The meeting broke up pretty quickly after that. Hans was pinned down by a line of people who wanted to introduce themselves. Mr. Salvatore seemed to fade into the background. And I hastily retreated. Megan followed me – all the way into my office. While I went to my desk she closed the door behind us, then she came over and joined me.
I sat in my chair, and Megan sat on the edge of my desk. She does that a lot because I only have the one chair and she never bothers to wheel her own in from outside. She crossed her legs and leaned over to face me, propping herself up with one arm, and grinned.
“So,” she asked, “What do you think of the new guy?”
I glowered. I could already tell she was trying to get me to admit he was hot. “I think he’s the kind of guy who sleeps with women for sport,” I said darkly.
Megan’s eyebrows arched. “Hans? With his ‘one of the boys’ demeanor?” She pursed her lips speculatively. “Well, given some of the boys I’ve known…maybe. But I saw you blush when he started talking, so admit it: you wouldn’t mind having him tend your goal.”
I squawked inarticulately and felt my cheeks flame. I love Megan because she’s not afraid to call anyone on anything and she always speaks her mind – but this time she was being really unobservant. I would never want Hans to do any such thing because 1) the concept was terrifying and 2) he was going to be our boss, which automatically instilled him with the sort of “I’m afraid of authority figures” anxiety that makes me accuse people of being vampires. So, no: engaging Hans in the midnight sports festival of his people, on the cliffs above a turbulent sea, definitely did not deserve contemplation.
“You’re blushing again,” Megan pointed out mischievously.
I forced myself to scowl. “It was how he paused when he called Mr. Salvatore his mentor,” I lied. “It made me cast them in a D/s slashfic.” Although, now that I’d thought of it, I wondered who would be top. Mr. Salvatore was the obvious choice, with his dark and dangerous persona, but a little role-reversal always made those scenes more interesting.
Megan looked at me like she wasn’t sure I was telling the truth. Her smile turned lopsided. “I wish I had your imagination,” she said. “Or that you were a better artist. I’d buy that doujinshi. But I’m not sure I buy that you’re not into Mr. Tall, Bright and Smiling.”
I sniffed. “Trust me, there is less than zero interest,” I told her. “I mean, look at him: he’s built like the romantic lead in a swashbuckling bodice ripper. How would that even work? Shoot, he’s probably a vampire hunter here to kill Mr. Salvatore, and the whole illness thing is just a cover story they’ve concocted to let Mr. Salvatore disappear without a fuss, which Hans is only permitting and Mr. Salvatore is only agreeing to out of respect for the night of forbidden love they once shared.” I spread my hands to indicate the enormity of story arc. “I have no desire to involve myself in that,” I concluded.
Megan laughed and reached over to tousle my hair, which I put up with because she was Megan and I had once again disappointed her by being uninterested in the fellow she’d pointed out. And then realization dawned.
“So, yeah,” I said. “He’s all yours.”
Megan broke off mid-laugh and looked at me with her poker face, which is how I knew I’d gotten it exactly right. “Oh?” she asked carefully.
I did my best to smile. “Of course!” I said. “I’m not fit to be the female lead in a swashbuckling bodice ripper, but you could totally pull it off.” More to the point, I’d seen Megan’s wardrobe and I could totally imagine Hans tearing her out of it. For that matter, I couldn’t fill out a bodice worth ripping at all, but Megan definitely could. And if the idea of Megan, Jimmy and Carl had been hot then the idea of Megan and Hans was all kinds of scalding. I did my best not to start blushing again.
Megan started to frown, then abruptly grinned and leaned over to hug me. “You’re a real sweetheart,” she said. “You know that?” She kissed my forehead and straightened. “And you’re positive you don’t want dibs?”
By now I knew I had to be bright red. “He’s all yours. Do with him as you please. Just be careful, okay?” I wasn’t really worried about her – I couldn’t imagine much that sexy, confident Megan couldn’t handle. And if there was some fallout over him being our boss and she lost her job…well, she had enough money that she didn’t need to work, anyway.
But if it turned out that Hans was abusive, or if he yanked her affections around and hurt her and I was forced to stab him repeatedly, I’d probably go to jail. And I didn’t really think I had the temperament to survive on the inside.
“I will,” Megan promised. Then she leaned over to hug me again. Have I mentioned she’s a very touchy-feely person? But I put up with it affectionately and tried my best not to think about how Hans would respond to having those affections turned on him. And not to blush when that failed. And not to fidget when the hug grew long and Megan squeezed a little tighter.
And then there was an abrupt knocking and an instant later my office door swung open – and to my utter horror Hans himself popped his head into the room.