Thursday, 5 July 2012

50 Shades of Sugar - Chapter One

It's a quarter to two when I arrive at the Amsprop centre, a huge five story office building,  all grey and brick. I am greatly relieved I'm not late as I walk into the glass, steel lobby, past the fleet of taxis outside.

Behind the bland desk, a strict looking woman stares at me, looking unimpressed. She is dressed immaculately and raises an eyebrow at me.

"I'm here to see - "

"Yes, I know." she says, cutting me off. "I suppose you think you're dressed appropriately?" She lowers her eyebrow before raising it again and tutting.

I am beginning to wish I had dressed more appropriately. I have made an effort, though.

"I thought so, yes", I reply.

"Hmm." she snips.

She hands me a security pass. I can't help my smirk. Surely it's obvious I'm just visiting. I don't fit in here at all.

She picks up the phone. "It's Karen, My Lord. She's here." She then nods primly as if there were a camera watching her.

"You'll want the last elevator on the right. Press for the fourth floor."

The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the fourth floor. The doors slide open, and I'm in a tiny lobby with two sofas and pictures of cityscapes. There is a white haired man standing there to greet me.

"Hello, I'm Ana", I say.

"Ugh," he says, rolling his eyes dramatically.

"I'm here to see - "

"Yes," he says, shaking his head in a disappointed manner. "He's through there."

I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet, and falling head first into the office.

Double crap - me and my two left feet. I am on my hands and knees in the office doorway and rough hands are around me helping me to stand. I glance up. Holy cow - he's so short.

"Miss Kavanagh," he extends a stubby-fingered hand to me once I'm upright. "I'm Alan Sugar. Are you all right? Coming in here, falling over. Why don't you sit down. It's why chairs were invented." He gives a little smile and looks around awkwardly, as if he's just made a joke.

He's attractive, very attractive. He's short, dressed in a suit, with grey hair and strange, gnarled features. He looks like a sexy shaved gnome. It takes me a moment to find my voice.

"Um...." In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilerating shiver run through me.  "Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don't mind, Lord Sugar."

"And you are?"  His voice is gravelly, and he emphasises words in an odd manner, but it's difficult to tell from his eyebrows, which are bunched together like a seductive scrotum.

"Anastasia Steele. I'm studying with Kate, Kavanagh at Royal Holloway."

"I see," he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but it could be acid reflux.

I look at the room while I get ready for the interview. It is one enormous table, set up in front of huge frosted sliding doors for no reason. I set up the mini-disc recorder, and inexplicably slice off one of my fingers. I hope he doesn't notice the blood spurting out of the bloody stump. Damn my clumsiness. I'd blush, except for the blood-loss.

"Sorry," I stutter. "I'm not used to this."

"It's a shame. I had plans for that finger."

He's teasing me? I hope. I blink at him, unsure what to say, and I think he takes pity on me. "No, I don't mind."

He takes a seat. It's a large throne with a booster seat. He hops up onto it in a lithe, athletic manner that belies his aged appearance.

He sits there like a hotter version of Yoda. I cannot help but feel a little shaky just looking at him.

"So, to what do you owe your success?"

"Well, I grew up in a rough area, a part of London where you didn't have your fancy mini-discs, or lifts, or cars, or... or paths."

"I see."

He juts his neck out to emphasise when he talks, like an erotic turtle. "And you know, I've just been around for long enough. You buy, you sell. It's simple."

“You sound like a control freak.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.

“Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele,” he says. “Like when I owned Tottenham Hotspurs. I flogged my way through seven managers, but they would have had it easier if they’d believed that Les Ferdinand would play better with nipple clamps.”

“Do you feel that you have immense power?”

“I employ dozens of people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain amount of responsibility. Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret, masturbatory, reveries that you were born to control things.”

I cannot help but think about that image. It’s like a sexy walnut lying on a bed playing with itself.

“I’m sorry, but I really should go,” I say. “I have a long drive back to Enfield.”

“No,” he says gesturing towards a bed that I noticed in the corner. “I think you’ll stay. We have some very good benefits here, and – “ he says, beginning to unbutton his shirt, revealing the wrinkled, leathery skin underneath “ – I can be a very….generous and attentive teacher.”

I can’t help myself. His sexy stony  eyes look into my soul and locate my inner goddess.

“You mean….”

“Yes,” he says, licking his lips like a lecherous lizard. “You’re fucked.”

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