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All Young

DarkThe author kindly advises that this story and its characters are fictitious. It describes exhibitionist situations and hardcore sex. It contains graphic language and is only suitable for persons over 18 years old. Dark(A junior reporter discovers the real story behind the sudden dismissal of a female business executive.)Late Tuesday afternoon, Keystone building, downtown Boston. The newsroom of The Atlantic Observer. I’m frantically working on my laptop. The article deadline is looming. The ‘print shop’ is waiting. Last minute additions, word count, spell check. My name is Meredith Roberts, student journalism and communication at Boston University. For the next four months work experience girl, junior reporter at The Atlantic Observer. I look up. The buzz in the room, I feel the tension. Journalists feverishly finalize their copy. I concentrate on my screen, gather my documents, press ‘save’ and ‘send’. Off it goes to the print- and web guys. I breathe a sigh of relief and slowly close my laptop. I scan the room. In the far corner I see Mike Bennett, my mentor. I smile, thumbs up. He nods, waves, points at the door. I understand. We’re off to the sports bar around the corner. The local haunt of The Observer’s journos.Mike Bennett. 50-something, slightly overweight, grayish hair. Habitually dressed in dark-grey pants and white crumpled business shirt with loose hanging cheap tie. Forever married to his sweetheart Maureen. “You know Meredith, it’s always the same, nothing changes…” He takes a sip from his beer. We are at a table in the corner. Mahogany and gleaming copper interior, sports memorabilia everywhere. I scan the walls. Baseball, ice hockey, shirts, photos, autographs. I sample my cocktail. Mike enjoys his Bud Light. “The deadline thing… always a mad rush. Some last minute info, what do you do? Ignore? Expand? Cut somewhere else…? I never got anything easily to the printers…” I silently hear his words, most of it goes past me. I’m in thoughts, taking in the surrounds. My eyes wander towards the bar. Our colleagues, beer in hand, in loud raucous conversation. Their relief about having again made the deadline is palpable… This is what it was like, I imagine… Watergate, those two reporters in a bar like this in Washington, enjoying their drinks, beer, maybe whisky, in deep conversation, planning their next move…“Meredith… hello… Meredith…” I am in a world of my own, far, far away. I hear Mike’s voice in the distance. The ‘buzz’ of the room slowly returns. “Golly, what is wrong with you girl? I am talking to you and it all goes past you… what am I, chopped liver?”“Oh sorry Mike, very much in thoughts… what was that again?”“Your next assignment… tomorrow morning… meeting with the CE (Chief Editor), Gary Gray… big ‘G’…” I look at him with questioning eyes. “Angela Laurens, CEO of tech company Trilogy… She lives an hour north of Boston. Meredith, don’t you follow the business news? She was sacked last week because of disappointing sales figures. Her re-structuring plan fell through, the share price tanked. Four-page story for this weekend’s lift-out.” The look in my eyes… ‘Bewilderment’ sums it up. Mike detects my insecurity, samples his beer and laughs. “You look like a deer in the headlights, Meredith… Don’t worry girl. Gary, and me… we’ll help you. We’ll get you through this. We’ve done this many times before. Just be happy you’re not a crime reporter, dealing with ‘perps’ all day. This is way more interesting. Piece–a-cake, girl.”It’s already dark outside when we leave the bar. I say goodnight to Mike. I watch him slowly walk down the darkened footpath. The Keystone Building and its underground car park are around the corner. I turn around and head off towards my dingy rental. Tomorrow’s meeting, and Angela Laurens, occupy my mind.The next morning 8am, boardroom. Gary Gray, Mike Bennett, a few sub-editors and me. Coffee, biscuits, papers, laptops. Most of the meeting is about others. Other departments, other news stories, changing production schedules. Finally the Trilogy story. Mike Bennett introduces me… Ms. Roberts, newbie. ‘Big ‘G’ benignly looks my way; “Welcome to The Atlantic Observer Ms. Roberts.” Mike Bennett outlines the job, the main issues and asks for support. Gary Gray knows about the article, and presses Mike to keep a close eye on it. The story has a tight deadline with four pages to fill. The meeting ends. Me, Mike and ‘Big G’ stay behind. “You know Meredith,” Gary says while getting a coffee from the trolley in the corner; “Me and Angela Laurens, we go back a long way. I already knew her when she left Uni. Rolled straight away into her first corporate job as a junior. And then her recent appointment as CEO of Trilogy. Quite a steep corporate rise. It’s unusual, the company ousting her. Normally you wouldn’t get sacked like that. They would give you more time. Time to implement your policies, your deals, time to sort out the place.” Mike agrees. “Yeah Meredith, I think Gary is onto something. There must be unknown reasons, something’s going on. Up to you to find out. Deadline is Thursday at 6pm, I believe?” I look at Gary in the corner, stirring his coffee. He just nods. “Yeah,” he responds. “And… eh… Meredith… check with our financial guys. They know about Angela, Trilogy, the markets, inside knowledge, rumors. By the way… I caught up with her yesterday. Interview is tomorrow morning at her place, 10am sharp.”I’m back at my desk in the newsroom. I shoot away an email to the finance colleagues. I’m collating bits and pieces from the Observer’s archives. A web search gives me more scraps of general info. Little pointers from Mike arrive on my laptop. Material from the finance journos starts to trickle in. I spend the afternoon fitting the pieces together. There’s enough copy to cover two pages, including archive photos.’Hmm, I wonder what her place looks likes… A mansion, maybe large gardens with rows of hedges? You know what these corporate lifestyles are like…’ Early morning, traffic jam. I stare at the long queue of vehicles. I talk to myself in the quiet cocoon of my car. The Observer’s archived images of Angela Laurens flash through my mind. Somewhere in her thirties, tall, attractive, brunette, long curls… Not at all the geeky type look. The queue slowly starts to move, not far to go now. My white-knuckle hands squeeze the steering wheel. Nerves. My first interview. Plenty of time. ‘No pressure, just relax’, I tell myself. I eventually find the address and turn into the driveway. Reality check. No mansion. Standard white bungalow, pitched grey slate roof. Before I manage to leave the car, the front door opens. It’s her. The archived images in 3D. Jeans, blue sweater, cream pumps. Tall, long dark curls, legs that go on forever. Solid handshake, flashy smile. Clearly the confident leadership type. For a moment I feel insecure, very frumpy. I tell myself to ‘man up’, as I follow her inside. Dark lush carpet, light grey walls, modern furniture. The interior is a reflection of the occupant.”Oh, sparkling water, ice and lemon please…” She fetches drinks in the kitchen. I scan the lounge room. Abstract paintings in elegant gold frames, photos of people, probably relatives, parents, grouped together on a side table. I slowly lower myself on the cream colored sofa. Large, soft patterned cushions surround me. I place my bag on the floor, papers and dictaphone on the table. She returns with wine and sparkling water, seats herself on the ottoman. I point to my recording device. She just smiles and nods. Clearly she knows all about interviews. She must have done countless ones as an executive… I rifle through my papers to find the questionnaire. I notice her eyes, how she looks on… bemused… I feel a sense of relief as she takes the lead. “How’s ‘Big G’, Meredith? May I call you Meredith?” I just slightly nod. Inconvenient, an opening like this. It scrambles my list of questions. “Gary and me,” she continues, “We go back a long way. First journalist I met, fresh out of Uni, my first executive job. He called me a few days ago to ask about my, eh… ‘sudden career change’… If The Observer could do an article about it. I said ‘yes’, not only because of Gary. A bit of publicity… it might help me into the next corporate position…”There is a pause.She reaches for her glass of white wine. I check out my list of questions. It masks my insecurity. She knows. Right now she’s making up her mind about Meredith Roberts. I look up, bravely lock eyes with her. I know all about her Uni days, early career. Snippets on my laptop in the newsroom.”Please tell me about Trilogy, Miss Laurens…” “Call me Angela, dear… so much easier…” For a moment we just look at each other. She’s pondering, I’m observing… She takes a sip, carefully places her glass on the table. “Well… a year ago I worked for another tech company, called A-Eye. A startup, specializing in robotics and associated infrastructure. I was Sales Director. Main markets Europe and North America. We started to get into Asia. I met someone from Trilogy by chance at a conference in Singapore. We talked. Six months later, I got a call. Trilogy executives wanted to meet me. They heard about my work with A-Eye. They checked out my credentials. A month after that meeting came their