I was sitting back in my chair, long black stiletto heels propped on the windowsill when Mrs. Shapiro opened the door without
knocking and treated me to one of her sour looks of disapproval.
I once read in a college text how executives got paid for thinking. The book had sternly advised that just because an executive didn't
seem to be doing anything didn't mean they weren't making productive use of their time.
I'm not an executive, unfortunately, but I figured the theory was valid. And even if not I could make an argument for it.
After all, the only people at Florenzi, Carruthers and Miller who had their own offices were the partners and the senior lawyers. The
rest were stuck out in the open office, or if they were lucky, in between those divider things, living out their lives in little square
I'd come to possess my own small office after convincing Florenzi that the "confidential" information I was gathering, and the methods
I used to gather it ought to have the protection of solid walls. So in my mind, if no one elses, that made me a sort of honorary big shot
Mrs. Shapiro didn't like that at all. In her orderly world there were the senior lawyers she fawned over, the junior lawyers she
ignored, and the "girls" she ruled over. I fit in nowhere. She didn't like my attitude, didn't like my clothes, and really didn't like my
She didn't like me either, to be truthful.
I'd been treated to every one of the many variations of her sour looks over my first few weeks here, and after four years was pretty
much immune. I don't even actively dislike her any more. She's a pest, but a minor one. Into each life a little Shapiro must fall.
"Something I can do for you, Mrs. Shapiro?" I asked sweetly, hardly turning my head from studying the impressively phallic buildings
of the Financial District.
I made a small bet with myself and let my heels slip a few inches apart on the window sill.
"Mister Florenzi would like to see you in his office now," she said sternly.
"About time. It's nearly four."
"Perhaps you've forgotten you work for him and not the other way around, Miss Romano," she said stiffly.
I eased my heels a little further apart.
"I hope you know that half the perverts in the city can see right up your skirt like that!" she snapped.
I smiled at the predictability of life.
"I'm hoping for it," I said cheerily.
The door slammed behind me.
I let my heels drop to the floor then stood up, picked up the file and tape, then paused to check myself in the mirror. Mrs. Shapiro
would disagree but I figured I was presentable enough.
I locked the door behind me and headed up the hall to Florenzi's room, yawning a little. It had been a late night, and I don't mean
Partying I can take. Sitting in an old van watching a door for eight hours is something else again. Mrs. Shapiro would never credit
how much energy you could lose doing absolutely nothing.
Actually, hall is a misnomer. Florenzi et al took up the whole floor. The middle of the floor held the library, kitchen, some
consultation rooms, supply room, photocopy machines, etc. The actual offices circled the outside of the building, hogging the windows.
Between them were the serfs; the law clerks, researchers and secretaries, desks shoved together with little discernable pattern except an
aisle to pass through them.
I walked through masses of primly dressed young women hurrying to finish off letters and reports so they could head home, ignoring the
leers from a few of the younger lawyers along the way.
I arrived at Mrs. Shapiro's small "office", behind the dividers blocking free access to Florenzi's office. She looked me up and down
with disapproval, but picked up the phone to tell Florenzi I was there.
My first day at work she'd sternly informed me of the dress code. It had been designed back when Methuselah was in kindergarten, and
nobody, including Mrs. Shapiro, had seen any reason to change it. It called for subdued colors, long skirts, nothing tight, nothing
revealing, nothing well, you get the idea.
I'd just quit The Job then, the NYPD, and had actually, for the first time in my life, wanted to look and behave like a normal person.
I was on my best behaviour, and had gone along with her, even putting up with her overbearing attitude and snide little comments.
That hadn't lasted long. My patience never does. Turned out the rules were for legal secretaries, receptionists and law clerks. Nobody
had thought of female lawyers back then, I suppose. Not that it mattered, since Florenzi didn't have any now either.
But since my particular position hadn't been defined I'd decided I wasn't covered. Sure it was a technicality, but hell, if you
couldn't use technicalities with lawyers who could you use them with?
I wore a nice suede mini dress to work one day. It was a lovely shade of blue and went well with my black hair. It wasn't even that
short you'd expect it to send someone into apoplexy over if you didn't know Mrs. Shapiro.
I'd argued that with all the time I spent on surveillance I had to sometimes adapt the way I looked to blend in. I don't think
Florenzi really bought it so much as liked to look at my legs. But he'd backed me up. I wasn't in the rules so I could wear what I wanted
Mrs. Shapiro and I had been at war ever since, and so far I'd won most of the big ones.
