The time display on Janna’s computer screen hit 10:30 a.m. Janna finished scanning the paper file in front of her and lay it down. It was time for a break. She pushed away from her cubicle desk, and swung the chair around to rise.

As she did so she realized, too late, that she should have stood up before turning around. Dale, in the cubicle across from hers, was sneaking a quick peak at her, obviously hoping to catch a flash of something between the gap in her thighs. The unusually short skirt Janna had chosen to wear that day left a lot of thigh uncovered, and it promised more of a flash than usual. But Janna, accustomed to her neighbor’s frequent ogling, held her legs closed, and she rose from her chair without giving anything away.

Janna’s ogler was known in the office as Dateless Dale. He had a soft, shapeless sort of body, and a skin tone that suggested he did not get out much. He often complained about not getting dates, but his hygiene and clothing choices showed he was not trying very hard.

Moving away from her cubicle, Janna strode quickly to the exit of her firm’s office and opened the door. It closed behind her with a heavy clunk. She had waited too long, and the need to pee was growing uncomfortable. Given the choice, she would have gone to the bathroom half an hour earlier. But her boss, Roger, had insisted that she finish looking over the accounts receivable for the Winchester Realty report, so she had sat at her desk dutifully for the past half hour, her legs crossing and recrossing with increasing urgency as the minutes ticked along and the pages of the report flipped by.

Janna worked as an accountant at Bowlevin & Associates, a prosperous accounting firm of about 30 employees. The firm’s offices occupied the south end of a sprawling, nondescript two-story office building of the kind that littered this part of the city. Janna had arrived at the firm five years ago, just out of college, skilled with numbers and brimming with enthusiasm and ambition. As a new employee at the firm she had been tasked promptly with the job of managing and auditing the books of mostly small- to medium-sized businesses of different kinds.

Janna had earned good reviews for her work, but the chief reward for her success had been an ever-growing pile of files on her desk. The small increase in her bonus pay had been offset by the decrease in time to spend it.

Janna valued her success at her job, but the long hours had taken a toll on her personal life, and, especially, on her sex life.

How long had it been since she had had sex? Janna wondered as she walked down the carpeted hallway. Six months? Did Bill count? She did not think so. She had only dated him four times, and the last time she vaguely remembered removing her skirt and bra in a stupor brought on by an excess of very strong drinks at a local dive bar. She had blurry memories after that of being sprawled over a black sofa at Bill’s apartment, her mouth half-heartedly working its way up and down the shaft of his semi-hard and unimpressive penis. She was reasonably certain his cock had not gotten anywhere close to between her legs. Whatever had happened, it had not been memorable. That was the last date with Bill.

Since then, her love life had been like a vast desert – dry, featureless, and with no relief in sight. She had had three initial dates through an online dating service, but they hadn’t gone anywhere. The last date had been kind of cute, and had even asked at the end of their dinner at a trendy Thai restaurant if she wanted to come back to his place for a drink, but she had said no. And that was the last she had seen of that cute date.

She had said no. That was her problem: she was always saying no.

Janna had no obvious physical defects. She was five feet, five inches tall, with brown straight hair that she was careful to maintain just past shoulder length. She looked young for her 27 years. She had a trim but shapely figure, a pretty face, and medium brown eyes that spent most of their time behind a pair of steel rim glasses.

The glasses, unfortunately, reinforced an image that Janna guessed presented itself to the world as prim. She did not look like the type to cut loose. She dressed stylishly but conservatively.

Her conservative style, she had to admit, mirrored a conservative manner. Janna was not a prude; she liked sex, and she thought, from the little feedback she had gotten, that she was good at it. But Janna tended to put men through a gauntlet of questions and delays before they could get her into the bedroom and out of her panties. She was always wondering what might go wrong, how the process of shedding clothes and offering up her body might compromise her. She silently subjected her dates to excessive critiques over minor flaws. This one had eyes too close together. That one took too long to calculate the tip for a bar tab. The result of her dates’ fumbling overtures and Janna’s severe scrutiny was too often the same: it amounted to telling them no. Sensing that life was short and that getting into Janna’s panties would take up too much of it, they moved on.

