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A Shoot Proposal

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Several people lined up on mats sparing off against each other in a dingy, dimly lit gym. There was one woman in particular who, despite her shorter stature for lack of better words, beat the shit out of her huskier Hulk looking-type opponent.

A steady THUMP, THUMP, THUMP echoed through the sweaty, smelly gym. Sameen Shaw continued to pummel her opponent until a whistle was blown. She then took off running, doing laps around the gym, leaving her opponent groaning in pain on the ground. The whole class was impressed and scared of her.

Across town in an overly decorated, yet super fun, cozy dorm room type of studio apartment Root was sprawled out on pink sheets with bunnies on them. Next to her littering, the bed were notes scattered everywhere, and two laptops both open with code streaming across the screens. She slowly opened her eyes and then squinted at the laptop as her eyes started getting wider she fell out of bed.

“Shit! Shitshitshitshitshitshit,” Root stumbled around and crashed into her dresser as she hurriedly got ready for work. And then minutes later ran out of her apartment as fast as she could, messenger bag thrown over her shoulder, which still made the dress she was wearing even cuter somehow.

Root kept sprinting down streets, dodging people and cars. It was quite impressive how fast she could run in dressy flats and in an actual dress. She was banned from wearing heels at work since her first day. Her boss, the brilliant, fierce, sometimes scary Sameen Shaw, had forbidden her from being any taller than necessary. Root continued running down streets while making sure her messenger bag didn’t fall off her shoulder, her long brown chestnut hair blowing in the wind.

Meanwhile, after Shaw finished her workout, that was nothing short of Olympic weight training; she had a high protein shake and headed to the office dressed in an all-black tailored suit with her hair in a fierce, tight ponytail. Not making any eye contact with anyone on the street and making sure she didn’t hear anything with her noise-canceling earphones on and, of course, dark sunglasses to make the ensemble even more unapproachable.

Shaw’s phone rang, so she had to slide off the earphones. She checked the caller ID and had a smug look on her face when she saw the caller.
“I knew you would call. Now come on, tell me what I want to hear. Give it to me,” Shaw said in her most demanding, yet slightly sexy tone before answering the call.

When Root got to Starbucks, she groaned, looking at the massive line until she saw a pretty barista calling out to her. Two coffees waited for Root. A lovely barista named Jillian, smiled as Root hurried over to the counter to fetch the coffees.

“Hey Root, got these waiting for you,” Jillian said as she adoringly stared at Root.

“Jillian, you are the best. And literally saving my life today,” Root did her version of a wink to Jillian, which caused the barista to blush.

“If you think I’m good at this, you should use that coffee cup sometime,” said Jillian as she watched Root dash out of the coffee shop.

Root finally made it to the Thornhill Digital Arts building. A taxi nearly swiped her as she dashed across the street, she smiled and kept running while juggling the two coffees. She almost spilled the coffees several times, especially when she nearly fell down, running to catch the elevator to her floor.

Mercifully, a hand reached out and stopped the doors. Inside the packed elevator, Root’s co-worker/friend Claire looked sleepy yet had a smile and chuckle. When they exited the elevator, a particularly frustrated co-worker confronted Root.

“How long is she gonna make us come in by seven?” said a guy wearing a concert t-shirt and hoodie.

Root stared at him, annoyed, “She doesn’t exactly consult with me on these things.”

“Well, this sucks ass,” the frustrated co-worker said as he stomped off down the hall.

“Welcome to my nightmare,” Root to him, but mostly to herself. Claire just shook her head.

As Shaw got closer to the building, she continued to talk on the phone.

“You’ve been thinking about our talk because I’m right. No one else can do justice to your intellectual property. NO ONE. We are the best, that’s why even Lucas comes to us,” Shaw looked completely proud and smug as she walked further down the street.

Root hauled ass through a sea of cubicles in the office. Along the way, grumpy employees begrudgingly nodded their good mornings to her as she made her way to Sameen Shaw’s corner office and her cubicle in front of said office. And right before she got to her goal, WHAM! One of her co-workers slammed into her while he was catching a football thrown across the cubes. Coffee spilled all over the floor as one of the cups went crashing down.

“Seriously!!” Root yelled out in frustration as one of the coffees was utterly destroyed, but thankfully nothing else is.

Root hurried over to her desk with only one coffee now. At her desk, she pulled a brush out and tried to make something of her messy hair. She noticed her wrinkled dress; she pulled a spray bottle out of a drawer, she sprayed it all over her body, and then on her head to help mat down a tricky section that was standing up. Satisfied, she hurried into the big corner office.

Shaw walked into the lobby of the company and continued talking. Employees avoided her like the plague and piled into a supply closet to get out of her way.

“I’m not pushing so you’ll sell more licensing, I’m pushing because it’ll be a crime if the world doesn’t get to experience your characters, your universe in a three-dimensional experience. Or never get to see them again at all. The world needs to truly see your genius piece of art that you have bestowed upon them,” Shaw paused for a brief then second then quickly added, “They will never really die, let your characters live in another realm.”

Shaw waited for an answer and smiled when she heard the “yes.” She did a little fist pump to herself.

“You’re making the right decision! Great news. Going into an elevator, think I’m going to lose you...” Shaw hung up fast. Never give them a chance to change their mind.

Shaw exited the elevator and received an enthusiastic ‘Good morning!’ from the receptionist, which only got a slight nod from Shaw.

Root raced back to her computer to send out an instant message.

‘IT IS HERE’ attached with a dragon emoji.

The instant message popped up on screens spreading through the cubicles just as Shaw stepped off the elevator and headed towards her office.

Shaw walked through the cubicles and nodded hello to her staff, who all looked busy on their big workstations.

Root stared at the printer as a sheet of paper came out. A clock above the door read 7:00 AM. The paper cleared the printer, and Root grabbed it quickly and dashed back into Shaw’s office.

Shaw opened the door to her office and found Root standing at attention with papers in one hand and coffee in the other. Her office looked perfect. And so did her damn assistant Root.

“You’ve got a conference call in thirty, a staff meeting at nine, and your immigration lawyer sent some papers for you to sign,” Root said as she handed over the coffee to her boss Shaw. Her finger brushed up against Shaw’s; she had admitted to quite a few people that yes, while her boss drove her crazy, worked her to the bone, and mostly ruined her social life, she still found the woman infuriating attractive.

“Did you call... What’s her name? The one with the ugly hands.” Shaw asked while putting her bag down and getting situated at her desk.

“Janet,” Root smirked to herself, thinking how her stone-cold boss noticed a woman’s hand; there was hope for her yet. “She does have slightly unattractive hands.”

“Did you tell her that if she doesn’t get her design proofs in on time…”

“You won’t give her a release date,” Root almost always could finish her boss’s sentences. She had studied and written so much code; it also sometimes translated into learning and understanding some human code. She continued off Shaw’s call list, “Your immigration lawyer called. He said it’s imperative...”

“Cancel the call, push the meeting to tomorrow, keep the lawyer on the sheets,” Shaw continued to get everything organized on her desk, “Bolan said yes.” Just saying it out loud made Shaw grin, this was the biggest get of her career. She couldn’t wait to get her team on this franchise treasure to develop the best game on the market.

Root stood stunned for a second; then, a true look of awe crossed her face, “Wow. Nicely done.”

Shaw’s news made Root happy; if there was any game that would be her ultimate dream of developing, that would be her favorite superhero franchise – Team Machine. And now proudly it was the company she worked for and one of the main reasons she ran herself completely ragged working for the boss she nicknamed Satan’s Mistress. Almost every single day with Shaw as her superior was #BitchBoss day; however, on rare occasions, there were a few #BossBitch days, and those days truly kicked ass. And this was a #BossBitch day.

“When I want your praise, I’ll ask for it,” Shaw snarked to Root, “Is Jeremy here?”

“I’m sure. You want him on the phone?” asked Root as she straightened up and slowly moved away from Shaw’s desk, she hadn’t been aware how close she was standing. Then again, the two of them were so used to spending nearly every day almost every hour together working, they usually somehow unconsciously migrated to each other in some weird way. Stockholm Syndrome, maybe?

“We’ll be going to his office,” Shaw blurted out as she scrolled through her email on her massive computer screen.

Root calmly backed out of Shaw’s office, but once she was out of Shaw’s sight, she ran to her computer and sent an instant message to the office people.

‘THE ANGRY FIRECRACKER IS ON THE MOVE SOON’ with firecracker emoji and angry face ones attached.

Root popped her head over her monitor and watched the instant message pop up on screens across all the cubicles, the quiet office jumped to life as everyone in a cubicle picked up their pace and resumed vigorous working.

Shaw walked over to Root’s desk, holding her coffee. She noticed a message on the coffee cup she was drinking out of, a Jillian phone number. She took special notice of the hearts that dot the “I’s” in Jillian.

“Who is Jillian? And why does she want me to call her?” Shaw looked at Root with her eyebrow’s raised.

“Well, that was originally my cup.” Root looked shocked and tried to recover. Shit.

“And I’m drinking your coffee why?” Shaw squinted her eyes at Root as if using them as Wonder Woman’s truth-telling gold lasso.

“Because your coffee spilled,” Root fessed up.

“So, you drink straight up black coffee with nothing in it? No cream. No sugar.” Shaw challenged Root; she didn’t seem like the no-frills kind of woman. Admittedly, after three years, she was surprised she didn’t know how the woman took her coffee.

“I do. It’s like waking up in a black hole every morning,” Root said deadpanned.

“Isn’t that a coincidence? So do I.” Shaw said in her most snarky tone to her assistant Root.

“Incredibly, it is,” Root did her best to bat her eyelashes innocently at her boss. “I wouldn’t drink the same coffee that you drink just in case yours spilled. That would be pathetic.”

The assistant said in a joking, yet truth be told tone. Just then, the phone rang, and Root lunged to answer it.

“Morning, Ms. Shaw’s office.” Root watched Shaw turn around, scan the office, and then pay attention to her desk again. “Hey, Jeremy.” Shaw then raised her head and motioned to Root. “Actually, we’re headed to your office right now.”

As they walked to Jeremy’s office, “You gonna call her?” Shaw stared at Root.

“What?” Root didn’t know what Shaw was talking about until she nodded at the cup. She couldn’t help a smirk on her face, was her boss jealous, simply just bored or making sure she was going to be on beck and call for the foreseeable future.

“You have another late night out?” Shaw started walking down the hall. Root quickly caught up, with a slightly worried look on her face. “I’m firing on all cylinders, and you’ve got hearts on your coffee cup, wicked bed head, and a wrinkled dress.”

“Oh. Well, it won’t be wrinkled for long,” Root said with a smirk.

“You’ll magically unwrinkle?”

“Absolutely. I’ve got a magic potion from Target.”

“Does it work on everything?”

“Anything that’s wrinkled.” Root looked up and down her boss’s body.

Shaw rolled her eyes. “Buy me some.”

“Will do,” Root had a feeling that Shaw would never admit it, but sometimes the intense petite woman seemed impressed by some of her ideas. She somehow liked buying non-office related things for her boss, gave her a little more insight into the closed-off woman.

Root made a note on her tablet. Shaw stopped to make her point.

“I don’t care what or who you do on your own time, but when you walk through that door, you represent me, and I will not have your personal life affect you at work. If you want me to think of promoting you to a programmer, I need you sharp, focused, and professional. Got it?” Shaw stared intensely into Root’s eyes, a few people around the office watched the two women for any gossip; then quickly turned their heads when they started walking again.

“Got it.” Root and Shaw continued walking. “Although, since when do I have my own time?” Root held down a yawn. “Plus, it’s very time consuming on finding a who to do; we could just cut the middle person out and do each other.”

Both women stopped walking for a brief second. Root cursed her brain, why had she said that out loud? She blamed a lack of sleep and a severe lack of caffeine. And as always, Shaw smelled really good and tended to stand too close to her sometimes and admittedly vice versa. Shaw seemed at a loss for words for a hot second.

Root quickly said, “I was up late coding.” Shaw stared at her slightly dumbfounded.

Root desperately changed the subject as fast as she could. “Have you finished reading over that pitch and some of the code I gave you?” Root tried her hardest not to look nervous; she did bite her lower lip, though. Nothing like getting turned down on dating and professional fronts all in one quick walk down an office corridor.

“I read a few pages. I wasn’t that impressed,” Shaw was impressed; she didn’t want to show it yet. She knew this pitch was Root’s, and honestly, she wasn’t ready to lose the best assistant she ever had yet.

“Can I say something?”

“No.”

“I’ve read thousands of pitches and ideas; this is the only one I’ve given you. There’s an incredible game in there, the code alone is worth buying to build something else on. It’s the kind of game and development you used to cultivate.” Shaw shot her a cold glare. “I mean before Bolan, of course.”

“I think you do order the same coffee as I do just in case you spill, which is, in fact, pathetic,” Shaw said in a slightly condescending tone to Root.

“Or impressive and ingenious,” Root shot right back at Shaw.

“I’d be impressed if you didn’t spill in the first place.” Shaw stopped in front of Jeremy’s office, “You’re just a prop in here, so don’t say a word.”

“Not a peep,” Root did her slightly evil grin to Shaw.

Shaw and Root entered Jeremy’s office, which was decorated with beautiful antiques and first edition books. But unlike Shaw’s office, this one wasn’t in the corner. Shaw nodded at Root to shut the door. Jeremy wore a prim tie, circular tortoiseshell glasses, and the air of superiority. He completely clashed with Shaw’s more modern look.

“Hey, Jeremy,” Shaw said very casually while Root stood next to her, not knowing what to expect.

“Ah. Our fearless leader and her liege,” Jeremy took off his glasses and motioned to both of them.

Shaw noticed the new piece of furniture in Jeremy’s office. “Is this piece new?”

“It is English Regency Egyptian Revival, built in the 1800s, but, yes, it is new to my office,” Jeremey said way too smugly.

Shaw smiled to the cocky son of a bitch, “Witty. Jeremy, I’m letting you go.”

“Pardon?”

“You’re fired.” Shaw crossed her arms against her chest. Root looked at her boss and decided to follow the action. “I asked you a dozen times to get Bolan and close the deal, and you didn’t do it. You’re fired.”

“I have told you repeatedly that it is impossible. Bolan said he would never sell, never wanted anyone to touch his characters, his franchise, or his vision.”

“That is interesting, because I just got off the phone with him, and he is in.”

“Excuse me?”

“You didn’t even call him, did you?”

“But...” Jeremy was at a loss for words, mainly because everything was true.

“I know, I know. Bolan can be a little scary to deal with. For you.” Shaw stared Jeremy hard in a commandeering way, “Now, I will give you two months to find another job. And then you can tell everyone you resigned, okay?”

Shaw walked out of Jeremy’s office with Root following behind her. Root watched him closely while Shaw pretended not to notice; however, her assistant of three years knew better.

“What’s his twenty?” Shaw asked as they continued walking down the hallway back to her office.

She didn’t know why, yet she completely trusted her assistant even if Root had some crazy eye vibes of her own sometimes. And especially since the lanky, tall woman probably couldn’t hold her own in any type of a fight, just having her assistant watch her back was somewhat not terrible. Shaw didn’t do comforting. The fact that she could spend long days and nights with Root without wanting to stab or shoot her meant she finally found the best somewhat competent assistant. The fact the woman was also pretty didn’t hurt; it didn’t help either.

“He’s moving. He has crazy eyes,” Root looked back and saw Jeremy fuming and about to explode.

“Don’t do it, Jeremy. Don’t do it,” Shaw said softly just to herself.

“You poisonous cold bitch! You can’t fire me! You don’t think I see what you’re doing here? Sandbagging me on this Bolan thing so that you can look good to the board? Because you are threatened by me! And you are a monster.” Jeremy yelled for the whole office to hear him, probably thinking he was doing some kind of Jerry Maguire moment.

“Jeremy, stop.” Shaw stopped in her track in the hallway with Root by her side. They both turned around to stare at Jeremy.

“Just because you have no semblance of a life outside of this office, you think you can treat us like your own personal servants. You know what? I feel sorry for you. Because you know what you’re going to have on your deathbed? Nothing and no one,” Jeremy definitely looked like he was grandstanding and thought he had hit a nerve; perhaps put a crack in the cold, cold bitch of a boss.

Shaw flared her nostrils and stared intensely at Jeremy, “Listen carefully, Jeremy. I didn’t fire you because I feel threatened. No. I fired you because you’re lazy, entitled, incompetent, and you spend more time cheating on your wife than you do in your office.” Shaw tilted her head to stare down Jeremy.

Root watched on slightly terrified but mostly oddly proud for some reason.

“And if you say another word, Root here is going to have you thrown out on your ass, okay?” Shaw could tell Jeremy was about to word vomit all over her again. “Another word and you’re going out of here with an armed escort. Root will shoot the whole thing and then post it everywhere. Even on …what’s that one I hate?” Shaw snapped her fingers, trying to think of the name.

“Snapchat,” Root said right on cue with a slight evil smirk. She was totally behind Shaw on Jeremy’s firing. He was a lazy toad. And now that he insulted her boss, she thought she might ruin his credit reports for fun tonight.

“Exactly. Is that what you want? Didn’t think so.” Shaw spun on her expensive shoes and continued walking back to her office. She turned to Root, “I have work to do. Have security take his laptop and put it in my conference room.”

“Will do.” Root nodded and made sure Jeremy went back into his office to pack.

“I need you this weekend to review all his files and projects his teams are working on.”

“This weekend?” Root looked at Shaw, surprised.

“You have a problem with that?” Shaw turned to Root mildly surprised, her assistant usually didn’t scoff about working on the weekends.

“No problem. I’ll just cancel my trip this weekend.” Root had a slight glum look on her face.

“I gave you the weekend off?” Shaw asked, surprised.

“You might have been sleep working at your desk at the time I asked you,” Root had watched Shaw work so many late nights, she didn’t know how either of them functioned on such little sleep.

“You can have half of Christmas day off this year instead.”

Root looked concerned as she spoke, “It’s just that... it’s my grandmother’s 90th birthday, so I was going to go home and...” Shaw had an intense stare directed straight at Root. The assistant found it very difficult to concentrate when her boss stared intensely at her. She crumbled. “It’s fine. I’ll cancel it. You’re saving me from a weekend of misery…family politics, overcooked meat, sappy birthdays...” Shaw had already walked away, “Good talk, yeah.”

Later, Root was on the phone at her desk with her Aunt Grace explaining why she couldn’t come home this weekend. She sounded a bit like an annoyed teenager.

“I know, I know. Okay, tell Gammy, I’m sorry. Okay? What...What do you want me to tell you? She’s making me work the weekend. No, I’m not... no. I’ve worked too hard for this promotion to throw it all away. I’m sure that Uncle Harry is pissed,” just then Shaw walked out of her office and stood next to Root’s desk “…we take all of our pitches, submissions, and coding around here very seriously. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for calling.”

Shaw looked at Root with an inquisitive stare, “Was that your family?”

“Yes.” Root said blankly.

“They tell you to quit?”

“Every single day.” Root said as if landing a punch line.

Just then, Root’s office phone rang, “Ms. Shaw’s office. Yeah. Okay. All right.” Root hung up the phone and turned to her boss.

“Claypool and Ingram want to see you upstairs.”

“Come get me in ten minutes. We’ve got a lot to do.”

“Okey-doke.”

Root watched Shaw leave with her pristine posture and stern look on her face. She didn’t know how it was possible to hate someone so much yet still kind of want to make out with them. She blamed Shaw’s lips. Mostly though, she wanted to bite said lips for making her miss Gammy’s 90th birthday. She needed to get a promotion soon or quit.

Shaw walked passed by Nathan Ingram’s assistant and ignored his executive assistant’s greeting to enter her boss’s office. As Shaw entered Nathan Ingram’s office, she saw Nathan, one of the board of directors for Thornhill Digital Arts, along with Arthur Claypool sitting on the couch. Shaw didn’t do nervous; she nodded to both men and stood before them with her fierce confidence.

“Good morning, Sameen,” said Nathan as he smiled a warm smile.

“Nathan, Arthur,” Shaw nodded and did her fake, kiss up smile to both men.

“Congratulations on the Bolan thing. That’s terrific news,” Nathan said.

“Thank you, thank you. This isn’t about my second raise, is it? Just kidding,” Shaw did a fake laugh, she sucked sometimes playing fake with people.

Nathan got serious. “Sameen, do you remember when we agreed you wouldn’t go to the SHCC to promote the Irrelevant Evil game,” Nathan said while putting his hands on his desk. He continued looking sternly at Shaw, “because you weren’t allowed out of the country while your visa application was being processed?”

“Yes. I do,” Shaw wasn’t quite sure why they were bringing up Shanghai, that trip had been hugely successful.

“And... you went to Shanghai,” Arthur jumped in with a solemn look on his scruffy, yet adorable face.

“Yes. We were going to lose ground to Samaritan and their copycat version of our bestselling game. So...really didn’t have a choice, did I?”

Shaw motioned with her hands for added effect and her best fake smile again.

“Seems the United States Government doesn’t care which video games are popular. We just spoke to your immigration attorney,” Nathan glanced at Arthur then to Shaw.

“Great. So, we’re all good? Everything good?” asked Shaw as casually.

“Sameen, your visa application has been denied,” Nathan said grimly.

“And you are being deported,” added Arthur even more grimly.

“Deported?” Shaw looked genuinely surprised.

“There was also some paperwork you didn’t fill out in time,” Nathan said in a kind of disappointed parent tone to Shaw.

“Come on. It’s not like I’m even an immigrant! I’m from Canada, for Christ’s sake.” Shaw laughed a little; it was a terrible joke. “There’s gotta be...something we can do,” Shaw looked to both of the men she admired and respected.

