Holt Holland had had a horrific day of work on Monday. It was so bad, he wasn’t sure he was even going back to work on Tuesday. He normally loved his job as a hypnotherapist. Seeing clients and working with people was the best part of his day. He had opened his own hypnotherapy office almost on a whim. He had been a therapist for many years and had always found hypnosis fascinating. So he figured out how to combine the two and opened his own practice. It was nerve wracking at first, particularly because he was striking out on his own with no client base but it had worked out in the end. After a slow start, he was doing very well. In addition to working with private clients, he did large scale classes for groups and workshops in the community. He even traveled up to 500 miles to give workshops. Because of the success of his workshops, he had been able to expand his office and he now employed a full time marketing manager, a personal secretary, and an event planner. It was a successfully run office. This week, he was planning to add a new position. He needed someone to manage the whole office. His personal secretary, Gwen Golden had been managing the day to day business in the office but he really needed an additional person to run things. He needed his personal secretary to go back to being just his personal secretary. There was too much that needed to be done.
He had announced to the office that he was going to create the job last week. He had been seriously thinking about it for a long time, but after crunching the numbers and running them through with his marketing manager (who also served in a financial capacity), he discovered his dream could become a reality. Gwen had seemed surprisingly receptive to the idea, which had surprised him. He had expected some pushback from her since she would be losing a lot of her power in the office. She had jokingly started referring to herself as the Goddess of the Office, but in reality, that was probably not that much of a joke. She was though. She knew all the ins and outs, but he needed her by his side, not stuck in the office. She was the best worker he had. So he had decided to hire from outside the group for the office manager position. He had made the decision over the weekend and until today, it hadn’t occurred to him that Gwen didn’t realize he intended to hire someone new. But yesterday, he had picked up on some things she had said that led him to believe she might think she was getting that job. He hadn’t had the balls to tell her that it wasn’t her yesterday in the midst of the clusterfuck that had been his office.
He decided not to dwell on yesterday though. Suffice it to say, everything that could go wrong, did. Gwen had been putting out proverbial fires all day and when she couldn’t keep up with it, he had to help her out. They had worked it all out in the end, but he still was discouraged at the end of the day and frustrated with his decision to work on his own. He should take on a partner. But no, that would severely limit his freedom. So after a rotten day yesterday and with the new realization that he may be crushing Gwen’s professional ambition with his announcement, he had to drag himself into the office on Tuesday morning.
He was not the first to arrive. This did not surprise him. He made a beeline for his office and bypassed Gwen’s desk. She said a cheerful good morning and he mumbled a reply and then shut himself into the office. He breathed a sigh of relief at his temporary respite but he knew he couldn’t avoid it forever. In fact, in the first five minutes he was in his office, he realized he wasn’t going to be able to get anything done until he talked to Gwen. He was too distracted.
Maybe he was wrong. Maybe she didn’t expect to get the office manager job. Should he interview her for it at least? No, that would be worse to interview for it but not get it. Stupid idea. He felt like a teenager trying to dump a girlfriend he really liked. He felt like he was going to regret it as soon as he did it but he had made up his mind and he needed to stick to it.
He had an intercom on his desk that he could use to call Gwen. When he pressed the button, he noticed his palms were uncharacteristically wet and he wiped them on his pants.
“Hello!” Gwen’s perky voice filled his office through the intercom.
“Can you come in here a moment please?”
“Sure!” she said brightly and he knew that she was expecting to get the job. Something in her tone made it obvious to him. He wasn’t even sure exactly what it was but he knew that she was too perky, especially for Gwen. He could hear her heels tapping on the tile floor outside his door. The hallway wasn’t that long but it sounded like she was walking forever. Why oh why did she always have to wear heels? He had a thing for heels. He loved women in heels and he was desperately trying not to think of Gwen that way. It was disrespectful and completely unhelpful in this situation.
She entered the room but left the door open. “What can I do for you?” she asked with a smile.
“Shut the door, please.” He didn’t want anyone to overhear this conversation. “Sit down,” he instructed.
“Sure,” she said. “Should I get my notebook? I didn’t bring it in.”
