Something in the Water Ch. 02
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Standard disclaimers – All characters are 18 or older. Any resemblance to real people or places is purely coincidental. Etc. I appreciate feedback, please just keep it constructive 🙂
Recap from chapter 1. Joe isn’t that kind of guy. Really. And this is another story proving it. Its just not his fault these things have been happening around him. For all he knows, its happened to other people too. In the building? Maybe, or maybe in the town? We just don’t know yet. Like maybe there’s something in the water, right?
Anyway, in the last chapter, earlier this week, Karen and I had a little… encounter? Yeah, we’ll use that word. We had an encounter in the elevator. That’s the first time something like this has happened to me. Its also my first recollection of when the weird stuff started happening. And that’s part of why I started this making notes and keeping track. I’m going to figure out what is going on.
Every time the copier goes down in the afternoon, they come to me. Why don’t they ever call the actual repair man? I can tell you why, cause he wont come until the next day. They might get him in the afternoon if something happens in the morning, but never in the afternoon. So, they call me down.
And I go. Its just what I do. I’m a nice guy, remember?
Jessica and Ellie work for Janice on the second floor at the mailing company.
Janice runs the Print Shoppe which also does fliers and mailing, and as far as I know has always been around since the building was new. Of course I’m not rude enough to ask how old she is though… But she’s often seen as the grandmother figure to many people.
Ellie is a college student in her second year studying something or other. I think she might have a sports scholarship. She’s a very cute redhead. You really notice her eyes first, bright green and her personality shortly after. She’s usually bouncing and bubbly which makes her seem taller than her petite 5 ft.
Jessica is a busty blonde. She’s in pretty good shape though, with curves in the right places. I’m pretty sure she’s a single mom, I guess that keeps her busy.
They use their main copier a lot. And I mean A LOT. I’ve advised them to get a backup or a higher quality one, but they never do. So, I’ve become pretty familiar with their copier. Its an older heavy duty model with big old drums of toner. Usually they’re just out of toner and I help them change it.
Jessica is smart too. She usually does all the computer work for Janice, and she’s always willing to learn if there’s something I can teach. But she hasn’t had time to learn about their copier beyond changing out toner. To be honest, I think Jessica is hoping that it will break down badly enough that they have to get a new one.
Sometimes it just needs cleaning on the pickup rollers. Or maybe the scan surface has dust on it so it keeps picking that up in the scans. Either way, its almost always an easy fix. I don’t mind, usually. When I’m not busy.
But today I do have a deadline. My boss usually doesn’t give me big projects, or hard ones, but I have a ton of data to enter in and another new spreadsheet to build. Its not especially hard, I’ve done similar things several times before, but I like to give myself enough time to do it right. I take pride in doing my job well, and in this case, I’m going to have to use some formulas and techniques I haven’t used before. I have seen them used, but just don’t know what bugs I’m going to have to work out.
I learned something once, paraphrased from Scotty in an old episode of Star Trek. “Under promise, and Over Deliver…” Also, I like to give myself enough time to do it right and be done before the deadline, cause you never know what you’ll run into. It bites me in the butt occasionally, but generally works out.
So, when my phone rang, half way through the afternoon, with a deadline looming, I saw the print shop on caller ID and somehow knew before I even picked up that they needed my help with the copier.
Jessica normally calls if they need my help, but it was Janice today. “Joe? Could you be a dear and come down to look at the copier? Its doing that thing again. You know making the noise like a tiny lawn mower is inside. And it wont print anything.” her voice always sounded a shade away from wavering. She was far from frail and had surprised me more than once with how witty and spry she was.
Janice ran the business, but didn’t know anything about printers or copiers. She did all the envelope stuffing and paperwork while Jessica handled most of the technical computer work; postage machine, newsletter software, that kind of thing. Ellie worked whenever she wasn’t in class at the college or working on homework. She ran deliveries mostly, but also helped with whatever was needed.
I really needed to finish getting the data in, then I could work on the spreadsheet. The boss needed this done tonight and of all the times I should say no, this was one of them. But I found myself not wanting to disappoint Janice and so I gave in.
“Sure, Janice. I’ll bahis firmaları be down in a minute. Just let me finish up part of my project.” I said trying to keep the sigh silent.
