WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This will get lemon-y towards the later installments. No lemon in the first few parts, but be warned. There will be enough fluffy romantic poop in the first couple installments to hold you over 'till the real fun starts
You rapped on your desk impatiently with your pen; where was that little intern? Late, as usual, causing more trouble for you. ‘This is what I get,’ you thought, ‘for trusting that spacey little bastard with anything. I should have just gone and done it myself!’ You were waiting for some very important documents to be copied and delivered back to you, so you could enter them into the system for your boss. But the new intern the company had taken on didn’t seem to understand the urgency of the situation, even though you had told him several times how important it was that the copies be made quickly.
Your boss, Ludwig Beilshmidt, didn’t have time to wait around for trivial little things to be accomplished. And you certainly didn’t have the time to sit on your ass, waiting for a handful of damn copies! The rest of your work couldn’t be finished until this task was completed! So what was taking him so long!?
“Here I am!” Standing and shoving your chair back as the intern rounded the corner, calling cheerfully to you with an armful of papers, your scowl deepened. “That copy machine was-a so tricky! I got my hand caught in it and-“
“Look, I don’t have time,” you interrupted, holding your hand out for the copies. “Just give me the copies and go annoy someone else’s secretary!”
“Alrighty! Here you go-ooOOO!” You thought maybe, just maybe, this idiot would be competent enough to WALK on his own, but no. His foot caught on the transition from tile to carpeting on the floor, and he went flying face first into the ground, scattering the papers all over the floor, mixing them up.
“No!” you shrieked, rushing forward and kneeling down, trying to sort through the papers. “No, no, no! Look what you’ve done! I’ll never get these organized and typed through now!” You started to bundle the loose paperwork up in your arms, and slapped the intern’s hands away when he tried to help you. “Get away! You’ve done enough damage! Just let me-“
“Miss (l/n).” You froze as Mr. Beilshmidt stepped out of his office door, calling your name in a most dissatisfied manner. Slowly turning your head to look at your boss, you smiled weakly, arms clutching the papers to your chest. He did not look pleased. “I’d like to see you in my office, Miss (l/n). Now.”
The intern looked absolutely stunned, and as you reluctantly dropped the papers and rose to your feet, trying to dust off your pencil skirt, you shot him the nastiest look you could muster, and mouthed the words, ‘Clean this up’. Nodding profusely, he started gathering up the pages as you turned to follow Mr. Beilshmidt.
His office was large and spacious, almost minimalist you would say, but dark. Your boss never seemed to like opening the blinds on the massive windows that lined the far wall, even though the view was stunning. You’d only seen out of them once, when Mr. Beilshmidt’s older brother used to run the company, back when you’d first been hired. Working for Gilbert Beilshmidt had been stressful, but always stable and secure. You’d always managed to stay on his good side, and while his stupid jokes about how ‘awesome’ he was, and his tendency to womanize around the office had been minorly annoying, it was far better than your current situation. Ludwig Beilshmidt was a quiet man, almost unnervingly so, which was somewhat of a surprise, seeing as he was built like a tank, with an attitude and demeanor to match. He was always on your ass about something, finding any excuse to call you to his office and bitch you out for any little thing. It had gotten to the point where you honestly thought he would fire you any day now.
“Sir,” you started, cutting off whatever he was about to say to you, “I would just like to point out that the new intern’s incompetence is a large factor in this mishap.”
“I know zhat!” he barked at you, narrowing his eyes. “Don’t call him incompetent! It is not your place to pass judgment on him, Miss (l/n).” You fell silent, trying your best to muster the courage to meet his eyes. “Mr. Vargas has been a friend of zhe Beilshmidt family for quite some time now. Und while I acknowledge his incompetence,” he paused, and pinched the bridge of his nose, “he is here to stay. Vhile you, Miss (l/n), are only a friend to mein bruder. I haf much less incentive to keep you around zhan Feli-er, I mean, Mr. Vargas.” You visibly shrank back at the comment, basically cowering in the shadow of your intimidating boss. Swallowing hard, you couldn’t help but think you would take a hundred pervy comments from Gilbert over your current predicament with Ludwig.
“T-then, why DO you keep me around…sir,” you squeaked, instantly regretting it. Slapping a hand over your mouth, you stared wide eyes up at him, waiting for the inevitable ‘You’re Fired!’ Mr. Beilshmidt was no doubt itching to shout in your face. But, he never shouted anything. He just stood there, equally surprised look on his face, and though the light was dim, you could have sworn you saw a blush creep onto his cheeks. He wasn’t saying anything…you’d already asked the damning question…why not see how far you could take it? “I mean, you’re always scolding me for messing something up, or losing something. If I’m such a trouble to you, why haven’t you fired me yet?”