“No, it’s okay,” he said and he paused, taking a quiet deep breath. “I wanted to talk to you about the office manager position.”
“Yes, I have a recommendation from someone on a woman who would be perfect for the job. I have set up an interview for Thursday. I put it on the calendar.”
“I-” she started and then she stopped speaking entirely.
He hesitated and then decided to try addressing the situation head on. “I’m sorry if you were interested in the job. I decided that I really need you by my side in the office. You do too good of a job working with me that I just thought I needed to keep you as my personal secretary.”
“I see,” she said. Her voice was clipped and he could hear the waver in it. Damn. She was upset. He didn’t know how to comfort a woman who was upset. Terror gripped him as he thought of losing her all together.
“You’re upset. I’m sorry, Gwen. I just think this is the right decision for the office.”
“I see,” she repeated. That wasn’t good. Was she getting angry now? It kind of sounded like it.
“Are you upset?”
“Well, I am certainly disappointed. I thought that I was doing a good job running the office—”
“—and still keeping track of your appointments and schedule.”
“I just thought that you would want to give me the opportunity to have more responsibility.”
“Oh Gwen, I didn’t want to give you more work. You are doing too much. I wanted to free you up to focus on one job instead of doing the job of two people.”
“I see. Well, if that’s how you feel…” she let her voice trail off. “Are we done?”
He blinked at her. “I guess so.”
She didn’t say anything as she left the office.
He sighed. He’d botched that. Badly. She was upset and angry and he hadn’t done anything to help. Shit. He listened to her heels click down the hallway and groaned as he put his head down on the desk. The heels were not helping. He was mad at himself and miserable with what he had done and now he was horny as fuck. Damn him and his fetish for heels. And damn her for wearing them (not that he had ever told her about his particular desire for them). He needed to get out of the office. He looked at the clock. It wasn’t even 9:30. He had back to back appointments starting at 10. It was going to be a long day.
When his lunch break came around finally at 1, his miserable feeling had abated somewhat. Gwen took her lunch break without talking to him. She just left. That was rare. Usually she would pop in and offer to get him something for lunch. Hell, that really was her job. But he wasn’t interested in asking her to pick up lunch for him anyway. He needed to get out. So out he went. He walked to a hot dog cart and bought two. From there, he ate his hot dogs and walked. He found a bench and sat down and people watched. When a woman sat down next to him and crossed her legs, he felt his cock stir. Her long legs ended in the highest heels he had ever seen.
“Hi,” he said and she smiled at him. She was looking at her phone.
“Hi,” she replied and looked back at her phone.
“I don’t mean to be rude,” he said, but he couldn’t keep his eyes off her heels, “but I love your shoes.”
“Oh, thanks,” she smiled again. She didn’t seem particularly bothered by his unprovoked compliment. She glanced up at him and then she dropped her phone in her purse. “Have we met?”
He looked more closely at her face this time. “I think we have,” he said and he wracked his brain trying to remember. Had she been a patient before? Gwen would know. Damn.
“You have an uncanny resemblance to a therapist I used to see…”
“I am a therapist.” He extended his hand. “Holt Holland.”
“You were my therapist. God that was like a hundred years ago.”
“I look older.”
“You look different,” she countered. “Okay, so definitely more gray around here.” She gently brushed a hand across the hair by his temple.
“Yeah,” he said and he blushed lightly under his goatee.
“Isabella,” they said at the same time. She giggled.
“I remember you,” he said. And with remembering her name, he remembered a lot of personal details about her life, too. He remembered that she worked as an insurance consultant. She had been in therapy because she had had a difficult childhood and as an adult, had discovered that she had a fetish for being immobilized. Not just being immobilized with handcuffs which practically everyone had played with, but being completely and totally immobilized, even mummified. In therapy they had identified that her fetish had nothing to do with her childhood or her parents. It was just something she liked and there was nothing wrong with it. She had stopped seeing him after a while because she seemed to have accepted that it was just a fact of herself. He had thought she was a nice woman before, but he made a point not to get emotionally or physically involved with any of his patients. But now, she was a long time ago former patient and she was sitting next to him wearing heels and all bets were off…