It’s not that Emma hates business trips. In fact, she actually quite likes them. She also perversely likes traveling, even though everyone else in the office complains and whines and drags their feet. Not Emma - she has her packing done three days before she has to leave.
The day before her flight, she double checks everything. Her business travel card is turned on with no balance due. Her carry-on bag is just waiting for the last few essentials which she’ll put in when she wakes up tomorrow. She takes a moment during her lunch break to check in to her flight and double check her seat. She scowls at the one beside her that’s still currently showing as unoccupied and closes out of the app, moving instead to the one that has her hotel reservation.
There’s only one thing that has not gone how she planned, and that’s the empty seat next to her. Not that she should care. She travels alone all the time. She’s more used to traveling alone than she is with others. So why does it piss her off so much that Killian won’t be sitting next to her when they take off tomorrow?
Their arrangement has been the best thing to happen to her in a long time. And that’s purely from a sexual standpoint. He walked in her office that day asking what he could do, and her brain screamed back “Do me!” so loud that she could only follow what her body wanted.
She took him back to her place, wrung every drop of pleasure out of him that she could, and told him she’d see him in the office bright and early the next day. He’d smirked, cocking his head to one side and considering her for a moment before he walked out the door.
A week later, they did it again. No talk of work, no backstories, no kissing . He bent her over her kitchen table and fucked her so good she almost asked him to carry her to bed before he left.
And so it began. It was a weekly thing. Once a week only. Always on a weeknight to avoid things like sleeping over and cuddling.
One day when she got home from work, though, she couldn’t get him out of her head. She figured it was just a rougher than normal day and she just needed a quick fuck to get it out of her system. Instead of changing into something more comfortable or even just keeping her work clothes on, she hatched a better idea to immediately get him onto the same page as her.
Off went all the other items she wore that day, keeping only her stockings and her shoes. Sliding on her coat again, she buttoned it all the way to her neck and tied it tight and hoped an Uber wouldn’t be too far away.
It took a lot of careful maneuvering to make sure she didn’t flash the driver or the doormen at either of their residences, but there was a strong sense of accomplishment when she made it into the building without incident.
The look on Killian’s face when she dropped the coat to the floor was worth it.
Even after they got done having sex, however, there was still a pit of something in Emma’s stomach. Something missing . And that’s when her dumbass brain decided that she should kiss him.
The frequency that they’ve been seeing each other for the last month is quite possibly a problem. It’s every other day, now. Still no kissing. But he kind of, almost, just a little bit slept over the night she asked him to tie her up.
Not that she fully blames him for that one. That was a marathon of a night, and by the time he came, he’d made sure she’d had six orgasms. Six . She’s never had a partner try harder for her pleasure than their own, and that’s including Ruby, who gives out orgasms like she’s handing out candy on Halloween.
Emma knows she wasn’t sleeping long when she felt the shifting on the other side of the bed. Maybe he realized where he was and what was going on, so when the bed dipped, she expected it was him getting ready to take off. Instead, she felt his lips press against her forehead so sweetly, so tenderly, that she’s surprised she held it together until after he left.
Things went back to normal after that night.
Sometimes they play with the restraints. Sometimes it’s something slow and sensual and just fucking incredible , but they still always part ways when they’re done. She’s been to his place a couple times now, too, and it feels a lot more like something than nothing .
Two nights ago, when she’d been getting ready to leave his place, he’d informed her his travel plans had changed and he wouldn’t be flying out until Monday morning. That left her on the Thursday night plane with no seatmate. She’ll still be with her team, but there was something intriguing about making this one “together” when they’ve always avoided each other on previous work trips. Plus, it’s four whole days she’ll have to go without seeing him, which just feels wrong at this point.
With a heavy sigh, and knowing that all her travel accommodations are secured, Emma throws herself back into her work.
When she shuts everything down for the night, she’s surprised to see Killian’s office still lit up across the way. She’s even more surprised to see him pacing and arguing with someone on the phone, his brows furrowed down. He’s usually so put-together at work: hair in place, suit pristine until the moment he leaves, shoes shined every single day .
Right now, his sleeves are rolled up, exposing the brace that holds his prosthetic. His hair is messed up, a product of the argument he still seems to be having.
“Well call me back when you get it right ,” he growls out, and Emma feels her knees go weak just a bit at the tone of his voice. Fuck , she finds him way too attractive. She would give almost anything to be spread across his ostentatious desk right about now.
He turns as if hearing her thoughts from the doorway.
“Swan? Anything I can help you with?”
