June 12th, 2061. San Francisco, Fireblue territory, North American Province, 13.05 local time
“Oh, shit,” El cursed, her arms still wrapped around Louise.
“Fuck,” Louise said and straightened up.
The harsh ceiling lights hurt her eyes. She looked over her shoulder, squinting at the door. It was still shut. Her eyes darted around the room. It was empty apart from them. She let out the breath she didn’t realize she had been holding.
El wiggled out of her arms and hopped off the desk, completely naked. “Where is my underwear?” she asked, eyeing the scattered clothes at her feet.
Louise too looked at the floor. “Why are the lights on?” she whispered, reaching for her own shirt.
“I guess the staff arrived,” El replied while holding up her panties in triumph.
“Shit!” Louise pulled her shirt over her head quickly. “Did they hear us?”
“Nah, probably just hit the general light switch. They must still be in the lobby,” El said, pulling up her underwear.
Louise looked around in bewilderment. She spotted a shoe under the desk and squatted down to pick it up. She was trying not to panic. “We can’t be seen together,” she said nervously.
“I’ll go out first,” El answered while reaching behind her back to close her bra.
“What do I do?” Louise asked in a hushed tone, handing El her shoes.
El grinned at her and put the shoes on the desk. “You wait a minute, then walk out of the room and act as if you belong here.”
Louise frowned. “What if I run into someone?”
El pulled her slacks up and quickly fastened her belt. “Say you’re with me.”
Louise blew out a shaky breath. Her lower body was still pulsing with heat, but her chest was tight with tension. What was going to happen to them if someone walked through that door right now?
“I feel 15 again,” El giggled while she slipped her arms into the sleeves of her blouse.
That sure took Louise by surprise. “W-what?” she stammered.
“Almost getting caught,” El said with a wink, making quick work of the buttons of her shirt.
Louise’s eyebrows shot up. El laughed and ran her hands through her wild hair, trying to tame it.
“You didn’t hide girls in your room when you were young?” El asked.
Louise’s cheeks flushed. “Eh..”
“My aunt pretended not to notice, of course,” El continued, chuckling and stepping into her shoes.
“At 15?” Louise asked, so stunned by El’s admission, she completely forgot about the dangerous situation they were in.
El laughed. “Okay, maybe more like 16.”
Louise closed her mouth, frowning again.
El hurried to the door. “I think I can already hear them,” she said. “I better get out there.” She held up a finger. “One minute,” she mouthed.
“Wait!” Louise whispered urgently, stepping closer. “Don’t just leave me here!”
El turned around, her hand on the door handle. “I have to. It’s the best way to…” She stopped talking and pressed her ear against the door. “Oh dear,” she mumbled. “Someone is coming.”
Louise spun around, looking for a place to hide. There were only the desk and a small cabinet against the wall. There wasn’t even a window to climb through.
“Get under the desk!” El said.
Louise raised her arms, in full panic mode now. “What?! I don’t fit under there!”
El grinned back at her. “I’m kidding.”
Louise bristled. “Not funny! Fuck!” She flinched at the loudness of her own voice. “What are we going to do?!” she asked, much quieter.
El pursed her lips, then pointed at the desk. “Sit down,” she said.
“On the desk?!”
“No!” El laughed “The chair!” She unlocked the door.
Louise hadn’t even noticed the chairs on either side of the desk. The one closest to her was pushed to the side a little. El hurried past her and took the seat on the other side.
“Pretend we’re in a meeting,” she whispered, seeming to enjoy all of this. “A job interview!”
Louise’s lips parted in shock. But she too could hear the footsteps in the hallway now. She pulled up the chair and sat down.
“So, let’s get started,” El said theatrically, her eyes sparkling with amusement. “Are you married?”
Louise frowned in frustration. El thought this was funny? She sure as hell didn’t think so. This was ridiculous!
“Shit, you’re married?!” El asked in alarm.
Louise shook her head in annoyed disbelief. “No!” she replied. “Of course not.”
El blew out a breath. “Good. Probably should have asked you that before we…” She arched her eyebrow playfully.
Louise glared back at her, her ears focused on the footsteps in the hallway at the same time.
El folded her hands on the desk. “What about family?”
The footsteps stopped near the door. Louise’s heart started pounding in her ears.
“Brothers? Sisters?” El continued, gesturing for Louise to play along.
