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Monday.

The worst day of the week to almost anyone that works a standard five day, nine to five white collar job. It was the death of the weekend. One particular Monday was to be the death of you.

You had barely managed to drag yourself into work, and you did so with all the enthusiasm of someone heading to their execution. Hell, your execution would have been more welcome. You anticipated an immediate summons from the second you trudged through the door. That hadn’t happened, and therefore you were kept on the literal edge of your seat, for two unbelievably arduous hours, biting your lip until you saw him, and then everything got so. much. worse.

“My life is over,” you said, volume barely above that of a whisper. Even then, your voice cracked as you dropped your head to your desk, making a sound loud enough to alarm those within a large radius. You didn’t even allow yourself to express your pain in a word, just as a punishment.

“Are you okay?” Matsuri, your coworker and friend that occupied the cubicle to your right asked, forehead wrinkling as she furrowed her brow. Concern for your well being rolled off her in heavy waves.

“No,” you groaned, not even trying to straighten up. “I’m doomed. Done, finished, expired.”

“Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not bad enough to actually beat yourself up over it.”

You lifted your head a little and turned it just to give her a deadpan expression. “Trust me, it is.”

“Why don’t you tell me, maybe I can help somehow?” She tentatively offered.

“Unless you have a way to magically delete the picture where I’m ninety-five percent naked that I sent our boss by mistake last night, I doubt it.” You returned to your previous position, letting your head hit the surface with a quieter thud than the first time, tempted to do it a few more times. If you managed to do enough brain damage, you hoped to forget the whole debacle. Maybe you could claim that some questionable brain damage was the reason the whole debacle happened in the first place.

Matsuri gaped like a fish for a minute, the opening and closing of her mouth was muted as she grasped at straws for a response before giving up and going back to her task without another word. You didn’t blame her for not wanting to be involved further. Your dignity was six feet under, and just a little over six hours later, your job likely would be too.

A simple slip of the thumb with a dash of carelessness- a miniscule action coupled with a lack of precaution- knocked your world off its axis. You had a circle of friends that were very open and occasionally sent sexy pictures to the group chat. That was the first time you had done so, or thought you had, and it would be the last. You had been hyped about splurging on some sinful lingerie the day before, and while you were all about doing it just for yourself, you wanted to have someone appreciate it with you and on you. Everyone was so supportive when others did it, blowing up the chat with compliments that could only help the confidence of the brave soul who put their body on display.

Was it so wrong to want a little adoration? Apparently it was, because the name of the chat put it just below your boss’s contact in your messaging app, and when you went to hit where to send the indecent photo, you opened the wrong conversation. Lesson learned- always, always, ALWAYS check the contact name before sending. You’d never make that mistake again. How you had made it to that point in your life without making it before was a wonder.

Maybe some mischievous spirit decided things were too good in your life and decided it would be fun to fuck you over.

You spent that whole day ditching, dodging, and ducking whenever you saw or heard any hint of the man who controlled the balance of your life at that time. You were almost home free when-

“Please see me in my office when you’ve finished your work for the day.”

Fuck.

Truth be told, even though your mind said that he was preparing to issue your death sentence, the sound of his voice when he might as well have whispered in your ear after sneaking up on you at your desk in the last twenty minutes before you could clock out had your body buzzing with excitement. Those last twenty minutes were an absolute hell as you were torn between wanting them to move at the speed of molasses, and wishing they would hurry up so you could be alone with a man that, to be perfectly frank, made you want to drool and pant like a bitch in heat.

Yes, the entire situation was made even worse by the simple issue of him not just being your boss with whom you had a friendly work relationship, but the amazingly appealing man that kept coming to mind when you bought the underwear in the problematic picture.

The end came, and you were so strung out from both abject dread and intolerable anticipation. You felt like you had downed ten cups of coffee after not sleeping for a week.

“See you tomorrow?” Matsuri said as she finished gathering her things.

“If he doesn’t have me pack up tonight,” you sighed, surrounded by an air of defeat.

She gave you a sad smile and a pat on the shoulder. “It may not be that bad. You and I both know that he’s kind and understanding. If you make it clear that you had no intention of sending it to him, I’m certain he’ll let it go and just move on.”

“You’re right,” you admitted. He made you imagine him and you in the dirtiest scenarios your mind could conjure, but it was more than just physical desire that had you eager to be around him. He was the best supervisor you’d ever had because of both his work ethic and the kindness with which he treated everyone, subordinate and superior.

He wasn’t the most sociable, and you had noticed times when he was clearly feeling awkward in more casual settings, like company parties, but he tried, and he just exuded energy that drew people in once they realized he wasn’t as tough as some might believe at first glance. You were part of that some, but found out so quickly that he was tender hearted, and patient, and understanding, and appreciative, and… and… and...

You could go on for some time about his positive attributes. You confessed that you were more than a little infatuated as well as lustful, but you weren’t the only one. Most of the women you’d seen him interact with all had the same look in their eyes. They would kill for the chance to love him, and love on him. You were sure you had the same look when you were around him.

Without realizing that you had spaced out after answering Matsuri, you came around. She was gone, and it was almost ten minutes later. You were late.

“Shit!” You cried a little too loud as you stood up, straightened your clothes, then rushed as professionally as you could to his office. Though you were already tardy, you made a stop in the break room to get him a cup of coffee. You’d seen him make his own a handful of times, so you knew the right amount of cream to add. Your heart hammered in your chest as you continued on, growing louder in your ears along with the rushing of your blood the nearer you drew. Despite the eager twisting of your stomach, you arrived all too soon for your liking. In your hurry, you didn’t even take a moment to collect yourself before lightly knocking on the once imposing door with a shaky hand. It came out so soft, you doubted he heard anything. That was when you took a moment to breathe and get yourself together. Your body barely listened, but it was a slight improvement, and you could work with that.

Another knock, firmer than before, and then you took a small step back. He didn’t answer immediately, so your eyes began to wander. It seemed somewhat as if you were searching for help. You noted the closed blinds at the front windows to his office. Usually, those fixtures were open until he left for the evening, which, besides being a smart move to avoid any potential misunderstandings or incorrect conclusions whenever he had an employee in for a performance review or such, made him more approachable by allowing everyone to see if they were interrupting anything important. A few times every few weeks, especially around the end of each quarter, he would have them closed during the day as a sign that he was not to be disturbed for anything less than an emergency as he was tasked with paperwork and the like. What constituted an emergency varied by the position someone held. At your level, something had to be on fire, or someone had to be dying to merit an interruption. Even then, you weren’t sure you could be the one to interrupt him.

“Come in.”

You took another breath to steel yourself, then opened the solid wood door and strolled inside, trying to project some composure. Your breath caught for a second as you caught sight of him gazing out the floor to ceiling window that gave him a wondrous view of the city which, at that hour of day during the winter season, was already well lit. His back was enough to get you worked up in more ways than one, and you had to admit that you had it pretty bad. He had his hands in his pants pockets, and his suit jacket was draped over the back of his chair. His posture was stiff, but you were surprised to see him even that casual. “I-I apologize for making you wait, sir,” you said with a slight verbal stumble as you approached his desk, staying on the proper side.

He barely acknowledged what you said with a slight hum, not even turning to face you for you had no idea how long, but it dragged on for ages. At least it gave you a chance to study him a little more. It was better than sneaking glances when he was least likely to catch you.

He stopped your survey of him when he said your name. “Do you know why I asked you here?”

“Yes, sir,” you answered, gripping the coffee cup that you couldn’t put down because it kept you from fidgeting, and the heat in your hands was comforting. “It’s about what I sent you last night. I’m very aware of how unprofessional that was, but please, understand that it was not intended for you. I never meant to breach not only company policy, but the boundaries of our relationship. It was an accident that only happened because I didn’t check the contact before sending it.”

Silence fell once again, and you were ready to crawl out of your skin. It was agony.

“I take it this other contact you meant to send it to was someone with whom you have an intimate relationship?” He questioned after a painful amount of time, his voice was laced with an emotion you didn’t dare try to label.

You dropped your head in shame, wondering what he thought of you. Would he think worse if you were honest with him? He always got to the bottom of any issue he was presented with, and you’d heard his colleagues praise how much he valued the truth, no matter how bad it was. He didn’t pry where it wasn’t necessary in any situation, but he cared enough to clear up any misconceptions, so he sought out any information he deemed crucial.

It didn’t occur to you to question just why he needed to know anything about the one to whom you intended to send such a scandalous image. You trusted him completely to keep it appropriate.

“No. It was for my friends. I, um, have some very confident friends who are big on body positivity and share a lot more than most people would. I was just... looking for some validation and to be appreciated. I’d never done it before, and I’m never planning to do it again, e-even when I...”

You couldn’t go on. Despite your friends being so open and okay with flaunting their bodies, some of your loved ones were very conservative and would frown greatly upon what you had done, believing that no one should see you in such a state other than someone with whom you were deeply committed and intimate. Some of them held the belief that it should be reserved for marriage. He was so upstanding at work, you feared that even though you knew he wouldn’t condemn you, he wouldn’t want to be associated too closely with you. You had no idea what his personal life was like, what kind of company he kept.

The silence was deafening by that point, and you swore on your grave that you were going to combust if you didn’t get some closure soon. You dared to slowly raise your head and saw him leaning against the window, bracing himself up with an arm over his head.

“I see,” he muttered, immediately clearing his throat.

You stiffened and straightened up at the tone of his voice. Should anyone have asked you what you thought you heard, you wouldn’t have been able to say it out loud. You could barely think it, but part of you was confident that you heard relief in his voice. The same kind of relief you felt and heard in your own voice after finding out that the gorgeous woman you’d seen visit him and bring him lunch was his older sister, and not his girlfriend. Even if she wasn’t, he still could have had one, or he may not have been into women at all, for all you knew, but you were flying high for the following two weeks.