She wanders into his office, her fingertips grazing the dark oak she was just picturing herself draped across. By looks alone, he’s had a shittier day than she could’ve imagined, and yet he’s still the one asking if he can do anything for her.
“Uh, no. All good. Your place or mine?”
He checks his watch, another slew of curse words falling from his lips as he sees the time. “Bloody hell, I hadn’t even seen the time. Give me an hour and I’ll be at yours? I know you have an early flight so I’ll try to get there sooner if I can. I promise.”
“Take your time. I just plan on sleeping on the flight anyway,” she comments, coming close enough. Why is she so close to him? His tie is loosened and askew. Why is she reaching for it?
Killian stops moving all together, instead focusing intensely on the way Emma is nimbly pulling the tail of the tie from the knot that looked better this morning. She works the knot out entirely, sliding it free from under his collar and staring carefully at the fabric between her fingers before looking up to meet his gaze.
“Don’t work too hard,” she tells him, placing the tie on the corner of his desk.
His hand grips her wrist loosely when she turns to retreat, and Emma does her best to stay steady. He’s looking at her with an unreadable expression, his eyes darting between hers as if he’s studying her files. He glances a few times at her lips and she wants him to kiss her. Wants it so bad that she almost goes for it again. But his phone is ringing and she can see the moment he waves a white flag.
“One hour,” he tells her, letting his touch fall away from her wrist in order to answer his phone.
He’s there in forty-eight minutes, his mouth hungrily moving across her neck, biting at her earlobe as her hands make their way down to grab at his ass.
All in all, worth the wait. Again, she almost kisses him, and somehow they both resist.
But it’s still lonely boarding the plane by herself. It’s not until she’s in her hotel room later at night that the pit in her stomach opens - a chasm of unknown depths. The curtains are all wide open. She got an upgrade - corner room, river view, a little extra space with a couch…
She turns on the TV for extra noise as she unpacks her suitcase, meticulously hanging her outfits for her meetings next week and the conference this weekend. She’s just finishing up when her dinner is delivered, and she forces herself to relax on the small couch while she eats, the TV long forgotten in favor of texting Killian pictures of the bridges visible. It’s certainly not the skyline she’s used to from their apartments, but from this far up, Pittsburgh doesn’t seem so bad.
Her phone rings just after 8pm, and Killian’s voice greets her low and sultry.
“It’s been a long day without you in this building,” he says plainly after she answers. “Your perfume wasn’t lingering around any corners today.”
“Why are you still at work?” she asks, more curious than anything else.
“In my defense, I’m currently leaving the building.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“I was working on the Apollo account,” he says, and while she’s pretty sure that’s not a lie, it doesn’t sound like the full truth. “I’m hopping in a car. Do you want to stick with me or should I call you when I get home?”
She wants to tell him he doesn’t have an obligation to either option but she stops herself. She’s sitting by herself in her hotel room. The company would be nice.
“I’ll stick with you,” she responds after a moment.
“Excellent. So why aren’t you out with your team, who I know for a fact are downstairs in the hotel bar getting absolutely pissed on the company’s dime?”
“I got room service,” she says, as if that will cover the whole answer.
“A better choice, in my opinion,” he admits. “Is your room nice? Where are we staying again?”
“The Renaissance. They upgraded me to a corner room. I have this great view from up here.”
“As good as the view from my apartment?”
“It’s lacking something… extra.”
“Darling, you tease.”
“I could do a lot more than tease, Killian.”
He’s silent for a moment, maybe weighing the pros and cons of having an erection in the backseat of an Uber. She can picture him cradling his phone in his lap, likely scrolling through work emails as they talk, his airpods snugly in his ears, judging how much the driver is even paying attention to him and his conversation.
“You could,” he says after a drawn out silence. “But will you?”
She chuckles, pushing aside the reports she was pretending to look over when he called in favor of sitting back. “I think I will,” she responds airily, taking a second of her own to decide how she wants to approach this. “The only thing missing in this room is you, preferably naked, stretched out on this king size bed.”
“Go on,” he requests, his words a little clipped.
“I packed before you told me you weren’t going to be here until Monday,” she tells him, stretching languidly as she stands from the couch. “Brought this cute new set of underwear. I think I might wear it tomorrow to the cocktail hour.”
“Or you could wait to wear it until Monday.”
“I could ,” she sighs out. “But you know how much I love wearing new things as soon as I get them. They’re all black. Quarter cups. Lace.”
“Bloody hell, Swan. Hold that thought. Just -- hang on one moment.” She’s able to track his movements from the car to the entrance of his building.
