Authors: Priscilla West
The Sandstone Affair
Copyright © 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Copyright © 2012
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Warning: This work contains scenes of graphic sexual nature and it i
s written for adults only(18+).
All characters depicted in this story are over 18 years of age
Table of Contents
I stare at the phone in disbelief. You’ve gotta be kidding me. Don’t trust him? I’ve not only given him my trust but also my hope and my body! My world spins as I realize how little I really know about Mark Stone.
He and his brother Blake co-manage Sandstone industries but they are more like business partners than brothers.
He handles active accounts. He believes in Lynx. He believes in me. He is the good guy and Blake is the snake.
Wait. That last one is not knowledge. It’s assumption. I’m assuming he’s the good guy because he hasn’t done anything openly bad. But that doesn’t make him good. He is certainly profiting off my situation for his carnal pleasure. And yet, it’s my pleasure too. He didn’t have to try to help me. He could have thrown me out of his office that very first night. As far as the sex goes, a man like Mark could have any woman in town, it’s not like he needed to coerce me into having sex with him. In journalism school, we would call this all conjecture. No proof. No proof he’s good. No proof he’s bad.
I don’t even know who the “him” in the text refers too. It could be Mark, or Blake, or Paul Freis my lawyer, or Dr. Vatel or any random man on the street. Hell, it could be Sanjay from yoga. It might not even be for me. Some cheated-on spouse trying to warn another who got the wrong number.
I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know what it says.
All I know is I promised to give my body and trust to a man I barely know in exchange for some kind of help I don’t understand with no guarantee of success. The only person I can really count on is myself.
Three days fall off the calendar like overripe fruit thudding to the ground and still no word from Mark. First he tells me I only have thirty days to file this rejoinder then he blows three off like they are nothing. What does he expect me to do, just set around on my hands waiting for the 29th day so he can call me and say “Sorry can’t help you”?
I spent the first two days milling around, sharpening my resume, and visiting Dad. I called Janice for lunch but she’s so paranoid about Sandstone Ventures she wants to wait another week.
Finally this morning Paul sent the packet over with his analysis of the firing documents.
Sitting at the kitchen table with his notes as a map, I finally find my way through most of the small print.
Things were going pretty well until I see a notation Paul made about Termination Reason 1A.
I had seen the part where they say my position is redundant because Ladies World has Valerie James as an editor and doesn’t need me.
What I hadn’t seen, until Paul’s paralegal fleshed it out, was the part directly afterward.
Reason for Termination:
Rationale for Decision:
The controlling property already has someone in the position of editor. Evidence has surfaced that Miss Sharp has been guilty of negligence and incompetence in her own position and is not suitable to replace the current editor of the controlling property.
Negligence? Incompetence? I can’t believe my eyes. How dare they suggest I was either of those things? I ran a tight ship at Lynx and no one could deny that. We were doing just fine without Sandstone Ventures until the economy crashed, and that was not my fault. But even after Sandstone, I was doing so well it pressured Ladies World. They couldn’t handle the competition so they decided to fight dirty.
My hands ball into fists and I pound helplessly on the table. Someone has to answer for these lies.
Looking around for my purse and keys, I pause just long enough to scan the rest of my lawyer’s notes about the termination papers. The conclusion, of course, is that without evidence of wrongdoing on their part, there is no way to file a rejoinder.
I pause for a moment. I should let Paul Freis confront Blake about the accusations. Maybe I could use libel as evidence. I know that having my lawyer get a statement is the smartest way to go about this.
Screw smart. I’m done with that. Grabbing my keys, I storm out the door and on my way to Sandstone Ventures.
“I demand to see Blake Stone,” I tell the receptionist through gritted teeth.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I doubt Mr. Stone will see you without an appointment,” she says matter-of-factly.
“Oh, he has an appointment alright,” I say almost conning her with my fake sweetness until she pulls up his schedule. “An appointment with my fists!”
I dodge past the girl and run down the hall, turning instinctively towards Mark’s office when I realize I’m going the wrong way.
Mark and Blake don’t get along very well and have offices on opposite sides of the building. Mark’s office is dim, no lights. Turning, I run right into a burly security guard. The receptionist must have called him. He reaches out to block my way.
“I need you to settle down, Ma’am.” He says in a patient, professional tone.
“Blake!” I scream loud enough to wake the dead. “Blake Stone! Face me like a man and tell me to my face that I’m negligent, you slimy rat!”
“Ma’am!” The guard tries to shout over me.
Clerks and administrators pour out of the offices to see the spectacle in the hallway.
The guard calls for backup and a second security officer walks into the hallway giving me firm and clear commands to stand down.
Everyone is staring, talking, yelling, swirling around in front of me.
Then there is silence.
I hear an oily, drawling voice. “It’s alright. Let her go. I’ll be glad to see Miss Sharp in my office.”
At the sound of Blake’s voice, all the clerks scurry back to their desks and the guards back away. I’m sure he enjoys the power his position gives him. Even though he and Mark were left as partners in the firm when their father passed away, Blake has always needed the power more. He’s shorter than Mark with darker hair and beady eyes that never seem to close all the way, even when he blinks. No matter what the price of his suit, he always seems ill-dressed as if his own clothes were rejecting him or embarrassed to be seen on him. He holds out a pudgy hand and motions me toward his office.
“Stay in the hall outside my door,” Blake fake-whispers in a loud, breathy hiss. “I know she’s clearly a bit unhinged, but I’m hopeful she’s not dangerous.”
I walk past him into his office. He turns to his assistant positioned right outside the door.
“Call Kenneth Allen and get him to come down. Have him wait out here with the guards. I want to make sure he has visual evidence of this visit as an officer of the court.”
