The morning greeted me with a disappointingly empty desk.

I wasn't sure what I should expect, since Valentine's day would fall on a weekend. I thought today might be the day. Perhaps I would just be unlucky this year; after all, it was Friday 13th.

I was a successful lawyer. I was above letting my disappointment show. I brushed off the few comments that were made to me throughout the day.

Five years earlier, on February 14th, I had arrived at the office to a card and two dozen red roses on my desk. It caused quite a stir, especially since no-one could figure out how they had arrived undetected. My marriage was in serious trouble (very careful questioning of my husband ascertained that he was not the source of the flowers), I was a young attorney, working far too many hours in the day, and the stress was showing. The flowers came at a welcome time, letting me know that someone was thinking of me, even if I had no idea who.

The speculation and gossip had lasted for a couple of days. The only significant outcome was when a few days later I was called into the office of one of the partners, Joel Belton.

"Miz Morgan," he began, stressing the "Ms." as though he wanted me to take exception to it. "Please let me be blunt. I would like to know if you consider you have grounds for harassment proceedings against the firm as a result of Monday's episode. Please understand, I am not advising you that you should or should not sue, nor am I warning you in any way, except that I may say off the record that any such case would be weak. I seek merely to clarify what might in the minds of some of the partners be a difficult situation."

I thought for a moment before answering. Joel had a reputation for being intimidating in the courtroom. I decided my best tactic was not to be in any way submissive, and returned a little anger. "Mr. Belton, I believe you do me a disservice by considering such a matter. First, I did not and do not consider a gift harassment, and would not even if I knew who was my benefactor. Second, while I firmly believe in the right of any woman, of anyone not to be harassed, within or away from the workplace, I would not consider action against the firm for anything but the most serious offense, and then only after attempting to resolve the matter. Third, as you point out, the case would be extremely weak. Fourth, I am actually very pleased that someone thought enough of me to send me flowers. In fact, I wish I knew who to thank."

I felt that my delivery was quite pompous, but it seemed exactly what was called for.

"Thank you, Ms. Morgan. I would not say that I had any concerns, but I am pleased that you consider any such to be groundless." He looked back down to his papers, and I thought I was dismissed. As I stood, however, he looked back at me. "Incidentally, I would like you to believe that if there is any problem you encounter, whether personal or professional, that you feel I may be able to help with, you will find me sympathetic and diligent on your behalf. Your work so far shows great promise, and I would not see your talent wasted."

As he trumped my pomposity, oddly, he reassured me, letting me know that he would deal with whatever afflicted me with the same directness he was prepared to use against me.


That was five years ago. Since then, many things happened. I worked extensively with Joel. I went through a messy divorce. (I took Joel's offer of help for the first and only time on that. He referred me to a partner, Mary Lanetsky, who specialized in such cases; not the one I would have approached, but a woman not much older than myself, who was very friendly with me, but had a true killer instinct in the courtroom.) Within this last year I became a partner (finally earning the right to address Joel by his first name). I took over responsibility for the firm's equal opportunity programs and harassment monitoring from Joel.

One thing did not change. Every Valentine's day, two dozen red roses and a card would be waiting at my desk. By the second arrived, Joel trusted me enough not to make any mention of it; in fact he joined in the office speculation. It became a sport every February. I suspected a young attorney named David, who seemed too shy to be a lawyer, and who preferred to avoid the courtroom. When he left the firm just before last February, I half expected not to get my Valentine's gift, but it was there as usual.

I think the speculation of most was that it was the work of one of the janitorial staff, though no-one voiced that directly to me. I didn't think that was possible, since the janitorial service was changed twice during the period.

Then this year, nothing happened, and I felt very let down. Perhaps the flowers would arrive on Monday, or over the weekend. Co-workers attempted to reassure me that I'd find my desk decorated after the weekend. Perhaps even he (I assumed it was a he) would send flowers to my home on Saturday. If he knew my address. That was a slightly disturbing thought.

I worked a normal day - from the outside. In fact, I found it hard to raise any enthusiasm for my work, and probably did only half of what I would normally have accomplished.


At four o'clock, Joel asked me into his office, and closed the door.

"Melissa, I have a question for the harassment advisor," he began. "If I, as a male member of this firm were to ask a female member to non-working dinner, with the clear understanding that a refusal will be politely accepted, and will not in any way jeopardize the working relationship, would you construe that as harassment?"