“Tell Smee I said hello,” she says coyly, turning off the lamps until just the glow of the lights beyond her windows illuminates the room.
“Evening, Smee,” he says a moment later.
“Are you in the elevator now?”
“I am,” he responds. “Thinking about how much more I’d enjoy this tent in my trousers if you were here with me.”
“Did you just have to walk past Smee with a noticeable hard-on?”
“Aye. And believe me, I’ll get you back for that.”
She hums, listening to the sound of the elevator dinging when it gets to his apartment. She tracks his movement, listening to him set down his computer and keys. Then hears him suck in a breath between his teeth as he obviously reaches for himself.
“Feel better?” she asks, enjoying being able to do this to him so easily.
“Tell me what you’re wearing right now,” he says.
“I showered while waiting for my dinner, so I’m in nothing but a robe.”
He groans. “The things you do to me,” he utters, and the sound of his voice ignites the fire in her belly.
“Yeah, I can think of several things I’d like to do to you right now.”
“Tell me,” he says, his voice wavering. “Imagine I’m there with you. What am I doing?”
“You’re getting undressed like you’re putting on a show, as you always do.” She closes her eyes to picture it: the way he slides off his tie, the way he slips open each button on his vest. “You’re taking off each layer like you’re exposing a gift to me. Until you’re down to just those gray slacks.”
“How do you know I’m wearing the gray ones?” he asks, his voice quiet and tinged with disbelief.
“You always wear them on Thursday,” she answers simply, missing the sound he makes as she barrels on with her imagination. “You leave those on while you move to the side of the bed, looking at me like you don’t know which part of me to taste first.”
“You know what part I want to taste first,” he says quickly.
“I do, but you always look like it’s some life-changing decision.”
“I’d argue that tasting you was a life-changing decision, love.” His voice when he says it is low and rumbly, pressed right against her ear, and she gasps.”What am I doing now?”
“You’re taking off those fucking pants,” she says, not even bothering to untie her robe but slipping her fingers between her legs. “And you’re climbing onto the bed with me.”
“Damn this case, I should be sinking into you right now,” he groans.
“Yeah,” she says. “You should be.”
Her fingers are still moving, dipping inside herself before coming out and swirling around her clit. It’s a pattern she knows for a fact that Killian makes with his tongue all the time, and maybe that’s what she can blame for the next words out of her mouth.
“I miss you,” she breathes out before she can stop herself. The moment she finishes speaking however, she realizes her mistake.
Struggling for a second, she has no idea what to say. Her fingers pause their actions as her eyes fly open and she works her jaw a few times but can’t come up with anything.
“I gotta go. See you Monday,” she rushes out, ending the call. “You fucking idiot ,” she says to herself, ignoring the phone as it buzzes in her hand. She lets the call go to voicemail. Next come the text messages, and in a fit of panic, Emma does the only thing she can think of.
She turns off her phone.
In the morning, she forces herself to believe that it’s all going to be okay. She’ll just distance herself from Killian. She has a couple days before she has to see him and while she knows it’s going to suck - they really had a great thing going - she’ll get over it in time.
Taking a deep breath, she goes through her morning routine, taking a moment before she starts to order breakfast. After that she focuses on getting ready, brushing her teeth and hair, applying moisturizer and a set of under-eye patches to try to fix the bags that formed from her fitful night of sleep.
Moving to the closet, she finds her outfit for the first part of the day - some panel that she would rather sleep through if given the choice. She holds up the undergarments she told Killian about last night and sighs, pushing them to the back of the drawer and grabbing something more sensible.
She’s only managed to slide on the underwear when there’s a knock on the door. That couldn’t possibly be breakfast, right? Last night, she accepted that she would be waiting for at least forty minutes before her food was delivered. She throws on her robe again, unlatching and swinging open the door without even bothering to check the peephole.
It’s not a room attendant with a tray waiting on the other side.
“Killian,” she whispers, trying to wrap her mind around the fact that he’s here, standing at her door. “How did you…?”
“I may have bribed a member of your team to give me your room number,” he says. He’s forcing his voice to be casual but there’s a tension rolling off of him that she can tell he’s trying to hide. “May I come in?”
She almost declines, but instead she moves aside. As she carefully shuts the door again, he moves to stand behind her, waiting until she’s finished her task to turn her towards him and press her against the door.
With delicate movements, he glides the patches from beneath her eyes, smiling softly as he does. Only after they’ve dropped to the floor does he brush his fingers across her cheek.
