Code Name Lunar Gift
The first time Cress Darnel met Carswell Thorne, she choked on her vanilla bean frappuccino. She had just taken a big, unlady-like slurp of it, hoping to suck as much whipped cream into the straw as possible, when he rounded the corner ahead of her.
He was the hottest guy she had ever seen.
Wavy but trimmed brown hair, blue eyes that pierced her soul, and a physique that screamed movie star, Greek god, swimsuit model.
It was his smile that did it for her, though. Because as his eyes landed on Cress, his lips quirked into this perfect, slightly devious, sideways grin. If it were a scene out of a movie, time would have frozen for the two of them. His hair would have blown in imaginary wind, his tie would have swayed slightly in time with his confident stride, and his teeth would have sent a diamond-like flash at the camera.
But this was not a scene out of a movie, and Cress was in the process of inhaling her frappuccino, and the sight of him and his perfection in the midst of her workspace at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday caught her a little too off guard.
There was choking and spluttering as he passed her, but if he noticed, he didn't say anything. Cress was left alone in the hallway, desperately searching her purse for a tissue.
Trying to recover.
She reached her office a few minutes later, flustered and all too distracted with thoughts about who the new client was and who he had an appointment with.
Cress never met the clients. She was just the genius behind the technology that her company produced, of course, but it wasn't like the clients would ever give her the credit for it.
Not that getting credit from clients was important to Cress. She didn't enjoy being in the spotlight, and she certainly didn't enjoy meeting strangers who wanted to put her in the spotlight. Her boss paid her well and gave her bonus perks now and then, and that was enough for her.
This morning, though, she desperately wished that she could have a face-to-face with the client who had clearly stepped out of a magazine and into her life.
Stars. Her mind was running away with her. She would never see him again. Even if she could have a meeting with him, she would flub it up like she always did in front of cute guys by being her spectacular, stuttering self.
No matter. She could sit there for a few minutes and indulge her fantasies before she got started on the day's tasks. Then she would go home late, move on, and forget all about him.
She stopped in her tracks, then, when she went to her 10 a.m. weekly Monday meeting and spotted the Greek god sitting at the end of the long conference table. There were two other women sitting next to him who were also unfamiliar to Cress. Her boss, Jerry, sat next to one of the women, casually chatting her up and looking like he wanted to ask her to dinner.
Cress crept into the room, trying to make herself as small as possible and avoiding eye contact at all costs with any of the new clients. With about twenty employees present, it was not a hard feat. Everyone, even her boss, was too busy talking to have noticed her entry in the first place.
She took her usual seat next to Julian, who was a tech geek like her and had worked at the company for four of the five years that Cress had been employed there.
"Hi," she said, "how was Comic Con?" Cress turned her body away from the new clients and hoped that she looked very engaged in whatever Julian was about to say.
"Your blouse is unbuttoned just a little much, Cress," said Julian nonchalantly before launching into a detailed description of his Finn cosplay that weekend and the Poe he'd met and given his number to. They were soulmates, clearly.
Cress was too busy trying to fix the dang button which just wouldn't stay put to pay attention to all the details, but knowing Julian, he would repeat the story more than once. Why had she worn this blouse of all blouses today?
"You should have come," said Julian, shaking his head at her.
"Had to finish up a project."
"You work too much."
Cress shrugged. "I like my job."
"You need a man, Cress. Then you'll realize that no one should like their job as much as you do."
Cress was about to roll her eyes at Julian, but he held up his hand to stop her and leaned close to whisper in her ear. "Speaking of men, the hot new guy just checked you out, Cress. I see potential there."
Julian's whisper was not quite low enough for Cress, and her face heated instantly, though she wasn't sure if it was at the thought of him checking her out or that Julian had basically announced to the entire room that he was checking her out. She pretended to busy herself with the tablet in front of her, like she was already taking notes during the meeting.
Surprisingly, the chatter in the room continued. Maybe Julian hadn't spoken as loud as she'd imagined. He certainly didn't care either way, and draped his arm around Cress. "Now the hot guy's staring at the two of us."
"Um—what hot guy?"
Julian laughed. "Don't try to deny it, honey. It's not often we get new employees, especially ones as gorgeous as him."
Cress bit her lip and tried to open up a window on her tablet. He was right though. Satellite Technologies was full of men, but not men like him.
Julian's finger tapped the shoulder he was holding on to. "If I pull you any closer, one of two things are going to happen."
Cress let out a frustrated breath. "And I'm sure you're going to tell me what those two things are."
"Either," he said, tapping her shoulder again, "I'm going to get cited for inappropriately touching a co-worker"—he chuckled at that, and Cress nearly did too—"or, that man is going to burst wondering if I'm your lover."
Cress squirmed out of his embrace, sure her face was the color of ripe tomatoes. "He is not. Now stop that."
But once she had focused on her tablet again, she dared sneak a glance up in the direction of the hot client. He wasn't looking at her at all, at the moment, but rather flirting with the other client next to him. Cress let out an audible sigh, then clapped a hand over her mouth.
"Ooh," said Julian, this time actually whispering for once. "You've got it bad."
"Leave me alone, Julian. Can't you see I'm busy?"
He snorted. "Busy denying you wanna tap that."
"No shame in admitting it," said Julian, and when Cress glanced at him to her right, she saw him gazing longingly in the direction of the new guy. "I like him too."
"You have Poe."
"So you do like him," said Julian slyly.
"I don't even know him! Just—just stop talking about him, Julian."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Julian bite the corner of his lip in triumph, but he stopped talking altogether and turned to the co-worker sitting on the other side of him. Cress kept her attention strictly on her tablet until her boss finally quieted the room.
"Good morning, everyone. As you may have noticed, we have some special guests with us today." He pointed next to him. "This is Emily Rancorn, Carswell Thorne, and Laaj Williams. They're from corporate, and they're here to help us with a new government contract we've just landed. Ms. Rancorn is an accountant, Mr. Thorne is a consultant, and Mrs. Williams is here for tech support."
A few mutters went around the room at his announcement, but Jerry held up his hand. "I expect all of you to welcome them as if they were part of the Satellite family. After all, we're a satellite of corporate." He laughed awkwardly, like he always did, and then cleared his throat when no one else appreciated his humor. "This is a big project and there are going to be a lot of late hours involved."
Groans resonated around the room, but Julian smiled wickedly at Cress before raising his hand. "Cress and I volunteer to show the newbies around."
Carswell Thorne leaned back casually in his chair and dragged his thumb across his lower lip.
"That won't be necessary," said Jerry. "They've already had a tour. But thank you, Julian and Cress. I'm sure you'll both have plenty more opportunities to welcome them properly."
"Oh yes," said Julian to Cress. "I can think of a few ways for you to welcome Mr. Thorne properly."
"Julian!" said Cress scandalously, trying to keep her voice down as Jerry continued talking and pulled up some schematics on the screen behind him.
"Sorry," said Julian. "I can't help myself. But hey, let's find out a little more about our hot new co-worker. If he's actually checking me out, well…I might have to let Poe down gently."
Cress stifled a giggle and returned her attention to Jerry and the screen.
Secretly, though, she hoped that Carswell Thorne really had been checking her out. It was as unlikely as the fantasies she'd already entertained after first seeing him in the hallway, but the thought of him noticing her made a smile appear on her face nonetheless.
Note: Hello and welcome to my newest fic! Just an idea I had, so if you like the premise and want me to continue, let me know. I plan to have fun with this one and update when I have time or feel encouraged to do so. Hope you enjoy it.