Chapter 2. Constant Constance
“You really should come out with us one of these nights, Connie,” stated Bev.
“No, thanks. I have oodles of stuff I have to do this weekend,” Constance claimed offhandedly.
And all of them were way more exciting than getting hit on at some business-friendly Happy Hour in this stuffy old valley.
“Man, you never come out with us,” Lila whined, making Constance grit her teeth. She hated Lila’s strident, nasal voice, and often wondered how Harrison Charles could stand speaking to his secretary for more than a minute at a time. Maybe it was his proper English upbringing that kept him from firing her for the mere fact that her voice could peel the paint from the walls of his office.
Constance looked over at Bev, who was the personal assistant of the COO, Carlton Smith. She could understand why he would keep her around. She was buxom and blonde, sexy without meaning to be, and Carl’s playboy image could never have dealt with anything less in a personal assistant. Brains and beauty…or at least enough brains to keep her paws away from his manwhore self. For now. And not that she wasn’t sorely tempted. Carl’s ego would have probably blown a fuse if he had employed a plain secretary.
Lila was also pretty, but more traditionally so. She was thin with long legs and silky black hair, luscious pouty lips, and large doe eyes which looked overly large on her face. It was only when she opened that mouth of hers that her wholesome good looks took a backseat to her obnoxious voice that some may have found childishly endearing, but most found grating.
“I’m convinced she has a secret boyfriend that whisks her away to a new tropical island every weekend,” Bev teased Constance in an aside.
Bev and Lila constantly poked fun at Constance about being a boring homebody. They had concluded that she would be a future old maid with nothing but a houseful of books and a few cats as her constant companions.
If only they knew...
Not that “Connie” would allow anyone to know the real Constance Flaherty. She’d probably have shocked the shit out of even the most open-minded of her coworkers. If they only knew the sexpot beneath the timid secretary persona that she portrayed during her workdays.
“You caught me, hon,” Constance joked flatly. “We plan on going to Bimini this weekend and St. Croix the next.”
She tried to ignore Lila and Bev, but they were both chattering about which Happy Hour they would visit this week. Constance blocked out their mindless blathering and mentally made her own plans while she was finishing up Mr. Kinsley’s schedule for the next week. With the swipe of a finger, she saved the calendar and sent it to her boss, who was literally in the next room having his usual “bro time” with the other Chief Officers.
She figured she could get started on her work for Monday morning while the two Chatty Cathy’s were twittering away, then she could skip out and make her own exit.
Constance always made sure she was the last one to leave.
At least the last one besides her boss.
She suspected that sometimes Mr. Kinsley didn’t leave until way after the office closed for the day. She had even caught him there on a Saturday morning when she’d had to retrieve her MacBook that she had erroneously left behind.
Bev and Lila talked for another 15 minutes before taking off. Constance smiled and waved as they departed. When she looked up to see her boss’ office door swinging open and Carlton Smith leaving, she ducked her head at the suspiciously smug grin on his lips.
She kept her head down until he stepped into the elevator. There was something about Mr. Smith that she didn’t quite trust, and she avoided him whenever possible.
Soon after, KinTech’s Chief of Security and CFO made their way past her a good ten minutes after Mr. Smith had left the building in an oddly good mood.
Constance finished up her work and saved it on her laptop. After powering down and popping it into her large tote bag, she grabbed her car keys and walked the short distance to Mr. Kinsley’s office.
“Mr. Kinsley, I’ve sent you an email with your schedule for this upcoming Monday. Did you need me for anything else before I head out?”
Constance doubted he would need anything further. He had never asked her for more than what she had already completed for him, and he was usually slightly more laid back on Fridays. She figured he knew that everyone wanted to get the weekend started as soon as possible and let his employees go early, so long as their work was done for the day.
Aiden hesitated just a smidge and looked at her. He was sitting behind his desk with his hands steepled, looking pensive.
“No, thank you, Ms. Flaherty,” he said finally after a short pause. “Enjoy your weekend.”
“You too, sir.” And with that, Constance headed towards the elevator banks with purpose.
But she didn’t leave the building immediately. Oh no. She took the elevator to the first floor and, instead of turning left to exit, she strode straight towards the ladies’ bathroom on the right.
Inside the bathroom, she opened up the same tote bag she had stashed her MacBook in. Pulling out a couple of pieces of clothing and a pair of pumps, she then made her way into the large handicapped stall. Constance loosened her stance a bit like she always did in this type of situation.
She took off her pencil skirt and shimmied out of her stockings. After that, she shed her white blouse and popped them into her bag, only to pull out a short jeans skirt and off the shoulder tight, white crop top.
Pulling her hair out of the plain and constricting bun on top of her head, she took her thick-rimmed glasses off and popped them into the bag, along with the rest of her business attire.
She had walked into the stall as Constance Flaherty, and prepared to walk out as Coco; no last name needed.
After popping out of the stall, she bent over and shook her hair out, giving her that sexy just-fucked look that never failed to turn a few heads.
She wiped off the minimal lip gloss she used for work, and applied some matte cherry-red lipstick that plumped her cupid’s bow lips, rendering them utterly kissable.
