Just another day at the office; not different enough to be exciting yet too much to do to be boring. Will I ever get that promotion?
These were the thoughts running through the mind of one Eren Jeager, who at present was sorting through a rather large stack of papers that had been piling up on his desk for the past week. The stack seemed never ending; Eren could have sworn when he'd clocked out the night before he'd gotten through at least half of it, and now it seemed like it magically regenerated and duplicated itself. Luckily for him, most of it was nothing but busy work, and it only took a quick glance and a messy signature to call the paper signed and ready to go.
He was currently employed for Wall Rose Enterprises, a bustling company on the verge of making it big. His workplace was a medium sized office building consisting of eight floors including the lobby. They were leaders in the business of fashion; specifically, it was a place where hopeful designers submitted their creations for evaluation and possible marketing. Should the design be approved by a committee a deal would be made and the article of clothing would be manufactured and sold on the market. It made Eren happy to see the elated look of the client when he delivered the news that their idea had been approved. Unfortunately, new talent that was actually, well, talented was hard to come by and more often than not people would leave his office in tears or fits of rage.
Very few of them understood that it was not Eren's decision whether or not their designs made it to the sales floor; he was simply the messenger. Unfortunately that meant that he was more often than not the nearest person to take their frustrations out on. Some days he seriously regretted ever applying; they did not pay him enough to justify that kind of abuse.
Those clients were far easier to deal with than established designers, however. Once one of their projects had been accepted more often than not they would let it go to their head. Dealing with fussy clients that made the company millions was not Eren's cup of tea; he was expected to grant their every wish no matter how ridiculous. One time he'd even had to agree to babysit a client's cat while they were away on business; a week and several hundred scratch marks later he'd finally decided that he was most certainly not fond of felines.
Eren sighed as he glanced at the clock hanging on the wall in his tiny office for the sixth time in ten minutes. It wasn't even noon yet and already he was wishing for the work day to end. It wasn't a bad job, really; go to work at 9, do menial tasks until noon, eat lunch in the break room or the local café, and then get back to work answering calls and keeping clients happy. It paid decently well at first, his wages covering his rent, gas and food expenses with ease. All was going rather well until one day when Armin showed up at his door in tears and holding a suitcase that contained everything he'd ever owned in his entire life.
It turned out that Armin's grandfather had passed away and left the boy his estate; however, greedy relatives had undermined his will and sold the house out from under Armin's nose and left him homeless. Not having any other family members that he was on good terms with, the blonde had nowhere to turn except for his best friend, who couldn't refuse to take the boy in. They'd ended up sharing Eren's tiny one bedroom apartment, Armin paying his share of rent by working at the local library. It didn't pay very well, but the way the blonde's face lit up when he was surrounded by stacks of old, dusty tomes was priceless and Eren encouraged him to keep the job.
Their combined income had been more than enough to pay for rent, utilities, and carpooling expenses at first. However, as much as Armin denied that sleeping on the couch was perfectly fine (despite Eren offering his own twin sized bed for the blonde's use) it was clear that the boy wasn't sleeping well. He'd often wake up with dark circles under his eyes and an ache in his lower back; the latter apparent by the empty bottles of pain medication piling up in the garbage can. There was also the issue of Armin's dog Annabell, a golden Labrador with gorgeous crystal blue eyes that despite her size insisted on sleeping with Armin on the tiny couch, covering the furniture and carpet with dog hair and chewing up the end of Eren's cheap coffee table.
Eren loved animals, especially dogs, but it was becoming more and more apparent that a one bedroom apartment was not the ideal living space for a sixty pound lab and two adolescent boys. After much deliberating and arguing with Armin (who always insisted that everything was fine and that he didn't want to make a fuss) Eren had come to the conclusion that it was time to move into something more spacious. His stepsister Mikasa, who was currently living in a dormitory in college the next town over, had insisted on helping Eren in his search for a new place to live.
It turned out that their timing was horrible; there were no vacancies in any of the nearby apartment complexes, and none of the duplexes around them allowed pets. It wasn't until Armin had stumbled upon an ad online for a rental house that they'd finally found their solution.
It wasn't the most beautiful of houses, but it was indeed quite spacious. It was located in a rural area at the end of a quiet gravel road and surrounded by trees. The siding was plain white paneling, a bit dirty from age but otherwise nice. There were many windows, some of them having cracked panes that would need to be replaced eventually. It had two stories, including three bedrooms and two bathrooms and an oversized backyard that was currently overgrown with weeds. It even had a one car garage complete piles of rusted junk inside.
