Naked Thirst Ch. 02
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Samantha sat in the driveway and nervously checked the address on her phone. The house was typical for Palos Verdes, a rambling expanse of brick clinging to the high, narrow crest of land that overlooked the Pacific, fronted by a wrought iron gate and surrounded by a forest of small trees and blooming plants. Sam smoothed her dark slacks with her hands and composed herself as she got out of the car. This was a job interview after all.
The slim young woman emerged from the car. She wore an emerald silk top that contrasted nicely with her milky, pale skin and brought out the green in her eyes. Her thick, unruly head of red hair was French braided behind her ears to keep it under control, and her steps were confident in sensibly low heels. Sam was aware of her beauty, and was equally aware that it could be both an asset and a liability for a young woman in a business setting, so she dressed to make the most of her appearance, while staying conservative in her choices.
The driveway sloped down to the large iron gate that guarded the last section of drive before the garage. Samantha parked before it and took the short set of stairs she’d been told about that led off the drive to a sidewalk that circled in front of the house. She walked past low, spreading jade plants with delicate white blooms beside gaudy birds of paradise that were ubiquitous around the coast. At the bottom of the stairs, a smaller gate featured a discrete plaque that said “Private Entrance” and another below it that read “Office,” with an arrow pointing to the left. As Sam followed the fence to the entrance on the far corner of the property her stomach fluttered. She didn’t usually get this nervous at interviews, especially when it was just a part-time secretarial position, but she really wanted this.
The job itself didn’t particularly excite her, but part of the salary came in the form of room and board. Samantha had just been accepted to the MBA program at Irvine. Her scholarship covered tuition, but not living expenses, and in Los Angeles that was no small matter. She could live on campus, though even that wasn’t cheap; and after four years as an undergrad, she was sick of dorm life. Her other options were a long commute from an undesirable neighborhood, or a really long commute from a slightly less undesirable neighborhood. Palos Verdes was about 40 minutes from Irvine – not exactly around the corner, but better than any of her other options. And this place, she thought as she walked to the Office door, was gorgeous.
When she first saw the ad on Craigslist she was suspicious. It read like the kind of thing her mother warned her about when she moved to California from Texas four years before – some sex maniac luring young women into his home to do god-knows-what to them. She replied anyway, out of curiosity tinged with hope. After initial correspondence, she learned that her potential boss was Angela Meister, a psychologist who saw clients in her home. Her website looked professional, and she was licensed with the state of California. The offer seemed legit. Now, after seeing the house in the gorgeous neighborhood, she wanted the job more than ever.
An “Open” sign showed through the window in the door, so she entered. Inside, she found a small reception area with a couch and a pair of comfortable looking armchairs. Samantha noted several glossy photography books laid out on the coffee table in front of the couch; however, she had no more time to examine the décor because a friendly female voice said, “Hello. You’re right on time.”
Sam started, for she hadn’t seen the woman emerge from an inside door. She recovered quickly, put on her best business-friendly smile, and hurried forward, hand outstretched. The other woman gripped it and shook it firmly. “I’m Dr. Meister, feel free to call me Angela.”
“Samantha Braden, my friends call me Sam.” As soon as it was out of her mouth she thought she sounded too informal. “Or you can call me Samantha,” she added, “Or Sam. Either one.” She kicked herself mentally. “Sorry, I’m a little nervous.”
“No need to be.” Dr. Meister smiled genuinely. Sam was immediately struck by her beauty. She was probably near forty, but her skin had obviously been well protected from the California sun and was nearly unlined. Her hair was straight and dark, hanging down her back in a thick ponytail. She was shorter than Samantha, with a trim, athletic figure evident even in her blouse and slacks. She looked up at Sam with deep brown eyes that were alert and engaging. “Come, let’s have a seat and get started.”
The office matched the reception area – comfortable, tasteful and expensive-looking. Samantha sat on a small sofa while the doctor sat in a chair opposite. There was a desk with an office chair, and various degrees and licenses hanging in frames over it, but the office was otherwise decorated like an upscale living room, with several stunning landscape prints on the walls.
“So, you’re starting business school at Irvine this fall?”
Samantha focused her attention on Dr. Meister and nodded, than added, “Yes, Escort Bayan ma’am,” a hint of her Texas upbringing peeking out.
