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tick tock on the clock

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“How the fuck do you know what TikTok is?” Roman squints at Gerri, his head turning against the pillow, hair mussed. “Are you some thirst-trapping TikTok dancer? Do you make those, like, hot mom videos?”

Gerri sets her phone down on her stomach, pushing her glasses up, and looks down at him, eyes closing briefly, like he’s giving her a headache, like she’s trying to ward off the fucking Roman migraine that lodges itself right behind her left eye. She told him once that she names her headaches after all the people who annoy her. He’s probably got ten different kinds named after him but he’d still bet Kendall has more. It’s a relief and also irritating, and that’s just how it fucking is.

“What are hot mom videos?” she says, sounding more than a little exacerbated.

“Like, one of your daughters is making a TikTok and then you walk into the kitchen and everyone loses their shit.” He’s found her daughters’ TikTok accounts, and they’re both very annoying, but he would follow if they posted videos with Gerri.

“That sounds like a very boring video. Mostly, I just see cats and dogs jumping around. Sometimes there’s a rabbit.” She’s on a very different side of TikTok than Roman is.

“No, it’s like - I mean. Fuck, whatever.” Roman makes a grab for her phone, he wants to see what her app looks like, wants to show her a video, he doesn’t know what he’s grabbing for, really, but she bats his hand away, twists slightly to put her phone on the bedside table, out of his reach. He sees it light up with a notification but she doesn’t even look at it. Maybe she’s had her notifications implanted into her brain or something.

“Could be my dad,” he says casually, and she just sighs, picks up her phone again and swipes the notification away.

“It was Elizabeth.” Her daughter’s in town and Gerri’s been avoiding her for two days, and Roman finds it very funny to watch, how she handles her family, when she’s had a ringside seat for all the Roy shit throughout the years. “She wants me to make a hot mom TikTok with her,” she says with a little twist of her lips, and that surprises a laugh out of Roman, a snort that he can’t take back. But it doesn’t look like she minds.

She doesn’t mind when he shoves his face, rather ungracefully, into her neck, his mouth warm and wet, and her skin is just a little bit salty, and soft and smells like a perfume that his mother once wore, and it doesn’t fully gross him out and fuck that’s weird but everything about this is weird and he just keeps going, until their mouths are moving together and his tongue is sliding against her teeth.

Her hand grasps him through the silk pajamas he keeps at her house, her nails just sharp enough to make him buck against her, breasts hitting the silk of his shirt, and he wonders how the buttons feel on her skin, but she’s still wearing her nightclothes too. She squeezes him again and he almost bites her lip, can feel her smile against his lips, like she’s turned into some kind of feral fucking office robot or whatever. He likes that he’s the only person who sees her like this, that no one thinks anything of her, an old bookcase in a sensible blouse, and he gets the, like, porn masquerading as historic tomes. Canterbury Tales but it’s just the Wife of Bath over and over again. Whatever.

Guess that college degree taught him something, even if he doesn’t use it half of the fucking time. Most of the fucking time, really.

- - -

He doesn’t bring up TikTok again until it’s two weeks later and the company’s social media intern knocks on his office door looking like she’s about to piss herself.

“Mr. Roy?” she says, and her voice sounds like an animated mouse and he can’t even remember if they pay interns or if she’s just getting coffee and carrying around a company iPhone for free. She’s probably not even allowed to post anything unless it’s been vetted by the five people above her on the ladder.

“What?” he answers, and feels a little bad, because he seems to have scared her even more, and fuck, what if she ever has to go into his dad’s office? She won’t survive the encounter.

“The - uh - the - Ms. Novot..ney,” she stumbles over Karoline’s name, and Jesus, it must be her first day or something. He waves his hand, encourages her to continue because it feels like she’s been standing in his doorway for five hours already. “They want some of the,” she clears her throat and no wonder she makes social media posts because she can’t speak for shit. “Management to make TikTok videos. To, uh, humanize the company.”

“What?” he says, the only thing he’s said to her, and he doesn’t even know her name.

“TikTok is this, like, social media platform,” she starts explaining, a little bit of the nervousness gone, and Roman slaps a hand on the desk.

“Fuck, I know what TikTok is, I’m not in a nursing home,” he says, and her whole body looks like it shrunk, but at least she can start the skin toughening process now. “I’m not doing a dance,” he says. “Unless you’re making Kendall do a dance too.”

“No, uh, no,” she says. “It’s just, like, lip syncing to some lyrics. It won’t take long.”

“Gerri has to do it with me,” he says, suddenly grinning and she looks even more scared now, and who would’ve thought that’s what would frighten her more.

“I don’t - that wasn’t - who?” God, she has to study the directory or something. It’s her fucking boss’s boss plus ten layers and she doesn’t even know. Probably thinks he’s talking about some smelly old man who just sits in his desk chair, farting every three seconds.

“Gerri Kellman. Run along back to Karolina and tell her that the only way she gets this champ,” he points at himself with his thumb, “is if she gets old wrinkletits to be in it with me.” The intern’s face is bright red, and he wonders if she’ll even remember Gerri’s name by the time she gets back to her desk. He laughs as she scurries away.

- - -

It only takes half an hour for his phone to ring and for Gerri to greet him by saying “What the fuck” and then something to someone else in the room and he can hear muffled noises and maybe that intern girl is crying in Gerri’s office, and god, there’s no one less sympathetic to cry to, because she just doesn’t not give even one shit about interns. “Rich kids whose parents wrote a letter to someone on the board,” is how she describes them, and she’s probably right, because who else can afford to work for free.

God, it makes him a little horny to think about her berating some idiot. She doesn’t yell at him as much anymore. Well, she still does, but it’s different, and he likes that too, but they’ve found an understanding. Which is why he’s allowed to continue fucking her whenever she wants.