Armin had been excited to see the house, eagerly reminding Eren that this would be a wonderful investment; on the upside, it was close to Armin's work, Annabell would have a backyard to roam and they could listen to music as loud as they wanted and make noise without having to worry about disturbing the neighbors. Eren hadn't been so sure about undertaking such a huge responsibility; there were repairs to be made, insurance and utilities, and the expectation of mowing their own grass. Besides, how could they possibly afford the rent on such a place?
It wasn't until Mikasa volunteered to pitch in that the plan seemed feasible; she offered to pay part of the rent in exchange for being able to come stay with them during the summer months. Armin had gleefully accepted the offer, jumping up and down and hugging the girl tightly in appreciation. Eren was hesitant, but how could he possibly say no when his best friend (practically little brother) looked so happy?
And so, the deal was done and rent negotiated; papers were signed and they vacated their apartment, taking all the furniture and items they owned in one single moving van. Unpacking had been a nightmare, but after a couple of weeks of getting situated and repairing the most important problems the boys had settled into their new home, tired but satisfied with the way things had turned out. Armin had even gone so far as to build Annie a doghouse out of old wooden planks (even though she slept inside most of the time). Eren had smiled and ruffled his hair in a brotherly fashion as they finally made themselves at home.
All was going rather well until they received the first bill; it turned out that Mikasa would have to pay a much larger part than they had originally anticipated, and Eren felt absolutely horrible about relying on his stepsister to pay such a hefty sum. Although she had insisted that it was perfectly fine Eren was determined to double his contribution next time. Sure, he could have tried looking for a higher paying job, but those were few and far between and he rather enjoyed talking with his coworkers Jean, Marco, Reiner and Bertholdt. Not to mention that he'd just gotten used to his boss's quirks and mannerisms and wasn't ready to have to switch to a different one.
It was then that Eren formulated a plan to be able to pay for most, if not all of the rent and his own share of utilities; he would strive to get a promotion and a subsequent raise. It had seemed like a good idea at the time; show the boss that he was a dedicated worker by putting in more hours and helping around the office without being told to, the usual stuff one would expect to do to earn a raise.
He'd started out small, brown nosing a bit by volunteering to do any menial task that needed to be done and bringing everyone coffee in the mornings. He always cheerfully greeted everyone and did his work with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. Clients often requested him as their agent due to his cheerful personality and helpful attitude. He'd even gotten a few less than subtle dinner invitations from wealthy single women, but he'd always turned them down. Not only was it unprofessional to date a client, Eren also had no interest in middle aged ladies, which more often than not were the ones doing the inviting.
Everyone seemed to be happy with his new found motivation, except the very person he'd been striving to impress; the office manager, Levi. When Eren would kindly bring him his morning coffee (black, one cream and two packs of sugar substitute) he was lucky to get more than a nod or a "thanks" every now and then. When he'd ask if anything needed doing Levi would give him that impassive stare and tell him to focus on his work instead of trying to do everyone else's.
When he finished all of his work in record time he was rewarded with going home an hour early; no praise, no encouragement, nothing. All attempts at conversation were ultimately thwarted when Levi stopped speaking, signaling that he was tired of talking and that Eren should leave him be. It was frustrating, and after a few weeks of attempting to get in his boss's good graces Eren had just about had enough; it was time to throw in the towel. He would just have to get a second job at this rate, he thought bitterly.
Inspiration came one rainy day when he arrived an hour late for work due to heavy traffic. When he'd burst through the door without his tray of complimentary coffee his coworkers had groaned in disappointment and Eren had wanted to punch them because he'd barely made it to work at all, let alone having to stop for coffee to appease his fickle colleagues. He'd been soaked to the bone due to clumsily letting go of his umbrella during a particularly strong gust of wind and he could already feel a chill coming on. As he trudged through the building and made his way towards his tiny office the only person who acknowledged him was Jean, who appeared at his side with a rather amused look on his face.
"You're supposed to take your clothes off BEFORE you get in the shower, Eren," the slightly taller male joked, laughing and punching Eren in the shoulder in a friendly gesture. The brunette rolled his eyes and rubbed the now sore spot on his shoulder, frowning.