Having the friends you had for as long as you had, had quashed most of what you used to claim was an inbred tendency to disparage yourself, so you weren’t saying that he couldn’t possibly desire you in any way, but unless he saw something in you during your interactions that were strictly work-related, you believed that he wouldn’t. You got to see a lot more of who he was than he saw of you, or so you assumed.

“I completely understand if there’s certain protocol you have to follow in this situation-”

“Have you told anyone else about this?” He deliberately interrupted you, which had never happened before, especially not with such a curt tone. The mix of worry and need returned as the no nonsense attitude pierced through you. You’d seen that attitude employed before, but never where you were directly involved. In fact, you’d never seen it directed at anyone specifically. It was the biggest indication to everyone that the stress was getting to him, and you suspected that it was the last warning someone would get before he snapped if they continued to agitate him.

What would happen if he lost control? How would he vent? What kind of outlets did he use even when he was in control of himself? What you wouldn’t give to know... A brief clip of him fucking you into oblivion to channel his rage and stress danced through your imagination, which couldn’t have been worse for the given situation. “J-just my friends outside the company and Ma-Matsuri, sir,” you nearly squeaked as the clean cut sight of his backside was replaced with the mirage of him facing you, those reading glasses he only wore when he had to do paperwork after the sun’s natural light no longer shone through his window perched low on his nose. The top few buttons of his maroon dress shirt that complemented the red of his combed down hair- which you swore varied from ruby to a dusty kind of scarlet to garnet, depending on everything from the lighting to the time of day you saw it- were unbuttoned, the cuffs of his sleeves remained buttoned around his wrists, and the hem was untucked. His black silk tie was loose, hanging lazily against his chest. His black slacks seemed to sit a little lower on his hips, not that you could really tell with the shirt covering the waist line.

You were so completely, wholly, and otherwise indisputably fucked when the clothes on the imaginary him started falling off until he wore nothing but the tie and glasses. It was beautiful. God, it was beautiful, but it was not helping. Guilt over your barely contained lust coursed through you, and it wasn’t just because of him… Okay, maybe it was. However, you were not an animal and you were going to get in control of yourself. There were more important matters at stake than going home unsatisfied and desperate.

Like your job. You just passed your year mark as a technical support agent with the company. Your co-workers had given you a small celebration, letting you know that they were happy to have you as part of the team. He had been there, gifting you a sweet smile that you went home and giggled over that entire night, and adding his praise to the others. You loved your job, though it was far from perfect, and you loved the rest of your team.

Like your blossoming friendship with him. Even if you stayed right where you were with your job, you didn’t want to lose the amicable conversations, or the ease with which you regarded each other.

Like hell you were going to put your desire for what could end up being mediocre or even disappointing sex that may not amount to anything once it was over above the good deal you already had. Even if it was mind blowing, it wouldn’t be worth it if it put the rest at risk.

Focus. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in-

“All right. If there are no future indiscretions of this nature, then there is no reason to dwell on it further. We will carry on as if it never happened.”

Breathe out. You breathed out more air than you had taken in with your relieved sigh.

“Thank you so much, sir! I swear that it will never happen again. I’ll make sure of it-”

What happened next was the catalyst that turned what was going to be a night where you went home and bounced between celebrating that you still had a job, with hope that nothing would change between you and him, and whining over how badly you wanted him into.... a night where you didn’t do any of that.

You let out a shrill cry of pain as the still scalding coffee you forgot you were holding for the slightest second soaked through your blouse after splashing on you when you jerked your arms back too quickly. You dropped the cup, spilling the rest onto your feet. At least you didn’t have to worry about where your mind was focused anymore.

It was only then that he turned around, eyes widening in horror as he saw you kicking off your shoes while trying to get your shirt up. He didn’t know what happened, but the noise you made was enough to drive him to help without question. Had anyone been watching and even half way blinked, they would have missed him bolting from his place at the window to you. His hands were steady where yours fumbled as he assisted in the removal of your top.

As soon as your shirt was out of the way, he raced for the nearest office first aid kit for treatment supplies, and grabbed two of the softest rags he could find in the supply closet, soaking one in cool water and wringing it out. Upon returning to you, he got to work gently cleaning and drying where your skin was the most irritated, before applying an Aloe Vera gel that felt incomparably wonderful as it soothed the scalded area. Nothing was said as he knelt down and took care of you, even tending to your feet, with a focused thoroughness and caring tenderness that only added to why you wanted to cry.

A sharp sting that was still fading, utter humiliation, and the realization that it really was more than mere infatuation that you felt for him, that you were seriously falling in love with him with the intensity of a skydiver, brought tears to your eyes. One of those overpowered the other two with ease.

“S-sir,” you spoke, not achieving more than a whisper as emotion grabbed you by the throat. You cleared the blockade of sentiment with a little cough so you could be heard. “Thank y-you. I’m so sorry about the mess on the carpet, I’ll pay to get it cleaned if there’s not a budget or something you can use, and-” You cut off and looked over at his desk, not seeing anything alarming, but you were beside yourself with worry anyway. “Oh no, did I get any on your desk? God, I hope not. What if it got on something important? I’m so, so sorry-”

Your fretting was interrupted by a gentle finger pressed to your lips- when did he stand up?- and your eyes met the softest gaze you could recall in that moment. Those bright eyes that almost seemed to glow peered directly into your own, and you swore your spirit left your body. Your warm breath blew out around the digit that rested against the plush cushions of your mouth as you tried to avoid hyperventilating.

“Are you okay?” He questioned, voice full of concern. “It doesn’t look too bad, but if you think you need it, I can take you to the hospital.”

His hand dropped, allowing you to speak, but you only covered your mouth with your own hand as you choked on a sob and tears filled your eyes. He was so kind, so genuine, and with how tense you’d been the whole day, fearing the worst, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. You felt so many things at once, and not even half of them made sense.

Being a man who knew more about rocket science than he did about how to appease an upset woman- the only thing he picked up from having a sister like his was to shove copious amounts of chocolate at her and otherwise stay clear unless she made a specific request, but that didn’t seem to be apt for the situation- he waited patiently, and silently, until you gathered yourself. A slight nod succeeded by a sniffle and deep breath answered his question.

“I’m so very sorry, sir,” you said, your voice heavy with exhaustion, head lowered, eyes closed. You were ready to go home and deny until you could forget as much of what had happened from the moment you took that picture to the moment you left the office as you possibly could. “This is a very compromising position that could have been avoided if I had exercised a sliver of caution or intelligence before sending that picture, and just now, if I hadn’t gotten-”

“They were accidents,” he cut you off for the second time, his tone curt.

“Yes, but they were preventable accidents,” you argued, determined to take the blame you felt you deserved. “Again, if I had-”

“What matters is that I understand that I was not the intended recipient, and that you are all right.”

You pinched your bottom lip between your teeth until you pierced it enough to result in a drop or two of blood, drawing some satisfaction from the pain, intent on giving yourself some punishment. A hand on your bare shoulder made you raise your head to see him staring at you again.

“Give me just a minute to finish up here, then I will take you home or to the hospital. Do you feel that you can cover up without causing any pain?”

Only then did your partial state of undress hit you. Fuck. The picture was bad enough, but because you had never changed out of that new underwear set you had wanted to show off, he was seeing in all glory of the burgundy strapless elastic floral lace bra that cinched between your breasts where it drew the eye with a large, lightweight, golden diamond shaped glass rhinestone. You might as well have just dropped your skirt to show off the matching lace briefs.

“Yes, sir,” you answered, unable to contain the quiver in your voice, eyes darting from one side to the other and back as you tried to avoid seeing whatever discomfort or displeasure he might be trying to hide from you. That lasted only a minute, until you came to a hard stop to see him offering his own starched shirt to you. There may or may not have been the quickest rush of disappointment when you saw the long sleeve black undershirt he had on, but it was gone when you noticed how form fitting that shirt was. Some higher power, be it a deity or karma, finally decided to throw you a bone.

He was on the leaner side, which you’d always suspected, but hadn’t seen much of because of the loose shirts and jackets he wore around the office. That said, the undershirt was a gift that more than hinted at the muscles that formed the contours of his firm chest as well as a pack of abs. You needed to find out when, where, and how he worked out.

Your face heated as you accepted his offering and put it on. Once in the privacy of your apartment, upon finishing your moping over everything that had gone wrong, you were going to be spilling every detail to your friends. They’d laugh, cheer for you, and- no matter how baseless their suggestions were- speculate that he had a thing for you. Like you were special. Like he wouldn’t treat anyone in your position the exact same way.

“Thank you, sir. This is so kind of you.”

He felt awkward and unsure of how to respond. but he gave a nod to show that he heard you before turning his back to you to go around the desk. It was all he could do. The wires running around his brain crossed whenever he even thought about setting his eyes back on you, in his shirt, wearing that cursed underwear that had him sweating profusely from the second he laid eyes on that damned picture.

He could only wonder if he was having some sort of dream when he opened that message. That thought was later disproved when his mind began to wander and he saw an apparition of you in his kitchen. Your lips were curled in an inviting smile, and he was aroused in a way he hadn’t been... well, ever. The apparition disappeared with a dose of caffeine- to wake up his exhausted mind, at two in the morning, that did nothing to help his restless body- but the picture was still on his phone. He’d be lying if he said he’d never thought of you in a context outside of work, but the way he was thinking of you that night and, to his embarrassment and horror, the following day was reprehensible.

