I Thought I Hated Him Ch. 03byfirstkiss©
I dreamt about Daniel that night; a bright, vivid scene which I could only remember in fading patches when I awoke: lying alone, sweaty, and frustrated. The definite tingle between my thighs pissed me off and added to my frustration. I didn't want to want Daniel and everything which he represented, but I did.
Sex without love, without any sort of relationship; was I capable of that? Could I take advantage of the passion between us and still remain detached? I wasn't entirely sure and Daniel Sutcliffe certainly wasn't the sort of person to get involved with. Was there any emotion there, any regard for me other than sexual attraction? Anything save antagonism?
I knew, almost instinctively, that there was a lot he could teach me; the others had been boys compared to Daniel and that frightened me a little too. What had I been missing out on? The desire that Daniel could make me feel just by being next to me was greater than any I'd known before. What did that say about me? More importantly, what did that say about him?
I rolled over and punched my pillow from sheer frustration, trying in vain to banish the image of Daniel naked in my bed and pleasuring me from my mind. Want flooded me so strongly I almost moaned aloud.
Was he lying awake too, angry and frustrated over me? It would be so easy to reach for the vibrator in my bedside drawer and take the edge off what I was feeling. It had been a long time, I mused; maybe that was half the problem.
I glanced over at my alarm clock. 3:37. Dammit; more than three hours before the alarm went off and there was little possibility of me sleeping again.
"Aw, fuck it." I mumbled out loud in the darkness, reaching for my bedside drawer. I tried to ignore the small laughing voice in my head which teased me: what would Daniel think if he only knew...?
I owned a bright pink bullet vibrator, a frivolous gift to myself after I'd dumped the last boyfriend. I'd bought it online to spare myself the embarrassment of being recognized at the local sex shop, and to be honest I'd only used it a few times. It had been so long since I'd had an orgasm I was starting to wonder if all my parts still worked.
I slipped a hand beneath my pyjamas, seeking out the dampness between my legs, jumping at the sudden contact of my finger against my clitoris. It felt good. I'd forgotten how good. With a sigh, I dipped a finger lower into my pussy, laughing out loud as I found the wet heat of my arousal. Dreaming of Daniel had done this to me; a month ago I wouldn't have thought it possible.
My vibrator lay expectantly beside me, but my fingers felt so nice I left it alone, questing instead with my own hand, relearning the secrets of my body and thinking of Daniel. I could picture the hard planes of his face, the broad width of his shoulders, the electric heat of his body next to mine, the commanding passion of his kisses.
Was he well endowed? I giggled as I wondered, stroking my clit, encouraging the building rush within me. Well, he did have large feet and hands, and I'd heard the old wives' tale that that was a pretty good indicator. Besides, no matter what his size, I knew Daniel was more than capable of bending me over and filling me so deeply it would make me scream; just as he'd promised me that afternoon.
A flood of mental images rushed through my mind; frantic, fantastical imaginings of sex with Daniel. Would he like my body? Would I like his? Would he easily find all the places which made me squirm? There was a tiny spot at the base of my neck which could melt me, and I loved having my nipples sucked. Just imagining Daniel at my breast while I touched myself made me come in a rush. I moaned my satisfaction to the empty room.
The receding contractions of my orgasm were pleasant, but seemed like they were hardly enough to cool the burning need I felt. I'd scratched the proverbial itch and now the itch just seemed stronger. With another sigh of frustration I crossed my arms behind my head and stared up at the ceiling; beside me the alarm clock ticked mockingly. I groaned out loud; 4:06 a.m. and I had nothing better to do than think of Daniel.
The next morning brought a surprise. I arrived at work to find my drafting table cleared of my mess of sketches and photos, the broad surface was instead home to a small yellow sticky note with only two short words: my office.
I recognized the handwriting instantly. Just what the hell was Daniel playing at? With a low growl of frustration I rushed up the stairs towards Daniel's office, wishing I had longer legs so I could take the stairs two at a time. His office was empty. In the corner was his antique drafting table and it was covered by a new, pristinely white sheet of 24x36 drafting vellum. Closer inspection revealed that the title block in the lower right-hand corner had my initials already filled in in the little "drawn by" column; I stared wordlessly at the blank paper for a time, unsure of what it meant.
