Hired for Secrets

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I accept your challenge

Sofie’s cocky confidence took a dive when she realized that coming back with that ‘irresistible’ offer was harder than expected. She didn’t know Philip or what his kryptonite could be. The only thing she was certain of was: kissing him again was out of the question. She’d rather not have this skilled Mentalist command her every fantasy. This one kiss already stirred an addiction that could financially ruin her. No, what she needed was to dominate the situation and the shady plan she came up with was just the thing.

“Philip is coming downstairs to pick you up,” the receptionist beamed.

It was a different person. Did Melanie finally manage to get away from this place? Sofie hoped so, though looking at the new receptionist, she felt a pang of sadness that yet another bright-eyed and bushy-tailed girl was pulled into this controlling society.

“Thank you,” Sofie smiled back.

This time, she didn’t feel nervous. This time, the plan put her in command of getting the YubiKey. She felt confident. Besides, this was her kind of work. Coming up with complex schemes and executing them perfectly. It’s what she was good at. The more elaborate the better.

It was also necessary, because simply stealing the key in the dead of the night would not have worked. Club Elandra was like Fort Knox, located on a sprawling estate in the English countryside with patrolled fences and security cameras everywhere. Getting near it without an appointment was impossible. At least it was impossible for her, and involving more people introduced the kind of uncertainty that always led to failure.

She could have snatched the key during her visit. That would not have required to include anyone. Breaking into the flimsy vitrine would have been easy and quick. The only problem: Philip was always there, escorting her in and out, never leaving her out of sight. And he would call security if she tried anything. Of course, she could have spiked his drink with a laxative or narcotic, putting him out of action. But he likely had a panic button in the room and feeling that something was wrong he’d press it and the place would be crawling with guards before she could get to the key.

No, the only way to get the key was Philip giving it to her. It would have to be some sort of a trade. Like the one he offered, except this time it would be her bargaining chip. One that she was willing to give, yet it needed to be equally tempting to him. Luckily she found just the thing.

Waiting in the lobby, Sofie heard Philip’s footsteps echo down the hall. She was excited about seeing him again. She spent the past two weeks thinking about him, not fantasizing about his body but focusing on his mind. What he liked, what motivated him, what type of deal would tempt him. She was keen to find out whether she’d been right and the plan would work on him.

She had to admit that finding the right bargaining chip was unusually difficult. He clearly wasn’t enticed by the usual things: power and money. He had both in excess already. And their conversations had not given her much insight either, just a vague sense that under all the luxury and sexual confidence there was a decent person. Someone who wanted to do the right thing. Who realized Kerry was dangerous and was prepared to stop her.

The only thing she knew for sure was that Philip cared about his clients. Not in a business sense, but on an empathetic level. He felt protective enough to spell out what the souvenirs meant and defended the women and their choices. Could it be as simple as that? Find out which of his clients meant something to him and then use them as the bargaining chip?

Her plan was as straightforward as it was illegal. All she needed to do was spy on him interacting with his clients. Sofie was ok with the morally dubious aspect of it, she had done worse in the name of public good. The only thing giving her pause was having to watch Philip be with another woman. Giving her what she desired. Finding out exactly what she was missing out on. Sofie shook her head. It would be nothing more than watching a handsome actor in a raunchy love scene. Besides, there were bigger things to achieve here than her satisfaction.

Tonight she was planning to execute phase one of her plan: install the hidden cameras in the room of the world’s most famous escort.

“Miss Carter, welcome to your fourth visit.”

Philip’s smile was charming and easy but there was something in his eyes that acknowledged that this was her last time.

“Great to be back, Philip.”

This time, she did not have to fake self-assurance. She wasn’t susceptible to the electricity he was already weaving between them. With satisfaction, she noticed that her newfound immunity took Philip aback.

“I have to admit,” he opened the conversation when they arrived in his bedroom suite, “that I was surprised to see this as an ‘in-room visit’. I thought you’d choose a more public setting... After last time.”

Sofie considered meeting him at Elandra’s restaurant. She expected that being with Philip would stretch her self-control to the limit. Having waiters whirling around them would certainly have helped. More importantly, meeting at the restaurant would have also meant his room was empty and she could have installed the cameras unseen. It was a good plan until she remembered how hushed Melanie was during her last visit. There were discreet security cameras mounted in the empty hallways, watching their every move. She would never have made it to his room undetected.

The plan she settled on instead was more subtle. It would convince him to leave the room. Using a pretence that was right up his alley.

“I decided to try again,” she lied. “Last time, I wasn’t quite ready. Not quite... turned on.”

Philip’s brow twitched. He wasn’t buying this at all. Saying to him that she wasn’t turned on was like telling an expert craftsman he had been using the wrong tools. He could tell she was lying. But he did not reply. Instead he waited for her to elaborate, to stumble over her own lies.

