Some 'Splainin To Do
It was a nice couch—a comfortable, dark leather one that let your body kind of sink into it when you sat down—but it wasn't his.
He wished it was for two reasons, the first being that it was the best couch he had ever had the privilege of sitting on (and that meant it would be an excellent couch for napping), and the second being privacy. He liked privacy. He liked it a lot. Almost as much as napping, even. (And napping and privacy were not mutually exclusive.)
In fact, if his hands weren't full with his boss's daughter (rather literally), he probably would have dozed off while waiting for the boss man to show up to the meeting he'd insisted both Haar and Jill meet him in his study for.
Shiharam was usually on time, but he had been late for one reason or another. Haar was usually late, but had showed up on time to find Jill already there, impatiently tapping a finger on the arm of the couch while she waited for her father to show himself. Chances were she had a list a mile long of things she needed to be doing. Waiting around had never been easy for her.
He'd seated himself a respectful distance from her on the couch, which actually put him at the opposite end.
It was to avoid temptation.
It hadn't worked very well, if the warm body that was practically in his lap—or the lips that were pressed against his, or the softness of her breast under his palm—was any indication.
He probably made some half-hearted excuse ("Shiharam doesn't even know about us. If he walks in on something…") but he couldn't remember exactly what he had said—or if it had been something valid or completely off-the-wall. He did remember Jill acting like it didn't matter ("We'll hear him open that squeaky door."). Or maybe it was the other way around. He couldn't remember anything clearly beyond her scooting over to sit beside him, and him leaning down to kiss her.
The details didn't matter, anyway.
They didn't pull apart until they needed a moment to breathe.
Jill's lips followed her fingers across his face, leaving soft kisses on his skin, but before she could get to the dark cloth that covered his right eye—and the ruination beneath it—he ducked his head and pressed his lips against her neck, leaving a warm, moist trail that ended at the junction between her neck and shoulder. He couldn't deny how he felt about her (had felt for a while, though he doubted many people would retain any respect for him if they knew), but he just didn't feel comfortable, yet, letting her see the result of what had been a fatal car accident to his parents, but that he had miraculously survived (with burns and scars and only one eye).
Her lips were turned downward in a disappointed pout (he had interrupted her, after all), and he chuckled to himself as he let his mouth return to hers. "Sorry to ruin your fun," he murmured, nibbling at her lower lip.
"You always say that," she said, scolding him half-heartedly when she could speak again. The pads of her fingers were cool as she brushed them over the skin around his eyepatch, tracing the eyebrow over it that arched slightly at her action. "When are you going to let me see?" Her voice lowered to a whisper as she let her head rest against his shoulder and stretched her legs across his lap. "You know it won't bother me."
He ran his hands slowly up and down her sides, petting her skin as he took a deep (ragged, not altogether composed) breath. He wanted to say that it wasn't as easy as all that, but as she relaxed at his touch, he could only think to say, "Someday."
She pulled away from him a bit and blinked up at him with half-lidded eyes. "Why not today?"
His first thought was to look away, but it was quickly scattered to the wind. There was something about her in that moment—the sincerity in her voice, the brightness of her eyes, the gentle inward curve of her waist beneath his hand—that made his heart swell.
Aw, heck. She was Jill—she had always been Jill to him (even when he was teasing her). She had never been "the boss's daughter" in his thoughts or his dreams. She was just Jill.
Jill, who (at four years old) had decided to marry him because she loved him and he was her best friend; Jill, who had (red-faced, shyly) admitted less than six months ago that those feelings had never really changed; Jill, whom he'd fallen for sometime during the course of their interwoven lives.
Of course, Shiharam still didn't know about any of it. Jill's father had taken Haar in when he had lost his parents at age sixteen. Jill had been born the same year. He sometimes wondered how he could have possibly fallen for her—being his boss's daughter and so much younger than him—but in the end, he chose not to question it. For some unknown reason, she had fallen for him, too.
