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Jack's Coming of Age

 
Author Admin
Admin


#1 | Posted: 9 Oct 2019 16:52 | Edited by: Admin 
Crystal Ball

21. Jack's Coming of Age

(A passing, unnerving glance, made me consider as to the reason why?)

Para 1 ...
The man's returning gaze didn't quite gel with his own impression of just how such a reciprocal view should look. Why? Something wasn't right here. Something was amiss. Quickly scanning his memories of any previous encounter there were focussed pinpoints of recollection where a similar stare was apparent. It was obvious this man held some grudge. Some episode in the past had coloured his thoughts and it was influencing his opinion as of today - as of since. Damn, the past dictates to the present in oh-so-many-ways. How to overcome such worn out, previously imprinted behaviour? To think this man might be impressed in some way with his more recent accomplishments was just plain delusional, surely? Instinct is sometimes a far better judge than any amount of brain power.
Para 2 ...
It was no good attempting to be other than who he was right now, but would it be sufficient? Can someone become a different person in another's mind? Of course they can. Doesn't a child grow up to become an adult? A parent might struggle to cope with the change but nevertheless allowances have to be made. Maturity brings with it responsibilities, essentially worldly pressures brought to bear that can transform any teenager - or they simply become a recalcitrant worry - a mere exaggeration of who they once were. Still, change is change, however you look at it. But, what if a person purposely portrays an image as opposed to being the actual person he, or she, is?
Para 3 ...
Jack left the house full of it - 'it' being his own self importance. Of course, those who knew Jack thought otherwise, holding very much a contrasting view. Didn't stop Jack laying the law down to all and sundry though, to essentially fall ever lower in their estimations. Jack was Jack, oblivious to snide comments or sneering glances; or so it appeared to be. Thing is though, Jack, the REAL Jack, wasn't anything like as self confident. To overcome his lack of self-belief he created, what could be considered, a facsimile of himself, empowered with all the attitude he lacked. Did anyone really know Jack - the deep-down Jack? The act had gone on for so long not even Jack himself had a clear idea any longer. He was not alone in this regard, as all around him there were others just as devious. Too strong a word? How about the word 'deluded' then? Might this be a more suitable adjective? Debatable for sure. Whatever the appropriate word might be they all put forward a brave face to suit their circumstances. It was a necessary requirement in this day and age, especially in the circles Jack frequented. What Jack needed - it was plainly obvious - was a partner in crime; if not in 'crime' then in life. One he could share some time with, to relax with, to such an extent as to find himself again - at least in private, if no-where else.
Para 4 ...
Earning a living is a necessary evil for most; but for some lucky combatants, in the daily battle of existence, work is something to look forward to. For Jack - not so much. From the very first moment he put on his shirt and tie he felt agitated - ill at ease within himself. This edginess stuck with him throughout the day. No-where could he find any respite from it. The more it affected him the more he exaggerated his apparent confidence, even venturing into comedy at times. Trouble is with this he was no joke teller or confidence booster. How could he be when his entreaties came from such insecurity and therefore from such an insincere footing? What did occur though, and all of his acquaintances dreaded such moments, were cringeworthy attempts to succour some positive response. Inappropriate jokes with lacklustre punchlines or stomach churning supplication was always the result - to be avoided at all costs. These strained efforts were undoubtedly the reason Jack wasn't a well liked person. It was also the reason people talked behind his back, always depicting him as an object of ridicule. Poor Jack. The more he tried to ingratiate himself, with his work colleagues in particular, the more he put his foot in it - or his tongue and mannerisms in it, you could say. We have here a person who is nothing but a caricature of who he should be. Quite horrible for Jack and all who knew him, those who had to deal with him on a daily basis, that is. Where was the path to discovery? Where was the understanding needed to rescue Jack from his predicament? Age hadn't provided the answer, not so far anyway, and was highly unlikely to do so either as Jack just didn't have the necessary brain-power to figure it all out. But, maybe, someone else had ...
Para 5 ...
Each day was more or less the same in his currently employed position. Even with limited people skills promotion had, thankfully, been forthcoming. Jack was a hard worker, conscientious, diligent. Such qualities moved him on in life, but it was highly unlikely he would rise any higher in his chosen profession, that being one of sales and marketing. Strangely enough, the ideas behind the failing methods to energise his subordinates, lent themselves quite well to the working environment, hence his rise to become Sales Manager - one of many within the company. Still, even though there were others just like him, who held very much the same power, he was the boss of this particular department, just as the others were of their own - the buck stopped with Jack - unless he could weasel his way out of it, which, when employed in such a large corporation, was nearly always an option.
