It was a dark and stormy night…
Horribly cliché, she knew, but tonight happened to be dark and stormy. Grell stirred and opened her eyes as something as yet unknown had woken her. She slipped on her glasses and got out of bed, pulling on her robe and stepping into her slippers as she went to investigate. Grell held her scythe ready in her hand. There was a faint sound in the living room and she walked slowly in that direction. The last few steps remained and she rushed forward in attempt to surprise whoever or whatever was foolish enough to break into her house.
Her feet came to a halt and she looked around the room. It was empty. Had her imagination been playing tricks on her? She was just beginning to think so, as the only sound she could hear was the rain upon the roof and the wind howling outside, when she turned around to find a manic grin incredibly close to her face.
“Hello, dearie,” his voice creaked.
A shout of surprise escaped her throat as she leaped back, holding up her scythe in defense and studied the intruder. It was the deserter known as ‘Undertaker’. Grell had not seen him since the incident on the cruise ship, the Campania. “You! What are you doing here?!” She demanded to know. The old reaper laughed. “Stop your impersonation of an albino hyena and tell!” she shouted, getting impatient.
“Of course, of course, my lady,” he replied, calming his laughter. He raised a hand with long black nails and ran it through his silver locks, pushing back his bangs to reveal his face. “Forgive me.”
“After what you did to my face?” Grell pointed at the spot on her face that had long since disappeared. “Never. Not even flashing that handsome face can fix that.”
“Then how about a kiss?” he asked unexpectedly.
“Excuse me?!” Grell replied, shocked by his audacity.
“Will you forgive me if I kiss you?” he asked in a husky voice, approaching slowly.
Grell tried to stutter a response, but her brain had stopped working and heat rose to her cheeks. As much as she loved to flirt, it was rare that anyone flirted back, or even rarer, first. “Uh-uh,” was pitiful attempt at a retort. His face was now close to hers as he stooped over her and she suddenly remembered she is in her nightclothes. Though we is not exactly shy and modest, she latched onto this as a means to recover herself. “H-how dare you burst into a lady’s home in the middle of the night uninvited!”
“It is a lady’s home, isn’t it?” he said in response, looking around the room for brief second before returning his gaze to her face. “A very special, beautiful lady.”
She will not be swayed by his compliments! “Why are you here?” she asked, attempting to still sound so angry and disturbed by his break-in.
“Why indeed?” He responded, tapping his chin with one of his nails before straightening and going over to her favorite chair. He sat down gracefully in it and crossed his legs. “I am lonely,” he said simply, as if that answered everything.
“What does that have to do with me?” Grell asked somewhat breathless, though she was fairly certain she knew exactly what it had to do with her.”
“We don’t conform to the rules, you and I. And you being pleasing to my old eyes is an added bonus.” He laughed again. Lighter this time. “At least when you are close enough for me to see you. I feel we are of kindred spirit and I came here to ask you to be my queen.”
“Your-your queen?” she stuttered in response. “You’re insane,” she says, not knowing why he would ever think she would agree to this. Undertaker laughs again.
“Aren’t we all insane to some extent?” he asks. His cheerfulness goes away and his head cocks to the side as he looks at her curiously. “You are a lady aren’t you?” he asks.
“Of course I’m a lady!” Grell replies, her face going red and she stomps her foot.
“Hmm.” Undertaker studies her for a moment more, then he is back up in her face. He takes her and dips her down as he kisses her, his lips pressing against hers. She started and tried to protest at first, but then began to kiss him back, her eyes closing. They almost immediately snapped back open when she felt his hand cupping her sex. “Very interesting,” he said releasing her mouth.
“EEH!” Grell shrieked, becoming quite flustered again. Her face was as red as her hair.
The clock on the wall chimed and Undertaker released her from his grip. “I must be off, fair maiden. I'll give you some time to think about it. Till we meet again,” he said with a wink, forming a portal and disappearing through it.
Grell sat there on her knees in the dark for some time, trying to figure out what just happened and how she should respond to it. A deserter, albeit very sexy deserter, that she hardly knew broke into her home, assaulted her, and asked her to marry him. Asked her to marry him? Her hands went to her cheeks and she blushed. She had never gotten a marriage proposal before. What’s more is she couldn’t believe she was seriously considering it now. If she left with him, she would have to give up her job…her redemption…William…
Now that she thought about it, she only really stayed around for William. Maybe Ronnie too, a little bit and Othello. She liked having virtual immortality and didn’t plan on earning her redemption anytime soon. But William?