("You fell for an ugly old guy like me?" he'd said (half-jokingly) to her after she'd admitted how she felt about him. She had gotten angry at him ("You're such an idiot!") and so he'd never said it again, but he couldn't help but wonder…and so he had asked her about it ("Why me?"). Her response had been simple, and curt ("I always have."), and her arms had been strangely comforting as they wound around him in a hug.)
He hardly remembered where he was as his lips crashed down on hers. She squeaked in surprise and grabbed his (formerly tidy) dress shirt in her fists as she slid off of her precarious perch on his lap, landing on her back beside him on the couch.
He didn't miss a beat, shifting his position to lay over her, letting one of his elbows hold the majority of his weight as his free hand moved to stroke the side of her face, each subsequent kiss lighter and more gentle than the last until finally, his lips barely brushed hers.
Jill looked positively dazed (which made him smile, because catching her off-guard was possibly better than napping).
"What was that for?" she asked breathlessly, fingers tangling in his hair as her cheeks reddened.
He tapped the tip of her nose. "No reason."
"Lies." She squirmed beneath him, and managed to free her legs. She wrapped them around his waist tightly. "Tell me, or I'll never let you go, and then when my father comes home, this will be the first thing he sees."
She looked terribly mischievous, but he knew she'd never hold true to her threat. It wouldn't hurt to indulge her, though, no matter how odd she might decide his reasoning was.
He buried his face in her neck, hiding a small smile. "Because you're you," he said.
There was a sudden, loud squeal of hinges that needed to be oiled, and Haar realized that Shiharam (likely in a hurry due to his tardiness) had just flung open the door to the study. The same study he and Jill were currently in.
He looked up just in time to see his boss's shocked face before the older man simply turned around and left the room, closing the door behind him.
A myriad of curse words flashed through his brain in neon colors, blinking on a black background. He and Jill split apart so fast that for a moment, he didn't know which way was up.
Three minutes passed by in excruciating silence. They both stayed on their side of the couch.
Jill gave a short, humorless chuckle. "I'm eighteen," she said. "What can he possibly do?" But her face was deathly pale and she looked as if she might be sick.
Haar didn't feel much better. Shiharam had always entrusted a lot of things to him—had even given him a place to live when he'd had nothing. He owed the man a lot. It was doubtful that Shiharam seeing his 34-year-old right-hand-man on top of his 18-year-old daughter would end up any sort of happy.
Well, what would happen, would happen.
He chanced another glance at Jill, and after shifting his gaze back to the door, leaned toward her, arm reaching out.
"What is it?"
"Your shirt," he said, a mix between amusement and relief crossing his face as he tugged it down and gestured toward the top buttons that weren't fastened. At least he'd thought to point it out before Shiharam came back in.
She buttoned her shirt back up and straightened her collar, then tried to sit perfectly still.
Finally, Shiharam came back into the room, looking amazingly composed, if not a bit tense.
He said nothing of the incident. Instead, he talked about his boss's decision to open up a new branch of the company on the other side of the continent, and that it meant a lot of work had to be done, including a week-long trip he had to make to help train new employees.
Or something like that. Haar was too busy wondering when it was going to end to pay close attention, because he knew there was absolutely no way both he and Jill were getting away with their little…err…display earlier.
After Shiharam stopped talking, he gave Haar, and then Jill, a hard stare. "Jill," he said, "you may go."
She hesitated for a moment (even though Haar knew she couldn't wait to get out of there), but finally headed for the door as Shiharam turned to Haar.
"In the words of a famous television show," he said, looking almost thoughtful, "Haar, you gots some 'splaining to do."
Oh, he had some 'splaining to do, all right. He knew something like that was coming. He watched Jill leave the room; she was biting her lip nervously as she closed the door behind her.
(He fumbled for something to say in reply to his boss. It wasn't what it looked like was an outright lie. Jill's a big girl now, she can do whatever she wants sounded patronizing. It was her idea was only half true.)
"Well," he started, half-hoping that Shiharam would clue him in on exactly what part of the scene he saw he wanted explained. He was mostly certain there were a lot of things he didn't want explained.