Para 6 ...
We are faced with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand we have an obsequious Jack, whose brown-nosing methods elicited nothing but disdain from those trapped under his controlling ways; but, why then, was the turnover of staff so low? Surely, if Jack was such an awful boss this wouldn't be the case? It was common practice, a corporate policy, any worker could move to another department should they have a valid reason to do so; but, Jack's underlings, were long term players? Something wasn't right here. What kept them from leaving? What was it they found to their liking? 'Liking', might be stretching things a bit here. You could say they found life generally less frenetic, less stressful in the confines of Jack's domain. For all Jack's faults and foibles there beat a heart of gold. You could say they mothered him to some extent, putting up with aspects of his obnoxious behaviour knowing he meant well, but that he just didn't have the necessary maturity to express himself in ways other mature people could appreciate. Nevertheless, his consideration for others shone through. Generally, this worked its magic by creating an environment where work wasn't carried out as if under an oppressive regime - it was relaxed and fun for the most part. The 'higher-ups' were aware of this apparent devotion, a deciding factor in Jack holding onto his exalted office role. Still, now and then, someone had to leave the fold. We are human after all and as such are prone to becoming ill, pregnant or a victim to one of a multitude of reasons requiring time off from work. So it was a 'newcomer' stepped through the door one fine Monday morning.
Para 7 ...
Francis arrived in one way as if a bolt out of the blue. She was nothing out of the ordinary, not looks wise, anyway, so why am I attempting to paint her in such glowing terms? Strange, isn't it, how attraction between the opposite sexes work. Not one other than Jack thought her particularly attractive. She had a way about her, admittedly, a cheeky grin and a piercing eye, held together in a decent enough package, both facially and bodily. There was definitely something about her to warrant more than a passing glance - that is as far as Jack was concerned. If you asked him what the initial attraction was he would have been lost for words, but whatever it was it made him even more anxious than usual - more nervous than usual - more of a prat, you could say. Of course, he had to interview her, alone, in his office. I tend to pity Francis at this point as Jack was no wooer of women. Even if wooing wasn't a requirement at this juncture Jack felt obliged to 'step it up', to really go to town with his 'boss to new worker' routine. Suffice to say, Francis wasn't the least bit impressed. She wondered what the hell she had let herself in for to be honest with you, even contemplating getting the hell out there. She had never come across such a foolish man before, one so full of himself yet obviously lacking all that makes a man of substance. She simply saw right through him. Each of Jack's attempt to elicit a positive reaction was met with empty eyed astonishment. But, just as the rest of the co-workers stood their ground so did Francis become aware of something attractive, something alluring, something that could be worth investigating further. In other words she also found Jack attractive, but from a long-term viewpoint. Was there a man worth fashioning here? Yes, there could well be, so she took her rightful place where she could study this enigmatic person in more detail.
Para 8 ...
Another day at the office beckoned. Jack was raring to go. Even his usual anxiety was tempered to a certain degree. He wouldn't have admitted to anyone why he felt so energised. In fact, he wasn't absolutely sure why himself? skirting around the issue instead of facing it head on in his mind's eye. All the crushes - the efforts to impress fanciable women in the past, had amounted to nothing - zilch, a defeated heart the result. Self abasement was not a path he would willingly walk again - if he had a choice. Such is attractiveness - it follows no set pattern or takes heed of any mental boundary - it can cut through reserve like a knife through butter. The result of this? Jack paid even more attention to his appearance, donning a more provocative suit, shirt and tie. You could say it was overkill - on the edge of being embarrassingly so. Let's face it, the repeat 'self abasement' had already begun ...
Para 9 ...
An office environment is a closed environment. Cliques form. People gossip. There are always perceptive people who never miss a trick - any trick, especially when it comes to office romance - such hookups being the crème de la crème of intrigue. As soon as Jack made his presence felt, in his strutting splendour, eyebrow's raised and tongues began to wag. Awkward.
Para 10 ...
