A/N: I felt it only fair to end my 12 Days of Ficmas 2020 with Petey D. I started with him and now it's rounding out the whole season. Thank you for everyone who sent in their requests and for everyone who'd read up until this point and continues to read past this point. I really do love and appreciate you all. 3
Prompt: 11. "What are you doing?" "Hiding from carolers."
Word Count: 2.3K Words
Playlist: Underneath the Mistletoe – cøzybøy
"I just wanna kiss underneath all the mistletoe
I'm a quarantine with you baby underneath the snow
You and me together we can make it if we really want
I just wanna be with you forever til the world is gone"
Underneath the Mistletoe – cøzybøy
She stood outside the main doors, gazing out at the falling snow. She grumbled to herself as she zipped her coat all the way up and pulled her hat down even farther. As much as she loved the snow, she hated having to travel home in it. Even though it was late at night, it still meant that everything would be running a few minutes slower. Not to mention that as soon as it hit the ground, it turned into slush. She hadn't worn her boots into work today.
She groaned at herself. She really should take more time to check the weather for the whole day before leaving her apartment. Shoving her hands into her pockets, she stood directly in front of the door, hyping herself up to actually leave the warmth of the building. Bouncing up and down on the tips of her toes, she dipped her shoulders from side to side. There was no way she was going to fully prepare herself for the cold she was about to encounter.
Best to rip off the band-aid. She shouldered the door open and shivered as she was hit full blast in the face with a gust of icy wind. Tucking her chin down into her chest, she continued out onto the street only to be greeted with the sounds of shouting. Who in the hell was out here at this hour yelling wildly? Did they not know it was half-past one in the morning? She shivered and shook her head in unveiled loathing.
She turned, starting on her trek back home. Between the cold and the yelling, she'd found herself disoriented, but as she continued down the block, she realized that it was the paparazzi. She chuckled to herself. No one of note was still holding out inside 30 Rock. Only the lowly office folk were left at these hours. Oh well, at least they were also wasting their nights
"Pssssssst!" A loud whisper sounded off to her left, and she had to roll her eyes.
There was no escape from the cringey catcalls in this city. It didn't matter what time of day – or night – it was. She kept her eyes forward, ignoring the call and kept walking. The whispering sounded again, this time louder and with her name accompanied at the end.
This made her pause. Who was hiding in the shadows and knew her name? She balled her hands into fists while hidden in her pockets and glanced discreetly over her shoulder. She figured one of the paps had potentially followed her. It wasn't wholly impossible for them to know her name. However, it would be strange as hell to have them chasing after her.
She scanned the darkened street for a moment and saw the tall figure huddled against the fence across from the lamp. The side of his face was shrouded in the shadows, but there was no mistaking that slouch. He was the only tall person she knew that tried to hide themselves by appearing smaller. When she turned around to face him, he cast a quick look behind him and then straightened out.
She cocked her head to the side, "What are you doing? It's the middle of the night."
"Hiding from carolers." He quipped, a timid grin on his face.
She narrowed her eyes at him with one eyebrow arched. She knew he was joking, but she could also sense the tension in his response. Now that she was thinking about it, it made sense. There was a perfectly good reason why he was lurking around the block. He was waiting for an all-clear or an escape of some sort. She happened to come his way and offer him something by way of avoiding the issue back at 30 Rock.
"Is caroler's code name for paparazzi?" She smirked at him, letting him know that she understood his unease and continuing with the joke.
He let out a puff of air as he let out a quick laugh, the cloud of his breath floating between them.
"Yeah, it is." He admitted.
Choosing not to dwell on how close her next actions were going to bring her to him, she spun around so that they were both facing forward and looped her arm through one of his.
"C'mon, it's freezing, it's late, and I only live a 20-minute walk from here." She took a step forward, guiding him in the direction she'd been initially travelling before running into him.
He didn't protest as she moved them forward, falling in to step next to her. There even appeared to be the slightest adjustment done by him, to clutch her closer to him. She swallowed at that thought, sure that she imagined it. Pete had no idea she harboured a massive crush on him. There was no reason for him to make any kind of pass or advance on her. They were coworkers, maybe even friends, but nothing more.
She kept up light conversation as they walked down the empty side streets. The cold was forgotten as they regaled each other with entertaining thoughts and stories. At some point, they broke apart, walking side by side. Close enough that their shoulders touched but never anything more. She did her best to ignore the way his hand would accidentally brush against hers as they swung at their sides. She tried her best not to stare at him for too long, but every time he caught her looking, he graced her with a blinding smile. One that made her face and chest heat up.
They rounded the final corner, and she led him into the front lobby of her building. His arm stretched out over her head to catch the heavy door and hold it open for her. She grinned to herself, hiding it away from him. It didn't matter that he was a gentleman with every other person in the world. Every time he went out of his way to be courteous with her, she felt herself swoon.
He walked around her, linking his arm with hers, and she felt her heart stutter in her chest. She looked down, grateful for the hood covering her head and concealing her face. He had no idea what his little touches meant to her, what they did to her.
"Which way to yours?" He asked, tugging her towards him.
She held her breath for a short second before breathing out through her nose and pointing in the direction of the elevators, "5th floor."
