long,’ she says when she returns. ‘It’s getting quite busy.’
‘For a minute I thought you’d done a runner.’
‘I tried, but there’s no way to leave out the back.’
‘And here’s me thinking I was being devilishly charming.’
‘I’ve had worse dates—’ Her face contorts in horror. ‘That came out wrong. I don’t think this is a date, obviously.’
‘I’m flattered,’ I tease, taking a sip of my new pint. ‘To be fair, this is going better than some of my dates, too. I’ve even been sneaked out on.’
‘Oh no. Why was that?’
‘Who knows? No great loss, though. She spent the first ten minutes of the date texting; barely contributed to the conversation; then when it was time to pay, she “went to the toilet” and never came back.’
‘Sorry to hear that.’
I shrug. ‘She was probably a cat person. What about you, think you can top it?’
‘It was a while ago, back in the days of silent films, but I think I can.’
I chuckle, appreciating the self-deprecating humour. ‘Do tell.’
‘Okay, but you have to bear in mind it was my fourth date with the guy. He took me to a nice restaurant and everything was going well. The conversation flowed, we had chemistry, and I was beginning to think it could go somewhere… And then his wife turned up.’
‘Ouch. And you didn’t suspect anything?’
‘Not a clue. No suspicious behaviour, no wedding ring—he didn’t even have a mark on his ring finger.’
‘Sounds like he thought of everything. How did his wife react?’
‘She made a huge scene. Called me every name under the sun in front of a room full of diners. I tried to tell her I’d had no idea, but she wouldn’t have it. It’s the most embarrassed I’ve been in my life.’
‘I’m not surprised, that makes my bad date look like nothing. What did you do?’
‘Nothing, I just took the abuse and walked out. Looking back, I don’t blame her. Apparently it wasn’t the first time he’d done it.’
‘At least you found out sooner rather than later.’
‘That’s what I thought. I’m just grateful I never slept with him.’ She gives me another dismayed look. ‘Sorry, that was probably too much information.’
‘Not at all. I didn’t sleep with my date either. She’d have probably texted through the whole thing.’
She chuckles. ‘That wouldn’t do your ego any favours.’
‘Tell me about it. So, how come you haven’t settled down?’
‘Back to the personal questions, eh?’
‘I thought you wouldn’t mind now you’re one-and-a-half gin and tonics in.’
She takes another swig. ‘Make that one-and-two-thirds. It wasn’t for lack of trying. I was with someone for six years after that incident, but it didn’t work out.’
‘The standard reason. Our priorities changed and we drifted apart.’
‘Sorry to hear that.’
‘It’s alright, it wasn’t meant to be. What about you? Any thoughts of settling down, or do you feel too young?’
‘I’m not in a rush, but if I find the right person, I might.’
She raises her glass. ‘Here’s to finding Miss Right.’
‘And Mr Right,’ I say as we clink.
She finishes her drink, leaving only ice and the lime wedge at the bottom of the glass. ‘I should get going.’
‘Can I tempt canlı casino you to stay for one more?’
She looks at her watch and purses her lips. ‘Alright then, you’ve twisted my arm.’
‘Didn’t take much twisting.’
She shoots me a smile as I go into the pub. After about a five minute wait, I buy the round along with two bags of crisps and take them to the table.
‘I was getting a bit hungry, I say. ‘Help yourself.’
‘Cheese and onion, you really know how to spoil a girl.’
‘It might not be fine dining, but at least you know my wife isn’t going to turn up.’
‘I’ll take a bag of crisps over that any day. Thanks.’
‘So, being the boss’s personal assistant, you must know about all the skeletons in his closet.’
She raises an eyebrow. ‘Is that why you asked me here, to gossip?’
‘I wouldn’t dream of it. You haven’t denied it, though.’
‘Even if he has them, I’m not nearly drunk enough to tell you.’
‘Just an excuse to stay out longer.’
‘I thought you might say that.’
