Getting the Story

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Instinctively, the young reporter jumped at the sound of her editor’s voice as he entered his office. She grabbed a notepad and pen, nearly fell over her chair, and scurried across the room.

“What is it?” she asked at the doorway.

“Sit down.” The order wasn’t even combined with a gesture, one of Phil Gibbons’ most annoying habits, she thought to herself.

“The CFO of Lilt Financial was just indicted. I want you to do this one. It’s big, Callahan,” Gibbons said emphatically. “Bigger than anything you’ve done for us. Want it?”

Lindsay Callahan looked up from her notepad, nodding at the same time. “Of course.”

Gibbons looked at her as if giving her one more chance to think it over. When she didn’t blink, he said, “Have the guys in Business help you if you need it. They should know her.”


“Yeah. A babe CFO. No wonder the economy’s in the can,” he said without a hint of remorse.

Lindsay fought back a chuckle, angered by the aging editor’s unrelenting sexism.

“I’ll get on it.” Almost to the door, she turned and added, “Thanks.”

Somehow she knew he’d be watching her. He always watched her. She was used to having men stare at her near-perfect twenty five year old body. But his was a perverted gawking every time they crossed paths.

‘Pig,’ she mumbled under her breath once outside his office.

Back at her desk, Lindsay allowed the magnitude of her assignment to sink in. In her six months with the paper she’d never been given a story any more interesting than a suspicious house fire. Even that turned out to be nothing more than an overly curious cat who learned the hard way not to chew on electrical wires.

Now she was faced with real news. She’d have to do her homework. Lilt Financial was big in town…real big. She knew that much, but the actual players and inner workings would have to be studied. And she didn’t have much time.

Lindsay’s first call was to Jim Adams, the paper’s beat writer at the court. He’d know the process and maybe the name of somebody who could give her some inside information.

Her presumption was right. In fifteen minutes she had the phone number of the lead investigator in the case and Caroline Hunter’s attorney. But first, some research was in order regarding Lilt’s Chief Financial Officer.

A quick search of the paper’s picture archive resulted in numerous shots of Caroline Hunter. Each one made Lindsay stare even more intently at her computer monitor. Ms. Hunter was one of the most stunning women she’d ever seen.

She stopped at one particular photo which showed the CFO at a crowded formal affair. Caroline stood with a drink in one hand, talking cheerfully to three men in tuxes. Her long gown accentuated every faultless curve of the tall woman’s body. Tiny straps drew Lindsay’s eyes down to a plunging neckline, highlighting a pair of full, firm breasts that Ms. Hunter obviously had no qualms about displaying.

The midriff of the gown was pulled in to showcase Caroline’s flat stomach and tiny waist. Below that, the fabric followed the swerve of her hips and ass, and then flowed to her ankles.

‘How old is this woman?’ Lindsay asked herself silently.

A second search for stories related to Hunter revealed she was forty one. Botox was the first word that popped into Lindsay’s head, but further examination of a dozen pictures of Caroline Hunter convinced her the woman was all natural.

‘Bitch. Serves you right,’ Lindsay thought, dismayed a little by her sudden jealousy.

Which reminded her that she needed to get moving on the most important matter at hand: What did the gorgeous Caroline Hunter do to raise the ire of the authorities?

The lead investigator basically read from the prosecutor’s news release: ten counts; securities fraud and conspiracy; tax evasion; forgery. Ms. Hunter likely did not act alone. The investigation continues. No further comment.

Persistent questioning by Lindsay was met with increased levels of frustration by the investigator until the young reporter chose not to push it any farther, in case she needed this guy later. She thanked him and dialed the attorney for Caroline Hunter.

“My client will be proven innocent of all counts in the indictment,” Charles Hood told Lindsay immediately after she introduced herself. “In fact, it’s our intention that this case never go to trial. The evidence and testimony used before the grand jury concentrated solely on Ms. Hunter. She was a pawn, manipulated by people at Lilt Financial to conceal their own illegalities.”

“Who would that be, Mr. Hood?” Lindsay asked.

“Needless to say, we can’t name those names at this time,” Charles Hood said with all due solemnity. “But given a chance to respond to these indictments, the truth will be known. And the truth is: Caroline Hunter was USED.”

Five additional questions by Lindsay resulted in a dozen variations of the attorney’s previous remarks. Sensing a dead-end, she ended the interview.