"Haha, very funny," Eren replied, not looking at all amused as he continued the trek to his office. He was dripping onto the carpet of the fourth floor where he worked, and he cursed under his breath because he knew if Levi saw the mud and water he'd tracked in that he'd have to stay an extra hour just to clean up the mess. One of the man's quirks was his obsession with cleanliness, and it wasn't unusual to find the entire office dusted, vacuumed and polished on a regular basis.
Jean's stupid grin faded a bit when he noticed that his coworker seemed rather gloomy. It was one thing to be annoyed at the weather or the traffic, but Eren looked like someone just kicked his puppy or something.
"Hey man, what's the matter? You're usually bright eyed and annoyingly cheerful in the mornings," Jean said, his voice full of genuine concern. As Eren pulled out the keys to unlock his office door he shook his head, a few wet strands of brown hair falling in front of his eyes.
"Nothing. I guess I'm just frustrated, that's all," Eren replied, jiggling the knob of the door and cursing when he realized he'd used the wrong key. Jean laughed a bit and took the keyring from his friend, choosing the right one to unlock the door and flipping on the light so that Eren wouldn't trip over anything.
"You mean like sexually frustrated, or…?" Jean teased, shrinking back a bit at the angry glare he received from the brunette in response. Eren dumped his messenger bag on the ground and plopped into his large, worn out office chair, sighing and pushing the wet hair out of his face.
"No! I'm frustrated because I've been working my ass off trying to impress Levi and finally get that promotion but the man still acts like I'm just a part of the scenery," Eren lamented, looking completely defeated as he slumped over in his chair and rested his head on his hands atop the wooden desk. Jean gave his coworker a sympathetic look as he closed the door behind him and sat in one of the cushioned guest chairs in front of the desk.
"Ah. Don't worry about it too much, man. Levi's just like that, ya know? It takes a lot to make the guy even spare you a passing glance let alone to make him notice what a good job you've been doing," Jean reassured him, leaning back in his chair with his arms folded behind his head and a dirty foot resting on top of Eren's clean and tidy desk. The brunette shot him a searing glare and Jean immediately removed the offending appendage, lest he lose it to Eren's temper. The brunette did not want Levi to stumble upon a messy office should he decide to pay Eren a visit.
"I guess. I'm just tired of having to rely on Mikasa to pay the rent," Eren muttered, his face now buried in his elbow. Jean immediately perked up upon hearing the familiar name.
"Mikasa? You mean that smoking hot stepsister of yours? Is she living with you now? Can I have her number?" Jean was leaning forward towards Eren now, a dreamy look in his eyes as he pictured the raven haired girl he'd had the pleasure of meeting at the last company banquet. The first time Jean had laid eyes on her his breath had been sucked right out of his chest. The whole world seemed to stop spinning when he looked at Mikasa, and he was not about to pass up an opportunity to see her again.
Eren looked absolutely livid at the question.
"What? No! You can't have her number, she'd kill me. Besides, she's still living in the dorms at her college right now, she won't be moving in until summer break, " Eren explained, voice hoarse with exasperation at his coworker's ability to grate on his nerves until he couldn't take it anymore. Jean looked crestfallen upon hearing the news and slumped back into his chair, defeated.
"Ok, ok, fine. Look, if it's bothering you that much that Levi is ignoring you why don't you make him listen by having a little one on one chat? That way he has no choice but to hear what you have to say," Jean suggested, playing with the Rubik's cube that Eren kept on his desk to pass the time on slow days. Eren peeked over his elbow and looked at Jean, the wheels in his head turning at the other male's statement.
"Do you…do you think that he would agree to that? What if he's too busy?" Eren questioned more to himself than to Jean, yet the other male answered regardless.
"Of course! If you just talk to his secretary and say you need to meet with him about some important business matter or some shit I'm sure he'll make time," Jean said with a yawn, eyeing the bowl of hard wrapped candies sitting on the edge of Eren's desk and sneaking his hand in to fish out a green apple flavored sweet. He noisily opened the wrapper and popped the candy into his mouth before immediately diving back in for another. Eren would normally have slapped his hand away and told him that those were only for prospective clients but he was far too deep in thought to really care.
If he played his cards right he could get promoted within the next month and have more than enough to pay rent and maybe even take a vacation somewhere nice with Armin and Mikasa. In the past two years of working Eren hadn't taken a single day off, let alone an entire vacation week mostly due to the fact that he was broke. This could be his one and only chance to turn things around, maybe he could even get his foot in the door for a manager position and finally be able to afford a car of his own. He might end up making a total fool of himself, but it was worth a try.
