The Grey Edge: Chapter Seventeen

Taylor stared at Magnolia. His Magnolia. He’d posed the option to stay, not to quit not to leave him.
A full second had passed and she hadn’t agreed. She was staring at him, in shock. She was shocked. Shocked at the offer, or shocked that he’d been stupid enough to ask, he didn’t know. Stupid. It was a stupid idea. He never should have-

There was something else. Something other than the shock. Her vitals were like that of the fairy woman, she was aroused. By him.
Unlike with the fairy woman, he didn’t mind.
Two seconds had passed. She still hadn’t agree. It was a trick. Nothing but a trick. They were in it together, for no other net gain than his humiliation. He’d opened up – chanced showing weakness. Chanced being less than perfect. Chanced showing desire. All of it. All of it just so they could ridicule him for it.
He couldn’t trust either of them anymore. But, at least he could-
‘Of course,’ she whispered, smiling. ‘I’ll stay, sir.’
Maybe it wasn’t to humiliate him. Maybe it was real. Maybe it wasn’t weakness. It didn’t feel like weakness.
It felt…good.
There were recruits to dismiss. There was paperwork to be done. There was the problem of replacing twenty-seven recruits. There were legs wrapped his waist.
He kissed her again. And slid his hands up under the folds of the skirt. Feeling her.
Wanting her.
He easily found the edges of her panties, but stopped himself before removing them.
‘Say yes,’ he said, ‘and it’s not an order.’
He felt her smile against his cheek. ‘Yes,’ she said, moving to whisper into his ear. ‘Yes, sir, I want you. In every unimaginably dirty and unprofessional way I want you.’ She bit his ear. ‘Fuck. Me.’
He fought an urge to say “yes ma’am”. A joke. Another bad habit from spending too much time around Grigori. The reaction could have been amusing though – but not this time. Next time. If there was a next time. She started to play with his ear like Grigori had done, and he hoped there was going to be a next time.
He snapped the seams of her panties, and pulled them away, dropping them behind him.
‘On the desk,’ she said haltingly as he slid a hand onto her newly-exposed arse. ‘Would be easier.’
Suggestions. He liked suggestions when they made things easier. He wrapped one hand around her, pulled her away from the wall, and carried her the three steps to his desk, easing her onto the edge.
Rough calculations flitted through his head, and he made a requirement, his bed appearing behind his desk like at the beginning of each sleep cycle. It was a better choice. It was a traditional choice. And this time, the calculations didn’t predict collapse.
He lifted her down onto the bed, and she let herself lie back, legs spread, and as prone as when he bested her in a spar.
Ideas formed, and he filed them away. Too much. There were too many new ideas. Too many new sensations. Everything had to be slow, had to be paced, else chance confusion, or complications, or-
He stared at her. Complications could come later.
He knelt over her. Removal of clothing was the obvious next step. Removal of the rest of her clothing. It could all be required away, that was easiest. But there was the chance it was too quick.
Skirt. Her skirt was closest. It was the obvious choice. There was no complicated buckles or straps, just a simple elastic band. He grabbed it and pulled it away, tossing it to the side. With her panties already gone, it left her bottom half nude. His breath hitched, wanting to touch, to explore, to touch more of her skin, but logic dictated that he should get rid of her top first, lest distraction occur.
Her top was more complicated. Buckles and ribbons crisscrossed to keep it in place. There was a simple way to remove it, and simple was best. He grabbed a handful of the material with each hand and ripped it down the centre, and she sat up to wriggle herself out of the remnants, bare skin brushing against his hands. He dropped her top, and laid a hand on her chest.
He’d touched her before, both by accident, and on purpose. He knew what her breasts felt like. He’d felt them before, they’d laid across his arm not twelve hours ago when everything had begun. One day. So much significance, all in one day. It was too much. It was ludicrous. It was- They were soft.
It was different to be touching them with intent. Everything was different with…this kind of intent.
She pushed herself down the bed, not taking her out of his reach, just so she was low enough to grab his belt. As his belt came loose, she slipped a hand into his pants, and he felt the shock ripple through her as she touched his…requirement.
One requirement had him free of all of his clothes, free for her to touch him, and left so much skin touching skin.
Logic, want, and need all aligned, giving him one course of action. He let the hand on her chest, on her breast, slide lower-
There was a knock at the door.
He turned his head to see the intruder. Ryan.
[Go away.]
[Open the door or I’m shifting in,] Ryan replied.
He stood, requiring his uniform back on. Magnolia followed suit after one quick look, another dress appearing over her naked form, and she stood, grabbing the top file, pen at the ready. Another thought made the bed disappear. Everything was normal. Nothing looked out of place.
‘Enter,’ he growled, and Ryan walked in.
‘I’m going to ask you a very simple question, and I want a very simple answer.’
He stared at the other agent, shrugged, and sat at his desk.
Ryan took a step forward, then a strange look crossed his face. He looked down, then looked across the floor. He followed the other agent’s gaze, and saw what Ryan was seeing: Magnolia’s clothes, torn away and discarded.
‘I’m going to make an assumption,’ Ryan said as he took a step to the left, so that he was no longer standing on the torn panties. ‘And say that it’s about damn time. That aside, you cannot dismiss your entire department.’
He ignored the assumption. ‘I can do whatever I want.’
‘No, Taylor, you can’t,’ Ryan said as he crossed the room, and placed his hands on the desk. ‘As hard as it is to work with people you don’t like, you cannot just summarily get rid of that many recruits.’
‘This department has been empty before,’ he growled. ‘And we still did our duty.’
‘Why?’ Ryan asked.
‘Take a wild guess,’ Magnolia said.
‘Commentary about the video is…unavoidable. Is the situation with them really that untenable?’
‘Yes,’ he said without hesitation.
Ryan sighed. ‘At least think about it until morning. You can’t process all of these tonights. Keep them restricted and on-base. If you want to do this, then you at least have to do individual exit interviews. I would really, really appreciate you managing to keep a few of them. Seven would be nice. And you’ll have to pull in favours getting the outposts to offer up anyone they can for the meantime if you do let all of them go.’
‘Accept,’ Ryan said, ‘or I’ll just convert them all to field.’
‘Fine,’ he said after a long moment.
‘I’ll inform them to come back up to their rooms. Until tomorrow, just make damn sure you think about this.’
‘You finished?’
Ryan sighed. ‘Yes.’ He took one more look at the clothes on the floor, then turned, and left without another word.
‘There’s something I have to ask you, sir,’ Magnolia said as she crossed in front of his desk. ‘If I can be so bold as to assume that you’d like more than a one-night stand?’
‘Yes, more,’ he said.
‘You’ve seen the video, and you know my reputation, you’ve seen me with people, you know what they say, you know what they call me when they think we can’t hear. I don’t want to reflect on you, if you want to-’
‘Consider my best friend,’ he said. ‘And your line of thought.’
She leaned against his desk. ‘What now, sir?’
A simple answer for a simple question. ‘Take off your clothes.’