Grell crawled over to her phone. She picked up the receiver and dialed.
“Mm,” came William’s sleepy response when he answered the phone.
“William?” she spoke softly into the receiver.
“Mm..Sutcliff..” he mumbled.
“Will, darling, I have something-“
“Sutcliff, do you have any idea what time it is?!”
*click* There was a dial tone, signaling that William had hung up. Grell hadn’t had the chance to ask him. To finally get an outright yes or no from William. If he could ever feel anything for her. She supposed the sound of the dial tone was all the answer she was going to receive from him. With a shaky hand, she replaced the receiver on the cradle. She needed to think. She slowly rose to her feet and teetered toward the bedroom. Grell fell down onto the bed and pulled the covers up over her head.
A chance to be loved, something she always wanted, had showed up to her on a silver platter. However this love came at great sacrifice. She did even know how she felt about the creep old kook! He was handsome, that was for certain, but Grell was not that shallow. Then there was the damage to her face. She supposed she could forgive him for it as it had healed with no scarring.
Could she really leave? Give up everything she knew and loved for this deserter? Never see William again? Ronnie?
And another thing, she liked being able to see. And-
“Senior, senior,” Ronald’s voice interrupted her deep thought and he was snapping his fingers in her face. Grell removed her chin from her hand and sat up straight. “Boss catches you daydreaming like that and he’ll have your head.”
“Ronnie…I was just thinking,”
Ronald pulled up a chair and plopped down in it, putting his feet up on Grell’s desk and placing his hands behind his head with a grin. “What about?”
“About William,” Grell replied.
“I figured that.”
“Do you think William will ever return my love?”
The grin slipped from Ronald’s face. He cleared his throat and adjusted his position, pulling his feet from the desk to sit up straight. “Well.”
“A ‘no’ then,” Grell said disappointedly before Ronald could say more.
“Not…exactly,” he responded slowly. “I just mean it’s hard to say with him. The man’s a rock. Heck, rocks show more emotion.” Grell’s pout deepened. “I mean, despite all the trash talking he does about you, he…he-um…he did save you from Bassy before he killed you and fished ya out of the drink when the boat sank.”
“Because it was his job. He was sent to do that.”
Ronald had no answer to that. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t rightly understand Grell. Frankly he did not know if anyone could. “M-maybe he doesn’t understand you,” he tried to offer, knowing how horrible it sounded as soon as the words left his mouth.
“He doesn’t need to understand me, he just needs to love me! After all the time we have known each other he should know me.”
“Knox, Sutcliff.” Ronald jumped out of his seat at the sound of William’s voice. Grell sat up a little straighter into a more feminine position. William held in his hands a large stack of paperwork.
“Boss, sir!” said Ronald.
“More paperwork?” whined Grell.
“Yes, more,” answered William. “It seems I was correct that I did not give you enough work this morning as you have time to sit around talking.”
“Oh,” exclaimed Ronald, “look at the time! My break is over. Later, senior.” He gave a small wave and scuttled out of the room.
William stepped forward and placed the load on her desk. “But, Will-“
“And never call me again in the middle of the night.” He turned to leave and Grell sprang from her seat to cling to his arm.
“Will, I, I just-“ William turned his cold eyes down on her and she froze.
“Are we understood?”
“You just what?”
Grell looked at the floor. “You know you are my favorite person in the whole world, don't you?”
William signed and adjusted his glasses with the tips of his fingers. “What are you getting at, Sutcliff?”
“I know I flirt with other men, but you have always been my favorite.”
“Again, what are you getting at, Sutcliff?”
Grell looked him in the eyes and answered, “That I want to be with you more than anyone else.” William glanced away and she hurriedly added, “’Emotions don't belong in the work place', I get it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it…but what about outside of work, Will? We don’t work all the time.”
“Are you quite finished?”
“This life is a punishment. To make reparations for our transgression, not a second chance at a life we threw away. To have what we wanted and could not. I personally would like to get through mine as quickly and as calmly as possible. And even if I were so inclined to decide to get through this punishment the way some of you choose to, what makes you think I would do so with someone like you? You are loud, obnoxious, have no respect for others personal space, shirk your duties to meddle with human lives and flirt with demons, neglect your paperwork…shall I continue?” he paused. Her eyes were fixed on his face, but she stayed silent. “We are not death gods, Sutcliff. We are humans who are a paying a price for a sin we committed.”