“I…I-I…get out ov my sight! Clean up that mess you’ve made!” Turning on his heel and stalking back to his desk, you took a step back, eyeing him warily, before turning to leave yourself. You couldn’t believe it; you were 100% sure you were going to get fired; you’d mouthed off to your strict-as-hell boss, and were walking away unscathed! You could have jumped for joy, had the intern not been stooped over just behind you, picking up papers. Stumbling backwards over him, you let out a yelp.
“Oh! So sorry!” he said, scrambling to get the last of the papers. “Uh…here you go!” Shoving them in your arms, he stood and started to scurry away. “So, I’m-a off to annoy someone else’s secretary, just like-a you said!”
“Oh, no you don’t!” Catching him by the shoulder, he turned his head slowly, and almost fainted at the horrible look you were giving him.
“No, please don’t-a hit me! At least not in the face! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
~ ~ ~
Ludwig sunk into his seat and leaned back, rubbing his temples. He could hear you and Feliciano squabbling outside the office, but chose to ignore it for the present moment. After all, Feli probably deserved it. Ever since he agreed to give his good friend an internship (it wasn’t like he was going to hire him for a full-paying job, after all) he had caused nothing but trouble.
Well, trouble for you. It wasn’t so much of a trouble for Ludwig.
He could remember the day the company’s CEO chairmanship had been handed down to him from his older brother. He’d been working for an adjacent company for some time, and after Gilbert had exclaimed, ‘I’m simply too awesome to be working as a boring old CEO!’ Ludwig grudgingly accepted the offer. It wasn’t until his first day that he was introduced to his brother’s personal and professional secretary, (f/n) (l/n).
“Take good care ov her,” Gilbert said jokingly, wrapping an arm around you, making you look slightly uncomfortable. “Und don’t vorry, (f/n), mein bruder’s bark is much vorse zhan his bite!”
Ludwig could only stare at you, slightly transfixed. His last secretary had been stuffy and middle aged; not that he didn’t like her, but you…you were quite the opposite. You were everything daytime dramas featuring lawyers or business men promised a secretary would be: young, cute, intelligent looking, well dressed. You were even wearing glasses and had your (h/l) (h/c) hair up in a bun, for crying out loud!
Shaking his head, Ludwig pulled his head from out of his memories, and let out a tired sigh. It had been nearly six months since he’d met you, and all he could ever do was yell at you. Every time he tried to find something about your work to praise, it just ended up as a backhanded compliment, and for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why! Your work was satisfactory, above satisfactory even! You were timely and appropriate, and embodied qualities Ludwig hadn’t even known he’d wanted in a secretary before he met you! And you were always kind to him, even though his behavior towards you warranted no such kindness.
‘She makes me so nervous,’ he thought, reaching up to run a hand through his blonde, slicked-back hair. ‘I never know vhat to say, so I just end up yelling! She must think I’m vone hell ov an arschloch!” He stood then, folding his hands behind his back and pacing in the relative darkness. ‘I’ve got to find a vay to overcome my nerves, und say something nice. Something to show her zhat I’m not just an angry old man.’
He glanced at the door, listening to you yell at Feli, and immediately chickened out. ‘But, maybe a little later, vhen she’s not so…hostile.’
~ ~ ~
Clickety klackity, click click klack, your eyes started to droop as the lull of the keyboard threatened to carry you off to sleep. Twitching as you attempted to wake yourself back up, you let out a yawn, removing your hands from the keyboard momentarily to stretch, and then resumed the tedious task at hand. You had finished organizing the papers and entering them in, FINALLY, and now just had to finish up the rest of your day’s tasks before going home. The only problem was, it was well past five, closer to six thirty, really, and most of the rest of the office staff had already punched out. You were one of the last employees on the floor, perhaps in the building, not counting the intern, one other secretary, and Mr. Beilshmidt himself.
Speaking of your boss, he hadn’t come out of his office since he’d yelled at you earlier for Feliciano’s mistake, and you were just slightly worried. What was he doing in there; stewing on his hatred for you? Thinking of new things to nit-pick you on? You sure as hell hoped not, though it was hard not to think the worst of the man. You always put up a nice and kind front, but inside, the feelings you harbored towards him were not so rosy.