Eren pushed his chair out from under his desk and stood up, a look of pure determination on his face.
"I'm gonna do it; if I want that promotion I'll just have to take the initiative and make myself heard. Thanks, Jean, if you hadn't motivated me I probably would have just sat around listening to one of my established clients whine and moan about deadlines and how they stifled their creativity." Eren stretched a bit and gave Jean a slap on the back, nearly making him choke on another piece of candy.
After nearly coughing up a lung Jean forced a goofy smile despite his discomfort and gave Eren a thumb's up.
"No problem, Eren. Good luck and try not to look like too much of a dork in front of Levi, eh?" Jean said jokingly as Eren made his way over to the door. As he turned the handle Jean called out from behind him.
"And if being straightforward and professional doesn't work you could always try using sex appeal," he added a suggestive eyebrow waggle at the end of his sentence for further effect.
Eren snorted and waved him off before taking a deep breath and heading out into the hall. The uncomfortable feeling of his black slacks sticking to his legs and his white long sleeved work shirt clinging to bare skin gave him pause. It certainly wouldn't look professional to go into his boss's office looking like he'd gone for a morning swim. Luckily he kept a spare set of clothes in his car due to having gone through a rather embarrassing day covered in coffee stains after spilling the hot brown liquid all over himself while driving Armin to work. Driving back to the house would have taken at least fifteen minutes and he'd already been running late, and so he'd been forced to deal with it for the rest of the work day.
At least he'd smelled good.
Guess I'll just go change real quick.
After changing into a set of clean, dry clothes in the nearest bathroom and running a comb through his mess of brown locks, Eren tried his best to mentally prepare himself for the meeting with Levi. He straightened his tie, made sure nothing was stuck in his teeth, and practiced his greeting and friendly handshake, going through the motions in his mind over and over again until he memorized them down to the last minute detail. He even took a whiff of his armpits to make sure he didn't smell ripe.
I can do this, I just have to march in there and act confident but not conceited. I'll tell him exactly why I deserve this promotion.
Eren took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds, and exhaled before exiting the restroom and making his way to the elevator. Levi's office was located on the very top floor due to his high position, seemingly towering over the rest of the employees. Eren was grateful that although the man could appear aloof and uncaring, he never acted cocky or superior to anyone despite his position as office manager. If there was one thing that Eren couldn't stand it was dealing with people who thought they were above everyone else, that their opinions somehow mattered more than others. Unfortunately, dealing with designers meant that he encountered this more often than he'd like to admit.
The elevator dinged and slid open, revealing Jean…well, the backside of Jean anyway, who was leaning against the back side of the elevator. Eren didn't put two and two together until he saw a very flustered, very red Marco pinned beneath him, who promptly shoved Jean off and booked it down the hall before the brunette had a chance to say anything. Jean looked back over his shoulder and glared at Eren, whose jaw was slackened and whose blue green eyes were as big as saucers.
"Tch. I swear this stupid thing stops on every floor regardless of which one you pick," Jean complained, stretching his arms over his head and yawning for the hundredth time that day. Eren, still slightly shocked at what he thought he'd witnessed, finally regained his composure enough to form coherent sentences.
"Were you just…with Marco…I don't even…" he trailed off, cheeks reddening slightly at the thought of his coworkers having a steamy moment in the confined area, "I thought you liked girls…"
Jean let out an amused chuckle, "I do, especially tall Asian cuties with annoying stepbrothers," he mused, giving Eren a playful wink. For as smart as the brunette was and as charming as he acted round clients, he was completely clueless when it came to the real world.
"Then why were you molesting poor Marco?" Eren asked, his tone incredulous. This kind of thing was only supposed to happen in sappy romance novels or soap operas, not in real life. Jean heaved a sigh and patted Eren on the back in an I really feel sorry for you kind of way.
"Eren Eren Eren, don't you know anything? You can like both, you know. Attraction isn't gender specific, not to me at least. Anyway, enough about me, what floor are you heading to?" Jean asked, stepping aside to make room for the brunette in the elevator. Eren stepped inside, leaving a bit of distance between him and Jean. It wasn't that he thought the taller male would molest him or anything, but he was still a bit flustered and uncomfortable after catching Jean and Marco in the act of…something.
