Well, hello there! So, here's my October entry for Freak-of-Spade's Ludicrous Challenge! This is dedicated to Caramel Bear for giving me the idea of accounting, and teaching me everything I needed to know about it! ...since I don't know anything about accounting. At all. So she gets a character! ...my token female character. And Spikey! :D And also, thank you, Zebbie for the music list! I used a couple of songs :D Umm...so, yup, there be swearing and some making out. Enjoy!

Office Showdown

The instant I saw him, I hated him. Wait, no, that's wrong. I hated him before I met him. I hated him the moment I was told I'd be getting an assistant. And not just any assistant; one who was still in university.

"I don't need an assistant!" I exclaimed, glaring daggers at my boss as he sat there, calmly filling out paperwork. "Especially not some co-op student! I'm not a babysitter."

"I have to disagree with you there, Damien," he replied, ignoring the last part. "You're on the fast-track to a nervous breakdown with the amount of late nights you pull. Do you even ever go home?"

I rolled my eyes, crossing my arms. "Of course I do. And I don't need help getting my work done. I'm fine."

"Then just humour me."

I sneered. "And why should I do that?"

Jack glanced up at me, eyebrows raised. "How about because I'm your boss and directly control your employment?"

My eyes narrowed in a glare, but I knew he was right. Goddammit.

"Fine, I'll take the damn assistant. But if he slows me down or gets in my way at all, he's gone."

Jack smiled smugly. "Knew you'd see things my way. And don't worry, he is quite competent: he is my cousin, after all."

My eyes widened slightly and I had to fight a sudden twitch. My boss's cousin. Perfect. Nepotism was the reason for my newfound hell.

But, anyway. That was what led to my current situation: watching a man still in university step off the elevator with Jack and walk toward me, looking way too comfortable with his surroundings. My first day, I'd been scared shitless, yet this kid was grinning and waving at people like he owned the place. Oh, yeah, my hate was definitely growing.

"Damien! I'd like you to meet your new assistant." A wide smile on his bespectacled face, Jack gestured to the new guy, who was just slightly taller than me. "This is Taylor Morgan."

The younger man held out his hand, grinning. "Nice to meet you, Damien."

My hands stayed in my pockets as I scowled. "Indeed, Mr. Morgan."

His smile faltered, but he forced it back, letting his hand drop back to his side. "Please, call me Taylor. Mr. Morgan's my father."


Jack clapped his hands, beaming. "Well, I'll leave you two to get acquainted."

He shot me a warning look as he passed, mouthing Behave. I offered him an innocent smile before turning my attention to his younger cousin. He wasn't a bad looking kid: neat ginger hair, bright aqua eyes, light freckles, lithe build…but I still hated him.

"Well, come on, then…you'll be sharing my office," I grumbled, turning around and leading him down the hall. Due to the amount of work I'd done, I'd managed to land a corner office, pretty much secluded and quiet. There was room for my desk, as well as another for Taylor. I wasn't too happy about the space being lessened because of some co-op student, but there was really nothing I could do.

Suppressing a sigh, I stepped into the office, gesturing to the spare desk.

"That's yours. I'm assuming Jack already went over what you're doing. But I doubt there will be much for you to do."

Taylor wandered over to his desk, opening and closing drawers, curiously.

"I dunno, the way Jack tells it, you're pretty much working yourself to death."

I rolled my eyes, dropping down in my chair. "He has a tendency to exaggerate."

The other man shrugged, following my example. "Well, either way, I'm here to help. So, what should I start with?"

I glanced at him, smirking. "You could get me a coffee."

I expected him to protest, but he instead stood up with a smile and headed for the door.

"Of course. How do you take it?"


Once he was gone, I leaned back with a sigh. Well, at least he had some use.

I turned to my computer, opening the file I'd been working on all week and found where'd I'd left off. Apparently our client was concerned about embezzlement, so I was going through all of her files, searching for discrepancies. I had a feeling I'd be staying late again tonight.

"Here you go."

I glanced up at Taylor, taking the mug from his hand and muttering a quick 'thanks'. He smiled brightly and returned to his desk, while I looked back at my computer screen, raising the mug to my lips. No sooner had I taken a sip, I spit it back out again, disgusted. Jesus, there had to be a cup of sugar in this!

I shot a glare at Taylor, who just looked back with raised eyebrows.

"Is there a problem?" he asked innocently, obviously waiting for me to blow up at him.

"None at all," I ground out, refusing to admit defeat.

He bestowed me with a bright grin and turned his attention to a stack of paper in front him. Bastard. He'd done that on purpose.

Grumbling under my breath, I set the mug down and returned to combing through files, my mood even darker than before. Now not only was I stuck with some damn kid, my morning coffee had been ruined by him. This was not looking to be a good day.