I smelled the Earl Grey tea before I was physically aware of Daniel's approach. He handed me a steaming mug and stood beside me to stare down at the unmarked vellum.
"I thought that you would do the working drawings; I'll handle the call for tender and start on the written specifications. You'll get more work done up here, away from the other junior architects." Daniel's voice was deep, but edged with the commanding tone I'd heard a million times before. It was clear he expected no argument.
My disbelief kept me silent; he wanted me to draw the plans? My hands shook so hard my tea trembled in my cup.
Through the open doorway I could hear my fellow junior architects trickling in downstairs, calling greetings to each other as they arrived; I couldn't quite comprehend how they could be so calm and normal when my own life was careening suddenly out of my control. If Daniel was trying to extend an olive branch he'd most definitely failed; it wasn't a gesture of good will, it was a death sentence.
"I- I can't do this, Daniel. I can't. This is your project, I'm just the junior." Panic edged my voice; I spilled hot tea over my knuckles but didn't really feel it. "I'll fuck it up. I'm sure Maddock wants you to do the drawings, I'm just supposed to do the grunt work."
Daniel growled. "Says who?"
"Me! Maddock! Everyone!" The hysteria fought to get out of my throat where it sat burning. "Mrs. Kendall is a big, important client with lots of money and influential friends. This project is very important to the firm; I can't mess this up, Daniel."
Daniel squeezed my arm in an almost friendly way, seemingly impervious to the jolt of sensation his touch caused me, before he crossed the room to sit at his desk. I stood in stunned silence, watching him retreat; my vision blurred slightly around the edges and I fought to take a breath.
A few sips of tea later and I was slightly calmer than before. I sat in the chair to ease the burden on my wobbling legs, but my mind still spun. I simply did not understand Daniel Sutcliffe. Just when I thought I had him figured out he threw another curveball my way. First the passionate kisses, and then wanting me to draw the plans? I had to resist the urge to lay my head down on the perfectly clean sheet of vellum and cry.
Did Daniel really think I was capable of handling this or was he setting me up for failure?
Don't be ridiculous, I chided myself. The little voice in my head sounded condescending; maybe the lack of sleep was getting to me. Why would he want you to fail? He's the project leader, so your failure would be his as well.
Only the day before Daniel had told me my talent made him angry, not proud. So was this just an elaborate set-up to make me look bad in front of an important client and Mr. Maddock? The little voice in my head wouldn't be silent. Just draw the fucking plans and show them all how wrong they are!
With a laugh I set a new lead into my favourite mechanical pencil, positioned my straight-edge at just the right spot on the vellum, and double-checking my measurements I began to draw.
Tea was brewed at regular intervals, and sometime around noon a ham and swiss sandwich was left beside me. I ate it without tasting it. A new project always consumes me entirely, and this one was no different. Every line was measured precisely to scale, then double-checked before being drawn. I liked watching the shape of the building take place on the paper.
I always started with the ground floor plans, before moving on to the basement and remaining storeys. Once those were done I could focus on the drawings of the elevations from each side of the building, then I'd worry about drafting the specific architectural details. I wanted to get the staircase drawn out in meticulous detail, it would need a lot of work, and I didn't want the contractor to have any room for error. A good set of plans could take dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of work.
The light streaming in from Daniel's office windows shifted and faded and behind me I was vaguely aware at times of the Dragon's presence; the low rumble of his voice on the phone, the comings and goings of other people into his office, the scratch of his own pen on paper as he wrote. But my entire being was focussed on the crisp white surface of vellum on which I drew my plans; 24 x 36: the only space in the world which I cared about.
"Clara?" Daniel's voice was uncharacteristically hesitant but still sharp. "Clara?"
I raised my head, the intense ache in my neck made me grimace. "What?"
My prickly tone must have surprised him, because he arched an eyebrow questioningly. I could almost see his anger rise. "It's five o'clock. It's Friday. Go home."
"I'm not done."
"You're hardly going to finish it all tonight." Daniel drawled, watching me warily. "You look like you haven't slept in days. Go home."
I shook my head stubbornly. Despite the crick in my neck and the ache in my wrist I wanted to keep going. My hesitation about drawing the plans had dissipated while I worked. Now I just wanted to prove I could do it, and do it well.