In amongst this pot-pourri of budding psychologists was the most perceptive of all - the person missing from Jack's life until the day before, the person not on hand to counter the previous negative aspects of Jack's toe-curdling attempts to impress - consciously or otherwise. How did she go about this on this particular day? She simply made him a cup of coffee, being an accepted part of her office role, to lay it at his slightly nervous countenance with a beguiling smile and suitable complement. Jack's blood pressure rose a few degrees as it did for those not used to seeing such a side of their overseer. On the one hand some were girding their loins with sufficient ammunition to tear Jack a new one in break time; whereas some others, those who had known for Jack for a very long time, were viewing the development with some trepidation. Jack was likely to make a complete fool himself, even more so than usual - cringeworthy on steroids could well be the end result - if such a thing could be possible? Jack, being Jack, carried on oblivious to the office politics, subterfuge, chicanery. In fact, he 'carried on' with added vigour, occasionally glancing across at the entrapped babe in the woods. Thankfully, and this is where the 'babe in the woods' showed her true colours, it wasn't lost on her, finding it amusing in a childish way, and, in another, a return compliment.
Para 11 ...
'Bitchiness', 'jealousy'. Highly emotive words this particular office was not free of, therefore Francis had to deal with both and more besides. I think we have to consider just who Francis was here, what had shaped her and from whence she had come?
Para 12 ...
The vagaries of the hormone filled, teenage years were well behind her. This woman was mature, having experienced the attention of a few beaus in her time - even one ardent lover had crossed her path when in her younger and more carefree days. No slut mind, no man-killer or puma for that matter. Nope, just a considerate woman had emerged with a sharp mind and intellect, not really looking for anyone in particular. There was some concern as to her advancing age - the prospect of being left on the shelf did pervade her thoughts at times. But we are moving too far ahead ourselves. For one thing, Francis was still in the prime of her life - the tail end of it, fair enough - just this side of 40 was the true number. A well rounded woman was ensconced in this office attire - the curves didn't lie, that is if you were allowed to see them. 'Office attire', of an alluring sort, Francis never wore, much preferring to remain a bit of a nonentity in the looks department. Tweedy skirts and cardigans were her choices of garb, topped off with somewhat heavily rimmed glasses . All helping her to achieve the frosty, secretary look, consciously or otherwise. A look that more or less portrayed how she was in life by now and becoming more so. Could be the 'spinster shelf' was a definite possibility the way she was going. The aforementioned emotive words were no real problem - she knew how to cut short vindictive colleagues - to effectively put them in their places. On top of this her position meant she held sway over them, be it only slightly - the secretary to the Boss held some clout. The last thing they wanted was to get on the wrong side of her as she should make their lives pretty difficult if having a mind to. Her temporary assignment could have worked to their advantage though, that is if they were as sneaky as I have made out, but they were not. 'Bitchiness', 'jealousy', did exist, but they were not the adversaries Francis was bothered with. No, Jack's behaviour was much more worrisome, and she had hardly experienced any so far. As I say, it was very early days in more ways than one ...
Para 13 ...
Tongues still wagged, even Francis couldn't put a stop to it all, being a distinct impossibility. The ridicule still took place, in fact it stepped up a fair bit. What perplexed the staff though - the women on the staff, that is - was the slightly disarming feeling that maybe the highly efficient, and rather cold, Francis - might, in some way, be receptive to Jack's advances? We have a bit of a buffoon attempting to court someone who appeared to be the complete opposite? OK, it would be something of a catch for Jack, but what on earth would Francis get out of it? Who would want to be stuck with such a clod? This confusion helped stem the conservations from becoming too disparaging, though there were quite a few jokes at both Francis' and Jack's expense. Eyes were forever on both from there on in.
Para 14 ...
Whether Jack realised it or not he was attempting to impress Francis all of the time. Ridiculous episodes, flights of fancy you could say, took place. When taking phone calls for instance. Going so far as to talk on in a big-shot manner when the person on the other end of the line had long gone, all the time underestimating Francis' intelligence - and the fact the engaged call light had gone out on her desk. Meetings, which took place each day, found Jack's bumbling proposals - not at all important proposals - presented as if his life and theirs depended on them, all the while glancing across at Francis for approval. Excruciating for all concerned. A few days of this and Francis came to the realisation she needed to step in to calm things down as she was squirming in her seat as much as anyone. To think this man had behaved in a similar manner for years on end, albeit, slightly less nauseating, was truly astonishing. She felt like slapping him as no-doubt many others did. What a twit! How to go about it was the thing?
Para 15 ...