job offer. CEO of Trilogy. Of course I said ‘yes’…”She reaches over, empties her glass.She disappears into the kitchen. I relax, I take a short break. My eyes wander over the glass coffee table. s**ttered papers, dictaphone, sparkling water, small grey stone bowl. I lean forward. Knickknacks, pens, post-it notes, a little red box… matches. Angela returns. I quickly re-focus. “You know,” she says, settling in on the ottoman, glass in hand; “I had established some early contacts in Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea. There was a ready market for Trilogy’s network solutions. However, they wanted to get into Japan. So I went there, looking for business partners. Hmmm, lovely drop this one… you should try this, Meredith…” For a moment, she’s lost in thoughts.”Where was I… oh yes… Japan, Mitsu Corp.” She takes her time and samples from her glass. “They’re a big industrial conglomerate, Meredith. Trade fair in Tokyo. That’s where I first met their representatives.”Angela Laurens ponders, carefully weighs her words.”Very different people and culture, Meredith… yes, very different indeed…””I eh, I managed to, well eh, how shall I word it… present a business proposal… to the CEO, Mr. Akashi Okura. It involved the computer networking of most of his companies. Data sharing, better analysis, more efficient planning, tighter financial management, cost control.””I eh… I worked with his executives. I had to win their trust, show that I was committed, worthy of their time. Eventually they presented my proposal to the president and board. All older, senior Mitsu Corp people. The meeting was a success. A deal, waiting to be signed, potentially worth over a hundred million dollars US, including aftercare and royalties, excluding upgrades.”The quietness of the lounge room. Her being in thoughts, holding her glass, rolling her wine, staring into the distance. What is going through her mind? Being removed by her board, with such a big deal in the wings?”You know Meredith…” Her voice goes soft, she whispers. “No patience… the scourge of our time… Everything needs to be ‘now’, instant… Japanese bureaucracies need time. I also needed just a bit more of it. Imagine the cashflow. The share price, stability for the company. A solid platform from which to grow. Everything would have been different… It would have transformed the place…”She sighs in resignation and disappointment.”What did Trilogy’s board members say, what was their view of things?” I am trying to steer the conversation. Angela just shrugged. “The board, shareholders, private equity… There was a lack of communication. The board got cold feet, became restless, lost patience. Private equity piled on the pressure. They wanted their meat and bone. The small shareholders were the courageous ones. They knew the potential. They wanted to wait and see. They wanted to give me more time to pull it off. The plummeting share price eventually forced the issue…””Nothing negative about those board members though. They had a different view of things. They were under all kinds of pressures.”Contemplation makes us both go quiet for a moment.I take the initiative, look down my list and fire off the few questions still unanswered. Upon leaving, she hands me her business card. Urges me to contact her, should any questions remain… In the car, on my way back to the office, I reflect on my first interview. On Angela Laurens, the personality behind the archived images.It’s 3pm. A quiet afternoon in The Atlantic Observer’s newsroom. Angela Laurens’ interview. I’m still working through the contents of my Dictaphone. I collate the draft pages for this weekends’ supplement. I read them on my laptop. My instinct tells me something is missing. I’m looking at the surface, not what’s underneath. In thoughts, I stare into the distance. I close my machine. I need a break. I see Mike Bennett coming down the office corridor. He gives me a questioning thumbs up. “Meredith… everything on track?” I nod in silence, but unconvincingly. Mike picks up on it, waves me into a small empty office. He seats himself on the corner of an old desk. “You know Meredith, Angela is a good sort. Me and ‘Big G’, we know her forever. She’s ok. She has however her private side. She won’t tell you everything. Good journalists follow their gut. You make up your own mind.” “So, if needed, start digging…”I nod in agreement and quietly leave the office. Back behind my laptop, questions form in my mind. With the prospect of a deal with Mitsu Corp, why did the board wilt in the face of pressure? What did Angela’s business deal exactly look like? More importantly… what do I really know about Mitsu Corp? Who is CEO Akashi Okura? I decide to ask the finance journos. Down the corridor, I get into the elevator and press for level three. The doors open, I scan the room. Around ten people are at their light grey desks. All others are out on assignment. Press conferences, interviews with business people. I walk past rows of computer screens. Graphs, spreadsheets, market data. I am ushered towards the desk of Roy Avery. Lanky middle-aged man, thick dark hair, light grey suit, modern spectacles, almost professorial looking. Ex Barclay Bank, former Asia finance specialist, lived in Japan, fluent in its language. I ask him about Mitsu Corp and Akashi Okura.”Oh, is it about Trilogy CEO Angela Laurens?” I am surprised that he knows. “Grab a seat, eh… Meredith?” He pulls up a black office chair from a nearby desk. “Do you know her, Mr Avery?” “Call me Roy, Meredith. I already feel too old as it is…” He gestures me to stay put. Minutes later he’s back with two cups of tea.We both settle in and, mug-in-hand, talk about Mitsu Corp. “Yeah Meredith, word of Laurens’ demise has spread rapidly. It’s a small world. About the Japs… a peculiar type of people. I should know. I lived there for years, Barclay posting. I know their language. Very disciplined people, modest, but also a patriarchal society, seniority means everything. Difficult to do business there. You gotta know people. Takes a long time to build trust. You have to show them commitment. They’re demanding a lot before any business can be done.”Roy, in thoughts, silently samples his hot tea. I decide not to push and patiently wait it out. “Mitsu Corp, Meredith, is a conglomerate of diverse medium size to large companies. Real estate, financial services, housing construction, but also steel mills and kitchen appliance manufacturing. They even own a few major hotels, big ones like The Continental here in Boston. They buy distressed companies, and reinvent them. They sell off some assets for added cashflow. Others they keep, turning them into successful wealth generators. Rumors… Mitsu Corp and its less transparent ventures. Generally there’s a, how shall I say, a hidden… a dark side, to these large Japanese enterprises. Politics, money, vice, sometimes corruption. You do business with them, you go along with that. It’s part of the corporate culture, part of any deal…””Another cuppa, Meredith?” I hand him my mug. I ponder his words. Corruption, vice… What did Angela Laurens have to do to get the deal done?Roy has settled in again. We both leave our mugs on the desk, too hot to touch… “What about Akashi Okura, do you know him?” Roy moves in front of the two screens on his desk. He calls up a few financial sites, rapidly clicks a few panels. Articles and a large picture appears. Akashi Okura, Mitsu Corp CEO. An older Asian man, weathered face, grayish hair, authoritative appearance. “That’s him, Meredith.” Roy pushes back his office chair, mug-in-hand, while focusing on the screens. “He’s the top of Mitsu’s corporate pyramid. He and his four or five middle-aged lieutenants. They are his corporate managers. They run the companies on a daily basis. On the board are older Japanese corporatists. Age means experience, means power over there. Mitsu’s tentacles spread far and wide. As said, they own companies here in The States. Some of them… well…’dubious’…”Dubious?” I ask.Roy looks at me with a frown. As in, ‘do I have to spell this out?’ “Meredith… come on, you know… ‘dubious’… vice, internet casinos, tax dodging, copyright infringements, the edge of legality, you name it…”Roy hangs back in his chair, enjoys his tea and stares at his screens. “The dark side… A lot of that, eh…’borderline’… activity, is greasing the wheels of business.” He slowly sits up. He turns and looks at me with intent; “You know the questions here, Meredith… Trilogy’s CEO Laurens had a massive contract almost in the bag. What did she have to do to get the deal done? Why did the board pull the plug at the finish line? Was it the deal, or something else? These are the core questions that need answering…”We both ponder in silence, while finishing our tea. I thank Roy for his time and slowly head for the elevator. He promises to ‘shoot over’ relevant files. Later that afternoon his mail arrives. He mentions our crime reporters. They might know more about Mitsu Corp’s dealings in the US. It is 6pm. It has been a long day in the newsroom. I am slowly closing my laptop. I am about to leave the office, head home. A sound alert stops me in my tracks. I re-open my machine. An incoming intranet video file. It’s from Jack Linden, a junior, doing work experience with the crime journos. I went to him after bahis firmaları my chat with Roy Avery. I got him to do a database search for me.I double-click the file. It takes a few seconds before it starts to run. It’s an old report about the police closing down an i*****l brothel, run from a mansion south of New York, along the Atlantic east coast. Halfway down I notice something. I quickly track back the footage. I inch closer to my laptop screen. The still image shows a police officer guarding the front of the premises. I take a closer look at the massive entrance behind him. The discreet little gold sign next to the dark brown door. It looks somehow familiar to me. Shocked, I suddenly recognize it…I frantically grab the phone and dial Jack’s internal number. ‘Come on Jack’, I fret, ‘come on… answer it…’ “Hey Jack, yeah… Meredith here. Thank god you’re still at your desk. Got your file… awesome stuff…” “Oh, hi Meredith… yeah, did you like it? You told me about the Trilogy Laurens case. That also means Mitsu Corp. Did you see that little gold thing next to the door? I noticed it too… Japanese. I went online into the Property Ownership Register for that area. Mansion is owned by McAllison Securities. Broking firm.” “Majority shareholder… yes… Mitsu Corp…” “Hello… hello Meredith… are you there?” “Yeah, yeah… wow… amazing. Very impressive Jack… great work… your middle name… ‘Sherlock’?” I hear loud laughter on the other side of the line. “Thanks Meredith, it’s a pleasure. I’m off to my dinner now. See you tomorrow…”Thursday morning. Later today, the looming deadline for the supplement section of Saturday’s edition. I am in the busy newsroom, staring at my laptop. I’m in thoughts, far away. The Laurens story… four pages.A mirage. The story behind the story is the one I can’t write.I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Everything alright, Meredith? You look far away, girl…” I hear the voice of Mike Bennett. It drags me back to reality. I have reluctantly made up my mind. “Yeah, eh… yeah Mike. I’ll eh… I’ll mail you a PDF copy of the four Trilogy pages. I think that’s pretty much it…” A short time later I look up from my laptop. I spot Mike, giving me the thumbs up from across the newsroom. I wave back. I re-focus on my screen. My email to Angela Laurens. I ask for another appointment. Saturday or Sunday. Whenever, I don’t care.I need to hear the real story. I receive confirmation… Saturday noon it is. It’s a slow drive. Weekend day trippers. A long line of cars snakes its way down the road. I glance at the passenger seat next to me. Today’s edition of The Weekend Atlantic Observer. I come to standstill in traffic. I quickly pull out the supplement section. I open up page eighteen. My first article in print, four pages. My fingertips slide over the smooth paper. With mixed feelings, I scan the content. Most of it is fiction, or at best half-truths… I’m on my way to meet reality. I’ve dressed for the occasion. Black tight pants, sleeveless dark grey t-shirt, no jacket. Slim-fit clothing. To reassure her I’m not wired up. Upon her hearing what I know, how will she react? Will she be cooperative, open… or defensive? I turn into her driveway. She greets me at the door. Blue washed jeans, white loose shirt, brown woven beach-type slippers. The same smile, firm handshake. I’ve come to appreciate the personality behind the image. “You are in luck, eh… Meredith… wasn’t it? I had planned for golf today. Your message arrived just in time.” I hear her voice from the kitchen. Wine and sparkling. She remembers from last time. She places our drinks on the empty lounge table. Seats herself again on the ottoman. “Miss Laurens, eh, I mean… Angela; the article about you and Trilogy…” I show her this Saturday’s Atlantic Observer. Place it carefully in front of her. “It is in today’s edition’s supplement.” She looks at me… surprised… confused… I open up the particular section to show her. Her eyes scan the article. Her elegant fingers follow the copy lines, slowly turning the pages. She looks up in bewilderment. “If this is it, then… why are you here?”‘Tact, people skills, Meredith’. I realize, this is a crucial, make-or-break moment in the meeting. “I… eh… I’ll be very open Angela… The reason why I’m here. I believe there’s much more to your dismissal. You, Trilogy, the Japanese. I would like to know what happened. Very much off the record of course. I know all of it is to remain strictly private. As you see, I left my bag in the car. No dictaphone. I’m not wired up. None of this will leave the room…” First bewilderment. Shock. Now slowly turning into calculated silence. Awkward. Angela Laurens just stares at me. I get well and truly measured up, here and now. Her long fingers, delicately holding her glass, rolling her white wine. She looks down, scans the article, her fingers skimming the pages. Her gaze turns to me. I concentrate, read her eyes. Suddenly it hits me like a fever. Oh my god yes, …I was right …there is more …soo much more.”How… do… you… know?” She’s very careful, still scrutinizing me. Rightly so. “My previous visit, stone bowl, here on the table. In it, a tiny red match box. With a small logo on it. From a house on the east coast. Raided by police a few months ago. A brothel. Owned indirectly by Mitsu Corp…” She just looks… no… incessantly stares at me. Her eyes. They’re drilling into me. I do my utmost to keep my composure. After a minute or so, a faint smile. She seems to come to grips with the situation, gains control, slightly relaxes. “Hmmm… very… observant, Meredith… very observant indeed…” In silence she gets up, points to her glass… She’s back from the kitchen, holding a bottle of white wine by the neck. She wanders through the lounge room. Samples her wine, continuously looks at me… I can see her mind racing. The quietness of the room. The tension is palpable. Minutes pass. I’ve got to keep my nerve, maintain eye contact. Show her my integrity. Then, finally… she stops in front of me. “You’re… you’re certainly more than meets the eye, Meredith. Quite inquisitive. But eh… what you’re asking… a lot of it is… well… let’s say… highly sensitive… very personal… even incriminating. Why… why should I tell you? Why should I take the risk?”For a few seconds we both look at each other in silence.“There is no risk,” I calmly reply. “The information does not leave this room. I cannot and will not write about it, nor mention it to anyone. But you talking about it might be beneficial to you in some way.”Angela just stares at me. I see how she ponders the situation. She slowly fills up her wine glass. It’s an obvious move to buy time. I watch her decision slowly crystallize in her mind.“No articles.” “Not-a-word-to-anyone.”“I’ll sue if anyone says anything, if anything appears…” I nod, I verbally confirm. It now well and truly hits me… this must be quite something I stumbled upon… She slowly turns her back on me, gathers her thoughts. A minute passes. I observe her, eventually I hear her soft, hesitant voice. “I eh… I have never told anyone about all this. Too dangerous, too explicit. But as you said… it might be a way of better of dealing with it… to finally tell someone. To get it out of my system…” She turns around, looks at me from across the room. She’s still adjusting, trying to focus. “Have you… have you ever been to… Japan, Meredith?” She doesn’t wait for my answer. “A difficult place to do business. Especially when you’re female. Companies there are different. Different attitudes. Different morality. There is this… well… dark side. Sometimes they’ll ask things of you… certain things… All the time your eyes are on the deal… the pot of gold at the end…” She slowly rolls her glass, locks eyes with me. “Mid last year I flew to Japan, to see Mitsu Corp executives. I landed in Tokyo in the evening. The next day I met with middle level managers. First meeting went well. I went back to my hotel. Tried to revise the details of my pitch. A few hours later, the hotel lobby called. A young Japanese girl. Sent by Mitsu managers to be my city guide. Her name… Sia Sawa. Beautiful, articulate in English, perfect company. The next day she showed me downtown Tokyo, the alleyways, the sushi- and karaoke places. In the evening, in the lobby, she strangely insisted on going up to my room. I asked her why. She told me she was my… ‘entertainment’… for the night. I was so shocked… I blushed, I refused, but she told me there was no choice. We were being monitored… and… ‘Japanese custom’… apparently…Angela seats herself uncomfortably on the ottoman. “In the elevator I caught myself ogling her curves. I didn’t meant to. It was just… well… the situation, the tension. In the room she casually slid off her coat. “Relax, Angela,” she said. “Just watch me.” I sat myself on the edge of the bed. She slowly moved around the room, keeping eye contact with me. I focused on her elegant fingers, carefully releasing the buttons of her white shirt, one by one. I still remember her lovely tiny black lingerie. Small and delicate, it looked perfect on her tanned skin. She came closer to me. She turned, showing me her skirts’ zipper. I stared at it as she slowly pulled it down. The situation mesmerized me. “Do you… do you like being… watched?” She looked at me with a hesitant smile. “Yeah, I just love it. I love all those eyes. I feel them on my skin, ogling my curves.” She