A Close Inspection - Part 1
‘Please sit down, Mr Giles’.
Stephanie Nelson motioned towards the largeleather couch that sat against a wall of her office.
‘Thank you’, Giles moved past her a littlenervously, looking away from the woman’s gaze, he continued past the couch andtoward the business chair which faced the large wooden desk.
‘We’d be more comfortable over here’,Stephanie smiled and again gestured to the couch.
‘Thank you Dr Nelson, but I’d sooner wekeep this as brief as possible.’ There was no trace of humour or warmth in theman as he took his seat opposite the desk. He placed his briefcase on his lapand, still not looking Stephanie in the eye, he continued, ‘I’m really verybusy and I’m not sure that we should be meeting at all. I prefer to work onlywith the numbers and leave the rest to the lawyers.’
Stephanie moved gracefully around to herchair on the other side of the desk, perhaps this man would be more of achallenge than most?
‘Well, now’, Stephanie began, ‘I’m a very hands-onkind of executive. So when I hear that the IRS has sent one of their top men into scrutinize my books, naturally I’m a little concerned’.
‘Concerned?’ Giles raised an eyebrow and,for the first time looked directly at her. ‘Why? Do you have something to hideDr Nelson?’
‘Hide? Of course not.
Mr Giles, this company exists to helppeople. We like to --’
Giles interrupted, ‘You like to take theirmoney. Dr Nelson, please spare me the sales pitch.
I have no problem with you making money,just so long as you do it legally and pay your taxes.’
Stephanie tried to remain calm, ‘Well, MrGiles, I’m sure that if you let me show you what we do, you’ll realizethat there’s no problem here at all. In fact, solving problems is my specialty’.Stephanie was letting her voice take on a softer, gentler tone, but the effecton Giles was not as she expected.
He immediately looked away from her,grabbed his briefcase from his lap and began to stand, ‘Well let’s hope youdon’t have any problems of your own Dr Nelson.’
Stephanie was intrigued. Jonathan Giles waswell known as one of the IRS ‘hawks’ who had built himself a brilliant career.He had a reputation for getting results and always through the most meticuloussearches and analyses. In his late 40s, Giles was single and not unattractive.He took good care of himself physically but there was no vanity about him. Hefavored unassuming business suits and kept his hair in a simple militarystyle. He was very well paid but lived alone in a quiet part of town. He hadlittle or no social life. Stephanie’s security people had prepared a thoroughreport on Giles but there was no obvious weakness in his profile. He simplylived for his work. And his work was raising millions in taxes from companiesthat everyone else thought were beyond reproach. Stephanie didn’t mind payingtaxes but her ‘Motivational Consultancy’ Empire was built on the use of eroticand, often covert, hypnotic techniques. If this man kept digging he was sure touncover some aspects of the business which would not look good in court.
‘Dr Nelson?’ Giles was standing, ready toleave, but waiting for Stephanie to complete their conversation. He looked ather quizzically, wondering whether he’d touched a nerve. Perhaps she did havesomething to hide.
‘Humm? Sorry’, Stephanie apologized, ‘I wasjust thinking about a business report I was reading last night.’ She returnedthe man’s gaze and tried to weigh him up. The security report gave no cluesabout a possible way into Giles’ head. Now she could see him for herself shewas beginning to understand him a little better.
Initially he had seemed very nervous. Hehad avoided eye-contact and chosen to sit in the business chair. That wasconfusing in itself. Most men, if nervous, would have automatically sat on thecouch (as she suggested) even if they didn’t want to: they would have beenunwilling to offend her. After all, not only was she rich and beautiful, shewas also very powerful. To walk past her and choose his own seat was a veryconfident act. Indeed, it was almost rude.
Similarly, his demeanour once seated seemedto be full of contradictions. He had placed his briefcase across his lap. Thiswas clearly an extremely defensive posture. He was physically covering hisgenitals with his briefcase (a symbol of his work). And yet he had made directeye contact the moment he sensed some unease about her accounts.
Stephanie realized that she had played MrGiles wrong from the start. She had under-estimated him. When acting as a manGiles was uncomfortable - he wouldn’t share a couch with her and couldn’t lookher in the eye. But Giles the accountant – the auditor – was confidentand direct. Stephanie suspected that Giles was uneasy with some aspect of hismasculinity. The security report gave few details about his past lovers: allwomen, all slightly younger than he. None had lasted long and at the moment hewasn’t seeing anyone.
Stephanie had been so shocked by hisdecision to sit in the business chair that she had unthinkingly responded tothe perceived challenge. She had automatically taken her chair behind the desk.To an onlooker it appeared very business-like, and that was her problem.Business was Giles’ home turf, she needed to de-stabilize him again. Get himthinking like a man, not an accountant.
