Ms. Terri Carter was a somewhat successful woman. Head of her department in the world wide agricultural conglomerate, Torres Industries, she ruled with a firm hand and an eagle eye.
Her department was housed on the eighteenth floor of the Torres building in Atlanta, and was largely independent in that the bulk of their work was done over the vast computer network that connected the various Torres enterprises all over the planet.
Terri, when she became department head the year before, had reorganized the place to her exacting standards and had all but essential supporting walls removed from the entire floor, giving anyone the ability to take in the entire department at a glance. Only the bathrooms offered any sense of privacy. Terri Carter's desk though was the ultimate change. Raised on a dais so that she could look over the shoulders of everyone in the room, she reigned as if on a throne, her employees her subjects. You couldn't sit anywhere except on the pot or in reception, and not see Ms. Carter staring back at you. It was a sight that wasn't so bad, really, once you got used to the glare of her expression. Her jet-black hair fell straight and true, framing a pale, round face with huge eyes that had drawn many a man to his romantic death. Her figure was designed by the Gods and maintained by an hour in the gym every night and not, as some of the more jealous women in the department had speculated, by the plastics division of Torres Industries.
No one in the department dared to approach her with any romantic intentions however, for the series of failed conquests attempted on Ms. Carter by others outside the company were well documented and well gossiped. It wasn't that she was an ice queen; it was just that no man was good enough for her...which led to more speculation about the plastics division of Torres Industries.
Despite having spent ten years in the company, working her way up the corporate ladder, few other personal facts were known about their young boss. But there was one thing everybody knew about, her commitment to a local charity for feeding children of poor families. Knowing how bloody-minded Terri could be when pursuing a work problem, her coworkers had no doubt that her charity was doing fine as well; it wouldn't dare do otherwise. They were therefore surprised when one Monday morning she stood up to make an announcement to the entire department.
"I have here in my hand, a clip board," she said unnecessarily as she waved it around. "No doubt you have all heard about my charity work with the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy, and now is your chance to make a difference too!"
"Oh God," someone mumbled to their neighbor, "she's hitting us up for money."
That was exactly what she was doing, as she explained that she was going to do a pledge drive, and that to redeem the pledges she was going to run a personal marathon. "And I would...appreciate, strongly, your show of support in this," she went on, "by having you all sign up, pledging your monetary support for this worthy cause!" She added one of her famous glares and the line at her desk started forming. Her coworkers knew they wouldn't get a moment's piece until they signed up, and none of them wanted to be the ones she had to hunt down later for some personal encouragement.
By the end of the day however, Terri was all smiles. Everyone had signed up and by her calculations she would be earning around fifteen hundred dollars for the charity, for everyone pledged at least a dollar per mile, some even going as far as two dollars and a prized few pledged five. This was sure to get her in good with old Mrs. Mosbrucker, the head of the board at the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy. You see, this was Terri Carter's ultimate goal, to get on and eventually head the charity board so that she could determine who was to really get the food and who was just in need of a good kick in the pants to go find a job...the slackers.
All she needed to do was run her marathon, something she did for fun every year anyway, and she'd be leaving everyone else in the dust. So with pride she left work at the end of the day and headed to the offices of the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy in order to turn in her pledge sheet.
Her hopes got a dose of cold water though because her rival, Ms. Harriet Oswald, or "Harri" to her friends (of whom Terri wasn't one) was there turning in her charity pledge sheet. Harri was Terri's rival in that both wanted the coveted seat on the board that old Mrs. Mosbruker hinted would go to the leading pledge winner. Only Harriet's motivation was less altruistic, she only wanted the job because it would look good on her resume.
The cold water in question came as the secretary who took her pledge exclaimed to everyone one in the room, "Oh my God! Another one! I can't believe the amounts of money this pledge drive is raising this year!"
Harriet beamed but Terri asked suspiciously, "Why, how much has Harriet pledged?"
"At least five thousand dollars, if she makes it through her task! And she's not the only one, this is the fourth one today," said the secretary, happily signing off the pledge sheet and taking a copy.
Terri blanched. Five thousand! Her fifteen hundred look paltry compared to that.