“We can reapply, but unfortunately, you have to leave the country for at least a year,” Nathan said in a slightly more hopeful tone.

The wheels were spinning in Shaw’s head, “Okay. Okay, well, that’s not ideal, but I can... I can manage everything from Toronto...”

“No,” Arthur said as he turned to Nathan.

“...with videoconferencing, Skype, instant messaging…I mean, our Aspera account moves big stuff all over the world in a very short time now…” Shaw was spouting off how living in another country wouldn’t affect her work at all.

“Unfortunately, if you’re deported, you can’t work for an American company,” Arthur said while standing up.

“Until this is resolved, I’m going to turn operations over to Jeremy Lambert,” Nathan said glumly.

“Jeremy Lambert? The guy I just fired?” Whoa. Shaw didn’t see that one coming.

“We need a CEO. He is the only person in this building who has enough experience.” Nathan stared at Shaw.

“You cannot be serious. I beg of you,” Shaw couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Sameen. We are desperate to have you stay. If there was any way, any way at all we could make this work, we’d be doing it,” Arthur looked at Shaw with his warm eyes.

There was a knock on the door. Root pushed half her body through the doorframe, to look around the tense room.

“No. Excuse me, we’re in a meeting,” Nathan said to shoo Root away.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Root looked to Shaw.

“What?!” Shaw growled out to Root; she had completely forgotten she had instructed her assistant to save her from this supposedly boring meeting.

“Denise, from Bolan’s office called. She’s on the line…” Root continued to stare hard at Shaw, a slight nudge in her eyes.

Shaw squinted her eyes at Root, forgetting on the forced interruption.

“She’s on hold. She needs to speak with you. I told her you were otherwise engaged. She insisted, so...” Root shrugged in a fake innocent way. Root was way better at being fake everything than Shaw.

Shaw stared intensely at Root, replaying what she just said. One word stood out in that sentence and could be used in a completely different meaning. She just had a brilliant idea. An idea that would let her keep her dream job and apartment in New York.

“Come here,” Shaw motioned for Root to come into the big office. Root walked in slowly; she inched her way to stand next to Shaw. “Gentlemen, I understand. I understand the predicament that we are in.” Shaw turned her head slightly and ran her eyes over Root, who stood dumbfounded.

“And...uh…” words were coming out of Shaw’s mouth more slowly now.

Everyone in the room stared at Shaw, confused to what the high powered woman was getting at, as the woman stumbled around for words.

“And there’s...well...I think there’s something that you should know.” Shaw smiled a big smile, she put her arm around Root’s waist and pulled her tight against her chest, much to her assistant’s shock. “We’re getting married.” Shaw nodded her head to Root, who now looked even more dumbfounded and stunned.

“We are getting married,” Shaw said it again to the room because the three people in the room didn’t seem to understand her declaration.

Root leaned into Shaw with a completely bewildered look on her face and whispered, “Who is getting married?”

“You and I.” Shaw leaned into Root, always taken back a little at how damn good her assistant always smelled. Root looked at Shaw so confused. “You and I are getting married,” Shaw smiled at Root and awkwardly patted her stomach, then tried for a hug on one arm and withdrew, not used to touching people casually.

“We are…” Root was in a daze and stiff. Did Shaw just pat her on the stomach? Was she actually pressed up against her boss’s chest with her strong arm snug around her waist? The three top people in the company that she loved were staring at her hard, waiting for an ‘I Do’. She stared back blankly and mumbled out, “…getting married.” It still almost sounded like a question, yet a little firmer this time from Root’s mouth.

“We are getting married,” Shaw said more firmly and continued to smile at Nathan and Arthur as she awkwardly patted Root’s belly again. She then wondered why she was patting Root’s belly.

“We are,” still almost a question out of Root’s mouth. She then awkwardly reached for Shaw’s hand on her stomach and patted it.

“Isn’t she your secretary?” asked Nathan with an extreme look of confusion.

“Assistant,” Shaw lightly barked back.

“Executive Assistant,” Root corrected both of them.

Shaw then winked to the two men, “Wouldn’t be the first time one of us fell for our secretaries. Would it, Nathan?” Shaw paused for a moment then said in a lower voice, “Veronica, remember? So, yeah. The truth is, you know, Root and I, we’re...” Shaw looked into Root’s big brown eyes and got a little stuck for a moment, “…are just two people who weren’t meant to fall in love, but we did.”

“Yeah…no…” Root softly said as she shook her head in a confused daze, she didn’t know if she was in a waking nightmare or some cheesy romcom Hallmark movie dream sequence. Maybe a combination of both? Or maybe her boss was punking her? Maybe that old show was making a comeback?

“All those late nights at the office and gaming conventions...” Shaw did another great, forced fake smile, especially giving a high wattage smile to Root showing off her gorgeous teeth, scanning her eyes up and down her assistant’s body landing back on her lips. “Yeah...” She glanced and looked over to her flummoxed superiors.

“No…yeah,” Root shook her head a little to get out of the Shaw trance. Her head was spinning, or was the room spinning, she thought.

“Something happened that uhh…” Shaw searched for words to sell this insane idea to her board of directors, she widened her eyes to Root for some possible help; but her assistant just looked like a sweet deer caught in super intense bright headlights on a pitch-black road.

“Something…quite…” Root was at a loss for words too. She felt weird being this close to Shaw, she then stared into Shaw’s eyes and got lost for a moment, “….yeah…and uh, she’s pretty…” Root needed to stop talking.

Shaw moved her hand up for Root to stop talking. “Yeah…we tried to fight it and... can’t fight a...” Shaw once again patted Root’s stomach awkwardly. “Can’t fight a love like ours, so...”

Root stood there frozen; she then looked Shaw. Shaw grabbed Root’s hand to hold; her boss’s hand felt warm and soft Root thought. The two women still stood pressed up against each other, holding hands that felt completely foreign to both women, yet they looked like they fit together.

“Are we good with this? Are you happy? Because, well, we are happy. So happy.” Shaw raised up their joined hands stiffly.

Root continued to look completely dazed and confused, like a lost puppy.

“Sameen,” Arthur spoke up and watched the two women carefully.

“Yes?” Shaw asked nicely with her plastered fake smile on her face.

“It’s terrific,” Arthur seemed genuinely happy for them.

“Just make it legal,” said Nathan, he motioned to his ring finger; he seemed way more disbelieving than Arthur.

“Legal. Yeah, well, then that means we...we need to get ourselves to the immigration office. So we can work this whole mess out. Right, babe?”

Shaw patted Root again as she nudged her out of the office. Her assistant was stiff and slow moving to the door. “Thank you very much, gentlemen. We will do that right away.”

“Thank you too?” words just tumbled out of Root’s mouth as Shaw pulled her out of the office. Shaw squeezed Root hard on the side because she was making everything sound like a question, the squeeze elicited a small yelp from the assistant.

“Gentlemen, thank you,” Shaw said one last time as she pulled Root, pushed her out and closed the door.

They both stood on the other side of the door staring down at the floor.

Then Shaw didn’t miss a beat; she walked off towards her office as if nothing totally weird just happened. Root watched perplexed as her boss or bizarrely her fiancé walked back to her office like normal. Wide-eyed Root followed behind Shaw down the hall and through the cubicles. As the two women made their way to their part of the office, the entire staff was watching them, mostly with shocked expressions.

An instant message with the words - ‘SHAW AND ROOT ARE GETTING MARRIED???!!?! WTF???!! ANdlkldVKzxldakDAEALVKDLDKEHAflajeD’ – popped up all over the office instant message system.

There were so many pop up messages going on around the Thornhill office that it sounded like a bubble explosion. Root caught a few people’s eyes, and they looked terribly stunned, in particular, Claire motioned widely with her hands. Root followed Shaw back to her office with a bewildered look on her face, yet to some annoying people, she did throw a smug look like, ‘Yeah, I banged the boss.’

There were several murmurs going around the office floor, some the ones that Root could hear included –

‘WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?’
‘BITCH BOSS BE BANGING HER ASSISTANT?!?!’
‘IS ROOT INSANE???’
‘HER?’
‘MARRIED? DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEY WERE DATING’
‘THEY TOTALLY HAVE HATE FUCK EYE SEX ALL THE TIME’

Root did whip her head around to see who had said the last one; she squinted her eyes at several people. As much as Root was loved around the office, much like her boss, she was also feared some times for her extreme brilliance and unsettling, slightly murderous stares at times.

When they finally got back to Shaw’s office, Root closed the door while looking at all her co-workers watch her close the door. She watched Shaw go sit behind her desk and go about her normal business day with just regular business stuff. She stood in front of her desk and crossed her arms against her chest.

“What?” asked Shaw like she was asking about an email and not about a major life event.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” Root stared hard down at Shaw extremely confused, her dress seemed very wrinkled all of a sudden.

“Relax. This is for you, too,” Shaw said a little too smugly.

“Do explain,” Root raised her eyebrows, completely intrigued and perplexed.

“They were going to make Jeremy CEO,” Shaw sighed, stopped what she was doing on her computer, and looked up at Root.

Root looked at her a tad more bewildered, “So naturally, I would have to marry you?” She worked on trying to connect the dots.

“And what’s the problem? Like you were saving yourself for someone special?” Shaw snorted, which didn’t go over well with Root.

“I like to think so,” Root squinted her eyes at Shaw. “Besides, it’s illegal.”

“They’re looking for terrorists, not for game developers.”

Root tried to make eye contact with a distracted Shaw. “Sameen.” She thought maybe using her forbidden first name might help.

It did. Shaw looked up at Root. “Yes?”

“I’m not going to marry you,” Root said while staring seriously at Shaw.

“Sure, you are. Because if you don’t, your dreams of touching the lives of millions with positive female realistic game characters are dead. Jeremy is going to fire you the second I’m gone. Guaranteed. That means you’re out on the street looking for a job.” Shaw leaned on her elbows to push the point, “That means all the time that we spent together, the black hole coffees, the canceled dates, the midnight steak runs, were all for nothing and all your dreams of being a programmer and developer are gone.”

Shaw stared intensely into Root’s eyes.

Shaw watched Root; she was unable to read her assistant at this moment. Root watched her closely.

“Don’t worry, after the required allotment of time, we’ll get a divorce, and you’ll be done with me. But until then, like it or not, your wagon is hitched to mine.” Shaw made a gesture with her hand to close the point.

Root stood motionless as she watched her boss. How did she get herself in this situation? Marry Sameen Shaw? Marry Sameen Shaw to defraud the government? To save her job? Okay, yes, she did want to save her job. And maybe, just maybe being fake married to Shaw could be fun. Maybe for once, she could do the torture instead of always being tortured by her boss. However, this could end in nothing but disaster. Or fun really could go either way. Mostly disaster, though.

“Okay? Phone.” Shaw pointed out that her phone was ringing on Root’s desk. Another busy day at the office, despite the getting engaged part. Root walked out slowly back to her desk, still stunned.

During their lunch break, Shaw dragged Root to the immigration offices with her. When they arrived at the offices, there was a massive line. Shaw bypassed it and went up to one of the front windows. Root sighed; she didn’t much appreciate cutters or self-entitled people. And the thought of marrying one for fraud was making her stomach feel queasy.

Shaw saw Root was uneasy, so she turned to the next person in line and lied.

“Sorry, I need to ask him something really quick.” She then turned to the annoyed man working the window, “I need for you to file this fiancée visa for me, please.”

Shaw gave both the immigration clerk and the person who’s place she stole in line with a big smile, one of her best smiles. Even Root admitted a lot of people were powerless against this one smile of Shaw’s, begrudgingly even herself.

“Ms. Shaw?” asked the annoyed immigration worker.

“Yes.” Shaw said while she motioned for Root to stand closer to her.

“Please, come with me,” said the annoyed immigration worker as he ushered through the locked doors to offices behind him.

Shaw pulled Root along with her as they headed off towards an immigration office further back into the building.

They were seated in Mr. Hersh’s office and waited for him rather impatiently.

Finally, a tall, stern-looking man in a crisp government-grade business suit entered the office, “Hello. I’m Mr. Hersh.” He sat down at his extremely organized desk; the pleasantries were short-lived. “Sorry about the wait.”

“We understand. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you seeing us on such short notice,” Shaw gave a big smile to Hersh, in hopes of working her charm and beauty on him.

She thought maybe if she wasn’t his cup of tea, Root could turn on some charm; she had seen her assistant work something close to resembling charm a few times in difficult work situations with other departments in the company.

“So, I have one question for you,” Hersh stared hard at Root then Shaw, “Are you both committing fraud to avoid her deportation so she can keep her position as CEO at Thornhill Digital Arts?”

“That’s ridiculous. Where did you hear that?” Shaw was surprised; Root looked on more surprised and a little worried.

“We had a phone tip this afternoon from a man named...” Hersh read off a report on his desk.

“Would it be Jeremy Lambert?” asked Shaw with a scowl on her face.

“Yes a Mr. Lambert,” Hersh looked up at Shaw from the report.

“Jeremy. Poor Jeremy. I am so sorry. Jeremy is nothing but a disgruntled former employee. And I apologize. We know you’re incredibly busy with a room full of gardeners and delivery boys to tend to.” At this extremely offensive remark, Root closed her eyes and cringed. “If you just give us our next step, we will be out of your hair and on our way.”

Hersh kept his blank expression, “Ms. Shaw, please. Let me explain to you the process that’s about to unfold. Step one will be a scheduled interview. I’ll put you each in a room, and I’ll ask you every little question that a real couple would know about each other. Step two, I dig deeper. I look at your phone records. I talk to your neighbors. I interview your co-workers. If your answers don’t match up at every point, you will be deported indefinitely.”

Hersh stared very harshly and intensely at both women.

Then Hersh put his full, intense dead-eye stare on Root alone now, “And you, pretty lady, will have committed a felony punishable by a fine of $250,000 and a stay of five years in federal prison.” Hersh let the thought sink in then pushed hard, “So, Root. You wanna... you want to talk to me?”

Root did let this somewhat scary information sink in, yet she still shook her head no to Hersh.

“No?” asked Hersh, watching Root, possibly having an internal moral struggle, “Yes?”

Shaw watched both of them; she looked over to Root and did her best encouraging smile to her assistant.

Root took a big gulp of air. “The truth is...Mr. Hersh, the truth is...a vast thing. Sameen and I...” Root stammered a bit, trying to compose her thoughts. Was she going to go along with this now that the stakes were real, dangerous, and pretty awful? She looked over to Shaw, who being the strongest person she knew, actually looked a little scared at the moment. Seeing Shaw look a little scared made her stronger while, for some reason, also making her eyes a little misty. Because if Shaw was a little scared, she wanted to be the one to help, like she had been for the past three years. “...are just two people who weren’t supposed to fall in love.”

Mr. Hersh remained expressionless and darted his eyes back and forth between the two women.

Root continued, “But we did.” She looked over to Shaw, who nodded her head yes and gave her a warm smile. This caused Hersh to lean back in his chair. “We couldn’t tell anyone we work with…” she just had one of the best ideas of her life, she was going to get something out of this if the stakes were raised that high. Root reached over and draped one arm on the back of Shaw’s chair, “…because of my...big promotion that I had coming up.”

“Promotion?” Mr. Hersh asked very skeptically.

Root held down a smirk because she could tell by the look on Shaw’s face she wanted to bust out the same response, but she held her tongue wisely. And her boss opted instead for a head nod that wasn’t entirely convincing as she squinted her eyes at her assistant.

“Yeah. We, we both felt that it would be deeply inappropriate if I were to be promoted to Senior Programmer...”

Shaw caught on to this game and corrected her assistant, “Programmer.”

“Senior Programmer….” Root said firmly, slamming her point home; she noticed Shaw gritting her teeth and squinting her eyes at her, “...while technically I was still under her...professionally and physically…you know what I mean?” Root did one of her non-wink trademarks to Hersh, who still remained a stone-cold butch.

“Have the two of you told your parents about your secret love?” Hersh leaned back to his desk to make notes on the report.

“Oh, I... impossible. My parents are dead. No brothers or sisters either,” Shaw said with very little sadness.

“Are your parents dead?” Hersh asked Root.

Shaw jumped in and spoke for Root.

“Yes and no, her aunt and uncle who raised her are very much alive. Well, we were going to tell them this weekend. Gammy’s 90th birthday and the whole family’s coming together. We thought it’d be a nice surprise.” Shaw said all of this while smiling at Root.

Root was completely taken aback with her boss remembering anything about her life and family.

“Where is this surprise going to take place?” asked Hersh, still taking notes.

“At Root’s family house,” Shaw answered.

“Where is that located again?” Hersh asked suspiciously.

“Why am I doing all the talking? Pfff, it’s your family’s house. Why don’t you tell him where it is? Jump in,” Shaw joked with a smile to Root when of course, her assistant knew her limited recall of her life was done.

“Sitka,” Root said while she smiled back to Shaw.

“Sitka,” Shaw tried to say as quickly behind Root as possible as if she knew the answer.

“Alaska,” Root added in case her boss didn’t know where Sitka was located.

“Alaaaaskkkaaa.” Judging by Shaw’s suppressed surprised reaction, she did not know where Sitka was off the top of her head.

“You’re going go to Alaska this weekend?” asked a very skeptical Hersh to the two women.

“Yeah,” Root said with a genuine smile, looked like she was going to get to celebrate Gammy’s 90th birthday after all.

“Yes, yes. We are going to Alaska. Alaska, that’s where...That’s where my little...” Shaw awkwardly reached out and put her hand on Root’s shoulder, “…that’s My Rootey Tootey is from,” Root reached over to put her hand over Shaw’s hand, but her boss had already moved her hand away.

“Fine. I see how this is going to go. I will see you both at 11:00 Monday morning for your scheduled interview, and your answers better match up on every account,” Hersh said sternly to both women.

“Thank you,” Root said as she slowly got up from her chair to flee the tense filled room, and Hersh’s questioning looks back and forth between her and Shaw.

“Looking forward to this,” said Hersh in a completely deadpan way that was pretty scary.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Shaw gave her best fake smile, all teeth. Root knew this was one of her boss’s biggest fake smiles; she usually saved this one for the ‘talent.’

“Thank you,” is all Root could say again as she followed Shaw out of the immigration office.

Root wandered outside in the chilly and busy New York streets; she kept hearing the scary words fine and prison; those words made her head hurt. She looked deeply dazed. Shaw was oblivious as she caught up with her and started talking like she was dictating a grocery store list.

“Okay... so, what’s going to happen is we will go up there to Alaska,” Shaw continued walking on and hadn’t noticed that Root stopped in tracks frozen, “We’ll pretend we’re together, tell your parents we’re engaged. Use the miles for the tickets. I guess I will pop for you to fly first class. But make sure you use the miles. If we don’t get the miles, we’re not doing it. Please, confirm the steak meal. ‘Cause last time they gave my steak to somebody else, and they forced me to eat this vegan meal thing, go cow or go home...Hey, I’m...” Shaw finally stopped and looked at Root, “Why aren’t you taking notes?”

Root stared and Shaw and pointed to the immigration building with a serious look on her face, “I’m sorry, were you not in that room?”

Shaw looked like she wasn’t getting a punchline of a joke, “What? What?” Shaw shook her head at Root, “The thing you said about being promoted? Genius! Genius. He completely fell for it.” Shaw gave a genuine smirk to Root; clearly, she was impressed with Root’s fast thinking.

Root moved closer to Shaw and was super serious, “This is serious. I’m looking at a $250,000 fine and five years in jail. That changes things.”

“Promote you to a programmer? No, no way,” Shaw scoffed and looked at her phone instead of looking back into Root’s eyes.

“Then I quit, and you’re screwed,” Root shrugged and started walking away from Shaw, “Bye-bye, Sameen.”

Shaw couldn’t believe Root was walking from her; she had never seen her assistant walk away from her; never in the three years, they had been together. Wait, she thought the three years they had been working together, again she thought the three years Root was working for her. She felt furious, needing Root so badly at this moment. Without thinking anymore, she yelled way too loudly, “Root!”

“It has been a slice of heaven,” Root continued on, walking down the street.

“Root, Root! Fine, fine,” Shaw walked to catch up to Root. “I’ll make you a programmer. Fine.” Shaw stared intensely into Root’s eyes as her assistant slowly walked back towards her. “If you do the Alaska weekend and the immigration interview, I will make you a programmer. Happy?” Shaw squinted her eyes at Root.

“And not in two years. Right away,” Root stared back at Shaw and invaded her personal space; she was feeling pretty confident with her boss right now.

“Fine.” Shaw gritted her teeth and flared her nostrils.

“And you’ll develop my game. Six-month development...” Root’s eyes sparkled with excitement.

“12-month development,” Shaw countered back, not backing away from the Root personal space invasion.

“Six-month. And we’ll tell my family about our engagement when I want and how I want,” Root watched Shaw, who let out a big sigh, “Now, ask me nicely.” Root’s eyes sparkled again, staring at Shaw.

“Ask you nicely what?” Shaw stared back, momentarily confused.

“Ask me nicely to marry you, Sameen.” Root tilted her head with a small smile at Shaw then bit her lower lip.

“What does that mean?” asked Shaw with a huff as she stared at Root, why did the woman have to be so infuriating attractive even when she was annoying.

“You heard me. On your knee,” Root said in a demanding tone as she pointed to the hard New York street pavement.

“Fine,” Shaw rolled her eyes and then slowly lowered herself onto the pavement, it was a little hard in her skin-tight black leather pants, tailored blazer, and high heeled boots; she finally managed. “Does this work for you?” she asked Root, sarcastically looking up at her. Shaw didn’t want to admit that Root’s demanding tone did something funky to her stomach.