Her habit of saying no extended beyond just turning men down. Over the past few years she had turned down opportunities and avoided situations that she worried would in some way or another risked compromising her position and her reputation. Six months earlier she had said no to three girlfriends that wanted to take he to a male strip club. She had passed up a few recent invitations to have drinks after work with co-workers or friends, where the agenda would have been talking about men or meeting men. During the previous summer, she had avoided the firm’s pool party because she did not want to expose her body in a swimsuit to the men in the office. She had developed an aversion to putting herself in situations where she might feel that men had her at a disadvantage. In lots of little ways that added up over time, Janna had taken herself out of the game of meeting, much less having sex with, men.

So, despite her longing for sex, she had not had any in a while.

Janna found a little solace in erotic fiction. In the last few months she had plowed through half a dozen novels she had downloaded to her Kindle. All of them were variations on the same theme: young, inexperienced women surrendering their bodies to powerful, dangerous, dominant men. Janna found herself drawn to this type of story but also found herself wondering why. She supposed it was because the heroines’ experiences were so unlike her own. They appealed to her for opening her to a forbidden and unfamiliar world.

After a while, though, so much reading about sex did not satisfy her as much as frustrate her.

Just the night before, she had curled up under the covers of her bed, and she had begun reading her latest novel under the yellow glow of the lamp on the night stand. The book was about a young, innocent school librarian named Serena who traveled to an exotic island and became the sex slave of a rich, powerful man named Max. One of Max’s rules for Serena was that she must always say yes to whatever he asked of her, or their relationship must end. Over the course of the story he pushed her willingness to say yes to him further and further. Last night Janna reached the point in the story where Max insisted that Serena accompany him to a small dinner party – completely naked. For reasons Janna could not completely understand, this part of the story aroused her intensely, and as she read about Max showing off the timid but excited Serena to his friends Janna found her hand sneaking its way under the pink cotton boy shorts she had worn to bed. Her finger began touching the folds of skin between her legs and then circling her clit as she scrolled through the words.

Finally, she had to put the Kindle down, and with her free hand she reached under her tee shirt and began pinching her left breast while continuing to touch herself below. She went on in this way for only a few minutes when her body lightly shuddered with a small but pleasant orgasm. It was satisfying, but only for a moment. Janna wanted more than just book sex and masturbation. She wanted the real thing. What to do?

It was too late to call a girlfriend, and she had no idea what she would have asked a girlfriend if she had called her. But there was always the Internet.

Janna pulled the covers back and jumped out of bed. She walked over to the small desk on the other side of her bedroom and turned on the desktop computer.

She opened her browser. She thought for a moment about what she wanted to know. It was hard to put into words. After about a minute of thinking she entered “How does a girl get more sex?” into the search bar.

The results popped up immediately. There were 117,000 of them. Janna started scrolling.

As usual with the Internet, there was no end of advice or information, and there was very little way to tell whether any of it was any good. Most of it looked ridiculous.

She clicked on a link to a site that told her what to say to a man in a bar. It recommended clever lines she could not imagine herself saying.

She clicked on a link to a site that offered advice on how to dress to attract a man. It advised women to aim for the “sweet spot” in how they dressed – to be sexy, but not too slutty. Revealing without exposing too much. After a few minutes of reading a lot of “this, but not that” sort of advice she got confused and bored and moved on.

She clicked on a link to a site about the joy of submission. It praised the virtues of letting a man dominate her. It told her that to be a real woman she needed to let a man be her master. The site featured lots of photos of women tied up with their legs spread open, and of men cropping, spanking, and fucking the women. Janna found herself to be quite turned on, but she could not figure out a way to apply any of the lessons of the site to her situation. She thought it might be interesting to let a man be her master, at least for a little while, but to put the lessons of the site to practice she would have to find an eligible, attractive man with ropes and crops and paddles, and she did not know where to find him.