"What are you doing to earn that much money?" she asked Harriet who looked at Terri with a smug expression.
"Oh, nothing much," she said, "just a charity boxing event. I used to box in college you know, female diamond gloves champion two years in a row! All I have to do is go the distance, and I get double if I win with a knockout!"
"Wow!" said everyone in the room.
"What are you doing?" Terri was asked.
"Er...running a marathon," she answered weakly.
No one looked that impressed.
"Can I have your pledge sheet, then, Ma'am?" the secretary asked her hand out. Terri froze. No way was she going to hand in such a poor list of pledges!
"I'm sorry, but I'm not ready to yet. I just wanted to...well, I'll be back tomorrow," she said as she turned and hurried out the door. She heard giggling behind her as she left, and vowed to wipe the smiles off those faces when she made the board. But first, she had to get her lazy co-workers to increase their pledges.
The next morning she put it to them all, berating them for being such cheapskates and stressing the needs of the children who would be fed with this money. But she could see that she wasn't getting through to the thirty-odd people that worked for her, and made the mistake of asking what she had to do to get them to increase their pledges.
"You could run it naked," said one wag in the back, "I'd pay to see that!"
The group laughed and Terri felt her face flush. "Definitely not," she said firmly, eliciting another laugh from the group.
"Pity, wild pledges are all the latest thing, these days," said one of the women.
"Oh yes, I heard of one in Charlotte the other month, that girl who ran around the raceway naked," another said.
"There was that guy, last year, who sat on top of that flagpole for a day," said a male voice, and the room was suddenly filled with tales of pledges past as everyone tried to talk at once.
Feeling that she was losing control, Terri called for quiet, but one voice she could never identify later, sang out with an idea that resonated with the group strongly.
"I heard of an office like ours in Sidney, Australia, where this woman pledged to spend a day naked with her coworkers...at work! They would pay for every hour she stayed naked."
The room went silent for a moment before someone said, "I'd pay for that."
"So would I," said someone else.
"Me too," said another.
"No," said Terri.
"Why not?" one of her closer associates asked her. "It's not like you will be out in public like on your run. It'll just be us...and this way we get to see you do your entire pledge!"
Terri flushed again. "I couldn't spend a minute naked with all of you, let alone a day!"
"It would certainly raise the money, wouldn't it lads," called out the wag in the back, and most of the men cheered.
One fellow stepped forward, his wallet in hand. "I'd pay ten dollars an hour to see you spend a day like that," he said, looking very serious indeed.
"Twenty, from me," said another, reaching for his.
"No...wait!" Terri called out as more verbal pledges were vocalized. She was about to call a halt to everything, but then the mental calculator in her head began adding up the numbers it had heard. If everyone pledged like amounts, then she would easily pass five grand in pledges...but all she had to do was spend a day here without clothes on.
Could she do it? Was her drive to join the board of the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy that strong? It wasn't as if she would be out in public or anything. Despite the fact that in some ways most of the worldwide communication for Torres Industries passed through this room, rarely did anyone actually have to physically visit this floor. And even if they did they didn't get past the walled off reception area by the elevators. Then she thought of Harriet, smiling at her from the board table at the next meeting for supporters of the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy, and Terri ground her teeth.
"Okay," she said, "I'll do it!"
Again the room was silent, for not many people thought that Ms. Terri Carter would actually consider doing it; but soon the silence was broken by a cheer, and someone asked when she would start.
"Tomorrow," Terri answered, just wanting to get it over with. "But you all keep quiet about this! I swear, if just one casual visitor stops by the office tomorrow, I'll fire the lot of you!"
There was silent assent.
"Paula, make me up a new pledge sheet, and I expect you all to contribute strongly this time," she said to her secretary, and everyone went back to work with a smile.
"You're not serious are you?" asked the secretary at the offices of the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy that very evening. "I thought you were running or something!"
Terri blushed, but held her ground. "I er... thought I'd do something with a little more... pep in it," she said.
"I'll say... look at these pledges! You have to have at least five grand here, maybe six... if you make it, and that's just for an eight hour day! Okay, we accept, and good luck!" she said, stamping it and taking a copy.
"Look, you will keep this confidential, won't you?" Terri asked.