I enter Blake’s cave-like office, so different from the other side of the hall. Mark’s office is neat and tidy with an efficient business-like atmosphere. Blake’s looks like a file cabinet had too much to eat and vomited folders and documents all over the room. Books half-open, a Mont Blanc fountain pen dripping ink on a financial statement, and his personal shredder overflowing with paper strips reveal the chaos he both lives in, and creates.
“Can’t afford an office service?”” I ask bitterly as I sit down.
“I don’t like anyone in my private space,” he says slowly and carefully as he slides behind his desk. His chair is lifted higher than mine -- an old power trick that only fools the person who thinks it gives them power. “I also don’t care for people shouting my business down the hall.”
“You accused me of being negligent and incompetent. What’s the matter? Don’t want your lies shouted out for the world to hear?”
“Miss Sharp. I didn’t accuse you of anything. Your employment was terminated via section 6, Paragraph 3, Subsection C which stipulates to whit that if your property is collapsed or otherwise merged into the superstructure of the corporate entity and reasonable placement cannot be secured within the remaining capital investitures due to a superior employee occupying the position you are not afforded continued employment in any manner, property, or franchise thereof.”
“So you’re not only good with double-crossing, you’re good with double-talk, I see. I don’t suppose you’ve heard of the word ‘libel’ but I’m sure Kenneth will explain it to you when I take you to court.”
“We actually know more about your negligence now than we did when we wrote the termination papers. So, even if you could prove libel prior to your termination, now we have all the data in the world to back up our claim. So, take us to court.”
Blake waves me off with a smug little smile that makes my blood boil.
“There is no negligence!” I roar at him, waiting for the guards to bust through the door at any moment. “I gave my life to that magazine. I may have neglected a lot of other things but Lynx is not one of them.”
“And what do you have to show for your life’s work? What stories of merit do you have pending? What investigative journalism have you done? We have looked through all your pending articles and projects and haven’t really found very much Ladies World can even use. I’m just hoping Mrs. James can retrain your staff to be more productive so they don’t get fired too.”
For a moment I am tempted to throw out the fact I’m sitting on the bombshell story of the year, but fortunately I manage to keep that part to myself. If he knew about it he would only take it and give it to Valerie James for Ladies World and he’s already taken everything else I have. Still, I can feel the heat in my face as I grip the side of the chair.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve to call me names, you thief. You came in and railroaded me out of my own company just for the profits.”
I spit the words at him. I can see the conversation isn’t helping but I need some kind of resolution.
Blake stands up and walks around to the front of his desk, sitting on the corner right in front of me. He leans over close enough for me to smell the tuna he had for lunch on his breath. Speaking slowly and deliberately, he smiles at me like a crocodile.
“Well, Miss Sharp. There is one way you can keep working in your pathetic little career. You show me how workable you are willing to be, and I’ll find a place for your true skills. I’m still closing Lynx but I’m sure there would be a place for someone who can do what you’re good for.”
“Really? How would I show you I’m workable?”
“Oh, it’s quite simple,” Blake drawls out his words and licks his lips salaciously. “I’ll go back behind my desk and sit in my chair. You come around to the side and get down on your knees while taking off your shirt and bra freeing those magnificent breasts of yours. Once freed, you wrap those boobs around my cock and let me tit-fuck you until I cum all over your face. The longer you wear my jism, the more your real value will show and the longer I’ll keep you on, as a company whore.”
I should have stopped him when he started with that absurd lewd proposal. I should have stood up and walked out the door. I should have taken a recorder to the meeting like any first year reporter would know to do. I should have done a million things – anything – except for what I did.
My hand connected with his cheek with such force you could have heard the reverberation all the way to Times Square. Blake’s head rocketed to the side, his glasses flying across the room, his arm knocking stacks of folders off his desk.
“Pig!” I shout but before I can release a tirade on him, his nasally voice cries out.
Guards! Get in here!”
The door bangs open and everything goes a little blurry. I hear the steps of the men and Kenneth running into the room. One of them is calling on his shoulder radio for police and the other is grabbing my arms in a restraining hold I’m growing oddly familiar with.
Kenneth shouts out Blake’s name and Blake turns in fury with his hand on his cheek and fire in his eyes.
“You dumb cunt! I made you a damn good offer and you attack me!
That was the best deal you are going to get in this town you bitch!”
“Oh my god, Blake are you okay?” Kenneth starts digging out his cell phone to record the clearly feminine handprint swelling on his cheek.
“He provoked me. He said the most horrible thing to me and I just lost it,” I try to explain but in all the noise and hubbub no-one can hear me.
“I offered that slap happy slut her own section to edit for Ladies World and she attacked me! She wants it all. The whole magazine!” Blake blurts out making sure everyone hears his lie over my truth.
The guard pulls back on my arms harder, bowing my shoulders.
“Greedy bitch,” Kenneth mutters, taking another picture.
“No…I …No!...That’s not what…” But, no one can hear me.
The police show
up and half the office is watching Blake holding his face as if he had been burned by acid while the other half is listening to his lie and glaring at me with the eyes of judgment. I see the police officer pulling the cuffs from the pouch on his belt.
“That’s not necessary, officer,” I try to reason with him while Blake is still screaming and cussing.
“It’s nothing, really.”
The cop ignores me as he takes my arms from the guard and keeping them behind my back locks the cuffs into place, squeezing and pinching my wrists.
“I’m his attorney,” Kenneth says to the cop. “Take her to holding and I’ll come within the hour to make Mr. Stone’s statement and give you information for the booking.”
Pulling away from the cop I lunge toward Mark’s office, hoping he can set this right. Hoping all the “submission and trust” talk wasn’t a bunch of hogwash. But as I pull away just enough to see down his side of the hallway – his door is open, his office is dark, and his desk is vacant.
When I need him the most, Mark just isn’t there.