Phrased like that, the question was almost its own answer. "No. Unless there's a factor you've left out, no. That wouldn't be harassment." I was just a little envious of the recipient of the invitation. Joel had proved to me over the years that he was a very capable and charming man. I believe charm is essential in a good courtroom litigator. Even when badgering a hostile witness, an attorney must still project confidence and persuade the jury. Joel could do all of this, though privately he dropped the intimidation act.

"No, nothing left out. Good. Then, would you care to join me for dinner tonight?"

I was surprised. Shocked, perhaps. Joel and I had dined together many times, but only while working on cases. We had been closeted together until after midnight on several occasions, and never had he been anything other than the competent colleague.

"What's the occasion?" I asked.

"The occasion would be simply me taking a beautiful young lady out to dinner," he replied, dryly. "Bearing in mind, of course, that any extraneous adjectives such as 'beautiful' may be withdrawn upon your request, should they offend." He was playing with me, though not a trace of it showed on his face.

I smiled. "I'd be delighted," I said, and as I said it, I realized it was true.

"Thank you. I'll pick you up at seven?"

I nodded and returned to my desk with a lighter heart.


Precisely at seven, Joel arrived. I was wearing a deep green long split gown, a thin gold necklace and pearl earrings. He was as extravagant with his compliments as he had always been reserved at the office, and the flattery pleased me. He was only about five years older than me, though his half-moon glasses and slightly receding hairline helped his "elder statesman" look when he needed it in the courtroom.

He took my arm and led me to the car. He had the company Lincoln, with George, the driver (the company allows partners to make private arrangements with George, if he's willing). George opened the door for me, and we both sat in the back.

Over the last few years, Joel and I had largely complemented each other in workplace harassment cases. The upside-down axioms of jury trials had Joel usually as plaintiff's attorney, the conservative statesman defending the downtrodden young heroine from oppression by his fellow capitalists. I generally represented the defendant, where, in an effort to shed the faceless look, the company's advocate was young and, more importantly, female. We worked different cases, of course, but often we would work together, shooting down each other's arguments with oratorical finesse, bettering our real opposing counsel, and refining our presentations. As a result, both of us won more than our fair share of cases.

Sometimes it has seemed a little to me like sleeping with the enemy - I had not entered law school to defend corporate giants - but I have always believed that everyone, even faceless, avaricious, corporations, are entitled to the best legal representation. If I have often felt disappointed that I won a case, I have also felt that it was the opposing attorney's job to win for his client, and he (or she) had simply failed. And in helping to prepare Joel, I have often contributed directly to a victory for one of the downtrodden. Joel generally has more sympathy for his clients than I do for mine. It hasn't seemed to make me any less effective.

I've also seen that many of the so-called wronged workers are simply greedy and exaggerating or falsifying information to try to get rich quick. I take especial pleasure in demolishing such a claim, and feel a much greater loss if such a plaintiff wins against me.

Things balance. I like my work.


George drove us to one of the finest restaurants in the area, just on the fringe of downtown.

"Are you sure we're not celebrating something?" I asked Joel, suspiciously.

"You looked really downhearted today," he replied. "I thought this might help lift your spirits."

"You brought me here because you felt sorry for me?" I was beginning to get angry. Then I realized something. "You must have had this planned for weeks. You can't get a reservation here at short notice."

"The owner's a friend of the senior partners," he responded immediately. "I brought you here because I wanted to bring you here, and because I thought you would appreciate it."

"I do," I replied, mildly. I took his arm as George talked with the parking attendant.

Perhaps the owner was a friend of the firm, but I felt sure his generosity wouldn't have extended to one of the best tables, with a view of downtown. Still, I knew I wouldn't get more information from Joel. His skill at dissembling is known to every trial attorney in the district.

Joel asked me if I was downcast because of my empty desk. There didn't seem much point in denying it. "Perhaps your gift will come tomorrow, or Monday," he said, echoing the comments I'd received all day.

"Have you considered your secret admirer may be someone who has left the firm this past year?" he continued.

I had contemplated exactly that. "That could be one of three people," I said.

"Six, I believe, if you include women," he said, looking intently at the bread he was buttering. I grinned. That was an amusing idea, but unlikely, I felt. "More if you include temporary help, though I don't suppose any of them have been around for - what, four years now?"

