Challenge: Guava #18 - Just What I Always Wanted
Word Count: 502
Summary: Arkadiy isn't where he wants to be on his 36th birthday, but maybe the day isn't such a dead loss after all...
Notes: This idea formulated a few days ago, but I couldn't think of the right words at the time so I left it until I could (or until I gave in, which happened to come first). And it turns out to be surprisingly hard to write when you're in the same room as someone playing Halo 3...
Of all the ways he could think to spend his birthday, sitting behind a desk in a cramped office did not rank highly on his mental list of 'fun things to do'. Arkadiy scowled down at the paperwork currently occupying his time and did his best not to sigh.
Unsuccessfully, as it happened. Across from him, her own desk the organised heaven to his haphazard hell, Vanya glanced over the rims of her glasses. "Is something wrong, Captain Olenov?"
With one finger he scooted a requisition sheet across his desk into a wide pile of completed paperwork. "This wasn't how I imagined spending my 36th."
"How did you imagine it?" She returned her attention to her own desk and the three neat stacks of paper thereon.
"I don't know." Arkadiy propped his chin in one hand and tried to give the remaining sheets a glare of death. They were remarkably unaffected. "Somewhere not here. Somewhere not at work."
"A nice restaurant with a beautiful woman, perhaps?" Her voice was even and she didn't raise her gaze, but he could have sworn the corners of her lips lifted into a smile.
"Well, if you're offering..."
This time, she did look up at him, brown eyes depressingly neutral and no hint of the smile he may have simply imagined. "You know that it would-
"It wouldn't be proper, I know." He let his chin slip from his hand and pressed his forehead to the cool desk; when he spoke again, his voice was muffled. "Damn propriety."
"You will dribble on your paperwork if you do not move." Her voice cut through his thoughts, and this time there had to be a definite smile, there had to be-
When he looked up, there was no smile. "Have dinner with me." The words slipped from his mouth before he even fully registered they were forming and this time, to his surprise, there was that smile, even as she raised a single eyebrow. "Not as-" he hated these words, "-not a date, but... Please."
She looked down again, attending to her work rather than him, and he felt his heart try to sink to somewhere about the level of his knees. He couldn't count on his digits any more the amount of times she'd turned him down, even if he resorted to using toes, and repetition didn't make it any easier. "Captain Olenov."
Here it came; he found himself staring with renewed interest at his paperwork rather than meet her serious brown eyes.
"If it is not a date, then I cannot see a problem with it."
"Really?!" And there went his nonchalance, but he didn't care. He didn't even care that he was grinning like an idiot. All that mattered, right then, was her smile and her answer.
"As I said. I cannot see a problem, and it is your birthday."
As birthdays went, he decided as he flung himself into his work with renewed vigour, maybe this one wasn't as bad as he'd first thought.