Asking you to his office with intentions to clear up the issue was not easy for him, especially when he found that the only time he had to meet with you was after hours. All he could think of was you in that lingerie that made him realize he had a taste for that type of clothing- to be fair, the style of clothes you wore to work every day made him realize he had a taste for clothing on anyone else at all- and it made him avoid you as long as he possibly could, which was until twenty minutes before the end of the day. He couldn’t handle another night without some sort of closure.

Then that whole fiasco happened. He had been so focused on taking care of you, from when he heard you cry out to when he offered you his shirt- which he hadn’t the slightest idea of how bad an idea that would be- nothing registered beyond making sure you were okay. When the adrenaline had slowed and the worry had ebbed, he was left staring at you, a hunger that had nothing to do with food rising within him, and if he didn’t put some distance between your bodies as well as distract himself somehow, he wasn’t sure that he would be able to keep himself from seeking something to appease that hunger. Even a man as disciplined as him had only so much restraint.

He removed his reading glasses and set them down on the desk, then his hands flitted over the documents he had out, placing them into the appropriate folders and stacking those on top of each other. As he opened the drawer to put them away, he spotted the gift box under his desk that contained a fine, well aged red wine along with a pair of stemless wine glasses cushioned by styrofoam that were gifted to him by his managers that day for his birthday, with the wish that he celebrate with a good friend or someone special. He didn’t tell them that he really wasn’t a wine drinker, or an alcohol drinker in general. He only ever had a drink for special occasions, and he supposed that’s what that bottle would be reserved for, but-

“Would you care for a drink?” He found himself offering before he could fully process the decision.

Your eyes widened slightly. It wouldn’t have surprised you in the least if he hadn’t said another word that wasn’t purely out of courtesy to you the rest of the night. What kind of drink he meant tickled your curiosity, because you noticed that he never drank at office parties, and only once or twice out of the handful of times that he had joined your team out to celebrate a birthday or such.

“Oh, I... You don’t... I-I mean,” you stuttered, fidgeting with your fingers as you struggled to find the right words. You only needed three. “Yes, thank you.”

“Forgive me, if I’ve made you uncomfortable,” he rushed to apologize while maintaining his composure as he reached for the box. “I have some wine here that I know I won’t drink much of and I just thought that you appear to have had a long day. That’s what I’ve heard a lot of people say they enjoy when they’ve had a long day.”

“I take it you don’t count yourself among that group,” you muttered with the tiniest smile.

His eyes finally shifted to you when he placed the box on top of his tidied desk.

“You would be right,” he confirmed, opening it and pulling out the contents, one by one. There was even a corkscrew. Either that was sold as a well stocked gift box, or his managers were extra thoughtful to make sure he had everything he needed to make use of their gift. “I only ever drink socially, for special occasions, and even then, I try to be sparing.”

“I can understand that. I’m sure everyone has seen someone get drunk enough to put them off heavy drinking. That is, if they aren’t the person everyone else sees get drunk enough to be put off.”

He couldn’t resist the chuckle that originated from his chest. “I suppose that’s true. I’ve seen a few people like that.”

“So have I. A few of my friends make that a bit of a habit. They make for good stories, right?” You replied with a girlish giggle that immediately had you biting your lip in embarrassment.

He didn’t react to it at all, allowing you to relax a bit. You watched as he opened the bottle. You enjoyed wine well enough, but you didn’t drink it often. You had your taste in lower priced beverages and stayed faithful to that, only occasionally indulging in something a little more expensive every now and again. Your eyes strayed to his arms, and you noticed how they tensed when he used the corkscrew. There was a bit of defined muscle there, and once again, the idea of watching him at the gym hit you. That, and the idea that the undershirt truly was a gift. You’d never get to see the finer workings of his body in action under the shirt you were wearing.

God, you needed help, you realized as your throat ran dry from a different thirst than the kind that wine could satisfy.

“Here.” He held out one of the glasses to you, and you accepted it, almost robotically.

“Thank you, sir,” you muttered before sipping from it.

He nodded once more in acknowledgment and took a sip of his own. He didn’t react to the taste, so he was either accustomed to it, or he had a face that was well practiced in maintaining stoicism. You wouldn’t be surprised if either or both turned out to be true. The ticking of his clock was grating on your nerves, and you had to put great effort into not shaking like a newborn fawn.

“S-so, is today a special occasion?” You ventured to ask, cursing your inability to keep your voice from trembling. “Or are you just kind enough to drink to keep me company?” His lips curled into a slight smile. “I suppose you could argue that it’s a special occasion, though I try not to make it public knowledge.”

“It’s your birthday, isn’t it?” You guessed with a light laugh. “That’s hardly fair. I know all the teams that you oversee would have loved to wish you a happy birthday. I’m sure they wouldn’t have made a big deal of it, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“It’s not that I’m worried about anything, I just don’t care to be reminded of it more than I have to be. My family and friends do that well enough.”

The answer was disheartening. You understood wanting to have only a small celebration, that was a matter of taste, but in your personal experience, anyone that didn’t care to acknowledge their birthday had at least one ruined for them in the past. It might not have been a deeply traumatizing reason, but it could have been. Regardless, you hated to think that the man before you had suffered anything at all to make him take such a reluctant attitude toward his special day.

“I see. I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean-”

“It’s all right. You couldn’t have known, could you?”

You gave a modest shake of your head before taking a larger drink. Your mind blanked on any conversation starters, which you figured was just as well, since after the sad revelation, you were sure that you’d be tripping over your tongue too much to articulate any that you did conjure. A subdued silence overtook the two of you, and you could only look out the tinted window- or pretend to, as the fluorescent light from the ceiling fixtures bounced off it and blocked your view with your own blurred out reflection- as you drank mindlessly. Sip. Sip. Si-

You had emptied your glass. You used your thumb to wipe any drops that had caught on your lip. The thought to go delicately wash it out so he could put it back in the fancy box crossed your mind, and you were about to offer when he picked up the bottle and offered a refill. One more glass couldn’t hurt, you reasoned as you thanked him.

It felt like you entered a time loop as you downed your next glass, doing exactly as you had done with the first, except you were daring enough to risk glances at him as he stared out the window. Could he see out any better from his angle than you could? Did it matter, or did the light trick you into thinking you saw his eyes glaze over in thought, suggesting he wasn’t seeing anything at all?

“Sir, am I keeping you?” You asked, drawing his attention from either the window or whatever was going through his mind. “I’m sure Shinki is eager for you to get home.”

“You aren’t keeping me,” he answered, appreciating the acknowledgement of his adopted son he had mentioned to you a few months prior at the company’s anniversary celebration. “No one is expecting me for another hour.”

“Because of the extra work you have to sort through. So I’ve just distracted you from your job. Great. I can’t seem to stop messing up when it comes to you lately, can I?” You said, following up with a bitter laugh.

If anyone asked, you would truthfully tell them you were not a lightweight. Not in the stripping, too drunk to care that you’re performing karaoke when you can’t sing, throwing up then blacking out only to wake up with a hangover so bad anyone that looked at you instantly got a headache way. However, it took an embarrassingly little amount of alcohol to get you buzzed. You’d still be highly functional, but your tongue was loosened enough to get off the leash your brain typically had it on, and your inhibitions- and shame- dropped enough for you to do some of the things that your friends encouraged you to do. The longer the silence persisted, the more you drank, and the more of a disconnect there was between your impulse control and your body.

There wasn’t a whole lot on your mind as you eased up, but one question popped up, and as you emptied your glass a second time, you found yourself voicing it.

“Is this the first time someone has accidently sent you a picture like that?”

You wondered if he was so far absorbed in his thoughts that he hadn’t heard you. You wouldn’t have repeated the question, you had enough awareness and control to keep yourself from pushing it, and had given up on getting an answer when his voice pierced the silence.

“This is the first time I believe it truly was an accident.”

You weren’t surprised in the least, but you wondered what the reasons were behind the pretense that it was an accident. Were they all employees trying to take a shot, but cover their asses too? Cowards.

“What?” He looked at you, puzzled by the last word that you thought you had only thought, but had actually spoken aloud.

“O-oh, ah- I...” You were thrown, so even though it wasn't embarrassing or untoward, you grasped at straws for an answer. “I-I just meant that if the others did it intentionally, they should have been ready to face the consequences, not run away like cowards with that excuse.”

He hummed in agreement, then turned away from you once more. It was growing irritating and almost insulting, but you rationalized that he was trying to preserve what little professionalism the situation had left. There were other potential reasons, such as he felt it would be disrespectful, he was uncomfortable, he thought it would make you uncomfortable, or... well, maybe he had someone that wouldn’t appreciate it if, for any reason more than your previous emergency, his eyes did linger on you.

“Would you care for one more before we go?”

Your eyes raised from where they had been glaring a flaming hole into his desk, which you hadn’t been consciously doing, to see him partially turned in your direction, but still not looking at you. Why wouldn’t he- No, you didn’t need to know exactly why he wouldn’t. If nothing else, he was as much the gentleman he appeared to be by the light of day, and that was enough reason for you.

“At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, yeah,” you joked, almost slapping your hand to your forehead, feeling stupid. “I don’t think three glasses of wine makes one an alcoholic,” he pointed out.

“You’re probably right. An alcoholic likely wouldn’t be able to stop at three, and three is definitely where I draw the line.” You handed him your glass for your second refill. His eyes landed only where they needed to and you silently sighed. For all the reasons in the world, it would still be nice to know he found you at least somewhat appealing to look at.

“Forgive me for asking,” he spoke up as he handed you your glass back. “I noticed your- ah- interesting marking.”

So he did notice something about your body before closing himself off. He was insanely observant, you’d noticed, and it didn’t surprise you that he’d picked up on that little detail.