"Five," I replied, and changed the subject.


We had a wonderful meal with very fine wine. We avoided talk of work. Well, almost. Work is so much a part of a lawyer's life that it is impossible to avoid completely. We talked instead of music, movies and politics (this got dangerously close to work, since we know so many participants professionally). I found myself telling him how much better my life has been since my divorce, and thanked him for referring Mary. I didn't recall whether I'd ever talked to him about it.

He told me that Mary had gotten him through "a very difficult situation" when he was divorced a few years earlier. I knew he was single, but this was the first time he had mentioned having previously been married. I asked if he had any children. Two, he told me, both with their mother. I was pleased that I had no children to go through the stress of my divorce.

When we left the restaurant I was feeling pleasantly warm. I was very much enjoying the evening, and gladly went along with Joel's suggestion of going on to a night club. George had apparently agreed to whatever hours Joel wanted to keep.

Much later, I asked Joel if he'd fix me one of his famous coffees rather than take me straight home. He agreed readily, and George drove us to his house, a beautiful old house in one of the older neighborhoods. George asked diplomatically if we wanted him to wait, and I told him I'd get a cab home later.


Joel's house was as lovely inside as out, tastefully decorated throughout with antiques and old furniture. I asked if he had someone find the pieces for him. "No," he replied, "I buy everything myself. My one hobby."

The house was huge, and I could have easily gotten lost. He led me to the kitchen, and started to prepare the coffee.

"Let's save the coffee for later." I took his hand and turned him to face me. I kissed him. "Thank you," I said, and hugged him.

He was taken aback a little by the suddenness of my action, but recovered immediately and held me close. I sought his mouth and kissed him again. He responded willingly.

We stood, locked together. Finally I broke the kiss and nibbled his ear. "Why don't you show me some more of the house? Perhaps a room with closed curtains?"

He got the hint, and led me to the bedroom. There was a huge, lovely, four-poster bed against the side wall. "Mmmm," I said, holding Joel against me. "That looks like quite a bed."

We kissed again. I moved Joel's hand to the top fastener for my gown. He started work on it immediately, and when he had opened the gown far enough, I lowered my arms so he could slide the top down.

He looked in wonder at my exposed breasts for some time before venturing to touch them. Finally he cupped and stroked them, and we kissed again, passionately, as he kneaded them, exciting us both.

I started undressing Joel, and he did the same for me. We undressed to our underwear, and lay down on the bed.

We lay against each other, exploring with our hands while our tongues danced. His stiff cock stroked against me, the thin fabric between us making us more eager, not less, knowing that its removal was now inevitable. He squeezed and kissed my breasts, and I squirmed against the hard bulge pushing against my panties.

Our excitement had reached fever pitch when finally I rolled his underwear down and stroked his erection. His cock twitched under my fingers. I asked if he had any condoms. I figured he was aware enough not to let things go this far without; besides, I had some in my purse if not. He nodded, and rolled away to get them. He slipped his underwear off.

I lay back, inviting him to remove my panties, which he did slowly, stroking my ass and thighs, and finally running his palm over my pussy and squeezing.


I took the condom. Before I put it on, I put my face down to his cock and licked him, making his quartz-hard erection quiver. He used the opportunity to slip a finger inside me. I was very wet, and as he stroked he sent powerful thrills through me. I unrolled the condom onto him, then stroked him with a fingertip while his finger worked its magic.

Finally I turned back, and lowered myself onto his hardness. I kissed him and our tongues met as I took him completely inside me. I was getting high from the stimulation as I felt him sliding further and further into me. We moved slowly. Joel stroked my breasts gently as I got closer and closer to release. When I released his mouth, he took my breast into it and sucked. I felt the pressure of passion rising. With each movement of his tongue, and each stroke of his cock within me, I was driven higher. I twisted slightly as I moved against him, increasing my own stimulation.

I started to gasp. Joel's breath was rasping as he was close to coming. We bucked against each other faster. The bed creaked, and knocked against the floor as we moved. He flicked his tongue rapidly against my nipple, pushing me right to the point where my body stiffened, ready to explode, and I stopped moving, savoring the tension, panting. Joel's cock quivered within me. A moment later I felt Joel coming within me; even through the condom the pulsing of his orgasm took me over the edge and I spasmed. We slammed against each other hard and fast, each wanting to draw the absolute maximum pleasure from the moment. The bed hammered against the hardwood floor, its incessant beating adding its own color to our overstimulated emotions, answering our need as we consumed each other.

