Friday featured yet another sparring match with her boss. Sometimes he was so exasperating! He nit-picked over the stupidest shit, and she suspected he did it to on purpose to annoy her. Her temper was fierce. It had taken her years to learn to keep it under strict control, and now she was so close to exploding that she made the unprecedented decision to leave at lunch time, rather than eating at her desk.
Thankfully, the atrium was deserted. All his other pawns must still be grinding through another pissy Friday noon thanks to the boss, she mused. Soothed by simply removing herself from the cause of her stress – one Mr. Lance Jackson- she felt herself almost melting into the stone she sat upon. The splash of the fountain behind her, the sun on her upturned face really was helping her mood. A shadow fell across her face and she frowned.
“This is a lovely place for lunch. I’m glad I thought to have it built.”
The voice came from directly in front of her. And of course it belonged to the one person she was most trying to avoid.
“Of course, it doesn’t appear that you’re actually eating, so here.”
There was a sound of rustling paper, and the sharply tangy scent of fresh pizza. Opening her eyes, she found a fat slice almost up her nose.
“Really?” she said, the exasperation clear. “Even out here? Really?”
He looked at her, head cocked to the side, a slight puzzled smile on his face. Because surely it wasn’t a smirk. Because surely if it was, she was about to wipe it off of his smirkity smirky face…with that slice of pizza.
“Eat,” he said in that voice, and her hand lifted to take the pizza before she could stop herself.
“Stop it. Just…stop.” But she spoiled the rebuke by taking a large bite of the pizza.
“I get grumpy when I’m hungry too. Eat,” he said again, though not in the Dom-voice. She jumped to her feet, waving the pizza about wildly. Chewing the over-large glob of pizza, she thought about spitting it into his pristine fountain. She took a look at his face. He was amused. It was that…that tolerantly amused expression that did her in. With a hard swallow, she advanced upon him.
Shouting now, the pizza near to becoming a projectile, she glared at him. All the temper that she’d held in check since leaving Wichita boiled up and spewed forth.
“You BET I’m grumpy, you jerk! Boss me around, poke at me for everything I have no control over because you forget to remind people of who the fuck I AM SO I’M FUCKING IMPOTENT IN MAKING DECISIONS TO HELP YOU…”
She turned and walked in a tight little circle, savagely biting the pizza before once more waving it in the air in an accusing fashion. Warily he watched a gobbet of cheese begin to slide around the crust as she all but shook it in his face.
“Help you? Like I can help you by just buzzing people in or out, putting out fires that you leave in your wake like a frigging forest fire run amok. You have no CONCEPTION of the idea of how to get things done in a timely and orderly fashion, BUT I DO! And yet you continually handcuff me in my efforts to GET SOME ACTUAL WORK DONE!”
“What an interesting idea,” he murmured.
“WHAT? What?” She was in full rage now, her face red, her blue eyes flashing like the sharp edge of a blade. He thought he’d never seen a more beautiful creature than this woman in full-on temper!
“Handcuffing you. It’s something you like after all,right?”
“You BASTARD! So, you and he DID have a conversation about our being…”
She paused, not thinking of a suitable word for fuck buddies. Because they hadn’t really ever been in it for the booty call, she and Alex. No, her former boss had been her Dom, her sexual partner, her top, her tormentor- so much more than mere ‘fuck buddies’.
“I know about you and your former boss, remember? It came up after our first interview when I thought you were Naomi, remember? Take a breath, now, Katherine. You’re overwrought with temper.” He held her shoulders, looked deeply into her eyes as her breath came in short, rough gulps.
Incoherence was the final stage of her rage, and it burst through her with white-hot fury. She smashed the pizza against his shirt, then turned and fled the atrium when he reached up to peel it off.
“Well, that was your shortest job on record,” Savannah, ever pragmatic spoke softly in Kat’s ear. She knew all too well about her best friend’s terrible temper, and how she worked to keep her cool.
“Yeah, well, whatever. I think I should…” There was a pause before Katherine could continue “…move home. I’ve really fucked …” there was a short breath hitch, and Savannah bit her lip, wishing she could be there because what would come next was a crying jag every bit as fierce as the anger had been.
“Honey, don’t be blaming yourself. You have, you know, ever since Alex..”
“Alex was a misogynistic shithead,” Kat said, her voice quivering. Oh crap, thought Savannah. In the background was a chiming sound.
“Kitty, are you cooking something? I think your timer just went off and the last thing you need today is a kitchen fire!”
A weak chuckle came through the phone, and Savannah hoped it would break the cycle. If she could jag Kitty out of the rut, especially by laughing, it might be okay.
“It’s my doorbell, brb,” she said, dropping the phone on the table.
The voice was tinny, but Savannah could hear it nonetheless.
“Oh fuck, it’s you.”
There was a long pause, the slam of a door, then the rustle as the phone was picked up.
“Kitty, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Mr. Jerkface is here- probably to tell me how much of my last check he’s going to usurp to pay for his spiffy tie that I pizza’d.”
The phone clicked off.
His voice was a sputter of sound.
“Yeah. Jerkface Jackson.”
He surprised her by laughing explosively. He held onto the wall and laughed so hard she began to think about braining him with a skillet.
“Are you quite done?” she said scathingly. “I mean, really, I’ve never seen anyone so amused at being called names.”
“Sticks ‘n stones, m’dear,” he said, wiping his eyes. “Got a tissue?”
She pointed to the bookcase where a box of them sat, but made no move to help him.
“So. How much do I owe you for the tie?”
“I no longer date my boss.”
“I’m not your boss. You quit today, remember?”
“I didn’t quit.”
“Sure you did.”
She glared at him, knowing he was almost as stubborn as she was. Fine, two could play at that game. She shifted topics.
“How much was that tie?”
“One hundred and fifty dollars.” He paused while she took that in, watched her try to not gulp in shock. “A date will cost you far less.”
“So you think.”
There was a pause when neither of them spoke. He waited her out, knowing that she’d break first, even without him ordering her. He didn’t want to have to order her; he wanted her to come of her own free will. He didn’t want her to throw that in his face at any point throughout the evening he’d begun to plan once the shock of her abrupt departure this afternoon had abated.
The eyeroll was the first benchmark that she was folding. Her hip cocked, her shoulders fell from her ears, her mouth softened from snarl to pout.
“But–I have plans…” she thought of MammaLa, and the club.
“Indeed you did…and still do. With me. I’ll pick you up at 8.”
He ran a finger down her nose, and smirked, damn him, before he turned and strode out the door. Before it shut all the way, he leaned back in.
“Dress sexy for me.”
The door closed with a quiet snick. He laughed when he heard the thunk of the tissue box hitting it, then turned and headed down to his car. He didn’t stop smiling all the way home.