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The Kitten StoriesA Nest for a Kitten
By Stephen Jackson
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Stephen Jackson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Nest for a Kitten
"I don't believe it. I flat-out don't believe it, JACK." Stephen Jackson pushed away the document he had been scrutinizing. "Your numbers don't agree with mine. Where the hell did we lose nine hundred thousand dollars?"
Jack grimaced, careful to face out the window and away from his client. Then he spun around in his chair to face Stephen. "We didn't lose the money. I have been doing your booksyour firm's bookssince you had a firm. You asked for this meeting, so the entire team that works on the Jackson and Partners account is here. But we need to face facts: you are going to have to cancel that planned expansion. The money just isn't there; it never was. The account looks full now, but when we finish with payroll, taxes, the holiday party you have already contracted for ... it's not there. The numbers are what they are. You could take a loan"
"No." Stephen's open hand smacked the table as he stood up to look out the window. The three accountants and Jack McMaster, owner of McMaster and Sons, CPA, each flinched at the report of his hand on the wooden tabletop. Two did, actually. The third accountant shifted in her seat, her eyes glued to their client, the hottest attorney in a city made for attorneys. "I didn't build this practice by going into debt. If we can't afford it, we can't."
"That's what I am telling you, Steve," Jack said, leaning forward in his chair. "Maybe you were banking on receipts that have not yet come in; I'm not sure. I called the team together at your request. Just tell us what you want to do."
The thirty-eight-year-old attorney looked at the other people at the table in the accountants' office, making sure to meet them eye to eye as he spoke. "Danny, we have worked together before, and I would like you to look at the income side," Steve said. "Sheryl, I don't think we have ever met, but I know we have talked on the phoneI recognize your voice. Take a look at the pretax values and tax payments; maybe we projected paying less than what we paid. If that is where the error lies, I need to correct our procedures with you." Without missing a beat, the trim, nearly six-foot lawyer continued with his booming voice, not even noticing McMaster standing and starting to speak.
"And you, Miss ...? I don't believe we have worked together before?" His eyebrows rose as the lovely woman blushed and started to speak, but finally McMaster was able to get to his feet.
"Steve, this is Megan Murphy. She is new to your account, but a crackerjack accountant. Miss Murphy, you have heard his world- famous voice for the last hour, so let me introduce you to Stephen Jacksonone of DC's most successful attorneys, and one of our best clients. Now"
Without giving Jack so much as a chance to conclude, Stephen's voice just rode over Jack's, talking to the pretty brunette. "Miss Murphy, I need you to change your schedule for today. Stay here with me and go through the projected cost figures. They just look wrong to me. We can have the files brought in here." Then, as if remembering where he was, he turned, almost sheepishly, to McMaster. "That is, Jack, if this is all okay with you. It occurs to me that this is your firm, not mine."
McMaster, rising to the obvious invitation, responded with a smile and a broad, sweeping gesture. "No, Steve, today this is your firm, this conference room is your office, and Miss Murphy here is your assistant. Megan dear, you can change your schedule, can't you?" The way he asked the question made it clear that there was really no alternative.
The brunette smiled prettily and answered, if a little breathlessly, by saying, "Of course, sir; there is absolutely nothing more important to me than satisfying Mr. Jackson." Belatedly realizing that her words were not quite proper, she stammered out a quick save. "Satisfying him that the ... the report is accurate, that the project is just too expensive."
Stephen quirked an eyebrow at her and gave a focused look but did not think anything further of it.
Three hours later found the two of them nearly swallowed by paperpaper on the table, paper on the floor, paper everywhere. Fundamentally, Stephen was convinced that the error lay somewhere in projected costs, which is why he had elected to stay with the new girl, Megan. Lord, she was a pretty little thing. And he was intrigued. Every time he demanded a service, called someone in for a special question, she seemed to wet her parted lips and starenot at the person he was addressing, but at him. Maybe she had just never met an egotistical attorney before?
By 5:00 p.m. Megan was shifting in her seat. Again. There was a meeting set for 5:15 in the very conference room she was in; everyone who had started together would get back together and discuss their findings. Steve knew for a fact that they were not going to finish their part of the review. Almost eight hundred pages of line items had been reviewed. He remarked to her that he hadn't realized how things had grown, yet still no errors had shown up. There was no way they were going to finish special projects in time.
Finally, he put down his pen, rubbed his eyes, and turned to her. "Megan Murphy, if I were the priest of the Catholic school you almost certainly attended and you squirmed like that during one of my lectures, I would flip that skirt up, down your panties, and redden that bottom of yours. We only have fifteen minutes or so. Go to the bathroom before the others get back, if you like. I have been pushing both of us. I will finish off these projected employee bonuses, and then we can hope someone else knows what's wrong."
