The sex was great, fast furious fun. Afterwards you giggle conspiratorially as you hurriedly recover your clothes from the desk. Mark gives you a tender kiss, holding you close to him for a moment. The warmth of his chest, and his arms around you, feel good. You wonder what happens next – you’re in uncharted territory here.

‘Want to go back to my place?’

‘You know what, babe, I’m kind of beat. I’ve got to get up really early in the morning, and I’ve got a feeling I’ll have a pretty sore head when I do.’

You nod, not really disappointed. You’d be as happy to go home alone you suppose, wistfully.

‘Hey, this was fun. We should do it again some time,’ says Mark.

You seal your agreement with a kiss, and a brief hug, before walking out of the office and towards the tube together.

 Early on Friday morning you receive a summons to a meeting with HR later in the day. Mark confirms that he too has been summoned. He also tells you, in a brief and awkward chat at the water cooler, that the security guy high fived him when he got to work that morning.

‘Oh shit,’ you say. You scan the ceiling for cameras. It is then that you realise your every move would have been picked up by the CCTV. Well, almost every move. But who knows what the image quality would be like? And could they really see every inch of you? Surely not.

‘Do you think we can say we didn’t actually, you know...’

‘What, we didn’t actually do it?’ Mark looks sceptical. ‘I don’t know. I suppose we could. But we don’t know what they’ve seen – it might be obvious from the CCTV that we were actually...’

You nod. He’s probably right. Oh shit, indeed.

‘Hey, maybe we could ask to see the tape?’ Mark winks as he says, ‘I bet it’s a pretty sexy film. Think they’d let me take a copy home?’

You roll your eyes in amazement. He really doesn’t seem to be taking this seriously.

If only you could be as light hearted. For the rest of the day you try to keep your head down, focus on your work, and ignore the gnawing anxiety about being called in front of HR. You knew, of course, that there were security cameras dotted around your workplace. It’s that sort of office. But you hadn’t really imagined they were trained on the desks in the Finance department. On reflection this was a faulty assumption. And you are given the whole day to reflect. By four o’clock the butterflies in your stomach are in absolute turmoil.

Human Resources, unlike Mark, take the matter very seriously indeed. Behaviour like that in the workplace is unacceptable. Your boss gives you a written warning. Any more funny business and they’ll dismiss you. The company takes a dim view of employees who don’t respect the boundaries of proper professional behaviour.

 It’s gone 5pm and the office is pretty deserted when you leave the meeting. Checking there’s no one around, Mark says in a low voice,

‘Written warning! I thought they might just give us detention. I’d be quite up for that. Imagine, me and you stuck in an office at the end of the working day. I’m sure we’d find a way to pass the time.’

He winks, and you shake your head, simultaneously appalled and amused. You get your coat and go home, hoping against hope that your little secret tryst has remained just that – a secret between you, Mark, the security guys, HR and your boss.

Of course this is not the case. The security guys told the post boy, and the post boy told the IT team, including Keith. He’s quick to email Joan, who gasps as she reads the news.

‘Is this true?’ she says.

Pants, you think. So the story’s out. ‘Is what true?’ you ask, with your best butter-wouldn’t-melt expression.

‘You and Mark?’ she looks appalled but is clearly fascinated. ‘Shagging on the office floor?’

You shake your head furiously. ‘Not at all.’

‘Well, word is it was captured on CCTV. So don’t lie to me Sarah.’

You give her a rueful smile. Sod it, of all the people who are going to find out about this, Joan is the least of your worries. You admit that yes, you did get up to something with Mark. But it wasn’t on the office floor, you are at pains to point out.

‘I knew there was something going on between you two.’

‘There isn’t! It was just a moment of madness,’ you plead.

‘Whatever. You dark horse, you!’

‘And we really didn’t do anything. I mean, we were just snogging, honestly.’

‘If you were just snogging, why is Mark swaggering around the office like he’s just shagged the hottest girl in the office? Something about the look on his face says you’re not telling the whole story.’

Your face contorts as you try to acknowledge the ‘hottest girl in the office’ compliment while denying the accusation. For the next few days you and Mark remain stony faced and stoical in the face of some wild gossip – wilder even than what you got up. According to office legend you had sex in the lift, in the CEO’s office, and up on the roof. As the stories get more ridiculous, you find them easier to deny. Meanwhile you and Mark avoid each other, having agreed on email not to see each other ‘socially or at the watercooler’ for a while. Actually you cooked up the email in a brief discussion at the photocopier, thinking it would be evidence to HR (assuming they monitor your emails) of your commitment to good behaviour.

You stick to this commitment, for a week or so at least. Then, one boring Wednesday afternoon, your phone rings. The extension is from a meeting room on the fourth floor. This could be bad news: a meeting at which your input is suddenly required, and you’re put on the spot about something. Or a meeting you were invited to and had forgotten about, and will look bad for having to be reminded about. Ah well, better to know now, you decide, and take the call.

It’s Mark. ‘I’m in meeting room 7 up here. Do you know it?’

‘No, I don’t,’ you say with a surprised laugh. ‘Why?’

‘That’s the beauty of it. No-one knows about it. It’s round the back of the Legal offices, and no-one ever uses it.’ He clears his throat.

‘Yes?’

‘There’s no CCTV. And there are blinds at the window.’

‘I see,’ you say. You understand exactly what he’s getting at, and you’re a little excited already.

‘So tell me something.’

‘Okay, fire away. How can I help?’ you say, conscious that Joan is earwigging. You suspect you might be blushing.

‘What kind of knickers are you wearing?’

Now you are blushing. You clear your throat. ‘Ahem. I can’t really answer that. But would it help if I got rid of them altogether?’

Mark laughs. ‘Good girl.’

Five minutes later you are in meeting room 7, bent over the table with your skirt pushed up to your waist and Mark pounding away behind you. It’s as fast and furious as the last time and even more fun.

You return to your desk flushed and fully satisfied. This is definitely the best time you’ve ever had a work. What a shame it can’t last.

And it really can’t last, can it? The opportunity to have sex in a stationery cupboard whenever you want is pretty damn appealing. But your nerves can’t stand it – and your career is seriously at risk. Is it worth trying to move the sex out of the workplace, and try to forge something more mundane with Mark? Something involving dinner dates, drinks, and going to bed (I mean, an actual bed) together, maybe? Or is the point of this dalliance that it’s just about risk taking. In which case you’d spoil all the fun by removing the forbidden element.

 

One last choice. Do you...

...suggest you cool it at work and maybe go for a drink at the weekend. Go to Chapter Seven XIII to face the consequences

...accept it for what it is, and enjoy it knowing it will end soon. Go to Chapter Seven VI to face the consequences