Peeta's POV

What the fuck is the matter with me? It's was just sex, Mellark. The past six months with Katniss started out as an incredibly hot, secret office affair. Its not like I never had little affairs like this before. When your image is as public as mine, it almost goes without saying that sex lives stay private. Something's not shaking this time. I should have seen this coming the second I had invited her to come live with me. What the fuck was that? I NEVER bring women home. Ever. But with Katniss, it just made sense to me. She was so open and innocent, but adventurous as well. I didn't see her as a threat and I was instantly at ease around her. Without even realizing it, I let her in and now the worst has happened. I've fallen in love with her. I'm going to have to end it. This was rule number one: never fall in love. It was so easy to keep to the rules. Follow your gut, get out on the first sign of trouble. Well, trouble passed by months ago and now I am in deep shit. There is no other word for it. The idea of not seeing her everyday, of not waking up next to her, making love to her, feels like a physical pain inside of me. This is why the rule was established in the first place. Love makes you weak. If there's one thing, I will never allow myself to be is weak.

I splashed cool water on my face and took a few deep breaths before returning to my office. I did leave Katniss in a rather tight position on my desk. Seeing her tied up and waiting for me, the wanting shining through her eyes, scared the shit out of me. Not because I had never seen that look before, but it was because for the first time I never wanted to look at anything else again. The thought floored me. Being the dick I am, I just left her there without a word and ran into the bathroom.

That's when I realized that my time with Katniss has been outstanding, best of my life. Sure, I have had other lovers before. Some were more experienced. Others more cultured and sophisticated. The one thing they all had in common was an agenda. Six months ago, when I found out that the sexy new assistant in accounting had lied on her resume I knew I had to use it to my advantage. At the time, I thought it was the best decision I ever made. Katniss is an attentive and organized assistant, but she has been an adventurous lover who has floored me time and again with her unabashed, honest responses. I care about her a lot more then I've cared about a lover before. I had never gotten too close to any of the others because I had always managed to see their true natures before I ever had to worry about my feelings becoming involved. Katniss snuck up on me with her innocence and her willingness to play. I have always been a controlling person and watched carefully in the first month of our affair to see what her motives were for being with me. I told myself at first it was because of the pay, but I had to revise that when I began to notice that she only ever spent her living stipend on nicer clothes for work or gifts for me. Her account for the most part laid untouched. As for her salary, she just used it to pay for her family's welfare. She was a truly selfless person. For someone as high up in the business world as I was, that made her extremely unique. A jewel of a human being. I had never met anyone who was less selfish.

Then there was the way she treated me: like I was just a regular person. She wasn't afraid of me, didn't weigh her answers before she gave them and she was always willing to play according to my mood. The first couple of months it was easy to keep her in the dark about everything and only tell her what she absolutely needed to know. As our relationship progressed, I found myself telling her things that I had never told anyone before. I trusted her. She was so devoted to me and accepted me for who I was. I was the kind of person who fell into every category and at the same time belonged in none. For the first time, I felt like I belonged somewhere and that was with Katniss. It was a great feeling. I am going to miss it. What goes up must inevitably come back down. I know this. I know this feeling will never last. If I don't cut it loose now, I'll do something really stupid, like ask her to marry me, have my children and never leave my fucking side. Talk about handing your balls over on a plate or my heart on a platter. She can then rip it to shreds in front of my face. The old joke my grandfather used to tell me about love came back to me.

"Boy do you know what the difference between a woman and a vulture is?"

"No grandpa, what's the difference?"

"A vulture waits till your dead to eat your heart out," said the man who had five wives. My own father came pretty close to the record before he died. He had a heart attack engaged to wife number six. She was my former lover and let me just say that having your future step mother make a pass at you in the bathroom at your father's funeral begging you to take her back while she's pregnant with your half- brother all in one go is one of those moments you never fucking forget. Katniss would never have done that to me. Not only would she have had too much pride to make the pass, but I believe that she wouldn't have left me for one of the few men that were richer then I was.

For the first time in my life, I feel like someone truly cares about me. It's a terrifying notion. Luckily ,I'm well aware she's not in love with me, I've know for a fact that I am not the type of person anybody could love. I'm a controlling, manipulative son of a bitch and that will never change.

I took a deep breath and braced myself for the shit storm that was about to take place in my office when I untied and told her we were done. I wonder how much money she would demand? Maybe I should just give her a promotion in the company so I can ensure her silence. I felt my legs moving and heard my heavy breathing, but otherwise I was numb. Katniss was spread wide before me, her soft creamy skin spread out on the leather and I felt the urge to bury myself deep inside of her. I needed to focus. I went over to her and began to untie her. I could see her confusion but chose to ignore it until she had full control of her limbs again.

