Alice had always been a hard worker. She didn’t regret focusing on her career. But now that she had a life? She should have made more room for it. If one counted “having a life” meant having sex with Theodore during the day, sometimes more than once.
They’d had gone out to lunch just one time. They never made it to the restaurant. Instead, they parked a secluded spot in a parking garage across town where she climbed on to his lap and rode him senseless.
Now they didn’t dare leave together during the day for fear of taking too long. Instead, the supply room would have to do when the mood struck. And strike it did—often.
The tiny space had a lock on the door, which was handy. The fact it also had a nice corner niche where he could hold her up against the wall was a bonus. He often had to put his hand over her mouth to stiffly her cries, which only turned her on more.
The copier room also proved useful. She’d never been so glad to have Edison’s government contracts require secure copying space as she had in those moments. She’d slip the “no enter” sign on the door, lock it, and then sit on the formica table while he stood pitching into her so hard black marks now marred the wall behind it. Big Whale didn’t protest once.
But today? It was back to the supply room.
Alice kicked off her panties as soon as the click on the door sounded. “We have to be quick.”
Theodore stalked to her, circled his hand around the back of her neck, a move she’d grown increasingly fond of. “Got a plane to catch or something?” He went to work on his trousers with his free hand. The clank of his belt buckle sounded in the air.
“A Suzy meeting. So yeah, a meeting with a 747.” She flipped up her flouncy skirt. She’d abandoned anything too tight days ago.
He lowered his zipper, drew himself out. “I got your 747 right here.” After slipping on a condom, he wasted no time moving into her slowly. He took pleasure in driving her crazy that way, taking his sweet time filling her up. A long sigh rumbled up through her throat.
“I do love way you sigh when I enter you the first time,” he whispered into her hair.
She licked her lips. “I like all times.”
“Like this one?” He pushed in again, slowly.
“Yes,” she breathed.
His hand circled her thigh, lifted her leg. “Or this?” He thrust into her harder.
“I think I need to gather more data. Have more…” Her words failed her.
His hand released her neck, moving to her other leg and yanking it higher so he could hold her up against the wall by her thighs. God, he was strong. She had to put both hands on the back wall to steady herself.
He buried himself to the hilt, and she groaned at the delicious spread inside.
Words found her again. “Fuck me.”
“With pleasure.” His mouth came down on hers, knowing when he ground into her faster and faster, her cries would start. Her animal response to him easily explained. The man was spectacular at sex. Like he had a map of her body memorized, knew every spot that drove her wild and explored it with abandon. He had a photographic memory, after all.
His own rumblings started, and a possessive thrill ran up her spine at the sound. Pride she was the one he was fucking into oblivion in the supply closet spread like wildlife. That, and a growing need to get him deeper inside her.
Over the last few days, a happy, gooey feeling had settled in her chest. The glow, as she’d labeled it, was like immersing herself in a warm bath. It was relaxing. No thinking. Just feeling. Sating a relentless biological need. She and Theodore had declared they shouldn’t be resisting each other any longer, so who was she to stop nature from taking its course?
The room quickly grew hot and her skin clammy. She cried her climax into his shoulder, and he shook against her.
They took a second to catch their breath, and then he let her slip to the floor, land on her feet.
He panted into her hair. “I’m going to need at least a few hours to recover from that one.”
“Recover, as in…” She arched an eyebrow.
“I rather thought we could try all three of our secret places in one day.” He brushed hair off her face.
“More like…” he didn’t finish his sentence, just stared into her eyes.
“More? You want more?” she teased, and grabbed his ass, pulled him toward her, his cock slick with her and probably ruining her skirt.
“Always more.” He kissed her.
Someone rattled the supple closet door. Then a hushed whisper. “Alice. Alice.” It was Patty.
Crap. So much for their secrecy. Of course, she’d spilled the beans to Patty one afternoon when she’d caught them both coming out of the copier room together. She gave as few details as possible but she might have slipped that his skills fell in the category of “can’t say no.”
Theodore tucked himself way, pushed his shirt tails back into his trousers. “And that’s our cue.”
“Patty won’t say anything to anyone.”
He yanked his belt back together. “Not worried.” He placed a hand by her head, caging her anew. “I’d be more worried if someone took our spot here. Harry’s got a thing for her.” He winked at her.
“I know. But Harry got no hair.”
The sting at her friend mixed with the sentiment he was right. Still, his assessment of Patty irked her but she let it go. “A girl’s gotta follow her chemistry, right?”