“Oh, I like this. Yeah,” Root had a very pleased, almost suggestive look on her face as she looked down at Shaw on her knees. She had to admit seeing the Sameen Shaw on her knees was a pretty attractive sight.

Despite fighting the slight urge to kick her boss for all the holidays she was forced to miss while working, it was pretty hot seeing Shaw on her knees. Root kind of hated to admit just how alluring Shaw looked on her knees. It wasn’t every day your drop-dead gorgeous no-nonsense romantically impaired boss dropped to her knees to fake propose.

Shaw let out a big huffy sigh, then stared very intensely into Root’s eyes as she slowly and in a deeper voice than usual, “Will you marry me?” Shaw could tell this had an effect on her assistant, and she held down a smug smirk; instead, she opted for an eye roll.

“No.” Root stared hard at her boss. Shaw had never realized how intense Root’s eyes could be, no wonder her assistant was so well respected around the office. She held her gaze despite feeling a little uncomfortable, even for someone as stoic as she was. Root pushed hard, “Say it like you mean it.” Root reached out and lightly touched Shaw’s shoulder.

Shaw decided that if her assistant needed to hear an earnest fake proposal, she would give her a snarky one. “Root?” She said in an overly saccharine tone.

“Yes, Sameen?” Root batted her eyelashes at Shaw, playing along with her.

“Sweet Root?” Shaw reached out and grabbed one of Root’s hands to hold; she rubbed her thumb over Root’s skin.

“I’m listening,” Root despite herself might have purred a little; she enjoyed hearing her name, said nicely by Shaw and not her usual bark. And the hand-holding, thumb rubbing over the top of her hand was a very nice touch; her stomach felt weird and airy.

“Would you please, with apples on top, marry me?”

Shaw did know Root loved apples, and she could tell by the slight look on her assistant’s face she was surprised her cold-hearted boss remembered this little factoid.

Root looked down at Shaw and acted like she was thinking over the proposal.

“Okay. I don’t appreciate the sarcasm, but I’ll do it. See you at the airport tomorrow,” Root smiled quickly and pulled her hand away slowly. Her smile then morphed into a slightly annoyed face as she walked away from Shaw.

“Good. You’ll be taking my name! Yours sucks.” Shaw yelled after her assistant, Root turned her head and flashed a wicked smile which kind of scared Shaw, then she continued walking down the New York busy street.

Chapter Text

Root and Shaw barely had to prepare for making their flight to Alaska. As they sat in first-class seats on the long flight, they went over the immigration questions they needed to know all the answers about each other. Shaw sat in a pristine specially tailored black suit with a tightly wound ponytail holding up her silky, shiny black hair. Root went with a more relaxed casual look with black jeans, a dark blue top under a leather jacket, brown hair with certain curves, and waves looking freer than at work. They looked like they were going to completely different destinations.

"So, these are the questions that INS is going to ask us," Root flipped through the packet of questions while Shaw read through a magazine. "Now, the good news is, I know everything about you, but the bad news is that you have four days to learn all this about me," Root said with a head tilt to Shaw, "So, you should...probably get studying."

Shaw gave Root an annoyed look as she yanked the packet out of her hands, "You know all the answers to these questions about me?"

"Scary, isn't it?" Root scrunched up her nose in the most adorable way to answer Shaw.

"A little bit," Shaw stopped on one page and read a question, "What am I allergic to?"

"Pine nuts. And the full spectrum of human emotions," Root teased Shaw, who gave her an epic eye roll in return.

"One of those is true, and the other is...kind of true," Shaw moved on quickly, "Here's a good one. Do I have any scars?"

"I'm pretty sure that you have a tattoo," Root teased to Shaw.

"Oh, you're pretty sure?" Shaw teased right back.

"I'm pretty sure. Two years ago, your dermatologist called and asked about a Q-switched laser. I Googled a Q-switched laser and found that they, in fact, do remove tattoos. But you canceled your appointment."

Root leaned into Shaw's space, and her face lit up a little, "So what is it? Tribal ink? Persian calligraphy? Barbed wire?” Root smiled wide along with raised eyebrows to her boss, who gave back a blank stare then smirked in return.

"You know, it's exciting for me to experience you like this," Shaw said with a fake smile to Root. She stood her ground with the Root personal space invasion; she liked this looser side of her assistant, although if Root had said that she probably would have decked her in the office.

"You're going to have to tell me where it is. Or...show me," Root threw the last part in with a suggestive tone for fun to see Shaw's reaction. Plus, she totally wouldn't mind seeing a body part of her boss's, any body part.

"No way," Shaw fired back quickly.

"They're gonna ask," Root pushed further.

"We're done with that question. Let me see, let me see," Shaw flipped through the pages looking for another question hoping to stump Root, "Oh, here's one. Whose place do we stay at, yours or mine? That's easy. Mine." Shaw sat smugly in her chair.

"And why wouldn't we stay at mine?" Root asked defensively.

"Because I live at Central Park West. And you probably live at some squalid little studio apartment below a subway with purple shag carpet and lava lamps," Shaw said rather flippantly while continuing to glance through the packet.

Root gave Shaw a mean stare back for the comment. She loved her studio apartment, okay so it might have a lava lamp and some purple here, and there, it was very well decorated and very cozy. Once the sting wore off, they stayed in comfortable silence for most of the rest of the flight, both having tons of work to do.

Later, they broke out of their work trances by the captain's announcement that the plane was starting its descent.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts. We are beginning our descent into Juneau."

Root looked out the window of her so-called home state in awe and a little fear. She did love being back here, yet she was afraid of what her Uncle Harold would say about everything. He had been furious when she moved to New York to pursue her dream of video game development, and he discovered some of her nefarious hacking skills. He wanted to leave their small family empire to run, but she wanted to be in New York to go after her own small empire.

Shaw's voice shook Root out of her serious thoughts, "Juneau? I thought we were going to Sitka," Shaw asked Root, confused.

"Oh, we are," Root said with a slight smirk.

"How are we getting to Sitka?"

Root and Shaw were in much tighter seats on the small plane to Sitka; they were practically sitting on top of each other. Shaw didn't mind the small bumpy plane into the smaller airport, but she kept up her annoyed outer appearance to torment Root. However, that plan seemed to be backfiring as Root enjoyed watching her boss be uncomfortable too much.

They finally reached their destination of the small Sitka airport. Root stepped out of the plane and immediately saw her Aunt Grace and Gammy Annie holding cute signs with her name on it eagerly awaiting her arrival. She couldn't help the high wattage smile towards her sweet family. Root started walking briskly toward them, leaving Shaw in the dust, the tables were turned with Shaw following behind Root instead of the other way around which it has always been.

"Root!" Both Aunt Grace and Gammy Annie yelled as Root got closer and closer.

"Hi! Oh my gosh, is it good to see you!" As soon as Root was close enough, her Aunt Grace pulled her into a very tight hug. She kept hugging Root as Gammy Annie looked on.

Shaw could see all of this from far away and felt a little uneasy seeing the big warm welcome Root was getting from her family; she felt a bit out of her element. It had been so long since her parents had died and with no other family members; she never did anything remotely family-oriented. Over the years, Shaw just concentrated more and more on work.

"You're suffocating her, Grace." Gammy said as she gently pushed Aunt Grace aside so she could hug Root, "Come here."

"Hey, Gammy," Root hugged Gammy tightly while she smiled her biggest smile. "How are you doing?"

Root pulled back to smile at her Aunt Grace and Gammy Annie, so happy to see her two favorite women. She looked around and didn't see the one man that she loved yet seemed always to disappoint no matter what she did.

"Where's Uncle Harry?" asked Root a little hurt that her uncle hadn't shown up at the airport, then again the man was a huge mystery sometimes.

"Oh, you know, your uncle. He's always working," Aunt Grace just brushed it off as she went in for another quick hug with Root.

Gammy was all smiles, so excited to have Root home, "Never mind about him. Where's your lady?"

Root saw Shaw stalking towards them, a huge duffel bag swung over one shoulder, and two other rather large bags swung over her other shoulder. She was dressed all in black and looked fierce. Root smiled, watching her boss, she was quite the sight. She stomped closer to them in some serious heeled boots; Root pointed Shaw out to Gammy and Aunt Grace.

"She's...right there. There she is."

Gammy raised her eyebrows when she saw Shaw, not what she was expecting at all.

"I guess the word 'lady' is inappropriate." The older woman tried to hide her mild shock at finally meeting. Root's much talked about boss.

"Annie," Aunt Grace said quickly, with a slight light slap to Gammy Annie's arm for the catty comment. Then she got a huge smile on her face when Shaw was before them, "Hi!" She went in for a hug with Shaw, but instead, the fierce woman offered a firm handshake.

"Hello," Shaw smiled to both women then turned to look at Root, who couldn't help a genuine smile spread across her face watching her boss look awkward with her family.

"Shaw, this is my Aunt Grace," Root pointed to Aunt Grace.

"Hello," Aunt Grace said while nodding to Root and Shaw.

"Yeah, great," Shaw said, she wasn't a fan of meeting new people and especially family members of people.

"This is my Gammy Annie," Root swung her arm around Gammy's shoulder and gave her a squeeze.

"Pleasure," Shaw smiled again to the older woman; she knew Root really loved these women.

"Well, hello there. Now, do you prefer being called Shaw or Satan's Mistress? We've heard it both ways. Actually, we've heard it lots of ways," Gammy completely deadpanned this statement, and everyone stood frozen for a few seconds.

Then Aunt Grace broke the ice with a warm-hearted laugh, "She's kidding."

"Uh, okay," Shaw smiled nervously and did a small fake laugh, "Thank you so much for... allowing me to be a part of this weekend."

Gammy smiled at Shaw and then added in such a sweet voice, "Oh, you're welcome. We're thrilled to have you. Let's get you two back to the fort."

"Okay, yeah…" as Shaw turned around to make sure she had all her bags, Root was already walking off with her family.

"It's so good to see you," Aunt Grace said while putting her arm over Root's shoulder. They had positioned Root in the middle so they could both hug her while they walked towards the parking lot. Shaw just watched the trio walk away, she felt out of her element in Alaska.

As Aunt Grace drove the four of them through the town, Shaw looked out the window and kept noticing so many buildings and businesses with the word 'Groves' on them. She did a double-take at Root. They were sitting alone in the backseat of a truck while the two older women sat in the front.

She whispered so only Root could hear, "Root...Root. Root!" When her assistant didn't respond, she hit her in the arm. Hard.

Root made a quiet 'ouch' face to Shaw, so her Aunt Grace and Gammy didn't hear. "Please, can you bite me instead." She did her non-wink and whispered back to Shaw, who scowled back to her.

"You didn't tell me about all the family businesses, babe." Shaw made kind of a sinister grin to Root, who just shrugged back to her.

"She was probably just being modest, dear," Gammy said while she smiled at the two younger women sitting in the backseat, who had heard the whole conversation. Gammy was 90 years old with excellent hearing.

Aunt Grace stopped the truck, and they started taking the luggage out of the bed and heading towards a boat dock. Shaw was confused.

"What are we doing? Shouldn't we check into our hotel right now?"

"Oh, we canceled your reservation. Family doesn't stay at a hotel. You're going stay in our home," Aunt Grace with a warm smile to Shaw.

"Oh, great. Great," Shaw smiled back to Aunt Grace then yanked on Root's leather jacket to pull her closer and whispered angrily, "What?"

Root just shrugged again and made a helpless face, "You're going wanna use your legs to lift that one. How much hardware did you bring?" Root dropped Shaw's bags after she got them out of the bed of the truck and walked to catch up with Aunt Grace and Gammy.

Shaw was getting herself situated with carrying her three large luggage pieces when Aunt Grace motioned to Root, "Root! Help her with those."

"I'd love to, but she won't let me do anything. She insists on doing it all herself." Root started walking on and leaving Shaw behind. "She won't even let me get coffee for her; she likes to get her own coffee." Shaw shot a death glare over to Root. "Come on, sweetie."

Gammy said in a hushed tone to Aunt Grace, "You see the boots that broad was wearing?"

Root started throwing their luggage down on the dock where Aunt Grace and Gammy were waiting. Shaw cringed every time one of her bags was thrown down, thinking of her laptop, tablets, and other electronic devices being tossed around. Then one of her bags landed in the water, and she nearly yelled bloody murder at Root.

Root just said casually, "Five-second rule." She had to hold down a giggle; this was a lot of fun for her watching Shaw's restrained reactions.

Aunt Grace hurried and fished it out of the water, "Got it! Got it." And then put the bag on the boat.

"That will dry right off," Root said to Shaw with a smirk as she started getting on the ladder to descend to the lower boat dock where the boat was located.

Shaw hissed to Root, "My laptop was in there babe." The way she said babe sounded like a profanity. She looked down and saw the small boat and shook her head. She hadn't swum since she was a kid, she wasn't a fan, and since she never took vacations, it was never an issue. "I'm not getting on that boat."

"You don't have to. See you in a few days," Root shrugged and started lowering herself down further down the ladder to the lower dock to the boat.

Shaw sighed; she hated saying this out loud. "You know I'm not the best swimmer." She prided herself on being a black belt, on running marathons and many other physical endurances, but swimming was one sport she hadn't spent much time on.

"Hence, the boat," Root said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

After Root was down on the lower deck, Shaw shook her head and finally started descending on the ladder very slowly. Way too slowly for Root, yet she was snarkier than actually impatient.

"Come on. Here we go." Root couldn't believe how slow Shaw was going; she was one of the most fearless people she knew, and getting on a boat for some reason was unsettling her. "Looking good, boss. Take your time, though."

Aunt Grace and Gammy were on the boat, watching this whole scene with open mouths. "She comes with a lot of baggage," Gammy said in a deadpan tone to Aunt Grace.

On one step of the ladder, Shaw's heeled boot couldn't find the step, so Root took this opportunity to put her hand on her boss's ass to help guide her, it was the perfect place to grab hold and help.

"Just going to give you a little hand here." Root enjoyed the brief moment of ass groping; Shaw had one of the finest asses. Unknown to Shaw, she even won the assistants pool on best asses, and Root didn't even hack it, well a little.

Shaw growled out, "Hand off ass! Off ass!"

Root quickly withdrew her hand with a smirk. After what felt like several long minutes, Shaw got closer to the boat, "There you go. You're there." Shaw finally stood up and smoothed down her black blazer now that she was finally on the lower boat dock. "Congratulations. I'm a hundred years old now."

The boat ride was fairly short and beautifully scenic, utterly gorgeous in every direction. Shaw couldn't believe this was where Root was from; it didn't seem quite to fit her assistant; then, sometimes it did. Shaw watched Root drive the boat flawlessly like she was some other woman and not her assistant, who sometimes she barked out to get deli sandwiches at all hours of the day or night. This Root was driving a boat while wearing a leather jacket, her brown lightly curled on the ends hair blowing in the wind, was not a terrible sight. Since Shaw had sunglasses on, she felt like she could take a longer look without her assistant noticing. She turned to Gammy, who was watching her watch Root, she smiled politely.

Gammy turned her face to the water and rolled her eyes; she wasn't so sure of this Shaw woman.

When the boat pulled up to a dock, Shaw couldn't believe her eyes, before her was a mansion sitting on a truly majestic piece of land.

"Here we are. We're home," Aunt Grace said warmly, not out of pride, just a woman who was so happy her family was all together.

"That is your home? Who are you, people? Why did you tell me you were poor?" Shaw said to Root; she had so many questions for her assistant.

"I never said I was poor," Root said, truthfully back to Shaw.

"But you never told me you were rich."

"I'm not rich. My parents are rich," Root continued, walking towards the big house.

"Okay, you know what? That's something only rich people say," Shaw threw back to Root.

Aunt Grace and Gammy walked ahead of them, but exchanged glances to each other; obviously, they could hear the two women bickering.

"Hey, Root! Welcome home!" someone shouted from the yard, where other people were milling about.

"Hi!" Root yelled back then turned to her family, shocked, "Aunt Grace, what is this?"

"Nothing. It's just a little welcoming party. Is that a crime?" Aunt Grace smiled at Root.

"Just 50 of our closest friends and neighbors," said Gammy so happy towards the fake couple, then a bigger smile to Shaw, "And all excited to meet you."

"Oh, good. Good." Shaw was not happy about being thrown into a welcoming party, although by the look on Root's face, she wasn't happy either.

"Come on. Come on," Gammy said to Root and Shaw, motioning them to keep walking.

"A party?" Shaw hissed to Root; she had to ask again because she couldn't believe there was a party.

"Yeah, I guess so," Root said rather glumly, she didn't look excited about the prospect of a party either. "Come on. Let's go. My grandma's moving faster than you. I know you're better at cardio than this." Shaw turned around and gave Root a hard glare.

There was quite a crowd at the Groves big house for the 'Welcome Root and her new girlfriend to Alaska' party. There was a full buffet with also catering waiters walking around with hors d' oeuvres and even a bar with a bartender. Root and Shaw wandered through the living room, well more Shaw following Root throughout the big house. Random people would come up and talk or say Hi to Root and Shaw.

"So nice to meet you, Shaw. Welcome to Sitka." One couple said quickly to Root and Shaw then moved on.

"Jill? Hi. Nice to meet you," Shaw said back to people with a forced fake smile.

"Our pleasure," the couple walked away from Root and Shaw.

Shaw leaned into Root, "Why didn't you tell me you were some kind of Alaskan Kennedy?"

Root smirked to Shaw, "How could I? We were in the middle of talking about you for the last three years."

Shaw pulled on Root's leather jacket until they were in a little alcove, tucked slightly away from people.

"Okay, know what? Timeout. This bickering Bickerson thing has to stop," Shaw motioned to the space between her and Root. "People need to think we're in love. So let's..."

"I think the bickering legitimizes us even more; it's like we moved past the honeymoon stage and are on our 17th year of marriage," Root leaned into Shaw's personal space as she raised her eyebrows. "The bickering might even lead to better sex."

"Let's stick to the honeymoon phase okay," Shaw didn't lean away, but it was kind of intense having Root this close and saying the word sex; she felt a little weird. Root's leather jacket and casual look weren't helping the situation.

"That's not a problem. I can do that. I can pretend to be the doting fiancée. That's easy. But for you, it's going to require that you stop snacking on children while they dream," Root tilted her head to her boss.

"Very funny. When are you going to tell them we're engaged?"

Root scanned the room, "I'll pick the right moment."

A couple came upon them and started talking before they could finish their conversation, which is what had been happening the entire party.

"Hey, Root. Hi!" said a middle-aged woman holding a cocktail standing next to a middle-aged man, obviously her husband.

"Mrs. McKittrick. How are you? Nice to see you." Root reached out and hugged the woman and shook hands with the man. "Nice to see you, Mr. McKittrick. This is Shaw." Root put her arm around Shaw's waist and pulled her closer.

"Hi. Pleasure," Shaw said with a fake smile as she shook the couple's hands. "Shaw. Hi, how are you?" Root watched her boss; she could be smooth sometimes while being fake with people; being extremely attractive did help with it.

Mrs. McKittrick looked to both of them, "So I always wanted to know, what does a video game maker do?"

"That's a great question, Louise. I'm curious to know the answer myself," a man wearing glasses and a full piece suit with vest appeared from the corner and joined the conversation. Immediately the air felt a little tense.

"Hi, Uncle Harry," Root said affectionately yet a bit guarded.

"Samantha," Uncle Harry nodded and looked to Shaw. "This must be Sameen," his tone sounded rather condescending.

"Shaw," Shaw corrected Uncle Harry right away, this man already prickled her. She reached out and shook Uncle Harry's hand, then motioned to her fake fiancée, "Root." She didn't know why, but it bothered her that this Uncle Harry called Root the name Samantha when she knew her assistant vehemently preferred her chosen name.

"Harold. A pleasure to meet you," Uncle Harold said as he watched both women closely like they were on trial.

"Pleasure's mine," Shaw said with another fake smile, she was glad that Root had her hand on her back, it was oddly comforting. Maybe Root needed the comfort as much as she did. What? Since when did she need comfort from somebody else, she blamed the Alaskan air; she needed the dusty smoggy air of New York to help clear her head.

"So why don't you tell us exactly what a video game maker does," Uncle Harold said as he looked back and forth between Root and Shaw. "Besides taking long lunches, playing Frisbee in Central Park, and getting incapacitated on now legal narcotics."

"Now that sounds like fun. No wonder you like being a video game maker," said Mrs. McKittrick while laughing, Root and Shaw didn't laugh.

Root thought if someone said 'video game maker' one more time, she was going to scream.

"No, Louise. Root's not a video game maker; she's an assistant." Uncle Haroldtoymaker to Shaw. "Sameen, here is the actual toymaker." He was very condescending in his tone. And using the word 'toy maker' was extremely condescending and frankly, just rude Shaw thought.

"Shaw." Shaw repeated her name to Uncle Harold, rather aggressively this time.

The McKittricks looked a little confused in the crossfire. "So you're actually... Root's boss." Mrs. McKittrick pointed to Shaw, then Root.

"Well. How about that," said Mr. McKittrick smiling to Root and Shaw.

"I think I'll get a refill," Uncle Harold said as he walked from them.

Shaw leaned over to Root, "Charming."

Root looked upset; she removed her arm from Shaw's waist and followed after Uncle Harold.

"That's a hell of a first impression, Uncle Harry."

Uncle Harold turned around to face Root. "It is the truth, is it not, Root? You show up after all this time with this woman you hated; now she's your girlfriend?" He raised his voice a little; clearly, he was upset as well.

"We just got here. Can we wait two seconds before we throw the kitchen sink at each other? And for the record, I might have always hated her, but I always thought she was hot." Root felt it was important to throw that last part in, even though it might not have helped her case.