We worked silently for more than an hour, until someone knocked on my door. I looked up to see one of the other CAs with a stack of files in his hands. I suppressed a sigh; more work.

"I'll take those."

I looked sharply to the side, watching as Taylor walked over to the door, hand out. Glaring, I stood up.

"No, you won't. This is my office."

"You're already working on something." He took the files from the CA, who quickly left, shooting me a wary look.

"Those files are meant for me," I growled, temper spiking.

He rolled his eyes, turning back to his desk. Annoyed, I quickly grabbed his arm, stopping him. He turned his head sharply, eyes narrowed.

"Let go of me."

"Hand over those files."

"I'm perfectly qualified to take care of these." His aqua eyes narrowed further. "Now let go of me."

"Not until you give me those files!"

"Am I interrupting something?"

We both froze and turned to the door, spotting our boss leaning against the doorframe with an amused smirk. His eyebrows rose, blue eyes flicking between us.

"Is there a problem?"

I rolled my eyes, opening my mouth to reply, but Taylor beat me to it.

"He won't let me do my work."

"It's my work," I growled, fingers tightening around the file.

"If I recall, Damien, you're already working on something. And since I hired Taylor to help you, this file is therefore his work."


He levelled me with a warning gaze, and my mouth snapped shut.

"Alright, then. Don't forget to take a break for lunch." With a small wave and smirk he disappeared. I watched him go with a scowl, seething. Why was everyone convinced I couldn't do my job on my own?

My angry glare snapped back to Taylor as he yanked the file out of my hand. Meeting my eyes, his lips twisted into a smug smirk.

"Looks like I win. You can let go of my arm now."

With an annoyed growl, I pushed away from him and stormed back to my desk, dropping down into my chair. He was much more calm, smoothing down his shirt and returning to his desk where he started reading through the file. I refused to look at him, seething silently as I flung myself back into my work. Fucking bastard. Here for less than a day, and already he thought he ran the place. I was ready to kill him and it wasn't even lunchtime…how was I going to survive the rest of his internship?

The next few hours were tense. Not only were we refusing to talk to each other, we wouldn't look at each other either. The tension was thick between us; I could tell that I'd managed to make Taylor dislike me over the last few hours (a feat which I was rather proud of).

A knock on the door caught my attention, but I didn't look up.

"Come in," I called, eyes fixed on my screen.

"Hey, Damien, I brought you lunch."

My gaze flicked across the room at that, and I spotted Jennifer standing there with a plastic bag in her hand. My stomach growled right on cue, making her grin.

"Guess I have good timing." She strode across the room, and started shoving papers to the side.

"Hey!" I protested, grabbing them before they could fall. "Stop messing up my desk!"

She rolled her eyes, setting down the bag. "Your desk is already messed up. I'm improving it."

I sighed, giving up. Jennifer always got her way, so there was no point fighting her.

Before sitting down, the other accountant turned to face Taylor, dark eyes lighting up in interest. "Hey, new guy. Why don't you join us? There's enough food for you, too."

Aqua eyes left the paper in his hand and rose to look at us. After chewing his lip for a minute, he nodded.

"Okay. Thanks."

As he pulled his chair over, I glared at Jennifer.

"What are you doing?"

She blinked at me innocently, eyes wide behind her glasses. "What's wrong? I want to get to know your new assistant! You are going to be spending a lot of time together." She leaned closer, voice lowering. "Besides, he's hot."

"You have a boyfriend," I deadpanned.

She grinned. "I can still appreciate a good-looking guy. Besides, who said anything about me hooking up with him?"

My eyes narrowed further at that, but I didn't say anything because Taylor had arrived. Smiling, he stuck his hand out to Jennifer.

"Hi, I'm Taylor."

My friend accepted his hand, looking up slightly since he was a few inches taller. "Nice to meet you. I'm Jennifer."

I rolled my eyes, digging into the bag. She was never that nice to me. Or anyone for that matter. Maybe her boyfriend.

…then again, maybe not.

I opened the carton of sweet and sour pork, scooping some out with my chopsticks. Taylor and Jennifer had launched into a conversation about Taylor's university (apparently Jennifer had gone to the same one), leaving me to happily eat in peace. I wasn't big on talking, especially during meals. Besides, why the hell would I care about Taylor's school?

An hour later, I was ready to get back to work, but the other two refused to leave my desk, insisting on gossiping until they finished eating (which they would have done already, had they concentrated on lunch instead of pointless conversation). Finally, Jennifer realized that she had to get ready for a meeting, and cleared my desk of the empty packages.

"See you later, Taylor!" she said, waving at the door. She looked at me with a grin, blowing me a kiss. "Bye, Damie-bear!"

I replied with a friendly flick of my middle finger, turning grumpily to my computer. I loved her like a sister, really. But she came up with the stupidest nicknames.