She buys a fourth round to make us even, which turns into a fifth and then a sixth as the evening goes on. The crisps do a poor job of absorbing the alcohol, and my optimistic offer of a seventh is a step too far.
‘I’m done,’ she says. ‘I’m already struggling to see straight.’
She gets clumsily to her feet, almost knocking over her empty glass. I get up to help steady her, resulting in an alcohol-induced bout of head rush.
‘You alright?’ she asks.
‘Never better. You?’
‘I think so.’
‘Come on, I’ll walk you home.’
‘There’s no need, honestly.’
‘I insist. I’d feel guilty if I got to work on Monday and found out you’d stumbled into traffic.’
‘Aw, I’m touched that you care.’
‘I’d hate to lose my new drinking buddy.’
We amble to the tube station in a fit of giggles, every topic of conversation seeming profoundly hilarious.
I catch her as she trips on a loose paving slab, yanking her into me by the waist. ‘Careful.’
‘Thanks. It’s a good thing you came with me.’
She threads her arm through mine, and we make it the rest of the way without incident. After taking extra care on the stairs down to the platform, it’s a relief when we finally board the train and sit down.
‘Oh that’s so much better,’ she says with a sigh. ‘I can’t wait to take my shoes off.’
‘Pipe and slippers time, is that it?’
‘Nothing wrong with that. You youngsters need to learn to appreciate things.’
We alight about twenty minutes later and walk through a quiet residential area towards her flat. I try to keep track of the route so I can retrace my steps, but it proves tricky in my drunken state, the consequences of six pints on an almost empty stomach becoming increasingly apparent.
‘Here we are,’ she says, fumbling in her handbag for a key.
‘And all without falling over. Thanks for coming out, I had a good night.’
‘Thanks for inviting me. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.’ She scrunches her face. ‘That came out wrong. I meant… never mind. Where’s home for you again?’
‘That’s on the other side of London. You’re in no state to get there.’
I wave my hand dismissively. ‘I’ve made it home feeling worse.’
‘It’s my turn to insist. I don’t have a spare room, but I do have a sofa. It might be a bit short for you but at least it’s comfy.’
‘Yeah, come on in.’
She opens the door—taking four attempts to slide the key into the lock—and we stumble inside.
‘Home sweet home,’ she says.
‘It’s a nice place.’
‘Thanks, and I think you’ll find my tastes are quite modern. Not a wireless in sight.’
After a cursory snoop around the living room, I slump on the sofa while she disappears to the kitchen. Too short was right—by about a foot—but at least it’s soft. I close my eyes, ready to give in to the temptation to drift off.
‘Don’t tell me that after all your teasing I’m going to outlast you,’ she says.
I open my eyes as she sits next to me, bottle of wine and glasses in hands. ‘I thought you’d had enough.’
‘Well, now I don’t have to worry about getting home. I’ve been meaning to open this for ages and now seems as good a time as any.’
‘I can’t argue with that. Pour away.’
‘When I said I enjoyed tonight more than I thought I would, that wasn’t a slight on you, by the way.’ She hands me a generous glass. ‘I just didn’t expect us to have much in common.’
‘Isn’t it obvious? Believe it or not, I don’t normally hang out with people sixteen years younger than me.’
‘I’m flattered you made and exception.’
She smiles. ‘Do you get what I mean, though?’
‘Sure, but it’s only strange if you think of it as strange.’
‘Maybe. Anyway, I didn’t want you to think I didn’t enjoy your company.’
‘I’ll forgive you… if I can ask one more personal question.’
She takes a hefty swig of wine. ‘Do I dare say yes? Alright, ask away.’
‘As the CEO’s assistant…’
‘Have you ever… you know.’
‘Spit it out.’
‘Have you ever slept with him?’
After an initial look of surprise, her lips curl into a wry smile.
‘You have!’ I exclaim.
‘Only once. It happened after the Christmas party two years ago. We both drank way too much and I ended up at his place.’