Wide hazel orbs stared, unseeing at the ceiling above, their owner too dazed to realize that the tiles desperately needed a fresh coat of paint yet absently registering the rough feel of the fabric against her back. Instead her mind was in a whirl, the events of the day replaying over and over in her mind. Over and over, yet still she was unsure at how she'd arrived where she was now... or how she felt about it.
Her morning had started early. Della Street was not the type of woman to be late for work, especially not on her first day at a new position... a job that she was thrilled she'd been given. So she'd risen with the sun to prepare - grey wool suit, pink silk blouse, grey pumps with a modest heel that made her legs look even longer, make up applied lightly but expertly – and made her way to the Brent Building – office of Perry Mason, Attorney at Law – at least an hour before she was expected. Working in the typing pool of a large Los Angeles legal firm, along with her own innate efficiency and organizational skills, had been wonderful training but the job itself had become routine. Ready for a new challenge, she'd been happy to give up the security of that job to become the personal and confidential secretary to one of the brightest young lawyers in the city. Perry Mason was going places and she was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to go right along with him.
The handsome young attorney was obviously brilliant because he'd hired Della before asking half of the questions she had expected at the interview. Within a week she'd worked out her notice and at 8 a.m. this morning she'd reported to the office of Perry Mason, Attorney at Law.
The job was going to be challenging, that was obvious. The room she'd been interviewed in was Mason's work space and was fairly tidy overall... for a man lacking a secretary. What she hadn't realized until this morning, when she arrived to find Mr. Mason half-dressed and brushing his teeth, was that the only other room in the tiny suite was being utilized as living quarters. Mason had sheepishly informed her that it didn't make sense to him to rent an apartment since he spent so much time at the office. Once Della had taken a quick look at the books, one of her many new duties, she realized that Mason probably couldn't afford an apartment. Oh, the money was there, lots of it, owed but never billed... checks not deposited... and she resolved that gaining fiscal stability for her employer and the practice would be one of her first priorities.
But before she could start that the office had to be organized. Off came the smartly cut blazer of her best charcoal gray suit. Rolling up the sleeves of the pink silk blouse, Della went to work. All day she'd cleaned and filed with Mason's help, enjoying getting to know her new boss, until late afternoon when a call came in and he took off to the jail to visit a newly arrested client.
The young actor was up and coming; a talent his studio had invested heavily in promoting. Della knew that being a part of his defense could only strengthen Mason's reputation when he cleared the defendant of the charges. That he would be cleared Della had no doubt. She'd done her homework and she knew that Perry Mason possessed an almost mythical sense of deduction and an uncanny ability to know when people were lying to him. He'd told her that once she was settled in he would need her in the courtroom with him, perhaps even doing some investigating. There would be late nights and possibly some danger, but he'd promised he would always have her protected. Della was thrilled. She couldn't wait for the adventures to begin.
She'd had to laugh when the big man had reluctantly questioned her about her personal life during her interview. 'I swear I don't mean to be nosy...' he'd assured her, a slight blush on his cheeks. But he'd seemed pleased to find out that there were no impediments to her working whatever crazy schedule that he demanded of her... no boyfriend waiting in the wings. 'I know that someday you'll leave... You're way too beautiful to stay single for long but..."
It was her turn to reassure him. "I'm a career girl, Mr. Mason. Marriage isn't a part of my plans. I just want fulfilling work." She refused to consider why the fact that Perry Mason found her attractive pleased her so.
Mason nodded. "Good, because this job will play hell with your social life. I can't tell you the last time that I went out on a date." He'd quickly changed the subject then but Della supposed he was a bit embarrassed and thought she understood why. Most of the girls in the typing pool at her previous job, herself included, had spent hours upon hours dodging the roving eyes and hands of their male bosses.
Not that Della had any problem with demonstrations of appreciation from the opposite sex. Having chosen a different path for her life, she'd made decisions that her mother definitely wouldn't approve of, especially in regards to her relationships with men and exactly how far they went. She wasn't promiscuous... Della was extremely selective and exceedingly discrete... The few times she'd gone 'all the way' she'd found sex very enjoyable... but not in the work place... never in the work place.
