What’s up? D:
!! My queen!
Uhhh’, WELL… ehehehe. You see er’, I kinda had some weird thoughts last night while I was half awake… Alive… Whatever! Anyway, I’ll text you about them.
They’re uh’, kinda crazy so don’t laugh at me, okay?!
Why would I laugh? I’m all ears!~
I hope everything’s okay though!
Were you unable to fall asleep, or something? The mind really wanders when you can’t sleep, ahahaa;;; I know that feeling…
Zander heard the knock and cursed to himself again as he buttoned up his pants and pulled a soft green long-sleeved shirt that matched his eyes before hurrying to the door. He paused only to rake his fingers through his hair swiftly to push it out of his eyes, then pulled it open.
That dress she was wearing took him aback for a beat, before he forced his mind to forge ahead.
“Sorry about that, Jessica. Running a little late.”
Why did he feel like he was late for a date? He’d actually rescheduled a real date in favor of this, which he’d thought would be less stressful.
Granted, being late always made his heart pound.
Swiftly, he turned and gestured to the kitchen. “Go ahead and set up the food in there. I need to uh…go towel dry my hair,” he mumbled the obvious as water dripped down onto his shoulders, getting his shirt wet. He stayed long enough to shut the door after his niece before hurrying to the bathroom to do as he’d said, then looked as his face in the mirror. He didn’t like his goddaughter seeing him so human, so undone.
But he supposed if anyone were to see him that way, it may as well be her.
He had to wonder if Jessica knew about that. They were friends, were they not? And yet, he liked to think he was better at keeping secrets, and that she was smart enough to know that their…interludes were not the sort of thing she should casually run her mouth about. Still…
Sighing, he returned to the kitchen and cleared his throat, before speaking clearly:
“Did you finish the papers?”
He was running late and he didn’t even have to go anywhere. Funny, and there he was condemning her for turning in her papers late, or at least not having them done by the morning. She wouldn’t comment on the irony—no, that would only make him flustered and get him angry. She instead hummed contently as she pulled out the ingredients she brought along with her and withdrew spices from his cupboards while he finished getting ready.
“Two to go!” She eventually called from the kitchen, back to him as she shuffled around with pots and pans. She hadn’t bothered to remove her shoes and instead was right on top of dinner. Whatever she did with her hair previously, however, was undone as she pinned the back up and out of the way. It needed to be trimmed at the very least, as it was getting just long enough to actually tie back. The remaining papers were in the bag she set on a chair in the kitchen, just in case he wanted proof.
“Here, come taste this.” She changed the subject entirely as she turned to hold a spoon out. The contents within which were steaming, which she realized only after it had been offered. Drawing it back, she blew on it gently, then proceeded to extend her arm out again, her second hand beneath just in case anything dripped.
“Does it taste okay?”
i“Very well then. Whatever you make for me better be good, though. I’m going to have high expectation—” he was cut off when she came around for that hug. He barely had time to take a breath before her breaths smothered in on his neck and chin.
He tried to think about the fact that hey, this was just a hug. Just a normal hug from his niece. His arms lifted and one gently patted her on the back, a dazed near-smile twitching onto his lips. He, for the most part, managed to keep his head above water—so to speak—on the first pass, so when she leaned a way just a bit he tipped his head downward, only to have her squeeze in again. He grunted against her sternum and shut his eyes, rubbing her back more. He could feel the back of her bra where it latched, and quickly moved his hands away from it, his brain in panic mode that if he let his hands just do as they please he would wind up in deep, deep shit.
Finally, she’d stood up and away from him. “Don’t forget to take your toast with you,” he said, before seeing her out the door.
By the time Lysander left school it was already 4pm. “Fuck,” had been his repeated mantra as he threw his day’s work into his shoulder bag and practically ripped his laptop from its docking station. He got home by 4:10 because luckily, he lived close to campus but five minutes after walking through the door, there was a knock at it. His chatty neighbor decided to ask him how his day was going, and politeness lost him another forty minutes. He was forced to take a ten minute shower and by 5pm had barely managed to pull on a pair of underwear.
Jess was sure to arrive home a bit earlier than she would have originally in order to finish the marking. By the time she had to start getting ready to leave however, she had a few more papers to do. She’d bring them along if only to appease her uncle, as he mentioned working on them while she was there. If that made him happy, then so be it—but she wouldn’t leave him to do it. Maybe after dinner when they were eating dessert or something, she’d do it herself.