The secretary smiled, and Terri knew she was out of luck.
So the next day she showed up at her office a little earlier than usual, hoping not to have too much of an audience when she finally committed herself, but to her horror she found almost everyone in her department already there, including Mr. Elton who was almost always five minutes late to work every day.
The group cheered at her appearance and all attention was on her as she made her way to her desk and put down her bag. No one was close enough to see the way she was trembling, or at least she hoped.
Paula, her secretary, held up the pledge sheet. "I found a couple more people to sign up, Ms Carter," she said with a smile. "Did you know that some people have pledged fifty dollars for every hour you do this?"
Terri nodded and tried to smile. "I knew, and thank you Paula. Well... I expect I should start. I'll just... go and get undressed," she said moving toward the bathrooms.
"Hold it!" said one of the men, "I think it's only fair we see you undress out here!"
"Why?" Terri asked, not willing to put on a show.
"We're putting up a lot of money for this!"
"And you're getting a lot in return, Mr. Cole!"
"Alright then... I'll double my pledge for the first hour if you undress here, in front of us... that is, if you make it through the first hour." His promise was echoed by several others and Terri swallowed nervously. Every increase meant her chances of winning grew better and better, but was this worth what she wanted out of it?
"It's not like we're not going to see you naked after, right?" said Cole with a smile.
Terri nodded and went back to her desk. But before she started she had to ask Paula something. "My schedule is clear today, right?"
"Nothing until tomorrow when you have that meeting with Mr. Torres and Mr. Nakusaka from Japan about the merger. Today is clear."
Terri nodded and took a deep breath, and reached for her buttons. Knowing what she had promised to do, she had dressed simply: a skirt, a blouse, sensible underwear and no pantyhose. Not much really but it felt like a suit of armor at that moment, keeping her safe from her very quiet co-workers who all watched intently. Even the women were interested, and Terri had hoped that at least one of them would have jumped to her defense and let her undress in the bathroom. But everyone watched as she undid all her buttons and pulled her blouse from out of her skirt. With one eye on the doors that led to the reception area and the elevators, and another anywhere but in her employees eyes, she pulled the front of her blouse open and let it slide down her arms.
She felt a tingle on her exposed skin and began to blush a little, even though she was showing no more up top than she would in a bathing suit. The thing was that she would never appear in a bathing suit with her coworkers. Well that was out the window now. Paula took the blouse and waited for her boss's next article of clothing, which was her skirt. Terri nervously undid the catch and zipper at the side and stepped out of it, revealing her high cut, yet sensible panties.
Now everyone could see properly the figure that was usually hidden under a full business suit, and many an eye regarded it with appreciation.
"Er," Terri said, reaching for her bra and stopping. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea."
"You're doing fine, Ma'am," said Paula gently, giving Terri an encouraging smile.
Terri smiled back, glad for the words, if not the sentiment, and with a deep breath she reached behind and deftly undid the clasp of her bra. She held it to herself for a moment before letting it fall into her hands, and without looking at anyone she handed it to Paula.
No one whistled or made a comment, for which Terri was really glad. She didn't know that Paula had contacted everyone and made them promise not to do anything that would spook her boss at the start. "Let her get used to it first," Paula had told them, "or you might make her stop before you get to see anything!"
So it was to a silent, but admiring audience that Terri finished her task, pulling her panties down and stepping out of them, to reveal her bikini cut. When she handed them over to Paula she felt like she was handing over her life, and she couldn't help putting an arm across her breasts and the other across her hips.
"Okay... now you've seen," she said, trying to control her voice and her embarrassment. "Start the clock and let's get to work."
"Er... no," said Cole, pointing at her feet. "Shoes too, and the clock doesn't start until they're off as well."
"But I can't walk around here without shoes!" Terri said, despising the habit some of her female co-workers had of taking their shoes off at their desks.
"You're going to be spending the day here wearing nothing else," said Cole.
Terri saw his point, and reluctantly kicked off her shoes, which Paula gathered up and took away quietly.
Cole looked at the clock and announced the start of the pledge time, and after a few moments of hesitation everyone returned to their desks to start another work day.