carefully unclipped her small black bra, exposing her beautiful rock hard breasts. Her very hard pink nipples… I wasn’t the only one getting excited by all this… She was in front of me and slightly turned. She pointed at the little clip on the hip of her panties. My trembling fingers reached over and unclipped it. She told me to hold on to it. Her fingers unclipped the other side. I slowly pulled the lacy fabric away from in between her legs. I couldn’t help but stare at her small dark patch. She encouraged me to touch it, to explore it. She slowly guided my hand in between her legs. I moved my fingers slowly up and down between her opening labia. She leaned on me and placed one foot on the bed. She softly moaned while riding my fingers with her moving midriff. However, it all went too fast for me.””I broke out of my trance.” “No, no… no further,” I told her. I knew what would be next. “I’m not Japanese, I’m not ready, different culture…” She looked puzzled. She slowly went nude into the bathroom, looking for a white robe. I saw her standing there, touching herself, squeezing her legs, trying to contain her urges. That evening, on the bed, we drank sake. She told me about Tokyo, Japanese culture, herself. She knew all about Mitsu Corp. Especially, what was expected of me. What was needed to succeed, to get a mega deal done. I was absolutely shocked.” Angela pauses, gulps down the rest of her wine. “She talked about all kind of sexual things I had to do. I just stared at her. I was taken aback for a moment. I didn’t know what to think… She told me Mitsu Corp expected me to prove myself to the company. Show commitment, loyalty. My mind was in turmoil. I thought about the implications, about Trilogy’s financial interests. Managers back home demanded that I deliver the deal. Here was a reality check. The high price I apparently had to pay… If I wanted the contract… incredibly… that was what I needed to do.”It is quiet in the room. The story so far has left its mark on both of us. I see the turmoil in Angela’s mind. I now know why she agreed to tell me. I imagine her situation. A strange country. A vastly different culture. Chasing a mega deal. Being dragged into an underground world of sexual debauchery. I feel by now less like a journo and more like a councilor.”How eh, how did you come to terms with all this?” I ask in an attempt to break the silence, get the conversation moving. I see how she’s trying to choose the right words. “I eh, I was a very reserved teenager, back in my Uni days. I mainly studied, went to a few parties, but not much happened, romantically speaking. Any motivation for that sort of thing disappeared over time, because of work pressures and lack of energy. Giving in to these sexual demands, entering this world…” She stops mid sentence. It all comes flooding back to her… “The next meeting with Mitsu Corp managers was a few days away. We both spend the next day sightseeing and shopping. All the while I knew I had to make a decision. Late afternoon, on our way back to the hotel, I had finally made up my mind… Upon entering the lobby I told Sia. She just smiled. As if she expected it. We entered the elevator. She softly spoke to the young female lift attendant. It was clear they knew each other. Apparently, Mitsu Corp connected people were regularly staying here.”‘So… you have decided to… well… combine business with pleasure?’ “Up in the hotel room, I just looked at her. What could I say? That I was ready to take my clothes off? To be a whore for the cause? To fuck my way towards a Mitsu Corp deal? She reached for the dimmers, turned down the lights. “Well, then… show me, Angela…” I knew what she wanted to see. At first, I hesitated. I struggled to overcome my inhibitions. I stepped out of my shoes. I glanced at her as I opened the buttons of my white shirt. I unzipped my skirt. In the end I was stark naked, showing off my curves.” “I slowly turned… and presented myself to her.” “I followed her eyes. How she ogled me and incessantly stared. I felt them on my skin, up and down, slowly scanning me. I moved around the room nude, turning, giving her different angles to look at. I teased her by slowly squeezing my breasts, by moving my hand down. I guided her eyes, by touching myself. In that room, I slowly discovered my exhibitionist side. She was very quiet, but fascinated. She made a small hand gesture. I knew what she wanted and moved onto the bed. I gradually opened myself up in front of her. I followed her curious eyes. She stared at my fingers, in between my opening labia. She slowly started to take off her clothes. All the time her eyes were fixated on me. I opened my legs wider. I wanted her to look down there. Her eyes gazed at my glistening vagina. I read her excitement. Nude she descended in between my legs on top of me. Our lips slightly touched. Soon our open mouths slid over each other. Her hand ran over my chest, her lips were sucking, her teeth were biting my hard nipples.” “Breathless, I held onto the headboard. “Oh yeah,” I encouraged her… “More, more…” I felt her lips on my midriff, down into my pubic hair. The touch of her tongue gave me little electric shocks. She was flicking around my hard clit. My body raised itself and curved around. I slowly moved my hips, trying to fuck her warm mouth. She again slid on top of me. The rhythmic motion of her lower midriff. Her pubic hair, grinding into mine. The hot determination in her eyes. ‘Yeah Sia,’ I whispered; ‘Yeah… keep on going… fuck me…’ Deep down, I felt my orgasm building. I tightly held onto her. The chemicals raced up and reached my brain. My expanding veins made me go dizzy. I suddenly trembled and seized up. I gasped. I slightly jerked and slowly rolled onto my side. I was pulsating, throbbing. She held on to my leg and kept on going, pushing her wet little vagina tighter into mine.”For a few seconds Angela pauses. I look at her flushed face. The vivid memories still unsettle her.“I eh… I just couldn’t get enough of her… Her vagina, her smell, her taste, us kissing, fingering, scissoring… to the point of exhaustion… Oh god, Meredith… we did it everywhere… In bed, on the floor, in the bathroom…” Angela notices my blushing face. “I eh, I’m sorry… I know… this is very personal, explicit.” She fetches her glass, gets up and goes into the kitchen. I tentatively follow. I’m a bit shaken by her frank descriptions. I expected something, but certainly not this. I stand in the doorway and observe her. She places her wine glass in the sink. Her story so far shows an entirely different side of her. Why didn’t I anticipate something like this? I knew about Mitsu Corp’s dark side… their unethical behavior. The pressure of being a CEO, having to deliver. An attractive woman like her, likely to get caught up in all this. Why wasn’t I more prepared for the harsh reality, her graphic descriptions? I look at her long brunette curls, her perfect curves. I reluctantly realise she certainly would look good without her clothes on. Angela’s voice pulls me away from my thoughts. “My eh… my tryst with Sia was just the beginning… I was exhausted and fell asleep. In the middle of the night something disturbed me… something woke me up. I was in a daze, only half awake. In the darkness, someone slowly pulled away the duvet. I felt hands squeezing my breasts, roaming my midriff, sliding down in between my legs. At first, I thought it was just a wild dream. Then I though of Sia, wanting more. I felt warm lips sliding over mine. My tongue sparred with other lips and tongues. I noticed how they all tasted somehow different. A young smooth opening vagina slowly lowered itself onto my face. I smelled it, slowly licked it, locked my mouth over it. I greedily slid my tongue deeper inside, my lips sucking and stretching its soft labia. This strange girl’s hips started to move, her deliciously hot opening sliding over my mouth. I heard soft moans and Japanese whispers. My hand slowly moved upwards over her midriff. She was petit and lean. I squeezed her hard naked body and washboard abs. I felt more strange hands. They were everywhere. Startled, I paused. This strange girl slid off my face as I tried to see something in the dark. I spotted some faint shadows. ‘Sia,’ I whispered. ‘Is that you? Where are you?’ ‘I’m here Angela, right next to you.’ I heard her whispering voice in my ear.” “Who are these people? How many of them are here?” “Does it matter Angela, who they are, or how many? They’re all just here for one thing. Open your legs wide for them. Give it to them. Give all of them what they want.”It’s silent in the kitchen. I’m in the door opening, speechless. Mesmerized, intrigued, captivated by her explicit story. I somehow manage to hide my inner turmoil. Angela looks ill at ease. She slowly opens the fridge. I watch her pour ice water in two glasses. She drops in some lemon pieces, hands me one of the drinks. “You know Meredith,” she whispers, while taking a sip; “This night of group sex, this eh… well… ‘group grope’… this was my initiation. My first step. Sia was right. It didn’t really matter who they were. All that mattered was how good it felt. I held onto kaçak iddaa the headboard. I heard all this whispering in Japanese. I pushed up my chest as two mouths sucked my nipples. More were delving into me, down below. I felt their fingers, stretching my labia. I spread my legs impossibly wide. My midriff lifted itself off the bed. My hips gyrated, feeding those hungry mouths. I readily gave them all what they wanted. I moaned, I whispered. “Oh yeah great, yeah, fuck me, all of you. Oh god, fuck me…” Strange bodies were frantically riding up against me from different angles. Hands, fingers and tongues were literally everywhere. There were so many mouths, locking onto mine. Still gripping the headboard, my body was curving around. It was a red-hot cluster fuck. They had me begging, shivering, contorting and coming in no time. I’ll tell you, whoever they were, they were as hot as I was…”I am still leaning against the kitchen door. I just blankly stare at her. I’m lost for words, taken aback by the explicit nature of her story. I wasn’t prepared for all this. I need time to process it all. We agree to meet again tomorrow.It is late afternoon. I sit in my car, in Angela Laurens’ driveway. Slightly shocked, I stare straight ahead. “Wow,” I whisper. “Who would have thought…” I feel numb. I don’t know what to think. Angela Laurens, then CEO of Trilogy, taking her clothes off, fornicating her way towards a mega deal. What did I stumble upon? I expected something, but not this… Minutes later I slowly turn the key. I start the engine and try to focus. I carefully back out of her driveway. Around 5pm I enter Boston’s CBD. With my smart card, I get into The Observer’s underground car park. I walk the short distance to my scruffy rental flat. Fresh from the shower, in my white robe, I ponder today’s events. I find the Weekend Observer and spread it out on the bed. In thoughts, I turn the pages of my article. I re-read a few paragraphs and recognize the utter lack of substance. Today I caught a glimpse of what is hiding underneath. I wonder… how much more is lingering under the surface?I feel restless. I can’t sleep. It’s 1am. The images of Angela Laurens. Visions of her erotic adventures. Groupsex. They keep on churning through my mind. The yellow streetlights. The faint shine colors my room. Nude I stand in front of my mirror. Dull hair, slightly overweight, saggy, frumpy and out of proportion… I sigh. I’m certainly no Angela Laurens… I can’t help but touch myself. It’s been a while. In contrast to Angela, my erotic life has been non-existent. I somehow need a release. I glance through my window, down on an empty street. Today at 11am. Next appointment with Angela Laurens. What more will there be? How far did she have to go to show her commitment towards Mitsu Corp?A sunny Sunday morning. A quiet time on the highway leading north. Around 11am I turn into Angela Laurens’ driveway. She’s at the door as I step out of the car. Faded ripped blue jeans, oversized crisp white shirt, the usual brown beach slippers. She looks tired, with her hair messed up. I follow her into the kitchen. I watch her prepare ice tea and small chicken avocado sandwiches. She has her back to me. I hear her voice.“I eh… I apologize for looking a bit unkempt, Meredith… I eh… I didn’t sleep too well last night. Our conversation the other day… it kept me awake and restless until late… Those past experiences… I can still see it in front of me… it’s all so vivid…”I can’t help but be slightly bemused. I look at her. She must have been quite ‘busy’ last night. I imagine her on her bed. Nude… with her legs wide open… touching herself… her fingers sliding, rubbing… The way I did last night…“What eh… what happened after that fateful night in your Tokyo hotel?” I try to re-ignite the conversation. Pick up there where we left off the previous day.I watch her arrange the glasses, plate the sandwiches, as she glances over her shoulder. “Well, the next day I was left to my own devices. After breakfast I spend the morning in Tokyo’s CBD. In the afternoon I was on my laptop, fine-tuning my business proposal.”“In the lobby a staff member at the central desk waved me over. He handed me an envelope from Mitsu Corp with a small card in it.”“It had, what I thought was an address on it, in Japanese. I couldn’t read it, but that was the impression I had. While studying the card, I went up to my room. I showered and changed into my dark blue business suit and white shirt. That evening, I stepped into a taxi outside the hotel. I showed the driver the card with the address. After a ten-minute ride, he dropped me off in a dark and dingy alley. He pointed to a set of stairs. I paid the fare. I watched the taxi’s taillights disappear. A Japanese girl was loitering at the entrance. I just glanced at her for a moment. I must have looked out of place to her. A thirty-something woman, in a dark blue business suit, in a place like that. She smiled, said something in Japanese, and pointed up the stairs. Whatever it was, she probably knew what was going on up there. I looked at her as I slowly went towards the red door. As it opened, I realized this was another test of my commitment.”Angela picks up her tray and moves past me. I follow her towards the back of the house. She carries the drinks and sandwiches into the sunroom. White sofa, large light grey cushions, floor-to-ceiling white sliding doors, well-kept garden.We both sample our cold ice tea. With one knee on the sofa, she leans into the cushions. “Where was I? Oh yes… that night in Tokyo… that place up the stairs. The red door. The woman who let me in. I can’t remember her name. She was Asian, nude, apart from her pearls. Slim, tanned, elegant… Strangely, she somehow seemed to expect me. I discreetly glanced over her shoulder. It was dark. Behind a semi-transparent curtain, a large bed… naked grinding bodies… group sex. A lot of them, moving in and over each other. All of them Asian girls. There were only one or two men. The sounds and smells of hot human fornication. The naked man on the other side. His bright red pulsating dickhead. How he was looking at the girls. He probably had already been into a few of them. I couldn’t stop staring at his throbbing hard meat. I imagined myself spreading my legs for him. His hot red cock lining up between my labia, slowly pushing deep into me. I imagined his pubic hair into mine.” “I see… you like?” “The woman with the pearls whispered in broken English. I turned to her. I felt hot and on edge. She recognized the look in my eyes. Yes, I liked… very much so… We both stared at the moving bodies. She held up her mobile phone. I saw her smiling face. ‘You naked… I film you, with mobile… you know why…’ She stepped backwards and pointed her phone at me.” “Yes… yes, …I knew why.”“I gazed at her for a few seconds. This situation, her mobile phone. I thought about Mitsu’s managers. The footage, playing on their laptops. Their entertainment… and my pleasure… How it would bring me closer to the deal. I carefully stepped out of my shoes. I let go of my business jacket. I opened up my shirt. She filmed it all close up. I turned in front of her phone camera and pulled down the zip of my skirt. I slightly squatted. Several girls were positioning themselves underneath me. Down below, I felt their fingers sliding over my vagina, entering my opening. I gently moved my hips, grinding on whoever was down there. I stared at the phone. The camera came closer… the woman whispered in Japanese… the stimulation grew more intense. I slowly lowered myself onto the bed. The camera panned over me, towards the back. She filmed the fingers, prying open my labia. The tongues, licking my warm flesh. I was feeding myself into the orgy. The Mitsu Corp managers would get a porno film they’d enjoy.”Glass in hand, Angela gets up, stands by the window, looks over her shoulder at me.“My first time being filmed…” she says with a soft, hoarse voice. “I learned that behind seemingly obscure doors one could encounter the most rabid sex parties.”Silently she stares out of the window. She looks as taken aback by it as I am. With her fingertips she pulls up her white shirt. “Is it warm in here, Meredith? I’ll open up the sliding doors for some fresh air.” I just faintly nod. I sample my ice tea and watch her unlock and push the glass doors. The cool air brings welcome relief. She turns around, casually opens a few extra buttons of her white shirt. While sipping my cold drink, I can see through the large gap. She’s not wearing lingerie. From the side I see her firm breasts, her hard red nipples, how they rub against the fabric. I think she knows I can see it all. She probably doesn’t care, secretly even enjoys showing off. I try not to get distracted. I pretend not to see it. A cool breeze swirls through the quiet sunroom. For a moment, I’m lost in my own thoughts. Images of groupsex are flashing through my mind. I’m trying to get a grip and focus. “That lady… the mobile phone… that footage… it went straight to Mitsu Corp’s managers?”Angela just nods. “Yeah… they watched my eh… performance.” She steps out into the large garden. I leave the sunroom and follow her onto the short grass. We slowly stroll down a small garden path. She pauses and turns to me. “You know Meredith… I somehow didn’t mind. Them… watching me stark naked in that footage. It felt quite liberating… taking my clothes off… doing all that… I was more and more prepared to do anything… anything for the deal… and for my own pleasure.”