AN: Ok, no idea why I am doing this. Ok, maybe it's because I'm crazy. I've seen The Proposal twice, I could not get the characters out of my mind and as I drove home tonight, I knew I had to write their "after." So here goes. . .probably somewhere in short story territory.
Andrew helped Margaret unpack, without her having to ask, and they did it in complete silence. The easy companionship of the last few days had seemingly disappeared now that they were back in New York, and Andrew's proposal had changed everything, Margaret thought as she slowly lifted book after book out of the box in front of her.
She had never expected that he would come back for her. Their arrangement, had, after all, been a business deal, and if she was unable to keep herself in line, well, that was just her. She had refused to let herself even suspect that he had begun to develop similar feelings, though now as she considered the possibility, all that heat that had sparked between them couldn't have been one-sided.
It hadn't been one-sided, Margaret reminded herself, and allowed herself, for the first time since they'd begun to unpack, to glance back over her shoulder at him. He was lost in another box, his lips moving soundlessly, as he cataloged the items he was removing and she noticed that unlike herself, he was doing it quickly and efficiently. He clearly wanted to be done with this task and move onto whatever came next. She, on the other hand, was perfectly happy to dawdle because to be totally honest, she had no idea what came next.
He was so beautiful, she thought as she watched him, unobserved. Of course, she had noticed the moment she had first seen him, at his interview, but she had forced the thought from her mind. Margaret knew that he would be an excellent assistant and she didn't want a small things such as the way the golden maple syrup color of his hair matched his eyes or way he wore it just long enough that it curled a little at the tips or his undeniably powerful physique to color their working relationship. She had really had to force herself not to think about his body, and then she'd gone and ruined it once and for all by crashing into him when he was butt naked. Gorgeously butt naked, she might add, and now that vision of him, all tightly coiled muscular strength, was permanently burned on her retinas.
Before he could glance up and see her watching him, she turned her gaze back to the box in front of her, but she could still barely force one book out of the box. It was all pretty and straightforward for him to march up to her and say, "Margaret, I used to loathe you, but now I love you. Let's get married so I can date you." But the reality after such a statement was a totally different story. It was messy. It was scary.
Who was she kidding? It was downright terrifying.
How on earth were they going to date?
Margaret felt her pulse begin to race at just the word, "date." She didn't "date." She never really had. She was horrible at it.
Andrew, with his boyish charm, would be a fantastic dater. He would certainly think she sucked.
Just as she was about to actually start hyperventilating at the thought of having to have this conversation with Andrew, who would no doubt just stare at her like she'd lost her mind—he was still the only person she'd known in the last ten years who actually did it and got away with it—he spoke.
"You going to say anything to me ever again?" He said it casually, with just a hint of sarcasm, and yet she could also hear the vulnerability in his tone. He'd told her he loved her, and while she'd agreed to marry him so they could date, she hadn't actually returned the sentiment. But she loved him, of course. She just couldn't say it. She couldn't even fucking talk to the man anymore.
She heard him walk up behind her, his footsteps quiet but loud enough in the totally silent office. Margaret's hands clenched the teak desk edge and she tried to summon up the courage to do the right thing. To tell him that this was just too messy. Too complicated. Too everything.
To tell him that he deserved better than an old, emotionally stunted, workaholic who was also possibly the worst dater on the planet.
But of course, she couldn't. Not anymore. Not after what he'd said to her in the office. Not after the way he'd kissed her. Andrew had loosed a part of her that she'd kept locked up since she was sixteen and now that it was free, there was no going back. She didn't even think she could fit back into her old life anymore, and she didn't even want it back. At least not without him in it.
He stopped directly behind her. She could feel the warmth of him first, and then his hands brushed her arms, softly at first but gaining pressure as he stroked her rhythmically. She didn't mean to, but she almost couldn't even help it, and so she sagged into him, letting out a ragged sigh. Fighting her feelings around him was supposed to be over. The battle had been won. She'd won her—or she'd won him. Whichever. There was no need to pretend like she didn't want him anymore.
"I'm . . .not good at this," Margaret finally confessed and despite her fear at Andrew's reaction, it felt good to admit it, even though she had already admitted it once before today.
Andrew's hands stilled on her arms. He said nothing. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he spoke again. "I don't suppose this is going to be easy. We know that. But I don't care. What we have between us is worth it."
"Worth the awkwardness and the difficulty and the hassle?" Margaret wondered out loud before she could stop herself.
Andrew laughed and Margaret relaxed enough at the sound of his laughter to let out a small chuckle of her own. Maybe she was being a tad bit too uptight over this whole thing. Maybe it wouldn't be as difficult as she was imagining it would. Even now, with Andrew's hands on her, she could almost see how they could make this work.
"Awkwardness?" he asked, gently taking her by the arms and turning her around so he could face her. "What's going to be so awkward?"
Margaret couldn't quite meet his eyes. They were so honest and they saw everything. Even her own shortcomings, which she'd spent the last fifteen years hiding from the world.
"Well, first of all, I'll have to get a new assistant," she began, and by the way his eyes darkened almost imperceptibly she knew she'd said the wrong thing. Typical.
"That's it," he said. "We're leaving."
"Leaving?" Margaret stuttered, watching helplessly as he picked up her purse and handed it to her. She grabbed it and held it close, like it held every answer to every question she'd ever asked.
"Yes," he said simply. "We are not going to talk about work today. We aren't even going to unpack your office. Technically, we both have today off."
