|Patrick C. Crowell
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AN EXCERPT FROM HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
I’m so stupid! thought DeeDee Lane, as tears trickled down her cheeks
in the bathroom stall. Maybe I led him on in some fashion. But what did I do?
The silent, air-conditioned place closed in around her like a womb. If only
she could be back in there. She had sprinted down the hall after it happened,
and the hollow sound of her heels tapping tile and the bathroom door behind
her echoed in her mind. She’d glanced at her distressed image in the
mirror then and felt ugly.
The heat of embarrassment swelled upward from her chest and reddened her face.
Turning away in disgust, she’d sought refuge in the stall. Its fake marble
facade was bleak and austere, and it was ironic that she felt security behind
the latched door. She slumped on the toilet with her legs spread, elbows on
her knees, and head in her hands.
As she replayed the events and searched for clues, random thoughts jabbed at
her. The more confusion set in, the more salty liquid flowed from her eyes
as she pondered how she’d caused the situation. A part of her knew she’d
been violated and her premise of self-blame was false, but there were deep-rooted,
indoctrinated signposts. This way—the mental path trodden by legions
of women unable to actualize they’d been wronged. Perhaps if she’d
worn a burqa....
Gradually, her crying gave way to sobs, and her body shivered in the chilly
booth. Her reddened eyes dilated, and she became numb. It seemed as though
her world had been reduced to this tiny stall, spinning in an eerie tornado
through scenes of her sheltered life. That is, her sheltered life until today.
But her thoughts soon jolted back to the present, and she landed as abruptly
as Dorothy's house, as her mind replayed what had happened in the office down
. . . .
“ Miss Lane, would you please come in here to take down a letter?” he
asked through the intercom, as his pulse rose in excitement. He was delighted
that his hunch was true—though it was late in the evening, she was
still in the office. He’d been watching her ever since she had transferred
to the legal department; he’d stalked her like a hunter, picking his
target, studying the behavior of his quarry, and laying his trap.
Rising quickly, he darted across the room to rotate the switch on the wall,
dimming the lights until just the right illumination.
DeeDee Lane was newer to Legal than he. At twenty-three, five foot two inches,
and sporting shoulder length, towhead hair, he found her astonishingly cute.
Her royal blue eyes reminded him of his mother’s. But what he liked
even better was her soft, voluptuous roundness. Slightly overweight about
the hips and bottom, she was large through the chest and amply proportioned.
Cute, young, blond, petite and voluptuous—a recipe he found irresistible.
DeeDee entered his office, surprised at the dimmed lights. How can I take
a letter, she wondered. Her awe prevented her from speaking out. Although
she’d done work for him yesterday, this was the first time he’d
called her to his office. Her heart began to race.
She gathered up her voice. “Hi!” It came out high pitched.
It amused him, and he almost chuckled aloud. She sounds like a cheerleader,
Hello,” he said. “DeeDee, isn’t it?”
Yes!” The executive vice president and general counsel of Western Town
Production Company remembers me, she thought.
DeeDee admired the cherry wood desk, chairs, and credenza. They were classic
and tasteful, perfect for a man of his position. Along the opposite wall
was a luxurious couch and Queen Anne coffee table, flanked by matching end
chairs and lamp tables. The bronze lamps on the tables stood tall and elegant.
His spacious corner office was on the top floor of the administration building
and DeeDee was dumbstruck by the panoramic vista provided by the long, horizontal
windows forming two of the four walls. It was six stories up; DeeDee couldn’t
resist wandering over to the long panes for a look. Even after dark, the
view of the Western Town theme park was spectacular. A million lights sparkled
and shimmered as an army of maintenance workers cleaned the grounds like
busy fairies in the night.
Impressive view isn’t it?” he said, almost like a statement.
His pride in showing it off had long ago become passé.
Oh my!” she said as her voice squeaked, and she realized that people
outside could see in were the lights not dimmed. She had no way of knowing
that one of the first changes he’d insisted on when hired was the installation
of a dimmer switch.
DeeDee took note of his immaculate attire, which made her uneasy. He wore
a navy, pinstriped suit pants and a white, monogrammed shirt, crisp and generously
starched, with dark blue suspenders adorned by tiny duck heads and a crimson
power-tie. It gave her the impression that she was in the presence of tremendous
Her reverence overshadowed the fact that he wasn’t that good-looking.
His forehead was high, and a wave of dark, dangling hair draped to the side
and back. The look was cosmopolitan and sophisticated in her eyes. As he
fumbled papers behind his desk, her gaze settled upon his shadowy eyes and
large, protruding nose. Forming almost a perfect quarter-circle, and flat
on its underside, his nose projected like a carving on Mount Rushmore.
With pad and pen in hand, she eagerly sat in a chair facing his desk.
He became irritated. He’d intended to be waiting on his couch when
she arrived, but she had come too quickly.
Just a second, please,” he said, and popped back to his desk. “I
just remembered something terribly important.” Still standing, he jotted
down a fake note as he figured a way to maneuver her to the couch. It was
all just a game, and this was but a new challenge.