"Just never figured you for a girl who slept her way to the middle." Uncle Harold stumbled overusing the word 'slept'; it was easy to tell this was a word he felt beneath him and definitely beneath anyone in his family.

Root jumped back at him angrily, "I'll have you know that that woman in there is one of the most respected people in the industry."

"She's your meal ticket, and you brought her to meet your family," Uncle Harold fired right back at Root.

"No, no, no. She's not my meal ticket, Uncle Harry. She's my fiancée," Root said as if she was a defiant teenager, she glared at him.

"What'd you say?" asked Uncle Harold, completely dumbfounded.

"You heard me." Root stared her intense gaze at her Uncle Harold. "I'm getting married…to Shaw."

Shaw was milling around the food table when a waiter came up to her, "How you doing?" He had a jolly smile and curly hair; he was wearing the typical catering waiter getup.

"Good, good. Thank you." Shaw did not want to engage in any longer in polite conversations; she didn't care how nice the locals were.

"Care for some hors d 'oeuvres?" asked the nice jolly waiter.

"I'm fine. No, thank you," Shaw tried to wave him off.

"It's a tradition." The waiter shrugged as he held one up to her.

"It's the texture. I'm not a fish person." Shaw was trapped by the food table. "Go cow or go home for me."

"You'll like it."

"I highly doubt it."

Without expecting it, the waiter shoved a fish hors d'oeuvre into Shaw's mouth. She chewed it as best as she could while hating the taste and texture of fish. The waiter watched her and smiled for Shaw's reaction, which did everything in her power not to smack the waiter and spit it out over him.

Then suddenly, she heard Root's voice loudly.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very important announcement to make. Shaw and I are getting married!" Root announced loudly to everyone at the party from the living room.

Shaw then spat out her mouth full of fish hors d 'oeuvres all over the waiter's shirt.

"Uh…sorry."

"That's okay. It's wash-and-wear," the waiter said, truly not bothered that Shaw just spitted fish food over his shirt.

Then Shaw heard Root's voice again. "Yep. Sweetie? Where are you?"

Shaw moved a little so she could lock eyes with Root across the room.

"Here she is," Root said while motioning for Shaw to come join her.
Root caught sight of Shaw and smiled, "Come on down here, baby."

Shaw was completely caught off guard, much like her whole life in the last 24 hours.

"All right," she said as she walked slowly to where Root was standing in the living room. "Okay."

"Oh, look at her. Look at her," Root watched as Shaw got closer, the woman really could rock the color black, and despite their nearly eleven-hour flight, the woman still looked stunning. "Right there, ladies and gentlemen. There she is." Root reached out and grabbed onto Shaw's hands when she came closer and pulled her to stand with her in front of the whole party.

"Congratulations, Root!" several people from the crowd yelled out.

"Thank you!" Root smiled a huge smile at Shaw then to the whole room full of people who were now clapping. "Thank you very much." Root kept holding onto Shaw's hand, and she was pretty surprised her boss allowed their fingers to interlock.

"Time to celebrate!" someone else yelled.

"Let's get the champagne!" Several more people cheered on.

Aunt Grace and Gammy came over and gave big hugs to both Root and Shaw. The party then got a second wind much to the disappointment of Root and Shaw; it was now an engagement party.

Chapter Text

Bottles of champagne were popped open, and the party was getting a frustrating second wind. As soon as Root and Shaw had re-hugged everyone and thanked everyone for their warm wishes, Shaw pulled Root to the side.

“So that was your idea of the perfect time to tell them we’re engaged?” Shaw whispered into Root’s ear.

“Yes, because it was brilliant timing,” Root said very smugly.

Before they could finish their conversation, a tall, pretty blonde woman was upon Root and Shaw, with a huge smile pointed at Root.

“Root. Hi.” The blonde woman was only focused on Root, something that didn’t pass Shaw’s notice.

“Hanna? Oh, my God. Hey, hi. Wow.” Shaw watched as the two women hugged a little too intimately; clearly, they knew each other pretty well.

Root had a huge smile on her face when she hugged this Hanna and kept looking with a kind of dopey face. “How are you doing? I didn’t know that you were going to be here.” Root continued to stare at Hanna, momentarily forgetting Shaw was standing next to them.

“Aunt Grace probably wanted it to be a surprise. So... surprise,” Hanna said with a blush on her face, smiling at Root.

“Right,” Root smiled back at Hanna in surprise.

“And...” Hanna turned to Shaw, who just did a half-smile at her, “... we’re being completely rude. Hi.”

“Shaw…” Root was at a loss for words, then just decided to go with the blunt truth, “…this is my ex...” She trailed off not finishing the name, instead Root stared at the tall, pretty blonde woman a little dazed.

“Hi. I’m Hanna,” Hanna reached out to shake Shaw’s hand.

“Oh…uh wow…” Shaw was surprised to meet someone from Root’s past, like her past-past. It was clear how the two women were beaming at each other; it probably wasn’t that terrible of a break-up. Or maybe it was some short summer fling. Whatever it was, Shaw didn’t like the tall, gorgeous blonde woman named Hanna. Gut feeling.

“Well, congratulations, you guys,” Hanna smiled at both Root and Shaw as they stood there awkwardly.

They both said, ‘Thank you’ at the same time, then Shaw did a quick jab to Root’s side, which she got back a smirk in return.

“So, did I miss the story?” Hanna asked excitedly to Root and Shaw.

“What story?” Again, both Root and Shaw said almost at the same time with completely confused looks on their faces. This time Root jabbed Shaw in the side, getting an evil glare in return. They also shook their heads over confusion about what story was being referred to.

“About how you proposed,” Hanna said while she smiled warmly at them.

Damn it, Shaw thought; this chick was actually nice. She seemed to care genuinely.

Gammy Annie sitting on the nearby couch with Aunt Grace, could hear everything, “How a couple gets engaged says a lot about their relationship.” She nodded to Aunt Grace then Root.

“Yes,” Hanna agreed with Gammy Annie. “Yes, it does.”

“I actually would love to hear the story, Root.” Aunt Grace spoke up and looked to Root and Shaw with sweet eyes, both of them looking slightly bewildered, “Would you tell us?” Aunt Grace smiled with such a hopeful smile; it even warmed Shaw a little.

Root decided to have some fun with this and turned to look at Shaw, “You know what? Actually, Shaw loves…loves telling this story, so I’m just gonna let her go ahead and do that.” Root moved slightly away from Shaw to give her more a center stage effect for the storytelling; she sat on the edge of the nearby couch next to Aunt Grace and Gammy.

“Because I think we should just sit in rapture.”

Shaw discreetly squinted her eyes at Root, “Wow, okay.” Shaw put one hand on a chair and one hand on her hip, “Wow, where to begin... this story. Well...” Shaw looked over to all the people in the nicely decorated living room hanging on her every word. “Wow. Yeah. Okay, well…” Shaw was also thinking to herself how Root was going to pay for this later, severely. Keep it simple, she thought, then she thought – no torture Root.

“Root and I…” Shaw stared hard at Root, who, in return, did not return the hard stare, “Root and I were about to celebrate our first anniversary together.”

Root looked down at Gammy, and she smiled warmly back up at Root, so far so good. Uncle Harold wandered in from the library to hear the story with a very skeptical look on his face.

“And I knew that she’d been itching to ask me to marry her. And she was scared. Like a little tiny bird. Or a rather tall, lanky, clumsy bird, like Big Bird.”

Root squinted her eyes at Shaw.

“So I started leaving her hints here and there because I knew she wouldn’t have the guts to ask...”

Root butted in, she didn’t like how their fake proposal story was going, “That’s not exactly how it happened.”

“No?” Shaw smiled a slightly evil grin to Root.

“No. No.” Root and Shaw stared off at each other for a moment.

Root looked directly at Gammy and Aunt Grace, “I mean, I picked up on all her hints. This woman’s about as subtle as a gun.” Gammy and Aunt Grace laughed, while Shaw fake laughed along with them.

“What I was worried about was that she might find this box...” Shaw cut off Root, and she cursed her name in her head, she stared at Shaw while she continued.

“Oh! The box with the handmade stuffed animal bear that she named Mr. Bearstein.” Root slightly cringed at Shaw with a head tilt. “Root made Mr. Bearsteain’s outfit and everything; then she’d taken the time to cut out tiny, little pictures of herself and stuffed the bear with all of them. So I started taking the stuffing out of the bear and out fluttered these tiny, little hand-cut heart confetti. And once they cleared, I looked down, and I saw the shiniest, big...” Shaw had used hand motions for most of the story.

Root jumped in, and Shaw nearly hit her, “Fat nothing. No ring.” Root said rather proudly; she had to redeem herself a little in this crazy one-sided story.

“No ring?” Gammy asked, all concerned.

“What?” Aunt Grace seemed very alarmed as well.

“No.” Root smirked. “But...inside that hideous stuffed bear...underneath all that crap, there was a little handwritten note with the address to a hotel, date, and time.” Root did her standard non-wink to a few friends in the crowd, approved head nods in return. “Cool spy-type stuff like Alias Sydney Bristow, CIA operative. Creative, dangerous. Sexy and cool.”

Shaw took control again quickly, “Anyway, naturally,” Shaw put on a worried face, “...I thought she was seeing someone else.” She pouted her lips a bit, and Root had to close her gaping mouth.

Root gritted her teeth.

“What?” Gammy asked, who looked almost on the verge of tears.

“Yeah, it was a terrible time for me, but I went to that hotel anyway. I went there, and I pounded on the door, but the door was already unlocked. And as swung open that door, there she was...kneeling.”

Standing.” Root knew something embarrassing was coming, so she tried to cut it off at the pass by speaking loudly and almost exactly when Shaw said kneeling.

Shaw squinted her eyes at Root in frustration.

“Standing. In a tailored cut tuxedo. Since I am kind of the dude in the relationship, if you know what I mean,” this statement got quite a few stares and a few small gasps from the audience.

Shaw glared at Root, who didn’t even blush, even though she just declared to her whole family and friends supposedly their sex antics and perhaps preferences.

Shaw jumped in again, “Root had been waiting for hours, on a bed of rose petals, actually in a wedding dress; only changing at the last minute when all her mascara ruined the dress because of all her ugly crying.” Gammy looked mildly alarmed to Shaw. “Happy tears of love. Real waterfalls of joy.” Gammy smiled at Root and Shaw, so the boss continued, “She was choking back soft, soft sobs. And when she held back the tears just briefly enough and finally caught her breath, she said to me...”

“I said, hop on.” The crowd looked a little confused and stared at Root and Shaw, “We went for a motorcycle ride around the city. Before we left, she changed into this vintage wedding dress I had special ordered for her. I drove us over to the Brooklyn Bridge, where a flash mob was waiting…”

Shaw just wanted this to end now; she did not want a flash mob involved in her fake marriage proposal, so she jumped in quickly, “After the ridiculous, horribly choreographed dancing…”

“Actually, it was a gang war that then transitioned into a friendly flash mob…real cutting edge viral stuff…” Root smirked at Shaw and got a scowl in return.

Shaw talked over her assistant as fast as she could and put her hand on Root’s shoulder and squeeze so hard the other woman nearly yelped.

“Then Root yelled out, ‘Shaw, will you marry me?’ The end.” The crowd looked a little deflated, so Shaw added, “And I said, ‘Sure.’ Then we went out and got burgers.”

“You were wearing the wedding dress the whole time? Eating burgers?” asked Gammy slightly confused, looking back and forth between Root and Shaw.

“No,” Shaw said deadpan.

“She was Gammy,” Root smirked to Shaw, who tilted her head and squinted her eyes.

“That is quite a story.” Gammy looked a little dumbfounded.

“Oh, Root! You are so sensitive. Hand-cut confetti?” Aunt Grace almost had tears in her eyes as she leaned over and rubbed Root’s arm, who, in return, gave a slight smile then glared at Shaw.

Root stood up and went to stand next to Shaw to whisper something in her ear when suddenly someone from the crowd yelled out.

“Hey! Let’s see a kiss from you two cuties!”

Followed by another shout, “Give her a kiss Root!”

Suddenly, everyone from Aunt Grace, Gammy, The McKittricks even to Hanna were shouting and urging Root and Shaw to kiss each other, to go for a big public display of affection.

Root and Shaw cringed, then looked at each other awkwardly. So this had to happen, much to their dismay. The fake engaged couple looked to each other at a loss. Root grabbed Shaw’s hand and kissed it, then raised their joined hands in the air.

“Moohhaa!” Root said in an attempt to make a big kissing smooch sound with a big, fake smile to the crowd.

The crowd did not like a kiss on the hand. Someone shouted loudly, “Kiss her on the mouth!”

Shaw said under breath to Root, “Just make it quick.”

“Absolutely,” Root whispered back to Shaw so no one could hear.

Root leaned in and kissed Shaw very hesitantly on the lips lightning fast, a blink, and you missed it kiss. This did not go over well with the crowd; they gave the kiss a terrible score with loud booing involved. There was more shouting and urging for a better kiss for the newly engaged couple.

“No. Come on, gals!”

“Yeah. I kiss your Gammy harder than that!” That one shout got some weird looks from the crowd, including Root and Shaw.

“Kiss her on the mouth like you mean it.” Came another peanut gallery shout.

Root and Shaw stood awkwardly looking around the room then back at each other. The chanting started to get louder and louder, “Kiss her! Kiss her! Kiss her! Kiss her! Kiss her!”

They both looked over to Gammy, who was one of the ones chanting the loudest, “Kiss her! Kiss her!”

Root and Shaw resigned and surprised themselves by both rolling their eyes at the same to each other. “Okay. All right.” Root threw her hands up in the air in defeat.

“Okay …uh yeah,” Shaw looked around the vocal crowd and wondered if this town got cable or the internet, they could see kissing anywhere; it didn’t have to be between her and Root.

Gammy was getting more and more vocal as well, “Give her a real kiss Root!”

Root and Shaw leaned into each other hesitantly again. Root reached and put her hand on Shaw’s hip shyly, which got a glance down from Shaw, but she didn’t say anything or remove her hand.

Shaw whispered to Root, “Let’s do it fast. No tongue.”

“Hope you don’t say that to all the girls,” Root smirked to Shaw, who threw back a snarl. Root whispered back to Shaw while staring in her eyes.

“Sure thing, boss.”

Root then leaned in further, and Shaw leaned in further, both a little cautious about who to make the first leap and make lip to lip contact. Their lips touched tentatively at first, without that much pressure. Then the few soft lip pecks escalated very quickly like getting a drink of cool water in a sweltering parched desert. They both deepened the kiss almost immediately after a second initial awkwardness melted away.

Root’s grip on Shaw’s hip tightened, and she snaked her other arm around Shaw’s waist, where she pulled her closer to be fully pressed up against her body.

Before she could signal her brain, Shaw realized in horror that she slid her tongue into Root’s mouth, where her fake fiancée immediately started sucking on it. Damn it Root, she thought, her fake fiancée was making concentrating on staying professional really hard. And Shaw realized she was gripping Root’s leather jacket by the lapels to hold her in place as their lips remained locked and their tongues fought for dominance. In front of an audience no less. Shaw could only think at this point how her body felt tingly all over and how Root’s mouth tasted so good.

Root couldn’t even process that she was hardcore making out with Shaw in front of her family, friends, and even Hanna. It’s been a very weird week, she thought. Her knees nearly buckled when Shaw’s tongue entered her mouth; she probably did that on purpose for some evil payback. So Root thought the best thing she could do was go with it and try and drive her boss crazy, which seemed to be working if her tight grip on her jacket was anything to go by. She had daydreamed before many times about kissing Shaw, and this kiss far exceeded her dreams.

The crowd started ‘Ooohhhhing,’ and a few cleared throats meaning it was getting uncomfortable for people to watch them heavily make out, so Root and Shaw broke out of their kissing haze. However, not before Root took Shaw’s lower lip hostage briefly and bit down hard on it, payback for the Mr. Bearstein part of the story and the ugly crying. When they finally pulled away from each other somewhat reluctantly, breathless, holding down panting and staring into each other’s eyes, they both realized a lot of people were watching them. They pulled away from each quickly, both dazed and confused.

There were more shouts now, “I’m so happy for you two!”, “The hottest couple in Alaska!” “Let’s get more champagne!” And then more clapping and cheering.

Shaw yanked on Root a little roughly and pointed to her slightly swollen, just teeny bit cracked lip. Root then whispered in her ear, “You didn’t say anything about biting,” and her eyes trailed down and focused on Shaw’s mouth. “And besides, you broke your own rule.”

Root ran her tongue over her lips, leaving her lips wet and then gave Shaw a sly grin. Shaw stared back angrily with pursed lips and squinted eyes.

Thankfully, the party only went on for a little longer. The crowd knew Root and Shaw were tired from all their traveling and vacated the premises leaving the fake newly engaged couple with just their immediate family.

Aunt Grace and Gammy walked Root and Shaw to a massive guest bedroom, equipped with a living room, roaring fireplace, balcony, and many more lavish amenities.

“So here we are,” said Gammy with glee in her voice as she stepped into the posh room and motioned for Root and Shaw to follow her.

“This is your bedroom,” Aunt Grace said while looking around to make sure everything was perfect for their special guests.

Root accustomed to big pretty rooms in the large house, looked around impressed yet used to it.

Shaw, on the other hand, was surprised, “Wow, this is beautiful,” she walked over to the balcony and saw the stunning view of the ocean and mountains, “And the view.”

“And here’s the bed,” Gammy with even more glee in her voice and a twinkle in her eyes as she looked to Root and Shaw, who in return both smiled politely.

“Wow, exquisite bed. Exquisite,” Shaw smiled to Aunt Grace and Gammy, she then paused and asked, hopefully not too harshly asked, “Where is Root’s room?”

Root tilted her head to Shaw with a smirk; she possibly already knew the answer to this question.

“We’re not under any illusions that you two don’t sleep in the same bed. She’ll sleep in here with you,” Aunt Grace smiled warmly to both women as if she was giving them a huge gift.

“Especially not after a kiss like that one,” Gammy said with a giggle.

Root felt her cheeks get hot as she stole a glance at Shaw, who looked down at the ground as if she was mildly flustered.

Shaw was not happy with this situation but had to suck it up for appearances. “Oh, great, ’cause we love to uh…snuggle.”

“And cuddle. Lots and lots of cuggling between the two of us. Right, sweetie?” Root walked over to one of the big armchairs and dropped one of her bags.

“We’re huge cugglers,” Shaw gritted through her teeth, although she had to give it to Root for coming up with a word that didn’t sound that appealing.

Suddenly, two dogs ran into the room. One dog kind of more sauntered in after the first dog, clearly a puppy. The puppy was a white fluffy, puffy cloud thing and the older dog was more mature, handsome, and regal.

Shaw was clearly disgusted by the white fluffy cloud puppy, “Oh, my God. What is it?”

The white fluffy cloud puppy was yapping and yapping at Shaw, “Calm down Kevin,” said Gammy as she bent down to shush the puppy.

Root immediately bent down and scooped up Kevin in her arms and started rubbing his belly; in return, the puppy was smothering her with kisses. “You are cute. Who is this?” She bent back down quickly to rub the older dog’s head.

“That’s Kevin. I’m sorry, Shaw. We are in the process of learning manners,” said Gammy as she petted Kevin in Root’s arms.

Shaw turned her attention to the big Belgian Malinois. “Who is this handsome guy?”

Root turned her head to Shaw; she had never heard her boss say something with such endearment. So Shaw liked big dogs, noted. She was even more surprised when Shaw squatted down to pet the bigger dog.

“That’s Bear; he’s been a part of the family for years. Harold rescued him ages ago,” Aunt Grace bent down to kiss Bear on the top of his head, “He watches over everybody.”

Gammy pointed to Kevin, “We just rescued him from the pound, and he’s still in training. Make sure you don’t let him outside, or the eagles will snatch him,” the older woman had a super serious look on her face. Shaw stared at her, a little shocked.

Root continued rubbing Kevin’s belly and letting him lick her face, “No, don’t you listen to her. She’s just pulling your leg, isn’t she?” Kevin just continued to lick Root’s face while Shaw looked on in mild disgust.

“By the way, there are extra towels and linens and things in here if you need them,” Aunt Grace pointed out the linen cabinet next to the bathroom, although it was clear the two women weren’t paying attention. Root was teasing Shaw with Kevin, who was squinting her eyes back at both of them.

Gammy walked over to the cabinet and pulled a blanket out to hand to Root and Shaw. “If you get chilly tonight, use this. It has special powers,” Gammy handed Root and Shaw a very old quilt with all kinds of patches, clearly a family heirloom and made by hand.

Shaw held the blanket gingerly and looked to Gammy, “What kind of special powers?”

Gammy had a big wide grin on her face when she said, “I call it the Baby Maker.”

Shaw threw the blanket to Root, hitting her and Kevin in the face, “Well, then I guess we...will be super careful with that one. Although, that would have to be one super-duper special power against mother nature blanket to work on us.” Root pulled the blanket off her face and cuddled Kevin with it, who lightly chewed on the end. Shaw shook her head at Root, spoiling the puppy brat.

“It has the powers it has granted many times before in many couples, all kinds,” Gammy said with a twinkle in her eye to the fake couple.

“Yeah, I’m gonna...” Root pulled the blanket off of her and Kevin and threw it on the bed.

Shaw cringed, “Don’t throw it on the bed just in case.”

Root smirked at her boss, getting superstitious about a supposed reproductive blanket, “We’d better turn in. It’s been quite an evening.”

Shaw followed suit and threw in a fake yawn to seal the deal, “So goodnight, everybody.”

Root handed off Kevin to Gammy, “Good night,” the older woman had that twinkle in her eye, and she almost giggled, looking between Root and Shaw.

Shaw just returned a deadpan, “Good night.”

