THIS DAY WAS STARTING out like shit and just keeps getting worse.

On a normal day – on a regular, boring, the-boss-doesn -know-I-exist kind of day, Zhen Yan would say hes just adequate enough at his job. Sure, nothing about being an assistant for a global investment firm is the stuff Zhen Yans dreams are made of, but it pays the bills – pays the bills in a way his late-night bartending never had. And considering the ills are keeping his brother, Zhen Ma, in school and with the family roof over his head, Zhen Yan figures he can deal with a little boredom and the discomfort of the borrowed suits he acquired from his friend, Goa Jun, about one size too small. His point being, he gets by – well even – on most days. Today is not one of those days.

Its not his fault really. Zhen Yan is never called on to assist in Executive departmental meetings. The only one at fault here is Sun Ning – Sun Ning who had promised hed be back in Yan Wuhan after being called away to help manage some sort of catastrophe with the minor branch but had not since returned.

Zhen Yan plans to give his friend and colleague a very colorful talking to and a swift kick in the ass– make that balls – when hes back. First, however, he needs to deal with this…

”Fuck! ” Zhen Yan yelps, looking frantically from where hes just spilled their bosss coffee all over the paperwork set on the table in front of him – no doubt important paperwork – to the senior partners and staff spread around the boardroom table. The senior partner and staff Zhen Yan has just cursed in front of… Double FUCK. ”I mean… ” Zhen Yan looks back to their boss – Song Tao – words cutting off at the sight of a small smile on his face as he shakes his head slightly, sliding his chair back so the scalding coffee won drip onto him. ”Ill get – Ill get something to clean it up, ” Zhen Yan stutters, not entirely sure if the way his trademark confidence has so swiftly deserted him is due to making an ass out of himself in front of all the managing partners or being the sole focus of him. Just… Song Tao.

”That would be good, ” Song Tao responds, voice dry. His mouth tugs up in one corner as he looks up from where hes attempting to rescue some of the paperwork. Zhen Yan finds himself momentarily frozen at the sight, eyes caught on the slanted curl of Song Taos lips.

”Um… ”

Song Tao seems to have noticed – God, Zhen Yan really hopes he hasn noticed – and one of his eyebrows rises to match his smirk. Thats what it is. A smirk.

Without another word, Zhen Yan swings around, darting as quickly as he can from the boardroom while maintaining any shreds of dignity he might still possess. He curses himself as he hurries to the staff kitchen to retrieve a cloth and towels.

In and out hed told himself. Hed supply the coffee, hand over the paperwork Sun Ning had left in preparation for the meeting, and get the hell out of that room before anyone had noticed him at all.

But then Song Tao had looked up as hed approached. And hed smiled. And well, he looked –its just that Zhen Yan doesn think hes ever seen Song Tao smile. And small and subtle as it was, it had been there. Handsome. Ridiculously handsome.

Build body, a nice crisp suit like banknote stretching across taut muscles, black hair, and even darker eyes gazing into his soul…yeah… hes got it bad.

But who can blame him? Its his first smile.

A smile, directed at Zhen Yan. And while Zhen Yan once being crowned national Tae Kwon Do champion might give someone a different impression, at the best of Yan Wuhan, he wouldn call himself coordinated. Locking eyes with Song Tao while carrying both paperwork and hot coffee had apparently left him bereft of the ability to walk like a normal human being. Hed tripped. And well, then the rest…

When Zhen Yan makes it back to the boardroom the meeting has carried on. Song Tao has moved so he sits slightly left of center, coffee-soaked papers to his right. A slow trickle of liquid continues to drip to the floor. Zhen Yan frowns with irritation as he moves as silently as possible to clean the mess left.

There is a stack of napkins directly next to the breakfast items laid out at the center of the table. Anyone could have reached for them in an attempt to help stem the flow of coffee across the table. No one has, of course, left Zhen Yan to clean the spill and carry on with their meeting as though he doesn exist. Its what he wanted – to be invisible to them. Its just… they
e dicks, ok? Rich, pompous assholes who would never stoop so low as to attempt to help a subordinate – someone beneath them. Zhen Yan doesn care that working for them makes him a hypocrite, he never plans to forget it. He doesn belong here, surrounded by people who would no more help someone in need than make their own coffee. He does need their money, however, and if he has to clean up a few coffee spills along the way, hes comforted in knowing they
e quite literally paying for it.

Zhen Yan becomes aware of eyes on him as hes sweeping the last of the soggy papers into the garbage bin. It feels less like being watched than it does having heat applied to the side of his face. Its as disconcerting as it is uncomfortable. Zhen Yan risks a glance up to see its none other than Song Tao once again watching him. The drone of another mans voice carries on in the background, running through some sort of monthly statistics report, but its as easy for Zhen Yan to ignore as apparently it is Song Tao. Theres something about the expression on Song Taos face that reflects amusement, like hes entertained by watching Zhen Yan fumble through cleaning up the mess hed caused. The sight sparks a corresponding feeling of fury in Zhen Yans veins. Hes not here for Song Taos amusement – like hes some kind of… Jester, here at the beck and call of the rich and powerful to be used and abused as they see fit.

Zhen Yan frowns. Holding eye contact with Song Tao, he tips his chin up just slightly while raising his eyebrows. He knows exactly what his expression suggests. Hes been told by his ex-boss and beloved as-close-to-a-mother-figure-as-hes-got Wang Ju on more than one occasion. Its the What the ** are you looking at? expression Wang Ju has insisted is going to get him knocked flat on his ass one of these days… or fired… or both. There is no world in which Zhen Yan should be directing such a look at his boss, but hes already made an ass of himself, his hands are dripping with residue coffee, and its not even 10:00 AM.

Hes fed up, is all.

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