Francis' feelings for Jack were a bit perplexing. On the one hand she could see potential, but on the other she viewed Jack as someone very much as a mother would a child. Such feelings were not conducive for a stable, loving relationship - not that Francis had such a forward thinking pairing planned for them - not at this stage, anyway. She didn't really know what she wanted from Jack at all. He was viewed more as entertainment than anything else. Her initial attraction had waned considerably by this time but had not disappeared completely, not that it had been of much concern in the first place. There was still something of interest holding her attention on a boy/girl front though, what it was exactly was nearly impossible to figure out, by her or anyone else. The more Jack performed his misguided and inappropriate courtship ritual - if that is what he was attempting to do - the colder Francis became.
Para 16 ...
It was the final straw. The straw that broke the camel's back. Francis was incensed. She held back from whacking Jack across the chops but was very close to it. Jack, being Jack, had made her stand at the front of the staff in one of his absurd staff meetings in such a manner it was all she could do to keep her composure, holding her up as a beacon of office efficiency and diligence. It was mortifying for everyone concerned, never-mind a person who was so skilful at blending into the background, a person who never-ever wanted to go near the limelight. She had given staff meetings herself in the past - it required forethought and planning - an informative gathering of adults is how she considered it to be, but to be portrayed in such a childlike manner was beyond the pale, further undermining her dwindling authority. What the hell next she wondered? It was either request a transfer or knock some sense into this insensitive arsehole. How could he be so out of touch with people yet at the same time give off an air of vulnerability? What on earth was going on? She needed to do something and quickly. The man was an exasperating nightmare as he currently was.
Para 17 ...
Quite the quandary was facing Francis. How could she instill some vestige of normality into this foolish man yet at the same time not overstep the mark - he was her boss after all? She was on the case now though. No-way would she tolerate a repeat episode of the morning's torture. She couldn't exactly lay the law down in a brutal manner so she had to figure out a means of getting her point across by another, roundabout route. By considering Jack a child in some regards everything fell into place. How do you inspire or control a obstinate teenager for that matter? it was either by punishment or reward. Well, punishment was a definite consideration here. You would think 'reward' would be more appropriate wouldn't you, considering her standing in the office heirachy, but no, Jack was vying for her attention wasn't he, therefore to withdraw her reciprocated feelings of affection would surely get him thinking - and it did - Francis simply stopped smiling.
Para 18 ...
Jack appeared to be obtuse, but it was borne out of desperation. His inner antenna was attuned to another's feelings all the same. Admittedly he had no idea how to exist on the same wavelength, but nevertheless the subtleties of a developing friendship were not completely lost on him. In other words the frosty reception he was now receiving from his most highly 'efficient and diligent' member of staff perplexed him, worried him. As usual he had violated whatever boundary of etiquette was required to further help his cause. It was not the first time, but it could be the last as far as Francis was concerned. A heavy weight settled in his stomach and like an upset puppy was hesitant to look Francis directly in the eye, being guilty of something and he knew it. Gathering up a little courage he broached the subject as best he could, but, as usual, attempted to offload the responsibility ...
Para 19 ...
'Is something bothering you, Francis? Has someone upset you? Let me know who it is and I will have a word with them. I can't have my star performer upset, now can I', spoken in his usual obsequious tone and style, even going so far as to smirk inappropriately whilst doing so.
Para 20 ...
What had she to lose? He might be her boss but this was personal, and anyway she could always bail out of the whole situation by moving to another department, if needs be. To vent her anger was the one and only way facing her right now; so, she let rip ...
Para 21 ...
"Why are you so dense, so insensitive? Day in, day out, you lord it over all of us with about much understanding as a brick. The last thing I wanted was to be dangled in front of the rest of the staff as if some prize idiot. Do you have any idea what makes people tick - women tick - me tick? No, it is very apparent, you don't.
I shall be requesting a transfer. There is no way I am hanging around here for any longer than necessary", spoke a clearly upset Francis.
Para 22 ...
Jack's eyes widened and his chin dropped. This was the first time anyone had dared stand up to him in such face smacking terms - in the office, anyway. The smack hurt too - struck home - his imagined reddening cheek smarted painfully; but it didn't stop there, it continued, right through his brain and down his spine to eventually settle in the pit of his stomach. He was at a loss for words. His first effort to speak, once he had shut his gaping jaw, came across as garbled nonsense, because that is exactly what it was - nonsensical gibberish. Nothing came to mind so he just sat there like a startled rabbit in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
Para 23 ...
"I would appreciate it if I was allowed to carry on with my work without any further inconvenience. I will not be anyone's patsy, or fool, thank you very much. So if you don't have anything to say I shall get back to my duties", and with that Francis rose in readiness to leave. As Jack said nothing in reply she did exactly that, back to her workplace, outside of the office.