“Good night, sleep well,” said Aunt Grace as she walked out, followed by Bear.

“Okay, good night, Gammy,” Root said again while smiling at the older woman.

“Good night,” Gammy said while slowing exiting the room.

“Good night,” Shaw said again to be polite, Root knew her boss was about ten seconds away from screaming good night and slamming the door.

“Say goodnight, Kevin,” Gammy said while waving Kevin’s puppy paws at Root and Shaw.

“Good night, Gammy,” Root said again, almost laughing. “Thank you so much. Sweet dreams.”

“Bye-bye, now,” Gammy said one last time before closing the door with a giggle.

“Bye,” Shaw said with a fake smile, then she rushed over to the door and locked it, which got a smirk out of Root.

Finally, there was some peace and silence after a very long day. As Shaw walked back further into the room, she watched her assistant go through her bag. She could tell it had been quite a while since Root had seen her family. She kind of understood now seeing the tension between Root and her Uncle Harold, she wasn’t sure though.

“So, you haven’t been home in a while.”

“I haven’t had a lot of vacation time the last three years,” Root said while continuing to rummage through her bag.

“Stop complaining,” Shaw said as she went through her bags, organizing everything.

Root used the bathroom first to change and get ready for bed, then Shaw.

Shaw was about to exit the bathroom when she called out to Root, “Okay, perv. Don’t ogle me too much.”

“Sure,” Root smirked to her boss.

“Just so you’re able to sleep tonight, I would close your eyes.”

“Why? Do you wear some kind of dental headgear? Or have on some grotesque face mask? I can handle any of your hideous nighttime things, Shaw. In fact, I might like them a lot,” Root said in a suggestive tone.

Shaw strutted out of the bathroom, wearing a black top and boy shorts.

Root did ogle her quite a bit; she had never seen her boss wear so little. Okay, now she might have trouble getting to sleep after all.

Shaw stopped in her tracks when she saw Root lying in bed, under the covers, and propped up on the pillows watching her walk from the bathroom like it was a show.

“Root,” Shaw said angrily, “What are you doing in the bed?”

Root was all tucked in the king-size comfy bed, continuing to watch Shaw walk over.

“Where else am I going to sleep? Those chairs do not look comfortable.”

“The floor,” Shaw said rather coldly.

“The hardwood floor? Why don’t you sleep on the hardwood floor if you think I have cooties,” Root said firmly, she wasn’t sleeping on the floor.

Shaw sighed and rolled her eyes. “Fine. Stay on your side of the bed.” She was exhausted, and at least Root smelled good, except her pajamas were hideous; full-length pajama pants with bunnies on them and a silly ass t-shirt with just the root ‘/’ symbol path. Both items of clothing made Shaw roll her eyes at her assistant.

“Yes, ma’am,” Root smirked as she watched Shaw slip under the covers, her boss could be a model for black tank tops and boy shorts, that’s how good she looked. Although, not entirely appropriate for a cold Alaska night. “This is what you wear to sleep in Alaska?”

“Yes, because I was supposed to be in a hotel room alone. And it’s what I wear every night.” Shaw situated herself in bed, “Can we just go to sleep?”

“Sure thing, boss.” Root smiled over at Shaw. “If you get cold, we can cuddle or just sleep on top of me.” Root loved teasing her boss; sometimes, this trip was allowing for maximum teasing.

“Not gonna happen. I don’t get cold.” Shaw kept trying to find the perfect spot in bed without getting to close to Root; every spot had sunlight streaming in on her face. Just so happened they were visiting during the time of the year in Alaska with over 80 days of uninterrupted daylight.

“Well, it looks like I won’t be getting much sleep with the sun streaming in.”

Root had been holding onto this card, she pulled out a remote control, pushed a button and all the blinds in the room starting closing, sealing the room off in darkness.

“Thank you,” said Shaw as she got more comfortable in bed.

“Goodnight Shaw,” Root said softly before nodding off.

Chapter Text

Shaw could hear ringing, but it sounded far away, then she noticed she was hot all throughout her body. In fact, she was definitely warmer in certain areas; she was cursing her body to betray her in feeling tingly all over. Kissing Root was doing things to her body. Yes, she admitted she was attracted to her assistant. She had been attracted to her since the first moment she met her, nothing major, just a physical attraction, she admitted Root was a very attractive woman. However, she never did anything about it, and despite some embarrassing innuendos from Root, nothing had ever happened between them over three years. They had a solid working relationship, she never wanted to mess that up. She felt pressure on her chest. She slowly opened her eyes to see Root’s head on her chest; then she gritted her teeth when she realized her arm was under her, and their legs were intertwined.

Now her mind was waking up; she realized her phone was ringing. She really needed to answer her phone despite being tangled up with Root. She tried to budge sleeping beauty on her chest.

“Root. Phone.” All this caused Root to bury her face into Shaw’s neck, which caused shivers down the boss’s body. “Root!”

Shaw was going to move her assistant, then suddenly, Root rolled over on her back, still asleep. Root was sleeping on the side of the bed with all the electronic devices plugged in. Shaw sighed and started poking a dead asleep Root, not to mention with the blackout curtains it was hella dark in the room and really hard to see anything.

“Root, Root, phone,” Shaw tried again.

Shaw got more and more agitated, trying to get to her phone before it stopped ringing. She crawled over Root to grab her phone, which was still attached to the power cable, and when she yanked on it, she nearly toppled over the nightstand. Root slept through all of Shaw’s handling and her boss lying on her chest.

“Root!” Shaw tried a little louder this time as she still continued trying to get the ringing phone unplugged from the wall.

“Mmmmm…yeah…” Root finally answered back in a very sleepy hoarse voice.

Root continued to sleep through Shaw, fumbling around in the dark, not to mention her boss draped over her chest and now straddling her legs, trying to unhook the phone from the power cable. Shaw was nearly completely on top of Root at this point. Root reached out and put one hand to hold onto Shaw from falling off the bed, just so happened she was holding onto Shaw’s ass.

Shaw finally managed to answer the phone while it was still connected to the wall, “Hello. Hello? Hello, Bolan. Yes, how are things going?” Shaw said way too loud and excitedly.

Root reached over with her other hand and disconnected the phone from the power cable. Shaw, still laying on top of Root, was just about to fall off the high bed onto the hardwood floor, distracted by the excitement to answer the phone. Root grabbed tighter to Shaw’s ass.

“Hand off ass! Off ass!” Shaw shout whispered to Root while trying to maintain a conversation with Bolan. The reception was troublesome, and Shaw was worried the call was going to be dropped, “Are you there? Oh, not you! Hello? Oh, crap. I have horrible service. Give me just one minute.”

Shaw pushed off Root’s body, making sure to hit sensitive boob spots that made her assistant cry out in pain.

“Oh, my God! Shaw!” yelled Root as she ran her hands over her bruised breasts, rubbing them and shooting Shaw angry looks. Then she pointed to the door, “Out! Take the call outside,” Root said in a very demanding voice which startled Shaw.

“One...one minute. Hold on just a second.” Shaw looked around the dark room, confused. “What? No, no, no, no. I’m sorry you feel I pressured you into this deal, but...Of course, I want you to be happy. We also want the fans to be happy, can you meet us in the middle?”

Shaw grabbed a flannel robe in the bathroom and left the bedroom. As Shaw wandered through the massive house, she headed to the front door to get better reception. She found some rain/snow boots on the porch and put them on. Then opened the front door and walked outside, forgetting and leaving the front door wide open.

“It’s going to be fine. Yes, I know you’re all about your vision for the franchise, but change is good, and honestly, your vision wasn’t well received. We can fix that…okay, wait don’t hang up. You’re right, okay I see that….however… I’m listening to you…uh, huh…yes….I love listening to your vision buddy, however, if we tweak it… it’s going to be so much more powerful and well-received.”

Kevin ran up to Shaw in the massive yard and started barking at her. Shaw perplexed at the puffy cloud dog, and thought where in the hell did it come from?

The puffy cloud dog was yapping pretty loud so Shaw pointed her finger at the dog and yelled, “Sit. Sit. No, not you, Bolan. No, no. If I may get down to it. Okay, I think it was a mistake to possibly transcend off that character, that’s where we come in and fix it. Because for so many years, you have inspired me with your beautiful vision, and I feel that...” Kevin continued on barking at Shaw, she pointed to the puffy cloud dog, “Dog, I’m on the phone.” Kevin seemed to stop for a second and tilt his head at her. “I think it’s time the world gets to enjoy your other vision, a vision of life and continuation and…uhhh nobody wants transcendence.”

Shaw heard eagle calls from the sky, she looked up, and sure enough, an actual eagle was circling her and Kevin. It was clear, Kevin thought Shaw was playing and started running away from her in the opposite direction.

“Your characters and franchise are so rich with brilliance, and I think that we should all be privy to...And...” Shaw looked up, and the eagle was getting closer to Kevin, she ran faster juggling the phone, “I just...I just want you to be happy, I want the fans to be happy.” Right before she could pick up Kevin, the eagle swooped down and snatched the puffy cloud dog. Shaw stood there, stunned. The eagle actually flew off with the puffy cloud dog. Kevin was dangling up in the air, Shaw stood motionless with her mouth open. “Give me that dog! And I need…” Shaw was running now in the flannel bathroom, chasing after the eagle. “Bolan....uuhhh....can you hold a second?” Shaw then threw her phone at the eagle, actually clipping the bird. “Give me that dog! Come on! Come on, come on. Come on!”

The eagle dropped Kevin and Shaw positioned herself to catch him right in her arms. Gotcha! Shaw caught Kevin as he landed safely in her arms. “Okay! Gotcha puffy cloud.” Shaw smiled with relief why Kevin squirmed in her arms.

Thankfully, her phone landed not too far away, so she ran over to pick it up and pick up her conversation. “Hello? So sorry, so sorry. I dropped the phone. Now, listen, I don’t want to sell you on anything, but this is your legacy, this franchise, these characters.” Shit. Shaw heard the eagle calls again and looked up to the sky to see the eagle make a fast descent upon her and Kevin again. “And I think it’s up to you to present your legacy to the world.” The eagle got closer, and Shaw tried to punch it, she knew that probably looked pretty unpatriotic, but she also knew Root would kill her if anything happened to the puffy cloud dog. Where was the Bear dog? He was supposed to watch over everybody they said. She needed to wrap up the call. “And call me tomorrow with your decision. My phone is on all the time! Okay, bye-bye.” The eagle came back, and she raised her hand over Kevin to protect him, the eagle snatched her phone out of her hand. “No! Wait!”

The eagle took off higher for the mountains with Shaw’s phone.

“No! No! No. No.” Shaw was pissed, she needed that phone, maybe she could trick the stupid eagle and use Kevin as bait. She raised the puffy cloud dog in the air, only as bait; she was really going to punch that bird harder this time. Who picks on puffy cloud dogs anyway? “Take the doggy. Look at the doggy. I need that phone. Take the dog.” Shaw ran around the yard, holding up Kevin to get the eagle’s attention. “Take the dog. I need that phone! Here. Take the dog. Take the dog. Take it. Take the bait, you stupid bird.”

Unbeknownst to Shaw, she had an audience watching her from massive bay windows from the house’s side. Aunt Grace and Gammy were giggling, thinking they were watching Shaw just play with Kevin.

“Look at this. Is that cute or what?” Gammy giggled, watching Root with Kevin.

“I know,” Aunt Grace replied back, holding her morning coffee.

Root wandered out to the living room and where Aunt Grace and Gammy looked out a big window at the scenic backyard. “Morning, guys. Have you seen...dah,” Root couldn’t stop a shocked gasp from escaping her lips. She was shocked to see Shaw running around the backyard in a flannel robe and rain boots, holding the white, fluffy dog up in the air for what seemed to be a sacrifice to the eagles.

Aunt Grace and Gammy giggled at what they thought was a playful, fun sight. “She’s playing with Kevin. We thought she didn’t like him.”
Root knew Shaw was not playing with Kevin and got a worried look on her face.

“Will you go get her, Root? We have a whole day planned for her, and she needs to get ready,” Aunt Grace smiled in between a giggle, she nudged Root towards the door.

“Yeah. Tell her we have a big surprise for her,” Gammy’s face was all lit up watching her future granddaughter-in-law appear to playing with a puppy.

As Root sauntered outside wearing jeans, a t-shirt under a cardigan sweater, hair blowing in the chilly Alaskan breeze, she could hear Shaw shouting as she got closer. She had to admit, seeing her boss in a flannel robe wearing rain boots was strangely really hot, despite the whole possibly trying to murder a puppy thing going on.

“Look! Give me my phone. Come on. Please, just give me my phone.” Shaw actually sounded like she was begging to the skies.

“What the hell are you doing?” asked Root as soon as she got closer to Shaw and Kevin.

“Oh, my God. Your grandmother was completely right. The eagle came and tried to take the puffy cloud dog. But then I saved him. Then it came back, and it took my phone. So I’m using Kevin as bait, then when the evil bird comes back, I’m going to punch it.” Shaw said all this in one fast sentence, slightly breathless while she held Kevin in her arms and scanned the skies for the phone stealing eagle.

“Are you drunk?” Root asked with a confused and semi-serious look on her face to her boss.

“What? No! I’m serious,” Shaw turned to Root with an exasperated look, “He’s got my phone, and Bolan is calling me on it.” Shaw pointed to the sky as if the phone stealing eagle was going to swoop down on them.

“Relax, all right? We’ll order another phone, same number,” Root to Shaw, and she could see her boss physically relax a little. “We’ll go into town and get it.”

“Really? Okay? Yeah.” Shaw’s face became less tense as she looked up at the sky and then to Root, who reached over and took Kevin out of Shaw’s arms and put him on the ground. Bear was outside now, nothing would happen with him on watch.

“All right. Well, you can go then. You have to get ready.” Root looked to Shaw then back up to the big house with Aunt Grace and Gammy standing in the window.

“For what?” Shaw was getting all confused and antsy again.

“Going out with Mom and the girls,” Root pointed to the window where Aunt Grace and Gammy where watching them from the big house.

“I don’t wanna go,” Shaw actually made a slightly pouty face to her assistant.

“Shopping, sightseeing. And a surprise,” Root said with a smile, she didn’t think Shaw could look any cuter in a flannel robe with rain boots, but the little pouty face did it. She had always thought her boss was extremely hot, like to the point how was it humanly possible to be that hot, and now she was really digging this cute look. Not to mention Shaw’s sleepy, messy hair was really doing it for her too, a very nice change to the tight ponytail.

“I hate shopping. I hate sightseeing,” Shaw stared at Root with an almost begging face and to her horror slightly whiny voice.

“You’ll love it. You’re going,” Root said with a smile, almost giggling at her adorable grumpy boss, she moved closer to Shaw invading her personal space.

“I don’t wanna go. I’m not…” Shaw stared up at Root, why did her assistant have to be so damn attractive and this Alaskan wardrobe wasn’t helping. Root looked like a supermodel for some glam camping catalog. She didn’t move away even though Root was very close now, and smelled infuriatingly good. And she was wearing some sea captain cardigan sweater thing that made her look even more insufferably good looking.

“You’re going. You are. Give me a hug,” Root pulled on Shaw’s borrowed flannel robe to pull her closer. “Don’t want them to think we’re fighting.” She nodded to the window again, where her family was watching them.

“Seriously, more touching….No, I...” Shaw inhaled deeply while her face almost touched Root’s neck, she was half tempted to bite her assistant for making her go shopping.

“Come on. Hug time.” Root reached around and put both her arms around Shaw, she ran her hands up and down her back. “Hug time feels good.” Actually, Root thought it did feel really good, Shaw felt really good pressed up against her and snug in her arms. She could stay like this all day, although she wondered what Shaw would hate more - an all-day hug or shopping/sightseeing.

“I don’t wanna... Root,” Shaw begrudgingly put her arms loosely around Root’s waist. Her assistant was warm and felt good in out in the chilly Alaskan air with her long arms wrapped around completely. And they seemed to fit really well together, weirdly feeling natural to both of them.

“Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah. Mmmm…That’s nice.” Root said in a joking voice, and she nuzzled Shaw’s neck. “There we go. Isn’t that nice?” Root slid her hand down and grabbed Shaw’s ass once again, patted it three times.

“Boop, boop, boop.” Root actually made the ‘boop’ noises during the three times she lightly swatted Shaw’s ass.

Shaw’s eyes opened wide, “Hand off ass! Off ass!” She wanted to move Root’s hands off her ass but then remembered they were being watched. If anything could kill the mood, it was Root saying ‘boop’ three times. Sometimes, the woman was so annoying that she didn’t know if she wanted to kiss her or punch her. “Yeah. If you touch my ass one more time, I will cut your fingers off in your sleep. Okay? Try coding then.” She would never tell Root that her ass now felt cold without her warm hands.

“Darlin, you got a great shape.” Root ran her hands back up Shaw’s body and gave her a squeeze, “Yeah. There you go. All righty now.”

“Watch your fingers,” Shaw squinted her eyes at Root.

“Yeah. Sure thing fiancée, so kinky.” Root actually then grabbed Shaw’s hand and pulled her along to the house, after scooping Kevin up in her arms to carry him in.

Shaw allowed the hand holding for show, not because Root’s hand felt warm or that she was actually a lot physically stronger than she ever imagined.

As soon as Shaw, Aunt Grace, and Gammy were off to their adventure, Root went to Uncle Harry’s big house wing. She found him sitting at a work station with many computers and many monitors. He had a full tea tray set out with fresh cups and scones.

Root knocked on the door before entering, “You want to see me?” She could see a few of the monitors and saw code running on them. She could tell it was very sophisticated from just quick glances; she always wondered about her uncle’s past but never asked because she feared the outcome, and she would never want to upset Aunt Grace.

“Your Aunt Grace found these rare teas and delicious scone recipe. I don’t know how she comes up with this lovely stuff.” Uncle Harold made a motion for Root to sit with him and partake. “Anyway, she is a little upset. Apparently, I wasn’t the most gracious of hosts last night. It was a little bit of a shock to find out that you’re getting married, especially when none of us even knew you were dating. The point is...I owe you an apology.”

“Accepted,” Root smiled warmly at her Uncle Harry.

“There’s something else,” Uncle Harold took a sip then looked over to Root, “I’ve been going over my retirement plans recently, and it got me thinking. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. Practically built an empire with Grace from the ground up. It doesn’t mean anything unless...”

Root’s face fell flat, and she said glumly, “If you don’t have someone to leave it to. Yeah, we’ve already discussed this.”

Uncle Harold looked to Root very seriously, “I’d like to discuss it again. You have responsibilities here. I think I’ve been more than understanding about your goofing off in New York. I need you to quit playing around...”

Root stood up from her chair, “Here we go again. When are you going to start taking what I do seriously?”

“When you start acting seriously.” Uncle Harold stood up to face Root.

“I feel sorry for you, Uncle Harry. I wish you had someone else. I really do. I never really understood while you chose Alaska, it’s so remote. So off the gird. And I don’t know why you and Grace never had kids despite your mysterious injury. I wish you had someone who wanted to stay here. One who wanted to take over the business. One who wanted to marry someone that you approve of, but it’s not me.” Root turned to leave the room, then paused. “Now, it must seem strange to you, my life in New York...sitting in an office, writing code for games. But it makes me happy. You understand?”

“If that’s what makes you happy, Samantha, I have nothing to say,” Uncle Harold said very solemnly.

“Well, that’s a first. You know what? Apology not accepted,” Root left the room, she wanted to get as far away as she could from her uncle Harold right now.

Meanwhile, Shaw found herself in a local bar in Sitka, sitting at a table full of peanuts and beers with Aunt Grace, Gammy, and Hanna. She kept looking around at the local crowd and noticed it was all women. She did not want to be there, and she had no idea how Root got out of not coming along. Root was going to pay for this later in some way.

“I hope you are ready for your big surprise because this is one of Sitka’s greatest treasures,” Aunt Grace smiled really big to Shaw, who in return had a bad feeling she was not going to agree with that statement. “Right?” Aunt Grace turned to Gammy and Hanna for confirmation.

“Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.” Gammy and Hanna both agreed and had big smiles on their faces.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed in the bar, and the women started getting really excited.

“Okay, this is the big surprise I was telling you about. You ready?” Aunt Grace looked so excited as she turned to Shaw.

A spotlight lit up the stage that held only one chair. Music started playing, it was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s song ‘Relax’; which immediately set off red sirens in Shaw’s head. The sirens were blaring red alert that probably dancing was soon going to be involved, and she was going to hate it. Where the hell was Root?

“Oh, Shaw, you’re going to love it!” Gammy yelled over the music to Shaw.

A curtain above the bar parted quickly, and a head poked out that belonged to the waiter that force-fed fish to Shaw at the ‘Welcome Home’ party. She scrunched up her face in disgust, she was alone in her reaction as all the women in the bar started catcalling and yelling for more. He was wearing a vest with no shirt, a bowtie, and silky pants, and he totally loved all the female attention.

“Fusco’s the only exotic dancer on the island,” Hanna explained to a very confused Shaw.

“But we’re lucky to have him.” Gammy clapped and smiled up at the slightly portly man wearing skin-tight pants and a vest that showed off his fairly large white belly. “Work it, Fusco!”

“Wooow,” Shaw clenched her fist and put it to her mouth for a second to hide her true flabbergasted feelings. She squinted her eyes and pursed her lips in astonishment and disgust as she watched women fawning all over this tubby, curly-haired, oiled up guy who couldn’t dance to save his life.

“Over here, Fusco! Over here,” Gammy started waving one-dollar bills in the air to get Fusco to come over to their table.