Hesitantly, Terri did the same, and it felt very odd to her to sit on her chair with absolutely nothing on. She had never felt the material that covered it in quite this way before, and it emphasized, rather than mitigated, her nudity. But at least she had her desk to hide behind, although her position on the raised dais was coming back to haunt her. Rather than give her the ability to keep an eye on everyone, she now felt on stage, able to be seen by everyone in the room, no matter where they were sitting. The affect was almost overwhelming and she had to fight the urge to run to the bathrooms where there was some privacy.
`Please God,' she thought, `let me get through this first hour without dying of embarrassment!' She knew that if she didn't at least get through the first hour, then all she had done so far would have been for nothing.
She tried to distract herself with work, and it was actually working although it was nerve racking when anyone came to her for something. She could feel their eyes traveling all over her body, even the women looked her over. To Paula's credit though, Terri's secretary was more attentive than usual, only letting up on the dais anyone who actually had a legitimate need to be there. As time went on, Terri became more and more thankful for this and vowed to give the girl a raise when all this was over.
Then there were the times when work forced her to leave her desk and walk among her subjects. Normally she did this with a haughty look or a stern smile, showing them that they had no secrets around her. But now it was her who hid nothing from them, and she was always aware of the eyes on her as she talked to this employee, or that one.
She was surprised though at one point, when she heard, "Ms. Carter?" from behind her.
Unable to identify who had spoken, she turned to see that it was Dylan Hite, one of their interns. The surprise came from hearing his voice, for she couldn't remember ever hearing him talk before. He did look awfully nervous though, and his eyes seemed to pass over her quickly before looking someplace else, and Terri was actually glad that someone in this office was as uncomfortable with this as she was. But she pulled herself together and tried to maintain her persona as the boss of this department.
"Yes, Dylan?" she said.
"Er," said the boy, "I just wanted to say... that you have very lovely legs... Ms. Carter."
Terri flushed, unused to such comments and well aware how he would know. But she decided to take the compliment as it was intended; after all she could hardly make a case for inappropriate office conduct with her walking around naked!
"Thank you, Dylan. That is most kind of you," she said.
Dylan smiled and relaxed a little. "That's okay, Ms. Carter. I just thought you should do this more often!"
Terri's amusement of the boy suddenly dimmed because of what he just said, and she was actually disappointed in the lad.
Dylan must have seen it on her face because he suddenly looked horrified himself and put his hands up. "NO! No... I didn't mean... No, Ms. Carter. I didn't mean this! I meant that... well... you're a very pretty lady but you always come in here dressed so tightly that... well... your beauty doesn't shine through as much. I just meant that... well..."
"Dylan, it's okay," said a relieved but still embarrassed Terri Carter. She put a hand on his arm. "I understand, and it's okay. Thank you."
Dylan smiled a nervous smile once more, and with a nod headed back to his own desk.
In thought, Terri stood for a moment before Cole came up behind her.
"He's right you know, in every way," he said softly.
Terri knew that somehow, Cole's comment wasn't as innocent as Dylan's looked to be, so without turning to look at the man, Terri went back to her desk.
And so the morning continued, and slowly but surely Terri began to adjust and brief moments would go by when she actually forgot she was nude, until she brushed a bare breast against the desk, or felt the air conditioning across her thighs.
`I can do this,' she thought, looking up to see that over three hours had gone by faster than she ever thought they could, and she began to look forward to lunch time, when she could dress and go down to the cafeteria for some much needed coffee.
"No, you can't do that, Ma'am," Paula said, when Terri voiced this particular thought to her a few minutes later. Everyone within earshot looked up.
"But... but I have to get dressed to go eat. I'll get undressed again as soon as I come back up and we can keep going," said Terri.
Paula shook her head sadly and showed Terri the pledge sheet. At the top was the detailed description of what Terri was pledging to do, which Terri had only scanned before signing and submitting it. What she had missed was the line that said that the minute she put anything on, her time would stop and the pledge would be over. So far she had only done a little under four hours, and if she stopped now she would never win.
Terri was shocked. "But, I need to eat. I can't spend a day up here living on water from the fountain!" It was Terri Carter's iron rule that no food or drink be brought into the office. Her excuse was that she didn't want the expensive computer equipment threatened by crumbs or spilt coffee, but the truth was she found eating at your desk to just be too tacky for words. She was regretting that now.