That her resolve might be shattered became clear to her during her job interview. She already knew Perry Mason peripherally from seeing him around the courthouse. So she knew exactly how attractive he was... how charismatic he could be before she'd ever stepped into the office. But alone in such close quarters... she'd quickly found her mind straying into decidedly improper territory; her body quickly following. Oh the things she'd like to explore with this man... He'd wanted to kiss her too, of that she was sure. If the job hadn't been so perfect, exactly what she wanted... If...
Perry had returned from the city jail, his mind churning over the story he'd just heard from his new client. Della's presence at the office had surprised him; five o'clock having come and gone over and hour before, but he seemed pleased to find her there. When Perry began to repeat the story Della grabbed her notebook and began recording it while the details were still fresh in his mind. Watching the big man work, witnessing his mental processes, Della knew she was exactly where she should be.
"So what do you think?" Perry queried as he paused to light a cigarette.
Della was a bit surprised, but also delighted. She had never worked for an employer who asked her opinion before.
"I think... it seems like there are some gaping holes in the police theory. The period of time where he doesn't have an alibi is so small. How could he plan something that tightly with no room for error? Beside the fact that from what you've said he doesn't seem to have the brains to plan anything..."
Mason nodded, please with her observation. He plucked the cigarette from his mouth and handed it to Della without thought. "I called my investigator from the jail and started him checking that."
"What about the girlfriend? Is he checking on her whereabouts as well? And perhaps who she was with?" Della took a deep pull from the cigarette then handed it back, a faint ring of pink now staining the filter.
"That's a good idea. Let me call Paul back."
While Perry made his call Della began what would become her evening routine, clearing away files and locking cabinets, in preparation of closing up for the night. Mason hung up the phone and came to help her shut a particularly ornery drawer.
And then he had kissed her.
Out of the blue he'd wrapped his arm around her, pushed her back against the wall and begun to devour her mouth was his. She hadn't stopped him, hadn't wanted to stop him. From the second that Perry Mason touched her Della had become one aching mass of need. His hands were roaming over her clothes, searching... caressing... but that wasn't good enough for her. She'd yanked at the knot of his tie, tugged at his shirt buttons until her fingers could dig into bare flesh... hot hard flesh. He'd taken that as leave to do the same to her.
Oh, there had been moments that they could have stopped if they'd acted quickly. When Perry stepped back to tug one sleeve and bra strap down her arm, the thought that she should stop him flitted through her mind. But then his agile tongue had landed on the tip of the now bare breast, laving, flicking, bringing lips and teeth into action to suckle and nip while he deftly popped the row of hooks on the foundation garment. Della couldn't have stopped him if the entire membership of her mother's Sunday school class had burst through the door at that moment.
Perry could have stopped when, in a frenzy, Della broke his hold on her breast to drag his shirt down his arms. When the still fastened cuffs refused to give way, he helped her, buttons flying when he yanked them away in a great burst of energy. Della arched her back and, grabbing the nape of his neck, dragged him back to minister to her other breast. Perry couldn't have stopped her if the entire seventh fleet burst through the door at that moment.
Della could have stopped her employer when he'd pushed her down onto the rollaway bed that he slept on in the store room corner. She'd yelped when his belt buckle scratched at the tender flesh low on her belly, her skirt having been pushed up around her waist so she could wrap her legs around him as he carried her into the other room. Perry could have stopped as he stared down at her, dazed by what he was feeling and by what he saw mirrored in her eyes, but then he saw the angry red mark his buckle had left and lowered his lips to soothe the pale skin while struggling to remove the offending item.
Freed, his trousers fell to his knees, where Della's feet found them and pushed them lower, somehow managing to snag his boxers along the way. His teeth caught in the edge of her delicate underwear and hands removed it without thought as his mouth continued its quest.
Her moans... her screams drew his attention back to her mouth and he worked his way back up her body, bringing his weight to bear on top of her as he did so. Once their hips were flush it was too late. With no barrier at all left between them, man and woman joined in the age old dance, Della blooming open for him, Perry driving home. So in tune were their bodies that pleasure burst quickly, brightly, explosively.
So there she lay, pink silk blouse and bra flung god knows where into the cluttered room, gray skirt pushed up around her waist and panties ripped away; wondering how she'd gotten there. The handsome attorney lay heavy on top of her, with equally rumpled clothing, his body still embedded within hers. His bent elbows held some of his weight, his head slumped into her still heaving cleavage as he struggled to find his breath as well. Both of their bodies were covered with a sheen of sweat and the air was thick with the scent of the intimacy they had just shared. Della absently lifted her hand to run her fingers through the thick black waves of his mussed hair.