Dr. Meister smiled again, “Congratulations. And, as I said, please call me Angela, no ‘ma’ams’; you’ll make me feel like an old lady.”
Samantha blushed but nodded, deciding that if she was quiet she was less likely to say something stupid.
Dr. Meister – Angela – continued. “Your resume looks good. In fact, a B.S. in business from UCLA makes you a bit overqualified. On the other hand, you don’t seem to have any actual secretarial experience.”
Samantha’s heart sank, but before she could explain how her course schedule left little time for a job, Angela continued.
“Don’t worry, the job isn’t difficult and someone with your academic record should be able to learn what’s needed without any problem. Really, the main issue is one of personal compatibility. You won’t just be working for me, you’ll be joining the household.”
Samantha nodded her understanding, although inside she was a bit thrown by the remark. It seemed like an odd way to describe the arrangement.
“Tell me about yourself,” Angela prompted.
“Well I’m from Hickory Creek, TX. That’s a suburb of Dallas. I received an academic scholarship to UCLA, and I graduated in May.”
“Yes, I saw that on your résumé.”
Sam watched the woman’s expression shift slightly. Had she given the wrong answer?
“What made you decide to major in business?” Angela continued.
“It’s a degree that can open a lot of doors.” It was her stock answer, one that might as well have come out of her father’s mouth. The truth was that she hadn’t been sure what to major in. School had always come easily to her, but she’d never known what she wanted to be when she grew up. So, she’d given into her parents’ pressure and gotten a business degree. She’d worked hard and succeeded, like she always did in school, but still didn’t know what she wanted to do for a career. She hoped the MBA program would help her find her calling. But she didn’t think it would be wise to tell a potential employer any of that. She forced a smile intended to suggest confidence, but doubted its effect.
Angela smiled back warmly. “Well it opened this door at least. You were certainly the most academically accomplished person to apply. What did you think of LA when you arrived?”
“There was a little culture shock,” Sam admitted. “I was pretty sheltered, but I enjoy meeting new people.” She’d actually been overwhelmed by the diversity at first – ethnically, politically, even linguistically. She hadn’t realized just how homogenous her community had been until she got to college. “I missed my family, too,” she added, hoping some honesty would help her chances. “That’s still hard, but I try to get back for holidays and in the summer.”
Angela nodded and offered a few more general, open-ended questions. Sam felt encouraged by her affirmations and nods after each response. Loosening up a bit, Sam talked about making new friends and the pain of losing many of those friends as everyone went their separate ways after graduation. She spoke of her love of the outdoors and the ocean, and how it had helped convince her to stay in southern California when she was choosing graduate schools to apply to. She even confessed that she hadn’t dated much in college. The one guy she’d gotten serious with had turned out to be a jerk.
“Tell me more about him,” Angela prompted.
It was a personal question, not something for a job interview, but Samantha was feeling truly comfortable and plunged ahead. “His name was Dean.” She shook her head, thinking now how wrong he’d been for her. “He was every girl’s dream date. Handsome, athletic, smart, and came from a good family. My parents loved him. He was even a Texan, although he was from Austin and my father said that almost didn’t count.” She smiled at the memory.
“So what went wrong?”
“I don’t know. We dated for two years. The first was great. I really thought he might be the one. I mean we never talked about marriage, not seriously, but I thought we might get there. The trouble was when we started planning for after graduation. He applied to law school, and I applied to MBA programs. I got offered the scholarship at Irvine, and he was accepted to two schools. One in San Diego and at Texas A and M. He wanted to go back to Texas and just assumed I’d go along. He said I could find a school near him. I probably could have, but my scholarship is a big deal; I didn’t want to just throw it away.”
“So, you broke up because you were going to be apart?”
“Partly, but mostly it was his attitude, like my choices didn’t matter.”
“He took you for granted.”
“Exactly.” As she replied, Sam realized she was revealed far more than she had intended. She wondered if all psychologists conducted job interviews this way. She didn’t mind, really. Angela seemed to understand what she was saying. “The final straw came when he made a pass at my best friend,” she went on. We’d been arguing, and it Bayan Escort didn’t look like we were going to stay together, but it still hurt.”
