At Her Boss's Bidding

By: Miranda Lee

‘Morning, Rachel,’ he said with only the briefest sidewards glance as he hurried past. ‘Hold the coffee for ten minutes, would you?’ he tossed over his shoulder as he forged on into his private sanctuary. ‘I have something I have to do first.’

When he banged the door shut behind him Rachel glared after him, her hazel eyes showing some feminine pique for once.

‘Well!’ she huffed at the closed door. ‘And good morning to you, too!’

So much for his having noticed her red hair. It came to Rachel that she could have been sitting there stark naked this morning, and Justin would not have noticed.

Not that her being naked was anything to write home about these days. Despite having put on a couple of pounds during the past month, she was still thin, her once noteworthy breasts having long ago shrunk from a voluptuous D-cup to a very average B plus. She’d complained about it to Isabel on Saturday when they were getting dressed before the wedding.

‘You still have bigger boobs than me,’ Isabel returned as she surveyed Rachel in her underwear. ‘OK, so you’re thin, but you’re in proportion. Actually, you look darned good in the buff, girl. You’ve surprised me.’

Rachel had laughed at the time. She laughed now, but with a different type of self-mockery. What on earth was she doing, even thinking about what she looked like naked? Who cared? No one was going to see her that way, except herself.

Again, it was all Isabel’s fault, putting silly thoughts into her head about Justin and sex.

Sex! Now, that was a subject not worth thinking about.

So why was she suddenly thinking about it?

Rachel filled in the next eight minutes trying to work through her irritability, before giving up and rising to go pour Justin a mug of coffee from the coffee maker, which she kept perking all day. Justin liked his coffee. She figured that ten minutes would have passed by the time she carried it in to him. Any further delay was unacceptable. The sooner he noticed her red hair, and the sooner she explained the reason behind it, the sooner she’d be able to settle down to work, and put aside the fear of looking ludicrous in her boss’s eyes.

‘Come in,’ Justin snapped when she tapped on his office door exactly ten minutes after his order.

She entered to find him sitting at the bank of computers which lined the far side of his U-shaped work station. His back remained to her as he rode his swivel chair down the long line of computers, peering at each screen for a couple of seconds as he went. His jacket was off and his shirtsleeves rolled up. His tie, she knew without being able to see it, would be loosened.

As Rachel made her way across the room Justin slid down in front of the furthest computer on the right.

‘Just put it down here,’ he directed, patting an empty spot next to his right elbow without looking up.

Grimacing with frustration, Rachel put the coffee down where ordered and was about to leave when she stopped.



He still didn’t look up.

She sighed. ‘Justin, I need to talk to you,’ she said firmly.

‘What about?’ Again, no eye contact.

‘I wanted to explain to you about my red hair.’

‘What red hair?’ He spun round from the computer, his eyes finally lifting. He frowned up at her, his head tipping slightly to one side. ‘Mmm. It’s a bit bright for you, isn’t it?’

Rachel winced. ‘It looked all right for the wedding on Saturday,’ she said, her pride demanding she say something in her own defence.

His blue eyes widened. ‘Wedding? What wedding? My God, Rachel, you didn’t go and get married on the weekend without telling me, did you?’

Rachel almost laughed. As if.

‘I don’t think you need worry about that ever happening, Justin,’ she said drily. ‘No, I was a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding on Saturday and she insisted on having my hair dyed red for the day. It was supposed to wash out afterwards but, as you can see, it didn’t. I just wanted to reassure you that I’m going to dye it back to brown tonight.’

He shrugged his indifference, then picked up his coffee. ‘Why bother?’ he said between sips. ‘It doesn’t look that bad. And it’ll wash out—or grow out—eventually.’

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