At Her Boss's Bidding

By: Miranda Lee

‘Maybe not, but I don’t want to take any chances. I like my job, Isabel. I don’t want to do anything to risk losing it.’

‘You know, when I first heard about Justin McCarthy I thought he was being sensible, not wanting a glamour-puss secretary who obviously had the hots for him. Office affairs rarely end well, especially for the woman. Now I’m beginning to agree more with Rafe’s opinion of him. He says any divorced guy who fires a beautiful PA for flirting with him has to either be paranoid about women, or gay.’

‘He did not fire my predecessor,’ Rachel said, rather defensively, Isabel thought. ‘She was just a temp. And Justin is not at all paranoid about women. He’s very nice to me.’

‘You said he was difficult and demanding.’

Rachel sighed. ‘That was only on the day I somehow stupidly deleted a file and it took him six hours to recover it. Normally, he’s very even-tempered.’

‘Not all bitter and twisted?’

‘I don’t see any evidence of it.’

‘OK, that leaves gay. So, what do you think? Is your boss gay? Could that be the reason his wife left him?’

‘I honestly don’t know, and quite frankly, Isabel, I don’t care. My boss’s private life is his own business.’

‘But you said he was good-looking. And only in his mid-thirties. Are you saying you’re not attracted to him, just a little?’

‘Not at all. No,’ Rachel repeated firmly when Isabel gave her a long, narrowed-eyed look.

‘I don’t believe you. You told me a little while back that you were so lonely you’d sleep with anything in trousers. Now here you are, working very closely with a handsome hunk of possibly heterosexual flesh and you’re telling me you don’t have the occasional sexual fantasy about him? You might be a bit depressed, Rach, but you’re not dead. This is me you’re talking to, remember? Your best friend. Your confidante in matters up close and personal over the years. I haven’t forgotten that you lost your virginity at the tender age of sixteen, and you were never without a boyfriend after that till Eric dumped you. You might not like men much any more, given what that bastard did, but—’

‘Oh, I still like some men,’ Rachel broke in. ‘I like Rafe,’ she added with a cheeky little grin.

‘Yes, well, all females like Rafe,’ Isabel returned drily, ‘even my mother. But since darling Rafe is already the father of my babe-to-be, and about to become my husband tomorrow, then you can’t have him, not even on loan. You’ll have to find some other hunk to see to your sexual needs.’

‘Who said I had sexual needs?’

‘Don’t you?’ Isabel was startled. She must have after four years of celibacy!

‘I don’t seem to. I rarely think about sex any more, let alone need it.’

Yes, that was patently obvious, now that Isabel came to think about it. If Rachel felt like sex occasionally, she’d do herself up a bit, and to hell with her paranoid boss. There were plenty of other secretarial jobs in the world, and plenty of other men to go with them. The business district of Sydney was full of very attractive men of all ages. Of course, with her looks on the wane, Rachel might not be able to catch herself a seriously gorgeous hunk like Rafe, but there was no reason for her to be lonely, or celibate.

‘Actually, I’m not sure I ever did need it, as such,’ Rachel went on thoughtfully. ‘Sex was just another facet of my being in love. Losing my virginity at sixteen wasn’t a sexual urge so much as an emotional one. I’d fallen in love for the first time and I wanted to give myself to Josh.’

‘But you enjoyed it. You told me so.’

‘Yes, I certainly did. But it wasn’t just sex I was after. It was that lovely feeling of being loved.’

Isabel smiled. ‘You know, it’s possible to have very good sex without love, Rach.’

‘Maybe for you, but not for me. When I said I’d sleep with anyone after Lettie died, that was just my grief and loneliness talking. I can’t just sleep with anyone. I have to be in love and, quite frankly, since my experience with Eric I don’t think I’m capable of falling in love any more. I just don’t have the heart for it. Or the courage. Eric hurt me more than I could ever explain. I honestly thought he loved me as much as I loved him. But, looking back, I don’t think he loved me at all.’

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