But Mr. Hood’s unrelenting kastamonu escort pointing towards others within Lilt Financial forced Lindsay to pull up their web site and, eventually, a copy of an annual report. She got names and titles, but that wasn’t what she was after. Lindsay needed to put faces with the names.

She called Julie Wells in Business, an occasional drinking partner with Lindsay and overall straight shooter. A promise from Lindsay to buy two rounds the next time they went out produced an e-mail from Julie containing pictures of every officer and board member at Lilt. It was worth the price, Lindsay decided.

She began to scan the montage, beginning with CEO Charles Oster. Lindsay had already decided she would attempt to talk to him first. When she saw the tall, surprisingly young looking man standing by his desk overlooking the city, her decision was reinforced. In fact, it might now require an in-person interview.

Next was the ever-lovely Caroline Hunter in a glamour shot that would have made any aspiring model proud. Assorted VPs and Directors followed, mostly middle-aged white males except, of course, for the HR and Marketing Directors.

Then the Board of Directors were shown individually and in a group. Nothing about the pictures seemed out of place to Lindsay. None of the names caught her eye: Mark Abel, Barry Black, Nelson Eldridge…a baker’s dozen people she knew nothing about…yet.

She sighed, filed the e-mail in the appropriate folder for future reference, and made up her mind to get hold of the boss. Lindsay was amazed that she was put on hold by the secretary in her first attempt to reach Charles Oster. Surely, the secretary would come back and ask if she could take a message. Instead, Lindsay was being transferred to him in less time that it took her to open a diet Mountain Dew.

“Charles Oster.”

The booming voice caught Lindsay by surprise. “Hello. Mr. Oster, this is Lindsay Callahan of The Journal. May I ask you a couple questions about the Caroline Hunter indictment today?”

“Certainly,” he replied.

Lindsay took a deep breath. “Mr. Oster, what can you tell me about Ms. Hunter?”

Charles Oster smiled to himself. It wasn’t the question he expected and appreciated the approach taken by what sounded like a very young reporter. “Well, she’ll be missed by this company until the situation is settled. I know very little about the details of the case and can’t comment on the specifics, but Caroline was…is…a fine CFO.”

“What details DO you know?” Lindsay asked.

There was a pause. “I’m afraid I really can’t say.”

“Mr. Oster, her attorney told me today that, quote, she was a pawn, manipulated by people at Lilt Financial to conceal their own illegalities, end quote. How do you respond to that?”

“Is that what he said? Really?” Charles Oster asked. “Interesting.”

“What do you think he meant by that?” Lindsay inquired, not expecting any CEO in his right mind to answer with anything substantial.

“Ms…Callahan, did you say? Perhaps we need to do this somewhere besides over the phone. I hope you understand.”

It didn’t matter if Lindsay understood or not, she jumped at the chance to get a face-to-face interview with Charles Oster. While trying to hide her enthusiasm, she replied, “Sure. If you’re more comfortable with that—when and where do you suggest?”

“We should do it here; not in public. I’ll find a conference room. Are you available at…let’s say, three o’clock tomorrow afternoon?” Oster said.

Lindsay made herself available. “Yep. Should I come to your office?”

“Well, you won’t get past the first receptionist. Just tell them you have an appointment with me.”

“OK. Three tomorrow,” Lindsay confirmed.

She couldn’t help but think she was on to something. The CEO’s sudden desire to tell her something, but not have it captured on a potentially bugged phone, excited her. If she had to admit it, the idea of meeting him in the first place excited her. Could he be as good looking as he was in the photos?

Lindsay reported to work the next day in her best black slacks, which hugged every curve of her tight ass and youthful thighs. Her blouse was sheer and taut around her generous chest. She spent extra time fixing her blonde hair and applying just the right makeup. Basically, everything she would never do for a normal day at work.

The morning crept by and she barely ate at lunch, nervously anticipating the ‘showdown’ with Mr. Oster. At two forty-five she headed out the door for the short walk to the corporate offices of Lilt Financial. As expected, she was stopped at the first desk by an efficient, if not overly friendly, receptionist who had Lindsay sit while she phones the CEO’s secretary. Less than five minutes later, the young reporter was sitting in a plush conference room, admiring the paintings and expensive furniture.

