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The room was stiflingly hot, making me shift in my seat. I watched a drip of sweat form on the top of Mr Peterson’s head, shining in the light from the window. Lazily it rolled down his forehead. When it reached his eyebrow he shook his head and wiped it away.
“I’m sorry, Mrs Green -”
He looked up from his computer screen. His face was lined, but strong. Firm jaw.
“Separated,” I explained.
He nodded, his eyes softening a little. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no.”
I sighed. It wasn’t unexpected.
Nodding, I leaned forward and collected my papers. Mr Peterson averted his eyes from the view down my top. I hadn’t done it intentionally, but I smiled nevertheless. It was very polite of him.
I didn’t sit back down. “Is it your choice?”
He met my eyes and raised an eyebrow.
“Whether to give me the loan or not.”
“Oh, yes, of course.”
“Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to persuade you?” I pulled at the collar of my top, giving him a better view. “It’s very hot in here.”
“Mrs… Ms Green, what are you doing?”
“Nothing.” Slowly, I climbed up onto the desk, kneeling in front of him. “Nothing at all.”
“Ms Green, please stop.”
“Alice,” I said. “If you like.”
“No, I don’t. Ms Green…”
I lifted the hem of my skirt, inching it higher on my thighs, then let it drop before I showed anything. I laughed. He had fallen silent. His head was covered in sweat. I grinned and reached out a hand. He pulled away, but I wiped a finger over his forehead. “I’m twenty-six,” I said. “Young, bored. Do you know what that’s like?”