"Ma'am, you're going to have to, unless you want me to break your cardinal rule and bring something in for you," said Paula.
Terri shook her head slowly. She knew if she broke it for this, then other people would find reasons to do so and the rule would go out the window, but what else could she do, she was hungry and thirsty because she hadn't dared go bend over for a drink at the water fountain.
"There's the reception area," said Cole, walking up. "That is technically out of the office. We could get her something and as long as she sat there she would be able to eat all she wanted."
"I couldn't eat there, what if someone came up in the elevator?" exclaimed their boss.
Paula and Cole looked at each other and shrugged, and then stared at Terri.
Terri closed her eyes and felt the rumble in her stomach. "Just get me a salad and some coffee," she said finally, "and let me know when it gets here and I'll come out."
Cole struggled not to smile.
Terri paused at the door to the reception area but couldn't stop because people were behind her waiting to go to lunch. She felt someone bump into the back of her, their fully clothed body in full contact with her nude one, and she jumped into the reception area as if she had been shocked.
"Sorry," said one of the men in the group that was leaving, but Terri suspected that he had done it deliberately. Still, now she was standing naked in the public area of her floor, not something she had ever dreamed she would ever do. Waiting for her was Paula, who deposited a plastic container filled with greens and a large cup of coffee on the reception desk. Jill, the receptionist, eyed this with distaste, a distaste that continued on in her look at Terri Carter.
"Jill," said Terri, hungrily eyeing her food, "I need to use your desk."
"No Ma'am, you can't. I'm working!"
"What?" said Terri, not expecting this answer.
"Well someone has to answer the phones, and I can't do that if I'm not at my desk. You are perfectly free to sit in one of the other chairs in this room, Ms. Carter, but my desk is mine!"
Terri looked at the chairs scattered about for people who had to wait for someone. All were in full view of the elevators, as would she be if she used one. At least seated at the desk she would be half hidden if someone came up.
"I can't sit there," Terri said.
"And I can't leave the phones," Jill replied stubbornly.
"Okay, then I'll answer the phones!" said the nude woman.
Jill considered this, and nodded. She got up and Terri slid into her place, feeling somewhat odd as the chair warmed by Jill's body touched her skin.
Paula, seeing things had settled, headed back to the elevators.
"Where are you going?" Terri asked her.
"I have to run downtown for twenty minutes. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Jill picked up her handbag which she kept behind the desk. "Hold on Paula, I need to pick up something as well. I'll drive you."
"Sure Jill." And Terri watched open mouthed as the two women left her alone.
Everyone else was gone now, either down in the cafeteria on the twelfth floor or out of the building, and Terri was all alone, in the nude, and not entirely sure where her clothes were at that moment. It was frightening for her, and now that she had food she found her appetite dwindling.
She sat there for thirty minutes, during which time she didn't see a soul or answer the phone, when the elevator stopped at her floor, making Terri cringe behind the desk. It turned out to be her people and she actually sighed with relief. She tried to get someone from the group to take over watching the reception desk so she could go back into the more private area of the office, but everyone seemed to have a good reason why they couldn't. And as the arguments went on, the elevators kept coming, disgorging more and more of her people. The reception area was therefore unnaturally full of people when Terri heard a stern throat clearing behind her as she stood trying to talk Cole into working the phones.
A chill went down Terri's spine when she heard that cough, and Cole's widening eyes told her that what she'd heard was not in her favor. So she turned to see Alex Torres, the company president, standing behind her. Torres had a very surprised look on his face, and as Terri tried to shrink into the carpet, knowing her career had just blown up in her face, he couldn't help looking the striking woman over. It took a few seconds for his brain to catch up though, and for his mouth to form words he wouldn't stumble over in his surprise.
"What's going on here, Ms. Carter?" he asked her, his voice quite calm and in control.
"I... er," said the nude young woman, about to burst into tears and run hiding. But it was Cole who came to her defense.
"Mr. Torres, Ms. Carter is just trying to raise money for the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy," he said, and he went on to explain her pledge to remain nude at work, and showed the boss of bosses the pledge sheet.