It only took a minute to reach a stopping point. I was almost done transcribing the columns of data into the spreadsheet anyway. I’d double check it again after I ran the calculations and setup the formulas.
When there was work to be done, I usually forgot to take my breaks. It was important I guess, but I would just rather get things finished and rest at the end. Focus was a precious commodity sometimes.
But since I had promised Janice, and since I could use a brief break, I pulled myself away from the screen.
Stepping around the corner of my desk, I bumped the boxes from earlier in the week.
I hadn’t had time to look into them like I hoped that afternoon after Karen and I had… brought up the mail and the dolly full of paper.
They both tumbled to the floor clinking like they had before.
“Shit. I need to find out what is in here.” I muttered to myself.
The one that had leaked, it didn’t look like it had anything more coming out. But that made me curious.
I did need to get down to help with the copier. The sooner I fixed it for them, the sooner I’d be able to get my project done, but I wanted to take a look quickly.
Using a letter opener, I sliced the packing tape on the top, and opened it up cautiously. I was afraid there might be glass or some broken pieces of a container. Especially since it had dripped liquid onto Karen and then splattered some on me as it got tumbled around in the elevator.
But the pieces of a small broken glass vial were all down in one corner. All dried out, some sparkly flecks that didn’t quite look like glass were there too. There was only a faint scent of that same perfume that had been so strong in the elevator.
There was a second small vial, stoppered with cork and wrapped with tape. It was held in a loose foam cradle that did seem to be slightly broken where the first one had rested. The side of the box that was bent in must have somehow just perfectly contacted the vial on the side as the momentum pushed it into the round dolly handle.
Taking out the intact vial, I held it up to the light. Swirling seemed to set off particles moving that sparkled like gold. But I couldn’t tell anything else about it.
There was no packing slip. No documents or papers. The label on the box was to the geological survey company. No source other than some writing that vaguely looked like Spanish.
And there was just a single number written in black marker on the remaining vial.
Which made me wonder if the broken one had been
I might never piece enough of the broken shards together to find out.
“Damn, I have to get down to the copier for Janice.”
Absently wondering if I could get some vials and eyedroppers anywhere locally, I slipped the remaining vial into my pants pocket. The vial was well sealed after all, and I’d have time to inspect it later. Might be able to test it a little with some pH strips or something? I’m no chemist, but you can learn just about anything on the internet, right? I would be doing some more research later I’m sure.
I took the stairs because it was way faster to go down a couple floors than to wait for the elevator. I’ve regularly raced with it and won. Not that I’m in great shape or anything. Its just a slow old elevator that takes forever.
I skipped the front entrance of the print shop, just walking to the side door in the hall where they do shipping and get supplies delivered. Jessica had a small desk with a computer in the main office space near their copier and a small color printer. The supply room is near the back and connects to the side door.
Like I said, they do some small newsletters, occasionally bulk advertisement mailings and things like that. Jessica does the newsletter adjustments, advertising, and communication with anyone via email. She’s been there for a few years. Single mom, I think, and it works with her schedule for daycare and school. Janice is the owner, but I don’t know that she’d be doing it if she hadn’t inherited the business from her husband when he passed on a decade ago. It gives her something to do every day, and they’re the only ones in town who will do small odd jobs. The other print shops in town don’t support the community like Janice does.
I slipped in the side door and went straight to the copier. Jessica must’ve been on her break. I didn’t see her around. Janice was also nowhere to be found at the moment.
It only took a few seconds reading the indicator lights and I knew what was wrong, and how to fix it. There was a paper jam in one of the fuser rollers. I cleared it and sent a test page through, but the thing about old copiers, they can take forever to warm up when they’ve been sitting cold.
So, there I sat, waiting for it to warm up and twiddling my thumbs. I thought through the remaining parts of my project. I only had to build the spreadsheet kaçak iddaa formulas, then a little bit tweaking the graph layouts. Shouldn’t be too difficult.
I found myself dragging a fingernail over something rough in my pocket. Kinda like you do when you absentmindedly find a frayed thread on your pants and pick at it before you realize what you’re doing.