“The next day I met again with Mitsu managers. There were six of them. We all had our laptops on the table. I intranet them my revised pitch. They were all very supportive. After the meeting ended, one of the managers took me aside. He was an older Japanese man in a dark blue striped suit, white shirt, blue tie. In broken English he told me they had all seen my ‘efforts’ of the previous night. The video was circulating through the executive ranks. He just benignly smiled. It shocked me. It also somehow turned me on. To know that they had all been watching me… ogling me between my legs… me… in a sex orgy… He came closer. He discretely asked me if I could meet with some lower level managers… tomorrow afternoon… my hotel… room 537…”I stare at her… aghast. A word comes to mind for those kind of encounters. “Did… did you do it? I mean… did you actually meet those managers?” Angela gazes into the distance. “Yeah… I admit I did. My boundaries had gradually expanded. I had started to feel very sexual. I was enjoying the eroticism, the uninhibited encounters. To be honest… beyond the deal, I really needed it badly.”We sit down on a wooden bench under a tree, in the far corner of the garden. The cool breeze, the smell of freshly mown grass. A quiet spot to contemplate on a lazy Sunday afternoon. “About those lower level managers,” Angela says, as she turns towards me. “I was nervous, but excited at the same time. I bought myself a ‘little black dress’ in a dress shop, near the hotel. I spent the afternoon in my hotel room, naked… hot… masturbating. I imagined myself with those four Japanese, relentlessly fucking me. Taking turns, one after the other… deeply shoving it into me… anywhere…”“The next day, in the afternoon, I was in room 537. I counted four ‘suits’. Late twenties-early thirties, average looking. I introduced myself. All nodding smiles and sign language. None of them spoke decent English. They were very polite at first. Then one of them gathered his courage. He hooked his finger under my knee length dress hem and lifted it up. They all gauged my response. I stared at him, but let him do it. I knew what they al wanted. I secretly wanted it even more. A hand slowly found its way under my dress. I felt fingers sliding into my panties. I leaned on one of these Japanese men, as his fingers rasped my jumping clit. ‘Oh yeah, right there…’ I whispered. I moved my hips, trying to grind on those teasing fingers. I looked at one of the men, standing a bit further away. He was staring at me. He slowly untied his belt and opened his trousers. I focused on his hand, how it delved into his open zipper and pulled out his hard cock. He looked at me while stroking himself. I knew he would be the first one sticking it in between my legs. I felt fingers unzipping my dress. They delicately unclipped my bra. Soon, my panties disappeared. I was deliciously naked in between these four men in suits.”“A hand on my back, urged me to bend forward. The man holding his cock came closer. His hand guided my head down. My warm lips slid over his red dickhead. I felt his pulsating veins on my tongue. He was gently moving his hips, slowly fucking my mouth. A Japanese girl had quietly entered the room. I didn’t notice her at first. She went to the mini bar and opened one of those small wine bottles. She observed me from a distance… naked in between those four men. Then I finally saw her. She was sitting in one of the chairs… glass in hand… looking at me. She got up and came closer. I stared at her and squeezed my hard breasts. She had a careful look at what I had between my legs. She reached over from the side of the bed. I followed her hand, slowly moving down one leg, her fingers sliding into my pubic hair, touching the edges of my warm slit. “Oh yeah… yeah finger me,” I breathed. I slightly lifted my midriff in a slow gyrating movement. I gestured to all of them to get their mobile phones. I started to touch myself under the watchful eye of the girl and the four Japanese men. They were in various stages of undress while filming me in between my legs. Stark naked, in front of their mobile phones, I moved around on the bed in an increasingly hot frenzy.”“Did eh… did you… did you have sex with all of them, Angela?” I glance at her, breathless. I don’t know why I ask. An irrelevant question. I struggle to think straight. I am as flustered as she is. “Yeah… god yeah, with all of them, Meredith. All of them… I was so aroused… I needed it really, really bad… All of them were hard, and took quick turns sticking it into me… one after the other… My red slit was so sensitive. I felt the twitching veins in my stretched labia. The Asian girl, at the side of the bed, stared at me. She watched them take turns in between my wide-open legs. I felt their hard cocks ramming deep into me. Sweating and groaning, they all fucked me like rabbits.”I glance at Angela on the garden bench next to me. Her half-open white shirt, her hand in between her legs, her fingers discretely pressing against her jeans. Her memories clearly excite her. I realize her experiences have turned her into an unashamed exhibitionist.“Did eh… did it actually help your business pitch?” I ask. Angela’s mind is far away. She just vaguely nods. “Yeah… yeah I guess it did. So wild… the footage… god, the fucking was hot. It had the desired effect. There was a meeting a few days later, in the morning. I had to catch a flight back to the U.S. that afternoon. My business pitch. Managers presented it to the board. On my return to Japan I could do a final presentation to close the deal.”I follow Angela back to the sunroom. She picks up the tray with sandwiches and glasses. I can’t help but glance into her half-open white shirt. Her firm breasts, her hard pink nipples, her lightly tanned skin. I imagine her in one of those self-described parties. With her looks and driven by ones’ desires… It is easy to get lost in these kind of erotic experiences.We both return to the lounge room. I seat myself on the ottoman while Angela drops off the tray in the kitchen. “What eh… what happened after your return to Boston? Did you report to the board and shareholders?” Her head appears in the door opening. “Hmmm, funny that you ask, Meredith” she responds. “There was a general meeting at The Continental Hotel in Boston a week later. A few hundred people turned up. Board members, shareholders, fund managers. I held a presentation speech. I reported on the solid progress I made in Tokyo Japan. The contract negotiations with Mitsu Corp. I told them a likely contract signing would be scheduled for next month. As a result the share price gained 40%.” Angela seats herself on the cream-colored sofa. She mischievously grins. “I didn’t tell them that their Trilogy CEO had spent most of her time in Tokyo naked, with her legs wide open, fucking her way to the top…”A wry smile appears on my face. I visualize the situation. I think about all she has told me so far. I imagine her in an orgy. Naked, fucking with all these Asian men and women. I now have to ask her the all-important question. The one that has been on my mind from the very beginning.“You didn’t return to Tokyo Japan, did you?” Angela just quietly gazes into the distance. “No… no, that unfortunately didn’t happen…” “So… after all your efforts… so close to the finish line… what went wrong? Why did the board terminate you?”She slowly gets up, stands at the floor-to-ceiling lounge room window. She looks out over the front driveway. Eventually she turns and glances at me.“A leak,” she softly says. “Someone, probably a rival firm, leaked the footage of one of my Asian… eh… ‘encounters’… to the Trilogy board. I heard from others that they had spent the afternoon in the boardroom, watching me, stark naked, in an orgy, on their oversized high definition flat screen TV…”She pauses. I’m speechless, and curious where this will lead.“They called me in, the next day in the afternoon. The senior board members… the board’s young female secretary… they were all there… They showed me the footage on the very large screen. I looked at these older men in their expensive Armani suits. Glued to the screen, I saw them intensely staring at what I had between my legs. My red open vagina, my dark pubic hair. I observed them as I heard myself incessantly moan and orgasm on the wide screen.”“It so turned me on.”“I felt my hot slit twitching under my business suit. I tightly squeezed my legs together, trying to mitigate the discomfort. I readily admitted fault. I casually signed the necessary paperwork confirming my dismissal, my termination payments… and my confidentiality clause… I did however deliberately stay in the boardroom a bit longer.” Angela turns away from me, stares out of the window. I hear her soft voice. “It excited me, that particular situation. The older board members. Erin Collins, the young secretary with the short blond hair. The orgy footage, with the muted sound, still running on the large screen. I saw how they looked at me, their eyes seeing through me, them visualizing me stark naked. I stood there, close to Erin. I locked eyes with her. She stared at the kaçak bahis screen… and at me. I read her mood. We both felt the underlying sexual tension between us.”Angela, did eh… did any of Trilogy’s board members stay in touch with you?”She looks at me and wryly smiles. “Yeah… yeah one surely did. For quite unusual reasons. He was an older board member, slightly overweight, balding with a small grey beard. A finance expert. A week later I received an email. He wanted to know if I could visit him and his wife for the weekend. Stay over at their place.” Angela looks at me with a mischievous smile. “A threesome, Meredith. He and his wife wanted to fuck me. He wrote to me they were both looking for an extra partner… A ‘regular arrangement’…”“Hmmm, fucking an older couple… I told him I would think about it.” “Oh yes… and than there was the boards’ secretary, Erin Collins. Young, nineteen, slim, petit, short boyish white hair, quite attractive. Afterwards she gave me her private number. She was interested in my… ‘encounters’… She was looking to get into that kind of ‘lifestyle’…”“Did you… did you follow up on that? The couple, the girl… did you call her?”