He waits patiently, examining his cuticles and can’t remember the last time he went to get them taken care of, and maybe he’ll have his assistant make an appointment, and then hears the distant, foggy sound of Gerri’s door closing.

“A TikTok video?” she says, disbelief and disdain threaded in her voice. “What zygote pond did you emerge from that made you think, with your not-yet-fully-formed brain, that this was a good idea?”

“Well, it’s not a bad idea,” he says, angling a little for a boyish charm in his voice, but it doesn’t work as well when they’re not in person. Plus, he can’t see if it’s working, and even more than a poker face, she’s got a poker voice. She reveals nothing.

“It is a bad idea, Roman. It’s a very bad idea. Why on earth would the two of us make a video together? Out of everyone in the company. Why not you and one of your brothers -”

“I would never make a video with Connor. His online cachet is in the garbage since his presidential run. Failed presidential run.” Roman contemplates running a letter opener under his nails.

“Fine, why not you and Kendall? Or Shiv? Or any fucking other person who works here?”

“Because I thought it’d be fun to make a video with you,” he says, in a very small voice, and he just hears a sigh on the other end of the line, and knows that he hasn’t won, but he hasn’t lost, and probably he’ll get called to her office in fifteen minutes to film whatever stupid idea Karolina’s team had in the first place.

- - -

It’s definitely not that bad, just some audio from a Vine that Roman remembers scrolling past and sending to like ten other people. All Gerri has to do is mouth “thank you” a couple times and then “Judas!” and he has more to lip sync, and he’s not even sure what text is going to be on the video, but if Gerri’s doing it and Karolina has approved it, then it’s fine, and probably won’t make him look like an idiot.

But when he gets to Gerri’s house that night, it’s like she’s been waiting for him to arrive so she can explode, a rant starting from almost the moment the door closes, like she’s been rehearsing it, like maybe she actually started it before she opened her mouth, just yelling in her head, and she was waiting for an audience.

“He said, and I quote, ‘How’d he get you into a fucking tink tonk? Are you sleeping with him?’” Gerri looks stern and worried and furious and unfortunately it’s making Roman’s dick twitch a little bit.

“Frank said that? Frank? He doesn’t know shit. He doesn’t even know what the app is called. No one’s touched his dick in ten years and he’s just jealous and horny.” He’s trying to make Gerri to smile, to pull out that little quirk of her lips, the one that lets him know they’re on the same team and she’s going to murder someone else and not him.

“People are going to know.” She’s always worried about it, always thinking their cover is blown, always in a fucking frenzy like the sharks are circling. They’re each other’s weak spot in a world where no one wants to have any weaknesses, and apparently some idiotic shitty TikTok is what’s putting her over the edge today.

She’s stopped pacing, at least, so he pushes up from the ottoman where he’s been sitting since he arrived, close enough that he can touch her waist, gently pull her blouse from the waistband of her pants, his fingers sliding against her skin, and her eyes flutter close, and her body sags a little, like she’s surrendering, like maybe he’s right and Frank doesn’t know shit, and it’s just a TikTok video, and TikTok teens don’t even know them.

His fingers work on the buttons of her shirt, her skin so pale, her bra so stark and black against her lightly freckled chest. He loves her breasts, the heft of them, the way her nipples harden quickly against his palms, how he can pinch her slightly and she groans. Gerri works on the fastener of her bra, arms bent behind her, and he presses his lips to her stomach, his tongue tracing her navel.

He’s practically kneeling at her feet, in the middle of her living room, already thirsting to lick inside of her, ready to rip the zipper off her trousers. She knows it too, and doesn’t even seem to want to keep him waiting. She’s ready too. Maybe she’s been ready since Frank asked her if they were fucking.

Maybe she’s been ready since she yelled at that idiot intern, just waiting for some kind of release after spitting out something vituperative at the blonde ponytail dressed in Chanel. That’s what his assistant said she was wearing, anyway. Something about maybe her salary should be upped if the interns can afford designer. Whatever. He’ll talk to someone on Monday, if he doesn’t forget.

Gerri’s hands are fumbling with her pants, and Roman happily takes over, can practically smell her, which makes him let out a low growl in frustration, in anticipation, and he mouths against her black underwear. She might be wearing a matching set but she also could have bought them separately at Target, and he doesn’t fucking know, just knows that he can feel her wetness, the earthy smell filling his nostrils as he presses against her, as his nose pushes against the fabric at her waist, pushing it aside while his hands grip her thighs, just as pale as her stomach and god, he wants to get her out in the sun again, back on the yacht, just the two of them.

Her hands go to his hair, holding him in place, pulling just enough to hurt, just enough to keep him where she wants him. Where he wants to be too. His tongue moves inside her, his teeth biting so so gently, his thumbs at the sensitive juncture of her thighs, the soft skin there twitching at his touch.

She pulls him up to her bedroom when she’s done, when he’s wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Her clothes stay in a pile on the living room floor, and he’s still fully clothed, and it feels illicit and secret and he just wants her hands on his dick, just wants her to slide down on him, all wet and open, hips spread wide.

He wants to fall asleep, sweaty and warm, the duvet shoved to the floor, and the smell of Gerri in the air.

- - -

When they wake up, it’s still dark, but Roman’s phone is glowing, notifications popping up. “Looks like our TikTok went viral,” he says, and Gerri’s fumbling for her glasses. He swipes and taps across his screen to bring up the video. Thirty thousand likes in an afternoon. Maybe some of them are bots. But there’s a lot of comments too.

The top comment, from user “unofficialpizzahut,” just says “wow she’s hot. is she his mom?”