He unlocked the door. “It’s only natural.”
Patty stood on the other side with arms crossed. “It would be so much easier if you two kept a schedule. I needed new batteries for my mouse twenty minutes ago.”
Theodore merely grinned down at her. “How’s Chainlink Logistics going?”
Her face softened. “Great now that I’m working on it.” She pushed past him and went into the supply closet. “God please put air freshener on your list, Alice.” She pivoted to smile back at her.
Alice stuck her tongue out at her.
Patty waved at her. “Ewww. I don’t know where that’s been, so keep it yourself.”
Theodore chuckled, and sauntered away shaking his head.
Well, see you later to you, too. She glanced up at the big wall clock. Shit, she was a minute late to Suzy. She only hoped Suzy wasn’t as perceptive as Patty in the sex department.
Suzy sat at the conference room table, which she commandeered most days. Something about needing space. Alice thought it was so she could spy on everyone wandering the hallways. Or perhaps eyeing Roger’s office door, usually closed, across the cubicle farm. Alice got the sense Suzy wasn’t a Roger fan, which was odd given she and her brother placed him as CEO.
She strode in. “Hi, sorry I’m late.”
Suzy waved her hand, not looking up. “Didn’t notice. How many times a week do you do a full back-up of the accounting files?” She took off her reading glasses, chewed on the end.
“Weekly. Every Friday. Why?” She took the seat across from her.
Suzy leaned back in the chair. “Hmmm. Samuel was right.”
“Of course I was.” Samuel strode in carrying a cup of coffee. He lifted it at seeing Alice. “Thanks for the new shipment of Kona, by the way.”
“So, did you fill her in?” he asked Suzy.
“I was just about to. Close the door, will you?”
Samuel obliged, then took a seat next to his sister.
Suzy studied Alice for one long awkward moment, then rested her elbows on the table, steepling her fingers under chin. “Roger has been embezzling.”
Alice froze. She blinked as if that might clear the buzzing that was rising in her ears. “He, what?”
Samuel scratched at his hairline. “That was quite a lead-in, sis.”
“Not pussy footing around anymore. We need to act swiftly.”
“Could have done that two weeks ago when I found it,” he chuckled into his cup.
Alice had no idea what these two were talking about. Embezzlement? “I’m not sure I understand. Are some books missing? Maybe I didn’t forward everything.”
“Oh, you sent everything,” Suzy said. “But there are discrepancies.”
A slither of fear snaked up her spine. She was super careful to make sure everything reconciled every day. How could there be anything amiss?
She swallowed thickly. “Discrepancies?”
Samuel thunked upright in his chair. “Roger has been copying the files, doctoring them and re-uploading them. You didn’t notice anything?”
“Well, sometimes, but then everything always reconciled. I mean. I review it every day so he’d have to do it on the weekend and…” She stopped her rambling. “But why embezzle? He makes more than anyone here.” By a long shot. Like a $400,000 salary plus benefits. Gah, could she sound anymore naïve?
“He has a mother who’s in a care facility with no insurance,” Samuel added with an eyebrow raise.
Roger had never mentioned that.
Suzy waved her hand. “Doesn’t justify stealing. He could have come to us.”
But could he have? Suzy had proved to be an adept business woman, a mentor. But she wasn’t a soft heart. Still, Alice agreed that stealing was never the answer.
“A loan at the very least,” Samuel agreed.
Suzy chuffed. “With what collateral? His house is mortgaged to the hilt, and he doesn’t own anything.”
She liked Suzy—usually. But the coldness with which she delivered this news sent chills down Alice’s spine.
“I should have caught it,” Alice admitted. “I apologize. I wasn’t aware of this situation.” She might as well show some responsibility in an act of self-preservation. She didn’t want them believing she was in on Roger’s theft.
“You weren’t working with the right books. It’d take a deep investigation to catch it.” Suzy then gave her an understanding smile, and heat rose in Alice’s face. It humiliated that she wasn’t capable of catching that files were being doctored. It was her job, for god’s sake, to make sure numbers were right.
Alice swallowed down the shame. “How did you catch it?”
“I didn’t.” Suzy turned to her brother. “Few people know Samuel was once a forensic accountant.”
Theodore strode in. “I knew he was. Most boring job in the world.”
“I’d say catching thieves is worth the tedium.” Samuel grinned at him.
