Buy Me, Sir(2)

By: Jade West

Insignia. Scrawly font on a beautiful black box. So much more beautiful than the cheap cigarettes the kids at school smoked.

“Thanks,” I’d said.

He’d sparked up his lighter for me and cupped his hand around the end of the cigarette, and I’d leaned in, trying my best not to look like an idiot as my stomach churned and my heart raced.

I’d never smelled success before, but he reeked of it.

“You could get arrested for this, you know.” I’d grinned after taking a drag. “Supplying cigarettes to a minor.”

He laughed the kind of confident laugh that made my heart race even more. “They could try.”

I didn’t know he was one of the country’s top criminal lawyers back then. Didn’t know his name was Alexander James Henley Jnr. and he employed over five hundred legal staff at his swanky London law firm.

I had no idea at all that the papers called him the puppet master, or that I’d come to know he has a penchant for asphyxiation games and brutal fucking.

He’d just been a posh guy in a suit, until he’d smiled at me.

And that smile was enough for me to gift my heart to a man I’d probably never see again.

The elevator pings on the fifth floor, and I have to squeeze through the throng of suited bodies to step out. My elbow brushes Alexander’s arm, and for the tiniest moment he smiles.

And then he’s gone.

The doors close and take him away, and even though I’m late, I watch the floors creep up on the display. Six, seven, eight, right up the way to… eighteen.

It thrills me to know he’s in the same building, just like I knew it would.

After all, that’s why I took the job here, at the opposite end of the city. They’d asked at the interview, why us, so far away from your home address, and I’d given them my polished spiel about how much respect I have for Mr Henley’s work, and that seemed to clinch it.

Phase one complete.

I’m in, and I’ve seen him. Actually seen him already.

I head off to find my induction with a smile on my face.

I’m one of ten cleaners starting today. We all match. A roomful of green and white striped minions that they assume need educating on how to use a mop properly. I imagine that’s what we are to them, nothing but cheap grunts, incapable of doing anything more with our lives.

“We pride ourselves on our professional standards,” our new line manager tells us. “Everything must be perfect. Always perfect.”

My fantasy of being assigned to Mr Henley Jnr’s office gets a reality check as they divide us into pairs. Canteen kitchen, that’s where I’m assigned. Scrubbing grease and cooking oil, taking out the food waste and disinfecting the main employee toilets along the corridor. Toilets that I doubt Alexander Henley ever uses.

I’m paired up with a girl called Sonya, and we head up towards floor seven.

I can see she’s pretty, even under her shitty uniform. Her skin is rich and dark, and her eyes are burnt umber – the exact same shade as one of the wax crayons I had as a kid. She’s blessed with the thickest lashes I’ve ever seen, and her hair is glossy even through her hairnet. Her braids are twisted into a bun, resting on her collar like a ball of coiled rope.

“What do you think, hon?” she asks. “Quite a ball breaker, our new manager, ain’t she?”

I shrug. “Seems ok.”

She rolls her eyes. “She gave me a load of abuse for using the escalator earlier. Seemingly it’s forbidden for us lowly cleaning staff to use them.”


“An eyesore apparently. They don’t want the likes of us on display, I s’pose.”

I’m tempted to tell her that Alexander Henley himself held the door for me this morning, but decide against it. “So, we have to walk up seven flights of stairs every day?”

“Sure do. Just be glad we’re not on the top floor, hey? Although I doubt we’d ever get up that far if we wanted to. That’s where Mr Henley works.”

The thought gives me shivers.

We step aside as another pair of cleaners come racing down with an industrial floor polisher, but Sonya keeps on talking. “Apparently not even his swanky clients go up there, he meets them lower down. That’s what I heard, anyway.” She sighs. “I think I saw him this morning, heading up from underground parking. Just for a second though.”

“You did?”

“I mean, you can’t miss him, right? He’s gorgeous on an epic scale.”

I smile. “Yeah. Yeah, he is.”

She nudges me with her elbow. “Saving grace of working in this place. What I wouldn’t give to be Mr Henley’s personal scrubber, eh?”

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