The movement elicited a definite response in the only slightly deflated portion of male anatomy still joined with her. This seemed to rouse Mason and as he raised his head to finally look at her he leveraged his lower body up. For some reason, Della couldn't say why, her parted legs lifted up and around his hips, locking him in place.
Sanity was returning, what they had done had to be dealt with and there was no time like the present. If Della was unemployed after only one day she needed to know. Her eyes questioned him.
"I swear to God I never intended... I've never been an office wolf... I've never fu... been intimate with my secretary... with anyone I worked with... You're just so beautiful. I wanted to kiss you from the second you walked through that door to interview and I decided I'd better go ahead and do it now so that you could decide if you wanted to stay or not. I had NO intention for things to go so far. God, what have I done?"
"Women talk and believe me, you have been the topic of many varied and in depth conversations in the secretarial pool. I know this isn't your style. So much so that maybe I should even be flattered. But do I still have a job?"
"Wait... you'd stay after this? Della, things got out of hand but... I don't want to mislead you in any way. I meant what I said about my life being about the work. I'm not looking for..."
Della laid a finger over his lips. "And I'm not looking for a husband, Mr. Mason. I meant what I said too."
"We didn't use... I mean... there could be... consequences..."
Della wanted to laugh. Men were always so contrite... after the fact. But no matter. "No, there won't be any... consequences. There can't be, not for me."
"Oh..." Although her words reassured Mason, strangely enough the sad look on her face made him want to comfort her but he knew instinctively that she wouldn't welcome it.
"I choose to live my life a bit differently because of that I guess. But the reasons that I gave you for wanting to work with you, they are all valid."
"So do we forget that this happened?"
Della smiled enigmatically. "Is that possible? I doubt I can. You are very... very skilled, Mr. Mason. I've never felt..." Now she was the one whose cheeks were tinged pink.
Somehow, staring down into the limpid hazel eyes, at the alabaster skin, at the lush pink lips of the brown-haired beauty, Perry Mason knew that there was absolutely no way that this would be the last time they enjoyed each other in this fashion.
Perry Mason enjoyed sex... a lot. He'd never found a woman who could match him in his sexual desire but perhaps... was Della Street the one? The way she was unconsciously working her hips beneath him even now made him think perhaps she was. She hadn't shied away from his impulsive embrace, in fact she had responded eagerly, matching his movements as one kiss led to another and another, over and over until hands began to roam and clothing began to open.
Although her movements were largely unpracticed she wanted him and she let him know that in no uncertain terms. She hadn't teased him then denied him as some women did. Nor had she expressed regret at what they'd done. Instead she continued to hold him in the cradle of her hips, her fingers buried deep in his hair, expressing no shyness or attempting to cover up her bare breasts rubbing his chest. He was once again as hard as steel and he strained to keep from pounding into her alluring softness.
"I guess the question should be 'Can we work together in spite of this?' I don't have any designs on your person, Mr. Mason... no hidden agenda. I'm not a gold digger looking for a rich husband. We work... we have our own social lives... and if we both happen to be free and this happens again? Well... I guess we deal with that wh... If it happens. If you can still work with me?"
Mason smiled at her slip of the tongue. Della obviously knew that this wasn't a one shot... not with this much chemistry between them.
"Agreed. I definitely think that we can work together, Miss Street. So what do we do now?"
"Umm..." Her new boss was still cocooning her beneath him and she had realized that moving caused certain things to happen... to them both. Not that she minded but perhaps they needed some time to process their actions and the ramifications before they enjoyed each other again.
"I... we should probably... get dressed?"
Perry's eyes widened as if he only now realized the intimate position they were still locked in. He held himself rigid as he stared down at the beauty under him. "Yes... we should, I guess..."
He shifted back slightly... reluctantly, slowed by the shapely calf locked around his backside.
Della moved her leg off of him... didn't she? Her brain sent the command, she was sure of it... but apparently her body wasn't cooperating. Instead the unminding appendage seemed to tighten, pulling him toward her again, her body arching in response. She moaned. "I... so sorry... I'll..." Her words fell away as Perry took her lips with his, his body moving in counterpoint with hers once again...