Packing her things away into a bag to throw over her shoulder, she scurried upstairs to freshen up her make-up and get dressed in something other than her school uniform. They weren’t going to attend anything formal, however she felt that she needed to dress herself up a bit. Her godfather was a man of high expectation, after all; he certainly wouldn’t approve of her showing up in jeans and a sweater. Sliding the straps of a low-cut red dress off the hanger, she slung it over the end of her bed before wriggling out of whatever she was left wearing, then proceeded to step into it. Pulling a pair of pumps out of her closet with her foot, she stepped into them and mixed a couple accessories from her jewellery box before heading downstairs and locking up.
Unfortunately for Lysander, she was sure to be there at five on the button. Jess had already disappointed him once today, so she wasn’t about to do it a second time. Ringing the doorbell, Jessica waited patiently, although the grocery bags’ plastic handles were digging into the joints of her fingers. As she stood, the circulation in her fingertips was slowly beginning to cut off, though she was by no means going to just walk in either. Instead, she waited patiently and looked around her general vicinity while Lysander took his sweet time opening the door.
“Time?” he asked, blinking deftly. He’d barely opened his eyes soon enough to see her chest inches from his face before she’d moved away from him. Now he sat dazed, blinking at the place where she’d been moments before and trying to catch his brain up to the conversation at hand again.
He needed as much time as it took to shrink his crotch back do—oh wait. She meant dinner.
“After school I can leave right away. I’d rather do that, get dinner on with quickly, and then have the rest of the night to work. I’m not sure what time is too soon for you to eat, but I’d like to eat before 6, if at all possible.”
He did pack another suit, after all, though he did feel like he needed to shower. “Although, I do have to stop at home to wash off really quick. I don’t think you want to be seen out and about with your sweaty uncle,” he mumbled as he smirked before sighing and accepting the green folder, flipping through the finished papers. “Just hurry up with those, would you? As fast as you can. If you don’t think you can have them done by the end of today, then at the very least, bring them along so we can work on them this evening.”
Clearing his throat, he at last was able to shake the last of the fog from the reaches of his skull and asked, plainly, “My place, your place, someone else’s place—just text me your decision. Classes are about to start.”
“Five o’clock it is!” She sung before skirting behind his desk again. She was always moving, always thinking. Her feet travelled as much as her mind had, and she had no plan on stopping them. He still hadn’t decided what he wanted to eat though, so perhaps that was up to her. Maybe dinner would be best at his place. She had to clean her place up still, and he wanted to work on things, so… That meant going out for dinner was out of the question as well. His place it was.
“They’ll be done, don’t you worry.” She chimed before sweeping over to him and wrapping her arms around his shoulders. Leaning over him, she pulled Lysander towards herself into a warm embrace and grinned brightly at the prospect of his relative forgiveness, acceptance and warmth towards the situation. She didn’t have to be alone for the evening to boot, so that was a definite bonus. Company was always welcome, even if conversation was very minimal. It was always nice just knowing that someone else was there.
“I’ll be there for five, so make sure you’re not sweaty by the time I get there!~” Clean and dressed. She didn’t care what he was in seeing as they were remaining within doors—he could have been dressed in pajamas if he wanted, just as long as he was happy.
“If you need anything before then, text me and let me know!” She counter-acted as she gave him another tight squeeze then made her way back towards the front of the desk where she grabbed her back and hoisted it over her shoulder. Lifting her right hand to her brow in a dismissive salute, Jess flashed another grin back at Lysander before departing from his office and closing the door softly behind her.
“Well,” he began, his tongue stealing out to wet his lips as he thought about his options. As he did, he watched Jess slide the folder across the desk toward him, and felt a lump catch in his throat. She was leaned forward on the desk, which invariably gave his eyes which always seemed to slide south on her body despite his very best efforts a perfecct view down the front of her shirt.
“Well, I…” he started again, frowning at himself, having to force his eyes to squeeze shut in an attempt to clear his thoughts. “I don’t know. I would probably be faster at completing them myself instead. If you are too busy with your other activities, then you merely need say so…” he trailed off, however, when she said she would do anything.
God fucking damn his masculine anatomy. He shifted forward in his seat and tore his eyes—which he hadn’t realized had opened once again to rest on her chest—up to meet her face. Though when she was looking that pleading and saying such… such pornish things that didn’t really help matters much. He smirked, though it was charged with a tense air. “If you want to treat me to food, I suppose that could be all right. Though I was intending to stay in late again, to be frank. I have a lot to do.”