If he noticed it took her two tries to get up out of her seat, he didn't say anything about it. As he turned back to the next black binder, she steadied herself on the back of the straight chair, murmured that she would be right back, and hurried for the exit. Anyone watching would once again have congratulated Jackson on his perceptive skills: she headed right for the bathroom and entered one of the stallsbut not to pee, although her panties did come down as fast as her skirt went up.
Oh God, she thought to herself as her hands plunged between her thighs. She wished she had to go to the bathroom. It had never been like this for her. Every time he looked at her with those incredible eyes, she felt faint ... and then he would tell her to do something. She could deal with his requests ... but God ... the man did know how to command. She sank back on the toilet, her fingers rapidly rolling her rock-hard clit, anxious to just get some relief and get back. Dear heavens, when he had taken off his jacket, put it over the straight-backed chair he sat down on, and removed his silver cufflinks so he could roll up his sleeves ... she could see herself right over his lap. She had not felt this way since collegeand then, it was self-induced.
Jesus, I do need to find myself a man. But no one ever tells you what you are going to do; they ask you. I don't want to make the decisions. I don't want to make the rules. I want to follow them as best I can, knowing because he made them, they must be right. It was so much easier being my daddy's little girl. But where do you find a daddy for a twenty-two-year-old college graduatesize five or no?
She closed her eyes and pictured him again in that straight-backed chair ... and came, hard, almost painfully. Exhausted emotionally, but ready to concentrate, she went to draw up her panties, but they were soaked. Small wonder. It would be like pulling on a wet bathing suit, only worse. She took them off, rolled them up, and stuffed them in her purse. It was 5:13.
As she reentered the conference room, Stephen was pacing again, this time with all of the members present, other than her, from the meeting that had started the day. She slid into her chair, only then wondering if the soft material of her skirt would cling to every fold of her skin without her panties, and resolving to be the last person out of the conference room, or even out of her chair. She put her hands together and focused on what the fascinating man who was their client was saying.
"... still don't see it, Jack. Danny, your numbers summary matches mine within a few thousand dollars. I just don't see there being much chance of a significant error." He put his foot up on a chair and looked across at the heavyset blonde, Sheryl. "I don't have any tax numbers, Sheryl; Dawn is not in today, and I cannot get online through your firewall. I have no idea what your tax projections are based on, but looking at your summary, I don't see any tax liability that in one line item is going to come close to nine hundred thousand dollars. Together, sure, we are looking at millions ... but I don't think it's likely that multiple mistakes of that significance happened."
McMaster stood up. "Well, I am glad you haven't lost complete confidence in us."
"I didn't say that either, Jack. I do want to find that error. I know it's an error; your numbers cannot be right. When we find it, we can make the decision of what to do next. But it's got to be in projected expenses. Opening an office cannot cost nearly a million more than we thought. There are more line entries to run down on projections than the other two sectors taken together. Miss Murphy and I have just not finished with that. What I would like to do, Jack, if it's okay with you, is finish up with Megan here tonight and meet with just you in the morning. We can figure out what, if anything, needs to be done after that."
Megan had been listening, and she was struck almost numb by his request. Alone with him? After everyone had gone? She wasn't sure if she wanted that or wanted to run screaming down the hall. Every time she watched him move, her nipples crinkled a little more. And when he turned to her and told her what to do, what to consider ... she wanted to purr. She was so used to being asked "Do you think this?" or "Do you think that?" She hated that part of her joband that part of her life. But without anyone else ... and she was hungry.
It was as if he'd read her mind, his hazel eyes focusing down on her tightly. "I will even throw in dinner, Miss MurphyMegan. I don't starve the troops unless I know they will not survive till morning."
She pondered his comment for a minute, not sure if she should worry or not; his brilliant smile soon decided it for her.
Jack looked relieved. "Splendid. Sounds like a course of action. Danny, Sheryllet's get out of here and let the two of them get to work. Stephen, let's say ten a.m. tomorrow?" It was clear to everyone in the room, including Stephen, that McMaster was overjoyed that a decision on whether to question his services by a principal client had been put off, and he just wanted to keep it that way.
"Sure, Jack. See you then." Stephen sat back down at the table, pulling the pile of papers under the label "projected costs of new employee retention" to him. Then he looked across the table at Megan and began to make some notes. "Miss MurphyMeganget me the table of multiplier values on employee retention rates by geographic region, please. Oh, and no, it was not lost on me that we did not give you a vote on whether you would stay to help me. Is that an inconvenience?"