The last site she looked at had a title that caught her eye: justsayyes.com.

The photo on the home page was glossy and professional-looking, and very erotic. It showed a woman with long blonde hair, completely nude and sitting on the edge of a bed, her face and front turned away at a 45-degree angle from the camera’s point of view. Her hands rested on the bed behind her, her knees were up and apart, and her feet were perched on the edge of the bed. Across the room from the her, slightly out of focus, a man in a black suit was entering a door and looking directly at the woman on the bed. Janna stared for a minute at the photo, thinking to herself that she could not remember the last time she had offered a man such a bold and obvious invitation. Then she clicked on a link that took her to more information about the website and its message.

“Ladies,” it said, “Are you not getting enough attention? Enough sex? Are you tired of ending up at home alone and only dreaming about being in the arms of a hot guy?”

Well, I guess so, thought Janna.

“Just follow this program,” it continued. “The key to more sex and better sex is this: Stop saying “no”!

“Don’t deny yourself,” the site said. “Unlock your inner slut and say yes when the opportunity arises.”

“Just say yes!”

“Be alive to your opportunities as a woman and embrace them!”

“Following this one piece of advice will lead you out of frustration into a paradise of sexual fulfillment. Ecstasy awaits you!”

There was a lot more of this sort of thing, but Janna did not have to read it all to get the point.

She clicked on the link to “Testimonials.” One was by Ann, age 33. Ann wrote that she had gone without sex for over a year before trying the Just Say Yes method. Then, once she tried it, and let her inner slut out, she had all the sex she could handle. Just the other day she had gone to a bar and let a dark-haired man she had never met before named Ramon take her to the alley behind the bar, push her against the wall, and fuck her from behind. Now that she had let her inner slut out of the bottle, Ann wrote, she was never going to put it back in.

Janna was reasonably certain that her inner slut, such as it was, was buried deep. In fact, she was not sure she even had an inner slut. But after all the reading she had to admit that she was feeling horny, and that she badly wanted more sex. She supposed she could relax her caution and prudence a bit and have more fun. Although the idea of always saying yes to a man and letting one’s inner slut run free did not strike Janna as a sound life plan, she thought she could loosen up a little.

She yawned. It was late. Tired of reading about how her sex life could be better, Janna turned off the computer and headed to bed.

The next morning, Janna woke up, got out of bed, and headed to the bathroom. She looked at herself in the full-length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door. In her skimpy boy shorts and tight tee shirt and no bra, she knew she was sexy. She should be having more sex. She thought more about the web site she had viewed. Just Say Yes. Well, she thought, she was not quite ready to say yes to everything. But saying no a little bit less often might be a good start. How to do that?

Janna mulled that question over as she had breakfast.

In the shower, Janna decided she would get the day off to a sexier start with sexier grooming. First, she shaved her legs and underarms completely. Then she turned her razor to the more challenging area between her legs. Janna typically kept things tidy and trim down there, but not totally shaven. She opted for totally shaven this time, and went to work with short, careful strokes. After shaving off all the hair around her butt and labia, she started on the discrete triangle of short hair on her pubic mound. In a few strokes the hair was gone. Janna was completely bare, for the first time in a very long time.

Janna left the shower, toweled off, and headed back to her bedroom. Now it was time to dress.

Being a realist, and knowing that none of the men at her firm appealed to her sexually, Janna knew that how she dressed for work was unlikely to have any impact on her sex life. But it was the principle of the thing. For a day, at least, she was determined to change her attitude, and to dress in a style that said “yes” a little more, and “no” a little less.

Rummaging through her closet and dresser, Janna decided to try something a little more daring than usual. Lying at the bottom of a stack of humdrum work skirts in her dresser drawer was a skirt she had bought six months earlier but never worn. It was a black, A-line, wool skirt, and she had snatched it off the store shelf because it had been on sale. The hem fell a few inches above the knee, noticeably shorter than anything else she wore to work, and for that reason she had not worn it yet. But today she was being bold. She took it out of the dresser and tossed it on the bed.