“The couple? Not yet… but maybe in the future… But the girl… Erin… yes…I eh… I sure did. I invited her over. She stayed here for the weekend.” Angela points towards the front window. “I still see her arrive in her small silver car. She wore dark grey blue sleek trainers, tight ripped jeans and a white t-shirt. As she went past me, carrying her overnight bag, I glanced at the contours of her g-string in between her hard small butt cheeks.”“I’ve got to show you something, Meredith… give me a second…” I watch how Angela disappears into the bedroom. Moments later she returns with a high-end digital camera. She works the technology. Hands the device to me. Shows me the button to press. On the large digital screen, images of her appear. I press the ‘next’ button. I very slowly flick through it. Jeans, oversized white shirt and beach slippers. Simple, but elegant. I’m familiar with her favorite outfit.“I eh… I wanted to surprise her, Meredith,” I hear Angela’s soft voice while focusing on the images. “I am… I am by now comfortable with… you know… showing myself off… We were sipping wine. I told her I bought a new camera… and asked her to try it out.” I am on the sofa. I’m still flicking through the images. I hear Angela’s voice in the background. I stare at the camera’s digital screen. Pictures emerge of her… without her shirt on… In every next shot, she wears less and less. I keep flicking through. I see her with unbuttoned jeans. Images where she slides off her pants… and her black panties… I see her naked. By now I hesitate… I blush… I dread to continue. It finally dawns on me… this might be one of her exhibitionist ‘games’… with me in it… I slowly flick through one more time. The master bedroom. White crisp bed linen. Different sized white and grey pillows. She’s lying naked on the large bed… her legs wide apart. I look at her open vagina, her perfectly ‘manicured’ dark pubic hair… “Yeah… it got a bit out of hand…”I glance over my shoulder. She leans into the kitchen door opening. She looks at my flushed face. “Eh… this is very… well… explicit… isn’t it, Angela?” I see a hint of a smile. “Yeah… yeah, I guess it is… Do eh… do you like it?” I don’t know what to say. I understand her journey, her transformation. But I’m definitely not like her. I discretely put down the camera on the glass coffee table. The x-rated picture is still showing on the screen. “What about Erin Collins?”“She was a bit surprised by what I was doing in front of her camera. My lack of inhibitions. Opening my legs… showing her my private regions… touching myself…”Angela reaches over and takes up the camera. She is pushing some buttons, scrolls through its memory. “Here,” she says, while sliding next to me on the sofa. This is her… after I took over the camera… I shot some footage… for my eh… ‘private collection.” We both watch the screen. A small digital video file starts to roll. A young girl appears. She looks shy, tomboyish, with her short pixie blond hair. The footage looks amateurish, shaky, unsteady. I see Angela’s hand appear on the screen, reaching out for her. Her fingers run through the girl’s hair. They caress her face. The girl closes her eyes, she seems to like it. The hand gropes her chest, travels down towards her jeans. I see Angela’s fingers unbutton her pants. Her hand slides inside. I hear the girl moan.I glance at her, sitting next to me. She has her eyes glued to the screen. The ex-CEO of Trilogy. A respected businesswoman. In a video file groping a young girl. I grasp the explosive nature of this footage. How contradictory this all is to her public image. My eyes wander back towards the screen. Angela and the young girl are in bed, deeply kissing, riding into each other. She apparently placed the camera on a tripod or dresser. I hear their moans. I see them scissoring, grinding themselves into each other. I’m looking at Angela Laurens in a lesbian porno film.I hold my hand in front of the screen. I glance at her, sitting beside me on the sofa. I’m slightly blushing. “It’s eh… it’s too explicit for me, Angela…” She apologizes while shutting down the camera. “I am sorry Meredith… I eh… I didn’t want to embarrass you. I sometimes forget that I live in a sort of a bubble. You know… being surrounded by like-minded people. I sometimes forget about the real world. About the many people out there who are not like that.”I am trying to re-focus and change the subject. “What about Mitsu Corp… Did Mitsu Corp approach you after your dismissal?”“They did… several times… and they still do. I try to keep those contacts. I did a lot of work proving myself over there.” Her mobile phone rings, she answers the call. I look at her while pondering her words. Angela Laurens… I visualize her in her elegant business suit. You would never know what the real Angela Laurens was like. Sexually promiscuous… an exhibitionist, a swinger… and all because of her time in Tokyo Japan. She finishes the call. Silently, she checks her messages on her mobile.I think about Mitsu Corp, Tokyo, and her experiences there. The resulting dramatic changes in her life. I am still curious. Curious about Mitsu Corp. Does Trilogy still pursue a deal with them, building on the groundwork of Angela Laurens? The Japanese are still in touch with her… Why? What do they want from an ex-CEO of Trilogy?I glance at my watch. It is late. I decide to leave those questions for another day. I point out the time to her, and leave her my private number. I ask her if we could meet again, sometime during the week or next weekend. I sit behind the wheel. I’m still in Angela Laurens’ driveway. I stare through the front windscreen of my car. The confronting footage of her… nude… and in bed with Erin Collins. It has brought home to me her exhibitionist tendencies. The explicit sexual nature of her lifestyle. I try to concentrate. I carefully reverse out of her driveway. It is slow going towards Boston’s CBD. Sunday evening traffic. It gives me time to reflect on the past two days. The incredible ‘story-behind-the-story.’ A tale of ruthless business, ambition, ego, awakening promiscuity, gratuitous swinger sex… orgies… I visualize Angela Laurens’ images on my laptop. Corporate, conservative, business-like. I now realize how deceptive those photos are. Monday morning. Keystone Building, downtown Boston. Start-of-the-week briefing, in one of the meeting rooms of The Atlantic Observer. Management, sub-editors, print- and web people. I sit in the background, with my back against one of the white walls. From a distance, I follow the conversation at the main table. The leading news topics of this week. The work allocation and production schedules. Mike Bennett hands me some papers. Our story subjects to work on. In between the pages, a little note. A personal ‘thank you’ from Chief Editor ‘Big G’ Gary Gray. The Angela Laurens feature in last weekend’s supplement… ‘A job well done.’ I read it with mixed feelings. I now recognize those pages for what they are… glossy generalisations… I hope for another meeting with Angela Laurens. I still have a few questions. Especially about that mansion on the east coast.The fall of commodity prices, and its effect on the economy. A senator and his expense accounts. Boston’s traffic congestion. It is Wednesday afternoon. Mike Bennett is out to do some interviews. I’m slaving away behind my laptop, collating data, writing copy. I pause for a moment and think about Angela Laurens. She still intrigues me. I have sent her a text a few days ago. I need to see her again. Finally, in the evening, at home, a message arrives.Traffic as far as the eye can see. Bumper-to-bumper, northbound. I should have known. Saturday afternoon, dry and sunny, everyone is going somewhere. I fret whether I‘m going to be on time. Finally, I get to my highway exit. A few minutes late, I turn into Angela’s driveway. Upon pressing the buzzer, she opens the door, dressed in a white bathrobe. “Ah, Meredith… come on in. I just came back from yoga and had a shower. Grab a seat. I’ll be back in a minute.” I see her dash into one of the rooms. She leaves the door open. She casually drops her robe. I catch a glimpse of her tanned skin, her naked back and tight bottom. Since ‘Japan’, she has turned into an unabashed exhibitionist. Who am I to fault her, with a body like that? I’m standing at the front window. I hear her behind me. She dries her wet hair with a towel. I turn around. Skinny blue jeans, white loose shirt. She’s not wearing lingerie. Hard nipples push against her shirts’ white cotton fabric. I spot a camel toe in her tight jeans. “The usual, Meredith?” Her head pops around the kitchen entrance. Sparkling mineral water with ice and lemon for me, white wine for her. I’m on the cream-colored sofa. Angela Laurens seats herself on the ottoman. The same situation as during our first interview. Only one thing is missing. The small stone bowl. The red match box. The tiniest of items that exposed the ‘story behind the story’.We both quietly sip our drinks. “Mitsu Corp, Angela. Why are they still in touch with you? As an ex-CEO of Trilogy… what do they want from you?” Angela just looks at me. I see a hint of a smile. She silently gets up and goes to a writing desk in an adjacent room. On it, the small stone bowl. She returns and shows me the now notorious small red match box. We both look on as it slowly turns and tumbles between her long slim fingers. “As I told you before… very observant, Meredith…” She shows me the familiar gold Japanese logo on the front.