"How did an ass like you end up with her as a friend?" asked Taylor, crossing his arms as he leaned back with raised eyebrows.

I rolled my eyes, jotting something down from my screen.

"She can be a bitch when she wants to. And she's intimidating as hell."

"Seemed nice to me."

"She's only nice to people she likes."

He snorted. "She likes you?"

I spared him a scathing glance. "Don't you have work to do, Mr. Morgan?"

With an exasperated sigh and eye roll, he moved back to his desk, mouth set in a frown. Finally left alone, I turned my attention back to my file. It was definitely gonna be another late night.


I groaned, shifting slightly to ease the pain in my back. Grimacing, I slowly opened my eyes, lifting my head to peer blearily around the room. After a minute of confusion, I realized I was still in my office. The clock on the wall told me I had an hour until work started, meaning I'd fallen asleep here again.

I sighed, straightening in my chair and stretching out my back with a hiss. I really needed to invest in a couch so I'd stop falling asleep on my desk. Maybe I could get one from Jack.

A yawn escaped me as I stood up and shuffled to the door, grabbing a small bag of toiletries from my desk. This had happened often enough that I now kept supplies in my office.

The washroom was actually very nice; wide, clean, and equipped with a shower. Everything I needed in the morning.

Setting my bag down on the bench, I quickly stripped off my clothes and turned on the shower, waiting for it to warm up before jumping in. It wasn't a long shower; just enough time to shave, wash my hair, and lather soap over my skin. Once I was done, I grabbed a towel from the stack kept on the shelf next to the stall, and padded over to the sink to brush my teeth. That done, I grabbed my stuff and returned to my office, towel wrapped around my waist. I was always the first one here, so I knew I still had forty-five minutes until anyone else arrived.

Scratching my head, I went over to the small closet in the corner and pulled out a change of clothes. After the first few times of being stuck in the same crumpled clothes I'd fallen asleep in, I'd decided keeping a spare outfit in my office would be a good idea.

I dumped my used clothes in the laundry basket I kept in the closet, along with my towel, before pulling my fresh clothes from their hangers. I closed the closet door, then strode over to Taylor's desk and set my clothes down (his desk was cleaner than mine). I was just reaching for my boxers when I heard the door open. Alarmed, I spun around, my eyes landing on the frozen form of Taylor, whose wide aqua eyes were staring at my rather naked body. I stood there for a moment, not really sure what to do. It wasn't often that people walked in on me naked. Finally, I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow, aiming for nonchalant.

"Can I help you with something, Mr. Morgan?"

His mouth opened and closed a couple times as he tried in vain to come up with a reply. Finally, he gave a quick shake of his head and stepped out of the office.

"I, uh, I'll just…wait until you're, uh…yeah."

The door shut behind him as he retreated, leaving me feeling a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance. What the hell was he doing here so early?

Scowling, I quickly got dressed and went over to the door, yanking it open. Taylor was leaning against the wall, freckled cheeks still bright red. He looked up when the door opened, eyes skittering away from mine. Still, he followed me into the office, moving to his desk as I sat at mine. After a minute, he cleared his throat.

"Why were you naked?" he asked, tone unreadable.

"I was getting dressed," I replied, 'dumbass' silently added at the end.

He rolled his eyes. "Well, I got that. Why were you getting dressed?"

"So I wouldn't be naked."

He growled, glaring at me. "You know what I mean."

I snorted. He was too easy to piss off. "I didn't want to be stuck in the same clothes I was wearing yesterday."

That confused him. "Yesterday? Didn't you go home?"

"I had too much work to do, so I stayed late. I ended up falling asleep."

Aqua eyes stared at me in disbelief. "You stayed here all night? Why didn't you tell me? I would've stayed and helped you."

"I didn't need help."

"My job is to help you."

"Yeah, and I'm sure some green student is gonna be a great lot of help to someone who's been doing this for years."

The glare sent my way was filled with hate. "I know what I'm doing. I'm twenty-one, not some terrified first-year who doesn't know the first thing about the business world."

"If you think you know so much, then you're pretty damn naïve," I retorted, standing up. I headed for the door, deciding I needed coffee. Having to deal with Taylor so early in the morning was giving me a headache.

I heard a chair roll back, but ignored it as I headed the short distance down the hall to the kitchen. I didn't want to make the coffee myself, but there was no way I was getting Taylor to get it for me after yesterday.

"You can't just walk out on me in the middle of a discussion!"

I rolled my eyes, opening a cupboard to get the bag of fresh-ground coffee beans from the shop downstairs, and a coffee filter.

"Actually, I can. You work for me."

"No, I don't! I work for Jack!"

I walked over to the coffee machine, sticking in the filter and shaking out a good amount of coffee grounds.

"You're my assistant."

"Oh, so now I'm your assistant? Does that mean you'll actually let me do my job?"