As Gammy was stuffing dollar bills in Fusco’s pants, Aunt Grace leaned over and put a bridal veil over Shaw’s head much to her extreme horror. She was definitely now, officially going to kill Root. If anybody was the ‘bride’ in their fake marriage, it was Root, not her.

“Show her what she’s going to be missing,” Gammy cackled as Fusco focused his Shaw’s attention.

“Come, my sexy, angry princess,” Fusco said to Shaw as he pointed to the stage. Then he made a fish line gesture and pretended she was a fish he caught, and he was reeling her in.

“Yeah!” All three women from her table yelled, encouraging Shaw to go with Fusco up on stage.

“Oh, no. Not necessary. It’s a really nice gesture, but I really need to just...” Shaw did NOT want to go up on stage with this Fusco Sitka Exotic Waiter Treasure Guy.

“Go on, Shaw. Get up there!” Gammy yelled to Shaw much to her surprise.

“C’mon dance, Pouty Face!” Fusco reached out to take Shaw’s hand.

Shaw relented and grabbed Fusco’s oily hand really hard in hopes of breaking one of his fingers, “Okay, pluck my eyes out.” She thought to herself, she might literally pluck Root’s eyes out for this.

Several shouts were going all through the bar. “All right. Here we go!” “Go, Shaw! Go, Shaw!”

Fusco pushed Shaw down to sit in the chair. He then stood in front of her with a mischievous grin on his face.

Gammy shouted out, “Give it to her, Fusco!” Just as Fusco tore off his pants in front of Shaw, leaving him in almost a G-string thing and knee pads that really made Shaw want to poke her eyes out.

Fusco then did his best version of a sexy dance, but Shaw could only stare at the knee pads. Obviously, the guy had bad knees, which was kind of endearing. He tried his hardest to dance around her with some difficulty; the crowd, however, didn’t mind at all. They hollered and screamed for Fusco even louder and rowdier as if he was the long lost guy from Magic Mike. Fusco shook his almost bare booty in front of Shaw’s face, and she didn’t look at it as if it would burn out her retinas.

Shaw then was shocked to hear Gammy’s voice, “Smack him, Shaw! Smack his ass!” Gammy was really growing on her. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to be able to get off the stage until she did indeed smack Fusco’s ass. So Shaw gave Fusco a hearty smack on his ass, the man did shriek out in pain then she gracefully exited the stage.

Shaw finally snuck out after the song transitioned into another song. She sought refuge outside on a balcony looking out over the calm Alaskan water. She breathed deeply, hoping to rid herself of Fusco’s weird-ass smelling oil. She took the bridal veil off her head, she wanted to save it to shove down Root’s throat later. She heard the door open and looked to see Hanna joining her.

“Hey! There you are. How are you holding up?” The pretty blonde smiled warmly at her.

Shaw smiled a little to Hanna, “Oh, fine. Fine. Just working on my Alaskan tan.”

“Yeah, the Groves can be a bit overwhelming at times.”

“Yes, yes.” Shaw nodded to Hanna then looked out over the water.

“It’s a little different than New York, huh?”

“Little bit. Little bit. You ever been?” Shaw was curious to find out more about this Hanna.

“No. That was always Root’s dream, not mine,” Hanna said with a twinge of melancholy in her voice.

“You guys were pretty serious, huh?” Shaw stared at Hanna, trying to find a flaw in the seemingly nice, beautiful woman.

“Well, I mean, we dated in high school and all through college, but we were kids,” Hanna said as if it was a lie she had been telling herself for years.

Shaw thought about this, they dated all through both, that was almost eight years? That’s a long time. Shaw was doing the math and found herself not liking this beautiful, tall woman before her. She needed to know how badly it ended, how Root had decided she didn’t want someone as wonderful as Hanna. “And you guys called it off because of...”

“Well...The night before we graduated college...she proposed and said she wanted to elope and run away to New York with me,” Hanna had a wistful look on her face. “And...” Hanna seemed at a loss for words.

Shaw had a feeling where this was headed. “You said ‘no.’” Something in Shaw’s stomach didn’t like this, Root got dumped. Hard. She hated this woman.

Hanna leaned on the railing and stared at the water, unable to make eye contact. “And I said ‘no’, yeah. I’ve never been anywhere, but here. This is home.” Hanna leaned back and looked at Shaw with a sad smile. “But anyway... you’re a lucky girl. She really is the best which you obviously already know.”

“Oh, yep. Yep, very much so, yeah.” Shaw was beginning to realize this, meeting Root’s family and friends, seeing how much they all loved her. And well, Root was the best assistant she ever had, the woman was pretty brilliant actually.

“Well, cheers to you guys,” Hanna said with a little regret in her voice and face, yet trying hard to mask it. She lifted up her glass and took a swig of her beer.

“Thank you,” Shaw felt strangely protective of Root if this woman broke her heart once before, who’s to say she’s not going to do it again. Sure, she could see Root and Hanna having tall Amazonian babies, they would make a stunning couple, but Root would have to move back to Alaska. Shaw didn’t want Root living in Alaska.

Hanna shook Shaw out of her thoughts, “Looks like Fusco’s wrappin’ it up.” Hanna nodded for her and Shaw to go back inside the bar.

As they entered back into the bar, they saw Gammy and Fusco dancing together. And a few women chanting, “Go, Annie! Go, Annie!”

Shaw admitted, she was really impressed with Gammy. The woman was 90 years old and still danced pretty well, certainly better than Fusco. She couldn’t help a broad smile that spread across her face watching Gammy dance with Fusco.

Chapter Text

As soon as the three women were walking off the dock towards the big house they could see Root off in the distance. She was wearing a blue t-shirt with the short sleeves rolled up to her shoulders with faded jeans and work boots on, her hair was up in a loose ponytail. She looked to be wearing headphones as she aggressively and angrily chopped at an old hollowed out wooden canoe with wide, strong striking motions. Then she grabbed the hatchet and threw it up in the air, caught the handle and threw it at nearby tree, landing straight in the middle of the tree. Shaw’s eyes went a little wild. She thought, Root had muscles? She could throw hatchets at trees like Ron Swanson?

“Oh, no.” Aunt Grace had a very worried tone in her voice. “Root! Root, honey, is everything okay?” She yelled out, yet she knew Root couldn’t hear her. Or want to answer her.

“What... What's she doing?” Shaw had never seen a weapon in Root’s hands before, except maybe that one time she threw bagels to wake up sleeping interns and was able to hit them all in the head with excellent aim. Shaw was pretty shocked at how much of a natural her assistant looked throwing hatchets, she shook her head, like little axes she thought. Root was throwing hatchets expertly into a tree with a target and hitting the bull’s-eye every time. Shaw was impressed, the sweat pouring off Root’s body, also looked good on her. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she was wearing ripped jeans, sweat soaked through her shirt. Shaw knew she was staring, yet she couldn’t take her eyes off her fake fiancée. Root also looked very angry. Shaw had never seen her look so angry, except for maybe that one time she made her wait in a four-hour long line to get a Cronut for her.

Gammy broke her Root spell, she pulled her arm to usher her down the dock towards the big house, “Something's up. It's best to leave her alone.” Gammy looked over to Root with concern on her face too. “Come on, honey.”

Aunt Grace stormed into the living room where Uncle Harold was reading by the fire and Kevin snoozed on a pillow by his feet. She marched up to him and yanked the book he was reading out of his hand and threw it down on the coffee table.

“Grace. What are you doing? I was reading that,” Uncle Harold looked completely perplexed at his angry wife.

“Why is Root out there carving up trees again?” Aunt Grace was fuming at Uncle Harold.

Tension filled the air between the married couple. Shaw felt really awkward standing nearby.

“Think I’m going to take a shower and clean off Fusco’s bubble gum body oil. I had a great day today. Thank you.” Shaw nodded to Aunt Grace and slowly backed out of the living room.

“Sure, anytime,” Aunt Grace smiled graciously to Shaw then turned her wrath back to her husband. He looked genuinely unnerved. Kevin woke up and ran into the kitchen where Shaw was spying, trying to hear part of their conversation.

Shaw tried to listen but Kevin wandered into the kitchen and started barking at her. Then he growled at her. She tried shooing him away several times, then shushing him. Where the hell was Bear? Kevin continued to growl, maybe he was still mad at Shaw for using him as eagle bait. This white fluffy puffy cloud dog was the most annoying little yappy adorable creature. Kevin continued to yap and Shaw continued to shush him.

“What did you do?” Aunt Grace asked angrily to her husband.

“I didn't do anything, I mean...” Uncle Harold looked up to his extremely pissed off wife, “I just had a frank conversation with her about her future.”

“Well, yeah. That's a good idea. That's a great idea, Harold,” said Aunt Grace beyond pissed now, knowing what kind of talk that meant, “because she will never come back home now. She is my daughter, she is.” Grace stared at Harold with a pointed finger. “I only get to see her every three years because of you. Because of you.”

Shaw continued to listen while shooing and shushing Kevin, but the puffy cloud dog’s barking was getting louder. So she decided to give up in case Aunt Grace came into the kitchen. Damn it, Shaw thought about Kevin the puffy cloud dog as she walked back to her shared bedroom.

Aunt Grace continued her arguing with Uncle Harold, “I've had enough. You are going to be supportive of her marrying Shaw, and that is that.” She wrung her hands and looked around then back at Harold. “You know, if we're not careful, we’re going to end up in this great big house, just you and me alone, you and me and everything that we're angry about…and God forbid that they should have a grandchild that we never get to see. Harold, you are going to fix this. I mean it. Fix it now.” Grace then stormed off to another part of the big house.

Shaw took a long, nice hot shower in the private bathroom attached to her shared bedroom. She wanted to kick herself when she realized she was singing the stupid song from the bar. When she was finished with her shower, she opened the door and looked for a towel. She had forgotten to look for one before getting into the shower, what a rookie mistake.

Root still had her earbuds in as she listened to music on her phone, she had worked up quite a sweat, soaking through her t-shirt. She threw one of the hatchets back into the wood canoe, she took off her soaked through t-shirt, standing in her sports bra and jeans, and got a whiff of herself. Ew. She stunk, she decided to head in and take a nice hot shower. She continued to listen to her music and her attention was focused on the controls, as she looked for the playlist, “Bad Code Songs.” She completely missed the fight going on between Aunt Grace and Uncle Harold in the living room as she walked through the kitchen of the big house.

So far the only thing that Shaw had found to dry off with in the bathroom was a miniature unabsorbent decorative hand towel. Shit.

“Where's a towel? Towel. Towel, towel, towel. This is all they have for a towel. It's ridiculous. I can't get dry with this.” Shaw talked to herself while she searched. Then she thought she heard something on the other side of the door.

Root entered the shared guest room smiling as her music blasted, Christina Aguilera’s ‘Fighter’ song - “...Cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder, it makes me that much wiser, so thanks for making me a fighter.” She opened the armoire next to the bathroom and grabbed a towel, she left one of the doors open while she walked away and went to the balcony.

“Hey? Root, is that you?” asked Shaw on the other side of the door in the bathroom. Root didn’t hear her at all.

Shaw cracked open the bathroom door to see what the sound was. Root wasn’t there now having already walked around the corner to the balcony in the room. Shaw did see the armoire with the door open and plethora of towels and sheets waiting for her. How did she miss that?

Just then Kevin ran into the room. Damn it, Kevin. Shaw did not want to deal with the puffy cloud dog. Being completely wet she didn’t want the annoying dog to jump up on her and get his fluffy fur all over her moist skin.

“No, no, no, no, no. Let me just…let me just get a towel. Let me just get a towel. Just...look. You need to just...” Kevin blocked Shaw’s way no matter which way she went to try and get a towel from the armoire. Shaw stood there dripping wet and naked trying to dodge the puppy. “I'm sorry. OK, I'm sorry for using you as bait to the eagle. Go away. Go, go. Leave.” Shaw tried saying everything in her most demanding voice. She used the decorative towel to hide her center of attention and her arms to cover her breasts, not that she was modest she just didn’t know what other Groves family member were going to be walking through the door. Where was Bear when you needed him? Surely, the handsome guy could steer this annoying puppy out.

Suddenly, Shaw clapped her hands to try and scare Kevin, which didn’t work on the fearless puppy. She sighed big time, thinking how was she going to get the annoying fluff ball to move out of the way. She had a great idea, she searched and found a hair dryer. She plugged it in and started blowing hot air in Kevin’s adorable fluffy face. Then Shaw started smack talking the puffy cloud dog. “Yeah. Huh? How you like that? Huh? Take it, take it. That's right. That's what I'm talking about.” Shaw stared down at the annoying yappy furball and realized sadly that Kevin seemed to be actually enjoying the hot air being blown in his little face. “You like that? You like it.” Shaw said defeated and thought of another way to get the yappy puppy out of the way.

Shaw decided to push out the bathroom mat and lure Kevin onto the bathroom mat so she could swing it back around into the bathroom then slam the door, thus trapping him. “Come here. Come here Kevin. That's right. Get on the mat. That's a good boy. Yes! Come on Kevin. Come on!” She still managed to do everything naked and by barely covering up all the important bits.

Root on the balcony was oblivious with her volume on her music very high, she hung her wet clothes over a rail on the deck attached to the room. She made sure that no one was in the yard as she pulled down her jeans then underwear. Lastly, she took off her sports bra and stood there nude for a moment listening to the loud music, sun on her face, light breeze prickling her sweat soaked body before she turned around to head to the bathroom with the towel in her hand.

Kevin actually got on the bathroom mat, so Shaw quickly swung it around with her naked leg perfectly; landing Kevin in the bathroom.

Shaw then slipped on the wet floor as she spun around to turn and started to fall on her gorgeous ass. Her foot kicked the bathroom door closed, accomplishing her goal but she was about to collide with the hardwood floor when Root not paying attention listening to music, came around the corner from the balcony, slammed into her hard, knocking the towel out of her hand.

WHAM! Shaw crashed into Root. Root slammed into Shaw. They slid down each other’s bodies slowly and very smoothly because of all the water on Shaw’s body and all the sweat from Root’s body. They fell to the floor in slow motion, despite Shaw moving her feet as fast as she could to get off Root but failing and slipping more and more. And Root such in shock not knowing what to grab onto to regain her footing on the wet floor. Since Shaw was shorter than Root she slid down her breasts and continued on further down, much to her horror. She finally stopped on Root’s stomach. They landed on top of each in a heap on the floor. It took a second for them to realize and process that they were holding each other butt naked. And Shaw was laying on top of Root, in between her very long legs, both completely wet and naked.

They both yelled at the same time, practically the same thing. “SHAW! ROOT! Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!”

The two quickly separated, spastically tried to get far away from each other and to cover up, well Root not so much. A rapid fire back and forth ensued between the two women. Everything Root said was loud since she still had her earbuds in her ears and the volume turned up high.

“Root! What the hell are you doing?!!” Shouted Shaw.

“WHY ARE YOU WET??!” Shouted Root, even louder than Shaw because of Christina Aguilera blasting in her ears.

“Root!”

“WHY ARE YOU WET??!I DON’T UNDERSTAND!” Root was so confused, and admittedly so turned on.

“Why are you naked?” Shaw yelled at Root who had trouble hearing her because of the earbuds.

“WHY ARE YOU WET?!” Root yelled loudly, damn earbuds. She then yanked them out and flung them across the room.

“It was that damn puffy cloud dog’s fault!” Shaw pointed angrily to the closed bathroom door.

“You tackled me!” Root yelled really loud, despite the earbuds being gone. “You’re blaming the dog again?”

“Why are you naked?” Shaw was so confused why Root was butt naked.

“Why are you wet?” Root was still yelling at a slightly lower volume; she wasn’t letting go of this question.

“Oh God Root. You’re showing everything. Cover it up.” Shaw reached for something to cover herself up as Root was staring at her hard. And she couldn’t stop staring at naked Root. She immediately grabbed the closet thing which was the Baby Maker Blanket. “Oh God, not the Baby Maker.” Shaw then threw the Baby Maker Blanket on the floor.

“Will you just hand me a towel!” Shaw yelled at Root, who looked for a towel and forgot she was naked. “Root, please get a towel for yourself.” Shaw couldn’t look away from Root.

“See something you like?” Root asked suggestively, thankfully not shouting anymore.

Shaw grabbed the Baby Maker Blanket from the floor and threw it at Root.

“Explain yourself,” Shaw glared at Root, she was furious at the puffy cloud dog and her assistant. She just slid her entire naked body down Root’s naked body, she was enraged and extremely turned on all at the same time. It was a hurricane of hormones going on in her body.

“I didn’t know you were home! I was outside chopping wood and stuff,” Root was angry at this point too, she pointed to the yard. She got most of her frustration out from talking to Uncle Harold out by throwing hatchets and chopping wood. Now she had a whole other level frustration going on, which she just wished she could push Shaw down on the king size bed and let out.

“You didn’t hear me?” asked Shaw.

“I had music on!” Root explained. “Why did you jump me? Not that I’m complaining necessary.”

“I didn’t jump you.” Root gave Shaw quite the look. “I didn’t mean to jump you. I didn’t know you were here. Then you just…came out of nowhere.” Shaw said motioning with her hands wildly.

“You didn’t see me?” Root was so confused.

“I was trying to get that infuriating yappy puffy cloud dog to leave the room. I ran to get it on the bathroom mat so I could trap it, then I ran into you.” This story sounded sillier when Shaw said it out loud she realized. “I was trying to trap it.” The last part didn’t help either.

“What is it with you and this dog?” Root looked at Shaw suspiciously. “Wait. Were you tryin’ to seduce me?” Root had a huge grin on her face now. She really did love teasing Shaw.

“Oh please! Don’t flatter yourself. Just, you know, just….go!” Shaw pointed to the bathroom.

“Mmm-Hmmm.” Root nodded her head and did a non-wink to Shaw.

“Go take a shower. You stink.” Shaw said angrily.

“Nice tattoo, by the way.” Root added over her shoulder to the shocked expression on Shaw’s face.

“What?”

Root opened the bathroom door and Kevin trotted out happily.

Shaw pointed at the annoying dog. “See? See? Exactly. Now that little white turd runs out of the bathroom.”

Root stared at Shaw. “Barely made it out with my life there. See the size of the teeth on that thing?”

“I didn't...say I was afraid. The dog annoys me…I didn’t want all it’s annoying fur to stick to me…” Shaw yelled while Root was closing the bathroom door. She then threw herself down on the bed face down, growling furiously into the mattress. That damn puffy cloud dog.

All tucked into bed a little bit later, both women lay there staring up at the ceiling while a fire roared in the fireplace. The firelight illuminated the room in a warm, comforting glow. There was a slightly uncomfortable silence between the two women.

Root couldn’t help but think what just happened earlier. “So. So naked.” She smirked up at the ceiling.

“Can we not talk about that, please?” Shaw rolled her eyes.

“Just sayin,” Root didn’t dare look at Shaw for she knew she would just get a scowl for her remark.

Shaw wanted to change the topic dramatically, plus she was really curious why Root was so upset earlier. “So, what's the deal with you and your uncle?”

“I'm sorry. That question is NOT in the binder,” the smile disappeared from Root’s face.

“Oh, really? Well, I thought you were the one that said we needed to learn all this...”

“Not about that, I didn't.” Root said in her demanding voice.

“But if Hersh asks...”

“Not about that, Shaw.” Root in a stern, slightly upset voice. She was grumpy now, she rolled over to face the wall, she said glumly to Shaw. “Good night.”

Shaw didn’t like she had upset Root, she kind of wanted to cheer her up. “I like…Spongebob Squarepants.”

Root got a confused look on her face, “What?”

“Especially when Spongebob and Patrick learned sentence enhancers. I got my black belt in jujitsu when I was eight years old. My first concert was Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock. I think Judy Davis is sexy. Don't like flowers in the house, 'cause they remind me of funerals. I don’t know how to swim very well, don’t you dare repeat that. I watch Scrooge, the Bill Murray one of course, every Christmas. Haven't slept with anyone in awhile.” Shaw said all those in a rapid fire succession.

There was a long silence between the two women. Shaw didn’t realize she was holding her breath a little, until she heard Root’s voice.

“Define ‘awhile’ please?” Root turned to lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling, still not risking a look at Shaw.

“Root…I don’t know; I can’t remember okay. I’ve been busy.” Shaw sighed and suddenly became very interested in the hem of the comforter on the bed. Neither woman making eye contact with each other.

“Over or under three years?” Root was fishing, she knew Shaw wouldn’t answer; she still wanted to ask.

“My life is not divided into Before Root and After Root,” Shaw snapped to her assistant.

Root turned and smirked at Shaw, “Okay, go on.” She wanted to say that it did sound like her boss’s life was categorized into BR and AR, in a jokey way but that would have gotten her kicked out of the comfy, warm bed. And she really liked this confessional thing Shaw was doing without being prompted by questions.

“And…uh….I went to the bathroom and punched the wall after Jeremy called me a poisonous bitch.”

More silence, not entirely uncomfortable, yet some tension filled the air.

“And the bird tattoo?” Root had gotten to see the tattoo during the whole naked wrestling match.

“They're swallows.” Damn it Root, Shaw thought. So she had seen the tattoo.

“Swallows? I thought only pirates got swallow tattoos? Are you secretly a pirate? Because I’ll definitely need to know that before I marry you. And it might help on the immigration test.” Root stole a glance over to Shaw.

Shaw just rolled her eyes at Root. “Got them when I was 16...after my parents died. I wanted the swallows to carry them away to heaven. Stupid. I was a dumb teenager.” Shaw stared up at the ceiling.

“No, it’s really sweet,” Root rolled over on her side to stare at Shaw with a thoughtful expression on her face.

Shaw looked over to Root and it was hard to hold her gaze, her assistant’s eyes were so warm and glistening in the firelight. It was so intense it made her chest tighten.