Theodore mock gasped and slapped his chest. “I only took one bottle of your sake home the other night. I’d say that’s a misdemeanor, at best.”
What the hell were they talking about? Other night? When? She shook her head a little to focus. “But. How could I not have noticed? How long has this been going on?” She couldn’t let go of the fact all of Roger’s stealing was under the nose.
“We’ve been watching the books for about a year,” Samuel said.
A fucking year?
Samuel pointed at Suzy’s laptop as if she could see through the screen and understand better? “As far as we can tell, he did a little doctoring over the weekend. Copy the file, upload a new one. Everything reconciles, but expenses show higher a little each week. Yet nothing justified it—except for some artfully crafted withdrawals.”
Of course. Alice forwarded financial reports every Friday to the twins via email, per Roger’s instructions. Never Monday, he’d said. Just Friday. Now it was making sense. On Monday, things would have looked different.
Occasionally, an email would land in her inbox from the O’Flannery’s asking to see the files. She’d send them along, too, but sometimes didn’t get to it until Monday or Tuesday. It never occurred to her to tell Roger about the requests. So she could see how they’d see the discrepancies from Friday to the next week if they were looking.
For her, however? Mondays were a zoo with so many things going on. Alice didn’t spend a great deal of time scratching her head over minor changes she thought she’d seen but had dismissed. She’d chalked it up to being so tired by Friday she must have remembered the numbers differently.
Samuel scratched his chin, the sound too loud in her ear. “Plus, there was the matter of returning purchases for the cash. Still can’t believe people have cash on them.”
“Right?” Theodore asked him. “National Cash Back Day isn’t even until November.”
Alice glanced up at Theodore. His presence hadn’t really registered in her. Then again, she was surprised she could think at all, given how Alice’s brain spun.
‘I’m sorry we didn’t let you in on the investigation,” Suzy added. “But you were instrumental in discovering what was really going along. You being acting CFO scared him.” Glee colored her voice. “It made him start, let’s say, take more drastic measures. Like stealing the petty cash. Then, when you were actually promoted? Well…” Glee colored her voice.
An awkward beat passed. There was so much to unravel in Suzy’s words. Roger had been the thief of the petty cash box and his own god damned pen. But worse? She was only made CFO to apply some heat. Roger knew how fastidious she was. She wasn’t promoted on her own merit after all.
“I see,” she said slowly.
“You’re a good CFO. I knew I could count on you.” Suzy placed a hand on her shoulder and Alice had to work hard not to pull back out of hurt. “We didn’t let you in on it because we couldn’t afford an entrapment scenario.”
“Setting him up for the fall,” Suzy answered her unasked question. “We just let nature take its course.” Her eyes sparkled. She was truly enjoying this.
Alice turned to Theodore. “Did you know about this?”
“Theodore’s not at liberty to say,” Samuel filled in for him.
His face was as placid as a mountain lake.
“However, that’s not why this place is falling apart, is it?” Suzy asked him.
Suzy’s question made her head swivel back to her. “Falling apart?” Alice had done a valiant job of holding it all together. She wasn’t a martyr by any stretch of the imagination, but she’d like a little credit for doing what needed to be done.
“We know about Roger’s dalliances,” she said.
Samuel and Theodore must have sensed her discomfort as Theodore took her arm. “But that’s for another day,” he said. “Today, we have a changing of the guard.”
Suzy clapped her hands. “You got that right. Let’s talk new CEO.”
And maybe a new CFO? God, she was going to be fired, wasn’t she?
You know what? She didn’t care. Being told you were promoted for a sting operation, well, stung. She could get a job elsewhere after having worked for the Golden Twins. She only hoped she’d get a good reference.
“Roger isn’t a good CEO, embezzlement or not,” Suzy continued. “We’re replacing him. In fact, I might step in.”
Samuel chuffed. “Like you have time.”
“I like it around here. We have a stellar CFO, after all.” Suzy beamed down at her.
Oh, not fired. She should feel relieved. Instead, a sadness crept in, made her limbs too heavy on her body. It was strange. Alice should love Suzy as head of Edison. Suzy was fun but smart. Direct but not mean—unless you counted that bit about no sympathy for Roger’s predicament. And she listened to Alice. But the fact she wasn’t allowed to know about their secret sting niggled at her enthusiasm.
Suzy rose. “Alice, will you give us a minute?”
She nodded, her tongue too numb to speak. She closed the door behind her just in time to hear Suzy’s next words.
“Now, about you and Alice….”