You hit the enter button one last time, and there! The information was entered into the system, all of Mr. Beilshmidt’s files had been leafed through and sorted, based on priority, and his schedule was current up to the 16th. You would need his itinerary book for the next couple of weeks, but that could wait until tomorrow. Right now, all you wanted to do was go home, put on sweat pants, and curl up with a quart of Ben and Jerry’s. It had been a looong day.
Just as you were standing up to gather your things and punch out, you heard the click of Ludwig’s office door opening, and turned around just in time to see him step out, almost cautiously. Or perhaps the right word was ‘uncertainly’. Clearing his throat, you noticed that his cheeks did indeed sport a rosy hue.
“I, uh….getting ready to leave, Miss (l/n)?” he said. Nodding slowly, wondering what he was up to, you didn’t let your eyes leave his face. “Ah, vell, gut, gut. I, um, vanted to say, zhat…I appreciate all your hard vork.”
There was a shocker. He was actually praising you? This had to be a setup, or there was some kind of catch. But all you did was raise an eyebrow at him, and say “Uh, thank you.” Tugging your sweater over your shoulders and slinging your bag over one arm, you turned to walk towards the elevator. Mr. Beilshmidt’s eyebrows rose, and he quickly grabbed the suitcase sitting just inside the office door, before catching up with you.
“You’re going home, vith just a sveater?” he asked, noting that when he’d come in this morning, the weather had been gloomy, and it was no doubt freezing outside, since the sun set so early in the winter.
“Well, I didn’t think I’d be going home so late when I came in this morning,” you replied, curious as to why he was asking. “Usually when I punch out at five, there’s still a little sun left.” He followed you into the elevator and let the doors slide shut behind him as you pressed the ‘ground floor’ button.
“It’s too cold out zhere, you’ll freeze to death.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do about that?” you snapped, though you deflated almost instantly. “I only live a few blocks south of here, it’s like a 15 minute walk. I’ll be fine.”
“No, zhat’s unacceptable.” Setting his briefcase down and removing the jacket from around his shoulders, your boss offered it to you, much to your amazement. “Here, take zhis. You can give it back to me tomorrow.”
“I said I’ll be fine!” You voice was now bordering on irritated; what was his deal? He yells at you nonstop, 24/7, and now he chooses to be overly nice? What was going on? Whatever it was, it was fishy, and you didn’t like it. As the doors slid open to the deserted lobby, Ludwig stepped in front of you, blocking your way.
“Zhen at least let me drive you home,” he said, and you felt like shoving past him. What was up with him!? He seemed to sense a bit of your confusion, and as he pressed the hold’ button on the elevator, he sighed. “Look, I know I’ve been a real jerk to you lately. I’m just trying to make it up to you, show you zhat I’m not really such a bad guy.”
“…No offense, Mr. Beilshmidt, but I can take care of myself. I appreciate that you’re trying to be kind, but I don’t need-“
“Zhen, just do it for me!” he blurted, face turning redder. You clammed up, curious as to what he meant. “Just let me give you a ride, so I can prove to myself zhat I’m not really such a horrible guy!”
The silence that enveloped the next few moments was quite uncomfortable, and you didn’t really know how to respond to that. Did he really feel that bad about how he’d treated you? If he wanted to prove that he was nice so badly, then why didn’t he just act nicely towards you in the first place?
“You’re not that bad, Mr. Beilshmidt,” you finally said, twiddling with a lock of stray hair from your ponytail. “But, I guess if it means that much to you, then I accept your offer.”
Ludwig let out the breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding, and smiled a bit, stepping back over to stand next to you, and pressed the ‘garage’ button. The doors slid shut, and the rest of the ride down was quiet; though the both of you continued to sneak covert glances at the other.
Stepping out into the chilly garage, you thought, ‘perhaps it was smart of me to accept a ride; if it’s this cold in the garage, I don’t want to even know how cold it is outside…’ It wasn’t hard to pick out his car, though; the black Lincoln MKZ in the executive parking space. As the two of you approached it and Mr. Beilshmidt took the keys from his pocket and unlocked it, you shot him a questioning glance.
“Vhat?” he asked, “just because I’m German doesn’t mean I can’t have an American brand. You expect me to squeeze into a beetle every day?” This made you laugh a bit; it was sort of weird to expect he’d drive something like a beetle. He was just so…over-poweringly German! It would have made sense to buy a German brand.
Sliding into the passanger’s seat, the hem of your skirt rode up a little, and at first you didn’t notice. It was only a little bit farther up your thigh than usual, but it was just enough for Ludwig to catch a glimpse of the top of your stockings as he climbed into the driver’s seat. Instantly going red and averting his eyes, he struggled to shove the key into the ignition, missing several times, and cursed in German under his breath.