Shaw finally spoke while staring into Root’s eyes, “I'm sure there's many, many other things, but that's all I can come up with right now.”

They both watched each other for a few seconds that seemed much longer. Shaw looked away but Root was just staring with big eyes at her.

“Are you asleep with your eyes open?” Shaw asked, getting worried that Root was too quiet.

“No, I'm here. Just processing.” Root leaned forward just a little, not invading Shaw’s space, but closer. “You really haven't slept with anyone in…awhile?”

“Oh, my God. Out of all that, that's all you got?”

“Awhile sounds like a long time.” Root raised her eyebrows.

“Yeah, well, again I’ve been a little busy.” Shaw shook her head, of course Root would latch onto this piece of information.

“So have I,” Root stared intensely into Shaw’s eyes, they were both still and the air between them felt heated and charged. Root so badly wanted to kiss Shaw, but she was pretty sure her boss would drop kick her out of bed.

Shaw broke the connection first, even though all she wanted to do was lean over and kiss Root senseless. Going back to work colleagues might be hard after this trip if all she wanted to do was kiss Root all the time. This is why she had never thrown caution to the wind and kissed Root before, she had a gut feeling it would be a decent kiss. It was probably a good idea that Root would be moving on to Senior Programmer, out of constant kissing range.

“Who's...Rob Base and D. J. E-Z Rock?” Root scrunched up her nose.

Shaw rolled her eyes, “You know…” then despite her better judgment she sang a little, “…’It takes two to make a thing go right, It takes two to make it outta sight’…”

Root beamed as she watched Shaw sing to her, she was in rapture; this was a one of a kind performance. Shaw actually had a nice singing voice.

“Hmmmm…No.” Root shook her head no, in hopes that Shaw would keep singing, while holding a grin at bay.

“They were good.” Shaw looked over to Root who looked like she was about to giggle. “What?”

“Nothing. I know who they are. I just wanted to hear you sing it.” Root got a pillow thrown in her face from Shaw. She held onto the pillow. “Shaw?”

“Yeah, Root?” Shaw was ready to whack her again with another pillow, thankfully there were about 27 pillows on this king size bed.

“Don't take this the wrong way.” Root watched Shaw closely.

“Fine, whatever.” Shaw thought now comes the criticism of her singing or lack of singing abilities.

“You are a very…very beautiful woman. In and out.” Root stared longingly and adoringly at Shaw, who held the gaze. Then surprisingly, Root tried her hand at singing. She was terrible. “’ Hit it, I wanna rock right now, I'm Rob Base and I came to get down, I'm not internationally known, But I'm known to rock the microphone…’” She even did a fake scratching record motion with her hands.

“Please stop, my ears are bleeding. I’m sure Bear’s ears are bleeding. Even annoying Kevin’s ears are bleeding.” This time Root threw a pillow at Shaw who ducked and let it land on the floor where it stayed. Shaw did let out a surprise snort when Root continued her truly awful singing as they both eventually drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Eventually, both women fell asleep and when morning rolled around, Shaw woke up startled; mostly because this time she was laying partially on top of Root instead of the other way from yesterday. She cursed her dumb hormones and body for allowing her to snuggle up to Root. She moved away from Root slowly, not wanting to wake her up, thus allowing her to see and acknowledge their compromising sleeping position. She looked over and watched Root sleep for a few seconds, the woman really was stupidly stunning.

Shaw reached for the remote control for the room, she accidentally pushed the button opening the blinds and very bright, harsh sunlight started streaming into the room. Root groaned when the sun beams started hitting her face. She unconsciously reached for the remote control to close them. Shaw swatted her hand away.

“I got it,” Shaw pushed another button on the remote.

The blinds were not closing and continued to open.

“Shaw, give me the remote, you don’t got it,” Root huffed still laying on her back with a pillow now pulled over her face and her eyes tightly shut.

“Root, I got it,” Shaw looked closely at the remote and pushed a different button. Nothing happened and the blinds continued to open.

Shaw pushed more buttons but the blinds remained open. Root groaned, threw the pillow off of her face, opened her eyes barely and yanked the remote control from Shaw’s hand. The blinds started closing immediately. Shaw yanked the remote back.

“Shaw don’t you do dare open those blinds again,” Root threatened in a really unusual stern voice; someone was still really sleepy. Root admitted she was very tired; she hadn’t slept much last night. She had been pretty worked up from not only seeing Shaw completely naked but also feeling her completely naked. She basically either fantasized all night or kept waking up in the middle of a wet dream. It was torture sleeping next to Shaw when all she waned to do was lick and suck every inch of the woman’s body.

“We probably need to get up anyway,” Shaw really enjoyed teasing Root, especially when the woman was cranky, which was rare yet oh so much fun.

Root’s voice took on a lower octave when she was mad, it was pretty damn hot. Shaw was tired too, she spent a fair amount of the night resisting the urge to pounce on her assistant, even though she knew Root would probably welcome it. Getting involved physically would not be a good idea, what if it went horribly wrong really fast; then she would lose everything she built in New York. Of course the biggest factor being, she didn’t do relationships. Relationships weren’t her thing, she was terrible at them, she always had been. She knew why and she never talked about it. Keeping distance from people, staying on the surface was much easier and better for everyone involved. All she had to do was keep pretending through this weekend, meet Hersh on Monday and hopefully get back to her regular life of around the clock work.

Shaw was broken out of her thoughts by Root reaching for the remote again but Shaw rolled over to hide it underneath her back. What she didn’t expect was for Root to lean over and start digging underneath her for the remote. Shaw fought back by kicking up her hips, Root moved over more to straddle Shaw for leverage in hopes of getting the damn remote.

“Shaw, I want at least another 20 more minutes of sleep, I’m tired,” Root’s voice was groggy and she sounded frustrated. Root didn’t want to add that she was also extremely sexually frustrated.

Shaw’s strong arms and torso held the remote hostage, there was no way Root was attaining it. The assistant looked down at her boss for a moment, her eyes were already a little wild then they went half lidded and then very quickly she dove in; and started sucking and biting Shaw’s neck. Root didn’t even care that she probably had morning breath or if Shaw would punch her. All Root knew was that she desperately needed her lips on Shaw.

Shaw let out a loud moan and cursed herself internally, she could feel her cheeky assistant smirk against her neck. She decided she should put a stop to this, she left the remote underneath her and brought a hand out to push on Root’s shoulder. She pushed her away hard to stare up into her eyes. Then mistakenly lowered her eyes to stare at Root’s lips, so instead of pushing her away again, Shaw grabbed Root’s shoulder and pulled her back down.

Before they knew what was happening they were kissing. Frantic, hungry, messy kissing that intensified with hands roaming and grabbing all over each other. Shaw very unexpectedly pulled down Root’s silly pajama pants so quickly and forcibly that her underwear came along with them. Shaw looked down with a slight concern on her face, Root just pulled her back in for another demanding kiss. Then Shaw flipped them over so Root was on the bottom. Root hooked her naked leg up and over Shaw’s back, which spurred on her boss to deepen their kiss and her tongue stroked the inside of her mouth. Root tugged and was successful getting Shaw’s tank top off which she flung off hard in some direction. She lunged and launched her mouth around on one of Shaw’s nipples which elicited very loud moans from her boss.

They were so completely lost in a sexual haze they didn’t hear the first few knocks on their bedroom door.

“Root…uhh…ahhh…Root…” Shaw tried to get Root to unlatch from her breast, it was hard because the last thing she wanted was for Root to stop doing what she was doing.

Root was totally oblivious to the knocking, she moved up and captured Shaw’s mouth in another demanding kiss before she could say anything again. Root bit hard on Shaw’s lip which caused both women to moan louder. This spurred them on both to a deeper, even more feverish kiss.

There were a few more quiet knocks on their bedroom door, ignored by both women.

Shaw tore her mouth away from Root’s briefly to say really fast, “Root…” Shaw growled, “Coming…one…some,” Root nibbled on her upper lip, “…is coming,” she couldn’t finish because Root kissed her again, those warm, intoxicating lips.

Root broke off very quickly as she breathed hard, she whispered to Shaw, “Oh Sameen…I’m coming fast too.”

There was something about Root saying her first name that undid Shaw even more. Shaw gave up and kissed Root again, the feeling of Root’s long bare legs wrapped around her torso and ass squeezing was undoing her too. And then with the addition of Root’s tongue in her mouth; she didn’t think she would care if they were in front of the whole damn party again, she didn’t think she could stop right now.

“Fuck it, hopefully they will go away,” Shaw ran her hand down Root’s legs toward where she really wanted it to be. Root could tell the direction she was headed and started bucking her hips and sucked harder on Shaw’s neck.

“Oh, God Sameen…I need you inside me…” Root breathed into Shaw’s mouth with their lips barely touching. “I need to be inside you.” She ran her hand down’s Shaw’s stomach lower and lower, pulling on her black boy shorts. Both of them frantically reaching where they needed each other to be, they started kissing again completely wrapped up in each other.

Suddenly, the door flew open; Aunt Grace and Gammy came barging in with a tray of food.

Aunt Grace’s voice broke through, “Room service. Breakfast for the happy couple.”

“Knock it off you two, plenty of time for makin whoppee on the honeymoon.” Gammy let out a hearty laugh as she continued walking into the bedroom.

Root and Shaw jumped off each other so fast that sheets, pillows and blankets went flying everywhere; they both grabbed for anything to cover themselves. Root bottomless and Shaw topless.

They had completely bewildered faces and not quite great sex hair yet, still very messy and wild. However, they did have mutual swollen lips, bite marks up and down Shaw’s neck and enough blushing going on to look like they both had deep sunburns.

They continued to fight over blankets and compose themselves. Root whispered to Shaw as Aunt Grace and Gammy put food down on the nearby table and got it ready. “Shaw, don’t pull so hard on the blanket, I’m pantless here.”

“Root, I’m topless here. Where’s my tank top?” Shaw pulled so hard on the blanket Root nearly fell off the bed, instead she lunged for the Baby Maker blanket on the floor and threw it over her head hitting Shaw in the face with it. Shaw grabbed at the dangerous blanket and pulled it around her shoulders tight to cover up her nudity.

The two women tried best to compose themselves after having been caught to the equivalent of teenagers doing it in the backseat of a fogged up car.

“Not the Baby Maker blanket, Shaw,” Root actually sounded serious as she whispered this to Shaw, who in return gave her a ‘what the fuck’ look. Did the blanket really have super mystical powers?

“Okay, all right. Not the Baby Maker blanket. Get it off, get it off, get it off,” Shaw was pulling it off when she realized there wasn’t really anything else to cover up with. “Get it on, get it on, get it on.” Then she pulled it back over her shoulders and rolled her eyes.

Before Aunt Grace and Gammy came across the room, Root and Shaw tried to position themselves as a happy couple while also trying to cover their slight embarrassment of getting caught and partial nudity.

“Okay, what do we do?” Shaw whispered to Root.

Root moved slightly behind her, “Here, I’ll spoon you…” she positioned Shaw’s back against her chest, their whole bodies touching and lining up, “…and you’re lucky I’m not a guy.”

“Don’t say it.” Shaw adjusted herself to fit snuggly next to Root.

“I would be poking you in the back right now,” Root leaned into Shaw’s neck and whispered, dropping a quick kiss there.

Shaw just rolled her eyes again. “Shut up.” So Root opted for pushing her hips into Shaw’s thighs, which got an unexpected gasp from her boss. Their hands were problematic, not knowing exactly how to look natural. Root settled for draping one around around Shaw’s shoulders and her other one across her boss’s stomach, where she did slide her other hand under the Baby Maker blanket to her topless fake fiancée. “Move your hand Root,” Shaw whispered as she took Root’s hand and roughly pushed it out from under the blanket.

“What? I just had my mouth there,” Root smirked to Shaw which got her a hard pinch on her naked hip, which she did have to hold down a slight yelp.

Root's family approached with a plate of freshly baked cinnamon rolls as both women still tried to adjust themselves to a somewhat presentable sitting position. Root was pretty furious at her family for interrupting her and Shaw, she couldn’t believe she got her boss topless and they probably would have banged each other brains out in a matter of minutes after three years of built up frustration. Yet it was also very surreal to be sitting partially naked with an also partially naked Shaw while having breakfast served to them in bed by her family.

“Oh, you shouldn't have gone to that trouble,” Shaw didn’t know what else to say, and this seemed a thing people would say. She really wished she wasn’t topless right now. Her hand accidentally reached down to adjust the sheet and she felt Root’s bare thigh. She really wished Root wasn’t pantless right now.

“Oh, you are family now. It's no trouble,” Aunt Grace smiled so happy at the fake couple in bed, who didn’t look so fake a few seconds ago while they were all over each other in what appeared to be an interrupted morning hump session.

Uncle Harold poked his head through the doorframe with a tentative smile. “Hey, you have room for one more?” He actually sounded nice and he had a small smile on his face as he looked at all the women in the room.

Root was in shock, what the hell was going on? She looked completely dumbfounded, her messy hair and disheveled state complimented the look on her face.

“Wow. Could we not do the Groves family meeting right now? We just got up if you don't mind.” And Root wanted to add she was completely butt naked. Shaw was boob naked. Plus, being pressed up butt naked against Shaw boob naked was really uncomfortable; all she wanted to do was continue kissing her senseless in several key areas of her body.

Uncle Harold actually spoke first which was really surprising. “Your Aunt Grace and I have come up with a proposition and I happen to think it's a terrific idea...” before he could finish his wife nearly exploded with excitement, hijacking his suggestion.

“We want you to get married here tomorrow!!!” Aunt Grace literally had ‘Wow’ plastered all over her face in excitement and clasped her hands together. “Tomorrow!” Aunt Grace was nearly actually jumping up and down with glee.

Root was flabbergasted. “What? What? What?” Then she turned to Shaw who was also beyond flabbergasted. “No.” Root shook her head, then Shaw slightly shook her head ‘no’ in agreement and discreetly jabbed Root in the side with her elbow.

Aunt Grace went in for the close. “Well, you're going to get married anyway, so why don't you get married here where we can be all together, and that way Gammy Annie can be a part of it.” Damn, it was a good close.

“Oh. Oh, we're... No.” Shaw stammered with words. She was taken by completely surprise and topless no less with a superstitious Baby Maker blanket draped over her shoulders.

“No.” Root turned to Shaw for help. “No, it's Gammy's birthday tomorrow. Big day for her.”

Shaw nodded her head to Root. “Agree. We don't want to ruin it.”

Gammy walked over to stand near the bed. “I've had 89 birthday parties; I don't need another one.”

Root tilted her head with a warm smile at her grandmother. “Oh, Gammy.”

Gammy now went in for the close. “It would be a dream come true for me to see my one grandchild's wedding. And you are my grandchild honey.” Gammy reached out to hold Root’s hand, with a warm glance to Shaw. “A dream come true! So you'll do it? Before I'm dead?”

The two women looked to each other completely helpless against this cool, wise, beautiful older woman.

Shaw really needed coffee. And she either needed Root in less clothes or more clothes. There was a lot going on this morning, not to mention Root pressed up against butt naked. Aunt Grace came to sit on the foot of the bed.

“Root can you get that other tray over there?” Aunt Grace pointed to the tray on the fire place with cinnamon rolls on it.

Root’s eyes went wild, she did not want to get up in front of everyone pantless, thanks a lot Shaw. She discreetly jabbed Shaw and motioned down, it took a second then her boss finally caught on.

“Oh, let me get that for you…babe.” Shaw stood up carefully making sure the Baby Maker Blanket around her shoulders didn’t slip down revealing her topless.

Root’s face lit up with a high wattage smile hearing Shaw call her babe, “Thanks sweetie.

Shaw brought the tray over with the cinnamon rolls, carrying the tray with one strong arm and the other holding the Baby Maker blanket in place around herself. She sat back down on the bed next to Root, placing the tray close by.

Aunt Grace was still selling and hoping. “We will do everything. And you can get married like we did, in the barn. It's a Groves family tradition.” She smiled so brightly to Root and Shaw.

“Oh, wow…a barn.” Shaw didn’t know how to react; this was all too much.

“Yup.” Aunt Grace said so sincerely, with tears in her eyes.

“I've always wanted to get married in a...barn.” Shaw stumbled these words out slowly and awkwardly, she knew this sounded really stupid, she didn’t know what else to say.

“I have,” Root smiled at her family and sounded convincing, yet Shaw knew she was lying.

“It's a sign,” Gammy smiled warmly to both women, “A sign from the universe that you're meant to be together.” She moved over and held both Root and Shaw’s hands. Shaw had a slight worried expression on her face as Gammy went on. “We must give thanks, I tell you.” Gammy then raised her hands, clapped and left the room in a hurry on a mission. “We must give thanks.” Could be heard as she walked away with a purposeful stride.

Aunt Grace’s face just lit up more with a surprised expression. “Oh! I’ll go look for that book you made when you were younger. You had some dream wish wedding ideas in there. Oh, I remember you wanted a Grease wedding.” She clasped her hands over her mouth.

Shaw looked over to Root as if she entered a horror movie. “A Grease wedding?”

Root scrunched up her nose in slight embarrassment. “It was a phase.”

Aunt Grace turned to Shaw. “She loved Grease. She really loved Sandy at the end of the movie.”

“In a leather jacket no less,” Shaw smirked to Root, she knew know where the leather jacket was coming from.

Aunt Grace’s face lit up again, this time it startled Harold, who had remained quiet through this whole thing. “Maybe a duet at the wedding! Root you could sing Sandy’s part and Shaw you could do Danny’s?”

Root nearly busted out laughing, she could tell how uncomfortable Shaw was now.

Uncle Harold watched both women, then slowly pulled Aunt Grace to the door. “Okay, let’s leave them alone now.” Aunt Grace went over to hug Root then Shaw.

“But we're just so excited! I know you're excited, too.” Aunt Grace nearly bounced out of the room.

“Oh, yeah…really excited,” Root put her arm back around Shaw’s shoulders.

Shaw gave a thumbs up while Aunt Grace slowly back out and closed the door. Finally, the family hurricane had left the room.

Root flopped dramatically back on the bed and put her arm over her eyes in exasperation. “Oh, my God.” She rubbed her eyes and ran her hands through her hair. “When Aunt Grace finds out that this whole thing is a sham she's going... she's going to be crushed, and my Gammy is going to die.”

“Aunt Grace isn’t going to find out.” Shaw said in a low comforting voice.

Root pointed at the door as if her family was still there. “Uncle Harold? What the hell was that? The wedding thing? Where'd that come from? Suddenly, he’s on board?” She slammed her hands back down on the bed.

“Grace probably got him worked up into it,” Shaw didn’t want to admit she overhead them arguing and that her Aunt Grace was so worried she might not see Root anymore if Harold didn’t stop pushing her away.

“And Uncle Harry will probably stroke out.” Root really did look extremely worried now, clearly now was the time to panic.

“It's fine. They’re not going to find out.”

“God. Shaw!” Root sat up again with more worry and panic all over her face.

“Root, they're not going to find out, okay? Just relax.” Shaw reached over and started massaging Root’s shoulders, alternating with rubbing circles on her back. “It's going to be okay.”

Root was feeling immediately relaxed with Shaw’s hand on her body, her massaging and soothing circles on her back were immensely helpful. There was something about Shaw saying everything was going to be okay that sounded absolutely truthful. She never knew Shaw to lie, not to even to people she found extremely difficult to work with and for, people that her boss always categorized as a ‘pain in her ass.’

“It's not like we're going to be married forever. We'll be happily divorced before you know it. It will be fine. It will be fine.” Shaw continued to massage Root’s shoulder. Massaging Root’s shoulder actually helped Shaw calm down as well she realized. She actually liked having her hands on Root’s body and not just in a sexual way.

The words ‘happily divorced’ didn’t sit well with Root, she didn’t like the sound of them.

“You okay?” Shaw asked in the most tender voice Root had ever heard her speak in and her eyes were soft too, she leaned in closer; they both stayed still for a moment staring into each other’s eyes. And Shaw continued massaging Root, until she realized what she was doing, her hands stilled.

Root wanted so much to lean and kiss her again, she shook her head instead, “Yeah.” She wasn’t really okay; she didn’t know what else to say. “I’ll get us some coffee?” Root had forgotten she didn’t have anything on her lower half, she got of bed and walked over to the breakfast tray with the coffee.

“Root uh pants,” Shaw looked away from her pantless assistant, then looked again and continued looking shamelessly; she just hoped there wasn’t drool falling out of her mouth.

Root looked down at her lower half and smirked, not an ounce of shyness coming off her; if anything she got bolder. “Someone tore them off of me. It’s really hard to do anything with you topless under the Baby Maker. Just sayin.”

Shaw once again looked around for her blasted tank top, where in the hell had Root thrown it? Root sat back on the bed, close to Shaw handing her a cup of coffee. There was some silence as Shaw sipped coffee and bit into a cinnamon roll.

“Do you want to go take a shower?” Root stared hard at Shaw, who in return held the gaze while swallowing a bite of cinnamon roll slowly.

“Yeah,” Shaw said without breaking eye contact, with one last swallow then licking her lips to get any possible frosting on her lips and because she couldn’t stop staring at Root’s mouth.

“Together?” Root’s eyes drifted down to Shaw’s lips, and she might have unconsciously leaned in. She couldn’t believe she just almost had sex with Shaw, all she could think now was how she needed to have sex with Shaw like air and water. She was willing to take the chance of changing the dynamics of their relationship, in some ways she felt like they were always on this trajectory, at least in her mind and hopes if she was brutally honest with herself. Despite all the times Root cursed Shaw's name due to untimely rigid work deadlines or super harsh office rules and regulations.