“Oh, well, I-I got it right after my closest friends and I all turned twenty-one,” you explained, using the glass in your hand as a focal point. You liked having the kanji for love tattooed in red on the flesh over your heart, but you had to admit it was really cheesy.

“Why that particular one?” You wondered if the wine was getting to him as well, because he hadn’t seemed so eager to talk a moment prior.

You tried to sum up the reason without diving into a whole anecdote. “To put it simply, it was the only thing we could agree on. I’m the only one who got this particular one, but the others got sentimental meanings as well, and we couldn’t agree on the font or language, which we wanted to match. We each have our own interests in fields of study, and while it isn’t the most interesting culture to each of us, Asian culture is the most interesting culture we agreed on based on interests. Art, history, language, mythology, storytelling, traditions, cuisine... It was the best compromise.”

Your lips shifted from a shy smile to a victorious smirk. “I won that one, honestly, convincing them to go with kanji, because while linguistics wasn’t my major or even my minor, it was one of my passions, and I studied as much as I could, whether I learned the language or not. In terms of writing, Japanese is the most complicated system, and I’m just fascinated.”

You blushed and shrunk into yourself a bit when you realized you were talking to a Japanese man. “I-I probably don’t need to tell you that, though.”

If you’d been looking at him, instead of at your drink, you’d see the tease of an amused smile pulling at his lips and the way he leaned toward you just the slightest. “I wasn’t aware that it was the most complicated, but it doesn’t surprise me.”

“Y-yeah.” You indulged a glance, then looked back down.

A compressing weight bore down on you with the silence, and you were ready to be put out of your misery. You were not drunk enough to endure the awkward discomfort any longer. It was time for your favorite liquor to finish what the wine had started, so you politely sipped the rest of your glass faster than the first two.

“Are the friends you got the tattoo with the ones-”

“Some of them,” you cut him off as abruptly as he had broken the silence. It was clear where that question was going, and despite having the slight buffer that gave you some comfort, you couldn’t handle hearing him bring up the unintentional sext again.

He suppressed his chuckle with a sip. He was just finishing his first half glass, which made you feel like you had a drinking problem with how quickly you polished off three.

“I didn’t take you for the type to be interested in things like tattoos, to be frank,” you said, your mouth running off again, immediately biting your lip to keep from saying more.

He couldn’t have been more grateful for the natural stoicism that kept the quirk of his lips from evolving into a smug smirk. You knew nothing about him outside of work, which was how he had preferred to keep it with most, but it also entertained him to envision your reaction to just what kind of track record he had. Tattoos weren’t even half of it.

“You’d be surprised,” he chuckled, drawing your gaze to him.

Then he did it. He deliberately combed a hand through his hair, disheveling his bangs, showing hints of the tattoo on his forehead covering up a scar he’d given himself as a child.

“No way,” you gasped, and you hadn’t even seen just what it was yet. He pushed his bangs completely out of the way, and you were sure you went into shock. “Oh my god.”

He allowed himself the smirk that he’d held back. If only he could show you the rest of them.

“Mine is not as sentimental as yours, but it’s interesting that we both have the same one.”

You gave a mute, wide-eyed nod. You could only think of one thing- were there more?

He put his hair to right and subtly studied you. It was clear to him that you were like many others who, based on the personality he showed them, thought him to be a choir boy with an unblemished record. That was just how he liked it, but he was so tempted to roll the sleeves of his undershirt up a bit to see how you reacted to his sleeves of tattoos. How wide would your eyes go? How far would your jaw drop? Would your face flush? It was a far too tempting experiment, but he resisted.

“How are you feeling?” He inquired when you didn’t make any noise, looking deceptively innocent.

“F-fine,” you answered, feeling a little light headed. It was the wine’s fault, you argued with yourself. That’s right. It was all the wine’s fault that you were acting like a brainless bimbo... Yeah, you didn’t believe that half-assed excuse.

“I mean your feet and your stomach,” he clarified, still enjoying your reaction as he composed himself as if nothing had happened.

“O-oh, um, it- I’m fi- They’re good,” you managed to spit out after searching for words that should not have been so difficult to find.

“So I should take you home then?”

“No, sir, I can get myself home,” you insisted. You put the glass that you’d forgotten you’d been holding on the desk gently, stood up, and started working on the rest of the buttons you’d left undone, but as your arm brushed your side, it pressed the material to your tender skin, and you flinched. He noticed.

“I’m sure you could, but I’d feel better if I made sure you got there myself.”

“Sir, I’ve already caused you enough trouble. Let me leave with what dignity I have left,” you nearly begged, which stirred something unpleasant in his chest.

“You shouldn’t feel that way,” he argued. “I’m concerned. You’re still in pain, and I can get you home faster.”

“Theoretically, you could, but with the streak of luck I’ve had in the last twenty-four hours, I seriously believe that I’ll do something to cause you to get in a wreck on the way, which means neither of us would be getting home for quite awhile, rendering your argument inaccurate,” you countered as you tried not to whimper when the smooth material grazed the heated skin of the right side of your stomach.

He stood and said your name in a way that made you freeze, paralyzed by the authority in his tone. Before you could return to your senses, he rounded the desk to stand in front of you, and you weren’t sure if it was the air of command he exuded, but something was controlling you like a puppet on strings as you turned toward him, your eyes locking with his.

“Si-sir?”

“I am going to examine your burn, and if I feel it’s safe, I will take you home,” he stated with such gravity, it almost knocked you to the floor. It was a little exciting, especially because you knew he wouldn’t fire you if you defied him. Still, you were powerless to do such a thing, so you complied instead.

It was like a caress as he moved his shirt out of the way to see the skin that, to his relief, was not blistering, or showing any signs of being anything more than a superficial issue. He very gently brushed his fingers over it as his eyes went to your face to see the extent of your pain. You winced, but it wasn’t strong. He retrieved the gel from the first aid kit he’d left on the desk and applied another layer on the dry skin that had absorbed the first one, then checked your feet, which seemed to have received minimal damage. When he stood in front of you once again, you avoided looking at him.

“Thank you, sir, but please, let me just get a cab home. I can’t stand the thought of causing you any more trouble.”

“And I can’t stand the thought of not seeing you safely home,” he sighed, then gave in. “I will see you into a cab, and I would appreciate it if you texted me when you get home.”

“Sir, me texting you is the whole reason we’re in this mess,” you said with a bark of laughter.

“Then call me. Just promise to let me know, or you’re not going anywhere without me,” he demanded, sending a little chill down your spine. It was evident in his tone that he genuinely cared about you, but you could write it off as just being in a professional sense. If you had just lifted your eyes to connect with his, you’d see the smoldering embers in his gaze that would tell you otherwise.

“All right. I promise to text you. I apologize that if by some freak accident, you somehow end up with something even more inappropriate than what you already have. No matter how much I want to, I’d never send anything to you that would put either of our jobs at risk-”

“How much you want to?” He cut you off.

You gasped, realizing your major faux pas. Hands fidgeting like they were on steroids- you really needed to do something about that- you searched the recesses of your mind for something you could use to save the situation.

“No, no, th-that’s not... I meant.... How much I may want to, in a hypothetical case... Oh, god,” you finished with a pathetic groan as you covered your face, burning with embarrassment that put the heat of your injury to shame. The speed and efficiency with which you crafted the knot of your own noose would have made any boy scout envious.

While your fears from earlier came crashing back into you with the force of a meteor, he couldn’t take it anymore. You had been well out of his reach for multiple reasons before that day, and he was fine with that, until that godforsaken text. He’d optimistically planned to clear things up, then hopefully return to normal before too long. No one that could bring down any consequences on either of you, but especially you, would need to know. Crazy incidents that sounded like they belonged in some ridiculously written plot aside, he was still aiming for that, but then-

“Si-sir?” You muttered, still not looking at him.

You put a foot over the line, unintentionally taunting him when you inadvertently confessed that you wanted to intentionally send him something like that. If the circumstances were right, he figured. What would dictate those circumstances? Would you do it out of the desire to be intimate with him? You weren’t like many of the others who’d come onto him. Over the year you’d been employed under him, he felt like he’d gotten a good sense of who you were as a person, and that sense told him you’d stick around for more than one night- if even that long in the cases of some he’d seen sneaking out of his brother’s room when they were younger- of passion. You’d be give him what he needed, which was a relationship of substance. He was confident that he wouldn’t be nearly as attracted to you as he was if he didn’t feel you could and would commit to him. And he was really attracted to you, in many ways, as evidenced by the delusion and other reactions the whole mess had brought about in him.

“Well, I’m going to go now. I’ll let you know when I get home, so you don’t have to worry about me.”

Even if you didn’t return his affections in the same way- but if you didn’t, why would you be willing to send him such an intimate image? You made it clear that you wouldn’t send it to just anyone, so... you had to feel the same way, right?

Damn it, it was just frustrating him, and he swore that he was going to get closure. He technically had for the issue he’d intended, only to have a different one plop in his lap. He could go home and repeat the previous night, or he could get answers and deal with them, for better or for worse.

“What did you mean by that?” He asked, coming off as more demanding than he meant to. You were halfway to the door when he spoke, and against your better judgment, you stopped.

“No-nothing,” you responded as you shook, back still to him as you clutched the shirt in your hands, not worried about wrinkling it, since you planned to get it dry cleaned that weekend, if not sooner. “I’m sorry, please just write it off as nothing.”

“If you tell me what you meant, I’ll let it go,” he promised, needing to hear the truth.

You clenched your hands into fists and your eyes shut as the hot sting in your eyes warned you of even more impending tears. Forget going home and getting drunk, you were going home to cry like a baby into your pillow until sleep took you, hoping you made it that far before you broke down. You couldn’t take anymore stress, humiliation, or slip-ups that could cost you everything you had built in your current occupation.