She stood to get a closer look at one particular painting. Her back was to the door when it opened kayseri escort noisily, causing her to jerk her body around clumsily. She didn’t know if Charles Oster recognized her embarrassed look or her gaze of approval. All she knew was, the man entering the room was perhaps the most attractive forty year old man she’d ever seen.

“Ms. Callahan? I’m Charles Oster.” He strode towards her, holding out his hand. She took it while thanking him for taking the time to meet with her. All the while, absorbing with her eyes his dark features, gorgeous eyes and sturdy frame.

“Please sit down,” he said, gesturing to one of the gigantic, high backed chairs.

Lindsay felt as if it swallowed her as she sat, grabbing her notepad at the same time. She crossed her legs and tried to breathe normally before saying, “Mr. Oster…”

“It’s Charles. Please.”

Lindsay smiled faintly and nodded. “OK. Charles, I know you’re busy so I’ll only keep you a short while. But I have several questions for you after talking to Caroline Hunter’s attorney.”

“Yes. He made some interesting accusations in your discussion with him, it sounded like. But let’s set some ground rules, Lindsay, if I may call you that.”

The reporter nodded.

“I’m not naïve enough to believe I can ask you to keep certain things off the record. So I’ll ask this. If I give you certain information that could have come to you from any number of sources, do you agree to not associate my name with the information?” he asked Lindsay.

She nodded. “Fine. But don’t be offended if I ask you when I can or cannot use your name.”

“Agreed,” Oster said. “Now, let me tell you this about Caroline Hunter, which most anybody can tell you.”

Lindsay understood his meaning and returned his inquisitive glance with one of acceptance.

He continued: “Caroline, as you may or may not know, is a very attractive woman. She’s also a very smart woman. It’s not uncommon for smart, attractive women in executive positions to be accused of using their…well, their sexuality, to gain favors. Caroline Hunter took it to another level.”

He paused apparently for effect, and Lindsay looked up from her notepad and raised her eyebrows in response. She suspected she caught him looking at the substantial opening at the top of her blouse, but gave him the benefit of the doubt for now.

He went on: “It was more than a game with her. It was an art form that resulted in her becoming one of the most highly compensated CFO’s in this state, if not the entire country, despite the size of our company. Her salary was not the entirety of it, Lindsay. She got benefits no other CFO could every dream of getting.”

Oster leaned forward in her chair. The tone of his voice reminded Lindsay of a master storyteller, but she had to admit he had her attention.

“Obviously, I was concerned,” he said, leaning back once again. “I began paying more attention to her associations within the company both during working hours and when she was away from the office.”

Lindsay looked up. “You spied on her?”

Charles smiled, almost to the point of laughing. “Now that’s a strong word to use, Lindsay. And I didn’t say that. I paid more attention.”

“What did you find?” Lindsay asked next.

The grin on his face made Lindsay believe she had fallen into Oster’s trap.

“It’s amazing what people, especially men, will tell you about women when they’ve had a little too much to drink,” he said. “And after a while it quit surprising me that so many men had similar stories about Caroline. They normally went something like this.”

Another pause succeeded in getting Lindsay’s undivided attention.

“Caroline would get the object of her immediate need in an office or conference room…alone. The two of them would talk serious business for a few minutes. Then Caroline would turn the conversation in a more casual direction,” Oster said. “She would hint at favors few men would, or could, refuse from a woman like her. She was known to willingly show skin in excess.”

With that remark, Oster rose from his chair and walked slowly behind Lindsay. She watched him with growing trepidation, but made no outward movement to reveal it.

“Imagine, Lindsay, a middle-aged or older man being tempted by the beautiful and powerful Caroline Hunter,” he said.

Lindsay was just about to turn her head when she felt his hands on her shoulders, caressing them with strong fingers. He massaged her, pulling on the material of her blouse at the same time.

“She would openly flirt with them, seeming to offer her body to them if the right deal could be struck.”

Oster’s hands slid down Caroline’s arms even as she tried to take notes. He pulled his hands back up until they were on her neck, under the blouse.

“All of the guys I talked to—every one of them, Lindsay—told me they eventually received some sort of sexual gratification from her.”

His hands moved down Lindsay’s chest until reaching the kıbrıs escort first button of her blouse. He opened it casually.

“Sometimes it was as little as a feel under her skirt, or a touch of her breast.”