Daniel sighed resignedly. "Fine. Let's see what you've got." He leaned over me to study the drawing, enveloping me in the warmth and scent which seemed to belong only to him. I fought the urge to close my eyes and lean against him.
He traced the line of the south exterior wall with one slim finger. "That's crooked."
I glared up at him angrily. "It's not crooked, Daniel. I used the T-square, how could it be crooked?"
"I don't know," he replied sardonically. "But it's crooked. Redraw it."
I saw red. "It's not fucking crooked!"
"Clara," Daniel's voice was low and dangerous. "Trust me, it's crooked."
I jabbed my pencil at him, narrowly missing impaling his arm with the sharp lead. "If you think it's crooked, you draw it!"
Daniel sighed, closing his eyes. He looked weary, and I almost felt guilty for arguing. "I'm just trying to help."
I snorted in the most unladylike manner. "That's rich."
Daniel stepped away from me, eyeing me as he paced the room. He crossed his arms over his chest and scowled down at me. A few weeks ago the same expression would have sent me scurrying for cover, now it just pissed me off.
"Are you going to fight me on everything?" Daniel asked dryly. "Because despite what you might think, I do know what I'm doing."
I slid my glasses up to my forehead to rub the throbbing spot between my eyebrows. With my eyes closed it was easier to forget about Daniel, to ignore his magnetic presence as he paced. I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything.
"Are you sulking? Don't be so childish." Daniel drawled cruelly. "This isn't personal, Clara. It's my job."
"This isn't personal?" I practically jumped out of my chair, striding aggressively across the room to face him. "It's your job?" I stood on my tip toes, trying to look Daniel in the eye; sometimes being short was such an inconvenience. "Was it your job to kiss me? To take me home the other night? To say what you said to me in the boardroom yesterday? You've been mixing professional and personal since we were partnered together, Daniel. How the hell am I supposed to keep it all straight?"
The cocked eyebrow was back; I wanted to rip it off his smug face. "When I comment on your drawing, that's professional, that's my job. I'm starting to think it might also be my job to take you down a peg or two." His voice was smooth, calm; his expression betrayed nothing, I couldn't tell if he was teasing.
"You've got to be kidding me!" I sputtered, stabbing Daniel's chest with my index finger. He didn't budge. "You're so fucking high and mighty yourself, and now you're going to give me a lecture on my attitude? I'm sticking up for my work, Daniel. You wanted my to draw the plans, so I'm drawing the fucking plans!"
"You should watch your language," Daniel taunted. "It's not professional."
I whirled about, giving a little scream and stomping my foot. It was childish, I know, but it was either that or punch Daniel in the arrogantly handsome face.
Daniel chuckled lowly as I stood seething by the window. I bit my lip to keep from snapping at him again. It certainly wasn't the first time he'd pushed me into making a fool of myself, but I still wasn't accustomed to the feeling. I hated how easily he could anger and frustrate me.
"Feel better?" Daniel asked after a time.
I looked over my shoulder to see him sitting perched on the end of his desk; his smile was ingratiating. I pouted. "How is it that you can always make me mad?"
Daniel shrugged. He'd shed his suit jacket and I could see the play of his shoulder muscles beneath his dress shirt. It was sexy. "God-given talent?"
I snorted again, but this time a laugh followed. I shook my head resignedly. "You are something else, Daniel Sutcliffe."
"I was just thinking the same thing about you." Daniel's smile was electric and very unexpected. I noticed immediately that he looked different than in the past, more relaxed somehow, even younger. Maybe it was the smile that did it.
"Are we always going to butt heads on everything?"
"Oh, probably. I'm not exactly one to back down." Daniel teased, his grey-blue eyes glittered mischievously.
I laughed. "Me neither."
"You're not afraid of me anymore, are you?"
"You're not such a rat bastard anymore."
"Nice," Daniel said deprecatingly, unable to hide the edge of humour in his voice. I laughed again.
"If you think it's crooked, I'll redraw the south wall," I conceded, shaking my head as Daniel smiled widely.
"Do it Monday. It's late."
I shrugged. "I've got nothing better to do now, I can stay late."
Daniel reached for his jacket, shooting me a look over his shoulder that was just daring me to argue. "Actually, you do have something better to do. We're having dinner."
