Own me, you own
You rattle my bones
You turn me over and over
'Till I can't control myself
Make me a liar
One big disaster
You make my heart beat faster
-Faster, Matt Nathanson
It started out as a regular Monday morning for Erik. At 6 AM, he groaned, clobbered the snooze button on his alarm clock, and went back to sleep, at 6:15, he shut the damned thing off, went through his usual regimen of morning calisthenics, showered, ate, and headed out the door. By 9 AM, he was heading to his office, and watching his employees become suddenly engrossed in their work, ceasing their conversations and fixing their computers and paperwork with fascinated stares.
Erik took pride in his ability to strike terror into the hearts of his subordinates, and his reputation for being The Boss From Hell was well earned. The Lehnsherr Corporation had a strict zero-tolerance policy for slackers, as the employees had learned early on when Erik had unceremoniously fired a man on his first offence because "the Frost Fashions campaign won't run itself, and I don't have the resources to pay you to play Tetris." From then on, there were few things that could break a man's Tetris addiction faster than the presence of Erik Lehnsherr. Just as there was no room for online games, there was no room for sub-par advertising, and Erik's way of letting his employees know this had crossed the line from irritation into verbal abuse on more than one occasion. To top it all off, paid sick days were so limited that employees had been known to make cracks about requiring a written note from the doctor and signed by their parents in order to have their absences excused. Not specific employees, of course, because no one would dare to make such remarks where they might be overheard.
Thus, it was with great confusion that Erik reached the fourth floor only to be greeted by a stretch of empty cubicles. He scanned the room in amazement, only to spot a group of suited men clustered about the water cooler. There was a wave of amused laughter, and one man (Erik recognized him as Mr. Aznabaev, the Russian-born one who went by Az because most of his co-workers were utterly hopeless at pronouncing his full name) jovially slapped another on the back.
"I know, I know!" exclaimed a laughing, accented voice from somewhere within the cluster of men, "but the thing is- the thing is that it works! I mean, think about it! Why has there been so much research into what colors attract attention? Because the consumer is far more likely to buy the product if the ad uses colors that he likes! It's the whole basis of supply and demand, basically, but we get caught up in competition and number crunching, that we forget that it's all about providing people with what they want! And-"
Erik cleared his throat, and the crowd dispersed at once, giving him mumbled apologies and rushing back to their respective desks. The speaker, however, stayed where he was. 'Does he even work here?' Erik mused. The man before him was young, and his bright blue eyes and innocently puzzled expression made him appear even younger, hardly more than a boy. His suit was a shade of blue that was bright enough to be tacky and his hair flopped forward in a decidedly unprofessional manner. In his arms, he held a large, pink cardboard box. The young man cocked his head, and after a moment of tense silence, he smiled and spoke.
"Good morning, sir! Care for a muffin?"
A muffin? Erik Lehnsherr had just caught this boy very clearly not working and he had the nerve to give him that innocent look and offer him a muffin? Erik opened his mouth to say "do you even know who I am?" or "who the hell do you think you are?" or a number of more unsavory things, but… That smile was so damned soft and those eyes were so damned blue and Erik couldn't quite muster up his usual rage, so he settled for a somewhat dumbfounded, "Do you work here?"
"Yes, sir! Today's my first day!" The man really had no right to sound so very happy about it. "My name is Charles, by the way. Charles Xavier."
"Yes. Right. And the muffins?"
"They're from a bakery I passed on the way here. I thought it would be nice to introduce myself by bringing a little something for everyone. It's important to get off on the right foot and all. And you know, I couldn't help but think that it would make a nice tradition. Muffin Mondays! No one looks forward to the start of the workweek, but I've always found that having something to look forward to can be quite a help… Are you quite alright?"
'Good God! By all rights, the boy should be shaking in his boots, but instead he's rambling on about muffins!' Erik did his best to shift his stunned expression to one of sheer contempt, but the muscles in his face appeared to be on strike just then.
"I'm fine." Then, just a little louder, for the sake of the other employees, "Get to work, Mr. Xavier. Since it's your first day, I suppose I can cut you a little slack, but in the future, muffins will not be consumed during working hours. And don't distract the others. God knows they get little enough done without your help."
'It's like sending a kid to his room,' Erik thought, and he wasn't sure whether he ought to be amused or mortified. 'What the hell is this world coming to?'
And when he was sure no one was looking, he took the fucking muffin.