She felt the motion as he nodded, and this time, he took the lead while she did her best to keep in step with his. She avoided her own eyes in the reflection of the metal doors in front of her and chose instead to stare off in the other direction at the stairwell door. If Pete thought she was acting strange, he didn't mention anything. Instead, he picked up on the conversation they'd been having outside, offering his own opinions and dropping a couple of jokes in.
To her astonishment, she picked up with him, all while avoiding his eye. She interjected in the conversation as they rode the elevator and then broke apart briefly so that she could open her front door. Upon entering her apartment, she felt the panic take over, and she buzzed around in a flurry.
"You can leave your shoes and coat over there," She brushed past him, dumping her jacket down on the bench in her front hallway. "I'll see if I have any shirts that may fit you. I tend to shop in the men's department for pyjamas and workout clothes."
She heard as Pete tried to get in a few words here and there, but she was adamant about ignoring her feelings at the moment, which meant finding something else to focus on. He was in her house. The two of them. Alone. in the middle of the night. She wasn't sure how to process this. This wasn't something that generally happened to her or anyone for that matter.
The latch on her front door echoed down the hall, and she registered that Pete must have locked the door, sending her into another wave of wild anxiety. Why did she invite him here in the first place? She knew he had his own car. Why hadn't it crossed her mind to ask about it half an hour ago? She stood in front of her dresser, lifting through the folded clothes for some of her oversized shirts and potentially a pair of basketball shorts.
"Hey," Pete's voice came from her bedroom door. She stopped talking immediately and froze. She heard his footsteps on the floor as they came closer. She breathed inaudibly and then held it when she felt him only an arm's length away.
"Is everything ok?" He asked, his voice dropped down a few octaves, barely above a whisper.
She squeezed her eyes shut, cursing herself internally. She hadn't meant to make things awkward. She was only trying to process through her own panic over the unprecedented situation. She never imagined in a million years that her dreams would somehow become a reality. Pete let the silence lay between them, and she knew she couldn't let him think that he'd done anything wrong because he didn't. This was all on her.
Finally, she let out a long breath through her nose and nodded.
"I'm fine," She murmured, "It's a bit strange having someone here. No one ever comes to visit me."
She forced a smile onto her mouth, hoping he didn't see right through her. Her nerves got the best of her when she looked up to see him reaching out for her. Her smile faltered, and he hesitated in his pursuit. His expression changed, appearing crestfallen. She shook her head, trying her best to convey that that wasn't what bothered her. He backed up one step, feeling out of place, and she shook her hands out in protest.
"No, wait – I'm sorry," She fumbled with what to say, rolling her eyes at herself. Licking her lips, she decided to let it all out. If anything, they could chalk it up to delirium from their lack of sleep and walk it off in the morning. "I have the largest crush on you, Pete."
He stopped, staring over at her, and she gave him a crooked, uncertain smile.
"I've been trying to hide it for the longest time. We work together, and you've never shown any interest at all. Not that you would, I've never made my feelings clear, but regardless, I didn't want to confuse or mess up the friendship we were building. I knew that after a while, my feelings would level out, and I would be able to relax around you."
She paused to take a breath in, and sheepishly looked back over at him. She was met with a small smirk on his mouth, and she arched an eyebrow at that. Was she missing something?
"You like me?" He confirmed, quietly mulling over her admission. "Well, that changes things."
She shook her head, not understanding what he was getting at, "What?"
He laughed this time, "I've been preparing myself to spend the night on your couch, ignoring the fact that you're within reach for me hold. Finally, in a position where it's just us. You and me, alone, but I knew I'd never work up the courage to say anything."
She scoffed, "No, now I know I'm dreaming. There's no way in hell this is really happening."
He chuckled at her, "Right? I know what you mean."
"Shut up," She rolled her eyes at him, all the while having a smile grow, "I've obviously fallen asleep at my desk. We never ran into each other on that side street, and I'm due to wake up any moment now."
"Yeah, and I never ducked out the service entrance to hide in the shadows waiting for the paparazzi to grow tired and go home." He crossed the distance between them in one long stride and framed her face with one of his hands. He tilted her face up to his and bowed in toward her. "I'm still standing in the elevator at 30 Rock contemplating my game plan for how to get home unnoticed."
She sighed into his touch and inched up on her tiptoes until their noses were touching. Her hands slid up over his arms and rested gently on his collar. He closed this distance between them, their mouths connecting in a soft caress. He pushed into her, tilting her head to the side, adjusting their angle for a fuller experience. She felt herself fall into the embrace, her lips moving eagerly with his, matching every push and pull. Time slowed as they revelled at the moment. Both of them content to stay rooted in their positions.
Realizing that they still needed to breathe, they simultaneously broke apart. Their chests rising and falling in tandem while they fought to catch their breath. She pushed against him, splaying her fingers across his upper chest and pressing her forehead up against his.
They both murmured out their curses and then fell into a quiet round of laughter.
"That good, huh?" Pete uttered, his fingers tracing around the cusp of her ear.
She let her eyes flutter shut at the feeling and grinned, "Yeah."
Her words came out in a hushed tone. The sentiment and the emotion filling the air around them. Never in a million years had she thought this would come to pass, but now that it had, she was content to keep it for as long as she could. She felt has his hand flatten against her hair, and he leaned back in to capture her lips with his. This was the perfect way to end her night.