“What,” Derek says when he picks up the phone, and then winces so hard that he gets a pinched nerve in his neck. Like clockwork—3pm rolls around, and it’s like the caffeine crash switches off his brain. “I mean. Sorry. Tech Support.”
“Ummm.” The voice on the phone sounds deeply skeptical. “I’m trying to reach YODAstyle?”
“YODAstyle, that’s us.” Derek rubs at the pain in his neck and tries to remember the call script. “Tech Support. Derek. Is my name.”
That’s it. Derek is swearing off caffeine forever. He doesn’t care how delicious the lattes in the employee lounge are.
“Are you even trying to follow your script?” says the caller derisively, and Derek hangs up and marks it down in his log as an accidental disconnect.
It’s his fourth ‘accidental disconnect’ of the day.
“Now that’s the kind of go-getter attitude you need to impress the higher-ups, Der-Bear,” says Erica, hooking her chin over the side of Derek’s cubicle. “No really, I’m inspired.”
“I’m not here to impress anyone.” Derek rubs his fists over his eyes until he sees spots. “I’m here to get through grad school. Fuck the higher-ups.”
“Yeah, fuck those guys,” says a cheery, familiar voice, and Derek spins slowly in his chair to find Stiles—Mr. Stilinski, the fucking CEO—leaning over the other side of his cubicle. “Ms. Reyes, lovely to see you as always, but when I promoted you to Supervisor that wasn’t an invitation to just abandon the sales floor to come bother Derek.”
Erica scoffs. “Why not? You’re always abandoning the executive wing to come bother Derek.”
Mr. Stilinski (“for God’s sake just call me Stiles”) is the 22-year-old CEO of YODAstyle, a company he created just a few years ago to distribute his (apparently revolutionary) qualitative research software. His story is the stuff of start-up legends: just one $10,000 loan from a rich high school buddy, and a year later he was being celebrated on the cover of TIME as “the next Zuckerberg.” (He was also featured as one of People’s “sexiest Billionaires Under 25,” which he seemed to find infinitely more exciting. He bought magazines for the whole staff, which is the only reason Derek still has that photo spread somewhere in his desk.)
Stiles can practically afford to buy out Google at this point, but he refuses to move the company out of its cramped offices in downtown Beacon Hills. He shows up every morning in garishly-colored skinny jeans and oversized plaid button-ups, and he randomly pops up in Tech Support to pester Derek at least once a day.
He drives Derek completely crazy.
“I didn’t know you were there,” Derek tells Stiles, joining the conversation way too late. “I was… concentrating.”
“Yeah, those accidentally-dropped calls sure are a bitch, right?” Stiles grins, getting up on his toes to pass a huge company-logo coffee tumbler over the cubicle wall. “I had the guys in marketing order this special. Fuel up, dude! I need you at least partially functional until six.”
Their fingers brush when Derek takes the mug. Stiles has really distracting fingers, long and mobile and always prodding around uninvited—curling around the top of Derek’s cubicle wall, or playing with the Rubik’s cube on his desk, or stroking against Stiles’ lips when he’s deep in thought.
Derek abruptly wants them on him, against his face and neck and running through his hair and trailing down his back and—
(So maybe he’s got a horrible crush on his obnoxious baby-billionaire boss, so what. He can work through it. He’s a professional.)
“You’re dripping coffee on your keyboard,” Stiles tells him, and Erica cackles while Derek swears and tries to dab it up with Post-Its. “Hey, Reyes, sales floor!”
“But the view’s so much nicer over here,” Erica says, going out of her way to walk behind Stiles on her way to the elevators. “Mmm-hmm. Gimme some fries with that shake, baby.”
“Put another dollar in the Sexual Harassment jar!” Stiles yells after her. He smiles wickedly down at Derek. “Like, all the dollars are from her; we’ve gotta be up in the high hundreds by now. I think I’m gonna use them to buy one of those adult bouncy castles for the company picnic, and she won’t be invited.”
Derek laughs—a pathetic, scratchy noise—and Stiles’ whole face goes soft.
“Hey, hey, stop that.” He scrambles into the cubicle and snatches the ruined keyboard out from under Derek’s hands. “I’ll have a new one sent up. And one of those spill-proof vacuum-sealed thermos things, maybe. Unless it’s your actual plan to destroy my company from the inside-out in a series of well-timed deliberate catastrophes.”
“Phase Two is complete,” Derek intones, speaking into his watch like a spy radio. Stiles laughs so hard he collapses against the desk, and Derek feels himself flush all over with satisfaction.