At the moment I was wearing a dark blue silk blouse and a black leather miniskirt with very high stiletto heels. Mrs. Florenzi had
gone ballistic the first time I'd worn the skirt, but I'd convinced Florenzi it gave me a kind of rakish look that would reassure clients
about how streetwise I was.
I like leather a lot. It's not like it's a fetish or anything (well, some of it is). I just think I look good in it. I like the feel
of it against me, like how it keeps out the cold and rain, and like how it lasts. I've got leather and suede jackets, coats, shirts, skirts,
pants, and everything else in every color of the rainbow.
I don't actually have a lot of minis. Truthfully they can be a pain since they draw attention I often don't want. I wear them now and
then to remind Mrs. Shapiro and everyone else that I can, and because I have great legs and, well, I guess I like to show them off.
Plus, the skirt is useful for distracting men, at times, like my boss.
Bunch of stiffs in this place, really, from top to bottom. There's a few that are okay, but most of the men are moneygrubbing,
backstabbing jerks, and most of the women are either stodgy old prudes or flittery young things trying desperately to hook a husband.
"He'll see you now, Miss Romano," Shapiro said, managing to make my name sound like an insult.
"Thanks, honey," I said, going through before she had time for an outraged reply.
Florenzi stared at my legs, like he always did. He was a tough, savvy guy, but I had long since discovered his weakness for legs.
Don't get me wrong, he loved all parts of the female body, but legs were his weakness. He was sitting behind a huge greenish marble desk.
Across from him was a round faced balding man of middle years in a blue pinstriped suit.
I hate pinstripes.
"This is Ms. Romano," Florenzi said. "Our investigator. She used to be a detective with the New York Police Department."
He'd neglected to introduce the man but I knew who he was, of course.
"Mr. Torrieri," I said, holding out my hand.
He pulled his eyes off my legs and shook as if surprised I'd offered. His grip was soft, weak and sweaty.
"Ms. Romano has some good news for you," Florenzi said jovially.
"For what you're charging me I should hope so," Torrieri said in Italian.
"You get what you pay for, my friend," Florenzi replied with a broad smile.
Florenzi had made a lot of money sucking up to the Italian community over the past forty years. He was fourth generation American and
had had to go to school to learn Italian after law school. They hadn't taught marketing in law schools back then but Florenzi was a natural.
He wasn't a great lawyer but he was a hell of a salesman.
Torrieri owned a shipping company, which was why Florenzi had involved himself in this minor case involving one of Torrieri's
The helicopter, one of a fleet he ran, had made a forced landing on the helipad at the World Trade Center. Ten of the passengers were
suing, claiming a variety of back and neck injuries were worth about forty million dollars in total.
I had a formal written report, but I'd learned the clients loved TV, especially those like Torrieri who, despite being quite shrewd,
weren't all that sophisticated.
"I've spent the last couple of weeks watching these people suing you, Mr. Torrieri," I said in Italian. "I think you'll appreciate
what I've discovered."
I opened the cabinet across from them and popped the tape into the VCR, then turned on the TV and moved to stand behind them as they
turned to the screen. I opened the file and laid a picture on the desk between them.
"Michael Mullaly, back injury keeps him in constant pain." I picked up the statement Mullaly had made and started to read from it.
"Since the accident I have been in near constant pain which my doctors have been unable to significantly control. I cannot concentrate on my
work and have had to take many days off, using up all my sick leave. I spend most of my time at home laying in my bed with cold compresses
against my back in an effort to ease the pain..."
On the TV Mullaly was playing football with some friends. He jumped up to catch a pass, then dodged in and out among tacklers before
being brought down heavily. He got up, laughing and high fived another of the men.
And so it went. Nancy Shaver who could hardly move her neck was watching tennis, clearly having no difficulty moving her head from
side to side. She then went swimming. Peter Fernandez had a bad back much like Mullaly's but was working on his roof, bending and stopping,
hammering and pulling. Paul Schiffler's spinal cord injury hadn't stopped him from playing handball, nor lifting in a big screen TV left in
front of his door.
"You're lucky the idiot delivery guys left that out front," Florenzi said with a snort.
"I paid them a hundred bucks to. It's in my expense claims."
He laughed, as did Torrieri, who was in a much better mood now than he had been when he came in.
And then came the piece de resistance, and Torrieri frowned at the sight of Jason Dunning sitting at a table with a tall, bonethin
man. Dunning was the helicopter pilot.
"This is Jason Dunning, the pilot who was flying the helicopter," I said.
