Colleagues Ford and Vaughan have long admired each other from afar, but Vaughan’s shyness and Ford’s emotional hang-ups have meant that neither has made a move. That all changes when they draw each other’s name in the office Secret Santa.
Of Printers and Presents
by Asta Idonea
Author: Asta Idonea
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 6900
Sex Content: N/A
Of Printers and Presents
Asta Idonea © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Ford Ackerman leaned over the printer, fumbling at the rear tray, and Vaughan sucked in a sharp breath. The bending action pulled Ford’s trousers taut over his perfect butt, framing two globes so delectable that saliva pooled in Vaughan’s mouth and his own trousers were suddenly a tad too tight. Everyone in the office had pronounced Vaughan mad last month when he refused the chance to relocate to a recently vacated desk by the window, away from the noisy printers and the staff restrooms, but he’d assured his boss, Marie, that he found the sound of the copiers soothing and scarcely noticed the foot traffic to and from the restrooms. Ford was the real reason he’d stayed though. Sitting here, Vaughan got to see Ford several times a day as Ford went in and out of the men’s room or attended to the printers, replacing toner or paper, or fixing jams and other glitches.
Vaughan had been celebrating his third anniversary with the company when Ford started with them two years ago. Although he’d previously liked his job well enough, Ford’s arrival on the scene ensured that Vaughan leaped out of bed each weekday morning, eager to get to the office. Essentially, Ford was no more than a dogsbody. He carried out all the menial tasks the other employees hated. He set up rooms for meetings, organized stationery supplies, and filled lunch orders. He mended broken equipment, greeted visitors, and sorted the mail. Most of Vaughan’s colleagues hardly acknowledged Ford’s existence unless they needed something, and even then Ford might as well have been a machine. To Vaughan, however, he was very real.
Aside from the spectacular, bauble-like buttocks, Vaughan didn’t know what it was about Ford that so captivated him. Ford wasn’t classically handsome, that’s for sure. Yet there was something magical about his graceful movements and the dexterity in his long, slender fingers as he flicked through files and plucked at pages. Then there was his smile. He didn’t use it often, but when he did, his eyes brightened, completely transforming his mien. It was a real classic-era Hollywood smile—a Gene Kelly smile.
Vaughan knew that Ford was gay—that vital nugget of information had found its way out of the director’s office following Ford’s initial interview—and he appeared to be permanently single, attending staff events alone and never meeting anyone either at lunchtimes or after work, at least not as far as Vaughan had ever witnessed. Nevertheless, in the two years they’d worked together, Vaughan had never approached Ford on any topic save that of an empty stapler or to place a coffee order.
As he watched Ford now, Vaughan’s mind teemed with thoughts of all the things he and Ford could do together: dinner dates, movie nights…and more personal pursuits. He shook his head. Why did he torment himself like this? Why dream of something that could never be? He knew he wasn’t going to stride over there, spin Ford away from the printer, and pull him into a kiss. So why pretend he might?
Vaughan had always been painfully shy. His work didn’t require much in the way of external interaction, and over the years, he’d learned to manage his condition with friends and co-workers, but he still faltered when it came to romance. Although he was officially out to his colleagues, having determined to get that drama dealt with from the get-go, the idea of dating Ford with them all knowing about it, and doubtless smirking behind his back, was enough to send genuine shivers down his spine. Besides, what would Ford want with someone like him? Vaughan was a boring average Joe; Ford deserved someone special.
Then there was the risk of rejection and its aftermath. If he approached Ford and Ford rebuffed him, how would Vaughan be able to face him at work each day? The same would be true if, by some miracle, they did hook up and it didn’t work out. Office romances were minefields, and he had no desire to be blown to smithereens, no matter how strong the inducement.
Nevertheless, Vaughan regularly dreamed about Ford and sought every opportunity to learn more about the object of his affection. Thank god for social media! Already friends with some of his other colleagues on various platforms, he’d summoned the courage to send Ford a request shortly after meeting him, and Ford had approved the connection. Despite being less shy online, Vaughan never commented on anything he saw on Ford’s page, unwilling to draw attention to himself, but he viewed Ford’s profile religiously after work each day and read any new posts. Ford rarely shared selfies or anything about his friends and family, but he did provide tantalizing information on his likes and dislikes, so over the last twenty-four months, Vaughan had acquired a fairly comprehensive understanding of Ford’s hobbies and interests. Video gaming and comic books covered the bulk of it, but Ford also seemed to enjoy classical music and a wide range of films. Were someone to create a quiz category on Ford Ackerman’s favourite superheroes, Vaughan would score full points.
Ford shut the printer tray and straightened. He scrunched the mangled sheet of copy paper he’d retrieved from its depths in his fist, before tossing it into the nearby recycling bin. Then he studied the display and pressed a series of buttons. The printer rumbled back to life, happily spewing forth sheet after sheet, and Ford watched it for a moment, no doubt to check all was well. When he turned to go, he looked in Vaughan’s direction and caught his eye.
Panic laced through Vaughan, but he managed to flash a faint smile and a nod of greeting as he raised a file in front of his face to hide his flushed cheeks. He needed to take more care. It wouldn’t do to be caught staring like that again. He didn’t want Ford to get the wrong idea. Or the right one. Ford was a beautiful fantasy. The last thing Vaughan wanted was to ruin that.