Spencer Carlin felt her calves tighten in protest as she came to the end of her jog. Her daily ritual seemed to be getting longer and longer, and her body grew leaner and leaner with the change. She ran up the steps of her apartment building, and flashed a smile at the security man, his focus on the monitors briefly broken by the attractive blonde who ran past. The elevator to the eleventh floor was empty, a fact which Spencer embraced, as she leaned wearily against the hand rail, her body damp with her exertions.

Making her way into her apartment, she made for the shower, losing clothing on the way there, and practically groaning with the feeling of the hot hot water, steaming down her body. It took her too long to finish. She had to will herself out of the shower and into her clothes, knowing she'd be late for work anyway. Today was a bad day, Spencer decided. She knew they came, and that she just had to deal with them as they came, but somehow, with every bad day that passed, it seemed harder and harder to push herself on. If she was going to be honest with herself, she'd admit that all she wanted to do was keep jogging. If she thought she could, she'd run for hours and hours. Spencer sighed. There was no time, she had to get to work.

As she opened the door to her office, she was greeted by the flashing smile of her receptionist. He raised his eyebrows to her, and gave her the look.

She raised her eyebrows back, daring him to say something. He took the pencil out of his mouth.

"Your nine o'clock appointment is in your office, Daniel wanted to know if lunch was still on. Your dry cleaning will be here at seven, and you are not, I repeat NOT allowed to be late for tonight. I've been told".

Spencer flashed him a grin.

"Tim, if you got any better at this… I'd have to kill you". She took the folder he handed her and glanced at the name. Portia de Francesco. The name rang no bells. New client? Spencer made her way into the office and smiled at the blonde seated in the chair at her desk. She made her way around to her chair, placing her briefcase on the floor, and leaning across to extend a hand to her new client. They shook hands briefly, and Spencer sat down.

"Ms De Francesco, so nice to meet you", Spencer felt like her smile was plastic.

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice Ms. Carlin, you're a difficult lady to see. So much in demand these days".

Spencer blushed slightly at the praise. She knew it was true, but she still felt uneasy at hearing it. Her work had taken on a life force of its own, and if it hadn't been for the fact that it was so easy to throw herself into it, she wouldn't have gotten so far lately. Even today, as wooden as she felt, the opportunity to pick up something new, and totally lose herself in it made Spencer sit up and listen.

"What can I do for you Ms. De Francesco?"

"Call me Portia, please" The blonde smiled. "My company has a project which we'd like you to illustrate. We think you'd be perfect for the job".

Spence waited a moment, expecting the woman to give more detail. When it became apparent that none more was to be forthcoming, she put her hand on the desk.

"What is this project?" She was curious now. "A book?".

Spencer had built herself quite a name as an illustrator. Over the years her talents had blossomed, and her beautiful work was now very sought after. She mostly illustrated children's books, lovingly turning the prose into eye catching scenes that delighted children everywhere. Occasionally she branched out, into the graphics design world, into anything really. She was curious to find out what this project would be. She felt a familiar strain of adrenaline pump softly, and was grateful for the feeling against the numbness that persisted everywhere else. It was no wonder she threw herself into work.

Spencer waited for the reply.

"It's….", Ms De Francesco paused, a wry smile on her lips, "It's really a secret".

Spencer raised an eyebrow.

"Is this a joke?" She didn't think it was funny if it was. "How am I supposed to work on something when I don't know what it is".

"No, No", the white blonde lady moved to reassure her. "We have no intention of keeping you in the dark, it's just that my boss was quite specific, we…. We can't tell you yet". Portia looked strained, aware of the sheer ridiculous nature of what she was saying.

Spencer took this in, with a slight disbelieving look on her face.

"You want me to work on something, you won't tell me what it is…. YET, and you want me to agree to it now" Spencer sat back. "Is it illegal".

The blonde lady laughed prettily.

"No, it's definitely legal. You don't have to commit now either Ms. Carlin. We're happy to have you commit once we've been through everything thoroughly. Consider this a...", she paused, "an offer of interest."

Spencer had to admit she was hooked. A little mystery, a new job, this could be just what she needed right now.

"Ok". She said, despite her head throwing off some warnings. "Consider me interested".