You grit your teeth, warring with yourself before caving. “I meant that I wish we were in a relationship where you want me to send things like that to you… but mostly one where I can be honest about how I feel about you, and hopefully, you’d feel the same.”

You took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll put in for a department transfer first thing in the mor-”

“I won’t approve it,” he cut you off for a third time. He was getting pretty comfortable with doing that, and it likely would have irritated you to some small degree under normal circumstances. “If you truly want to transfer, report me for misconduct so that you don’t need my approval.”

“For what misconduct?” You snapped, turning around. “As far as I can see, the only one guilty of that is me! Why won’t you approve it?”

“Because you’re an invaluable part of this team,” he said, his face giving away nothing.

“It’ll function fine without me,” you retorted.

“Why does what you said in the last thirty seconds mean that you have to transfer?”

You barked out a sardonic laugh. “Why does me basically telling my direct supervisor that I have romantic feelings for him mean that I have to transfer? Seriously? As if that’s not enough, look at everything else. Are you really going to be able to pretend that none of this happened?”

You just covered your eyes and hung your head. “All right, fine. If this has no effect on you, then I won’t make a bigger deal out of it than you want to. I’m going home now, before I do even more damage to myself, or god forbid, you. Goodnight.”

“You really think that’s all we are?” He said before you could turn away again. “I was under the impression that we had reached a level of friendship.”

You sniffled and rubbed at your eyes, smudging your makeup a bit. “Okay, yeah, we do have that. Tell me tomorrow if you still feel that way, again, if you’re able to pretend that this sorry mess didn’t happen.”

He set his jaw in determination and narrowed his eyes. “I won’t be able to because I have no desire to erase what has happened.”

“And why is that?” You questioned in exasperation, wondering why you weren’t kicking off your heels and walking out barefoot to give your poor feet some relief- Oh, yeah. Because the soreness called at least some attention away from the other aching parts of you, like your heart and your head.

So many answers flew through his mind, and none of them felt right. What if he said the wrong thing and you finally broke? What if he pushed you too far and you did push for a transfer? What if you quit? His rational mind said that you weren’t the type to quit over something like that, but you would try to get away from him within the company at the very least. What was the right answer?

“Let me clean up here, then I’ll see you into a cab.”

That was not it. That was not it at all.

“Fine,” you weakly agreed, too defeated to argue any further. “Here, I’ll go rinse those out.”

You approached his desk once more and reached out to pick up the short glasses, but one hand was restrained by another on your wrist. Turning your head, you fixed him with a curious stare, wondering what more he could possibly have to say. He said nothing. Even after a good half a minute of wondering what the hell was he thinking, neither of you said anything.

Of course, by that point, it was impossible to speak when your mouth was sealed by his. He was so not following standard protocol with the way his lips moved against yours. Not at all. For a dream-like moment of indulgence, neither were you as your eyes closed and your hands floated up to land on his shoulders.

Then you woke up.

“Sir!” You gasped as you pulled away abruptly, stepping backwards. “Wh-what... Why... We can’t-”

“I was responding to the confession I all but forced from you. I couldn’t think of the right way to tell you why I don’t want to forget any of ‘this sorry mess,’ as you put it. We can.” he said, answering what went through your mind as if he could read it.

What are you doing? Why did you kiss me? We can’t do this.

“B-but I can’t… Do you… How?” You sputtered.

He said your name with a reverence and tenderness that almost made you cry again as he stepped forward, gripped your chin between his thumb and forefinger, and made you look at him. “Tell me, do you want this?”

“God, yes!” you gave in, “but what about company policy? I don’t want to lose my job, and I know you don’t want to lose yours!”

To your frustration and confusion, the slightest laugh came from him. At your expression that conveyed the utter lack of understanding, and even some injured pride, he smiled softly.

“That’s the official rule, yes, but there are many relationships between employees of different positions. The unwritten rule is that as long as it is kept discreet and genuine, the higher ups look the other way. It has obviously been working as far as discretion goes, because most have the same idea you do, which is generally how we’d like to keep it. I’ve heard of very few that resulted in firing before something changed that allowed them to go public,” he explained.

“You’re kidding. So that section of the employment contract that everyone has to sign dictating that there can be no unprofessional relationships between employees that aren’t on the same rung of the corporate ladder is just a smoke screen?” You questioned.

“Essentially."

You looked off to the side, processing. “I see. That explains a lot, actually.”

It certainly explained how people you knew to be strict rule followers didn’t seem to try nearly hard enough to hide-

Wait, wha-?

Your head whipped back in his direction as you covered your mouth with a hand to hide the gaping hole it had become when your jaw hit the floor.

“So, what you’re saying is that you want a relationship... with me?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” he confirmed, face void of anything that would give you misgivings that he was less than deadly serious. Everything about him suggested that he didn’t take much lightly, but the way he removed himself from any conversation that drifted in the direction of romantic relationships had given you the impression that they were a topic that he kept very close to his chest for whatever reason.

“Sir-”

“I have a name,” he said, his deep voice floating through the still air. “I wonder if you remember what it is, given I’ve never heard you use it.”

That was true. Everyone else called him ‘sir’ less than half the time. It was usually Mister Sabakuno, or even his first name. He didn’t really care what he was called. Being addressed informally at work was nothing compared to the echoes of what had been shouted at him in his youth... But you were the exception.

Your eyes met his as you slowly lowered your hand, face far more composed than a second before. Yes, you’d barely referred to him as anything but ‘sir’ even outside work, let alone called to him with anything more familiar. Your friends teased you that he was either going to be turned off completely by your refusal to establish more intimacy through the typical convention of using his name, or be so turned on that if he ever got his hands on you, he’d make sure you understood just why you couldn’t use that particular title in public any longer. You told them to put a sock in it. You had originally been too intimidated to call him anything other than that, and then it just became habit after a month or two, and then when your little crush became harder and harder to ignore, you were afraid that increasing familiarity would break down the cage you were trying to keep your heart in-

When you didn’t respond for an agitating amount of time- if only you’d had the presence of mind to take the tiniest amount of sadistic pleasure out of watching him suffer in imposed silence- he sighed. “If you are still uncomfortable with the idea of going against the relationship rule, I understand. We will pick up tomorrow as if none of this ever happened. I can’t promise that I’ll forget, and I apologize if that makes things difficult. If you honestly wish to transfer, I will-”

“Gaara, please, stop talking,” you softly commanded while you tried to think. Oh, and you cut him off too. When it hit you that you had interrupted him- jumping straight to using his first name at that- and again said what was on your mind without it passing through your mental security check, you tensed, starting to panic again, thinking that the world was seriously going to end because, dear god, you slipped up again and-

and then you reached your stress limit, and it all just came crashing down.

A house constructed of verbal filters, social barriers, professionalism, worries, and excuses in your mind just collapsed onto the foundation that had been cracking since the second you caught yourself thinking of him as anything other than your boss. Your throbbing heart was visible through those cracks, leaving you vulnerable, your eyes peering into his, completely unguarded. What was left for you to hide?

His eyes widened in mild shock at the angel’s sigh that was his name passing through your lips. He really had no idea what he had been missing, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to go back to hearing ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ all the time.

“Again,” he muttered. “Say it again.”

You mouthed it, but nothing came out, so you tried again, and it was a just barely audible whisper.

It was enough.

There was no way to tell if one of you kissed the other first that second time. The pair of you were akin to an erupting volcano that oozed a year’s worth of sparks from each interaction, a year’s worth of affection that only showed when your masks slipped just slightly, a year’s worth of stolen glances that the other never saw, a year’s worth of attraction that made blood boil and cheeks flush... It flowed as smoothly as molten lava, and possessed even more heat.

Your hands gripped his shoulders as his hand returned to the back of your neck, and the other rested lightly on your hip, feeling the familiar texture of his shirt. He was tempted to break the kiss so that he could stare at you and finally appreciate what was in front of him without guilt, but your lips on his felt too good.

Slowly, and reluctantly, you separated when the need for air became priority, but just enough for your eyes to lock with his, at least until those beautiful bright blue-greens ran over you from head to toe and back up. It made you feel both thrilled, and a little self-conscious.

“S-sir-”

“Unless I tell you otherwise, please, use my name when we’re alone,” he requested in a feather soft tone.

You acquiesced with a nod.

“Gaara,” you whispered. You’d forbidden yourself to get comfortable with even thinking his name before, but you knew right then that it was going to be all too easy to get used to saying it.

He smiled, the sweetest expression that made your heart pound.

“So,” you started, blinking at him with a face that couldn’t have been more innocent. “Does that mean I can send you pictures of a similar nature to the last one on purpose?”

His smile immediately fell, and it was obvious where his mind was when his eyes fell to your covered chest, then returned to your face, which was morphing from the naïve expression to a cat that ate the canary grin. His stomach sank and he felt a thrill of his own as he realized that he was going to see an entirely new side of you.

“And will there be opportunities to show you my little splurges in person without burning myself in the process?”

Your hands went to the top button of the shirt and undid it, then went to the second, and the third, and so on. When you sadly confessed that you wished for a relationship with him, you thought you were going to be going home, a pathetic woman that didn’t know how you survived that day, nor how you would survive the following days. There was no way on earth, in heaven or hell, that you would have believed you would end up kissing him, and then teasing him only seconds later. Blaming the stress and following relief made you feel less crazy.

“Speaking of that injury, would you mind looking at it one more time, please? One more layer of that gel should get rid of the stinging for good,” you requested politely, shrugging the shirt off when you finished unbuttoning, exposing the alluring lingerie you’d been so eager to show someone...