An exasperated sigh escaped me as I poured in some water and turned on the machine, finally spinning around to fix him with a stony glare.

"What exactly do you want from me, huh?"

His hands were clenched in fists at his sides, teeth bared in a snarl. "I want you to let me help you. I'm not about to get fired just because you're too much of a stubborn ass to share your workload."

I raised an eyebrow at that. This was the first time I'd heard him swear.

Smirking, I leaned forward, and murmured, "Make me."

His face twisted into an angry glare as he suddenly leapt forward, hands twisting in my shirt. The momentum shoved me backwards into the counter, making me hit my hip painfully.

"Look, you prick, if I had known you were such a fucking bastard I never would have agreed to be your assistant," he hissed, face mere inches away from mine. "But I am, so stop treating me like a piece of trash and get your head out of your fucking ass!"

I stared at him, surprised. He was a lot stronger than he looked, and his eyes were burning into mine, the anger piercing me. I couldn't remember the last time someone had yelled at me like this, and I definitely couldn't remember anyone ever pinning me against a counter. I wasn't really sure how to react, but that didn't matter, since a minute later he let go of my shirt and stormed out of the kitchen. I was left standing there awkwardly, hazel eyes wide. It took me a moment to realize the pounding in my ears was actually my heart. I hated to admit it…but I had actually been a bit scared.

"I heard yelling and just passed a very angry-looking Taylor. I guess it's safe to assume you had a fight?"

I hadn't noticed Jennifer come in. She raised her eyebrows at me, reaching past to grab the now full coffee pot.

"Uh, yeah, we did," I replied, answering her mostly-rhetorical question.

She sighed, rolled her dark eyes. "Why am I not surprised? Look, Damien, I know you're an ornery prick, but you should really try to get along with this kid. You're gonna be stuck in the same room with him for his entire internship."

I scowled, pushing away from the counter to grab a mug from the cupboard.

"Try telling him that. He's the one that had me pinned against the counter."

That made her laugh. "Seriously? Damn, and I missed it!"

I took the coffee pot from her, scowling. "What do you mean 'damn'?"

She smirked at me, dusky eyes amused. "Two guys in the kitchen, one getting pinned to the counter, tempers flaring, and heated yelling? Honey, that's hot."

The mug paused halfway from my mouth as I stared at her in stony silence. Sometimes I could not understand how her mind worked.

"Well, anyway, I have to get to work. Unlike some people, I don't have the luxury of staying late." A grin split her face. "Spikey's planning a romantic dinner in honour of our anniversary."

I rolled my eyes at her wistful expression, moving toward the door. "Well, you have fun with that. See you at lunch."

She waved as I headed back down the hall to my office. Taylor was seated at his desk, still looking angry as he typed. I didn't say anything to him as I passed, and he didn't give any acknowledgement of my presence. I could tell that today would be no different from yesterday. I just hoped that this time Taylor would refuse to share lunch with us.

And, no, it was not because he scared me in the kitchen.

I shot him a look, biting my lip, eyes travelling over those deceptively thin arms.

Well, not fully.


I managed to get through the rest of the week without working late, much to my relief. I hadn't gotten to spend much time at home for awhile, so it was nice to actually sleep in my bed and eat…well, take-out, but take-out in my apartment. It tasted different, I swear.

Anyway, despite how devoted I was to my job, I really did enjoy being home, even if there was no one to keep my company. I'd had boyfriends in the past…but none of them had worked out. They'd all claimed I was too cold and aloof. I felt they were just too clingy.

Of course, my reclaimed regular habitation of my apartment could only last for so long, and the next week I realized I would have to work late again.

"Goddammit," I muttered, glaring at the sheets of paper in front of me. I had just gotten one problem fixed, only to have another one come up.

I glanced up at the clock, chewing my lip. It was almost 5:30, and soon everyone else would be gone (many had already left, including Taylor who was still shooting me glares at every chance). After I was alone, I'd get some food delivered or something. I didn't have time to leave, not until this was sorted out. I would have left it for tomorrow, but I was expecting a couple new files the next day that would take up all of my time. I had to get this done tonight.

By six o'clock, everyone was gone. Revelling in my freedom, I walked over to my stereo and pressed Play on my mix CD, heading back to my desk as the sultry voice of Ella Fitzgerald slowly swirled around the room. I always left the door to my office open once everyone was gone, letting the kaleidoscope of my musical tastes swirl down the hall. Since I never played my CDs during the day, no one knew how much I actually loved music (except Jennifer).

Soothed, I returned to working, deciding to wait awhile before ordering supper. I wasn't that hungry at the moment anyway.

The minutes slipped by, mingling with the soft tones of jazz, classical, and swing, and before I knew it, an hour has disappeared. Leaning back in my chair, I stretched my arms, making a face as my stomach growled. Guess it was time for supper.