Instead of nodding sympathetically as she’d expected, Angela asked, “Why was that the final straw?”
Samantha was thrown by the question. “What? He wanted to cheat on me with my best friend. I mean, he had to know I’d find out about it. He tried to laugh it off like he was just joking around. But Beth thought he was serious, and I believed her.”
“So, you couldn’t stand the thought of sharing him with your best friend?”
Again Samantha was taken aback by the question. Didn’t she get it? She’d seemed so perceptive a minute ago. She started to answer, but something in Angela’s gaze make her stop and think. Was it really the thought of them together that bothered her? She hadn’t wanted Beth to sleep with him, but she wasn’t really worried about it. She knew her friend would never hurt her like that. They respected each other too much. And there it was. “It was the disrespect. The idea that he didn’t care how I felt, and that I’d just buy any lie he told me.”
“So, it was a lot like the school situation. He was selfish, and didn’t respect your relationship boundaries, just like he didn’t respect your decisions about your own future.”
“Yeah, that’s it exactly. It was all about him. As long as I followed his lead, we were fine, but as soon as I wanted something for myself he wasn’t okay with it.”
“Conflict often reveals a lot about people’s character.” Angela paused and narrowed her eyes in thought. “And already I think I have a fair idea of yours.” She paused, and Sam leaned in, truly wanting to know what she’d concluded. “You’re intelligent, open, and seem to have a great deal of potential. More than anyone else I’ve interviewed so far, and you’re number six.” She smiled warmly. “Yes, I think you’re the one. Now, let me tell you a little more about the job.”
“Wait,” demanded Sam. “Did you just offer me the job?” She’d been so caught up in talking about her life that the offer had almost slipped by.
Angela nodded indulgently. “Yes, I did. But hear me out so you can decide if you want to take it. You’ll be my personal assistant. You’ll answer the phone, take messages, schedule appointments, mail letters and documents, help me with office email, and whatever else needs doing. I see clients from noon until seven, Monday through Thursday, but we can work your hours around your class schedule. Does that sound acceptable?”
Samantha nodded, “Yes, ma’ – I mean yes.”
“Good. Now for something a bit . . . delicate. I offered room and board as both an enticement and a convenience. I like the idea of having you available when I need you. And I’m sure you know enough about the cost of rent to appreciate the room and amenities. Our little family does have some eccentricities, however, and it’s important that you’re able to tolerate them.”
When Angela paused, the butterflies returned to Sam’s stomach.
“You probably noticed the photos around the office. My husband’s work. He’s a professional photographer. He also works with models, and models are not always modest. Neither are we. I like to be comfortable in my own home, and that means that I don’t always like to wear much, or anything, around the house, outside of business hours. My husband is the same. So, I need to be sure you aren’t shocked or offended by the sight of bare skin. Are you?” She paused and gave Samantha a searching look. “Please think about it for a minute before you answer, it’s important that you’re honest, with me and with yourself.”
Samantha was shocked. The doctor had seemed so nice, so normal. A voice in her head that sounded a lot like her mother was saying, “Told you so. It was too good to be true, and you are being lured into a house of sex maniacs.” But then she thought about it, as Angela had asked her to. She wasn’t really offended. She wasn’t a prude, in spite of her conservative upbringing, and she had lived in California long enough to at least be aware of alternative lifestyles, including nudists, even if she hadn’t actually met any. In fact, she even remembered being a little disappointed when she moved that everyone wasn’t the pot-smoking hippy that some of her Texas relatives had insisted populated the whole state.
She looked at her prospective employer. Would it really be so bad to see her without clothes now and then? Samantha tried to picture her naked. That was okay. Then she thought about seeing her naked as they casually passed each other in the house. She blushed. It would be unbearably embarrassing.
Angela clearly noticed her hesitation. “Tell you what, let me give you a tour of the rest of the house, and then you can give me your answer.”
Samantha nodded, trying not to dismiss this amazing opportunity out of squeamishness, and they both rose. Angela showed her through a door next to her desk that led into the main residence. Instantly, Sam was transported. The house was lovely, well-appointed and tastefully decorated. In addition Escort to landscape portraits like the ones she’d already seen, she saw that there were a number of nudes, mostly men and women in natural settings. They were beautiful art, but they forcefully reminded her of the large catch in the otherwise perfect work/lodging offer.