“Verdammt Schlüssel!” you heard him whisper, finally getting it and turning the car on. Shifting absent-mindedly and setting your bag on your lap, your skirt fell back down to its usual resting place, and Ludwig could relax again. ‘This woman will give me a heart attack; she’s so oblivious,’ he thought, leaning over the back of his seat to back up out of his parking spot. And it wasn’t that you were especially oblivious, it was just that, you were too focused on how strange the situation was. Getting a ride from your strict and, quite frankly, normally grumpy boss was more than a little weird.
“It’s just down Rucker Ave, south four blocks,” you instructed, pointing down the darkened streets. There was still a bit of traffic out, so what would have been a five minute drive turned into an awkwardly quiet fifteen minutes. You could tell Mr. Beilshmidt was one of those guys who would have liked to lean out their window and yell obscenities at the drivers around him for daring to get in his way, though his propriety was what probably kept him from doing so. Still, he fumed quietly behind the wheel, knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel so tight, silently laying an old Germanic curse on every single driver, no doubt. Or was that just your imagination running wild? “I’m in no rush, Mr. Beilshmidt, honestly, don’t let the traffic bother you like that,” you tried to soothe, but he just gave you a look like he was caught trying to squeeze milk out of an egg; exasperated and angry.
“But no vone knows how to drive!” he said, motioning to the cars in front of you two. You couldn’t help but laugh at this, and wiped the tears forming in the corner of your eye to keep your liner from running.
“Let me guess,” you said between giggles, “you’re the only person who knows how to drive properly, and everyone else is an idiot?”
“Yes!” You laughed even harder at this; could he be any more of a stereotypical man!? Ludwig saw no humor in this, and just looked at you quizzically. “Vhat! It’s not funny, evervone else IS an idiot! Miss (l/n), stop that laughing right now!” His tone was serious, and you couldn’t help but feel a little indignant; you were clocked out, he couldn’t just order you around when you weren’t working. You none the less stopped laughing, more out of habit than anything, and gave him sort of a shocked look. He didn’t immediately think anything was wrong with what he said, until he glanced sideways and tried to read your face. “Vhat?” he asked, truly wondering why you were looking at him like that.
“…Nothing,” you answered, turning back to face the road. The rest of the ride was quiet, until you drew close to your apartment complex, and pointed to the curb out front. “Right there, The Bella Granda Towers, on the right.” Pulling up to the curb smoothly and, taking your bag and smoothing down your skirt, opened the door and got out. You were expecting to just get out and see Mr. Beilshmidt drive off, but he did no such thing. Instead, he opened his door as well, and got out, circling around front to stand beside you. He closed the door to the passenger side for you as you stepped away. “I could have closed that myself,” you muttered. “You didn’t have to get out just for that.”
“Oh, vell, I vhas going to valk you to your apartment,” he replied, cocking an eyebrow. “Zhat’s zhe chivalrous thing to do.”
“Oh. I, uh, appreciate that, but I’ll be fine on my own. I mean, my doorman doesn’t let thugs or anything in the complex, so it’s not like someone’s gonna mug me.”
“I know zhat!” He sounded just like he had in his office earlier; defensive and a bit angry. You flinched slightly at his tone, and out of the corner of your eye, you saw your doorman bristle. “I-I mean, I know. It just feels vrong, to just kick you out and drive off. I vas raised as a gentleman, even zhough I know I haven’t been acting like vone lately.” He rubbed the back of his neck, looking away briefly.
“Okay, okay, I’m gonna put that to rest,” you huffed, hands on your hips. “Yeah, you can be hard on me, but you’re my boss. True, I’ve never had a boss yell at me so often as you, but it sorta comes with the territory. So if you want to prove that you’re a nice guy like you keep saying, you don’t need to go out of your way to be ‘chivalrous’ or anything. Just dial back your volume and next time you want to yell at me, consider yelling at the intern. That’s why companies even have interns, right?” You smiled a bit at the last part, and were relieved when Mr. Beilshmidt smiled a bit ion return; part of you was afraid that little speech was ‘out of your place’.
Ludwig was a tad bit shocked that you could be so frank, but, there was something about that that he liked. Nodding slightly, he turned to walk back to the driver’s side of his car.
“Alright, alright. I’ll…try.” He said, and you rolled your eyes. You guessed that was all you could ask of him, to try.
“See you tomorrow, Sir,” you called, waving as he drove off. And remembering why you’d accepted the ride in the first place, the cold biting at your arms and exposed legs, you hurried inside, greeting your doorman as you rushed past, and went up to your apartment.