Torres looked thoughtful as he paged though the list of pledges, before looking up at a thoroughly shamed Terri Carter. "I have to admit, I'm surprised at you, Ms. Carter," he said. "This isn't exactly the sort of thing I would expect of my department heads. But I am pleased that you have the gumption to take risks for something you believe in, and would only hope that you show that same gumption in your duties here at Torres Industries!"
"Yes, Mr. Torres," Terri replied, not able to articulate much more in her embarrassment.
Torres dug in a pocket and found a pen, which he used to write on the pledge sheet. He handed it back to Terri who glanced down at what he had written. "Five hundred dollars?" she said, astonished.
"For every hour of your pledge, Ms. Carter. It is a worthy cause," he said with a soft smile.
"Thank you... Sir," she replied, not believing that not only was he not going to fire her, but that he was going to join them in her pledge drive.
He took the clipboard back and looked at it again. "The reason I came down her was to pick you up for that meeting with Nakusaka."
"I thought that wasn't until tomorrow!"
"It was tomorrow, but he plans on flying back to Japan tonight, so we have to meet him now. We'll be going down to the Blue Oyster downtown," Torres said, casting an eye over the woman again.
"Oh! Oh... okay, then I guess my pledge is done. I'll have to get dressed for this."
"No you won't, Ms. Carter. I wouldn't dream of stopping you in your quest now. You can come as you are."
Terri was horrified. "I can't leave the office like this. Besides, it says that when I have to leave work, the pledge is over."
"But technically you won't be leaving work, Ms. Carter. This is a business luncheon and you are still on the clock, so you can continue as you are. Besides, we will be leaving through my private entrance and taking my Limo. Now, time to go, Ms Carter."
Terri tried to protest a few more times, and she looked to her coworkers for help, but they all stood silently as Terri was guided to the elevators by the head of the company and whisked away.
Standing in the elevator was pure torture for the woman, and she wondered what it was about Alex Torres that made her step into the elevator with him. The man had charisma that was for sure, but really!
Her heart almost stopped for sure though when the elevator came to a halt on the sixth floor. Three executives stepped onto the car in deep conversation, so deep that they didn't notice Terri standing there naked until the doors closed and the elevator resumed its journey. Only the presence of Alex Torres stopped them from making a scene about it.
Torres stared at them and handed them the clipboard with the pledge sheet on it. "I assume you gentlemen will contribute handsomely to this worthy cause," he said to them.
The executives glanced over the pledge sheet and with another incredulous look at Terri, who wanted nothing more than to melt into the side of the elevator, they took out their pens and added their names and pledges.
When the elevator hit the basement garage level, Torres and Terri were alone again, and Torres led the way, guiding Terri with a hand on her bare back, to his waiting limousine.
Terri couldn't believe she was about to do this, leave the building and her clothes behind. But she was lost in circumstances that had gone beyond her control, and moments later she was scrunched up on a leather seat as the car hit the city streets.
The Blue Oyster was one of the more expensive Japanese restaurants in town, and following directions, the limo driver pulled around to the side entrance to allow Terri a somewhat more discreet entrance. Inside however, she wasn't shielded at all from the dining rooms and in a state of permanent blushing she wondered just how many more people she would be exposed to before her day was done.
She and Torres were led however, into a private dining room where some of Torres' people were already waiting. With them was the Japanese shipping magnate, Hiro Nakusaka and his party, and as Terri padded into the room all conversation stopped.
Nakusaka himself got to his feet, his eyes on the nude woman, and with an effort he turned to Torres who looked as calm as ever.
"What is the meaning of this?" Nakusaka said, confused and angered by that confusion.
Torres bowed slightly before speaking in perfect Japanese. "No insult intended, Nakusaka-san. May I introduce Ms. Terri Carter, head of our computer department, and the prime force behind the merging of our two great database systems. You no doubt wish to know why she appears this way today."
"I do!" said one of the most powerful men in Japan.
Torres went on to tell Nakusaka about Terri's pledge to the Atlanta Food Back for the Needy and about all the children Terri hoped her efforts would feed, while Terri stood silent and nude, hoping this was all a bad dream. Torres then continued in English, saying, "I didn't ask her to stop or get dressed, just so you could see the quality of people that work for me!"