Sorry about the dimmed lights. I’ve been here fourteen hours now, and
my eyes hurt," he remarked, guessing she’d be impressed. He’d
scoped her out and noticed she kept long hours. With a couple exceptions,
it was odd for a secretary in his new department to ever stay late, let alone
always. He added, "I need to move to the couch for my back—it’s
really been a long day. Do you mind?"
“ No, of course not.”
He moved spryly for one with so sore a back, but DeeDee didn’t think
of it—still dazzled by so important a man. He could say anything; after
all, he was the boss.
As he passed by the door, he shut it firmly. His excitement mounted, and
with an unseen flick of his thumb he locked it. DeeDee followed him to the
couch, and settled at the opposite end. Crossing her legs, she stared at
him with her blue eyes big and bright, her pen poised.
Christ, she can’t be playing hard-to-get, he thought. She’s very
Oh, I forgot something," he said.
Let me,” she offered.
No, it’s okay, I can do it." He was already halfway across the
Grabbing a piece of paper from his desk and oblivious that it was blank,
he skipped back to the couch. He positioned himself close to her as he sat,
flipping the paper on the coffee table. He placed his hand on her thigh in
the manner that touchy-feely people do; he grazed her a little high, and
let it linger a little long.
I’ve heard you have a two-year secretarial degree," he said.
Yes, I do." She caught a whiff of his freshened Ralph Lauren cologne.
And, you want a promotion to legal sec’ here, don’t you?" Again
he moved his hand on her leg, higher, longer, relishing the feel of her.
Dare I squeeze just a little? Pawing her excited him, and it was gratifying
to get away with it. He remembered when he was a boy hiding in the woods
with a box propped by a stick tied to a string. She was the rabbit underneath
the box, and he was about to tug the line.
Yes, I really do. It’s my next goal."
God, she’s such a little cheerleader, he thought, rubbing his hands.
She was too self-conscious to realize what was happening. Her focus was on
impressing this man who might help her get her promotion, and she hoped the
dim lights wouldn’t thwart her ability to take dictation.
Well, that’s good. I have confidence in you. You’ll make it.
The next opening . . . we’ll take a hard look. . . . Uh . . . no pun
intended." He was delighted with his cleverness, but it was lost on
Oh, thank you so much," she said brightly, still the unsuspecting naïf.
You know, Peckinpah really needs this memo. But I’m beat. My eyes hurt,
and my neck and shoulders are killing me. I think if I take awhile to relax,
I'll be able to do it. Would you mind … rubbing my shoulders a bit?"
He marveled at his nerve. It was nothing new, but thrilling nonetheless.
He’d barely been introduced to the young woman, yet he could make such
a request. The power ….
Uh . . . well, no . . . I guess not," she said, taken aback.
Just right up here with your hands," he said, turning his back to her
and indicating. As she began rubbing his shoulders, he moaned while drowning
in his sense of power. "Oh yeah . . . that feels so good."
She continued massaging his shoulders.
Now a little lower, if you don’t mind," he said.
Dutifully she complied, but she sat more erect than usual, glancing about
the room and feeling as though someone was watching. As she ostensibly relieved
his stress level, she felt her own rising. She continued to massage his upper
back until he asked her to massage his sides, and showed her where. Once
again she submitted.
At last, he said, "Thank you, that’s good. How ‘bout you? … You
know, I’m impressed with how much time you spend here. But you work
too hard. Here, turn around."
He shifted his body around.
She turned her back to him timidly, her eyes glazing over and her brow furrowing.
Aren’t I supposed to work hard? Something wasn’t right, but she
didn’t understand exactly what. She felt frozen in time like a deer
blinded by headlights.
He followed the same pattern he’d asked her to follow on him, but his
hands didn’t feel strong or patient. They seemed methodical and cold,
like he was just going through the motions, until they reached her sides.
Then she felt them broaden and flatten, and they became purposeful. His fingers
stretched and fondled with each movement and she suddenly sensed his excitement.
The dim lights! At once she realized this just wasn’t right. It wasn’t
at all what she’d expected, and now she didn’t know what to do.
Time became stuck in a modulating continuum between his hand movements and
her confusion; and she wanted to make it stop, but didn’t know how.
Though pleasing this man had been her aim, it hadn’t crossed her mind
to please him in this way, and her awe was now swamped by fear.
Just when the groping began to resemble flagellating flounders burying themselves
in the sand, she felt it stop. His fingers started a new movement—forward
this time, until they reached the soft fullness of her breasts, and she couldn’t
believe it when he began to massage them.
DeeDee bolted off the couch and faced him. It was shock on her face, searching
for intent on his. It was there—she saw it plain as day—clear
and unabashed through the dim light. He gazed at her with a half grin as
if to say, "What’d you expect? Come on back and accept my offer—play
DeeDee turned and fled through the door. The reception area whizzed by as
she shuttled past the legal department offices to the women’s bathroom
down the hall.
Copyright © Patrick C. Crowell 1995-2004.
All rights reserved. Rev. 3-2