Next up was the panty selection. Usually, in Janna’s mind, a shorter skirt warranted more conservative panties, just in case a careless instance of crossing legs or getting out of a car resulted in an unintentional flash. But today, with the words “Just Say Yes” flashing in her mind, Janna decided to do the unusual. Her hand bypassed more conservative choices and selected a baby-blue, gauzy, filmy thong. It was not quite see-through, but it was close. And in the light, it gave off a slight sheen. With this skirt and panty combination, a little carelessness could give a coworker a memorable view.

Let them enjoy it, she thought.

To complete the ensemble, she chose a white lacy bra, and white long-sleeve blouse with a moderate V-neck collar and black buttons down the front. She quickly dressed and slipped her feet into her favorite three-inch-heel black pumps. She turned to look at herself in the full-length mirror in her bedroom. She took a moment to appraise herself. The skirt was a good two inches farther above her knee than the shortest skirt she had ever worn to work before. She felt a moment’s hesitation. Could she do this? Yes, she thought. Just say yes!

On that positive note, she headed off to work.

A few hours later, having completed the tasks for Roger and now walking briskly to the office bathroom with an uncomfortably full bladder, she mused about whether the sexier outfit had made any difference. Well, it had caught Dateless Dale’s attention. Although Janna had no interest in Dale she had to admit she had not minded the peeks he had snuck at her bare legs. She also had caught Roger sneaking a glance or two at her smoothed, shaved legs as he went over her assignments. Janna was not at all interested in Roger, since he was two inches shorter than she was, 20 years older, and married, besides, but on this day at least she enjoyed his glances. She almost felt her legs tingle at being stared at.

The building that housed Janna’s firm had two long, narrow wings set perpendicular to each other and joined by a central open, two-story atrium with large windows and glass doors on either side. The bathrooms were on the other wing, just across the atrium, so she had to walk over half the length of the building to get to them. She moved briskly along the hallway.

As she neared the bathroom, she looked up and noticed a tall, slender figure approaching her from the opposite end of the hallway. She did not know the man, but she had seen him before, either in the hallway or getting out of his car when she happened to show up at work at the same time he did. He was not the kind of guy you noticed right away. He was good looking, with clear, blue eyes, a thin waist, and pleasantly broad shoulders. But his face carried no hint of swagger, or danger, or romance. He had never flirted with her. On the contrary, on the few occasions Janna had noticed him he had always looked preoccupied by something. Today, she had to admit, he was looking good in black slacks and a cornflower blue shirt. She thought he probably worked at the insurance company on the other end of the building. To date Janna and this man had never exchanged words. As she looked up at him she wondered if they might do so today.

As she approached him, Janna felt a flicker of interest. She wondered if he had noticed her before. She suppressed a smile as she suddenly felt glad her skirt was shorter than normal.

~ Tom.~

It was 10:30 a.m., and Tom had lost count of the papers that had crossed his desk that morning.

I am the paper-pushing king, he thought.

He stared at the insurance forms in front of him. He was having trouble concentrating. He thought that if he stared any harder at the paper in his hand it might burst into flame. Well, no, it almost certainly would not, he thought, but I probably would get so fed up staring at it I’d set a match to it in frustration.

With his left thumb and forefinger, he tugged at a rubber band that was wrapped tightly around his right index finger. He pulled it back and let it go, savoring the short, sharp pain as the rubber snapped against his skin. Tom used the rubber band from time to time during the day as a way of jolting his mind out of the thick, dull state it entered after too much time staring at insurance papers.

The sound of rubber smacking skin made him think of something else, too: the bondage porn website he had been visiting at night in his apartment recently. He had found the site for the first time only two weeks earlier. Tom had had no personal experience of any kind with bondage or dominance and submission games. The dominant flavor of his own sexual life had been vanilla. But after years of sex that was not quite as frequent and not quite as interesting as he would have liked, Tom had grown bored of vanilla. He was willing to try new flavors.