In other words, he’d packed multiple days’ clothes in his office. But he wasn’t going to say plainly to his goddaughter that he had every intention of sleeping on a sofa again. “But you know I have a difficult time saying ‘no’ to you.” He sighed, leaning forward slightly with shut eyes, unaware that he was practically tipping his face into her chest as he came to rest his elbows on the desk, and suspend his two hands knitted together between them, his chin nested upon his knuckles. “Especially if you bribe me with something delicious.”
“Well! What would you prefer?” She asked, her mood picking up at his half acceptance in joining her for dinner. She stood upright and stepped away from the desk, a hand lifting to tap her chin. She wouldn’t mind going out for dinner, but if he wanted her to cook something, then she would. She’d just have to be careful about doing so. She wasn’t the best cook in the world, but she was by no means terrible either.
“And you’re not staying here again tonight! I don’t care how much work you have to do, you’re not meant to live and breathe your job.” She huffed before turning to settle her hands on her hips. While she felt she was quite capable at reading people, there were some things that she was rather oblivious to… Such as Lysander’s previous close proximity to her chest. Unintentional, perhaps, but it went unnoticed nonetheless.
“And what do you feel like eating? Either way, how much time to do you need to get ready?” She twirled back towards his desk, still contemplating. Maybe it would be best if they went out to eat? But he also needed to go home seeing as he hadn’t been there in almost twenty-four hours.
“You aren’t eating,” he said flatly in response before shutting his eyes and sitting back in his seat. His own toast was as of yet untouched save for one spiteful bite he’d taken off the corner of the bottom edge before setting it aside. He folded his arms and listened to what she had to say, though he didn’t seem particularly thrilled with it.
So basically, his options were to forgive and forget, or look like the bad guy. He was used to looking like the bad guy of course, it was his job, but this was his goddaughter—it was a little different when it came to her. “I know you didn’t mean to, but when I tell you it’s all right to turn in half, don’t promise me all of them, in the future. That sets my expectations too high, and that is how I wind up disappointed. Understand?”
He opened his eyes after finishing this lecture, letting his gaze lock onto hers and holding it for a couple of beats in tense silence before snatching a water bottle off the desk beside his toast, unscrewing it and taking a big gulp. “It isn’t fair when you put me in a position to have to scold you like this, you know. If it were anyone else, I wouldn’t feel so guilty having to tell them they’ve mis-stepped.”
“I have half done,” she began slowly as she slid the plate from her lap. Making her way to the front of the desk. She unzipped her bag, reached in and withdrew a green folder full of marked papers. Setting it on his desk, she frowned and shifted her eyes away, her gaze falling on various objects within the room as she folded her arms tightly under her chest, causing the material above to tighten.
“I was just… So hot and so tired. I didn’t even make it to bed. I fell asleep half dressed on my living room floor…” She mumbled, stepping forth to press her fingertips against the edge of the folder in order to gently slide it across the desktop towards Lysander.
“Just give me another day, please Uncle?” She tried again, leaning forward to press both of her hands against the top of the desk. She shifted a bit closer before reaching a hand out to open the folder and revealed a little more than half of the papers she was assigned to mark actually done so and in-depth.
“Pleaaase? I’ll get them done tonight… I don’t have hockey practise. Just my one class this afternoon. I’ll do anything—” anything to wipe away that disappointment. Anything for him to stop treating her like she was incapable of making and keeping promises, like she could possibly be untrustworthy or incompetent if she simply wasn’t feeling up to it. Anything.
“Why don’t you come over for dinner? Or… Or I could come over there and cook! Or maybe go out for food, or…” She bit the inside of her lip, head tilting and eyes shifting as she desperately began to think of any option to lift his spirits.
Lysander’s eyes slowly narrowed as he listened to his niece explain why she had not completed her work. He slowly put just a bit of butter on their pieces of toast and returned to her, handing her a slice. As he did, his eyes locked with Jessica’s and bore the weight of his disappointment.
“If you were unable to complete the project, you could have informed me of as much rather than offering to do so. If you had, i wouldn’t have stayed up a little later than I even needed to setting up your next TA assignment.” It was true. After he’d finished his administrative paperwork, he’d spent an hour and a half creating a simplified rubric for her to use to help judge the presentations his students were giving that week, assuming she wouldn’t be using class time to grade the papers.
But now he doubted she’d be able to pay attention.
“I understand you are busy and that you have obligations, but in the future I would appreciate it if you refrained from making promises that you cannot keep. It can only get you in trouble,” he said sternly, though his voice was tired as he slid back into his desk chair and reached past her to grab the rubric.
“Eat your toast, Jessica.”
She didn’t want to see his face. She heard it all in his voice.
