Chapter 6 (Unedited)
Author's Note: Thanks for all the IMs and reviews. You guys are amazing! I'll work harder on keeping this story alive for you guys. 3
Gretchen glowered. The first level of Barrington International was a crowded, noisy, pain in the ass no matter what time of day you passed through but for some reason, dozens upon dozens of people decided to get in her way each and every morning. Now rationally she understood that these people also enjoyed a good cup of Starbucks, maybe even a non fat muffin or even a breakfast sandwich. What she did not understand was people, not unlike the woman she was currently standing behind impatiently tapping her foot at, who stood staring at the chaulk scrawled menu filled with dozens of lattes, mochas and coffee selections as if she'd never seen them at every other fucking Starbucks in the world.
"Um, let's see, um." Gretchen was sure her teeth were turning to dust at this point. Umming. Who the fuck ummed when there was a line of twenty people behind them? "Okay, okay, a non-fat latte… no. Um, what were your holiday spec-"
"Will you please hurry up, woman!" she snapped, unable to help herself. "Or move out of the way until you make this 'life-changing'," she clenched her wallet under her arm long enough to use her fingers as quotations, "decision. Some of us have things to do… like work."
"Well, I never!" The woman gasped, red faced.
"I can see that. That's kind of how I feel… like I'm never going to get my freaking coffee." Her annoyed expression quickly changed to a smile as the woman stormed away. She liked to think that the people behind her cheered as she stepped up, placed her drink order in two seconds flat and paid in ten. Never mind the grumbling she was sure wasn't people calling her a bitch behind her back. So what if they were? Fuck 'em.
Soy latte in hand she made her way to the elevators and forced herself to fit on a crowded elevator and settle in for the ride. Making sure to snort at the lazy fuckers getting off on the second floor of the building when the stairs were right next to the elevators, she made her way to the 8th and highest floor of the building. Ignoring the staff that buzzed around her she happily made her way to a desk where -
"Who the fu-," stopping herself, she glowered at the two coffee cups on her desk and what looked like someone shoulder bag. Setting her own things down, she glared at everyone about her until she saw- "Christopher?!"
Christopher looked about as ornery as she when he looked up from the file he was flipping through as he made his way back over to her desk. The man was disheveled to say the least. Half his short, blond hair was sticking up on end, his collared shirt was unbuttoned exactly two buttons down and his fingertips looked grayed with ink even from where she was standing. "Ignore me, Gretchen, I'm not here for you. I'm trying to get this mess done before your boss strolls in here."
"You found the information? Just like that?"
"Of course. I told you the information is encrypted on a knowledge link, that hasn't changed. You need to email Mark and get him up here to make sure the server is secure so that the information can be downloaded," he said over his shoulder as he moved around her to sit at her desk. Face scrunched up, he read the files and shook his head.
"Well, if Mark can do all that then what are you sitting there shaking your head for?" she asked, moving over to peer over his shoulder.
Chris handed her the documents as he stood up and grabbed his jacket which Gretchen immediately snatched back, having never even glanced at the papers. "You can't go anywhere, he has to see that I snagged you."
"You have more important things to worry about than me being here."
"The hell I do! You're my ticket in!"
"After reading that you may not want to be in."
Confused, she let go and studied the docs closely. "Its just a bunch of numbers. We're an investment firm. There are supposed to be numbers. That's proof we make money."
Shaking his head and huffing out an exasperated sigh, he took the papers and circled specific parts with a pen laying on her desk. "I was curious about the previous kid's filing system. Even in a digital age, storing everything on something so outdated as flash drives is a little insane. Bastian didn't think anything was wrong with the fellow doing that and keeping them all under lock and key? How did he get any work done without any documentation?"
"Johnston brought him the investment reports and contracts when he asked for them. Barrington was always asking for them, now that I think about it. It was like nothing of importance was actually in his desktop. Or in his office, really. Even when the boss man did his presentations to the board to show the incline of business and our growth, everything was supplied by Johnston - including the stats."
Christopher made a sound of disgust. And this is the sort of person you're enamored with, he mentally scolded himself, someone so into fucking whatever moves that he can't see shady mess right in front of him!
"Is that why you have the company laptop there? He was relieved of all company possessions when Barrington fired that ass. Don't know why you'd want it. Probably full of gay guys fucking," she rambled. "'Cause that boy lovvvved the cock. Saw the blinds closed a few times over there and let me tell you-
"Seriously, right now? Do you even hear yourself some times?"
Gretchen seemed to come to and offered a fake smile that looked so sweet it actually turned the man's stomach. "Sorry. I'll try to be more conscientious of you guyses sexuality."