"Let me paint a picture for you, then," his boss said, half-sitting on the corner of his desk. "I opened the door to my study to sit down and discuss my upcoming trip out of the country. The first thing I see is my eighteen-year-old daughter with her shirt only half-buttoned and half covering her." He paused, and blinked at Haar. "Oh. And a man on top of her."
Fairly certain that he hadn't needed to be reminded of any of it (as he'd had a nice view from his position when it had happened, and he remembered it perfectly well), Haar wondered what exactly it was he was supposed to say. Was there a right or wrong explanation?
"That sounds about right," he found himself saying.
He immediately regretted it. It probably hadn't been the smartest thing to come out of his mouth in the last few years. Jill had inherited her father's temper, after all. Shiharam was acting mighty composed, but he knew he'd best not test him.
"Care to explain why?"
(No, not really, he thought, but squelched the words before he could voice them. He wanted to say something that was truthful, but he couldn't bring himself to be so mushy as to declare that he and Jill loved one another. He certainly wasn't ashamed of Jill. She was beautiful and smart and he liked everything about her. He just couldn't imagine saying such a thing to Shiharam after what had happened earlier; it would look like he'd made it up to save face.)
He finally settled on something truthful, that wasn't exactly sappy. "We've been dating."
Silence fell between them for a minute. "How long?"
"Five months, two weeks, and a few days." (Yeah, he knew. So much for not being mushy.) And then, as an afterthought, "But I'm sorry—that display was inappropriate—it won't happen again." After he spoke, he couldn't remember the order of the words. He wasn't even sure anything he'd said made sense until Shiharam spoke again.
"I'll say it was inappropriate." He shuffled some papers on his desk and made sure they were all aligned perfectly. "That's my favorite couch."
Haar's expression must have mirrored a mix between confusion and surprise, for Shiharam gave a short bark of laughter, shoved his papers into his briefcase, and snapped the lid shut.
"Don't get me wrong," he said seriously. "I don't ever want to see that again. But Jill's an adult, and I'd rather not ruin my relationship with her by disapproving of her relationship with anyone else."
"And truthfully, I am a bit relieved it's you and not one of those kids with his dreams up in the clouds, who will drop out of college after three months to be a rock star, and then live the rest of his life in a trailer, working at the local gas station, driving a twenty-year-old motorcycle, all while not marrying my daughter because they get more money back on income taxes every year due to their having five kids."
Haar supposed he would be preferable to Jill dating someone like that.
He wondered if he should be offended.
"Is that hesitant approval?"
"I've always liked you, Haar. So has Jill."
"Thank you…I think."
"Jill's an adult, now. She can make her own decisions, and so can you." He dropped from the edge of his desk to the floor and gave Haar a telling look. "And I know you'll treat her right."
"Because you care about her."
"And you'll make an honest woman of her."
Haar could have sworn the look turned almost threatening. He supposed some might worry he'd never settle down. (Maybe it was his appearance, or his laid-back attitude.) "If she'll put up with me for that long," he said, half joking. It was a little early to tell, yet, but…
"It might be the other way around," Shiharam said seriously, though there was a bit of a twinkle in his eye. "You know how she can get."
Haar couldn't help but smile. He knew, all right. Jill was a firecracker. (And he was more like a dud, so he supposed they balanced each other out well.)
"I'll find Jill on my way to my room to drop my things off and tell her I didn't murder you." He looked down at the empty end of the couch. "I'll just send her here. But no more public displays of affection on my couch."
"Of course," he said, nodding in agreement, though at the back of his mind, he wondered about the carpet, or the shower, or the—but he decided quickly that dwelling on those thoughts would end badly.
"Good." Shiharam said, and left in search of his daughter. (Jill was likely pacing circles in the carpet just down the hall.)
Haar's muscles relaxed and he leaned back into the comfortable leather couch, yawning widely. He closed his good eye and sighed, feeling rather content. It would be the perfect time to take a little nap…
Yeah, it was a nice couch. (But it was too bad that it wasn't his, because then public displays of affection on it would be okay.)
Blame all of this on the Fire Emblem Kink Meme on Livejournal. A heck of a lot more notes at my writing journal. I'm going to go hide in a box. Forever.