"Top floor," Eren replied, avoiding eye contact and leaning over to press the button himself, "you?"
"Six. I gotta make sure the contract with our models is up to date, and that we have enough for this fall's line or else Levi will have my head mounted on his desk." Eren thought back to the previous season's models; Christa, the petite blonde that radiated beauty from every pore; Reiner, who was part time in the very same office as Eren, but whose chiseled muscular body had caught the eye of talent agents; Connie, who wasn't much to look at per se, but had the perfect body type for young men's clothes and a few nameless others.
One they arrived at floor six, Jean took his leave with a mock bow and a friendly slap on the back. Rubbing his now sore shoulder, Eren grumbled a bit and hit the button for the top floor, feeling himself begin to get nervous once more. His heart pounded relentlessly, his palms were sweaty, and his breathing was rapid and shallow.
Calm down, you can do this.
Upon feeling the familiar jostle of the elevator arriving at its destination, Eren gulped down the lump in his throat and put on a look of determination as the doors slid open with a ding. He stepped out into the small lobby, taking a quick look around and relieved to find that there were currently no clients waiting to see Levi, which meant that he at least had a chance of speaking with the man himself. Behind the reception desk sat Hanji Zoe, Levi's personal secretary, currently passed out and drooling all over what looked like important paperwork.
Eren suppressed a chuckle as he approached the desk. The woman was snoring rather loudly and it was a wonder that Levi himself didn't hear her. Eren wasn't quite sure what the protocol was on waking somebody up, especially when they were supposed to be working, so he settled on speaking loudly.
"Umm Miss Hanji, can I speak to you for a moment?"
No response. Eren sighed and prodded her shoulder gently with his index finger. The only reaction he got was Hanji's hand swatting his finger away while she continued to snooze.
"Miss Hanji…" he spoke rather loudly this time, hoping to get some kind of acknowledgement from the woman. Still nothing. The brunette considered just knocking on Levi's office door himself, but decided against it. Showing up with only a few minutes' notice was one thing, showing up unannounced and making a nuisance of himself was another entirely. He was trying to maintain an air of professionalism, after all.
He shook Hanji by the shoulders, being firm but not too rough in his attempt to wake her. This earned him a girly giggle and a goofy grin.
"Oh you, I told you to be more gentle with me…I'm a fragile little buttercup, after all," she slurred, completely out of it. Eren finally got fed up and let her drop, her head smacking into the desk with a loud thunk. Finally it was enough to wake the redhead and she yawned sleepily, seemingly ignoring the growing red mark where her skull made contact with solid oak. After a minute of rubbing the sleep out of her eyes she finally noticed Eren's presence and shot him a friendly smile.
"Oh! Well hello there, Eren! What are you doing all the way up here?" she asked, practically beaming despite her head injury. Eren rolled his eyes and smiled back, not being able to remain angry with the comedic woman for long.
"Hello Miss Hanji," she giggled at the brunette's politeness, but he ignored it, "umm…I was wondering if it was possible to speak with Office Manager Levi? I have a few things I need to discuss with him," he stated, wringing his hands nervously. Hanji looked thoughtful for a moment before scanning the reception area. Upon seeing that there were no waiting clients she gave Eren a thumb's up and smiled.
"Of course, Eren. Levi doesn't have any appointments scheduled today, so he should be free. Want me to tell him you're here?"
Eren breathed a small sigh of relief.
Well at least I'll be able to see him today. The sooner the better.
"That would be great, thanks," he replied, giving her a shy smile and moving to have a seat in the lobby. Hanji pressed the button to the intercom connected to Levi's office to buzz in, waiting for a response. After a few seconds a masculine voice answered.
"What is it, Hanji?"
"Hello sir! There's someone here to see you, should I send him in?"
"I'm not scheduled for any appointments today, Hanji. You know that."
"Ah, yes, but he doesn't have an appointment, just a walk in."
A few seconds of silence made Eren's stomach tie into knots. Did that mean that he was annoyed? He should have called first, shouldn't he? Now Levi was probably pissed off and not willing to negotiate. Stupid, stupid, stupid…
"I see. Who is it?"
