The Office Party

The party was in full swing when Sarah arrived. She could hear The Rolling Stones blasting ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ about half a block away, and groaned. She’d only agreed to go out because her two children, Justin and Abby thought that she had become a real ‘party pooper.’

She sighed. The way she felt tonight, she didn’t care! She made her way to the bar and ordered a white wine. Her friend and close work mate Gabrielle sidled up beside her,

“Seen any hunky men, yet?” she whispered in her ear.
“Hi Gabby.” She strained to hear her friend over the noise. “I can’t hear, but I guess you’re asking if there are any suitable men here, am I right?” she retorted.

“No need to be bitchy, you know that you would love to meet that special someone!”

Sarah had to agree with her. Ever since Mike upped and left she’d had to cope alone. She adored her two kids, but had to concede that she had been lonely of late. Maybe she would meet that ‘special someone’ tonight, though she doubted it.

Just then she spotted Raymond from accounting. He looked a bit out of place to say the least.  His hair was combed into a different style, and he wasn’t wearing his usual owl like glasses. He crossed the room upon spotting her, a huge grin on his face. She looked around frantically for an escape route. She was not making small talk with the office nerd. No way!

She slinked across the room to the French windows. They opened out onto a stone clad balcony which afforded magnificent views across the estuary. Tonight though, it was too dark to see anything apart from the colourful fairy lights that Collins and Son had arranged across the window frames and balustrades. They were twinkling away beautifully. She glanced back through the open doors, to see Raymond standing where she had been minutes earlier, a disappointed look on his face. She sighed with relief. She just couldn’t listen to him tonight. She was always pleasant to him at work, but really….not tonight!

She stood there playing with a glass of wine. Gabby appeared in the doorway.

“There you are! I knew you’d be hiding out here. I have someone I want you to meet.” Behind Gabby, the figure of Sam Rogers appeared, silhouetted by the doorframe.

“Hey Sara, I didn’t expect you to come. Let’s have a dance.” Sam handed the glass to Gabby and grabbed her hand. They made their way to the dance floor.

The next hour or so was spent dancing, drinking, and enjoying Sam’s company.  He was certainly a good mover. With each drink, Sarah could see him getting drunker by the minute.  At one stage they were propped up against the bar and Sam was well and truly plastered. Then his appreciative glances in her direction turned to a leer, and not in a subtle way either.

“Let’s find a quiet spot shall we?” He manoeuvred her across the room, and before she knew it they were back on the balcony, gulping in fresh air. She felt sick, added to the fact that she rarely drank. Sam swayed in front of her, looking the worse for wear. Suddenly he grabbed her, roughly pushing her arms behind her back as he pressed his mouth onto hers. She felt helpless and tried to move away from his advances. His breath tasted of stale cigarettes and wine with a mix of garlic. Gross!

She felt herself stepping backwards until her backside squashed up against the balcony. Sam had her in an arm lock, intent on trapping her against the uneven stone that made up the balustrade. She felt nauseous and panicky. Sam’s lips locked against hers as he tried to stick his tongue down her mouth. She now knew why she hated parties so much! She wished she’d stayed at home with that bestselling book and a hot chocolate.

The kiss seemed to go on forever. Sam had her pinned, unable to move an inch. He was also trying desperately to put his hand up her dress. It was a smart Victoria Beckham number that clung in all the right places and had cost a small fortune. She felt the material rip as Sam succeeded in pushing the dress up over her knees.

Her panic turned to anxiety and then fear. Sam stopped kissing her and grabbed her hips, fiddling around with the back zip of the dress. Sarah took the opportunity to yell out for some help. The music blared out through the French windows, but she couldn’t see anyone else on the balcony.

“Come now Sarah, we’ve been getting along so well all night. You know you want some fun. What’s your problem?” Sam leered at her menacingly. Why on earth did she think he was attractive?

Just then Sam’s arms seemed to fall away to his sides, and she was free. She moved away from the wall, pulling down her dress, and crossed her arms with fright.

“What are you playing at mate?” shouted Sam as he was roughly pushed to one side.

“Leave her alone, she’s already told you. Just get out of here!” It was Raymond, the office nerd.

Sam looked at him in disbelief and laughed. “You’re welcome to her mate; she’s soiled goods now any way.” The lecher adjusted himself and stalked back through the French doors.

Sarah was stunned. He was such a charming guy and to treat her like that! She looked at Ray with disbelief .To think that she thought he was a nerd.

“You look cold, Sarah,” he said. “Do you fancy a coffee, away from this party? I know a lovely café around the corner from here. We can see if they have warm rolls too.”

Sarah nodded. This night may turn out to be a good one after all.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016