"You're so weird. I don't know why you're bugging me so hard to help you get this job. You're such a pain in the ass you'll probably get fired first thing," he grumbled as he pulled her chair around the side of her desk. Settling into it, he opened the sleeping computer and pulled up the excel page he has been working on just a bit earlier. "I've been working to chart any discrepancy I may find and there sheer amount is a little mind blowing. I genuinely think Bastian should consider calling in the company- "
"First off," Gretchen snapped after her brief annoyed pause over what the man called her, "fuck you, I am awesome. And secondly, discrepancy? Are you saying Johnston did something illegal?" She moved closer to peer over his shoulder again and even her eyes widened at the amounts highlighted in the spreadsheet. "Holy fuck. What're those numbers?"
"They're what I was trying to show you. Bastian- no- Barrington International is in big trouble."
Bastian forwent his morning coffee when he headed into his building and over to the elevator despite the fact that he had been in the gym all morning and should have been tired as hell. No, he was too excited to get to work. After months of chaos, everything was about to be right as rain. Everything was going to back back to being in order and his head would remain on his shoulders, the shoulders of a company CEO when he kept their most lucrative client firmly in hand and contractually obligated to stay that way despite reports of several other firms trying to snipe him. Let them do their worst! Dan from investment sales and Bastian's occasional poker had given him a call so earlly he had thought it an emergency and nearly dropped the weight he had been dead lifting. Called him to give him the greatest, most relieving news he'd so desperately needed to hear for months. Potts was back!
Grateful for only the few stops that were made on his way upward, he quickly made his way further onto his floor and felt the weirdest tightening in his chest when he saw Potts staring intently into a laptop, hardly even noticing Gretchen over his shoulder at all. It was a weird feeling and one the dark haired man was not used to but then it was one he has experienced many times in this last week while waiting for the bow to break, as it were. He'd wanted to go back and offer Christopher more money, a firmer contract, just a shit ton of money! But the man's confession gave him pause every time her considered it. Potts shook in his presence he was so attracted? The blond man wanted him so bad, he couldn't stay still? He has spent a few nights as he lay in bed awaiting sleep, just thinking about the moments he'd been around the man. Trying his best to remember if there was anything off about the guy. He didn't think so. Shaking my ass, he had grunted to himself.
Only now he felt an odd shaky feeling himself and, for the first time he could ever remember, he felt nervous walking forward. Probably because of how much power the man had over the company and Bastian's career. Those were perfectly good reasons to be nervous but deep down he knew those weren't why. No, in reality it was because of how often he'd thought of the man. How he'd envisioned him in his attempt to remember any shakes or odd behavior from the man and in doing so envisioned his tight body, those cute glasses and even his hot ass that Bastian couldn't believe he hadn't noticed until he's visited the man's nook. What the hell kind of veil had been pulled over his eyes that he would have missed that booty? Potts had a nice face too, he mused as he stared across the floor to the man now. Even with his brow scrunched over his glasses in concentration, he looked, well, sweet. It was not something he usually looked for in his partners but then he couldn't really remember the last time he had actually had a party, someone to share their time with and not just their bed.
"The fuck..." he said softly to himself as he ran a hand over his face. Unbelievable. One concession of attraction from his former assistant and he was sitting here regretting not noticing him and his sweet face. Had him feeling weird for doing what hundred of men his age did - fuck. With no strings just primal urges. There was nothing wrong with that. He was sure even Christopher got some here and there. That had him scrunching his nose up which disgusted him even more. Hell, he hadn't even thought about Potts and that forced kiss until he had stood up for himself, that's how forgettable he had been. So why did he feel so much attraction now? Just because he stood up for himself?
The object of his thoughts glanced up then and had Bastian moving forward. A smug grin covering his face, he peered down, "What was it? The 5 year contract?"
The blond went to speak only to pause when several employees walked in behind Bastian, moving into their respective cubicles and offices. Standing, he gestures to the man's office. "I need a few moments of your time."
"After you." Yeah, he thought, following that sexy ass into his office, eyes so intent on it he actually walked into the back of Christopher when the man stopped in his office. "Excuse me," he was quick to say before circling around to his desk and depositing his belongings. Taking his jacket off, he went to lean his ass against the front of his desk, arms crossing. "Come home to Barrington, have you? And before I even had a chance to follow through with nefarious deeds against your coffee nook."
Chris stared at the man oddly, mildly weirded out that he was even making conversation much less trying to be funny. Was this genuinely how freaked out the taller man was about losing his job? Well, Chris knew his news wouldn't ease his mind any. "I've been here for a couple hours now. I tested the knowledge link and the information from when I left and before is on the server. I had it set to save business confidential files from your computer also which is why it takes forever for you to log off."