"Sir? Is something the matter?" She asked me as she sat up on the desk and looked at me. Being the coward that I am, I had to break eye contact almost immediately. This bothered me. I never broke eye contact as a rule it portrayed fear.

"Everything's fine, Katniss. Unfortunately some unexpected business has come up so we will have to postpone our play," I replied back trying to sound believable.

"Peeta, what's wrong?" Katniss whispered quietly coming to move closer to me. Fuck. How is it that I can always fool the rest of the world, but this girl can read me like a book?

"Why would you think something's the matter?" I replied back sounding a little colder than usual.

"Well, I just find it odd that some unexpected business would come up while you were in the restroom…"

"And why is that?"

"Well for one thing sir, its Sunday."

"People still work on Sundays. Look at us for example," I responded back. She quirked up an eyebrow, gently mocking our Sunday 'work' session.

"You also left your phone in your pants pocket on the chair, sir," she replied back seeming hurt that I openly lied to her. Shit. She can't get sad. I shouldn't postpone this she knows something's up.

"Ms. Everdeen…." Like pulling off a bandaid. Just get it over with, you pussy. "Katniss, we have had a phenomenal time together but.." Tell her the truth. The truth. "But in the best interests of the company, I think it is more important that I focus on investors right now rather than your sexual needs." So much for going with the truth. I really am a tool.

I watched Katniss's eyes go wide with hurt and then fill with anger. "That's such bullshit and you know it. At least be honest with me! Or if you can't bring yourself to be honest with me, at least be honest with yourself." I had never heard Katniss hurt and angry before. I didn't like it. I wanted to make her smile again. I wanted to take it back, but I couldn't.

"Ms. Everdeen, I wanted to notify you that there is an open position available in marketing: Vice President of Operation. It is a considerable promotion and holds a high level of prestige, it also comes with quiet a large raise in pay…"

"So, this is how you're doing it? You're ending things by offering me a promotion in a different department? You couldn't just dump me like a normal person and leave my pride intact? No, instead you had to bribe me to leave you so you don't feel like a jackass. Really smooth, Mr. Mellark," she said as she got off the desk and started getting dressed.

I felt like a shmuck, but I stayed silent as I watched her get dressed. I wanted to stop her. I really did, but I felt helpless. Things would be better this way.

"Can I just ask you one thing?" Katniss asked turning on me. Her eyes were red, but her face was blank. "Was it that obvious?"

I didn't know what she was talking about. "Was what obvious?"

"That I fell in love with you? Is that why this is ending now because you noticed?"

My breath caught. "You're in love with me?" I asked my voice cracking. What the hell was the matter with me? Keep it together Mellark, you're the fucking CEO. "That's not possible…" I muttered. I was really confused now.

"Why is that not possible?" Katniss said to me. "I assure you Mr. Mellark it is more then possible to fall in love with someone charismatic, playful and caring. I've known for a while now, but I'm not stupid. People like you don't end up with people like me. I'm just sorry I ever let myself forget that." I was stunned and frozen as I watched Katniss turn around and run out of my office door. When I heard the door slam, I felt something rip inside of me and I grasped my chest in pain.

Oh god, what did I just do?

Katniss's POV

I ran all the way from Mr. Mellark's office to the employee garage towards my beat up 97' Honda civic. In an act of self preservation, I didn't let the tears fall until I was safely locked away in my car. Thankfully the lot was empty so there was no one to see my humiliating run of shame. Not many people worked the Sunday before New Years and I was thankful that I would at least have a few days of vacation before I had to face Mr. Mellark again. I knew this would be coming, but I let myself get seduced into the fairytale of forever. Men like Mr. Mellark don't fall in love with women like Katniss Everdeen. At least he was nice enough to cut me off cold turkey when he realized I cared about him. He never made promises he couldn't keep. He never led me on. It was what it was and now it was over. I just hated myself for loving him. I hated myself for being too weak and too hurt to leave his office with my pride intact. I wish I was the kind of girl who could have her heart broken and still leave with her head held high and a smile on her face. If I could have just controlled my emotions, I would have given my most heart stopping smile, shrugged and told him I had fun and would see him around the office. I wish I could have been unaffected, instead I left a mess. After five minutes or so I finally calmed down enough to drive, unfortunately my Civic had other plans. I put my key in the ignition and turned hoping to get it to turn don't like to be neglected for months at a time while their owners get driven around in fancy Porsches.

"Come on start ,you piece of crap. I just need you to do this one thing for me. Come on please." No luck. Definitely a dead battery. This is what one might call a 'fuck my life' moment.

