Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to dootherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, todo what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.
Look, people need to conform the external reality they face daily with this subjective feeling they likewise experience constantly. To do this they have two options. First, they can achieve what passes for great things. Now the external reality matches their feeling; they really are better than the rest and maybe they'll even be remembered as such. These are the ambitious people, the overachievers. These are also, however, the people who go on these abominable talk shows where they can trade their psychoses for exposure on that box, modernity's ultimate achievement. Not that this tact, being ambitious, is not the preferred course of action. The reason is it's the equivalent of sticking your neck out which we all know is dangerous. Instead many act like they have no ambition whatsoever. Their necks come back in and they're safe. Only problem is now they're at everyone else's level, which we've seen is untenable. The remedy of course is that everyone else needs to be sunk. This helps explain racism's enduring popularity. If I myself don't appear to be markedly superior to everyone else at least I'm part of the better race, country, religion et cetera. This in turn reflects well on my individual worth. There are other options, of course. For example, you can constantly bemoan others' lack of moral worth by extension elevating yourself. Think of the average person's reaction to our clients. Do these people strike you as so truly righteous that they are viscerally pained by our clients' misdeeds or are they similarly flawed people looking for anything to hang their hat on? The latter obviously, they're vermin.
What do you know about me, Isabeau?" He leaned forward, and I forced myself to stay still instead of shying away. He was so close that I could smell the subtle notes of his cologne: musk and wood with a hint of leather. What did he want me to say? That everyone said he was an ogre? Or that they all wanted to sleep with him anyway?"I...""Go on. You won't hurt my feelings." He was still smiling, slight dimples visible in both cheeks. The sight was destracting, to say the least."I know that you're the youngest CEO and partner in the company's history, and I know that you earned the spot by working your way up after graduate school instead of using your inheritance as a crutch.""Everyone knows that. What do you know about me? The real stuff. None of this press release bullshit."I looked down at my hands, anything not to have to look up at his face so close to me. "Um. People say... they say that you're scary. And that your assistants don't last long."He laughed, a deep, warm sound that seemed to fill up the office. I glanced up to see him smirking at me. I relaxed my grip on the desk a little. Maybe I wasn't being fired after all."What else do they say?"Oh, God. He can't possibly want me to tell him everything. Does he? The look on his face confirmed that he did. It was clear by the way he looked at me that I wasn't leaving this office until I gave him exactly what he wanted."They say. Um... They say that you're very, uh, good looking... and impossible to please.""Oh they do, do they?" He sat back, and tented his fingers beneath his chin. "Well, do you agree with them? Do you think I'm scary, handsome and woefully unsatisfied?"My mouth dropped open, and I quickly closed it with a snap. "Yes. I mean, no! I mean, I don't know..."He stood, then, and leaned in close, towering over me. "You were right the first time."Anxiety coursed through me, but I have to admit, being this close to him, smelling his scent and feeling the heat radiating off his body, it made me wonder what it would be like to be in his arms. To be his. To be owned by him...His face was almost touching mine when he whispered to me. "I am unsatisfied, Isabeau. I want you to be my new assistant. Will you do that for me? Will you be at my beck and call?"My breath left me as his words sunk in. When I finally regained it, I felt like I was trembling from head to toe. His beck and call."Wh-what about your old assistant?"Mr. Drake leaned back again and took my chin in his hand, forcing my eyes to his. "What about her? I want you."His touch on my skin was electric. Are we still talking about business? "Yes, Mr. Drake."His thumb stroked my cheek for the briefest of moments, and then he released me, breathless, and wondering what I'd just agreed to.