Only, I realized I was picking at the cork stopper in the vial that I had slid in my pocket. I froze. That could have been dangerous. I mean, no markings on a vial in an essentially unmarked box? Yeah, I wanted to check it out, but I couldn’t just do it anywhere.
Glancing at the copier, I still had a minute or two to wait. Damn, these ancient beasts take forever to warm up. Usually they are designed to run for long periods on big print jobs. Once they get rolling, they’re noisy but pretty reliable.
I pulled the vial carefully from my pocket. There was a small strip of rubber, under the tape, around the stopper. It looked like it could be reused. I held the vial up and inspected it closer. I guess I could still faintly smell that perfume scent. It was too many things rolled in together to pick one specific thing out. Roses and cotton candy and brown sugar vanilla. Very calming and soothing.
And there were already good memories attached. I was definitely smelling this melange when I was in the elevator with Karen.
I peeled the rubber down, it seemed to hold the cork in place, though the cork fit well anyway. It was firmly in there, but it came out smoothly with a little twisting. I definitely could smell the perfume scent now. And as I said, I still couldn’t exactly place the varied aromas. Like all of my favorite things all rolled in to one, but constantly shifting.
The copier finished its warm-up and the test copies I sent through came out just fine. It was ready to go for the last of the day run. I could see that Jessica had needed 459 more copies of the 80 page booklet it had been printing before the jam. So I started that up and was going to hang around to make sure it got through a full copy or two.
Man, that old thing was noisy. There was a pattern to the sound. A bit hypnotic, and I was distracted by the vial too. I suppose that’s the only reason Jessica was able to sneak up on me. I was usually more aware of my surroundings.
I had the vial in my right, stopper in my left and was trying to see if there were any markings on the stopper. Maybe like wine corks had markings, stamps indicating what vineyard they came from. Maybe this was some really fancy perfume from South America or Spain?
“Joe? What smells so good?” Jessica was right there over my left shoulder. And she had to speak up because the copier was whirring away pumping out page after page. Scchkk-chnnk. Scchkk-chnnk. That hot toner smell was starting to fill the air with the way it smelled when the copier was running for more than a single copy.
“Shit! Oh!” I jumped, barely slamming the stopper in. But not before I twitched and spilled a little on my right hand. Without looking, before I turned to face Jessica, I tried to make sure the seal was solid on the cork and then rolled the rubber up to hold it in place.
“You scared the crap out of me Jessica!” I put the vial in my pocket hoping she hadn’t seen it. Not sure why, but I wasn’t sure how to explain that I had this strange vial of liquid.
“Thanks for getting the copier going again. I didn’t mean…” She trailed off and her eyes closed. She took a tentative sniff. “Oh, that is nice.” Jessica sighed.
She’d been close to me when she first spoke. The copier really was loud, and I hadn’t heard her. She rested a hand on my left shoulder, stepping a little closer and took a deeper breath through her nose, smelling me. Her eyes opened and for some reason they reminded me of Karen. Well, reminded me of what Karen had looked like in the elevator. Which reminded me of how good it had felt when Karen was on her knees before me, and how long it had been since I had had a good blowjob. Before that one, it had been months.
“Fresh sugar cookies and apple pie like my grandma used to make.” she softly purred. “Oh, you smell so good…”
She leaned up against me, closer than she’d ever gotten to me. I will admit I liked it. But this was almost too much. Too much coincidence. What the hell was going on with the liquid in that vial? Was it like some magic potion? Like love potion number nine? Or was that Lust Potion Number Nine? There had to be a more logical explanation. Like maybe pheromones. Yeah, that had to be it…
I lifted my hand, the one I’d spilled a little on, and held it up by my nose. But it didn’t seem to be affecting me like it was Jessica. I mean, I had really enjoyed what Karen did, but I had been able to control myself until the very end. And what guy would have been any stronger with a girl drooling to get at his cock?
I could definitely smell something sweet and delicious, but like I said, it didn’t make me all weird in the eyes. That I could tell anyway. What if it was doing something to me? kaçak bahis Like when you get a haircut and you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror at first? Maybe that wasn’t a good analogy, but what if it was changing me in some way I couldn’t recognize without some outside perspective?
I wondered, what would the direct smell do to Jessica? Would it be different from when the liquid had spilled in the elevator?
