Kian was faintly nervous as he entered the building to start his new job. He'd been there several times already, filling in paperwork, getting the tour, learning what was expected of him in this position, stuff like that. But today was the first day of the actual job, and that made him nervous. I've no reason to be, I know what my job is, and I know I'm good at it, but- but- but- but- that was all his mind could come up with these days, and all he would be able to think about until he actually started on the job. Forcing the doubts from his mind, he walked up to the front desk, where he'd been told to pick up his new ID badge; the one that would let him onto the eighth floor and into the offices.
The old lady crinkled her eyes at him as she handed over the ID, never taking her attention away from the phone.
Accepting it with a silent 'thank you' and a nod, Kian attempted to walk with some confidence as he made his way to the elevator. You belong here, and now you've the ID to prove it. It's time to stop being silly. Mustering up what courage he could, Kian stepped off the elevator with a fraction of the arrogance someone of his position should have.
Stepping, no, striding into the lobby of his new workplace, Kian managed about three steps before his breath was stolen and he gaped like a teenaged girl in the presence of a movie star.
Snapping his mouth shut a fraction of a second later, he glanced around to make sure that no one had noticed. Reassured that no one was paying attention to him, Kian walked towards the man who had stolen his breath.
Kian nodded in greeting as the man and the secretary at the desk broke off their conversation. "Leanne, sorry to interrupt, but I was told you have the key to my office?"
Leanne, a young and acceptably attractive woman who was dressed sensibly in a pale blue sweater, smiled at him as she handed over the key. "Have you met Erick Langers? He's in the office across from yours."
Kian held out his hand. "Kian Riley, pleased to meet you." Kian took a closer look at Erick. Older than me? Younger than me? Can't be younger, not if he has his own office. They were about the same height, and Kian found himself looking into gray-green eyes that sparkled as Erick smiled at him.
"I've heard a lot about you from Rob," Erick said; Rob was their boss. "I'm really looking forward to working with you. It sounds like you're quite experienced in the field."
Kian glanced down at his hand. "Well, my mother had a similar job when I was growing up, so I always knew exactly what I wanted to be, and I was able to get started early."
"Still, to have such a high job, and you're only, what, eighteen, nineteen?"
Startled, Kian looked up at Erick sharply, smiling in return as he saw he was being teased. "Gar!" he said, "why does everyone think I'm older than I really am?"
Now it was Erick's turn to be startled, until the confusion in his eyes cleared and they both laughed. "It's because you look like some cute kid off the streets, not an up-and-coming businessman," he said, gesturing to Kian's 'professionally tousled' hairstyle.
Did he just call me cute? Kian wondered. "Would people take me more seriously if I shaved my head, do you think?"
Erick considered him for a moment. "I'm not sure that shiny and splotchy would look quite as good on you," he said, as he gestured them down the corridor towards their offices.
"Well, then I could get a toupee."
"I think that would be trying too hard. You should go with what you know looks good; flaunt what you have to those stuffy old suits. They could use a breath of fresh air."
They had reached their offices by then, and Erick smiled at Kian again before opening his door. "I'll see you around the water-cooler later. Oh, and if you need anything, I'm right across the hall."
Kian was left to unlock the door to his new office, wondering if he'd seen his co-worker wink at the last second. I'm imagining things that I want to see, is all, he thought as he started to unpack the things from the two boxes he'd brought over a few days ago.
He finished quickly, and then sat at his desk to get a feel for the new office. I wonder if I could move the desk so I can see out the door's window. It wouldn't be so hard, and then he'd be able to see in the office across the way. No, that's ridiculous. Kian nodded to himself, then stood up to go find his boss and see if there was anything for him to work on.
After the first week or so Kian relaxed into his new position. He'd even grown accustomed to seeing Erick around the office, and his heart no longer jumped every time he saw the other man's blond hair over the top of a cubicle wall. He still couldn't help the tiny wail that his heart made every time he left Erick's presence, but he was working on it.
Kian and several other people from the office were standing by the cooler several days later. Kian was sipping his water slowly, listening with half an ear to the two women gossip, and waiting for Erick to appear; they had coincidentally-intentionally started taking breaks at the same time.
"…So anyway, that's what I told him. I mean, was I really that out of line? I just wanted him to spend a bit of time with me, and not playing that stupid computer game," Leanne was saying.
"Are you two going to break up?" The other woman asked. Kian thought her name was Sarah, but he could never remember.
Leanne shook her head. "I don't know. I mean, he's a really nice guy, sweet, attentive. Cute-ish, everything I want, if I can get him away from the computer."
Sarah clucked her tongue. "Men. Can't live with them-"
"-Have nothing to talk about without them," Erick's voice finished for her as he came around the cubicle wall.
