By RedEmerald (Edited by freakycalzona)
Disclaimer: We own nothing and borrow lots. No, really... lots. Like every other character past or present on Grey's Anatomy which are the sole intellectual property of Shonda Rhimes, Shondaland and ABC.
Ratings: Overall R.
Story Information: This is Alternative Universe fanfiction. None of the characters have the occupations that Shonda Rhimes intended. We simply asked ourselves how career choices can change the directions of the characters lives, but not who they are as a person.
Summary: Love takes a woman and her boss by surprise
I groaned softly as I settled back at my desk, reaching down to massage one of my calves.
"Too many trips to the copier again, Arizona?" My boss asked me sympathetically on her way by with her third cup of coffee.
I heaved a deep sigh, starting to respond, but she was already back through her office door, letting it swing mostly closed as she settled in, sipping her coffee. I shook my head and shifted my massage to my sore feet. It certainly wasn't my fault they installed the copier on the far side of the floor – and it wasn't Callie's fault that she needed things copied a hundred times a day.
I'd been Callie's assistant for not quite a year, on my fifth attempt at finding a steady job in the field. My first boss had been a kindly older man, but his second heart attack had forced his retirement, and there'd been no other job open for me that wouldn't have required more sucking up than I was willing to do. My second boss had tried to convince me that assistants always worked until 3 a.m. Don't get me wrong – I don't mind long hours. I don't have a life for them to interfere with anyway. Still, if I wanted to work eighteen hour days seven days a week, I could have gone to law school – and then I wouldn't be holding down assistant jobs for crap pay and no benefits. The third and fourth jobs...well, the less said about those, the better.
Then I had come to Torres and Associates, a tiny law firm that consisted of Callie Torres and her partner, Richard Webber whose practice she had taken over. He was near retirement, but apparently didn't like his wife all that much – so a young, ambitious lawyer who could take over his practice while not making him work too hard fit him like a glove.
Callie also had two paralegals who worked for her, but I rarely saw them much. They worked on another floor of the office building where the law firm had its offices, and we shared them with two other such firms, so I basically only knew them as names on interoffice mail envelopes.
Callie Torres had made a reputation for herself as a trial lawyer in her late twenties now thirty five years old, she practiced mostly as a trial consultant to larger firms. She still cut quite an imposing figure on the rare occasions she actually went to a trial, though – tall, fit, latina, long legs, cold brown eyes – she was the very image of a ruthless, bloodsucking lawyer.
I thought she was actually a pretty nice woman, myself – quiet and private about herself, but always composed, with a ready smile. She was also one of the few lawyers I'd met that didn't treat their assistants like slaves – she wasn't one of those fruity saccharine types either. When she asked you to call her Callie, it wasn't patronizing. When she asked you to get coffee for her, it was because she couldn't get it herself at the moment, being stuck on a conference call or coming in a bit late and needing to rush straight to a meeting.
Of course, by this point in my career with her, I'd barely gotten up the courage to call her anything at all. I'm what you'd call the shy type. I'm twenty-eight, very petite from head to toe, blonde, blue eyes , and a body that I worked hard on but seemed capable of attracting attention only from married men a quarter-century older than me. The fact that I hadn't been on a date with a boy since middle school didn't help with that at all. I couldn't even take advantage of it, for crying out loud – I've known I was gay since I was sixteen, when I realized that my masturbatory fantasies hadn't involved a boy in quite some time and weren't likely to any time soon. It hadn't taken very many dates with women to seal things more or less in stone for me. I was lucky, though – I came out in college, my friends were supportive, my mom seemed relieved that I had finally figured it out, and my dad's reaction consisted of one piece of advice: "Just remember, honey, a woman can be just as much of a prick as any man." Thanks, Dad – not bad advice, though.
Callie, on the other hand, was divorced, though I knew little about her life in that respect. I'd heard something about a law professor, but she'd been divorced for years, and certainly didn't talk about her love life with me. She was one of those people who you'd finish telling your life story to and then realize she hasn't said a thing about herself.
So far, my time working for her had consisted entirely of variations on the exchange I just mentioned, though – basic pleasantries, small talk, and the like. We'd had a couple of very pleasant conversations over coffee and bagels, and she took me out to dinner a few times with the rest of the firm to celebrate a particularly big account, so I hesitantly considered us friends – or at least friendly co-workers.
I looked up immediately when she called my name, and got up – wincing again at the ache in my feet and ankles – to see what Callie wanted.