Even with that going on in my head, I couldn’t escape how sensually Jessica had purred about how good I smelled. I couldn’t help but begin to stiffen in my pants.
I moved my right hand, still slightly damp with the liquid, right under her nose.
Her eyes popped open. Her pupils dilated faster than I’d ever seen anyone’s, except maybe in those videos when your eyes try to adjust to the dark. Only it was sped up 5 times. Her eyes locked on mine and she moaned just one word.
“Oh!” She crumpled, her body going limp as her eyes rolled back.
Half falling against me, her breasts brushed against me. I couldn’t help but feel them as I barely helped her to the ground without hitting her head. She was barely taller than me with her heels on and while she wasn’t skinny, it wasn’t difficult to settle her to the floor. Her skirt slid up a bit revealing her thick thighs as she slumped down, leaving her legs at an odd angle.
I’d never seen a girl faint in person. Never seen anyone faint really. But that’s all it could be. Her eyes, which had relaxed from their rolled back position, were still dilated when I held one eye open. And she was breathing shallow and a little quicker than you would think is normal.
I think she’s OK, but, what am I supposed to do now? I still have a project to finish and this has already taken longer than I was planning with the copier.
I debated trying to find Janice, but sometimes I think she slips out in the afternoons to smoke a joint. Its supposed to help with her arthritis, but she probably wouldn’t appreciate me interrupting her, no matter that Jessica seemed to have passed out.
The copier made a noise, causing me to glance over. Its tray holding the finished stapled copies slid and adjusted to make room for the next copy. It was running fine still.
It barely took a minute for Jessica’s breathing to return to normal and it honestly looked like she was sleeping, but before I could decide if I should find Janice anyway, Ellie came bouncing in the door.
I immediately realized what position I was in, crouched down by Jessica’s body, skirt slightly askew.
Ellie froze. First staring at me, then eyes darting to Jessica, the copier, Janice’s desk, and back to me. Heaven only knows what was going on in her brain, but she didn’t say a word.
“I’m not sure what happened, Ellie. Jessica just kinda fainted.” I tried to get out before she could get the wrong idea.
In my head I was thinking, don’t sound suspicious. You weren’t doing anything wrong, even if you were looking just at Jessica’s thighs. They were hot, honestly. And still slightly exposed. But its not like I had actually done anything. I’m not that kind of guy, remember? I would never take advantage of a woman.
I smoothed down her skirt and straightened her legs.
Silently I asked myself, “Would I?” I guess I don’t know what kind of person I am deep down. Maybe I would… Nah, I just couldn’t imagine myself taking advantage of a woman in a compromised situation.
Ellie still hadn’t said a word, but she came over and knelt down by Jessica. She was checking for a pulse. I bet playing sports, she’s seen players get checked by paramedics or whatever. She probably knows more than I do.
“She didn’t hit her head or anything. She fell into me while I was checking on the copier.” I offered, leaving out the parts about having a vial of potentially hypnotic or mind altering perfume in my pocket.
Ellie glanced up at me and gave me an odd look. She still hadn’t said anything, which was a bit out of character. I didn’t know her that well, but as I had said, she bounced in here. She just stood out as a very bubbly person. Ellie was very easy to spot in a crowd, in a good way. Her eyes were green, piercing, and with her red hair, she was unmistakable.
I noticed her sniffing. And her eyes closed most of the way as she caught scent of something. Even in the print shop where toner and hot paper coming off of the printers was strong, I was afraid she was smelling the liquid that I had spilled.
“Do you think Jessica is OK, Ellie?”
She didn’t answer right away, so I glanced up to see Ellie staring vaguely into space, somewhere in between Jessica and I. I tried again a little louder, “Ellie, is she gonna be OK?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I think she’s fine. Pulse is there and all. Breathing OK.” She did sorta make sure that Jessica was in a comfortable position.
Then Ellie took off her sweater, leaving her shirt underneath all rumpled and disheveled. I couldn’t help but notice the toned lines of her stomach and as her shirt rose up higher, being pulled by her sweater. My breath caught. Was it going to keep going? Would I get to see more than her belly button? It seemed like she was teasing me, going slow. The word languid came to mind. Not exactly the way you would be behaving in an office building.
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