“Kichijoten.”“A female Japanese divinity. One of the seven gods of fortune. The goddess of happiness, fertility and beauty.”She pauses, glances at me while tasting her wine.“That house on the coast, south of New York… A grand mansion. Lovely gardens, great views, ornate staircases, beautiful ceilings. I remember seeing the news bulletin about the police raid. I had visited it a few months earlier. Mitsu Corp managers had watched the footage of me… You know, those… ‘encounters’… in Tokyo. They were impressed with my hot performances, with my hard naked body… They told me about their mansion, south of New York, along the Atlantic coast. It was apparently well-known to swingers. A place where Mitsu Corp management entertained their business contacts. If I could, well… ‘socialise’… with some of their New York business friends. I hesitated. I knew it was a brothel. I never imagined myself in such a place. I didn’t know if I would do it… I told them I’d consider it. However, I had invested a lot with them. Just maybe it could help me close the mega deal… you know… as an intermediate. I would contract out the business and receive a recurring fee… We’re talking millions here…”“You know Meredith… the police raid didn’t achieve anything. These people have serious money. They had another location up and running within three weeks. A large high-rise apartment, in the heart of New York. Closer to their business contacts… much more convenient. I was there too, attending one of their parties. It was a lesbian get together, organized especially for local female employees and business contacts. I still remember how high up it was. My eyes followed the level number display inside the elevator. Down the corridor, the entrance was an inconspicuous apartment door. Their logo on the wall next to it only had meaning for those who knew. The main bedroom had large floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. Upon entry, the effect was quite overwhelming. It was like being in a large display cabinet. I leaned with my hands against the glass and looked at all the surrounding high-rise buildings with their illuminated windows. It was an exhibitionist’s dream come true. Those people in the neighboring towers had a front row view of what was going on.” “During the evening, more and more people visited the apartment. Some came to sip champagne and watch, others to join in on one of the beds. I felt new hands and fingers reaching out. I was displaying myself at attractive angles, accommodating the new curious lips and tongues exploring me, finding their way over, and into, my lean curving body. Before joining the rest of us on the bed, many couldn’t resist the temptation and slowly stripped in front of the large windows, in front of their ‘audience’. The party went on until the early hours of the morning. Some girls kept on going for hours, while constantly changing partners. I watched them at times from one of the sofas. They must have done it with everyone there. I don’t know… aphrodisiacs… white powder… their extraordinary energy levels… they were probably ‘on to something’…”“About that mansion on the coast… I visited it over the weekend, a few months ago. It was a sophisticated gathering. Many of them were Mitsu Corp related managers and business contacts. The evening was a reward for achieving their business targets. There were swinger couples looking to arrange something with the girls. Some were voyeurs. They were only there to watch. In the beginning, as I slowly took my clothes off, I felt all these eyes on my skin. Men and women gave me whispered compliments. They slowly circled around me… They touched me with their fingers. I slowly turned. I posed and slightly opened myself up to accommodate them. The women turned my face and softly kissed my lips. I followed their fingers as they teasingly swirled over my skin, around my nipples, down my midriff, over my back. I liked being nude like that… being ogled… touched, or at times rudely groped. We all knew why we were there. The anticipation made me feel feverish and restless.”Angela sounds short of breath. The absent look in her eyes. She acutely remembers that occasion.“Later that evening a, shall we say… ‘group event’… developed in one of the rooms. A swinger couple made themselves comfortable on one of the large beds. The word spread. A few of us, glass in hand, went over to watch. Some of the girls and guests gradually joined in. I observed it all for a while, together with two couples. Thirty-somethings, immaculately dressed in cocktail attire. These four people… Champagne glass in hand, they were gazing at these fornicating, naked people. The two women… I felt their hands and fingers, how they slowly explored me… They urged me with their whispers to join in. To go behind the semi-transparent curtains… To become part of the group. I glanced at them as I slowly moved onto the bed.”Angela Laurens stands in the kitchen doorway. She has just poured herself another wine. “That situation, Meredith… to be honest… It was all a bit of a blur. You know… there were so many hands, fingers, tongues… So many tastes, smells, sounds…””The two couples eventually joined me. I was busy near the edge of the bed. The women’s hands were slowly moving all over me. Their fingers circled my nipples, sliding down my midriff, through my pubic hair. I looked up at their men, staring at me, slowly opening their pants. ‘You see our boys?’ one of them whispered. ‘They’re getting ready for you. Why don’t you open your legs a bit further?’ Their fingers were traveling down into my vagina, circling my clit. They were both squeezing me, sucking my nipples. Our mouths were sliding over each other. I suddenly felt something in between my labia. It went up and down before it suddenly pushed into me. I felt a warm glow as it rubbed my deep inner walls. By then, I was under one of the women. She was slowly sliding her vagina over my tongue.” Angela seats herself on the ottoman. She picks up the red match box with the gold logo. I see it rotate between her fingers. “That night, at the mansion… Those two couples treated me as their sex toy. The four of them tasted me everywhere and fucked my body in many ways.”She collects our glasses and heads for the kitchen. I’m in the doorway. I look at her, standing at the kitchen bench. The initial shock of hearing about her lifestyle. By now, hardly anything surprises me anymore. She places the glasses in the sink and turns to me. “Around midnight I entertained some other guys in a separate room. Me and another girl with all those men… What can I say… you can imagine what happened. It went on until the early hours of the morning. I was sore everywhere, when I left the mansion.”My parked car is in the driveway, outside Angela Laurens’ home. I just concluded my interview. I promised to stay in touch with her. It is already getting dark outside. In the quietness of the car, I turn on the roof mounted light. She has gifted me one of her red match boxes. I carefully place it on the dashboard. The tiny little item that sparked it all. The connection, unearthed by Jack Linden, between this, and the mansion. The explosive fact that Angela Laurens, then CEO of Trilogy, worked for Mitsu Corp in a brothel. I have discovered what was hiding under the surface. The story I couldn’t write. I slowly turn the key in the ignition.Monday afternoon in the newsroom of The Atlantic Observer.I’m behind my laptop, typing away. An article about a real estate development in inner city Boston. Mike Bennett brings me my coffee, hands me a list of stories to write. Deadlines are Thursday and Friday. He stands behind me and reads from my laptop. “Good stuff, Meredith. I see you’re on top of it. You’re doing well here.” He spots a little item in my bowl of paper clips and post-it notes. “Hmmm, a little souvenir from your local Chinese restaurant, Meredith?” He hands me a little red matchbox with a gold logo. In thoughts, I move it around in between my fingers. I stare at it from many different angles. I think about all that has happened over the past few weeks. Angela Laurens, Trilogy, Mitsu Corp… I turn to Mike with a wry smile. “A chinese restaurant? Hmmm… yeah… yeah, something like that…”

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