Constance looked into the mirror. She made a duck face at her reflection and made sure there wasn’t any lipstick stuck to her teeth. As always, she inspected her reflection carefully, accepting nothing less than perfection.
Office Constance was a stuffy and prim librarian-type who didn’t have a sexual bone in her body. After-hours Constance—AKA Coco—was lithe and sexy. With a generous bosom and dirty blonde hair, she had curves to spare and deep chocolate-colored eyes with an aquiline nose over her aforementioned cupid’s bow lips.
Yes, she was mostly happy with her appearance. It was her dueling personalities that had her at a loss.
While Constance played the dutiful secretary at work, her nightlife as Coco was nothing short of sensual. She really felt like she might have a problem.
No. She knew she had a problem.
She never made friends or had boyfriends. Women wanted to chat you up and needed you to bare your soul or talk about your sex life. Men, on the other hand, were just pointless to befriend and, for Constance, almost impossible. She would always end up in bed with her male friends, hence ruining the once-platonic relationship she had tried to maintain.
She was a true-blue sex addict. At least outside of the office.
Inside the workplace, she played the role of submissive secretary like she was slipping on a second skin. Had she tried to become an actress, she may have been one of the most talented on the planet. She had a knack for it as the result of her dueling work and personal life personas. They were exact opposites, and anything in between would be a cinch to portray.
Over the years, Constance had truly tried to curb her sexual appetite to no avail. Support groups and counseling didn’t seem to work, and she could only guess as to why.
Her past. One she couldn’t speak of to anyone.
Constance had a past that she didn’t share with people. And wouldn’t have even if she’d had someone to share it with. It was just too much. Besides, she had already tried on several occasions.
Before moving to California, she had lived in a small mountain town in West Virginia where most folks were related to each other in some way or other, and the ones that weren’t, were probably new to the area or just visiting.
Constance—now Coco thanks to the help of her wardrobe change—shook off the thoughts of her past and walked out the bathroom before throwing on some shades and exiting the building.
She popped open the trunk of her red Toyota Camry Hybrid to put her bag in, plopping her ass into the driver’s seat. After several slight adjustments to the mirrors, she drove off the lot and took the back roads to her adopted city in nearby Atherton.
Coco had made the decision in the bathroom that she would go to a local pub only a few blocks away from her home. It was not something she normally did, as it was too close to home base and she was familiar to and had bedded some of the regulars. She was usually afraid to be recognized—or worse—followed back to her apartment by an admirer.
And she had many.
As Constance drove towards home, she couldn’t help but think of the reasons why she was the way she was, and the people to blame.
She blamed her family. She blamed her parents. She blamed the sovereign state of West Virginia for dropping her on her ass with not so much as a how-de-doo and a blaring now get lost after she hit her 18th birthday.
There was something seriously wrong with a system that could just drop you, leaving you homeless and without a cent to your name. And that was after years with foster families that could give a rat’s ass where she laid her head at night.
“Connie! Get your ass in here, you miserable brat! Your Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Wanda want to say hi!”
She ignored her mother and stayed hidden underneath the front porch. She had slipped under it as she always did through the hole in the trellis.
“Where’s that little bitch gone off to?” Her mother came out onto the aging and ramshackle veranda that, at some point in the very distant past, had a fresh coat of whitewash. Constance thought it was probably last painted circa the mid-1950s, long before her gene pool had been blessed with a brood of crude rednecks who couldn’t give a shit about their children so long as there was cold beer in the fridge and a plump woman to fuck at night.
Constance sat trembling underneath the wooden boards, trying her best not to cry. If she cried, she would make noise. If she made noise, her mother would find her. If her mother found her…well, it was probably a switch to the legs and the inevitable inappropriate touching that went on with her Uncle Jimmy beneath the dinner table. Touching that her Aunt Wanda and mother would only pretend wasn’t actually happening right under their very noses.
Constance watched as her mother’s thick legs made their way off the veranda and onto the steps of the porch.
Please God, don’t let her get off the porch, young Constance thought. Make her go back into the house with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Wanda. She can’t see me.
Her mother’s feet never met with the grass below the stairs. Her brother Jack called her from the house, demanding to be fed, most likely. The boy practically inhaled the fridge every time he was within thirty minutes of a meal.
Yes, go back inside, Mama, she thought. Feed Jacky.
She heard her mother meander back towards the door. The inevitable creaking of the screen door hinges was like a balm for her nerves.
Mama made her way back into the kitchen, yelling for Jack to shut his hole, while a 12-year-old Constance was finally able to take deep breaths into her lungs.
The first breath was sharp—almost painful—and by the time she exhaled, tears were falling in seemingly unending rivulets down her dirty cheeks.
Constance made it to a parking lot near the local pub called The Taproom. She parked her car in a long-term parking lot where she could retrieve it at whatever time was convenient for her. She slipped out of the driver’s seat after checking her makeup in the mirror one last time.
Constance walked towards the sidewalk with the confidence that was Coco’s signature style, straightening her back and making her breasts more prominent.The last thing she did was slip her wallet in her front pocket.
Not that she ever had to pay for a drink. There were plenty of men that would treat her to cocktails or wine. She would just have to browse and have her pick of which.