"What?" Margaret's jaw dropped.
"In fact, we have every day this week off. Jack and Edwin decided we needed a honeymoon."
"A honeymoon? We're not even married yet!" Margaret couldn't help her voice from edging upwards in volume.
"Here's the story—though I thought you were listening when I discussed this with Jack and Edwin. They need a week to find you some replacements to interview and I'll get the promotion and well, how long has it even been since you had a vacation?"
"Five years," Margaret answered automatically, because she was far too fascinated by the in-control Andrew she was currently seeing. In the three years he'd been her employee, he'd deferred to her in every situation, every scenario. Now, suddenly, like he did it every day, he was taking over and making decisions. It should have made her feel threatened and controlled, but instead, all she could feel was a rush of hormones at how incredible hot it was to see him like this. In their three years together, she'd never even dreamed he had it in him, but after seeing his dad's empire in Alaska, it made total sense. Of course Andrew could be in charge. He'd just been being a good assistant and letting her rule the roost, but he was now making it clear that in their personal life, he was perfectly capable of being the man in the relationship.
"So there you go. We're going to take a week long honeymoon, and when we get back to work next Monday, all this drama will have blown over and everything will be back to normal."
Margaret wanted to tell him that after today, nothing would ever be "normal" again. That her life was permanently changed because of him and no vacation could alter that fact.
"So where are we going?" she conceded. Maybe he was right. Maybe she needed a break to recharge and try to figure out what this new life of hers was going to be like.
He smiled, that big wide smile of his that she knew meant he was up to no good. "Please not Alaska," she begged.
"Oh no," he smirked. "Not Alaska. We're going to stay here, in New York."
Her brow wrinkled. "I don't understand."
Andrew sighed and removed the purse from her hands and held them in his own. "Margaret, we need a week to figure out how the hell this is going to work. While we are here, in New York. So we're going to spend the week here, just enjoying each other."
"But no work?" she asked, a tiny note of hope left in her voice.
"Nope. No work." Andrew shook his head decisively, and Margaret saw a gleam of determination in his eye that didn't bode well.
"No blackberry? No laptop? No email?"
"None of the above. In fact, I vote that we leave all electronic devices here, at the office."
She dropped his hands and crossed her arms over her chest. She was prepared to fight to the death for use of electronic devices this week. She'd lived through the last three days without email and the result was not pretty.
"Fine. But we have an hour limit each day. One hour, Margaret." She was quickly becoming familiar with that determined look of Andrew's and it was shameful that she liked it almost as much as she hated it.
She picked up her purse. "Okay. You have a deal. One week, and no work. One hour of laptop or phone a day." Margaret held out her hand. "Shall we shake on it?"
Andrew laughed but this time it was tinged with something other than amusement. It was dark and smoldering and definitely sexy. "No, let's not shake on it. . .that's too business-like. I'm going to have to teach you how to leave the office behind, Margaret. We're going to kiss on it instead."
"Kiss?" Margaret managed to squeak out, eyeing the glass door of her office, knowing that it was likely the whole room would be watching. Of course, she hadn't exactly minded when they watched before, but that kiss had been relatively chaste. The way that Andrew was looking at her now was not exactly chaste.
But before she could protest, he swooped down and pulled her close to him. Her eyes fluttered closed and she could feel every inch of him pressed against her. She loved how strong and sure he felt. Like he could protect her if she ever needed it—which she wouldn't, of course—but it was nice to know that if he had to, he could. And then he kissed her, and she couldn't think at all.
His lips were warm and soft on hers, and while the kiss did start as their others had, it became readily obvious that Andrew wasn't going to stop there this time. His tongue teased at her closed lips and Margaret knew what he wanted. She wanted it to, but still, she hesitated. This was the part of their brand new relationship that scared her—okay, there were more parts than this that scared her, but this was definitely one of the significant fears she had. How on earth were they going to be . . .intimate together? What if he hated her? She'd been told enough times that she was too controlled in bed. One man had even dared to call her robotic.
She only had to kiss Andrew to know that he would be anything but robotic in bed.
"Margaret," Andrew murmured, and she opened her mouth just enough so she could answer him, and then she knew it had all been a trick. He hadn't wanted to ask her anything. He'd simply been trying to storm her gates another route, so to speak.
His grip tightened around her waist and he pulled her even closer, and then finally, she let her tongue mingle with his. The kiss became increasingly passionate and she let her hands drift upwards, towards the hair she loved so much. The instant she touched it, she wanted more. She wove her fingers through the golden brown strands and she thought that someone moaned. Maybe it was him. Or maybe it was her. It was too hard to tell. In this moment, they seemed more than one person than two.
Margaret could feel all his muscles tightening underneath her and she knew that he was trying to control himself, and for a single split second, she wanted to tell him to let go. To just do whatever he wanted and screw the consequences. But then she felt the hard edge of the desk hit her upper thighs as they stumbled a step backward, and it brought her back to reality. To sanity. She pulled away and felt a momentary pulse of disappointment.
Andrew let out a ragged breath and ran a hand through his hair, no doubt trying to rearrange what she had disarranged.
He looked back up at her and smiled. "Let's get out of here," he suggested and she nodded, picking up her purse again.
As the door shut behind them, Margaret realized that that was their final time in her office as boss and assistant. Next time they came here, everything would be different. Their roles would be completely new. And hopefully, they would have those figured out by then.