Para 24 ...
Throughout the day a demure Jack came and went - at complete odds with how he usually made his presence felt. There were times when he felt anger towards Francis. How dare she? But, when calling for her or laying work on her desk, anger gave way to dread. Another personal feeling, gurgling down deep in his gut, which he didn't want to acknowledge at first, was one of sadness. He had blown it yet again and now the person he so most wanted to impress would be leaving soon. What to do? Well, eventually, even a tactless oaf such as Jack came to the right conclusion - he had to quite simply, apologise.
Para 25 ...
By this time the office staff were enthralled. It was better than watching some TV soaps. Here was the real thing, costing nothing to view - live action! Work with a show thrown in for good measure.
Para 26 ...
The little office spat had not been lost to prying eyes however much Francis had attempted to keep it private. The change in Jack's mood was strong evidence of this - Jack wore his heart on his sleeve and it was pumping away for all to see. Winks and sly smiles became the order of the day. What next? What would be in the ensuing episode of the Jack and Francis office saga? Not a lot if Francis had anything to do with it, but with regard to Jack? Subtlety wasn't his strong point. It was plainly obvious he was building himself up for some crazy comeback. She just had to do something and fast.
Para 27 ...
Francis barely pulled it off in time. Taking the bull by the horns was the only approach she could think of. To waylay the impending disaster she plonked herself down in the chair in-front of Jack's desk and laid the law down to him - yet again. This could become habit forming - or would do if both players remained as they were, with Francis being very much the dominant figure at this stage of proceedings. Her emotions were all over the place by this time, close to panic mode. The thought of yet more embarrassment, allied to her desire to try and understand Jack all the more, were rattling around in her head more than she cared for. It was all too confusing, and eventually all too annoying. Francis became p******d off! She just blurted it out there and then. To hell with the consequences. She just had to handle this situation outside of office hours. It was all she could think of.
Para 28 ...
"You can take me out for a drink to make up for it", spoke a determined Francis.
"Pick me up at my house at 8pm sharp. Dress casual smart - nothing outrageous. We can go to a local bar. Don't say anything about it to any office staff. I have work to be getting on with now and I would appreciate it if you behaved appropriately and accordingly - boss to secretary relationship and absolutely nothing else."
With that Francis left the office without waiting for a reply. The thought Jack would dare refuse her request never entering her head.
Para 29 ...
Don't we have the usual events occurring before our very eyes here, as when a female meets a compatible male? Isn't the above being played out all over the planet, in both the human and animal kingdom as I write this? What happens in the wild? Don't many females give off a pungency capable of driving the 'boys' bonkers? Isn't this what had happened here - or something similar? Maybe Francis didn't stink of pheromones - not so you would notice - but she had still sent out signals that had found a mutual response in Jack. It was only human civility holding them back, with Jack's inability to steer a course through these imposed restrictions being of most consideration. We are as primitive as ever underneath it all - are we not? The most seductive amongst us are those who can skilfully peel back the layers of imposed propriety to eventually unearth the sweet fruit underneath. Jack was so lacking in this department scurvy would have been his lot in life if the female of the species were the only source of vitamin C to be had - figuratively speaking, of course. Francis, then, had to draw him in by unconventional means.
Para 30 ...
All through the rest of the day Jack was in a world of his own. All sorts of thoughts flooded his cranium, some of which were incredibly outlandish - tip toeing through the tulips outlandish - whilst others were dark and gloomy in intent - 'what if?', being the repeated, self-harming, sentence forming mantra. Jack, being Jack, couldn't hold it all in however hard he tried ...
"What does 'casual smart' mean? Is that like a shirt and tie without a jacket or something?", blurted Jack, thereby breaking Francis' impassioned decree.
The day had gone fairly well and now this! Francis' eyes glazed over, but instead of being even more annoyed, relaxed, as she could sense it would only have made matters worse. Pausing to breathe deeply, she eventually responded in a fairly caring manner ...
"Dress as you see fit. One step at a time. Just be yourself and we can go from there", Francis replied softly, spoken with an air of compassion, in a disarming, partially motherly way.
The response hit home as intended and Jack felt instantly less stressed.
"OK - thanks", smiling as he said so - not inanely as previous, Francis noticed.
There were times like this when he appears quite handsome, she thought. Maybe the date wouldn't be such a train-wreck after all, mused Francis.
