THE ATTORNEYS: MR. LEVIN

I do not wish to insinuate that rape is sexy because it is not. It is a violent act and should be reported officially. This is a work of fiction.

 

My working office is a magnificent gallery with white marble floors, floor to ceiling ionic columns, and a gigantic crystal chandelier that reflects itself in an enormous mirror behind my desk.

There are two managing partners at Roberts Seterling & Levin. I was introduced to Martin Roberts the day I first sat on my throne in this posh reception room.  Mr. Roberts is a powerful man and a kind man. It is my job to order luncheon for his most prestigious clients. Many of whom fly in from the East Coast.

I’ve met hundreds of wealthy powerful men sitting at this desk. I’m the receptionist they had dreamed of. Everyone says so. I pride myself that I easily manage to handle the message center for forty attorneys.  After all, I had managed a successful Real Estate office with the infamous Macinerny brothers. This was a piece of cake.

Every Friday evening the firm holds a wine and cheese in the conference room for the staff, secretaries, paralegals, attorneys and young interns.  It is an opportunity to chat and get to know the men and women who run the place. It is at one of these casual meetings I got to know some fascinating persons who would become friends and others who seemed untouchable.

Martin Roberts is a collector of rare art from the early 20th century that was deemed degenerate by the Nazis, and so, there was a third floor in this high rise that housed his art collection. His young personal curator oversees it. It was at one of the wine & cheese events that I got to know her.  After all, I have lived with the art in my grand office and ask questions often because she’s writing a book about the collection.

“I’ve noticed you change the art in the reception room once monthly, why do you do that?”

“Did you ever wonder why your office lights are so dim?” she smiled.

I shook my head.

“The art is fragile, and harsh light can fade it, so you get a whole new collection to enjoy every thirty days,” she said taking a sip of Chardonnay.  “Would you like to come up and meet the collection sometime?”

“Oh yes, I think I’d like to be an artist someday.” My face felt hot because I was thinking probably everybody says something dumb like that to her.

But honestly, this was the best part of being employed by the firm for me. I loved my environment. I think she sensed that and invited me for lunch upstairs the following Monday.

In truth, she disclosed that Mr. Roberts owned the largest collection of German Expressionism in the world!

Mr. Roberts stopped at my desk Monday morning,  “I understand you’re interested in my collection.”  

I smiled, “It’s magnificent!” 

“In that case, Samantha, We’re mounting a show at Barnsdale Park Exhibition Center this month and  I’d like you to host it for me.”

Not Hostess, which I loved.

“If you agree, I will ask you to stand in the entrance,  greet, and welcome the guests who will arrive by invitation only.”

I had no way of knowing that this day would be the very beginning of my art career that has kept me enthralled for decades!

“My partner,  Levin will be overseeing the evening. If you have any questions or needs, he’ll be available to assist you.”

I had mixed feelings about Mr. Levin. Sure, he was tall and handsome strolling in his two thousand dollar suits, and he could have been the picture of elegance if not for his arrogance. It was his certainty that he could seduce me that turned me off.  Mr. Levin thinks he can order me to do a task for him and never say a word of thanks.  His secretary tells me he’s a difficult man to please.  It is obvious he thinks I am beneath him, therefore I should behave accordingly and crave to do his bidding.  

But I couldn’t bring this up here and now with Mr. Roberts.  I was sure there would be some perks rewarded me if I took advantage of this offer.

There are forty attorneys here, and I know each one by name and extension number. I had so far achieved an excellent reputation which is understood because I am treated with great respect. Trouble is, in my book Mr. Levin is a real ass.

I didn’t own a car and Mr. Roberts is aware that I ride a city bus from the corner of Palm Drive in the morning, twelve blocks to the corner of Wilshire and Beverly Drive.  

He smiled, “Levin will drive, of course.”

I was enjoying the event, but it had turned into a difficult evening, standing on my feet in high heels trying to be attentive to the guests who were gulping down champagne and Hordervese.  Adam Levin was drinking his share of it and he was getting a little too flirty.  I stayed well away from him, letting him Schmooze with the higher echelon.

When the evening was over he seemed to be walking okay, but I ask anyway, “Are you okay to drive?”

He takes great offense at the idea that he might be drunk which awakened his sinister ego, and  growled, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

He wasn’t acting any more of an ass than usual, so I  let it go.  Arguing the question would be way too offensive to him, and I may just risk being left here to find my own way home.  

When he pulled up in front of my apartment he insisted on taking on the gentlemanly task of walking me up. I lived in a sweet Deco architectural building with all the apartments enclosed in an upstairs hallway.  I unlocked my door and stepped in. Unfortunately, he tried to do the same.

I sighed, realizing immediately I should not have let him up here, “I’m very tired, and “thank you for walking me up.”  He took a step forward, his body inside the doorway, “You don’t really want me to leave, do you?”  I said, “Yes, go, please”.

He took a step forward, his body inside the doorway, “You don’t really want me to leave, do you?”  

I said, “Yes, go, please”.

 He wouldn’t let me shut the door like some six-foot-two door to door salesman his fingers holding onto the top of the molding with his foot in the door. I wondered exactly how much champagne he’d had to drink because this angered him.  

I was weary, asking myself How in the world did I get into this situation? That’s when he swung in and tried to force me to kiss him.  I turned my head away.  He took my jaw in his hand and held hard, “You know you want me, stop playing coy”.  

“What is this a film noir clip?  Get the fuck out!”

I sighed and looked him in the eyes,  “Please Adam, I only want to get some sleep.”

I don’t know why I thought using the word please would mean anything, or that I could talk sense into a drunk.  It shouldn’t have surprised me at all when he took hold of my wrists and forced me down on my sofa, unzipped his fly and pressed my dress up around my waist. He tore my underwear off and slammed into me hard while I tried to free myself, but I was pinned down and helpless.

He finished fast and passed out with his full weight on me. I just lay there waiting, trying to breathe. I tried pressing on his heavy shoulders, but couldn’t budge him.  I realized I should have screamed, but it happened so fast I was paralyzed.  I tried scratching him with my nails, and finally, he moaned, came to and moved off me, stood, zipped his trousers, went out the door.

The rape infuriated me. How could I sleep?  

I didn’t sleep. All I could think of was I have to go to the office in the morning. I tried to forget, pretending it didn’t happen.  But I started worrying. How could I show up at the firm after what he’d done? How could he? If I blow the whistle he could surely ruin me. One lie from Levin and I could lose my job.

I was still in shock when my phone woke me at 3 AM. I picked it up.

Levin’s voice on the line, mumbling, no, he was crying softly like a child and blithering, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you…you’ve got to forgive me!”

We have to forget this? Forgive and forget?  Was he nuts? Then it hit me, the son of a bitch realizes  I’m in a position to scream rape.  It was rape!  Oh my god, I thought, I have his cum in me!

I asked myself, So who is the powerful one now? If even one of my neighbors heard us standing in the doorway, me telling him to get out, and his masculine voice refusing–he was toast!

It came to me that he was more worried than I was; that I did have the upper hand. But I was nervous, not at all confident when I arrived at my desk the following morning where a large box with a white bow sat. From Adam of course. What a dope he was. I dumped it in the trash. Later that afternoon a bouquet of tiny pink roses with no card also went in the trash. The worst that could happen was if I actually reported him. In my experience, a woman who cries rape is considered a suspicious person. I couldn’t tell anyone yet, and that meant he could continue to taunt me. But  I was now very sure he was more worried than I was, especially since his wife is one of the attorneys at the firm.

 Adam stayed clear of me for a while after that. 

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