"What's he doing here?" Torrieri said in surprise.
"You know that guy?"
He leaned forward and shook his head slowly.
"The name Peter Worcowski ring a bell?"
"The sonovabitch lawyer suing me?"
"What was Dunning doing talking to him?"
The next scene had Worcowski talking with Shaver in her doorway. Then there was one of Worcowski talking with Fernandez. The camera
panned over the building, then back to the door.
Several shots later Torrieri was impatiently shaking his head.
"I don't get it," he snapped.
"These people suing you are supposed to be lawyers, architects and business executives, people with big earning power who can afford
to ride helicopters. They're not. Most of them are unemployed. My guess is Worcowski paid for their tickets. He's Dunning's brother in law,
by the way."
"Figlio di Puttana!"
Florenzi beamed approvingly.
"What's the insurance company been saying? Settle for a half million apiece? Worcowski would scoop half that. Not a bad little
Torrieri got over his outrage quickly and jumped up to give me a delighted hug.
"How much do you pay this little girl, Riccardo?" he demanded.
"Not enough! You give her a big bonus for this!"
"Of course, Pietro. Of course."
We saw him off, all smiles, then I held out my hand expectantly. Florenzi shook it.
"No bonus...Riccardo?" I asked sarcastically.
"Don't get snotty, you," he said, his eyes dropping to my legs.
He took my hand as he moved back to his desk and sat down, then pulled me onto his lap and let his right hand stroke my inner
"You have such soft skin," he said with a sigh.
"Is that why you hired me, Riccardo?" I teased.
His hand slid up beneath my skirt and I obligingly eased my legs wider.
"I hired you because you're good at your job," he said, his fingers reaching the outline of my thong, stroking along the narrow
indentation of my slit through the soft silk.
"And?" I asked sweetly.
"Because you're Italian, of course."
He looked down the front of my shirt as his finger traced the line of my sex.
"And because you like my legs."
"And because you have a mouth like a vacuum cleaner, you little slut," he said with a grin.
"I don't think Mrs. Shapiro would like to hear you say that," I said mockingly.
"Spread your legs."
I eased my legs wider and he squeezed my sex gently, then tugged down on my thong. I lifted my buttocks so it could slip out, and he
pulled them down my legs and over my boots. I had my hair removed by laser from ankle to belly years ago, and I was completely hairless as
he palmed my sex and let his fingers rub along my slit.
I could feel him harden under my ass while his finger pushed against my entrance and slipped inside. He was older than my father, but
he had incredibly talented hands, and I shuddered weakly as his long, agile finger probed deep inside me and his thumb began to rub at my
"Dirty old man," I sighed.
"Hot little slut," he replied.
He leaned in and chewed at the nape of my neck.
"What about my bonus?" I groaned.
"I'll give you a bonus," he growled.
He pushed a second finger inside me and began to pump them in and out. His thumb never stopped rubbing at my clit, which had quickly
swelled with heat, and was growing more and more tender with each passing second.
"Open your shirt. Show me your tits!" he said, panting for breath.
I undid my buttons as his left hand slid through my silky hair and pulled my head back. I pulled the shirt open then undid the clip
between my bra cups. Florenzi yanked my head back hard to make my back arch, and I let out a soft, guttural cry of pain. My hips were
working against his fingers, grinding against them as the heat inside me built up rapidly.
I felt him licking at my stiff nipples as I stared, my head upside down, at the cabinet next to his wall. I was breathing in short,
sharp little gasps and pants as he closed his mouth around the centre of one breast and then bit in, his teeth closing harder and harder
against the soft, warm flesh, his tongue whipping back and forth against the rigid little button of my nipple as the pain mounted.
He pushed a third finger inside me, then a fourth, pumping them steadily, thrusting hard, jamming them into me and twisting his hand
from side to side. His thumb was a blur against my clit as I forced my lips tightly together to hide the moan of pain. His teeth closed even
harder around the centre of my breast so that the flesh throbbed and hurt. He was sucking now, sucking with his whole mouth as his tongue
worked on my nipple and his teeth clamped tighter and tighter.
He was pulling harder on my hair, so that my head was forced even further down, and my hips lifted to compensate. His fingers were
stabbing into my sex and I was gasping and panting and moaning deep in my throat.
His teeth released and I moaned in relief, but they then bit into my other nipple so I had to let out a soft cry of pain. They bit
again, and again, gently compared to how hard he had bitten my other breast. Then he opened his mouth wide once more and bit into my breast
as his tongue whipped across my other nipple.