Business prospects

Chapter 1 - zoe

Zoe was a successful entrepreneur. She had invested some inheritance money from a relative she'd hardly known into business and had become very successful. She'd started off investing in someone she had gone to school with, who was researching more eco-friendly shower gel and shampoo. Now she ran a toiletry and cosmetics company that produced thousands of eco-friendly products.
Well, ran was a very strong word... she didn't actually run the company. She paid managers to do that for her. Her name was at the top of the letterheads, but she never wrote any letters. She chaired lots of meetings, but usually all she did was invite someone else to speak, then decide on a date for the next meeting.
She had her own suite of offices on the top floor of 'head office'. The outer office was for her personal assistant. Then there was her actual office. It was big enough for a sofa and coffee table as well as a large desk and chairs. She had three large filing cabinets and a magnificent view of the city out of the large picture windows. A door to the left led to more private rooms - a studio apartment, in fact, where if she had to, she could work late, sleep in a proper bed, have a full shower in her en-suite bathroom, instead of a quick brush up in the ladies'. She even had her own walk in wardrobe and gym.
She rarely used all of the facilities her office gave her. She suspected in days gone by, it was used by a manager to have sordid affairs with his secretary... or something.
Her office also had direct access to the board room so that she could simply appear when everyone else had gathered.
She did not work every weekday. Financially, she didn't need to. Indeed, when she got there, there was so little work for her to do that she got very bored quickly. She had pretended to like golf so that she could have a Friday afternoon off and play with her friends from other companies, but her swing was never going to impress anyone. She hated the corporate entertainment that had to be laid on to impress potential clients, so she'd passed all that on to someone else.
All she did, when she was at work was sign a few papers. Her PA kept her up to date with everything so she did not need to read reams of reports.

One thing she did like to do was take an interest in new staff. Every new staff member had to do a week of 'induction' to the company. They would learn all the basics, such as fire safety, moving and handling, handling of hazardous substances, first aid, health and safety as well as learn the internal workings of the company and the general geography of everything.
Zoe invited every induction class to her management suite, so that she could meet and welcome every member of staff to the company personally. She liked to have a private chat with each one individually to find out their ideas and aspirations for the future.
It was a small gesture, but a grand gesture toward new staff. The reality was, she had nothing to do and was bored, so she was looking for jobs that were not too menial for her. Her staff all knew who she was. They knew they could go directly to her if they had a problem. They rarely did, but that was not the point.

The problem with Zoe's boredom was she was looking for ways to keep herself occupied. She had hidden cameras installed in all sorts of places. In her suite, she had a bank of monitors in her control room, which was hidden behind a false wall. No one knew it was there but her.
From her control room, she could see what her staff were up to. She could see who was stealing the stationary, see who's timekeeping was not up to scratch and who spent too long standing at the water fountain and who disappeared every so often for a fag break. She didn't monitor her staff for that. She wanted to find out the juicy gossip. She wanted to see and hear the petty disagreements, the complaints about management from behind their backs. She wanted to see who flirted with who, who went to lunch together, who took the flirtation too far and actually had an affair!
Oh she had enjoyed watching Fred and Mabel so much! It was such a shame that their marriages broke up because of it. It was a shame that their relationship had fizzled out once they moved in with each other. Such a shame that they'd moved on to other companies.
What they did not know was the part Zoe had played in their relationship. They would never know.

Zoe was watching her staff, looking for something else to concentrate on. Was there anyone she could influence to do something? She had a vague inkling of what she wanted to do, but her idea still needed work. She needed to find a victim first.

She had another batch of new starters to see and welcome. She did not usually bother looking at their CV's before they came to her, but this time she was looking for someone in particular. It was a large group of ten, half of them were starting on the company training programme. They would spend a few more weeks in the classroom, then they would be given a mentor and work in each department for about ten weeks. At the end of two years, they would be given a certificate and be allowed to choose where they wanted to concentrate their learning for the last part of their training.
Four of the new trainees were girls. Three of them were straight out of sixth form at school where they had completed their exams. The other girl, was slightly older, a single parent with a young child at home. The male trainee was in his early twenties. He'd just completed a five year stint in the navy where he had been a gym instructor. Why did he want to do business and not work as a personal trainer, or something else to do with fitness? It did not say on his CV. She would have to ask him.
In the meantime, ideas started to form in her head...

She met the new staff in the board room as usual. She tried to put them all at their ease, found out a bit about them and told them how she had been successful. The young male trainee, Alan, had a military stance and found it difficult to relax. Even when he sat down, he sat to attention, with his back ramrod straight and his head up. He was very slim and very fit. He had visible blood vessels on the side of his neck and on the back of his hands. His double breasted suit fit him snugly, showing off his slim trim figure. His fair hair was cut in a typical bristly army style, slightly longer on the top. His fair skin had a deep tan, his pale blue eyes were difficult to miss. He was a very handsome young man in the prime of his life. She wanted to know more.
She could hardly ask to see him privately without appearing to single him out, so she called every one of her trainees into her office one at a time. She asked them a bit more about themselves and wished them luck on their course.
Alan marched into her room when it was his turn. He had to be told to sit down. His military training made him used to being told what to do. She told him to relax. He was no longer on parade. He was a civilian now. He may find it difficult to adjust. His posture changed slightly.
He told her, he had recently completed a stint in Afghanistan. His girlfriend at home was pregnant. He realised that if he wanted to be with his family and see them growing up, he had to leave the army. Every day he took the risk of getting killed. He could spend months, or even years away from them. He had the chance of leaving after five years, or extending his contract. He decided to leave. He wanted to marry his girlfriend, find a house together so that they could bring up their little family, but when he got home, he discovered his girlfriend had been messing about with someone else while he was away. The baby was not even his! He could have stayed in the army after all!
Then again, he had injured his knee years ago running over rough terrain. He did not want to risk any further injury to his weakened joint. A civilian life would not put as much strain on him. He thought the course would give him a good grounding in business. A good start in a new career.
Zoe agreed. She whispered something under her breath, then clapped her hands sharply. His bright eyes glazed over and stared directly in front.
"Bark like a dog." She told him
He growled and barked.
She told him to stop. That had been just a test. Now she knew she had control over him.
"You will wake when I clap my hands twice. The last thing you will remember is talking about your plans for the future. When you wake, you will do anything to please me."
She woke him from his trance and sent him out to join the others. He knew nothing about her plans for him.
14 chapters, created StoryListingCard.php 5 years , updated 5 years
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Growingsofter 5 years
Yes. Great set up. More please.
Growingsofter 5 years
Amazing, please continue, and soon.
Kjdfduhfjdf 5 years
I love your stories
You are the best