My work line would not stop ringing. I knew it was my boss, Mr. Brown, wanting to flirt, but I had actual work to do. I was planning our business trip to Chicago. Every last detail needed to be taken care of, such as flights, rental cars, limos, and even making sure Mr. Brown’s suit was delivered to his room for the main event. Every year, the firm holds a large Gala that partners and representatives from large accounts attend to schmooze. Some of the lawyers bring girlfriends, escorts, or hot young assistants; wives are usually forbidden from coming, and so Mr. Brown normally went stag.
Mrs. Brown was usually far more concerned with local happenings than her husband’s work functions, so Mr. Brown had grown accustomed to traveling alone. So, imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail asking me to be his guest at the Gala. I guessed that my role would be the “hot assistant,” and that I’d be making appearances with him. This trip would be a chance for us to spend some time together, and while I was excited to go, I was also extremely nervous. It had only been a few weeks that I’d been back at the law firm, and I didn’t want to rush into anything. I was also very cautious of colleagues catching on to our flirtations. After a couple more e-mails back and forth that day, I was officially distressed. So, I was relieved when 5 o’clock rolled around and I could go home.
The next morning, I timed my arrival to be a few minutes late so that I could avoid Mr. Brown. Just the thought of us being together out in the open at such a prestigious event gave me knots in my stomach. But I had already taken care of all of the work on my end: I had managed the travel arrangements, I had booked the flights, and planned all the other details—and I knew that his wife wasn’t concerned about the Gala.
Mr. Brown and I exchanged a few e-mails, mostly concerning upcoming cases, and then my phone rang again. I answered the call with the firm’s standard greeting, but it was Mr. Brown telling me to be ready by 11:30 so that we could go to lunch and talk.
I stood by the entrance’s double doors near the elevator and waited for him. A little while later he stepped out from the elevator, laughing with another big-name lawyer at the firm. He walked up to me and asked if I was ready, and we then walked out the door together and across the parking lot to his Bentley. He opened my door and helped me in. There was something about being in that car—maybe it was its dark tint—that made me feel like I was in a confessional, that my secrets were safe in there, and no one would ever see or hear what I was thinking—or doing.
He started the engine and then told me there were a few things we needed to discuss. I was taken aback, immediately thinking the worst. Perhaps sensing what I was feeling, he cupped my face in his hands and looked levelly into my eyes. And when he sensed I had calmed down, he cleared his throat and asked if I knew that he had served in the military. I had seen the medals in his office, but I had assumed they were his father’s. I then considered his hard, strong body, and I decided it wasn’t surprising. He asked if I knew the military term, “rules of engagement.” Things were about to get interesting…