The hypnotist let out a little yawn. ‘Oh,I’m sorry. You see I was working so late last night, reading that report. I’mafraid I’m still a little sleepy.’
‘Not at all. It’s perfectly understandable.I’ll leave you to your work’
‘Oh, that’s so sweet of you’, Stephaniepurred, ‘Thank you, but no. Let’s get on. Please, do sit down’
A little uneasily, Giles took his seatagain, placed his briefcase in its familiar position across his lap, and lookedat Stephanie: ‘Well Dr Nelson. I’m afraid that I’ll need more informationbefore I can complete my investigations.’
‘More information?’ Stephanie lookedpuzzled, and a little hurt, ‘Aren’t my people co-operating fully?’
‘Well, yes but –’
‘Oh I’m so pleased’, Stephanie interrupted,‘I gave very firm instructions that everyone was to be on their best behaviourand cooperate fully. I always insist on politeness and cooperation.’
‘Er, yes.’ Giles looked a little surprisedby this unexpected piece of information, but soon collected his thoughts, ‘Yes,well. Everyone has been very cooperative. But I need more, you see – ’Once again Giles was interrupted by Stephanie, this time it was her decision tostand and stretch.
‘I’m sorry Mr Giles. I’m so sleepy, andthese chairs are surprisingly comfortable. Do you mind if I move about alittle?’ Stephanie was already moving around from behind the desk. Shestretched once again and was delighted to see Giles momentarily stare at theoutline of her breasts as her stretching forced her silky blouse to pulltightly across her.
Giles blushed and immediately averted hisgaze back down to his briefcase.
‘Oh that’s so much better.’ Stephanieseated herself on the edge of the desk, facing the accountant and looking downon him.
‘You were saying something about cooperation?’
‘Err, yes. Cooperation.’ Giles quickly gatheredhis thoughts and, never moving his eyes from his briefcase, continued ‘Yourstaff has been very cooperative but I’m having difficulty understanding theexact range of your business activities. I can see that you have diversifiedand that you’re making a very generous donation to the local university, but Ineed more information on the nature of your contracts with clients.’
‘My clients are very satisfied’, Stephanie smiled.
‘Well, they must be because lots of themkeep on buying new products from the different ranges. That’s my problem, thepatterns, the demographics, they don’t look like the normal trends.’
Stephanie was surprised that Giles had notyet looked up from his briefcase. She crossed her legs, hoping that the soundor the movement in his peripheral vision, would draw his eyes up toward her.‘I’m sorry Mr Giles, I don’t understand – perhaps it’s the lack of sleep – whyare you interested in my marketing demographics? I thought you were anaccountant?’
‘I am – ’ Giles looked up, caught one glimpseof Stephanie, blushed and looked back down at his briefcase, ‘I am anaccountant but the Service give me very wide powers of discretion in my work.’Giles tried to regain his composure. His mind was filled with a snap-shot imageof Stephanie sitting on the edge of the desk; her long legs, the silky blouse,the way she seemed to be leaning over him.
He cleared his throat and continued, ‘I amthe most successful investigator the Service has ever had, and my methods aresometimes unorthodox. I like to get a complete picture of a business before Ican be satisfied that everything is in order.’
Stephanie smiled. She could see the turmoil she was creating.But still he avoided eye contact.
‘Mr Giles, I want you to be completely satisfied. Really I do.
Stephanie waited, she was determined to have him look at her.
‘Mr Gi-les?’ Her tone was a little playful, coaxing him to raise his vision.
‘Yes?’ He glanced up.
‘Trust me. I want you to be completely satisfied.’
Giles returned her stare but was once againcomposed, ‘Dr Nelson, I don’t trust anyone.’
Once again, Stephanie realized that she’d under-estimated her foe. By now most men would be gazing lovingly at her,letting her weave a cocoon of submission around them. But Giles was a man of extremes;at one moment he was awkward and painfully shy, avoiding all eye contact. Butthe next second he could switch, becoming the steely investigator, detached andunflinching.
This was going to be tough. Stephaniesuspected that an instant induction would work on Giles. If she suddenly lentacross, placed a hand on his forehead and commanded ‘Sleep!’, the chances ofsuccess were good. But not good enough. She would be happier with a slowerinduction but knew there was no way of getting him to fix his gaze on an objectin the usual way. He only looked at her directly when he was in aconfrontational frame of mind and that would be counter-productive.
Stephanie smiled, ‘Well Mr Giles. I think Ican help you.’ She lent across her desk and activated the intercom to hersecretary, ‘Diane, would you have Clare come see me, please. Immediately.’
END OF PART ONE