At the moment he said it, Oster’s fingers slid on top of Lindsay’s breast and under the thin material of her bra. Lindsay made no attempt to continue taking notes. Her heart pounded and she feared he HAD to feel it.

“The lucky ones, Lindsay—the ones she really, really needed something from—got more.”

Both of Oster’s hands were inside her bra, the fingers searching out and finding her nipples. He squeezed them and pinched them tighter when Lindsay let out a gasp. She tried to will them not to harden, but her body revolted and Oster felt the buds grow stiffer.

“It’s hard to say who got the better of these deals, Lindsay. Certainly, Caroline Hunter was a sex addict and conniving manipulator of men. But the men clearly gained as well. Need I explain?”

Caroline shook her head, all but unable to speak. Oster kneaded her breasts one last time before pulling out his hands and re-buttoning her blouse.

“So, you see, Lindsay, Caroline Hunter was not the little angel she may have appeared to be,” Oster said, returning to his chair and looking the reporter in the eyes for the first time since the groping.

Lindsay screamed at herself inside for allowing it to happen. However, the moisture in her pussy screamed something else. The aching nipples bulging against her bra said even more.

“How many men and who were they?” she asked in a weak voice.

Oster smiled in a manner that Lindsay knew foretold a non-answer was imminent. “Ah, if I only could. Perhaps we need to meet again someday, Lindsay.”

So many things flashed through the young reporter’s mind that she could hardly keep up with them. This story could make or break her career. She needed this guy to talk. But what was she willing to pay for it? Could she separate her personal feelings from her professional responsibilities?

“Perhaps,” she finally answered. “Can I call you if I have follow-up questions?”

“I’m sure you will,” he said with confidence.

She hated him. She hated his power. She hated how he had touched her. She hated the fact she wanted to call him as soon as she got back to her desk.


Lindsay spent one more day attempting to find somebody, anybody willing to fill in more details about Caroline Hunter. Or possibly, but not likely, confirm Charles Oster’s claims. It became evident to her that Oster was, in fact, her primary source at the moment. The good and bad aspects of that fact weighed heavily on her mind.

She could simply follow the legal proceedings and write a series of perfectly acceptable stories regarding Hunter’s indictment and trial; or, she could chase Oster deeper into the inner workings of Lilt. But at what cost?

As it became obvious that the other executives, including the entire Board of Directors, were not going to be as forthcoming as Oster, the question kind of answered itself. She needed him.

“Charles Oster, please,” Lindsay said when she made the call.

“Who may I tell him is calling.”

“Lindsay Callahan of The Journal.”

“One moment please.”

The music lasted less than a minute. “Hello, Lindsay.”

The friendly tone of his voice should not have surprise Lindsay. But it did and she stumbled on her response.

“Uh, hello Mr. Os…Charles. Thank you for taking my call.”

“It must be important,” he said with sincerity that sickened Lindsay. “What can I do for you?”

“I’d like to schedule a second meeting with you if I can?” she said.

She could have sworn she heard him smile that revolting smile.

“I’ll have to check my calendar, Lindsay. What do you want to discuss?”

“Caroline Hunter.”

Oster countered with, “What more is there to say?”

“To be honest, Charles, nobody will confirm your story. Don’t worry. I never mentioned your name, but the gist of your accusations have been unsubstantiated so far,” Lindsay said, gaining confidence. “I need names and places. I need facts, Charles.”

“You’re asking me to rat on some of my best friends and colleagues, Lindsay,” he said.

“Bullshit!” Lindsay exclaimed, deciding to risk it all but suspecting Charles Oster wasn’t going anywhere. “You can either give me more details or you can wait for it all to come out in Hunter’s trial. She’s ready to lay this in your lap and you know it.”

The pause was brief. “It’s not my lap she laid in. But if you want to meet, we can discuss that.”

She didn’t believe him for an instant, but if she could get just one confirmable story out of him it would be worth it.

“So what does your calendar look like?” she asked.

Lindsay heard him pounding on the keyboard of his computer. A few seconds later he said, “Tuesday afternoon. One o’clock. But it has to be my place. I don’t trust anybody, anywhere at this point.”

Lindsay’s heart was in her throat. The consequences seemed clear, but the choice was even more obvious.

“Give me the address,” she said.

When it seemed the conversation was ending, Lindsay added: “I want a specific name of a specific Lilt executive who did a specific thing with Caroline Hunter so that one of them gained something substantial.”

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