The Plan - Outtake

Day of Employment: 1


Bag: Wallet, picture of best friend & myself, make-up, notepad, lunch, hairclip.

Clothes: Red wrap dress, red pumps.

Hair: I don't even want to talk about it.

I left twenty minutes early today. That should've been plenty of time for normal traffic and most emergency circumstances.

But no.

The lot was scraped down to glare ice. The windshield would not defrost. Time out in the wind has taken a toll on my hair; it's now inexplicable. Everyone drove too fast or too slow. Hit every light. Encountered a school bus route that I didn't know about during my route test run yesterday.

I should learn not to even bother with being prepared.

The best laid plans oft go awry. Oft? What the fuck is 'oft' all about? Too much going on to finish the entire word?

That's all just a nice of way saying one is screwed regardless.

Life's a bitch and she has several sisters.

Now, I'm riding the elevator while it stops on nearly every floor. People file in and out.

One person gets on and rides it up one whole level. I suppress a scream.

Someone behind me huffs irritably. I keep my eyes trained on the numbers. Climb. Stop.

We're over capacity at one point, I'm certain of it. I feel my backside get pressed into the person behind me.

"Sorry," I mutter.

"Not your fault." A deep voice. A soft reply. The flesh behind my ear tingles. Instinct, for reasons I don't want to examine, tells me to fold into the man behind me.

Then, I realize that this man is probably getting a face full of my frizzy hair. Mortifying.

The doors open for my floor and I bolt, never looking back.


"This is the breakroom." Angela states the obvious. I don't mind. It's comforting.

"The coffee is on the honor system. There is usually a fundraiser for someone's school children if you want snacks, otherwise the vending machines are here to price gouge you." Angela goes on explaining and tosses some change in the collection jar next to the coffee pot.

"The refrigerators are cleaned out every Monday," she says, and begins to pour a coffee from one of the pots. "You can get some really nice st-"

A blonde woman with a severe look barrels through the room toward where we stand. The crowd parts like the Red Sea, clearing a path for her, but conversation continues without pause. Angela stands to the side, holding her coffee pot aloft and smiling cryptically at me. I'm sure I look confused.

The blonde reaches to a pot with a masking tape ring on the handle, pours a cup swiftly with one hand while adding what looks to be special creamer and sweetener. She turns, lips pursing tightly, and leaves the room.

"Dammit!" The blonde woman switches the cup to her other hand and sucks her now free – and probably scalded - hand into her mouth, then shakes it off, all the while walking swiftly away.

My hands float out, a silent request for explanation.

Angela, smiling, resumes pouring her coffee. "That's Mr. Cullen's assistant." She pours in enough sugar to trigger early onset diabetes and leans back on the counter. "Well, for now."

"Oh, she's been having trouble?" That explains why she seemed so nervous, why everyone got out of her way.

"Heck no. She's doing well. Almost a month. She may set a record."

I decide I need to stay far, far away from this Cullen person.


"Pay up." A thin, young man leans over Angela's cubicle wall with his palm up.

"Hold your horses there." Angela is chewing on a marker and looking over a colorful chart. "Yep, it's you." She looks up at the guy and then hands him an envelope from her desk.

I do my best to acclimate myself to this new computer program, but their exchange has definitely piqued my interest.

"Sweet!" He fist pumps and then looks back at me rather shamefacedly. "Oh, you must be Bella. I'm Eric Riley." He extends his hand and I shake it. "You also must think I'm terribly morbid, benefitting from the misfortune of others."

My mouth opens, but I don't really even know what to say. Out of the loop here.

Angela rolls closer to me and whispers conspiratorially. "We have a betting pool for how long Cullen's assistants last."

My head pulls back. That is rather cold-hearted. Eric fans through several larger bills.

Cold-hearted…and profitable. I have loans to pay.

"How does this work?" I ask, but suddenly everyone seems to have heard some cue that I've missed. They straighten and begin a flutter of activity.

Self-preservation instincts are not kicking in; I stand up to see what's going on. I imagine that I stick out like a sore, red thumb over the tops of everyone else.

That's when I see him.

Whoever he is.

Except, I know.

I just know.