And then he’s kissing her. Not the quick press of lips that she gave that first time she showed up at his place. These are deep, open-mouthed kisses that she reciprocates immediately, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.
“Did you mean it?” he asks before kissing her again.
She could pretend to not know what he’s talking about, but her heart lurches. She can’t lie - not about this.
“Yeah,” she replies, shuddering as his hand moves to the tie on her robe.
“Say it, Emma.”
Working up the nerve to say it in person is different than blurting it out on accident during phone sex, but as he pulls back far enough to wait, she realizes he’s not going to do anything else until she follows through. Opening her eyes is the first challenge, but he’s right there with her - his gaze patient as it meets hers.
He leans forward, ready to kiss her again, but there’s a knock at the door again. He steps back, pressing his lips together as she pulls her robe closed.
“Breakfast,” she says, giving him time to move further away before she opens the door.
He’s standing by the windows when she turns back to the room, directing the attendant to place the tray on the desk while she signs the receipt that she’s handed. When they’re alone again, he hesitates before he pivots to look at her.
“Emma,” he starts, but she cuts him off.
“No, let me,” she says, moving slowly across the room to stand in front of him. “I missed you last night.” Her voice is quiet, and she swallows hard when she’s done speaking, trying to maintain eye contact and not fidget.
He reaches out, grabbing her hand and urging her forward a few more steps so he can wrap his arms around her waist, his palm splayed across her back.
“I missed you, too. I was finishing the Apollo case so I could submit the proposal and fly out here early. That’s why I was at the office so late last night,” he tells her, and she can see why he kept that card close to his chest now.
“To surprise me?”
“Aye, though originally it was just so I could fuck you against those windows, but now, I have the stones to tell you that I want something different. Emma, I want more .”
“We work together. Don’t you see how complicated this is?” she asks, pushing against his chest lightly so she can move away and pace around the room. He lets her go but waits until she makes another pass by him to hook his prosthetic around her wrist and guide her back.
“I do. Believe me, I have thought of this so many times and so many ways, and every time I try to talk myself out of it, I just want it more. I have spent months just wanting to kiss you every time I see you. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what I wanted out of this beyond a physical release, and I kept coming back to the same answer every time.”
“What was your answer?” She has a feeling she knows what he’s about to say but she wants to hear him say it.
“Don’t you know, Emma? It’s you.” His voice trembles just the tiniest bit as the words come out, and it surprises her when a tear rolls down her cheek.
All this time, they’ve both been exercising the most restraint they could manage, and now it’s all out in the open. His hand trails up her arm, moving until he’s cupping her cheek and bending slightly to kiss her softly.
She’s the one that shifts the tone this time, melding against him as one of her hands ends up in his hair and she’s lost to the way he tastes. Does he always taste this way in the morning? What is that hint she’s getting?
“You taste like tomato juice. Bloody Mary?”
“A spike of confidence. Light on the vodka. When does the revenue management panel begin?”
“Who cares? No one will miss us. Spend the day with me, instead?”
“As soon as I retrieve my luggage from the front desk, I’d be happy to.”
“That’s easy enough to take care of,” she responds, reaching for the phone beside her bed. After arranging to have his luggage delivered to her room, she has a thought. Covering the receiver of the phone, she turns to where Killian is helping himself to her coffee and flipping through the notes for the conference. “Hey, do you want to stay with me for the week?”
After a moment of shock, he wanders over, kissing her forehead quickly before taking the phone from her. “Yes, hello? This is Killian Jones. I had a reservation starting on Monday but I won’t be needing it any longer. Can you change the name on that to Will Scarlett? Yes. Thank you.”
At her questioning look, Killian shrugs. “He had to add on late and is stuck sharing a room with Victor. At least now he can move to his own room on Monday.”
“So gentlemanly of you.”
“I’m always a gentleman, Swan. Now, why don’t we split this breakfast and see what’s on Netflix, hmm?”
For the rest of the day, they lounge in the bed, dining on nothing but room service, and it’s not until well past lunch that Killian works apart the knot tying her robe, taking his time to savor every inch of skin he comes across.
When Emma wakes up in the morning, Killian is still in the bed beside her, and there’s no movement from either of them to escape away. Instead, where they’d rolled apart during the night, she shifts across the distance and tucks herself into his side to snooze for just five more minutes.
By the time they fly home on Thursday, they’ve set up a time for an actual date to take place during the weekend, and the rules they’d established before go right out the window. And during this flight, she doesn’t glare once at the seat next to her because it’s occupied by the right person this time.