I opened my drawer, pondering the take-out flyers spread in an organized mess. Jennifer had brought Indian today, so that was out. Maybe Chinese again….or Italian…

As Dusty Springfield described the only boy who could ever teach her, I swore I heard footsteps. Alarmed, I grabbed my letter opener and moved swiftly to the door, peeking out with my breath held. I didn't see anyone…

"What the hell are you doing?"

I jumped, spinning around with the letter opener held ready to strike. Taylor looked at me with raised eyebrows, an expression of mocking disbelief in his aqua eyes.

"You planning to stab me with that thing?"

Rolling my eyes, I backed away with a sound of disgust. "I don't think Jack would take well to me harming his baby cousin."

"No, he wouldn't."

Face set in the annoyed scowl I'd become used to, the younger man pushed past me into my office, shooting my stereo a look of surprise as he headed for his desk.

"Is that Dusty Springfield?"

I followed him, returning to my chair. "Yeah, what of it?"

He shook his head. "Nothing. Have you eaten?"

"I was just about to order something."

"I picked up some teriyaki on the way."

My stomach grumbled in response, making my face burn, and I could have sworn I saw the flicker of a smile on my assistant's face before it switched to careful neutrality.

"Okay, well, come over here, then. There's more room on my desk to eat, and I'm sure you could use a break."

I hesitated for a moment, my burning dislike of Taylor warring with my equally burning desire for food. Finally, my hunger won out, and I rolled my chair over to his desk, a parody of our lunches with Jennifer. Silently, he handed me a container of teriyaki chicken and a pair of chopsticks, opening his own as he settled into his seat. We didn't say anything as we ate, something completely normal to me, but totally out of character for Taylor. With anyone else, I would have assumed it was out of respect for my desire for peace; with Taylor, I knew it was caused by his hate for me (a hate I had had no small part in cultivating). Had Jennifer been here, I wouldn't have been able to shut him up.

I hated to admit it, but I was really grateful for the food. I hadn't had anything since lunch except for an endless amount of coffee, which wasn't exactly filling. Or healthy. Needless to say, I made quick work of the meal. Setting aside the empty container, I fixed my gaze on Taylor who was eating at a much more moderate pace.

"So, is there a reason you're here so late?"

His eyes flicked up to meet mine, squinting slightly as he tried to think of an explanation. Finally, he shrugged, scooping up some more teriyaki.

"I didn't see you leave the office with everyone else, so I figured you were working late and could use some help." His eyes narrowed as I opened my mouth to protest. "And don't you dare say you don't need help; I know your workload."

After staring at him defiantly for a minute, I sighed, slouching back in my chair.

"Fine," I grumbled, avoiding his gaze, "you can stay."

He smiled brightly, an expression I hadn't seen directed my way since I first met him. My heart jumped a bit, but I ignored it, standing to throw my containers in the recycling. I headed back to my desk, gesturing for Taylor to follow me. He quickly finished off his food and came over, peering over my shoulder curiously.

"This is what I need finished by tomorrow," I informed him, tapping my finger against the screen.

His bright gaze flicked over the work, his head bobbing slowly in understanding.

"Alright, this looks easy enough. Just tedious."

I sighed, running my hands through my dark hair. "Exactly."

Another smile was shot my way as he straightened, heading back to his desk.

"Alright, just send me a copy and I'll get started."

I nodded, a reluctant wave of relief washing over me. I hated to admit it, but Taylor was excellent at his job…and I was really tired of working alone.


I wasn't entirely sure how, but it became routine for Taylor and me to work late together. Over the next couple weeks, he would disappear at the normal time and reappear later with supper. He started leaving an extra change of clothes and toiletry bag alongside mine in the closet, although we hadn't had to stay overnight together yet. It was probably only a matter of time.

Although Jack never said anything, he would shoot me pleased grins when he passed by my office and saw us working together. Jennifer, too, seemed to notice the change, although Taylor and I acted the same as always around other people. Of course, she was my best friend, so it was only expected for her to notice subtle changes in my behaviour. She didn't mention anything for a very long time, but she finally cornered me in my office while Taylor was on a coffee break.

"Okay, what's going on?" she demanded, closing the door behind her.

I looked up from my computer, blinking in confusion.

"What d'you mean?"

She rolled her eyes, which were highlighted by iridescent eye-shadow. "Oh, don't play dumb. You and Taylor. For the last two weeks you've been acting different around each other. I mean, yeah, you still look like you're about to kill each other, but it's, y'know…friendlier."

I stared at her, bemused. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

She growled in frustration, striding over to stand in front of my desk.

"Yes, you do! Now, what's going on? What's with this sudden change?" A wicked grin spread across her face. "Did you two finally do it?"

I gaped at her. "What?!"

She rolled her eyes. "Let's do some simple arithmetic, shall we? You plus Taylor equals hot man sex. Mkay?"