"Eren Jaeger, sir. He says he needs to speak with you about some important matter," Hanji stated, giving Eren a playful wink. The brunette's cheeks reddened a bit, more from the embarrassment of sounding like he had some kind of emergency than the fact that the bespectacled woman was seemingly flirting with him. He really didn't want Levi to be expecting some kind of urgent matter that couldn't wait only to find out it was an employee begging for a fatter paycheck.
"Send him in," Levi replied, voice sounding mostly neutral to Eren's relief. He shifted restlessly in his seat, not entirely sure that he was ready to go into the lair of the beast quite yet. It didn't seem like he had much a choice, however, when Hanji sauntered over to him and grabbed his arm, pulling him up from the chair and dragging him after her.
"Levi's office is this way, follow me!" she said cheerfully, and Eren was almost certain that this was not proper behavior for a secretary. She wore black slacks and a white button up shirt much like his own, preferring the men's dress code to the women's. Her flats scuffed along the shiny tile floor of the hall as she led him through a long corridor, passing several empty office rooms before finally stopping in front of the largest door at the end.
"This is it! FYI, tuck your shirt in and smooth out your hair cause neatness always impresses His Majesty," Hanji joked, poking Eren in the side in jest. Eren followed her suggestions, making himself look positively prim and proper.
"Um, why did you call him His Majesty?" Eren asked, genuinely curious. He was used to nicknames among coworkers, in fact most people called Jean horse face on a regular basis despite his protests that he most certainly did not have one. It was surprising to hear someone be so bold as to call the head honcho of the entire office building a name, however.
Hanji let out a snort of laughter. "Well, not everyone calls him that, just mostly members of upper management. It's just because he comes off so regal and dignified, ya know? It's like standing before a prince."
Eren swallowed hard. The thought of Levi being like royalty did not do anything to lessen his jitters. "Uh, right," was all he could manage to come up with on the spot. Hanji gave him an amused look before turning around and knocking gently on the door.
"Eren is here now, sir. Should I let him in?"
A few quiet seconds passed followed by the muffled sound of shuffling papers and typing.
"Go ahead," Levi replied, not bothering to get up and open the door himself. Hanji took that as her signal to open the door, gesturing to Eren to enter behind her. The brunette took a deep breath and unclenched his fists, which he hadn't realized had been so tightly squeezed that his knuckles were turning white. After a moment's hesitation he gathered his courage and followed behind her, stepping into the spacious office.
The walls were a pristine white, sparsely decorated with various degrees and awards and the floor was composed of sleek black tiles that looked recently waxed. In the center of the office was a large solid oak desk with a rather large rolling computer chair behind it. The entire room looked completely spotless, not a speck of dust to be seen. Hiding behind a rather expensive looking laptop sat the owner of the office, still typing and completely ignoring the intrusion. Hanji cleared her throat to get Levi's attention.
Not flinching, Levi waved them in.
"Have a seat, Jaeger. Hanji, you're dismissed." Eren quickly complied, seating himself in one of the comfortable guest chairs in front of Levi's desk.
"Alright then, I'll leave you two alone," Hanji chirped, making the entire situation sound inappropriate when it was anything but. Eren narrowed his eyes at her in annoyance as she slipped soundlessly out of the room, closing the door with a quiet click. After her departure Eren felt more vulnerable than ever, like a mouse before a lion. After an awkward moment of silence Levi finally finished typing up his document and closed the laptop, allowing Eren to get a good look at his face. He'd seen it before on multiple occasions, but he never really studied it until now.
Eren's cheeks reddened a bit as the older male's steel grey eyes came to rest on him, looking him over and seemingly appraising him.
Levi was…handsome, to say the least. His lustrous raven hair shone in the bright light pouring in from the large window behind him, making him look much like a model for a shampoo commercial. His eyebrows were neatly trimmed, his porcelain skin was free of marks or blemishes, and from what Eren could see his teeth were pearly white.
I wonder why he isn't a model. He's almost…perfect.
The thought came unbidden into Eren's mind, and he had to force himself to concentrate on the matter at hand. Levi was one step ahead of him, however.
"Well, what is it you so desperately needed to speak to me about, Jaeger?" he questioned, and for once Eren noticed how smooth and even his voice sounded, not a hint of emotion showing through in his tone. He rested his head on his hands and looked at the brunette expectantly. Eren's eyes widened a bit and fought the urge to look away, feeling like he was on stage before a critic.
"I…um…"he stammered, mind completely going blank as he tried to find the right words to say. He looked around the room for some kind of prompt, something to jog his memory since he was suffering from a case of sudden amnesia. Being on the spot did strange things to people sometimes, and Eren was no exception.