“Otherwise,” she persisted, “I wouldn’t have walked out on you. Wouldn’t you agree?”

It was a challenge, like pointing out a rough edge on an artisan furniture. It was the dare for a craftsman to lift his game. And seeing the fire in his eyes, she knew he had taken the bait.

“Well, it certainly was a first for me,” he volunteered, adding with a playful tone, “I’m glad you decided to give me another chance.”

He moved closer, but Sofie held up a hand to stop him.

“I brought a vibrator,” she said bluntly.

“Ok… That’s another first.”

The inflection in his voice made it sound like a question rather than agreement. Bringing a vibrator without discussing it with him was a blatant non-confidence vote on his skills. It hurt his professional pride. He clearly had a far higher opinion of himself and his competencies.

“The vibrator isn’t for me,” she corrected his assumption.

She pulled out a box from her bag and handed it to him.

“The Spaceship Pulse 2000,” he read from the box’s description, is a small vibration toy, hugging him in all the right places. Designed to enhance solo flights or...” A mischievous twinkle came into his eyes. “Couples’ playtime by...”

“Stop reading.”

This was harder than expected. She wasn’t quite sure anymore how she’d pictured him to react but treading it out like that wasn’t her idea of foreplay. And neither was it his. No. This was a power play, aimed at making her feel uncomfortable and taking away her command on the situation.

“Miss Carter, this was your idea,” he said with a mock complaint before softening his tone. “Hey, no need to be embarrassed. I’m happy to explore whatever it is you like.”

He moved closer to brush a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “Though I have to admit that you look awfully cute with your flushed cheeks...”

“I don’t want to use it with you,” she said ignoring his offhanded compliment, “I want you to wear it under your clothes. While we talk... and I hold the remote control.”

He paused, taking in the sharpness in her command. He just realized that it wasn’t embarrassment that was painted across her face, it was… her temper.

“I didn’t place you as a sadist, Miss Carter.”

She lifted her chin defiantly and stood her ground. She could be whatever it took to get to her goal.

“Fine then,” he smirked, “I accept your challenge. Let’s see who wants to stop talking and abandon this game first. Because I don’t think it’ll be me.”

Relief flooded Sofie as he headed to the bathroom to put on the device. Her plan had worked. As soon as the door closed behind him she jumped to action. Install the cameras and get out of here. This was more than enough acting for one night.

Sofie hastily looked around Philip’s room to find the perfect location for installing them. The cameras were barely larger than a button, perfect for blending into the decor of the room. With state-of-the-art lenses and microphones, as well as a mobile connection, they would send the confidential information directly to her computer. And their tentacle-like cords would wrap around power cables of other electronic devices, keeping them operational indefinitely.

Sofie’s heart beat like a war-drum, flooding her body with adrenaline. This was the excitement she liked. The kick she craved. She placed the first camera on the built-in shelf facing the lounge area. It was the higher resolution camera, which would be able to record the whole room as well as zoom into the private conversations on the sofa. With steady hands she wrapped its tentacle around the power cable of the stereo. Stepping back she evaluated her work. Perfect! The camera was hardly visible even when knowing exactly where it was.

A sudden buzz from the bathroom startled her. Philip was testing out the gadget and she could hear its vibrations through a closed bathroom door. She almost felt sorry for him. The things she could do to him, holding the remote. A damp hotness spread between her legs. Stop it. There will be none of this! You’ll be out of here before.

Indeed, her plan was to leave straight after installing the cameras. She would say how embarrassing this all was and that they should forget this stupid deal. Knowing how easily he backed off last time, he probably wasn’t too keen on actually handing over the YubiKey. So he probably wouldn’t object to giving up altogether.

This would leave Sofie to start on phase two of her plan: collect intel to use against him. She smiled. He won’t know what hit him, when she’ll come back to him with the new terms of their deal.

Another buzz from the bathroom reminded her how little time there was left to install the second camera. He’d be putting his clothes back on soon. Quietly she padded to the entrance area and placed the second camera facing the door. It was only a low resolution camera but sufficient for recording who came in and out of his room. The hallway table with its standing light was almost too convenient for providing the disguise and power supply.

She was wrapping the tentacles around the power cable when the bathroom door opened. Sofie wheeled around.

“What are you doing in the hallway? Are you sneaking out on me?”

“Why would I?” She carefully hid how startled she really was. “Hand me the remote and let the games begin.”

Offence was the best defence. She could not risk him getting suspicious about her standing in the entrance hall. What’s the harm in playing, anyways? It would only be for a little while. Besides, leaving after she’d actually tried it was way more believable.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

He handed her the little black remote. It had a curious weight to it; all its temptations felt heavy in her hand. Her fingers itched to press the button. She wanted to make the famous escort squirm, lose his cool, surrender his control to her.

She felt her cheeks flush, this time with excitement. It was playtime!

*****

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