“Oh man,” Stiles squeezes his shoulders with both hands on his way out, and his palms feel hot even through the layers of Derek’s suit. “Take it easy, dude, just a few more hours. You should take that coffee mug home, I had them personalize it for you.”
Derek waits until Stiles leaves before examining the tumbler. It’s got the YODAstyle logo on one side, and tacky Comic Sans text on the other:
MY NAME IS DEREK HALE
& I’M TOO COOL FOR CALL SCRIPTS!!
Derek is ashamed of the way his heart flutters.
Everyone in Tech Support hates Derek except for Boyd. Derek isn’t all that confused about everyone hating him (he’s not very good at his job), but he is confused about Boyd actually liking him.
“Lunch,” Boyd says, tossing a Subway sandwich on Derek’s desk. “Your turn tomorrow. Interesting coffee mug; are those standard issue now?”
“Um.” Derek cradles his brand-new vacuum-sealed logo tumbler, with the words I DARE YOU TO SPILL ME, DEREK HALE! emblazoned down the side in pink Papyrus. “It was a gift.”
Boyd raises an eyebrow. “Look. This might be out of line, but… do you think you can put in a word with the boss? Tech Support needs new computers; these have been glitchy since October.”
“Why does it have to be me?” Derek says, frowning down at his Sun Chips. “Stiles comes over here all the time.”
“Yeah,” Boyd says, slowly. “To talk to you. So are you going to bring it up or aren’t you?
“Sure.” Stiles will probably say yes; if he has the time and money to make Derek embarrassing coffee tumblers, he can probably figure out how to get new computers for Tech Support.
“I mean, it’s cool if you don’t want to,” Boyd continues. “I know you guys can get in trouble if he shows favoritism to your department.”
“Trouble?” Derek pulls the cheese triangles off his veggie sub one by one; Boyd always pretends to forget that Derek doesn’t eat cheese. “What do you mean, trouble?”
“Oh, right,” Boyd says, rolling his eyes. “Got it. Stealth mode. Like you two are fooling anyone at all.”
Derek never does convince Boyd to explain himself any further, but he does get Stiles to buy twelve shiny new iMacs for the department. The morning after they get installed, Derek finds a brand-new mousepad at his desk. It’s got a tiny company logo in the corner, plus a giant cartoon drawing of an ostrich with a speech bubble that says CHEER UP EMU KID!
Erica laughs for ten minutes straight when she sees it.
“I gotta show you something,” says Erica, springing up suddenly from behind Derek’s chair. Derek knocks over his coffee, but luckily it’s in the hideous mug that Stiles gave him so it just bounces and rolls harmlessly along his desk.
“I have to fill out this call log,” Derek says, narrowing his eyes at the screen. “Do we have a code for ‘purpose of call unverified because customer began swearing in Italian?’”
“No no, this isn’t about work, this is important.” Erica rolls his chair out of the way and starts typing an address into his browser. “Look at this. Look at this guy and tell me you see the resemblance.”
Derek looks, and immediately goes hot all over. “Erica, this is a porn site.”
“Mmhm, so?” She jabs her fingers right against Derek’s screen.
“I just finished cleaning that, Erica!”
“It’s the gay porn version of Stiles,” Erica breathes reverently, and. Whoa.
Now that Derek’s looking, he can see what she means—long frame, small waist, broad shoulders, soft unkempt tufts of brownish hair. He’s even got a few moles like Stiles does, on his face and across his shoulders and right at the base of his—um.
“I guess,” Derek hedges. He tilts his head, fascinated. “Sort of.”
“He’s a dead ringer, are you fucking kidding me? Look, here—look at the photos from the cop-themed video. His ass is exactly the same. This is what Stilinski looks like naked!”
Derek wrinkles his nose. “His nose is all wrong.”
“Oh god,” Erica giggles. “Oh my god, that’s so cute. You think Stiles is hotter than his porn double.”
“I didn’t say—” Derek takes a deep breath and closes the tab. “Go away, I’ve got an incomprehensible call to log.”
“It’s completely natural Derek,” Erica soothes, patting him on the head as she leaves. “Love is blind. Your perception is compromised.”
“Your whole brain is compromised,” Derek mutters.
It’s completely stupid, and Derek doesn’t even know why he does it, but when the lines go dead around 4pm and he’s tired and bored as all hell, it seems like a good idea to take a second look at Stiles’ naked doppelgänger.
He finds the site in his search history and, after checking furtively over his shoulder a few times and switching his volume off just in case, starts browsing through the video stills. It’s true that the actor’s nose is all wrong, too narrow at the bottom and too aquiline. None of his moles are in the right place, and his eyes are dark blue instead of goldish-brown.
It’s probably the closest Derek’s ever going to get, though.