His eyes couldn’t have gotten any bigger, and he wasn’t sure if it was because he was as shocked as you had been when he first kissed you, or because they were trying to drink in the sight of you to commit to memory. It was so much better than an illusion. He found himself nodding and kneeling down to inspect your skin that he was relieved to see was much better. The scalding wouldn’t leave anything that wouldn’t heal in a week. He brushed his fingers over it, light as a feather, and checked your face for a reaction. There wasn’t even a wince.

“You look like you’re going to kiss it better,” you joked.

He raised a non-existent eyebrow- the theories in the office regarding that particular topic were ridiculous- then the corner of his lips quirked up, almost looking mischievous, before they were pressed to your abdomen, where it was still a bit warmer than normal from the injury. Endorphins rushed from the point of contact through your whole body, eliciting a soft moan. You were hit by a huge wave of disappointment when he pulled away, only to have it dry up when you felt another kiss placed a little higher. More and more came, soft and slow, and it made you shudder and gasp as he moved up your torso, until he reached the bra, staring it in the giant rhinestone. The look on his face made you realize that you were going to get to see a new side of him.

“Did that hurt?” He asked, teasing you back. You gulped and shook your head. He rested his whole hand over where the worst of the damage had been. “How about this?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“I’d say that you’ll survive.” He faintly smirked.

“I’ll trust you on that,” you said, suddenly feeling a little like a mouse staring up at a cat as it licked its lips.

“I think I better check again, just to be safe,” he muttered. He touched his fingers to your navel, the furthest extent of the damage, and ran them up your stomach to stop right at the gold colored diamond in between your breasts. “Did that hurt?”

“No,” you whimpered, realizing how touch starved you were. Your hands shook and your right one grabbed his wrist. His eyes narrowed in concern, afraid he’d crossed a line, then relaxed when you nervously pressed it to your chest. When you teased him with the little strip show with his shirt, you felt emboldened and in control, but he managed to turn the tables, making you feel like a shy school girl. You didn’t think he intended to do so, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t a time for games.

The reverberating staccato of his heartbeat in his ears was unmatched as he beheld the softness beneath his hand. You were so beautiful, and it excited him to have you within reach, but it was all so new to him. He wasn’t sure how to proceed.

He pulled his hand away, and only by great self control were you able to hold back a whine. You eyed him, noting that he wasn’t showing discomfort exactly, just nerves. He refused to look at you, totally different from when he was feeling up your midsection... He didn’t fully understand that you wanted him, physically and emotionally, despite your declaration. He did say he felt he forced it from you, and then he must not have understood that the kiss you shared was your enthusiastic consent and confession.

“Sir,” you said deliberately, drawing his attention. “Forgive me, but I think it’s best that we establish a contract with terms and conditions, given this change in the status of our relationship.”

It was evident by the drop in his shoulders and the disappearance of the worried wrinkles in his forehead that your attempt at humor with the formal proposition relaxed him. Success.

“I suppose you’re right,” he answered with a faint laugh and smile, allowing you to make eye contact once more.

“You’ve already given me one, about using your name. Do you have any others?”

“I don’t have any experience with ventures of this nature,” he admitted, cheeks pink. “I think you should set your terms first.”

“I have very few. Be honest, be clear, and be you,” you stated politely. “We’ll both get the most out of this joint effort if we maintain trust and open communication, and it’s bad practice to enter any agreement under false pretenses. I will hold myself to the same standard. Is that agreeable?”

He couldn’t help the light chuckle that came from his chest, and his heart warmed at the way you lightened the mood.

“Yes, I find that all agreeable.”

“How would you like to seal the deal?” You questioned, leaving the next step up to him.

Those beautiful eyes that bordered on luminescent, outlined by dark rings that you’d been told were the result of years of insomnia, stayed on you. Slowly, as you could see the gears turning in his head, he projected an air that shifted from a man who didn’t seem confident in what he could do, to one that was ready to experiment with his boundaries. It was a sudden thrill ride that made your stomach sink and had you itching to rub your legs together to alleviate the sudden heat between them.

“I’d like to see the rest,” he stated firmly in a way that was not quite a command, but left little room for defiance.

Heat rushed to your face as you processed his request. “Th-the rest? You mean..?”

He simply nodded. You’d half way undressed for him already, but just how far did that willingness extend? He’d seen you in your picture, yes, but that was entirely a mistake, so it was different. How much of yourself were you content to bare to him?

You had no problem with showing yourself to him. There was no question of his respect for others, and for the entire year you’d known him, you’d never once seen him indicate in the slightest that he found preference in any certain shape. You’d overheard him agree with some men at the office end of year party that one of the female managers was really pretty, but he said it with the interest of someone stating that the sky was blue. It was one of the moments that made you fall for him the most. He appreciated everyone for who they were and their individual talents.

Still, the act of kicking your shoes off as you unzipped your pencil skirt felt awkward under his scrutiny, and you had to stare at the floor to keep your composure as you slid it down your legs. You stood in front of him, allowing him to see you with all your physical flaws, and crossed your arms over your stomach in a way that made you feel secure, but didn’t really hide you from him.

He didn’t like that. His hands came up to very gently pull your arms away so he could see you in all your splendor, from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. His eyes gave away nothing, making you squirm just slightly, but then his whole expression softened and his smile made a reappearance.

“I really like that color on you.”

“I wasn’t going to get it, until something told me that you would like it,” you admitted. “If that doesn’t make you question how accidental sending that picture was, nothing will. I swear, it really was. I was just-”

You cut off as he grabbed you by the hips and pushed you down on the edge of his desk, drawing out a shocked squeak.

“You’ve already made it clear that you didn’t mean to send it to me,” he growled. “You don’t need to keep reminding me.”

You couldn’t keep the smug smile off your face. “No, sir. I didn’t intend to keep reminding you.”

“What did I say about using my name?” He snapped, waking up the brat in you.

“I don’t know. I mean, old habits die hard, sir. You might have to break me of it,” you taunted him.

He took that as a challenge that he just couldn’t turn down. His hands slid up your sides to the gorgeous clothing article, mindfully feeling it from sides to back, and when approved, to the front. His eyes focused on your breasts for only seconds before they shifted to your tattoo, heating up as they soaked in the flaming red that popped beautifully against your skin tone. A pale digit touched it, brushing over each line of the kanji, followed by his lips.

God, he was so romantic, and you were positive that he was a man to whom it just came naturally. Either that, or you needed to warm up your vocal cords to sing the praises of whoever educated him on how to treat a-

You opened your eyes- when had you closed them and dropped your head back?- to see the ceiling, a soft moan tearing up your throat when you felt him nip, then cautiously bite on the sensitive flesh at the base of your neck. When he had moved from your chest, you weren’t sure. You must have checked out for a second when you were appreciating the sweeter than sugar way he was handling you.

It was all too surreal, barely made easier to grasp the more his senses took you in. The taste of sweet mint still on your lips from the gum you chewed after lunch, the feeling of your succulent body under his hands quickly becoming so ingrained that he was sure his fingers would still be tingling with the phantom sensation the next day, your scent- a mix of your shampoo, body wash, and favorite perfume- clouded his mind, your breathy sounds and the whisper of his name ringing in his ears, and the vision of you in front of him, so very willing.

“Sir?” You spoke up when he backed off and his eyes took on a distant gleam, not intending to be defiant that time.

He held out for a few seconds before his mind returned from wherever it had wandered off to.

“That was your second strike,” he growled again, and your body temperature went through the roof.

You bit your lip and crossed a leg over the other, knowing there was no way you were dry after that. Leaning back on your hands, you smirked. Oh, could tempting your boss into taking you on his desk be more of a dream come true? It couldn’t, based on the hungry way his eyes raked over you.

“And what’s the punishment for strike three, sir?”

That last little formal address pushed him over the edge. He untied the double Windsor knot and removed the black silk tie that hung from his neck, his eyes never leaving you.

“You’ve never had a problem following orders before.”

“You’ve never ordered me to do anything before. You’ve always been so cordial and polite.”

You watched as his empty hand beckoned you forward, and like a puppet on a string, you obeyed.

“I’m not feeling cordial or polite right now. I’m definitely not feeling very patient.”

You grinned, unable to even pretend to put up a fight.

“Then I’ll accept whatever punishment you feel is appropriate.”

He guided you up by your hips and turned you around. pressing his chest to your back, and then everything went dark. You felt a pressure at the back of your head as he tied a knot to hold the makeshift blindfold in place. With the inability to see, every one of your nerves became a live wire.

Without you looking at him, it was easier for him to focus on what he was doing without getting anxious under your gaze. His arms wrapped around you and his hands flattened against your stomach. Taking his time, he ran them over your midsection, grazing over each imperfect square inch of flesh that your friends glorified in an attempt to boost your confidence. So soft and warm, and he couldn’t see himself tiring of holding you. In fact, he’d give just about anything to be able to have you in his office every day, so he could take breaks and just hold you in his arms when he was getting too stressed...

“Gaara?” You dared to whisper, ripping him from his appreciative reverie.

“No talking,” he demanded, his voice raspy as he exercised a dominance that only seeped out through the tiny cracks in his genteel demeanor from time to time.

A violent shiver raced down your spine like electricity at his tone, then again when his fingers slipped under the lace, barely brushing over the underside of your breasts. Was he simply exploring, or testing how little effort it took to drive you out of your mind?

In his head, he was mapping you out like uncharted territory, and he’d be lying if he said your reaction to his slightest movement, his lightest touch, didn’t fascinate him. He hadn’t felt so excited by anything in such a long time... It was exhilarating, and he could only crave more. More of the little noises you made, more time to memorize you, more contact-

You cried out as his fingers moved higher, causing a pleasant prickling sensation when they slipped beneath your bra and brushed over your nipples as his palms cupped each mound. It was a beautiful torment as you tried to obey his rule. The words strained against the chains of your control, and a whimper of his name escaped as you brought your hands up to cover his.