It wasn’t like she intentionally told him that she would just to let him down! that stare of disappointment immediately upset her stomach, and suddenly that toast didn’t seem so appetizing anymore. She couldn’t even come to defend herself, so instead Jess gave a deft, understanding nod in reply, eyes still low in relative shame. The papers didn’t have a deadline—they just needed to be marked, recorded, and handed back to the students when they were done. Sure, they continually asked when they would be handed back, but waiting a few more days wouldn’t kill them. It wasn’t like she ever made a habit of making mistakes like that. Jess was usually on top of things… Or at least she tried to be.
“But, Uncle…” She mumbled in response, bright eyes watching as the remnants of the solid butter turned to liquid due to the heat of the toast. She swallowed thickly and snapped her eyes closed, head lowering further in a short bow of apology.
“I -It wasn’t intentional…” She mumbled softly, trying to justify exactly why it happened. She explained, yes, but that was unacceptable in his eyes. She knew where her priorities were, but she was more for leisure—she worked to live, and Lysander lived to work. If she wound up resisting her fatigue, then she wouldn’t have been at all productive today either. It wasn’t that she was incapable of doing as she promised, but…
“I intend to keep my promises, and you know I always have…”
His nostrils drew upward , the bridge of his nose scrunching at the fact that she had to use a hairpin to hold his tie flat. That wasn’t good. She was right—he should have brought another tie. Oh well.
“I can’t very well ask for assistance on administrative paperwork, Jessica,” he said with a sigh. When he felt her hand press against his chest and then saw it retract to rest on her thighs, he quickly stood up and made his way to the corner closet with the wood shudder door, and opened it to reveal a mini refrigerator and a toaster oven capable of housing four slices of rye bread at once. He pulled some potato bread from the former and popped it into the latter. As it began the earliest stages of browning, he pulled out some butter and jam, unsure of what he was in the mood for, and set them on top of the mini fridge with a plastic knife clearly knicked from the cafeteria, before leaning against he wall to look back at her again.
He noted that she’d straightened up his desk, and he cleared his throat. “You remember the fires being set in the trashcans last week? I had a lot of paperwork involved with the students who did it.” A sigh fought its way from his chest, but he remembered something as the toaster dinged behind him. Turning around, he asked, “So, how did those assignments turn out? How many A’s?” before adding quickly, “And how would you like your toast?”
“O- Oh, uh…” Came the guttural, unpoetic response. The papers? Oh right, that’s what she came here for after all. The incomplete papers that she fell asleep on the evening before. Her face paled immediately, fingers halting in their roaming across her godfather’s desk and her body freezing. Turning away from him, she stared out the window ahead of her and knotted her hands together within her lap, shoulders raising as if a pre-emptive defense against the onslaught of disappointment that was to come.
“W- Well, sir, I—” she started, addressing him formally as it was a professional order of business, not a personal one. Her eyes dropped thereafter, body leaning forward as she moved to slide off the top of the desk. Even still, she did not face him. She couldn’t bear it.
“I had the intention to finish them last night, however I wound up falling asleep.| She mumbled, head low, though she piped up in order to defend herself, presuming that he’d understand, “I stretched out on the ground when I got home. There was a long hockey practise yesterday, and I wanted to cool down before taking a shower, but I didn’t realize how tired I was and—” she trailed off. They were close… He’d understand, right? I mean, he slept in his office overnight. At least Jessica went home.
“Could I have a little bit more time, please? They’ll be on your desk by tomorrow morning…”
So she knew. Damn. He could tell she did by the way her eyes lingered on his attire. He felt heat slowly begin to rise up to his cheeks, but he forced it down with sheer stubbornness and pride. “I…what makes you think I’m overworking myself? I—” he grunted.
There was no fooling his smart niece. Blatantly rolling his eyes as she rested her backside on his desk, he averted his gaze and allowed her to toy with his tie. She was the one student who he allowed to get close without any amount of nervousness seeping in. After all, if anyone suggested that their behavior was inappropriate, he would simply remind them that she was his goddaughter and that they were close.
So he let her fix his tie with barely an indignant scowl coming from him.
“Of course I brought another shirt,” he mumbled. He’d just hoped she wouldn’t notice he hadn’t changed. That hope was false.
“And, if I’d taken this much work home, I would have stayed up even later and would have risked being late to work,” he informed her crisply. The feeling of her smoothing the tie out and retying it was strangely poignant and made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Although she sat at the desk to be nearer to eye-level, what was really at his eye level was her considerable chest, so he was forced to keep his head tipped backward against the head of his chair so that his gaze was naturally directed upward.