Grell saw no hint of love in in his eyes. No ounce of compassion. Nothing at all, except perhaps annoyance. “So you won’t miss me when I am gone?”
William’s eyes narrowed. “When you are gone?” Grell cringed, realizing her choice of words was might have been unfortunate. William grabbed her by her hair at the back of her head and puled her face close to his.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!”
“So help me, Sutcliff, if you ever, ever desert, I will hunt you down and reap you myself. Are we clear?” he said with much anger and venom in his voice, sending shivers throughout her body. “I said, ‘are we clear?"
“Why though?” she asked. “If I am such an embarrassment to this dispatch, I would think you would be thrilled to have me gone.”
“Nonsense,” replied William, releasing her hair, allowing her to drop to the floor as he collected himself and adjusted his glasses. “Think of the paperwork it would require and being as short-staffed as we are, your desertion would add to that and I simply cannot abide more overtime. Does that sound ‘thrilling’ to you?”
“No, Will,” she answered quietly, picking herself up off the floor. Grell wasn’t sure how to take this. Even if he simply did not want to do paperwork, it did not warrant him to express his displeasure at her leaving so passionately. “Is that how you really feel about this?” she asked.
“My feelings have no bearing in this matter,” he replied and returned to his desk.
“You showed me plenty of feelings just now,” she said boldly. “And what about my feelings? I love you, William!” Her hands clenched by her sides. “How can this mean nothing to you?”
William did not answer, preferring to shuffle the papers on his desk instead. “Will, please!” she pleaded, having had quite enough of him brushing her aside. “My heart is in my hands, just take it!” Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes as she gazed at him, desperate for an answer. “Deny me now and I won't care what you do. Whether you reap me or drag me back kicking and screaming by the hair, I’ll run away with Undertaker. He wants to love me. To make me his queen. He doesn’t think I’m trash nor hides is feelings behind paperwork.” At this, she took hold of some of the papers on his desk and flung them into the air.
“Is that what this tirade is about?” he finally replied, moving back around the desk to stand before her. “Did that deserter make you an offer? What did he promise you? That he would take you away from all this and make love to you every night? You would give up your last chance at redemption for some promise of ‘love’?”
“I don’t care about that. I'm damned anyway.”
“Then why bother with me at all? You have your ‘promise of love’, why tarry?”
“I have already explained myself, William."
William sighed heavily and adjusted his glasses, breaking eye contact with Grell. “You do also do realize that romantic relationships are highly frowned upon between a supervisor and a subordinate?”
“But…not against the rules,” Grell brought to point in a hushed tone.
William's eyes returned to Grell's form who was looking down at the floor again dejectedly. “Which is why if anyone finds out about us,” he continued. “You will be wishing you had never opened that mouth of yours.” He took hold of her by her hair again, a little more gently this time and brought his lips to hers.
“Will-“ she began, pulling back to break the kiss. She now had questions.
“Shut up, Sutcliff,” he commanded softy and kissed her again and kept kissing her until she stopped struggling to pull away so she could ask her questions. She relaxed into his arms and wrapped hers around his neck. “Are you going to run off?” He broke the kiss and pressed his forehead to hers to ask.
“N-no, Will,” she replied with a shake of her head.
“Good,” he replied and pulled away, returning to his desk.
“W-wait,” she started, trying to clear her head. Was all this just a means to make her stay? No. William wasn’t that sneaky. Then again… “Why…”
“Why after all the things I said would I kiss you?” he asked and she nodded slowly. “For one simple reason, Sutcliff: never in all your flirtations and declarations of love have you ever showed me you were absolutely serious. Never have you ever expressed yourself so deeply before tonight and you have never expressed yourself without some semblance of pretense…I am not a romantic man, Sutcliff and I daresay you may find my lack thereof unsatisfactory to your tastes. However, if you are so resigned, I shall arrange for us to go out on a date, or ‘business meeting’ as we shall refer to it for the sake of secrecy, as I know you will not be satisfied to dine at home. This is merely a trial basis for now, understood?” Grell nodded slowly as she tried to wrap her head around everything that just happened. “And under no circumstances are you to tell anyone about us, am I clear?”
Again she nodded slowly and he dismissed her. Grell left his office in a daze. She had a date with William T. Spears. She had a date with William T. Spears. She had a date with William T. Spears!!!
Grell squealed happily and skipped down the hall to her office. She paused and corrected herself. She had a business meeting with William T. Spears. Grell giggled and continued on her merry way.