Bastian's face twisted into a scowl. So everything he saved under a file type uploaded. He could only imagine how many personal letters were out there, how many personal thoughts. "Don't you think that is the sort of thing you should have told me?"
"I did. You didn't listen to me. Just kept saying you got it."
"Well, obviously I didn't so you need to ensure you educate me better this time around."
"This time around?" Christopher sputtered and started shaking his head. "No. Hell no.
"What is that supposed to mean? You're here aren't you?" he pushed himself off the desk to stand before Potts. "You've been going through company software and secrets and you're not even willing to be reemployed? I offered you security and money with the contract!"
"I don't want a contract!"
"Jesus! Is it money? Tell me how much." Bastian was feeling antsy now. He needed Christopher's insight and knowledge. Friday was rolling up in two days and he had no fucking clue what he was supposed to be reporting to the Vanguard representatives. Maybe he could read them his resignation letter and the amount of zeros he would lose the company when this fell through."
As for Chris, he was red face and offended as fuck. "I am not trying to blackmail you. You can keep your damned money."
"Then what the hell do you want?!"
"YOU!" Chris said and immediately clapped his hand over his mouth. Had his face went red before? Because he was sure he was getting lightheaded from the blood rush. Even still, he turned his head to make sure the man's door had been shut while they were standing here yelling like idiots. Assured that it was, he turned back to Barrington and gulped at the shocked look on his face. The gray eyes man even had a slight flush across his face like even he was a little flushed over the suggestion. "I mean, no, I- What I meant was," he stumbled over his words. "I don't want you. I mean, I told you I did. But I really don't because-"
This had Bastian slowly drawing the left side of his mouth up in that sexy, predatory smirk Chris knew all too well but even knowing didn't save him from that tingling sensation he got all over his skin. Walking around Chris, Bastian closed the blinds before turning back to his former employee.
"Hey, I told you it was a mistake. I didn't mean anything by it so you can just open those blinds right back up!"
"No." The man said simply and moved quickly, backing Potts up against his desk until their were inches between them. Dipping his head, he met the shorter man's eyes, "You want me? Then take me. Better yet-" he smashed his mouth to Christopher's then, pressing his lips hard against his mouth until Chris gasped in surprise. It was then that Bastian began consuming him, doing every bit of the taking as Christopher's brain battled between common sense and the way his skin tightened as the taller man's hand trailed down his side, then hip to actually grab his ass firm, hard.
"Oh, fuck me," he said in hopeless exasperation against the man's mouth when he felt himself stiffening at the feel, having not been touched so in years. It was meant as an exclamation. Bastian took it much more literally.
A low chuckle was followed by, "Believe me, I plan to- though I didn't think you meant quite so fast."
Chris immediately scowled, Bastian could feel it against his mouth, and shoved the taller man away, "Get your hands off me. I'm not one of your tricks."
Bastian gave him a confused look and stepped away. "What the hell?" he asked in response to the red glower of death he was currently receiving. Hell, the shorter man looked so pissed he was positively shaking. "You said you wanted me... I was just giving you a taste of what you wanted," he stated to placate the man, he hoped.
Anyone who knew Christopher would have known that he was disgusted more with himself and the way he reacted more so than getting to taste his ex bosses sweet mouth again. This man was a predator, an asshole... a mean person. Bastian Barrington had cost him so much in this last year, in these last years. The man had stomped on his self esteem, wrecked his financial security and even threatened to do things to his nook. No. Just, no. It didn't matter how hard the man touching him made him, it didn't matter that his skin felt so heightened and sensitive that his arm brushing against one of the chairs before Bastian's desk actually gave him a shiver. Lord, he wanted this man so badly. Wanted to fuck so badly.
"I-I," he cleared his throat and met Bastian's eyes, "I have to go." That said, he turned about and made a beeline to Gretchen's desk, Bastian following right behind him.
"Wait, you said you needed to talk to me about something."
"Talk to Gretchen!" he said over his shoulder as the elevator popped up. Once inside he gave a deep sign of relief. He was on the first floor before his conscience kicked in and he felt guilty for not elaborating to the man. After all, Bastian's business and position were at steak. Gretchen didn't understand enough to explain it properly. he really needed- he stopped himself no sooner than he pushed the up button next to the elevator again. No, he knew he needed to help. But not today and preferably never alone in the man's company ever , that just went to prove what he'd always thought- that Bastian Barrington would fuck anything that moved.