Para 31 ...
It hadn't been. Jack had turned up on time, as requested. His dress sense had been a little too formal, admittedly, but the removal of his tie and an undone button had soon sorted that out. The disarming smile Jack had hitherto displayed flashed across his features more often than not throughout the evening, definitely a point in his favour. Francis obviously harboured, magic, personality moulding techniques she wasn't aware of - at least not until now. Jack still had a nasty tendency to lapse back into his 'showy' self though when flustered, but, for some reason, all it took was a reassuring look - or disapproving look - from Francis to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Para 32 ...
The evening had come and gone in less than a blink of an eye, or so it seemed to Jack. Alone in his pad once more he was all aglow with the enormity of it all. Never before had he managed to be in someone's company for so long without screwing it up entirely, especially when in the company of a woman - and on a date for heaven's sake! What on earth was going on? He instinctively knew one thing above all else - Francis would show him the way; and even though he hardly knew anything about her, would follow her wherever she led him, knowing full well it was the right thing to do, such was the deep connection he felt. Francis would be the making of him - it was as plain as the nose on his face. A new Jack was shaping up at a rapid rate of knots right before our very eyes. Finally, the yin had found his yang - but how did the 'yang' feel about this? Were these feelings reciprocated or was it merely misguided innocence at play?
Para 33 ...
Francis stared at herself in the mirror. Pausing in her efforts to remove the last of her makeup she reflected as to what was going on? The man had been a complete jerk for days on end, obvious to herself and everyone else around them. What on earth was she thinking? But, throughout most of the evening, Jack had been quite charming, fawning over her rather than anything else, totally focussed on her and her alone. It had made her feel good, and in a way she hadn't felt for many years. She had to admit he was rather handsome too when relaxed and in control of his usual impulses. It was far too early to say one way or another, consciously, with regards to how she really felt, but a tiny spark had been struck on first acquaintance in her subconscious, which was now a glowing ember - would it become a raging, passionate fire is the thing?
Para 34 ...
Life in the office now took on a totally different meaning for Jack. Gone were the feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, to be replaced by new found confidence. It was the missing piece of the puzzle and always had been - someone who cared for him - cared for him as a man - a male of the species. The change was remarkable. No longer did he feel the need to overact or to plead for acceptance. In fact his job took second place of importance to the one thing he now prized above all others, therefore he placed less emphasis on its requirements. Don't worry, he didn't jeopardise his livelihood as a consequence - it was the very opposite - a great deal of his annoying mannerisms vanished before their very eyes - Jack, instinctively knowing they were a bone of contention and a hindrance to his courtship. Jack was on his way to be who he should have always been - the real Jack all along - a manly Jack.
Para 35 ...
Francis too was feeling more buoyant - more lively - more energised. There was a faint tingling in her nether regions - regions that had remained inactive for far too long. This was not what she expected at all. She knew exactly what these feelings were. To associate them with the likes of Jack was just bonkers! But, she smiled to herself, nonetheless.
Para 36 ...
Jack had gone into work early after suffering a restless night. The need to be where 'she' had been was in stark preference to being alone. It was all he could do to drag himself away from the office window. A mere glance of her was all he desired. It would be enough to settle his nerves. And there was the woman herself - striding purposely across the car-park. Jack became instantly calm. It was as if a soothing blanket had been thrown over a distraught child. He was still a mummy's boy whichever way you looked at it. The REAL Jack was not yet fully formed - not quite. He seated himself down to await her arrival.
Para 37 ...
Francis entered the office in an exaggerated, yet nonchalant manner - or so was her intention. It worked up to a point, but it failed to overcome her now stirred emotions. It was to be another day at the office, which had been impressed upon Jack in no uncertain terms the night before. On no account was their outside entanglement to become common knowledge right then or for any impropriety to exist between them when in their working environment. But, was this possible? For one thing, Francis, almost coyly, kept her eyes from meeting Jacks directly, which was plain silly for a grown woman to do - at least you would think so wouldn't you; but because she was a grown woman she knew how the look in her eyes would betray her. It was inevitable Francis would break the imposed restriction, and so it was her dilated pupils, slightly coloured cheeks, restricted breathing sent primitive signals beaming out to the already mentally aroused and highly receptive Jack. Whatever was missing from his psyche jumped into the missing space in an instant. Jack become a force to be reckoned with - a stallion - an alpha male - or just simply, fully formed at last.

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