"I think we see that," said Nakusaka with a smile, his anger appeased, and the others in the room laughed.
Torres smiled too, a tight little smile, but he continued, "I didn't mean that, although there is no denying that Ms. Carter is quite lovely. I meant that here is a person willing to put her own embarrassment and discomfort aside to help those in need. Such a strong willed and yet compassionate woman is rare, yet I can honestly say that she embodies the spirit and drive of Torres Industries, and we are proud of her."
Nakusaka nodded and turned to face Terri fully. He then did her the honor of bowing to her, a big deal where he came from, and not knowing how else to respond, Terri bowed back.
"You honor us with your presence, Ms Carter," said Nakusaka with a smile. He then held out a hand to Torres, who placed the clipboard into it. One of Nakusaka's people handed him a pen, and Nakusaka himself entered a pledge. Before the meeting was over, every man there, for Terri was the only woman, had also entered a pledge of their own.
The ice broken somewhat, Torres and Terri joined the group and over Japanese delicacies details of the computer merger were discussed and decided upon, and even Terri managed to talk business, despite finding it odd kneeling nude at the low Japanese style tables. Much of the dealing was done in Japanese, which left Terri a little behind, but after two hours of haggling Torres and Nakusaka shook hands, smiling, and Terri knew it was up to the lawyers now to draw up the contracts.
Torres looked especially happy, and he took Terri's hand and kissed it. "You were especially important here today," he told her, looking into her eyes.
"I expect so, Sir," she replied, glancing down at her nude body.
"No, not because of that, but because of your integrity and business savvy. Mr. Nakusaka is most impressed and we have agreed that you will go to Japan to oversee the database merger and the overhaul of both their system and ours for maximum efficiency. You'll have a vice presidency waiting for you if you complete that successfully!"
Terri was astounded. "I... can't thank you enough for this!" she said, making plans in her head already for what she would have to do before she left, and what she would do when she returned.
Torres smiled. "Thanks are not needed, just your loyalty and your determination to get the job done right. Mr. Nakusaka and his party will be leaving for the airport in a few minutes so I'll make a call for someone to drop by your place for your passport and you'll be on your way!"
"Er... what?" said Terri, thinking she hadn't heard him correctly.
"We'll need to get your passport as you'll be leaving right away. Nakusaka said he wanted to take you with him now so there would be no delays, and I told him it was fine!"
"But... but... I don't have any clothes on!" she hissed into his ear, not willing to cause a scene in a public restaurant.
"I know that, and so does he. Don't worry about it, we'll see to it you don't break your pledge. This is a business trip so the company will be paying for every hour you are gone. You can consider yourself on the job 24 hours a day until you get back!"
Torres smiled. "Don't worry about your department either, we won't break them paying off their pledges. I doubt they budgeted past a normal eight hour work day; the company will cover their pledges as well beyond that time frame. You are going to raise a lot of money when all is said and done!"
"But I can't fly to Japan... naked!" said the nude woman, her horror mounting.
"Sure you can, Mr. Nakusaka has a private jet! Look," he said, looking deeper into her eyes, "I'm counting on you to make this work, Terri, you'll be our ambassador over there, and I expect you to carry the company torch and never let them forget you. Can you do that for me, Terri?"
Terri blinked, and then nodded, and before she knew it she was left naked in the company of Nakusaka and his people, and in a limousine on the way to the airport. No one said a word about her nudity, although everyone looked, and Terri arrived safely in Japan with no problems, wracking up pledge dollars all the way.
She stayed there for two months (incidentally missing the appointment to the board of the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy which was given to Harriet Oswald in Terri's absence), touring the Far East and all of Nakusaka's offices, port facilities and ships. She was wined and dined and treated very respectfully, and she pulled off the job of connecting and upgrading the two computer systems that Torres had entrusted with her, thereby ensuring that she made vice president.
But through all that time, no one dared allow her the failure of ending her pledge, for twenty-four hours a day she was technically still at work, and the Atlanta Food Bank for the Needy made a very handsome profit that year, the children of the city eating very well indeed.