The main floor included the kitchen, dining room, master bed and bath, guest bathroom, and a small living room. Angela’s husband, Sam was told, had a studio on the opposite side of the house from his wife, but she didn’t want to disturb him. Ample windows and sliding glass doors revealed a sloping, rocky back yard dominated by a large swimming pool.
As they ducked into the kitchen, Samantha saw a young woman at work preparing a meal. Angela made the introductions. “This is Keiko Matsume, she provides meals for the family. Keiko, Samantha is thinking about coming to work here as well.”
Keiko wiped her hand on a towel, and then offered it, along with a slight bow. “Pleased to meet you, I’m sure you would be very happy here.” She had a slight Japanese accent, but her clothes made her seem very American: a pair of white shorts and a tight pink t-shirt that showed off a shapely figure. She looked young, maybe early 20’s, and was quite striking. She took Keiko’s hand and almost involuntarily returned the bow. As she did the young chef gave her a very frank and appraising look, one that was softened by an approving smile. Sam felt something stir inside, and realized she’d been holding the other woman’s hand longer than was proper. She stepped back, confused by her reaction. She wanted to ask the woman any number of questions, only some of which were about working for the family. She settled for, “It’s nice to meet you, too,” and let her get back to cooking.
As they walked away Keiko’s image stayed in her head, and it struck her that Angela liked to surround herself with beautiful young women. Samantha had a hysterical moment of wondering if she was being added to a harem, then mentally shook herself and returned her attention to the tour of the house.
Angela showed her the upstairs next. It had a large entertainment room with a full deck that looked out onto the pool, another full-sized bathroom, and two bedrooms.
“This is Keiko’s room,” Angela said, pointing to the one on their left.
“She lives here, too?”
“As I said, we have the room and I enjoy the convenience. And we think of Keiko as family. My son’s room is there.” She gestured to the door across the hall. “He’s a student at your Alma Matter, but he still comes home often enough that we haven’t redone his room.”
“So if I stayed here . . .?” She didn’t see any more bedrooms and didn’t relish the idea of sharing one.
Angela smiled. “This way. I think you’ll like it.”
They passed through the entertainment room and to a door with a lock on it. The moment it was opened, Samantha was certain she liked it. The entire area above the garage had been converted into an efficiency apartment, complete with bedroom, full bath, and a tiny kitchenette with a sink, half-fridge and microwave. There were also wide windows that looked out into the yard, and she could see the waves of the Pacific in the distance. In addition to the door that opened onto the main house, there was even an outside door with stairs to ground level that would allow her to come and go as she pleased. It was perfect.
“We just had this done recently.” Angela explained. “We offered it to Keiko, but she said she was happy where she was. If you take the job, it’s yours.”
The apartment nearly cinched the deal for Samantha. She could never afford anything half as nice anywhere near the city. But she still had some nagging doubts. She turned to Angela, who was looking at her expectantly. “Um, the nudist thing. Would I be expected…?”
Angela cut her off before she could finish the thought. “What you do on your time is your business, and as long as you are on the clock I’ll never ask you to do anything unprofessional. You’ll have a contract we’ll both sign to that effect.” Angela looked both reassuring and hopeful.
Sam wrestled with her conscience. It wasn’t as if she judged what other people did. And, after all, if she was uncomfortable in the house when she wasn’t working she could just stay in her apartment. She extended her hand to Angela. “Yes, I’ll take it. How can I say no?”
Angela insisted Sam stay for lunch, and added that she was welcome to share all the family meals. Mr. Meister turned out to actually be Richard Swanson, since Angela had kept her last name. He met them at lunch. Samantha was relieved to see that he was wearing clothes. He introduced himself as Rich as he gave Samantha’s hand a firm shake before seating himself at the table. He looked a bit more weather-worn than his wife, with a few lines around the eyes and some strands of grey in his sandy brown hair, though they could have been the same age. The small signs of aging in no way detracted from his handsomeness. He had a classic chiseled jaw and piercing blue eyes that stood out against a deep tan. Like his wife, he was trim and fit, and she had the fleeting thought that maybe seeing him naked wouldn’t be so bad. She was grateful to have the thought – and accompanying blush – wiped away when Rich spoke.
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