This would have been so much easier if Levi wasn't looking at him like that, eyes peering over the rims of his glasses.
Wait a minute. Glasses? I've never seen him wear those before.
"I…uh…nice glasses, are they new?" Eren blurted out hastily before his brain could catch up. He knew how stupid it sounded the moment the words left his lips, and he was mentally beating himself up before he could even gauge Levi's reaction.
Shit I'm an idiot, what the hell was I thinking? How the hell is he going to take me seriously now?
Levi raised a thin eyebrow at the random compliment. He'd had a few clients try to get in his good graces by flattering him before, but never an employee.
"I got them over the weekend. Sometimes I can't read small print without straining, and when you have to read shitty documents all day it starts to take a toll. Although I fail to see how this is relevant to your visit."
Eren bit his lip. A bit suprised at his superior's choice of words, he was glad that Levi was kind enough to humor him by answering, but that didn't stop his stomach from doing back flips out of nervousness and fidgeting like a kid in the principal's office.
Once again Eren could not for the life of him remember why he was there, not when Levi was staring at him with those eyes that would be forever imprinted onto his mind. He desperately looked around the office, searching for something, anything to jog his memory. That's when he spotted it, a hidden saving grace that could possibly spare him further embarrassment or ruin him forever.
Upon Levi's desk laid a colorful flier complete with pictures of way too happy looking people discussing something over a table of fake food. The large print read: National Take Your Boss to Lunch Day; Build a great work relationship that will last a lifetime! Free tickets to Sina&Maria's Café available in the bottom floor lobby.
"I just wanted to ask…umm…" Eren fought to maintain his composure as he stumbled over his words; a lunch with Levi could be a great opportunity to actually talk to the man in a more comfortable environment without losing his shit. He swallowed hard before gaining a temporary boost of courage and rising from his chair, placing his hands on either side of Levi's desk and looking him straight in the eye.
"Will you have lunch with me?"
Oh my God. Holy shit I'm an idiot. I did not just say that. He'll never agree to this, it's completely hopeless.
Levi was a bit taken aback by Eren's boldness, both eyebrows raised in surprise as he appraised the younger male who was currently putting his sweaty hands that had been who knows where on his clean desk.
"I already have lunch arrangements for today, Jaeger," came his reply, and Eren's spirit nearly broke as the older male averted his eyes, intertwining the fingers beneath his chin and studying the flier that the brunette had been eyeing only moments before.
"Oh…well, that's ok…I'll just be going now," Eren said, hurt tinting his voice despite his attempt to hide it. He let his hands fall to his sides as he turned to leave, head hung in defeat.
Not only did I not get to talk about whatever it was I came up here for, but now he thinks I'm a socially awkward idiot. Way to go, Eren, way to go.
"I'm free tomorrow afternoon," Levi said rather unexpectedly to Eren's retreating back, "we can meet and discuss whatever you really came here for over lunch, company's treat."
The brunette immediately froze to the spot, turning his head around to look back at Levi, ocean colored eyes wide with shock. His heart was beating so hard and fast that he could practically hear the blood thrumming within his veins as he nodded weakly in response.
"O…okay," was all he managed to choke out, voice trembling.
"I'll grab us two tickets and we can meet in front of Sina&Maria's. I expect to see you there at noon sharp, got it, Jaeger?"
Eren nodded once more before turning back around and practically bolting for the door, throwing it open and slamming it closed unintentionally before collapsing into a heap, his back resting against the doorframe.
Did he just…invite me to lunch? I guess it's a good thing since I seemed to lose the ability to think clearly when I went in there and I'll finally be able to talk about….what was it?
Eren racked his brain for the answer, dismayed when nothing came to mind save for flashback images of those beautiful grey eyes peering at him over black rimmed glasses.
Ugh, what is wrong with me? I do not find my boss attractive…that's just creepy. I don't want to be like Jean.
Eren heaved a tired sigh and got to his feet, dusting himself off out of habit although the floors were almost sterilely clean. Had he not been distracted perhaps he would have seen how out of breath Hanji looked as he passed her desk. She'd been eavesdropping and had ran as fast as she could to get back to her desk in time to avoid running into Eren.
When the boy disappeared behind the elevator doors she broke out into a mischievous grin.
Things are starting to get interesting around here.