I held him within me after his release had stopped, delighting in the tingling sensations his presence still stimulated. Eventually, reluctantly, I let him withdraw.

Exhaustion, overload and alcohol hit me all at once. "Defense requests a recess."

"Defense?" asked Joel. "You think you have to defend yourself from me?"

"I certainly hope so," I retorted. I wrapped my arms and legs around him, settled my head on his shoulder and gently bit his neck. I drifted off to sleep with the soft smell of his skin still keeping me slightly aroused.


I woke with a dry, spongy mouth and moderate headache. It took a while for reality to invade. My first realization that something was unusual was the feel of the sheets against my breasts. I never sleep naked. While I was trying to put that puzzle together, I saw the gauzy curtain at the corner of the bed, and couldn't figure out why the window sheers were six inches from my nose.

When I finally understood that I wasn't in my own bed, remembrance returned quickly, and I found myself deeply shocked on many levels. I wouldn't ever sleep with someone on a first date. Well, so I thought. If the previous night really counted as a first date, of course, since we've known each other for years. My post-marital sex life had been unimaginative, consisting of seeing a couple of guys for a few weeks each, each time ending in fairly unexciting sex, which helped convince me the relationship was not worth pursuing. Nothing of the power and immediacy of the previous night.

Then, I've never sought relationships in the office. Secretly, I've lusted after Joel for years (perhaps accounting for my other failed liaisons) but my rule about not getting involved with anyone at the office was inviolate. Was, until last night. Hell, I avoided dating any lawyer.

Well, I had broken my rules with a vengeance. No use pretending he took advantage of me, either. I had wanted him at least as much as he wanted me. I still did. Just thinking about him started me tingling.

I felt behind me. Warm, but empty. Probably his getting out of bed was what began my painful awakening. I used the opportunity to freshen up.

I slid back under the sheet, pulling it over my breasts. If I was ambivalent about breaking rules, how would Joel be? Did he really want last night to happen?

Sure he did. He'd planned it for weeks. I'd never known him be impulsive. He was methodical, thorough, a planner. Not that he was unimaginative, he was perfectly capable of making a quick decision, but he would have every route mapped when possible. He had planned my seduction weeks ago. I started to get angry, but still, damn him, I wanted him.

As I was beginning to seethe, the bedroom door opened, and he entered with a tray of juice and coffee. He poured both and brought them over to me.

I glared at him. "Tell me. If I'd had a prior commitment last night, how were you planning to get me into bed?"

He looked hurt and upset, perhaps the most unusual expressions I've ever seen on his face. He responded gently, however. "The restaurant, right?" As I nodded, he continued with the ghost of a grin. "Are you the plaintiff now?"

"I'm deposing you. Just don't forget you're under oath."

"Okay." He sat on the edge of the bed. He was wearing a green robe and soft slippers. "The truth is, I didn't think you'd come." I must have looked skeptical. "I'm serious. Yes, I made reservations weeks ago, but what I said about the restaurant owner is true. I'd warned him I probably wouldn't show, and he understood. I know your reluctance to get involved with colleagues. You've told me, remember? That's why I left the invitation to the last minute. If you had thought about it for a long time, you'd have turned me down. I thought you would anyway." I praise Joel's skill at misleading, but this had the ring of truth. It was true, at least in the sense that he had accurately judged my reactions. "I was surprised and absolutely delighted at how events progressed through the evening. I can't say I didn't hope for it, but it was a hope without expectation, and all the more wonderful for having come to pass."

My heart softened as I reached out to take his hand. The sheet slipped as I released it, exposing a nipple. I didn't attempt to recover it. Instead, I stroked his hand, then drew it back to my breast. His expression went from concern to exuberance - an emotion I have seen him display.

He lowered his face to my breast and kissed it, making me warm and aroused. "I think I believe you," I said, stroking his hair. "I'll entertain more oral argument just to be sure."

He lifted his face from my chest. "Coffee and shower first," he said, grinning, "Then I'll dedicate myself to more oral persuasion."