"Jennifer, you suffer from some serious delusions."

She smirked. "Or sexy ones."

I honestly had no idea what to say to that. Sure, Jennifer could be a bit…odd, but this was a new side to her. Well, at least directed towards me.

"Don't you have something else you could be doing? Like, say, work?"

She waved her hand dismissively, perching on my desk. "Unlike you, I'm ahead on everything I need to do today. Oh, by the way, I'm having lunch with Spikey and a bunch of his friends today. Some kind of celebration or other."

"Our lunch breaks aren't that long…"

"I already got permission from Jack. I'm taking half the day off."

"Lucky bitch."

"Aren't I? Now, back to you and your boytoy."

"Taylor is not—"

"Uh huh. And that's why you're always around him?"

I rolled my eyes, crossing my arms. "Uh, we share the same office, remember? I can't exactly get away from him."

She snorted, taking a sip of her coffee. "Right. And all of those late nights together?"

"He's my assistant," I argued, glowering. "He's supposed to help me."

"Alone, at night, in a deserted office, with sexy jazz music playing, and takeout?"

"He brings food without me asking. And how do you know about the music?"

An amused smirk appeared on her bespectacled face. "I know practically everything about you."

Okay, I had to give her that. Since she was one of…okay, my only friend, I told her more than I told anyone else. Plus she'd been over to my apartment a few times, so she had a lot of insight to my life.

"Anyone, I'm getting tired of the tension between you two, so I think it's about time you debited his accounts receivable."

My eyes widened even more as I gaped at her in disbelief.

"Did…did you just make a dirty…accounting joke?"

A wide grin replaced her smirk. "Looks that way. But seriously, I think it's about time you made a short-term deposit. The poor boy seems lonely."

"I'm not talking to you anymore."

She followed me as I headed for the door, trying to hold in her laughter. "Aw, come on, I still have more! How big are your assets? That'll be important in your transaction, after all!"

Growling, I headed down the hall to the kitchen, Jennifer's now uncontained laughs following me. Who knew such a professional CA could be so immature?

Only one person was standing in the kitchen when arrived, and although his back was to me, I could tell from the shock of ginger hair that it was Taylor. He turned when I entered, offering me a brief nod and smile. When no one was around, we tended to be (slightly) friendlier.

"You look pissed," he remarked, watching me head for the coffee machine and fill a mug.

I rolled my eyes, leaning against the counter next to him. "Jennifer."

"What'd she do?"

At the memory of what she'd said, my cheeks flushed and I quickly averted my eyes.

"Nothing. Just made some stupid comments."

"About what?"

"None of your business. Isn't your break over by now?"

It was his turn to roll his eyes, setting his empty mug in the sink. "Sorry for wanting to help."

The confusion that Jennifer had caused me combined with my temper to make me finally snap.

"What is with you and helping me, huh? God, can't you leave me alone for five fucking minutes?"

He looked stunned for a minute before his face tightened into a dark glare I hadn't seen for awhile.

"You are such an asshole. Here I thought you had to have some kind of good side, even if you were a complete prick all the time. And I really thought I'd finally found that good side." His glare darkened. "But I guess I was wrong."

"Yeah, I guess you were." I knew I shouldn't have been saying this. It was too much, even for me.

His lips curled back in a snarl. "What is with you, huh? Are you not capable of being nice to anyone?! Are you really that screwed up?!"

"Look, I don't have time to deal with some stupid university student who only got this job because his cousin is the CFO. You're useless to me, alright?"

His expression crumpled and hurt flashed through his eyes. I felt a stab of guilt, knowing I'd crossed the line. If he had just left me alone…

He straightened to his full height, angry and pained eyes meeting mine.

"You only said that because right now, you're feeling very small inside!"

With that, he stormed out of the room, leaving me feeling like crap. I sighed, slumping against the counter. I was an ass.


That night was another late one. After the fight earlier, I wasn't expecting Taylor to show up, which meant I'd be here even longer than usual. It was my fault, I knew that, but I couldn't help but feel annoyed; he was my assistant and should have been doing his job, fight or not.

I really shouldn't have snapped at him.

My eyes flicked to the clock, noticing it was already seven. Under the soft jazz music, I couldn't hear any footsteps, or doors opening. Looked like he definitely wasn't coming.

Sighing, I started shuffling through take-out flyers, wondering what to order. Just as I'd settled on Thai, I heard the ding of the elevators. Surprised, I jumped up, hurrying to the door and yanking it open. There, just down the hall, was Taylor. He walked towards me, refusing to meet my shocked gaze. I stepped back to let him into the office, wide eyes following him. When he reached his desk, he unpacked the bag he'd been carrying, pulling out two containers. Wait, not only had he shown up, he'd still brought food?

