The Struggle Continues - Part 1 - The Reunion - 6 - The Personal Assistant
'So I've told you my recent life story!' Jaq was still leaning over the armrest. 'What were you doing in Hong Kong?'
'OK!' She sat up, but still leaning slightly towards me. She also kicked her shoes on the floor. Judging by their look and unmarked leather soles, they were new and very expensive. 'What do you think I did?'
'Did! So you've finished, there?'
'In Hong Kong! Yes!'
'I think we've established you're not a lawyer!' I waited for an acknowledgement. I got none. 'So how about some other professional? Are you an accountant? Civil servant? Marketing executive? Journalist covering the hand-over?'
'Why if I was the last would I be leaving now? You're miles away!' She smiled and giggled. 'Do you want to hear my life history?'
'Yes!' At least I wouldn't have to guess. 'Go ahead!'
'Like you, we'd been married for a long time. In our case it was twenty years, when we got divorced six years ago. We just grew apart and when the kids left home, we decided to split up!' She paused and asked a question. 'Do you have kids?'
'Yes!' I replied. 'Two boys. The elder is twenty-six. I think!'
'I had one of each!' Jaq continued. 'Like you I thought things would be fine with my little terraced house in Oxford. But it was not to be!'
'So you met a bad adviser too!'
'No!' She laughed. 'I married a crook!'
'So to cut a long story very short, my new husband got a job in Ashford and we moved to Kent. It was an impressive house in a leafy avenue in the better part of Folkestone. But then his job went sour, he left it acrimoniously without any compensation and the bank repossessed the house when we missed payments on the mortgage.'
'Oh dear!' It all sounded so familiar.
'So there was little left and I found myself in a terribly damp, rented house in a very unseemly area.' She held her hands out to me. 'At one time, I had to pack apples with these to keep the wolves from the door! That was so cold! Never again!'
'But you don't dress for the bread-line now!' She certainly didn't! I'd already noticed that the black suit she was wearing was probably Giorgio Armani and not just the more mass-market Collectione! 'How did you pick yourself up?'
'I had trained as a teacher, so I did a bit of supply work! With other jobs like waiting in bars and a bit of luck and some help from my first ex-husband and my parents, I was able to buy a little house on a new estate! Not big, but it had a garden and it made me feel better!'
'That was good!' Jaq still didn't say what she was doing in Hong Kong. I asked the obvious question. 'So you were teaching in Hong Kong?'
'No!' She shook her head. 'Teaching got me out of trouble. I'm finished with it now! Other peoples' children are not my taste!'
'You dress well!' I looked her up and down. 'Armani? Am I right?' She nodded. 'The shoes are expensive! You certainly don't get them in Asda!' She smiled. 'Perhaps, a friend's husband was in Hong Kong on a short term contract? So you went with them as a tutor for their children or someone to help with entertaining? I'm only guessing, but I suspect you can cook!'
'Of course I can! I'm trained as a Cordon Bleu cook!' She smiled. 'You're getting a lot closer!'
'I worked it out last spring, that unless I found myself another man and I really didn't want one, then I'd probably be stuck in Folkestone for the rest of my life.' She shrugged and grinned for emphasis of the thought. 'Now Folkestone's not bad, but I'd originally lived in Herefordshire and felt that as I had a lot of friends there, that I should return. But property is too expensive. So I needed to do something to break out!'
'So you decided to work abroad and rent the house?' But I knew that!
'I looked at myself and realised that I was still fit, attractive and still had all my own teeth. I also had no ties as the children were at University.' She leaned in confidentially again. 'And I knew I was good in bed!' A broad smile said it all!
'You didn't!' Had she sold herself to a rich man in Hong Kong?
'So I placed a very unusual ad in Forum. You know the magazine?' I nodded as I knew of the UK's oldest sexual relations magazine. I laughed too! 'Stop it! I was serious! You'd have done the same in my position!'
'What did you say?' I'd seen some of the adverts for those selling or wanting unusual sexual partners and services.
'Attractive, adventurous, non-smoker, slim, blonde, lady, mid-40's.' She was teasing each word out slowly. 'Single and at a loose end. Superb in the kitchen, as a hostess and in bed. Needs a six month well-paid break in an exotic location. Anything legal and luxurious considered.'
I was laughing and she didn't find it funny. 'I bet you got some unusual replies.'
'I did!' She laughed too and squeezed my hand. 'Most were filthy! I've never seen so many pictures of erections!' She squeezed my hand tightly again.
'But obviously at least one wasn't rude!'
'Not all. But most!' She giggled. 'I had this charming letter from a widower, who is a senior oil company executive. He had been made responsible for sorting out various exploration leases and distribution rights in Hong Kong from September last year until the handover.'
'And he needed someone to light up his life again!'
'Much, much more than that!'
She took another sip of champagne before continuing. 'It was almost surreal, in that he sent me a job description of what he wanted. He needed a PA, who could look after his personal office, as he didn't want to use a local secretary for reasons of business confidentiality - '
I broke in. 'Can you type and do e-mail? That sort of thing!'
'I've always been able to type and I quickly learnt about the Internet!' She smiled. 'He never found out I couldn't use it when he wrote to me!' She paused for a reply, but I let her continue. 'He also wanted me to act as hostess in the evening, as he would be doing a lot of entertaining.'
'It sounded too good to be true!'
'I thought so at the time, especially as he asked me to come for a formal interview at his office in the City of London.' At this moment she stood up and put her shoes back on. She was certainly a lot taller than my one metre seventy-one now. 'I thought very hard as to what I should wear and I decided that to look a tart would not be a good idea. So I followed the rule of only showing one piece of flesh.' She pulled her skirt up to perhaps ten centimetres or so above her knees.
'You have very nice legs!' She raised the skirt further on one side to teasingly show a glimpse of suspender. 'Did you wear black stockings then?'
'I always wear stockings! But not necessarily black!' She resumed her position next to me. 'So it was a black suit with a short skirt and stilettos, over a discrete red blouse. I was both demure and sexy!'
'Did he interview you properly?' I could imagine a interesting scene reminiscent of a cheap pornographic film.
'Yes! He was actually very sweet!' That word again! 'He was tall, slim and handsome. In fact a very nice man! The interview was for a job that existed and would be paid for by the company. Later that day he told me that I was the best PA and hostess he'd seen, so I'd definitely got the job even if I decided against extra duties. Anything else that I was offering would be paid by him personally.'
'So did you take it there and then?' It had seemed all very straight.
'He told me that it would be an adventure for both of us and that I should think for a few days before giving my reply.' She started to giggle in an embarrassed sort of way. 'He also said that it was a big decision for a wonderful lady like me to become a courtesan!'
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