He opens up a new email to Erica.
subject: porn twin
This guy is way too tan and his lips are too thin, but I can sort of see the resemblance in that office scene.
Derek gets a response almost immediately.
subject: re: porn twin
What office scene???
Derek copies and pastes the link, making a shameful mental note to watch the video later.
subject: re: re: porn twin
This one >> http://beefcake.com/trailers/performance-review/ Something in the jaw and the eyelashes, maybe? But he would never wear tweed slacks.
Derek hits send.
And that’s when he notices.
The thing is, every new employee at YODAstyle is allowed to choose his or her own email alias. Which is how Erica ended up with the patently-ridiculous email@example.com. Which is, at first glance, fairly similar to firstname.lastname@example.org. Which is the address that auto-filled when Derek started typing Erica’s, which Derek would have noticed if he weren’t such a complete and utter fuck-up.
So, okay, he just accidentally had a conversation with his boss about gay porn. And sent him a video link. From the company address.
“BOYD.” Derek knocks on his cubicle wall, frantic. He can’t remember how to breathe. “Boyd, help. How do you un-send an email on the company server, Boyd. Boyd.”
“Calm down,” Boyd says, and Derek breathes a little easier, because Boyd just has that effect on people. “Don’t even worry about it.”
Derek slumps in relief. “You mean there’s a way?”
“Hell, no. It’s impossible. I mean don’t worry about it because you’re already screwed.”
Derek’s chest seizes up in terror, and Boyd tosses his Subway cookies over the wall dividing their desks. Derek eats both of them, swallowing past the lump in his throat, because he figures he’s going to have a heart attack anyway and he might as well use the calories to speed things along.
Derek takes a triple coffee break and drinks enough espresso to punch a hole in his stomach lining. Then he returns to his desk, ready to type up a letter of resignation right now if it means never having to look Stiles in his infuriatingly-attractive face again.
There’s a post-it stuck to his Emu mousepad when he comes back, and all it says is COME SEE ME!! —STILES. Derek just feels numb, now. It’s like he’s hit the absolute crest of panic and fallen over the edge into oblivion.
He brings his coffee tumbler with him when he goes to Stiles’ office. The coffee’s gone now, but the cool plastic curves of the thermos are comforting in Derek’s hands.
“Derek!” Stiles looks happy to see him. Derek wishes he wouldn’t. “Hey man. Come in. Shut the door?”
“I’m sorry!” Derek says, before he has the door all the way closed. “I’m sorry. I thought I was emailing Erica. I didn’t. I didn’t mean to—”
“I wasn’t—!” Derek tightens his hands on his thermos and stares at the ground. “There was some unprofessionalism, and some… objectification, it’s fairly obvious that I—but I don’t—I respect you.”
Stiles bursts out laughing. “Oh, Derek, I’m sorry, let me just—oh my god. Your face.”
Derek glares, indignant. “Should I clear out my desk now, or…”
“Shut up,” Stiles says, sobering up fast. “Shut up, I’d never fire you, are you crazy?”
Derek blinks. “Why not? I’m pretty bad at my job.”
“Oh, I know. That’s why I called you in, actually. Slow day; I figured we could talk about finding you a better fit in the company. You ever thought about working on the creative end?”
“What.” Derek stumbles over to one of the big leather easy chairs in front of Stiles’ desk and falls down into it. “What.”
“Like, research and marketing, maybe even advertising,” Stiles is saying, waving his hands the way he does when he gets really excited. “We need some fresh blood over there, and you’re working toward that writing MA online, right?”
“I told you that three months ago,” Derek says, dazed.
“And you’re smart, Derek, you’re so smart. You’re just really fucking wasted in a position where your primary duties involve talking to stupid people, I think. That’s… not your strong suit.”
“Why?” Derek carefully deposits his coffee tumbler on the floor and then grips the arms of the chair until the leather creaks, trying to find purchase through his disorientation. “Why would you… I’ve been screwing up since I got here. I’ve actually lost you customers. I emailed you porn.”
Stiles shrugs. “I always just thought you had potential. Seemed stupid to give up on you. And, um… were you not flirting with me? When you sent that?”
“It’s just that,” Stiles continues, carefully, “I don’t know if you noticed, but this Dick O’Brien guy actually kind of looks like me.” He coughs. “Well, like, a buffer, hotter version. So I thought.”
“He’s not hotter,” Derek says automatically, and Stiles gives him this absolutely beautiful smile, oh god. “But. I didn’t mean to send it to you. I wouldn’t...”
“You wouldn’t.” Stiles’ face falls. “Well, okay, dollar in the jar for me, I guess. A lot of dollars. I’m so sorry, Derek. In the future… please tell me if I’m making you uncomfortable? I know the way I run this place is like, barely-controlled chaos, but I want you to feel safe. No more flirting, okay?”