“One sister, yes,” Louise answered reluctantly. “But we’re not close,” she added just as the door of the office opened.
Louise froze in her seat, feeling sick to her stomach. El, however, calmly shifted her gaze from Louise to whoever had just walked into the room.
“Madam President,” a man stammered after a beat, his surprise evident in his voice.
El smiled thinly at the intruder. “Excuse me for a second,” she politely said to Louise, pushing herself up from the chair.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I was unaware you were … in here,” the man stuttered.
El crossed her arms. “I’m in the middle of an interview,” she said coolly. Louise almost felt bad for the guy. But then El softened her tone. “Would you mind if we used your office for just a bit longer?”
“Of course not, of course not,” the guy immediately blurted out, clearly relieved.
Louise bit down her lip and kept staring straight ahead, her back to the door.
“Thank you,” El replied with a brilliant smile. “I much appreciate it. You might see us walk around in a bit but please do go about your business as usual,” she added, all charm and charisma.
Louise stared down at her hands, in awe of El’s performance. Maybe there was a way out of this after all?
“Yes, ma’am. Of course, ma’am.”
He closed the door behind him. Louise blew out a sigh of relief.
They had gotten away with it. The man hadn’t even seen Louise’s face. He was probably too worried about his job to wonder who the stranger in the room had been.
El chuckled. “That was fun!”
Louise cleared her throat, rubbing her chest. A drop of sweat rolled down her back. “We didn’t get caught,” she told herself, still high on adrenaline. “He didn’t see anything.”
“Hey, are you okay?” El asked, walking around the desk and touching Louise’s elbow.
Louise buried her face in her hands, groaning. Fuck. What had she done?!
“No one will ever know, okay?” El pleaded, squatting down and putting her hand on Louise’s knee.
Louise lifted her head and stared back at her angrily. “You can’t promise that.”
El sucked in her lips, taking in a deep breath.
Louise pressed her eyes shut. She had fucked up in so many ways she didn’t even know where to start listing them. Okay, wait. This was easy. First item: she had slept with the enemy.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” El said, her voice softer now. She was looking down at her own hand running over Louise’s leg. “I know I shouldn’t have…We shouldn’t have…” She looked sad and lost all of a sudden.
Louise couldn’t stand it. “Talk about a buzz kill,” she joked.
The corner of El’s mouth slowly quirked up. She shifted her position, sitting on her knees now, both of her hands on Louise’s thighs.
“I didn’t see this coming either,” she said quietly.
Louise raised her eyebrows, skeptical.
“I mean,” El admitted, “I never expected to end up here.” She looked up at the desk.
“Having sex on a desk with the enemy?” Louise asked, trying to sound playful.
El giggled. “You forgot the most important part. It was hot sex.”
Louise laughed. “That’s the most important part?!” She shook her head, looking up at the ceiling.
“No,” El replied, her voice suddenly much more timid. “The most important part is that I want to do it again.”
Louise chuckled. Then she saw the sad expression on El’s face had returned. “What?” she stammered, “You want to … now?”
El smacked her upper arm. “No!” She pushed herself up and started pacing around the room.
Louise followed her with her eyes, confused. El suddenly seemed even more upset than before and Louise had no idea why. She stopped pacing before Louise could ask her what was wrong.
“We should get out of here,” El sighed.
Louise got up from the chair. “Wait, what did you mean when you said…”
El interrupted her. “Don’t you have a report to file in a few hours?”
El’s words were like a cold shower. The hair on Louise’s arms rose. She lifted her hand to her mouth. Shit, El was right. What time was it? She had to send in a report around sunset, or the teams back home would get worried.
Was there a way for her to send a message explaining there had been no inspection today because of the storm? No, Hobbs knew the storm was minor and would tell everyone.
Could she lie to him? Say they hadn’t made it to the inspection site because of some reason? No, too complicated and too many witnesses of their presence here.
That meant she had to check out every single corner of this building. She would have to document everything to prove she had been thorough. And she had to do it within the next few hours.
She wasn’t an idiot, though. She knew she wouldn’t be able to hide her treasonous actions forever. Someday, probably sooner rather than later, she would make a mistake and get caught.
But not today.
“Yeah, let’s go back to the network monitoring room,” she said.
El nodded and walked out of the door without saying another word.