“What did I say?” He questioned, sounding anything but irritated by your disobedience.

“So-sorry, si- Gaara!”

“You’re misbehaving on purpose, aren’t you? You have to be. I know you’re far more competent than this,” he said with a dark chuckle. His hands released you after pushing the fabric up, exposing your tits to the air, then ran down your stomach to your underwear.

Legs quaking, you were so close to giving in and relying on him to support you as he slowly- so agonizingly slowly- slipped his fingers underneath the top edge. There was a gush of slick awaiting him between your legs, but to your frustration, he stopped just as his knuckles disappeared beneath the material. Was his goal to drive you insane?

“Is this really okay?” His voice, mild and a bit uncertain, floated into your ear.

“Yes,” you mewled, but as you felt a brush of his shirt against your back, you stilled. “Wait.”

Without moving the tie that was blocking your vision, you turned around, using your hands to locate his shoulders. You could feel the change from the confidence and amusement with which he’d previously been groping you to confusion.

“This feels unfair to me. I’m all but naked here, and you’re no less covered than you were when I first walked in,” you pointed out. “I’d feel a little bit better if there wasn’t such a disparity between our levels of vulnerability.”

You felt down to his waist, where his cotton-polyester second shirt was tucked into his dark slacks, and pulled at it. Pulling it up by the hem at an unhurried pace to give him plenty of time to resist, you listened. Your ears detected a hiss of air between his teeth, and you froze. You couldn’t see that he had raised his arms to allow you to remove the clothing.

“Don’t stop,” he commanded quickly, and you couldn’t help your pleased smile.

“Of course,” you answered with a nod and finished taking it off. Subtle warmth radiated from him, making you just want to curl up in his arms and rest for eternity. You dropped his shirt so you could take advantage of the golden opportunity to get a feel for those muscles you’d only barely discovered. Under your hand, they felt better than they had looked under his shirt, and you nearly discarded your blindfold to get a glimpse of them.

He watched you with a fiery intensity, enjoying your touch, growing desperate for more. It wasn’t lust that moved him, though he’d be remiss to not admit that he was certainly experiencing the powerful emotion, but the need to build a stronger connection- not only to satisfy a basic human need, but also to fulfill a personal need of everything that amounted to you that was deepening by the second- charged him like a powerful battery. He didn’t think when his arms darted out and encased you, the skin on skin contact causing a massive rush of endorphins and drawing a blissful sigh from both of you.

“Gaara,” you whimpered, and then he was kissing you again, amorous and gentle one second to fierce and forceful the next. His hands ran over your body tenderly, caressing you like a treasure he’d searched for his whole life. When they found your breasts once more, he pushed your bra up, and the force with which he groped your chest had you torn between a gasp and a moan. A deeper moan interrupted the previous one as the pads of his thumbs brushed your nipples for a second time. The gentle touches were a rush, but nothing compared to the one that came when he suddenly removed your bra, displacing your blindfold for a second before he re-adjusted it, then turned you around once again and pressed up against your back. You couldn’t see the mildly possessive desire burning in his eyes, but you could feel the passion that had built up in him straining against his pants.

His hand had returned to where it had been before he had stopped to receive verbal consent and kept going. He may not have been the most experienced, or experienced at all, but he had plenty of crude education, courtesy of his older brother and his blonde best friend, and that education told him that judging by how absolutely soaked you were, something had already done a good job of working you up. He couldn’t say for sure if you had come into his office less than dry, but his ego purred at the thought that he was the one who could claim credit. You were almost relying on him to keep you standing as he familiarized himself with your intimate area, powered by the noises you made.

Your knees were quaking as you leaned against him and clutched the hand over your ribcage. He brushed against your clit and you saw stars. It had been so long since anyone else’s hand had touched you, and the fact that it was your boss- no. The fact that it was Gaara- socially awkward, sweet, intimidating at times, devoted to his work and loved ones- no matter his position, had you ready to snap.

“You’re so hot,” he whispered in your ear, running his hand on your chest down to your stomach. “We should probably do something about that.”

And then he did the last thing you would have thought he’d do. He moved you to the huge window and pressed you up against the glass. You were dying to know where the fuck the man got his kinks. Luckily, you were high enough up that no one who wasn’t flying by in a helicopter could see you. The chilled surface felt amazing on your skin- he was right, you were overheating a bit. He then removed his tie and let you see the artificially lit city. It was breath-taking, and you briefly wondered if this wasn’t actually a kink, but his attempt to be romantic and helpful-

“I want the whole city to know you’re mine,” he growled, sending a tremor down your spine that would have put a level eight earthquake to shame.

Nope. Definitely a kink.

“Am I?” You challenged him. “Am I really yours?”

“I believe that’s what we agreed on.”

“Did we?” You pressed back against him, brushing your ass against his straining length. “Prove it.”

He wasn’t a total beast that lost control, like you had started to think he would be. No, he was much worse. He turned you around and-

“Oh my god,” you gasped when you saw the inked images running up and down his arms. You got a full look at the half naked man before you. His hair was tussled, his forehead and arms were tattooed, and his eyes were absolutely wild. He was the most beautiful person you’d ever seen.

He got you on your back- after laying his jacket down under your back so you wouldn’t be irritated by the coarse fibers of the carpet- and then he dialed back his intensity, which was brutal after being brought to such a pleasurable height only a couple minutes before.

“You were such a good girl before. What happened?” He taunted, lightly touching you in the places you’d responded most strongly to when he was exploring you before.

“Gaara,” you groaned. “If only everyone in the office knew you were such a tease.”

“They’d never believe it if you told them.” He smirked with pride. He had a carefully constructed mask, and no one that he didn’t feel close enough to could see through it. You were one that he had deemed special enough. He was allowing you to see the faces he hid from everyone else. The uncertainty, the doubt, the love, the lust, and everything else, you knew he’d let you see them all with little reservation- in comparison to what he showed others, anyway- because he wanted you and trusted you.

The thought struck you hard, ringing through your being, and you couldn’t help smiling. Your body released its tension, stupefying him. You were on the verge of begging him to give you release, and suddenly became the picture of tranquility. When you stepped into his office, you were wrestling with fear and wanton desire that were eating at you like ravenous wolves. When you were trying to leave, you were disheartened and defeated. When you actually walked out that door, it would be with your head held high and in the best spirits you could imagine, feeling loved and appreciated by someone you deemed special enough to merit putting your heart on the line before you even knew how they felt.

He watched you as you sat up, having no idea where things were going.

“No, they wouldn’t, and I’m pretty happy about that. I get to keep this side of you all to myself.”

His eyes changed from swimming with confusion to your favorite tender gaze, the one that had started everything for you from the first time you saw it. He leaned in and you shared the softest kiss yet. What had previously been more one sided as power shifted between you two, whoever could fluster the other being the one in charge, became a sweet and equal balance. You held him loosely by the back of his neck while your other hand ran down his chest, eliciting a soft growl from deep in his throat.

“Gaara,” you whispered when you broke apart. “I love you.”

Shock flashed across his face, followed by an expression that you could only describe as insecure and frightened.

“It’s okay. Come on,” you told him, then laid back down, inviting him with twinkling eyes and a playful smile.

“Are you sure?” He inquired, and you saw clear conflict in his eyes. There were rumors around the office ranging from that he was asexual, to the idea that he had his own personal harem. You had no clue where most of those ideas came from, but you had a feeling the more scoffed at idea that he wasn’t asexual but had never had sex was right on the mark.

“Yes, but it’s okay if you’re not,” you assured him, “If what we’ve done is all you’re comfortable with, then it’s enough.”

You got on your knees in front of him. “But give me a chance to make you feel good?”

He appeared a little unsure, and you wondered if he had any experience being touched at all, or if he had a bad experience. He had no problem making sure you felt good, but he didn’t seem to have an idea of how it felt to be catered to.

“It’s okay,” you repeated with a soft smile before pecking him on his lips and getting up to dress.

Inside his head, Gaara was running laps. You were the first person he’d ever been so intimate with- ever desired to be so intimate with- but when it came down to being fully vulnerable, he hesitated. He’d been in positions of power for so long, and even when he had higher ups to answer to, no one would ever make the mistake that he was ever less than in complete control of his position. The idea of handing that control over to someone, even if it was only for a few moments of pleasure… It terrified him. More than terrified him. He didn’t know how to relinquish that much control to someone, did he?

“Gaara?” He barely registered that you had spoken to him, and that you were kneeling back in front of him.

You called his name again, but he was unresponsive.

“Oh god, I broke my boss,” you muttered, touching his shoulder. You had no idea what to do to snap him out of whatever trance he was in. Throw water on him? Gently slap him? Shove him? ...You got one idea that you hoped would stop you from needing to use force.

“Okay, sir, I guess I’ll just head home, if that’s all you need,” you said clearly and at a higher than normal volume, praying that it would shake him up enough.

One word pierced through the mental fog, and the rest got through, eliciting a growl and glare.

“I told you not to call me that, and you aren’t going anywhere without me.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” you sighed in relief. “You scared me.”

Confusion painted his face.

“I lost you for a bit there. I’m very sorry if I did something that upset you or triggered something unpleasant. We can talk about it later, if you want, and you can tell me what you’re comfortable with. I don’t want to do anything that you’re unsure about. It’s probably best that you get going anyway, since you’ve got people ex- Mmph!”

You really should have kept a tally on how many times he did that, but how he went from a state of confusion to-

“Shut up,” he panted when he stopped kissing you to catch his breath, and his hands went to undo the buttons you had just done up.

It was your turn to play host to the confusion he’d previously held, and it was much deeper than it had been with him.