Though every time he blinked, his gaze discretely slid downward.
So his niece had a distracting rack. That wasn’t his fault, was it?
However, he smirked and his eyes shot upward as he thought of something. “I could always make toast like I did when you were sick.”
“Or, you know, you could have just left some of it behind, hm?” She retorted calmly as her fingers continued to kneed the silken material. She wrinkled her nose as it wouldn’t cooperate, and finally reached up to slide a bobbypin from her hair to hold the material down for a while. Maybe then it’d relax back into place. If not, then well… The bobby pin wasn’t all that obvious and he didn’t seem to have any tie clips with him either.
“There’s the weekend. You could always ask for help.” She emphasized before she flattened the tie against his chest and proceeded to try and flatten any other obnoxious wrinkles. Though he did say he had another shirt, so that wouldn’t be much of a problem in itself. “Though maybe next time you decide to… You know, do this? You might want to take off your tie.”
Pulling her hands back, she settled them on her lap and flashed another smile at Lysander at the mention of his ideal breakfast for the morning. Jess wasn’t able to stomach much more than toast in the morning either, so she couldn’t help but agree. He’d likely be hungry for lunch sooner in the day, but that was his problem to deal with when the time came. With a light nod in acceptance, she twisted her body and looked down at his desk.
“What were you even working on?” She asked idly as her fingertips scanned the desk in search for things out of place. Jess grabbed any pens she could see and placed them into the cup stationed by her hip, then proceeded to pull the sprawled papers into a neat pile. She swore she looked after him more than he did for her sometimes, or at least equally.
The previous night, Lysander had actually slept in his office, partly because he had a lot of work to do and partly because he feared that if he left late he would actually not wake up in time and would arrive late to school, which would definitely not be acceptable. The Dean of Students could not be tardy to school.
So when Jessica knocked on his office door, there was a delay in his response as his brain fought to wake up, dragging itself back into consciousness. Lysander’s gray-green eyes slid open, blinking at the fact that his office was much better lit than when he’d closed them before. Quickly, he stood up from the over-stuffed loveseat he has nestled tightly between two bookcases and slid his feet into his shoes, tying them hastily.
“Wh—” he paused and cleared his throat, humming under his breath to make sure his voice wouldn’t catch, “Who is it?” he called, though he was fairly certain he knew. It was definitely not his secretary, as she knew better than to knock at him first thing in the morning. She would have PA’d him despite the fact that her desk was not all that far from his office door. It was either his niece—also known as his daughter-in-law Jessica Dragunova—or Rein come to bug him as early as humanly possible. He hoped it was the former, as the latter would definitely find some way of knowing he’d slept on his couch and make fun of him for it, and he was in no mood right after waking.
Finished tying his shoes, he stood and turned off his desk lamp, then hooked his blazer off the back of his desk chair and slid it on.
Finally, he sat down.
“Come in,” he sighed, hitting the power button on his laptop’s docking station to turn it on.
Blinking in mild confusion at the delayed response, Jess tilted her head some and lifted a thick eyebrow as she stood in wait. Odd. usually he called for the immediate movement into his office unless he was busy with another student, however this certainly wasn’t the case as no one opened the door to leave. Standing patiently, Jessica bit the inside of her cheek and shifted to stand on outside part of her feet rather than the arched bottom. A nasty habit she picked up that would no doubt ruin her posture, though it was definitely one she was never quite capable of catching until she’d realized it later.
A second command sounded from within the office and Jess obeyed. Reaching out, she twisted the doorknob and pushed the door open before closing it softly behind her. Turning to face him, she blinked once before stepping forth to engage in conversation with him… Although something did seem a bit off. His button-up shirt looked wrinkled, his hair flat and his eyes heavy. Had he… Slept in the office? That would have explained the delay in response, the wait, and the hasty shuffling.
Setting her bag down on the chair in front of his desk, Jess smoothly sidestepped and skirted around the table with a bright smile. Disregarding the informality, she greeted him good morning before seating herself on the edge of his desk to match his height, then reached forward to grab his tie.
“Uncle,” she began sternly as she crossed one leg over the other; nervousness temporarily drained from her very being as she tightened the loose tie, though she thought better of it and undid it entirely in order to smooth out the creased material and knot it neatly at his throat. “You shouldn’t be overworking yourself. Did you at least eat dinner?” She knew right away, and she make that clear. Clearly he didn’t have the chance to have breakfast yet.
“Did you at least bring another shirt that’s not wrinkled? You could always bring paper work home with you, you know that right? That’s what normal people do~”