"Were you going to ask me, Daniel? Or just command me?" I asked acerbically, feeling my temper rise again at his presumptuousness.
"Fine. Would you like to have dinner?" Daniel asked bitingly, and I couldn't help but wonder if he was afraid I'd say no.
"I'd love to." I smiled brightly up into his face.
Daniel's silver eyes narrowed. "You're giving me grey hairs, you know that?"
I laughed, making my way to the door. The room below was practically empty, the light from the windows flooded it in dusky pinks. It was later in the day than I'd thought and the entire weekend was spread out before me; my relief was tangible. "You had grey hair long before I came around." I teased, laughing.
"Brat!" Daniel muttered as he followed me down the stairs. My hoot of laughter drew curious stares from the few remaining people, who watched our progress across the room unabashedly.
In the parking lot Daniel held out his hand silently, and without question I dropped my Jeep keys into it. He smiled wryly and unlocked the passenger side door first, holding it open for me as I slipped inside. We'd only driven a block or two before I realized which direction we were headed.
"Uh, Daniel?" I asked hesitantly as we pulled up to his apartment building. "This isn't a restaurant."
He shot me a sardonic look. "I got salmon for dinner tonight, I'm not going to waste it by eating out. If you don't want to come up, I'll just get out here and see you at the office on Monday." There was a challenge in his voice which I found reproachful. I think he more than half expected me to flee again; instead I shot him another sweet smile.
"I love salmon."
That prompted the raised raven coloured eyebrow again, but he said nothing and this time we made it into his apartment without incident. I took the offered stool at Daniel's kitchen island and watched happily as he started dinner preparations. I didn't voice it aloud, but there is nothing sexier than a man in the kitchen and watching Daniel work was having a very serious effect on my insides.
"Red or white?" He asked, breaking into my daydream which featured him in nothing more than his black apron.
"Uh... red?" I blushed furiously, and although he eyed me suspiciously, Daniel said nothing while he poured me a glass of wine.
Taking a sip I smiled. The wine was a deep, saturated crimson-purple colour, and slid satisfyingly to a warm rest in my belly. It was excellent.
"Its pinot noir," Daniel said over his shoulder as he dug about in the refrigerator. "It's what grown-ups drink."
"Oh hardy-har-har," I shot back, laughing. There was a twinkle in his silver eyes that belied the dry, sarcastic tone of his voice. "Do you want any help?"
Daniel chopped an onion with far more efficiency and skill than I was capable of. "No. I like to cook. You just sit there and look pretty, and stay out of the way."
I couldn't help but laugh.
Dinner was excellent; the best meal I've had in ages. Daniel grilled the salmon and served it with a lemon butter sauce so good I think I moaned out loud. There were little roasted red potatoes with garlic and rosemary, and asparagus brushed with olive oil and grilled alongside the fish. I ate hardily and made no apologies for it. We didn't speak much, but there didn't seem to be much to say.
"I'll clean up," I offered as I worked away at my second glass of pinot noir. The wine had sent a warmth spreading through my body, relaxing me and making me realize just how tired I was.
"No need," Daniel said, pushing our empty plates across the island and settling back onto his stool beside me. "It can wait. The food might rot, but the dishes won't."
I laughed. "How pragmatic."
Daniel shrugged, his solid shoulder brushed against my own. "I love to cook, but I hate to clean up."
"I don't mind the cleaning up," I confessed. "But I'm a lousy cook." I tried to picture just what was in my fridge at home: half a carton of skim milk, some ancient mustard, diet soda, and a sketchily aged chunk of cheddar which was more than likely home to some very alien mould spores.
It was Friday night, I'd gotten a lot accomplished at work that week, I was well fed, and drinking a glass of excellent wine. I was happy. Then the realization hit me with a jolt. Not only was I happy, I was happy sitting beside Daniel. Holy shit.
"Clara?" Daniel's voice broke into my thoughts; he seemed to have a knack for doing that. "Are you alright?"
I looked up at him. "Yeah, why?"
"You looked worried just then." He almost sounded concerned. I smiled faintly.
"I was thinking about what you said to me yesterday in the boardroom."
Daniel arched an eyebrow questioningly. "I said a lot yesterday in the boardroom. Maybe more than I should have."
My smile didn't fade. "You told me that I knew what you wanted and that you wouldn't bother me again."