Damn, she loved working with him. She gave a small start as she realized she wished he would command her to do something more intimate than "get the multiplier values." "I will get the table. And no, sir, it's no inconvenience at all. Although, if it is all the same to you, Mr. Jackson, I would rather eat early and come back. Breakfast was fast and hours ago." Now how was she going to handle this? The paper he wanted was down at the end of the long conference table. There was no alternative; she was going to have to stand up and walk away from him. Just wait till he focuses back on the paper ...
Stephen smiled to himself as he caught himself trying to study the papers with one eye and the young accountant with the other. Damn, but she intrigued him. Cute, sexyher smile knocked him out. And she didn't seem to mind being told what to do, his normal operating style, rather than letting him know she should be asked. No equal rights issues. As she walked to the end of the table, his eyes focused on herthe way she moved. Something was different. He smiled, but the smile never escaped his eyes. Now if only his guess on the multiplier values were right ... but it would add up to $900,000! He thought about trying not to be obvious, and then he shrugged and watched the brunette as she turned to bring him the multiplier tables. He was right. Now he would have to find out why. The hours the two of them had spent together had told him enough to make him certain she was on edgeexcited, and a little bit flustered. He hoped that her excitement was positive, and his fault.
"Is there something wrong, sir?" Her pupils dilated under his intense scrutiny, and Stephen supposed it could be with alarm rather than excitement. One word from him to McMaster tomorrow and she could be on the way to the branch office in Yazoo City, Mississippi, doing the endless books for Mississippi Chemical Co., McMaster's oldest and number-one client. Or his word could put her out on the street.
"What? Oh, no, Miss Murphynothing at all. I was just trying to decide whether you would prefer fish or beef or vegetables. No, there is nothing wrong. Thanks for the tables." Reaching his hand out to take the requested paper from her, he deliberately brushed the back of her hand, looking for a tightening of her smileand he saw it. Definitely, there would be things to talk about at dinner.
As she turned back to the stacks she still had to go through, he pulled out his cell phone. "Edward, how are you? Yes, of course it's Stephen ... Yes, I am fine. And you are right, so I am going to give you that chance ... Tonight? Seven? Could we do ... wait."
Putting his hand over the cell phone, he cleared his throat to catch her attention. "You said you were hungry, kitt ... Miss Murphy. Would six thirty at Citronelle do? It's five after six now."
She didn't have to say anything. At her wide-eyed look of amazement and a nod, he turned back to the cell phone.
"Yes, Edward? Six thirty would do us better than seven. My accountant will be with me; you know how they are!" Rolling his eyes at the startled girl, he concluded his chat with the maître d' and then turned back to her. "I think, Megan, that it makes sense to stop where we are, stroll the couple of blocks to the restaurant, and then finish up here after. That should get you home about ten p.m." Without another word, he folded the table he had asked for and slid it into the inside pocket of his jacket. He went through the process, fascinating to Megan, of rolling his shirt sleeves down and refastening the cufflinks, and he then put the jacket on.
Megan was amazed but enthralled. He had never asked her where or what she wanted to eat. God, how she loved that. But she had to speak up.
"Sir? Mr. Jackson, sir? That sounds heavenly, but ... I can't afford Citronelle, sir. And it's not something I can really authorize on the firm's card. I have only been here about six months and"
"Never mind, Megan. I don't recall asking you to pay. Even if you were ugly, four foot eight and 295 pounds, sixty-five years old, and a man, I would still pay. I asked you. As it is"he offered her a smile, his first true smile of the day that she thought really brightened his face"you don't look a day over twenty-three."
She debated a split second and then decided she could risk it. "Damn, I was hoping you had noticed I was not a man."
At his laugh, she stood up, nervous about her appearance but totally unable to do a thing about it. He put one hand gently on her back, and they left for the restaurant. As they walked the block and a half, talking about the warm fall weather, she wondered if the skin on her back would ever stop burning.
Dinner passed in a whirl for Megan. Never before had she been in a place where she was fussed over, consulted on every aspect of her meal. And when she had expressed her desire that there should have been one more of the appetizers, an entire dish was brought out immediately. She realized that it was all for him; he knew everyone by name. When he had told the wine steward that they would not be drinking that night as they had more work to do, she thought the sommelier was going to cry. And Stephen had been as charming and interesting as she had known he would be. She simply listened to his endless stream of stories and anecdotes, interjecting her childhood when he asked. She had kind of stammered when he asked her, out of midair, what her favorite color waswhy did it matter?but in the spirit of the moment, she told him. "Light blue, just like my suit."
Excerpted from The Kitten Stories by Stephen Jackson Copyright © 2013 by Stephen Jackson. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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