Sarah stuck her nose in the air as Leanne giggled. "At least you and Kian don't have to put up with them," Leanne said.
Kian raised an eyebrow. "No, but we do have to live with ourselves."
Erick nodded his agreement. "And we've got to put up with women."
"That's different," Sarah said, ignoring both Erick's comment and Leanne's giggle. "Men already understand other men."
Kian raised his other eyebrow. "We do?"
Erick nodded sagely. "That's why homosexual couples have it best. No room for misunderstanding."
Sarah was getting mad. "That's not what I meant."
Erick tilted his head at her in mock-confusion. "You're right, there is no hope for communication between the sexes." He turned to Kian. "Did you understand her?"
Kian shook his head. "Not a bit, but I know exactly what you mean, no matter what you say."
"Ugh-gur-nug?" Erick grunted.
Kian granted him a huge smile. "Of course, I'd love to," he said, turning to walk back towards their offices. Erick followed, leaving a fuming Sarah and a giggling Leanne behind.
Kian paused in the hallway between their offices. He turned to watch Erick open his office door, and then motion Kian inside with his head.
Kian hesitated the second it took so that he was following Erick into the room, studying his back as he entered. That jacket has got to be tailored. It looks so good on him. Kian really wanted to see it off of him, though. Maybe I can spill coffee on him some day, make it look like an accident. He glanced up and caught Erick looking at him. Their gazes held for a moment. Actually, I probably wouldn't have to make it look like an accident. I wonder if he'd take his shirt off for me without an excuse?
"How has your day been, Kian?" Erick finally asked, eyes sparkling as he smiled.
"Fairly good, all told," Kian responded. "I'm nearly done with my latest project. And just in time, too, since I hear Rob has got the next one already lined up for me."
"That's good. How was your weekend? I didn't get a chance to ask yesterday."
They talked idly for a few more minutes, Erick, as always, dropping subtle compliments and almost-flirtatious comments. Kian hadn't known what to make of them at first, but by now he'd started responding with discrete comments of his own.
Finally Kian glanced at the clock. "I had better go before Rob yells at us for wasting time."
Erick laughed at the idea of their laid-back boss yelling. "I should get back to work as well," he said, standing up to show Kian to the door.
Erick held the door open, fingers lingering against Kian back as he gestured him out.
"I'll see you at the staff meeting, right?" Kian said, glancing over his shoulder.
"Can't miss it if I want to keep my job," Erick replied.
Kian felt Erick's eyes on his back as he opened the door to his own office, but Erick had already vanished back to his desk when Kian turned around. Shrugging, Kian got back to work.
They were at the staff meeting, sitting too close. Or maybe it wasn't too close, since the chairs were small and crammed together. But no one was sitting on the far side of Erick, so there was enough space that Erick's side didn't need to be touching his. But Erick didn't move over. Kian was on the end of the row, and he could have moved his chair over if he'd been uncomfortable. But he didn't, because he wasn't.
Rob blathered on about the results on the last projects, the progress on the current projects, and the anticipated clients for the next projects. Kian listened with half an ear, far too much of his concentration taken up by the warm presence lightly touching his side.
It means something, he thought over the niggling doubts in his head. Combined with everything else, it means something.
It was Friday, and Kian finished up the last bit of project he had to deal with until Monday. He turned off his computer, stretching as he stood, and rubbing at his eyes. For the amount of money I know they spent on these chairs, why aren't they comfortable? He wondered, turning around without surprise as the door to his office opened.
Erick was standing there, looking delicious in his latest suit- either a new one, or a very old one, since Kian didn't recognize it. Kian nodded a greeting to him, then leaned over his desk to shuffle a few lost papers into the proper files.
"Would you go to dinner with me?" Erick said.
That's odd, it sounds a bit like he's asking me on a date. Kian's head snapped up in sudden realization. Erick was looking at him, and Kian couldn't quite tell what Erick was thinking. If Erick had been any other guy in the office, right now he'd be rubbing his neck nervously and saying he meant just to talk about the next project. But he's not. He's just looking at me.
And I'm looking at him, wondering if I should ruin the moment, laugh nervously, and clarify that he just meant to talk about the next project. But Kian knew, on some level that was slightly beyond wishful thinking that that's not what he'd meant, and Kian knew, as well, that this chance would never come again. And God knows I've been waiting for it since I got here. Will I go to dinner with him? Kian smiled. "Of course."
"Is tonight okay?" Erick said, relaxing in a way Kian hadn't noticed he'd been tense. Erick smiled, and there was a new sparkle in his green eyes.
Kian smiled back. "Just let me grab my coat."