He could wait. I didn't want to. I slid his robe open and ran my fingertips over his cock. It hardened almost immediately. As I stroked him, I turned over, lying face down. When Joel stood, his cock was just above the edge of the bed, and I got my mouth to it and slurped.

I nibbled all the way along the underside, and ran my tongue all over. His shaft gleamed and hardened even more. I used my tongue slowly, sparingly. I played with him for several minutes. From this position, I couldn't see his face, but could clearly hear him breathing quickly, heavily. I put my mouth over the end and sucked, rolling my tongue along him. Before he could come, I stopped, and teased him with small licks. I kept this up until he started making small frustrated sighs when I stopped.

I brought him to the edge again, and then used the tip of my tongue to paint designs under his cock, not giving him the stimulation he wanted, but not letting him rest. I licked for several seconds longer, then freed him. When he thought that I'd let him subside again, I grabbed him back in my mouth, and slid my lips up and down as fast as I could, sucking hard all the while. He groaned as his cock spasmed, then cried out as I dragged him even harder before his body succumbed to the exquisite torment and he spurted hot fluid into my mouth.

I hadn't considered what to do at this point, but I didn't want to spoil this bed or stain the bedsheets, so I swallowed. I've never tried before, but it wasn't objectionable and allowed me to continue to worry at him. The throbbing slowed, and he grunted and jumped slightly with each new spasm. I finally released him. He stood, slightly dazed, for a while, before returning to bed.


We drank our coffee and took our shower. Back in bed, slightly damp, we snuggled together. My breasts were squeezed against his chest as he kissed me passionately. He reached down and squeezed my ass, and held me tightly against him.

He lowered his hand on my butt, and reached around to my pussy from behind. He stroked me, and I wriggled against his fingers. He wasted little time getting his fingers inside me, and stroked the wet lips of my pussy. His fingers thrilled me, filling me with pleasurable shivers.

Still with his arm around my thigh and fingers inside me, he lowered his head to my thighs, and started licking my pussy. I closed my eyes as he steadily swept warmth into me. As each stroke of his tongue enlivened me, I felt a delicate tension begin. I was calm and still relaxed, but the warmth in my belly was becoming powerful, insistent. I forced myself to stay relaxed, focusing the tension in my groin.

I started to push against him as the desire overflowed its containment and ate at my relaxation. I became more tense, more excited as I thrust at him. He grabbed my ass and squeezed, pushing me powerfully against his face. His tongue stroked my clit. My hands clenched as passion beat against me. He kept stroking, brushing strongly against my clit, and I started to gasp. The bed made small bumping noises as I writhed against him.

He pushed hard on my clit with his tongue, then lapped at it. I shuddered, momentarily overwhelmed, then realized I wasn't physically able to delay any longer. More waves of need fluttered chaotically through me. I gritted my teeth and held back a moment longer before concentrating my will on the moment the balance tipped, and I came in an ecstatic, rhythmic, riot of feeling.


When my climax was spent, I turned over onto my chest and lifted myself up on my arms and knees. Joel was getting hard, and found and donned a condom. He knelt behind me and slipped easily into me.

As he started to move, I rested on my left hand, and used my right to squeeze myself against his cock. The added stimulation took me higher, and after a few moments I came again. He started pounding against me in earnest, the bed clattering against the floor. As he started to thrust even harder against me, I slipped into a series of orgasms. He held my thighs, pulling me powerfully against him with each thrust. At the depth of each stroke, an emotional spike seemed to lance directly into my brain, beyond my ability to feel. He took a long while to come, but I enjoyed every moment of it, almost hallucinating with exhausting pleasure. When he finally crested, I held myself again and squeezed down onto his pulsing cock, loving the sensations rippling into me.


Finally we separated and we lay side by side on the bed. We held hands as we recovered our breath.

"I was planning to go into the office today." He finally broke the silence. "I'd rather spend the day right here." As I grunted in agreement, he continued. "There was only one reason I needed to go in, and you can save me the effort."

He stood, and held out his hand. Puzzled, I took it, stepping reluctantly out of bed. We walked together along the hall, naked, to a door, which he opened, gesturing for me to enter.

I went through the door, looking around at a well-furnished study. My heart missed a beat as I saw what graced the antique walnut desk.

In the center was a Valentine's card and two dozen red roses.