She looked up, her Bluetooth phone at her ear and her desk covered with paper. "Ari," she said, muting her phone again, "I can't find those contract copies they sent over last week."
I nodded. "They're filed, I'll get them." I stepped to the corner of her office where her master files were kept, quickly rifling through a couple of drawers. This wasn't unusual – Callie was a very good lawyer, but she preferred to do everything electronically – by email or scan. Paper documents just got in her way, and she had no patience for them. So I kept the files myself, so that she didn't have to worry about keeping track of documents she hated dealing with anyway.
It's funny, looking back – we'd never actually discussed that, but I'd just sort of done it that way without thinking, and she'd never questioned it. In hindsight, that probably should have told me something.
I pulled the file she was looking for, slipping it onto the desk.
"Yes," Callie was saying into the phone, "I've got them right here." She gave me a grateful look. "Yes, you were saying – about the land agreements?" She glanced up at me, and I nodded, flipping the file open and paging to the document she needed. Another thing I did without ever having been asked.
I stayed there for the rest of the call, flipping to this page or that as I tried to follow half a conversation – I'd gotten pretty good at it. Finally, Callie disconnected the call and rolled her eyes.
"Idiot," she muttered. She shook her head, looking at the large crystal clock on her desk. "I've got a meeting in just a few minutes – make sure I'm not disturbed, okay?"
"No problem," I assured her, re-closing the file and returning it to its drawer, slipping out of the office and closing the door behind me.
This was also common. A few times a week, clients – or prospective clients – would come by. Callie's practice depended on these meetings – basically, they were sales pitches. Thus, especially after a call like the one she'd just finished, talking to some annoying mouthpiece somewhere, she'd take a few minutes to relax and get herself together before the meeting, so that she could go in and blow their socks off with the Torres legal machine. In other words, to make herself look so frighteningly competent and ruthless that the clients just wouldn't be able to imagine winning without her – and more importantly, unable to imagine losing with her.
Believe me, it worked – I'd sat in on a few of these meetings. I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few of her clients didn't hire her just to make absolutely sure their opponents couldn't.
I went back to my desk, sinking gratefully back down into my chair – a large, comfortable, swiveling and tilting thing. Callie spared no expense on the office furniture, something I appreciated greatly after years of being the assistant in the "ergonomic" chair that made me feel like I was ninety years old when I went home at the end of the day.
These quiet times that Callie spent before meetings were private – I'd always stop calls going to her phone, and make anyone who showed up to see her wait. Her office had no windows, not even in the door, and she never talked about it, so I never knew what she did to compose herself for a meeting.
No doubt, had I thought about it, I might have guessed. One of my friends from college became a surgeon – according to him, it's much more common than most people think. Callie did the same thing that any number of surgeons, pilots, athletes, performers, and other high-stress professionals do to relax when they really need to be steady and relaxed – she got herself off. The surge of endorphins and other positive mood-affecting things that orgasm creates are more effective for calm and focus than just about any manmade drug could ever be – and cheaper, too.
So, this particular day is the day that the inevitable finally happened. A faulty latch on her office door, of all things, changed my life. I heard a slight click, and saw her door inch open, as happens with latches that don't quite fit right anymore. My desk sits just outside her door in our little corner of the floor, so I saw it immediately. Without thinking, I got up to close the door again, and, quite by accident – I swear – glanced in through the two-inch-wide crack of open doorway.
My composed, oh-so-private boss had her chair swiveled sideways and leaned back, one of her long legs up on the desk, and her hand under her skirt. Her head was thrown back, her eyes closed, and her lips slightly parted. If it hadn't been for the visible movement of her hand between her legs – and the death grip her other hand had on the arm of her chair – I might have thought she was asleep.
Now, before anyone judges me prematurely, I did exactly what any good assistant would do. I set a world record for the slowest, quietest closing of a door in the history of mankind, and crept back to my desk, where I sat perfectly still, waiting to see if I woke up. If it hadn't been for my eyes being open wide enough to actually roll out of my head if I'd so much as sneezed, no one walking by would think anything odd had just happened.
Two minutes later, Callie left her office and went to the meeting – head to toe a calm, confident lawyer. Fortunately for me, she didn't look at me as she went – I hadn't managed to get my eyes back to their normal size yet. After a lot of thought, I realized nothing was changed. She obviously hadn't seen me, and nobody else had to know. I could pretend it hadn't happened. All right, so I was naïve.