I couldn't help it, but I just started crying again. I leaned my hands over the wheel, rested my forehead on the steering wheel and just bawled.

A tapping on the window drew me back to reality. What I saw left me stunned. Peeta was at the window his eyes were red and puffy and his face looked grave. I couldn't move. He opened my car door and pulled me out of it forcefully with both hands and pushed me up against my car door.

"Did you mean it?" he asked almost out of breath. "Are you really in love with me?" he said to clarify. I was speechless so I just settled for nodding. In seconds, Peeta's lips were attacking mine in a brutal kiss. When I finally realized what was happening, I returned the kiss just as hard. Peeta lifted me off the ground and I wrapped my legs around his waist never breaking the kiss. Peeta gently pulled away, but kept both his hands cupping my face looking me deep in the eyes. He was breathing rapidly and I could feel him pressed up against me as he rested us against the car.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Please, please don't go. I'm sorry. I'm terrified, Katniss. I don't know what the hell you did to me, but I'm terrified of it. I need you. I never wanted this to happen. You can't leave. Please you can't leave, promise me," he said rapidly looking into my eyes with desperation.

"I won't leave," I whispered to him, my heart breaking as I looked at the insecurity in his gaze.

"Never. Promise you'll never leave," he prompted. It seemed like my answer was the most important thing in the world to him.

"I promise. I will never leave you. I love you, Peeta," I replied back kissing him softly on the lips.

"I love you, Katniss," Peeta said to me hoarsely. They were the most beautiful words I had ever heard. I went from being miserable to overjoyed. He loved me. He wanted me to stay forever.

He began to kiss me passionately again. "I love you," he said against my lips again. "I love you so much. I've never said that before, not even to my own parents," he said laughingly between kisses. I felt him walking out of the garage with me, but I was too focused on the euphoria from his embrace to pay any attention to my surroundings. I vaguely heard the ding of an elevator as I remain wrapped around the man I loved. I felt his hands pulling up my skirt and ripping my underwear.

"Peeta, what are you doing?"

"Katniss, I can't wait any longer. I need you right now."

"But love, there are cameras in this elevator. Everyone's going to know about us. We have to stop."

"I don't give a shit about the cameras. I don't give a shit about anyone. Let them find out about us," he said as he ripped the other side and pulled my panties away. He took my mouth again with his while he rapidly unbuttoned his pants and zipper. Without breaking our kiss, I felt him thrust into me hard and sheath himself in one motion. I screamed out at the pleasure pain of again being filled by him. Our connection was stronger than anything I had ever felt before. Now that I knew he loved me, I held nothing back from him.

"I love you Katniss. I love you," Peeta gasped as he pumped himself inside my center. He held me tight against him and every small movement had me screaming my pleasure into the elevator vestibule. I felt Peeta move his hand backwards and hit the emergency stop button without stopping his thrusting. I ripped his shirt open and the top few buttons scattered around the elevator. I started kissing his chest, neck and ear tasting every part of his exposed skin.

"I want to feel you against me," he moaned into my mouth. I felt him press me up harder against the wall of the elevator as his hands moved from supporting my ass to ripping open my blouse and unclasping my bra so I was exposed to him. He returned his hands to my ass and gripped me tight as he moved his head down to suck on my nipples. He thrusted into me hard as he sucked and this new position has me screaming his name as his cock rubbed perfectly against my spot.

"Tell me. Tell me what you said to me before," he groaned against my breasts.

"I love you Peeta. God, I love you so much. I'll never leave you. Never let me go. Never," I cried out. He pressed back to the wall and he pressed his bare chest up against mine, the skin on skin bringing tears of happiness to my eyes.

"Never. You're not going anywhere. I love you. Holy shit, Katniss. I love you so much. I'm going to come. Come for me baby. Come with me."

His words were all it took to send me crashing into my orgasm. The waves so intense that I lost all sense of time and place. The only thing I felt was the weight of the man I love as he pumped himself into me once last time before I heard him scream his release as well.

My climax took everything out of me. Between my intense release and the emotional roller coaster I had gone through today, exhaustion rapidly took hold of me. Peeta was still breathing hard as I rested my head on his shoulder. A soft kiss on my forehead was the last thing I remembered before I fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up a while later naked in Peeta's bed. It was dark outside and I could see the lights of the city glowing through the window. I felt around for Peeta but the sheets were cool beside me.

"I'm here." I heard Peeta say from the other side of the bed. I turned around to see him sitting on a small chair next to my side of the bed. He was shirtless and had on a pair of the silky sleep pants I loved so much. I moved over so I could face him fully and he brought his hand up to play lightly in my hair.