"This doesn't mean I forgive you," he growled, movements jerky and angry.

"Why are you here?" I asked, utterly confused.

"I'm still your assistant," he muttered, sitting down. "Even if you are an asshole."

"You need a thesaurus; you use that insult a lot."

He shot me an un-amused glare and I shut my mouth. If I didn't want to make this situation any worse than it was, it probably wasn't a good idea to be making snide comments.

As he started scooping up food with his chopsticks (Thai, strangely enough), I sighed, sitting on the couch Jack had finally given me.

"Look," I said, scratching my head awkwardly. "I, er…I'm sorry for the way I…well, am. I know I'm an ass, and you have every reason to hate me. Hell, I hated you before I even met you. But I, uh… Well, you're a good assistant. Really good. Things have gotten a lot easier since you started here. And, yeah. Thanks for…everything."

He stared at me for a minute, expression unreadable. Then suddenly he was on his feet, striding over to me, and the next thing I knew, his lips were pressed against mine. It was quick and chaste, but it was the most surprisingly kiss I'd ever gotten. I gaped at him, taking in his flushed face and darkened eyes. He was obviously waiting for me to say something, but I couldn't find the words. Instead, I grabbed his shirt and yanked him toward me, catching his mouth with much more heat. He quickly took control, straddling my lap and sliding his tongue over mine. It lasted much longer this time, and when we finally pulled away, we were out of breath and panting. He grinned at me, hands sliding out from under my shirt.

"Okay, now you're forgiven."

I watched in a kind of daze as he slid off my lap, returning to his chair. He picked up him food and continued eating as though nothing had happened. After a minute, he glanced up at me, eyebrows raised.

"Planning to eat anytime soon?"

My mouth opened and closed a few times before I finally let out a sigh, standing up to get the other container. As I ate, I mulled over my thoughts. Okay. Taylor hated me…well, I figured not anymore. You didn't normally kiss people you hated. So did that mean he…?

Okay, better yet, how did I feel about this whole thing? It was pretty obvious I didn't hate him anymore. I hadn't for awhile, actually. Not since he had proven that he actually could be useful to me. And, well…I had been noticing him a lot more lately. Just the way he moved…talked…worked…laughed…kissed…

Holy shit. Jennifer was right. I wanted him. A lot. I guess I would've noticed sooner had I not, well, hated him. So what did that mean? What was I supposed to do? I couldn't follow Jennifer's advice…could I? Okay, so he had been pretty obvious about kissing me, but was he just screwing with my mind? Could he sense what I wanted, and had figured leading me on would be good revenge?

"Your food's gonna get cold if you don't eat it soon," pointed out Taylor, bringing me out of my thoughts.

I blinked at him, face reddening as I noticed the mischievous smirk on his freckled face. This didn't escape his attention, and his smirk deepened.

"What's the matter, Damien? You're looking a bit flushed."

My hazel eyes narrowed, and I stuffed food in my mouth to keep from retorting. Knowing me, I'd just insult him again and cause something horrible to happen. That letter opener on his desk looked awfully sharp…

He snickered, finishing off his meal and standing up to get rid of the container. I couldn't help but follow him with my eyes as he walked past, my chopsticks still in my mouth. He was doing this on purpose.

A glance over his shoulder caught me watching him, which was obviously what he was going for. He walked past me again, eyes never leaving mine as he returned to his chair. With difficulty, I tore my gaze away from his and finished off my supper, getting rid of my empty container and retreating to my desk. Screwing with my mind or not, Taylor was throwing me way off balance.

I threw myself back into my work, trying to ignore my way-too-tempting assistant. I could feel his eyes on me, and after my fifth mistake, I growled, pushing myself away from the computer.

"Is there a problem?" asked Taylor sweetly, knowing full well what was wrong.

I kept my eyes stubbornly fixed on the wall, shaking my head.

"Nope, everything's fine."

"Well, that's good."

I heard his chair roll back, making me look up. He was walking toward me, eyes dark. I stiffened, watching him.

"Uh…what are you doing?"

He stopped in front of me, leaning closer and planting his hands on either side of me.

"I can't stand it anymore," he whispered, breath ruffling my hair. "I thought I could just tease you a bit and get back to work. But that's not going to happen. Seeing you acting like this, I just…fuck. Do you even know how much I've wanted you since I first saw you? It's been driving me insane."