“But I wasn’t.” Derek scrunches up his eyebrows, wishing that his coffee-thermos was full again. “Stiles, believe me—”
“I meant me,” Stiles says, exasperated. He grabs a soft stress-ball off his desk and lobs it at Derek’s head. “Oh my god. You idiot.”
“Wait. Wait.” Derek picks up the ball after in lands in his lap; it has the company logo on it. “The coffee mug?”
“The mug, the mousepad, the stationary, the new computers.” Stiles flails his arms in broad, sweeping gestures; Derek is entranced. “Derek. I’ve been completely, unrestrainedly, unprofessionally nuts about you since you first interviewed. It’s horrible. You should sue me.”
“You’re so much prettier than Dick O’Brien,” Derek blurts, and Stiles’ eyes shoot wide. “I mean, I…” Derek shakes his head. “Me too, is what I meant to say.”
“Did you…” Stiles stands up, licking his lips as he crosses the room. “Did you watch that video you sent?”
“Uh. No.” Derek can’t take his eyes off Stiles, who’s slinking toward him with some serious intent. “Why?”
“They fuck in a chair,” Stiles says, coming closer until their toes are touching and Derek is staring up at him, enthralled. “Big one, like this. First he sits on the other guy’s lap, back to front? Rides him pretty slow, and then…” Stiles leans down, bracing his weight on Derek’s forearms while he drags his nose along his jaw. “Then, they switch. With the other guy bent over the back, with his leg up, like…”
“Stop, yes, just… ” Derek says, finally prying his fingers off the armrests so he can get them in Stiles’ hair.
Their first kiss is a little misaligned—both tilting to the same side and bumping noses—until Stiles laughs low in his throat and corrects the angle, throwing in a little nuzzle that makes Derek ache from the affection of it. Stiles just sighs into him, cupping the back of Derek’s neck and melting down into his lap like his knees won’t hold him up anymore, and Derek catches him by his skinny-jeaned hips and wonders if this is all a caffeine-fueled hallucination.
“Does this office have a deadbolt?” Derek asks when they pause to gulp for air.
“I’m the worst CEO in the world,” Stiles groans, springing up and running for the door. “Lube and condoms in the top right desk drawer, go fetch.”
“Wow.” Derek’s trying not to actually giggle over how thrilled he is, but it’s a losing battle. “Why the hell would you have—”
“I’m an optimist, Derek! It’s how you build a company from the ground-up. Positive thinking. And patience.”
The condoms are unopened when Derek finds them. He smiles. “Patience, huh?”
“Running a little thin,” Stiles says frantically. He bolts the door, pulls the shades, and pounces.
“So okay,” Stiles pants, tightening his fingers spasmodically on Derek’s wrists. “As I was saying. About your new position.”
“I sort of like this position,” Derek says, grinning against the back of Stiles’ neck when he groans at him for going for the obvious joke. He holds Stiles firmly by the waist and thrusts up sharply a few times, listening as the groan turns high and desperate. “Can you… yeah… lean back a little more?”
“Anything Dick O’Brien can do, I can do better,” Stiles declares. He braces one hand against the armrest so he can push further into Derek’s chest, and reaches back to hook his other hand behind Derek’s head. He rolls his hips languidly to test the angle, and his fingers tighten in Derek’s hair. “Oh my god, yes, absolutely.” He lets his head drop back onto Derek’s shoulder, so that Derek can see the edges of his wide, soft smile. “But I meant—yeah, ooohh yeah, but slower, okay?—I meant your promotion to Marketing.”
“Do we have to talk about this now,” Derek complains. He takes a moment to wrap both arms around Stiles, one high on his chest and the other low across his belly, and hugs him close, holds him still.
“Derek,” Stiles moans, impatient, and Derek surges up into him, thrusting shallowly and biting at the base of his neck when he starts to sob a little in frustration. “Oh god oh god, fine, Derek, jesus christ, we’ll talk about it later, just, just let me—”
“You’re the boss,” Derek breathes, getting his hand on Stiles’ cock. They’re both laughing a little manically when Stiles comes, and then Derek almost bucks Stiles off the chair when he comes, and they don’t stop kissing for ten minutes afterwards even though Stiles’ direct line keeps ringing.
They completely ruin the leather chair, but Stiles requisitions a new one with a durable slipcover—plus a matching one for Derek’s new office. Derek stops being terrible at his job, but Stiles never stops ordering him stupidly-personalized company merchandise.
Derek draws the line at using the YODAstyle logo condoms, though.