"You slept for a long time. Scared the crap out of the security guard when I walked out of the elevator with you passed out," he said with a little smile. "You didn't even stir in the car. You'd think after waking up next to you every morning, I would have noticed that you slept like the dead." He was being gentle and sweet. All I wanted to do was bury my face into the side of his neck.

"Why aren't you in bed with me?" I asked sleepily.

He gave me another smile and said, "I would be, but I knew that you needed the sleep and I didn't think I could fuck you without waking you." I laughed and blushed a little.

For the first time since we met, I felt a little awkward. What happens now? Do I stay his secretary? Do I keep paying rent on my apartment? I didn't know.

"What are you thinking?" he asked me gently.

"I'm wondering what we do now?" He smirked and climbed into bed with me, his strong arms enveloping my naked body against his.

"You tell me," he said against my hair as he breathed in my scent.

"I don't know. I thought you were the boss," I said with a grin.

"Well, that's true. What do you want to happen?"

"I…I really want to be with you. That's all I need, to be with you." I said pressing a kiss to his chest.

"That's good because that's definitely something that will not be changing….Do you trust me?"

"Of course, I trust you."

"Then trust me to take care of everything," he whispered into my ear before he sucked the lobe and moved to make love to me again. "I will always take care of everything" was the last coherent thing I understood as he kissed his way down my body.

It was New Year's Eve. Peeta and I had spent the entire day. It was heaven. Outside, the snow was lightly falling and the TV was on mute above the fireplace with the New Year's Eve coverage playing.

"No, you didn't!" I said unbelievingly as I laughed.

"I swearm I really did! I just waved at her from the side of the boat. I assume someone fished her out of the water eventually, but I definitely wasn't going to be that guy," he said laughing along with me.

We had been telling each other embarrassing stories and secrets, mostly nonsense really, but to me it was everything. We were clearly both still scared shitless of our new intimacy and our new relationship. Our feelings were still too raw to try to address anything further about the future. It was nice that we spent the day talking about our pasts….and going at it like rabbits of course.

"I won't be able to look at her the same when I see her at work in a couple days," I said offhandedly. I don't know what it was I said, but Peeta was looking at me weird.

"What is it?" I asked him with a smile.

"Do you like working for me? Or working at all? Because you don't have too. You can stay here all day and do whatever you like," he said as his hand ran over my bare hip.

"I love working for you, Mr. Mellark," I responded sensually. "I love to please you sir. I love doing things for you." I was ran my hands down his torso and headed straight towards one of my favorite parts of his body. It had been almost a half hour since we had sex.

"Well, I have no complaints on that front. I think that there needs to be a few changes in our working relationship come the New Year."

"Oh? What changes may that be, sir? Will I be required to wear a uniform? No undergarments perhaps?" I asked seductively as I bit down lightly on his ear.

"A uniform. Yes, I like that. While the no undergarment idea has merit, there will only be one item that must be worn at all times," I was watching his eyes so I didn't see him slide something cool and heavy onto my finger. As I felt the ring slide onto my finger, my eyes went wide. I lifted up my hand and there sat the biggest diamond I had ever seen. It took up my entire finger. I looked up into Peeta's eyes too afraid to ask if this ring meant what I thought it did.

"Katniss Everdeen, I love you so much. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. You belong to me and I want everyone to know that. It doesn't have to be anytime soon, but I want you to legally be mine one day. Take all the time you need to decide, but in the meantime I hope you'll wear this so I don't have to pummel every bastard who looks at you. If you don't like the ring, we can switch it out. It's a ten carat asscher cut from Harry Winston. I just had them ship over the biggest stone they had in your ring size."

"Are you serious?"

"Of course. It makes no difference to me which one you where. We can switch it out tomorrow."

"No, not about the ring. The ring is beautiful. Do you really want to marry me?" I couldn't have heard him right. My heart was beating too rapidly in my chest.

"Katniss, you're the love of my life. Marriage isn't a strong enough bond in comparison to what I want from you…but it's a start," he said looking into my eyes. "What do you say?"

I didn't know I could fly until that moment. "I would love to marry you Mr. Mellark, more than I could ever tell you. I love you so much."

"Ms. Everdeen, you just made my entire year." he said with a smile. Out of the corner of my eye. I could see the ball dropping in Times Square on the TV screen.

"Happy New Year ,Mr. Mellark," I said before starting the New Year off with a passionate kiss from my fiancé. I had a feeling this was going to be the start of one hell of a year.

I hope you all enjoyed this short story! Please follow me and stay tuned for the sequel to I'll look after you!