"Er…so, uh…what are you going to do…?" My voice was more nervous than I would have liked. From this position, I was reminded of how intimidating he could be. It was hard to remember that he was five years younger than me. Barely an hour ago, I'd been the one in control, but now…

Without answering me, he leaned forward, kissing me a lot more roughly than before. I let out a surprised squeak, my eyes sliding closed as the kiss deepened. Fingers trailed along my sensitive sides, pulling a gasp from mouth that was swallowed by his. I could feel him grinning as his hands slid lower…and lower…

Another gasp escaped me, followed quickly by a moan. I grabbed hold of his tie, pulling him closer. Suddenly, I was lifted and set on the edge of the desk, Taylor's arm keeping me from falling backwards. I pulled back, looking at him in confusion, but he just answered with a grin, reaching behind me with his other arm. Next thing I knew, everything on my desk (minus the computer) had been swept onto the floor. Taylor didn't give me a chance to protest before he had me on my back, straddling my waist. I had never realized how huge my desk was; there was more than enough room for the both of us, and even Jennifer, if she were so inclined to threesomes with gay guys.

In a matter of minutes, my shirt, pants, and shoes were tossed on the ground along with Taylor's, leaving us both mostly naked. This was the first time I'd seen my assistant in anything other than immaculate clothing, and holy crap was he toned. He noticed my amazed stare, and grinned, nuzzling my neck.

"You're not too bad yourself."

I tilted my head back, allowing him access to the sensitive skin. He took the invitation and started nibbling and sucking, probably leaving the mother of all hickies.

Thank God for collared shirts.

Right from the get-go it was obvious what was going to happen, and I was all too willing to let Taylor have control (not that I had much of a choice). And with the way his hands and mouth ran over my body, dictating my every reaction, I was very happy with my decision.

Needless to say, work was quickly forgotten.


The first thing I realized when I woke up was that someone was nibbling on my shoulder. Not gently either. I groaned, reaching up to swat the biting away, which led to my next realization: my hands were tied. My eyes slowly blinked open to stare down at my bound appendages. A silk tie was wrapped tightly around my wrists, slightly cutting off my circulation.

And then everything from last night came rushing back.

Face bright red, I twisted around to look behind me. Taylor grinned back, tongue running over my shoulder.

"Morning, sunshine," he greeted, running his fingers along my stomach. "Sleep well?"

We were scrunched together on the couch, a blanket twisted around our legs. I raised my hands, clearing my throat.

"Mind untying me?" I asked, voice hoarse.

His eyes twinkled and he pulled me onto my back, moving to straddle my waist.

"I was hoping we could have a little more fun."

I groaned. "But I'm so tired. You weren't exactly gentle, you know."

He pouted, leaning his arms across my chest. "I'll go easy on you this time."

"But we went practically all night," I protested.

"A bit more won't hurt…"

"Says you."

Just as he was leaning closer with a wicked smirk, the door flew open. Shocked, I quickly sat up, knocking Taylor to the floor. The blanket went with him, tangling around his legs awkwardly and leaving us both exposed. Jennifer and Spikey stood there, staring at us in surprise. I'd met Spikey a few times before. He had the same caramel skin as Jennifer, with soulful dark eyes, a mop of black hair, and a bunch of piercings. He was also Australian. I was still confused by the couple, but whatever.

Finally, after a few minutes of awkward silence, Jennifer started cackling.

"Aha! You took my advice after all!"

My face flushed as I shot her a dark look. "Shut up."

Taylor scrabbled to untangle himself from the blanket, face bright red. Apparently he was only really confident when we were alone. Jennifer grinned, walking over, eyebrows shooting up as her gaze slid over me.

"Wow, you do have big assets." She smirked suggestively. "Bet Taylor enjoyed crediting your accounts payable." Coming closer, her eyes landed on my wrists and her eyebrows rose even further. "Although from the looks of it, you were crediting his accounts payable." A lascivious wink was sent my way. "Tied up, eh? Well, all good accountants like bonds."

I glared at her, horribly embarrassed as I tried to cover myself up. "Good God, do the accounting jokes never end with you?"

"Nope." Her gaze slid over to Taylor, and she grinned, giving him the thumbs-up. "Good job, Tay. I didn't think anyone would ever be able to pin him down and ravish him."

Taylor's face darkened even further as he ducked his head.

"Aw, c'mon, Jennifer, you're embarrassing them." Spikey strode forward, wrapping a hand around his girlfriend's arm. "Let's get to your office, eh?"

Jennifer sighed, shoulders slumping in defeat. "Fine." She grinned as she was pulled away, her fingers waggling a teasing goodbye. "Have fun, kids. Don't break Damie, Tay!"

Spikey sent me a wink, finally dragging Jennifer out of the room. The door closed behind them, leaving us in shocked silence. After several minutes of sitting frozen, Taylor gave a nervous laugh.

"Well, uh…that was awkward."

I nodded in agreement, slumping back against the arm of the couch. Eyes returning to his face, I lifted up my hands.

"So, now that Jennifer has sufficient blackmail material, could you untie me now?"

The smirk to which I'd been subjected for most of the night returned in full force as Taylor crawled back onto the couch. Lips finding my ear, he whispered, "Maybe when I've debited your accounts receivable."

I was going to kill Jennifer.