Oh my good God.

There are no words. Beautiful.


He's a few feet from a set of large, dark wooden doors in the far corner. The desk outside that office is empty. He moves smoothly past it and scans the room.

His eyes fall on me. I'm incapable of movement under his gaze. Held. Matador. Bull.

He straightens his collar, never falters in his long strides. Looks away from me.

And then he's gone.

Everyone resumes their normal lives and conversations and I am left standing still and dumbstruck while the world happens around me.



There are definite reasons I arrive at work before everyone else and this little sojourn into metal box Hell is a prime example.

Marketing trials are 85% positive for the new labeling designs. If we…

Smashed into the far corner of an elevator - and forced to interact and smell people with whom I would cheerfully go to my grave never having encountered - is not a great start to the day.

Only 72% for the teen target market. There has to be a way to re-package…

Is that my phone? No.

But, finding that my assistant had failed to bind the reports and distribute them yesterday was no way to start either.

That Nebraska printing company's bid was so far below everyone else's. Need to verify that they have the specs right.

That was definitely my phone this…

"Good morning, Mr. Cullen."

I nod once. "Morning." Whoever you are.

I grab my phone and scroll through items while more people load and shift around like tiles in a child's puzzle game.

What would improve the percentages?

Conference at 4:00 today.

Dinner meeting at 6:30 with the Germans.

Need the counter bids for-

Everyone shifts and I go flush against the back wall. Then, they shift again, no doubt allowing yet another person onto the elevator. If we don't all plunge to the sweet release of our deaths it will be a certified miracle.

Grand. The person now in front of me is nearly on top of me.

What the fuck?

Is that?

Yes, it is.

That is someone's ass pressed up against my dick.

Round, pliant, warm.

She's brunette and comes up to my chin. That's about all there is to say. She's all wavy, long tresses and a red dress of the simple elegant variety. I don't seem to recognize her. I also can't see her face. That doesn't really mean anything as I don't really dedicate much grey matter to employees of the other businesses that share this building.

I might've willfully opted to reserve a few brain cells for this particular ass though.

"Sorry." I barely hear her voice. As the elevator starts its climb, her hand braces against my thigh and I doubt she even realizes she's done so.

"Not your fault." I hear my own voice like that of a stranger.

Now, I'm at a loss as to why I would say that, why I would try to make her comfortable. It most assuredly is her fault. She's groping me and not respecting personal space. Crowded or not, there are some things one simply does not do.

One does not rub against strangers in elevators or grab onto legs in close proximity to dicks that have been in recent contact with lovely asses.


I shake my head and clear this train of thought utilizing my phone as a suitable distraction while scanning and forwarding emails.

Percentages are-

Market tria-

It's hopeless. I can't think clearly with her pressed against me.

And it pisses me off.

The elevator ride with her can't be over fast enough. My floor is next and it is still taking far too long.

I resolve to never take the elevator again so that I can avoid this distracting person henceforth.

The doors open and I make to move around her…but I can't. I can't move around her because she is already gone and taken her pretty ass and what I now see are red heels along with her, passing through the doors onto my floor and into our open office area.

Well, this is terribly inconvenient.

The doors close and we're up another two floors before it registers that I've failed to exit.


Letterhead currently says "Limited Liability Corporation" not "Company." No such thing. Fix that.

KC company is ripe for merger or buyout.

Conference call in one hour.

Dinner reservations confir-

That last thing I need to see when I leave my office is the first thing – the only thing – I manage to see.

She's standing up among the cubicles. Volumes of hair and her red dress practically a bullseye in my line of vision. Charts and banners and everything fade away, heeding to the contrast of porcelain skin against auburn waves. The whole room is mere concentric circles leading toward her face.

And, of course, even from this distance I can tell she's rather pretty. The fact that she's not a hag with a comely figure is par for the day.

She's probably ugly on the inside. I'll cling to that hope.

Crap. What was I leaving my office for? I keep walking steadily, not letting the thoughts tripping my mind find their way to my feet.

I realize I'm still looking at her as I begin to turn down the hall. I blink away. Alright. The sooner I ferret out her flaws and irritating habits, the sooner I can get back on task.