“Wha-”

“I gave you an order.”

Your briefs were not going to dry out on their own any time soon, and your legs were quivering as you leaned back on your calves.

He wasn’t confused about anything, and it had changed so fast, it would have left the metro train in the dust. He trusted very few people enough to risk being compromised- four, to be exact- and he wasn’t inclined to strip down and tangle with any of them- it would be a crime if he was to do so with three of them. Naruto… He wouldn’t have ruled him out exactly, if asked, but otherwise, he wouldn’t have contemplated it at all.

Then you were right in front of him, in his shirt again, worried about upsetting him, wanting to see to it that he was comfortable… It wasn’t just then either. It was how you had been with every interaction since the day he met you. You showed interest in him as a person, but you weren’t pushy. He’d analyzed you as an employee for a year, and without thinking about it, he’d fallen in love with you as much more than that.

Without thinking about it… When he didn’t think, when he just let himself feel, the fear went away. Just feeling was what got him to that point with you, and he didn’t regret it in the slightest. It wasn’t easy, but just moving without stopping to assess the consequences felt nice. It didn’t go over his head that it was only because it was you, who had been brave enough to face him after that picture and accept whatever decision he made about what would come of it, strong enough to admit to him how you felt about him when you had already been so exposed in more ways than one, kind enough to let him set the pace, considerate enough to think about the people waiting on him, thoughtful enough to bring him coffee when you believed he was staying late… It was only because you made him feel so at ease. He was safe with you, he wanted you, and as long as he only focused on you, he wasn’t afraid.

“Ga-Gaara?” You whispered, seeing that he was in a bit of a trance again.

It was enough to bring him back, and then he kissed you again, unable to explain what was going through his mind and heart. It was so soft and sweet, you were completely distracted and didn’t even notice that he’d removed the shirt from you again. Again, you whispered his name, and again, it lit a fire in him. His body pressed to yours as he lowered you onto your back on his jacket once more, a hand around the back of your neck to keep your lips pressed to his, and the other on your lower back.

Nothing entered your mind as you held him against you, wishing that you’d never have to let go. Your lips moved against his in a manner that was opposite to the frantic way your hands felt him up, like you were going to lose him any second.

With no preamble, he pushed up your skirt, bunching it over your stomach. Then his hands moved to your drenched briefs and paused, wanting to hear you consent again.

“Please,” you whimpered before he could ask, desperate to feel his hand there again.

He gave a slight nod, then slid them down your thighs, over your knees, and all the way off. How would you react if he told you that you weren’t getting them back? His lips curled into a semi-smirk at the thought, and that, coupled with the way you were gazing at him- as if he were the most god-like being, yet also seeing the humanity in him- drove him forward. He unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, and an instinct he never realized he possessed took over.

You propped yourself up on your elbows and watched him with growing adoration, amazed at the way he took control. You would have gladly taken the lead and didn’t expect much of him, but he was carrying on with more confidence than you would have expected of anyone who had been so nervous just a minute or two before. He was so focused and intent as soon as he confirmed once again that you were a willing participant.

Willing was an understatement if there ever was one.

He gazed back at you when he was free from the confines of his pants, but his cock was still tucked into his boxer briefs.

“What do you want me to do next?” He inquired in a soft voice, not wanting to shatter the tranquility that had settled over you. He wouldn’t have spoken at all, but he wanted to make sure he did it right.

You beckoned to him, coaxing him into looming over you.

“I want you to fuck me, sir,” you whispered, barely above the volume of a breath.

There it was again. That goddamn title. He growled, warring with himself on whether or not to give you what you desired after your insolence that he just knew was intentional. He desired it too, evidenced by the sensation in his stomach and his throbbing member- the erection that had mostly been maintained despite the interlude of uncertainty was at its max, and he couldn’t hold back. He pulled it out from his underwear- the tip red, engorged, and weeping- and brushed it against your dripping sex.

The moan that came from you was not one you had ever heard before, and it might have been embarrassing, but you were well past the blushing point. You needed him then and there, and you let him know with a whine of his name.

In the future, he would deny you and tease you until you couldn’t remember your own name- and make you wonder what the hell happened to the sweet, slightly shy man you’d initially seen- but that would have to wait until he made you his. You gave a cry of euphoria mixed with the lightest pain as he made his way inside you, stretching you out as he moved deeper and deeper and deep-

Another cry of delight was ripped from you as he hit the spot that had your whole body buzzing like your nervous system was coursing with electricity.

He faintly chuckled as you adjusted, interrupted by a sigh of bliss as you clenched your walls around him, greedily taking what he gave.

“Mo-move,” you requested, almost demanding as you shifted your hips, trying to find that spot again.

“Who’s supposed to give the orders here?” He said, the gruff tone of his voice making you shiver, but complied because he wanted to please you, and he wanted to further explore the physical pleasure he’d never experienced before. He really thought Kankuro was exaggerating.

You were so far gone in pleasure, but you could still appreciate the way the sweat beaded on his brow as he thrusted into you, taking no half measures. You reached up and brushed his bangs out of the way as they fell into his eyes. A particularly hard and well placed thrust had you reflexively pushing your hips back against his, drawing a staggered groan from his throat. That was the trigger for your orgasm, having already been pushed far enough from his earlier actions. Your shriek of his name would have anyone still in the building running to you. The emotions from the day, every second of dread, sorrow, and fear culminated in the greatest high, channeling into the positive feelings you’d felt with him. Your soul, body, and mind had reached nirvana.

He wasn’t far behind as your hot pussy tightened around his cock, overwhelming him and leading to his undoing. He answered your shout with one of your name as he gave one last thrust and emptied himself into you, and you had the brief thought that you were glad you were on regular birth control.

The two of you panted as you stared at each other following the release, and there was a surrealness about it, both of you wondering if it really happened, or if you’d wake up the next morning and find it was only a delusion. Both robbed of words, you were mute as you sat up and pushed your skirt back down, then looked down at your hands. If it was a delusion, you wanted to make sure everything was said.

“I love you,” you muttered, then repeated it a bit louder. “I love you so much, Gaara, and I’ll never be able to go back to what we were before. I don’t know what will happen from here, but I don’t think I’ll be able to let you go emotionally after this. If you don’t completely feel the same way, I understand, and that’s all right. Just-”

“Shut up,” he commanded, but it was tender.

You lifted your gaze to see him a total mess, but it was even more attractive than his normal appearance.

“What about what we just did gave you the impression that I don’t feel exactly as you do?”

“I-I’m just saying that-”

“And I’m just saying that I do. I don’t know any better than you do about the future, but I’m not about to let you go. I love you, and I’ll do whatever we have to in order to make this work.”

A short laugh of disbelief escaped you before you threw yourself at him, wrapping your arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.

“Okay. I can work with that.”

Smiles bloomed on both of your faces, and after a few kisses that gradually grew more heated, you managed to part enough to put yourselves back together. Agreeing to spare the cleaning staff the confusion and possible horror, you did the best you could to clean the evidence of your escapade out of the carpet, and used the rag he’d treated your burn with to clean each other up. He reluctantly allowed you to reclaim your briefs. That time.

“I’ll take you home, if you’d like, but I have an affair back at home I’d enjoy a lot more if you were there,” he said as the two of you were heading out. “I understand if you’d rather not.”

“You mean… Meeting your family?” You questioned, joy and terror at the thought washing over you.

“Yes, but as I said, I under-”

“I’d love to. I just don’t know if I’m properly dressed, and they aren’t expecting me.”

“You’re dressed fine, but we can stop by your home for you to change, and as the guest of honor, they can deal with me expanding the guest list by one person.”

You laughed and nodded. “Okay.”

When you walked into the house Gaara owned and shared only with his son after swinging by your apartment for a change, you were met with wide-eyed looks of disbelief. It only took a minute before Kankuro and Temari were smirking at their little brother, being privy to how he talked about you whenever they asked him about how work was going.

“Wait, so you two are dating,” Kankuro said after the awkward introductions. “Is this going to be some watered down Fifty Shades of Grey shit?”

“Kankuro!” Gaara scolded, then glanced at Shinki, who seemed blissfully unaware as he analyzed you.

“Gaara, he’s going to hear about it within the next few years, with how prevalent it is in pop culture,” you spoke softly, smiling at the boy, then glared at Kankuro. “I’m all for comprehensive education, but anyone who openly discusses what’s in that book or anything like it in front of a child is going to meet the business end of my newest stilettos, got it? I don’t wear them often, so the heel will be just blunt enough to cause a reasonable amount of pain.”

The elder brother eyed you, then looked to his brother. “I see why you brought her home.”

A smile bloomed on Gaara’s lips as he watched you bent down to get better acquainted with the eight-year-old. This was no doubt a worthwhile venture that he hoped to maintain for as long as possible.

You stayed until after Temari left, and Shinki went to bed, and Kankuro offered to take you home as he was preparing to leave.

“If it’s not out-” You started to say.

“She’s staying the night.”

You tried not to show the astonishment you felt at the abrupt change of plans, according to Gaara.

Kankuro smirked. “Moving kind of fast, aren’t you, little brother? You better be careful. I know you don’t keep any protection on hand, and you don’t have any experience with this kind of thing, but those emotions can get pretty powerful, pretty fast-”

“We’re not teenagers, Kankuro,” Gaara sighed.

“I know. I’m just saying.”

“Then stop.”

Once the other man was gone, you shot Gaara a proud smirk. “So... that was a sudden change.”

“Is it a problem? I’m sorry, it was presumptuous and impulsive. I just thought it was the best way to end my-”

Your lips barely brushed his as you leaned in and whispered something that made his head spin and cost him his ability to think straight.

What are you waiting for? Take me to bed.”