Scorched Earth

Summary: Grant discovers that Ariel is a quick study, but her mastery of this particular "art" leaves him surprised and speechless. "Things She Said" inspired this very short story.

Disclaimer: The Lyon's Den characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made. Some of the dialogue that appears in this story is not my own, but belongs to the writer of "Things She Said".

Author: Tracy Diane Miller

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Scorched Earth

The art of seduction was indeed an art and like most art forms, the master enjoyed the beauty of the process, the craft, as much as the reward of the final product. The brush strokes, the sensual touches, needed to be applied skillfully and without hesitation for it to be the most effective.

The stakes, though, were higher when the seduction had to be accomplished while a crowd of people remained unaware of what was happening.

Grant and Ariel stood in back of the elevator. Their eyes were trained straight ahead. She heard him say that he needed to see her in his office as soon as possible to help him with the Hyperion Oil appeal.

The elevator appeared to stop on every other floor to usher in or out a cargo of frenzied lawyers rushing to the business of their professional lives. The slow, but deliberate movement of the elevator, like a steady and determined rhythm of a heartbeat, offered a stark contrast to Ariel's pulsating heart as she felt her free will slipping to her carnal desires. Grant spoke without preamble, authoritative, as usual, a twinge of arrogance peppering his words as it so often had. Yet, it was his hands that delivered the more telling message--she felt those hands caress her thigh. There was no question that the danger excited him. The danger of exposure and at the same time, the thrill of getting away with carrying on an illicit affair, amused Grant immensely.

But an elevator seduction was something that even he had never tried before.

There was also no question that Grant's demand for her to come to his office for a "consultation" meant that he planned to use his talents for more than just working on the Hyperion Oil appeal.

The familiar ring signaled the elevator's arrival at its next destination. The door opened, and to Grant's disappointment, there stood Jack.

She heard Grant murmur "buzzkill". The mood was definitely lost.

Working with Jack on the sexual harassment case was just what Ariel needed. She had always liked Jack. He had known of her alcohol problem for a long time, had been sympathetic and caring, yet had expressed confidence and faith in her legal abilities. Jack trusted and depended on her.

Her heart sank at the thought of betraying him.

Grant's sudden appearance at her door shook Ariel from her musings. It wasn't long before he asked her whether she thought Rebecca was guilty of inappropriate behavior towards an underling. She didn't know. Then, he told her that if he were put in Rebecca's position, he'd go for scorched earth—dig up everything that he could to discredit his accuser until he completely undermined her credibility.

As he departed Ariel's office, his message, the veiled threat, was left to hover undisturbed in the air.

So deep in concentration, he seemed oblivious to her footsteps or even the scent of her perfume. It wasn't until she dropped an avalanche of documents on his desk, the force of which jolted him, that he looked at her, confusion evident on his face.

"What are these?" he asked.

"E-mails between two friends" was her quick response.

Grant looked at her knowingly, momentarily disarmed. Then, regaining composure, he leaned back against his chair before smugly reminding her that he was careful not to write anything suggestive.

It was Ariel who reminded him how he had e-mailed her over two thousand times in the last few years with some of those e-mails going so far as speculating on her future with the company. He listened, surprised and shocked, as she further cited the incriminating portions of the missives, his words coming back to haunt him.

"And though you're no Henry Mellon, passages like my 'inflated tort', could be subject to interpretation." She argued.

Ariel started for the door. Briefly stopping, turning back around to face Grant, adding, "you called it scorched Earth. I prefer mutual assured destruction. Aither way, there's no one left walking on the planet."

Her own veiled threat enveloped the room.

Seduction wasn't the only art form. Blackmail required its own skill. And in this instance, the pupil had learned very well from the master.

The End.