“Yeah,” Shaw’s mouth shot out the word without her brain thinking, yes she desperately wanted to take a shower with Root. She wanted Root underneath her again not partially naked but completely naked. Then her brain had to to shut down her hormones from hijacking her mouth again. “No,” she said softly. “This was a business deal, maybe we shouldn’t mix…uh, pleasure stuff with it.”

“What about pain stuff?” Root said suggestively, she wasn’t giving up. She would be lying if she hadn’t thought about throwing Shaw down on her desk over the years and fucking her senseless, then hoping her boss would return the favor.

This was one of the reasons she hired and didn’t want Root to move, the woman did not give up on stuff she wanted. She always knew when Root was really flirting with her over the years, and she pretty much all the time wanted to push Root up against the wall and fuck her senseless. However, she also knew she would never find anyone like Root again, she really enjoyed working with her and sometimes really enjoyed torturing her, in a business sense. If she admitted it, she just enjoyed the woman all around and she was deathly afraid sex would mess that up.

Shaw threw the Baby Maker blanket at Root’s face, which left her briefly topless before grabbing the comforter and pulling it up to cover her chest.

Root lustily gawked after Shaw, watching her every move, until Shaw kept pointing to the blanket for Root to cover herself. “Shaw you’re so full of surprises after all these years. First proposing to me and now wanting to make babies with me.” Root reluctantly wrapped the Baby Marker blanket around her waist.

Shaw glared at Root, how did this nerdy soon to be senior programmer get so under her skin that all she wanted to do was yank a stupid superstitious silly ass blanket off of her and spend the rest of the day making her scream her name, her first name. For some reason, Root saying her first name metaphorically curled her toes a little and made her body temperature rise all over.

“So, would you like another black hole coffee?” Root asked sweetly to Shaw.

Root poured Shaw another cup of coffee and brought it over to her as she sat back down on the bed.

“Everything is going to be fine. Your family will never know.” With the way Root looked to be openly mooning over her, Shaw started to get really nervous. She felt like she needed some distance, “We’ll get a quickie divorce soon after, it’s fine.” Even though Shaw said it would be fine, she really had no idea. She felt like giving a little something more to Root, to let her know the stakes were raised for her as well. “I really don’t want to leave New York…there are uh…people I care about there.” Shaw said quietly, almost shyly.

“Yeah?” Root had a hopeful look on her face. Shaw never talked about anyone at all for three years. She knew which brand of tampon Shaw preferred, she knew her boss didn’t have any immediate family and she was pretty sure she only had two friends in the whole city. And one those people might be her. And the other might be this guy at a deli that makes her favorite sandwich.

“Root, one of the reasons I don’t want to leave New York is because of a girl.”

Root’s face fell flat and almost all the blood drained from her face. However, also there seemed to be flames coming off of her at the same time directed at Shaw. “What the hell Shaw? Who is she?”

Shaw was taken aback by Root’s complete jealous rage; it was a jealous rage right? She knew it wasn’t healthy for people, yet jealously looked really hot on Root.

“What’s happening?” Shaw almost laughed.

“Let me guess, she’s one of her motion capture models? You do tend to drool over those proofs when them come in.” Root crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head.

Shaw couldn’t even drag this out for fun, Root actually looked upset. Plus, that is completely false, she didn’t drool over models. “Root, I’m mentoring her, she’s 12. I’m just worried she won’t continue on a good path without some guidance.” Shaw looked to Root who quickly regained some composure. “She’s very talented and smart. Her parents are dead and her guardian is a real loser. There have even been times…I’ve actually thought about adopting her. Her name is Gen.”

Root was speechless. Shaw adopting a kid? Who was this woman? She did know she mentored young kids from time to time, she didn’t know there was a special one. This surprise news was making her stomach and heart feel all mushy. So now other parts of her body were affected by Shaw and not just her lower regions. She looked at Shaw with watery eyes, all adoring. Shaw looked at her, drowning momentarily in those big, brown eyes. So the stakes were kind of raised for Shaw too, maybe mixing fun with business wasn’t the best course of action right now. Maybe they both needed to focus on one not getting deported and two not going to jail.

“Here, let me get you coffee,” Shaw got up to get Root coffee. “What do you like in your coffee?”

“Two creams and one sugar please,” Root smiled over to Shaw, a little in awe of her boss getting her coffee.

“Well, gotta keep my assistant happy even though she’s moving onto senior programmer.”

“Come on. I haven't left you yet, Shaw.” Root said it very casually as she took her coffee cup from Shaw, yet her fake fiancée held onto the cup. “I got it. You can let go.” Root watched Shaw, with a very bewildered look on her face. “You all right?”

“Yeah…” All of sudden Shaw felt kind of claustrophobic. There was the thought of Root leaving her at work. There was a thought of Root having this nice family and putting her future in jeopardy for lying to the government, her family, her friends, her co-workers just for her. Root was putting a lot on the line for her. And damn it, Root’s family was really nice; except maybe Uncle Harold.

Shaw pulled the Baby Maker blanket tighter around her shoulders. “You know what? I'm gonna go.” She started inching away from the bed, where Root sat with messy bed hair, still swollen lips and looking freakin more delicious than the cinnamon rolls.

“Where?” Root asked softly, confused.

“I just kinda feel like going outside,” Shaw didn’t want to say all the domestic stuff they were doing made her feel really weird. Kind of weird in good way because she would enjoy Root getting her coffee pantless all the time.

Shaw quickly ran to the bathroom. Root looked over to her confused and pointed out the obvious. “All right. That's the bathroom.”

“Oh, yeah. I know. I'm just...” Shaw wanted to close the door, she needed some space pronto. “I'm gonna go to the bathroom, and then I'm going…outside.”

Root stared at her confused, “All right.”

Shaw did a head nod, then closed the door and took a deep breath. “All right.” She stared up at the ceiling, this was quite the situation she had gotten herself into all right.

Root leaned up against the bed, this was all a lot to process. She really hoped there was a way for this all to work out with no one getting hurt.

Chapter Text

As soon as Shaw could throw on some clothes she headed outside, she desperately needed some space. Having coffee and cinnamon rolls in bed with Root and with her family no less was overloading her senses. Not to mention almost having sex with Root. She had never done anything remotely domestic with anyone ever. And for some insane, unfathomable reason it didn’t feel that weird with Root. Did she really like being topless in bed with a pantless Root while having breakfast? She thought she might, and she could see herself possibly doing it again. She shook her head, she wanted to hit the restart button on her brain this morning. She was wandering around the Groves massive estate aimlessly when she came upon an old girly bicycle, with a flower basket and everything. She decided to take a spin to clear her head. What had happened in that room? How had things escalated so quickly? She couldn’t believe she tore off Root’s pants. And she couldn’t believe she allowed that annoying, yet irresistible, puffy cloud dog lover tear off her top.

She knew she was in trouble when she started talking to herself while pedaling through the Alaskan woods. “OK, you just... Just have to focus, Shaw. Just focus.”

Shaw continued to pedal and went deeper into the Alaskan forest. And she continued to talk to herself. “This is a business deal. This is just a business deal.” Shaw kept saying this over and over as if it was a mantra. “Everything's going to be just fine.” She gritted her teeth, while she continued talking to herself.

She started down an incline in the forest and that’s when she noticed the brakes on the girly bicycle didn’t work that great. After going down a fairly steep hill, even further into the green, luscious forest; she finally, planted her feet firmly on the ground and stopped, thank goodness for her heavy Doc Martin boots. She got off the bicycle and set it up against a tree, disgusted with it. She thought hiking was a better option anyway, to really clear her head. Maybe she could climb an Alaskan mountain, that would clear her head of Root. She really needed to clear her head of too many thoughts about pantless Root. Also, other thoughts of Root biting and sucking on her neck. Shaw shook her head.

There was a sound of drums beating off in the distance. Shaw tilted her head to listen more closely, happy to hear an actual outside sound than her inside voice of constant Root musings. Or more like cursings.

“What is that?” Shaw got through a clearing of trees and could see someone dancing around a fire in the forest. She squinted her eyes, the person was wearing a full robe and headdress of a Native American tribe. She continued to watch the dancing and chanting around the fire. The music was coming from an old boom box sitting on a tree log.

Then suddenly, a familiar voice boomed over the trees. “Come to me, Shaw of New York.”

Shaw look startled for a second until some smoke cleared through the fire and she could tell it was Gammy Annie out there dancing and chanting around the fire in the full Native American attire. Again, the woman did not seem like 90 years old, it was very impressive.

Gammy stopped dancing to face Shaw, who was watching her from afar almost hidden by a tree. “It is I…Gammy Annie. I see you are a curious one. Come. See how I give thanks to Mother Earth.” Gammy opened her arms and motioned for Shaw to come closer, she smiled big and kept motioning with her hands.

Shaw was very hesitant, if it wasn’t exotic dancing now it was dancing in the woods; Root had a unique family indeed. “You know, actually, I'm not that curious. I'll just…” She tried to wave off and turn around.

Gammy wasn’t having it. “Look around you. Mother Earth has provided all this just as she brought you and Root together to be joined.” She waved her hands grandly up to the skies.

Shaw scrunched up her face, “Actually, I think it was Linkedin who did that or Linda in HR.”

Gammy opened her arms wide again to get Shaw to join her near the fire. “We must give thanks and ask that your loins be abundantly fertile. Come. Dance with me in celebration.”

Shaw looked disgusted momentarily, she never did like the term loins. And thinking of her and Root’s loins being joined is exactly the thing she didn’t want to think or thank about right now. She knew Gammy wasn’t going to give up like she didn’t with having to smack Fusco’s ass, however, it was worth another try. “You know, can I, can I just thank her from here?”

“I insist!” Gammy yelled this time and threw some magic powder into the fire. A massive flame erupted from the fire.

Shaw admitted that was some pretty great use of pyrotechnics, damn this older woman had it going on. She then wondered if Root would be out in forests in her 90s scaring people with chanting and fires, this caused a small smile to spread across her face. “OK, OK, OK. I will come down and dance with you.”

Gammy stood by the fire while Shaw cautiously approached her. “Follow and learn.” The older woman started circling the fire by chanting something Shaw couldn’t decipher, while also raising her head up and down and moving her arms in a dramatic fashion. Shaw started following Gammy around the circle but did not chant or do the head and arm movements.

“Come on, Shaw! Feel the rhythm of the drums.” Gammy showed Shaw how to move head and arms as she still chanted something Shaw couldn’t pronounce. “Now you.” The older woman waited for Shaw to participate.

“Me what?” Shaw continued circling the fire and started moving her arms up and down like Gammy’s, however in very much less enthused fashion.

“Chant!”

Shaw looked over across the fire at Gammy, “Chant what?”

“Whatever comes to you. It is the way.” Gammy waved her arms again dramatically this time to the sky.

“But I don't know any chants.” Shaw knew she wasn’t going to get out of this until she started chanting something. So she started improvising, willing any song or melody to come into her brain. “Ooooohhhh…uuuhhhh…chant..chant…chant…” Damn it, Shaw didn’t think she was going to get away with actually saying the word chant.

“To the trees. Use your vowels. Yes. Chant!” Gammy kept circling the fire along with Shaw. “Yes. Chant, chant. Yes! To the trees. To the universe!”

Root was going to pay for this, Shaw realized this was totally Root’s fault some how. “The universe. Universe. Ooohhh...uuuuhhhhhh…chant…chant….chant….Na na na na nana...”

“No…chant your feelings!”

Shaw scrunched her face up again, “Na na na na nana…. On your mark ready set let's go…dance floor pro I know you know…I go psycho when my new joint hit…just can't sit…got to get jiggy wit it, thats it…” Finally, her brain gave her some song lyrics she remembered. So she was hoping she could pass the song lyrics off as a chant.

“Yes! Chant! Chant!” Seemed like Gammy was buying it so far.

Shaw stomped her feet on the ground and clapped her hands as she continued around the fire. “Gettin jiggy wit it…Na na na na na na na nana…Na na na na nana…Gettin jiggy wit it… Na na na na nana…” She paused to roll her shoulders a few times while swinging her hips.

Gammy yelled, “Louder!”

“Only bad chicks ride in my whips…south to the west to the east to the north…bought my hits and watch 'em go off a go off…Ah yes yes y'all ya don't stop…In the winter and summertime…I makes it HOT…” Shaw really wiggled everything now, “Gettin jiggy wit it…Na na na na na na na nana…Na na na na nana…Gettin jiggy wit it… Na na na na nana…” She pumped her ass in the air then jumped up and down while pointing to Gammy.

“Louder!” Gammy continued around the fire and clapped her hands in unison to Shaw’s clapping.

“Chant Mashup Gammy!” This lead to a really confused look on Gammy’s face.

Shaw stopped and jumped a 360 turn, then stomped her feet hard on the forest floor. “So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack…Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out…” Shaw stomped some more, clapped some more and added some booty wiggle to her pop song chanting.

Gammy switched her boogie and wiggling to match the new, slightly different beat with a little confusion mixed in with a whole lot of glee.

“Few times I’ve been around that track…So it’s not just gonna happen like that….‘Cause I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…” Shaw stomped, bopped her head and clapped her hands hard, as she continued chant shouting.

Gammy stomped her feet too and clapped her hands hard while she followed Shaw’s lead around the fire.

“That’s right, put your pom-poms down, getting everybody fired up!” Shaw slammed her hands on her chest then did a fist pump to the sky. “Ooohhh this is my shit. All the girls stamp your feet like this!” Shaw stamped her feet repeatedly to the beat in her head, Gammy continued to follow along.

“‘Cause I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…I ain’t no Hollaback Girl!”

Gammy had a huge smile at Shaw as she watched her new potential granddaughter totally give into the universe and chant her truth. “That’s it! Louder!”

“Few times I’ve been around that track…So it’s not just gonna happen like that….‘Cause I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…I ain’t no Hollaback Girl!”

Shaw stopped doing the circle around the fire and jumped in front of Gammy. “Gammy! Let's take it to the bridge!” She pumped her hips in the air and pointed to Gammy. “Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

Gammy giggled and then said, “Bananas!”

Shaw sang loudly, “This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

“Bananas!” Gammy shouted when Shaw pointed at her.

“Again this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” Shaw swung her hips fiercely while she pointed at Gammy.

“Bananas!”

“This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

Root wandered upon the clearing in the forest and couldn’t believe what she was seeing, she thought she must be in a waking dream. Before her in the wilds of the Alaskan forest, was her boss in tight jeans, a black long sleeve t-shirt and a mustard colored scarf she was waving and twirling in the air dancing with her Gammy. Dancing and chanting. In the woods. Wait, Root thought she had to process this again, Shaw and Gammy chanting and dancing in the woods together. Dancing. Shaw was really dancing, swinging her hips and waving her arms. Root was pretty mesmerized by Shaw’s ass as her boss pumped and bounced her butt up and down in the air to the chanting. Shaw’s butt almost looked like the most succulent delicious peach she had ever seen and she wanted desperately to sink her teeth into it. Root thought she could watch this forever.

“That’s it Gammy! Now stop, work it! Now wiggle it!” Shaw stopped and made a full wiggle motion down her body.

Root shook her head, did Shaw just tell her Gammy to wiggle her butt? Was Shaw actually wiggling her butt? Shaw wiggling her butt felt like an elusive mirage to Root. It was so stupendous, Root wanted to burn this into her memory permanently.

Shaw danced, wiggled and swayed her hips more and more, then pointed to Gammy again. “One more time. This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” She then went into full body rolls, “Body roll, Gammy. Body roll!”

“Bananas!” Gammy was clearly having a grand time with Shaw.

“Jiggle it, just jiggle it. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” Shaw was totally focused on Gammy and body rollin, so much so she didn’t hear Root sneak up on them from the trail in the forest.

“Whatcha doing?” Root asked completely taking Shaw and Gammy off guard. Although, Gammy got in a few more wiggles, while Shaw caught herself from nearly falling down stunned by Root’s surprise arrival.

Shaw straightened her back up, smoothed down her shirt, then ran her fingers through her long hair. “You know, your Gammy wanted me to, you know…chant. Chant from the heart.” She was breathless from all the body rolling.

Root raised her eyebrows and stared at Shaw curiously with a twinkle in her eyes, “Bananas? That's what came to your heart?”

Shaw’s cheeks were flushed and she was catching her breath. “You know…it went with the beat. And I’m hungry.”

Root had her hands in her pocket, she was wearing black jeans with a sweater under her leather jacket. “Your phone arrived. I'm going into town to pick it up. Wanna come?” She looked Shaw up and down, she couldn’t stop smiling.

Shaw looked over at Root and wondered how did this woman look so effortlessly stunning. “Oh, yeah, I want to go. Oh, hold on.” She turned to Gammy, her chanting and body rolling buddy. “Is it okay if I go with Root?”

Gammy smiled warmly at the two women and raised her arms. “Whatever you do is what shall be.”

Shaw was confused, she didn’t want to offend Gammy if they were doing a real ritual or something. “But you're okay if I go?”

“Fine. Go on,” Gammy waved goodbye to both women as they started off walking down the trail in the forest back to the big house.

“Bye, Gammy,” Root said over her shoulder as she then stared at Shaw. “You're a jiggy freak.”

Shaw again, trying to regain her more business like composure. “Shut up. Your family is bananas.”

Root leaned back and with her right long leg, swiftly kicked Shaw in the butt as they walked along the scenic trail through the forest. Shaw then of course kicked Root back in the butt.

When they got back to the big house, they jumped onto the boat and took off for town. Shaw watched Root once again steer the boat effortlessly while her long, flowing locks got whipped around by the oncoming high speed wind brought on by the force the boat was traveling. Root glanced over and caught Shaw watching her, she got an eye roll from her boss. Once they docked the boat they walked through the town, they wandered the streets in a comfortable ease with each other. Root waltzed into the Groves General Store with Shaw following behind her.

“Hey, Fusco,” Root said as she spotted the curly haired, portly man behind the counter working.

Fusco was busy restocking shelves behind the counter; in addition to be a catering waiter and Sitka’s only male exotic dancer, he also worked at Root’s family owned general store in town. Plus, he worked several other jobs as well.

“Hey Coca Puffs,” Fusco looked up and saw the two women enter the general store.

Root leaned over the counter and grabbed a bag, “You got that phone I ordered?”

Fusco dropped the boxes he was shelving and went to get the new phone. “Yeah, it came in.” He then turned his attention to Shaw. “How you doing Short Stack?”

Shaw wasn’t really sold on this curly haired Renaissance Man. “Great. You?” She gave him a blank stare.

“Have to say, of all the ladies in town, you smacked my ass the hardest.” Fusco said it almost appreciatively and definitely impressed.

Root watched Shaw and Fusco’s brief interaction with a smirk, she then leaned in to whisper to her boss as the curly haired man went into the back to get the new phone. “Think you made quite an impression on Fusco.”

“Yeah, I think the part where I smacked his ass so hard he burst into tears just really brought us together.” Shaw said in her snarkiest tone to Root, who in return just smiled and licked her lips.

“Yeah. I can see that. If you ever want more ass smacking…” Shaw rolled her eyes at Root, so her assistant changed topics. “Oh, guess what.”

“What?” Shaw asked non-enthused, then added. “Why does he call you Coca Puffs?”

“Fun fact about Root number 11: I like Coca Puffs. And Pringles,” Root tilted her head to Shaw.

Shaw shook her head, “Fine.”

As Root kept talking she was filling up her bag with all the products she was naming. “They're delicious. All Hostess products. Coke, never Pepsi, and turkey jerky.”

“What, are you, like, 13? Turkey? Beef only.” Shaw scowled at the mention of non-beef products.

“I know.” Root smiled at Shaw. She pretty much knew all her boss’s favorite eating things, all of them.

Fusco came back with the new phone. “Here we go. It's all charged up, Root.” He handed the box to Root.

“Thanks, Fusco.” She turned to leave the store.

“And I put your lady's number in, too.” Fusco went to hand Shaw the new phone. Before she could grab it, Fusco brought one of his hands down and smacked her ass hard. “There ya go Short Stack.”

Shaw was going to pay Root back for that, all the town doings were going on Root’s bill. “Thanks Fusco. Touch my ass again and I’ll break all your fingers.”

Root didn’t hear the exact exchange between Shaw and Fusco, but she was wiling to bet her boss physically threatened him. She smiled an appreciative glance over to Shaw as the petite firecracker listened intensely to her voicemail on the hew phone.

Shaw had a look of determination as her eyes darted around. “Geesh, I've got 37 messages. Shit. I need a computer. Is there a computer in this godforsaken town since you threw my laptop in the ocean? For some reason I didn’t see one at your family mansion.” She kept listening, making mental notes and deleting unnecessary ones.

Root just shrugged. There was almost a whole wing of computers, but she wasn’t telling Shaw. “There’s an Internet Café a few stores down.” Root pointed and started walking that way.

When they arrived at what Root called the Internet Café, Shaw couldn’t believe her eyes. There were ancient computers running the most ancient of ancient software and they were all dial-up modems connected to rotary phones. Dial-up??!! Shaw looked at the computers with extreme disgust.

“Root. What the hell place is this? Some Twilight Zone?” Shaw looked so confused while looking around the empty Internet Café.

“Uncle Harold isn’t a big believer in the Internet.” Root just shrugged as she went up to the counter, briefly talked to the clerk and came back to Shaw. “Okay. So when the time runs out, it gives you a warning. Just put in more dimes.” She then handed Shaw a handful of dimes as she spotted Hanna outside on the street. Root then started walking towards the door to exit. “I'll be outside. Yell if you need me. You'll be fine.”

Shaw watched Root leave the Internet Café. “What? You're kidding. Dimes?” Shaw had the biggest grumpy face as she sat there listening to to the screeching computer and modem. “What kind of off the grid freaky place is this?”

As Shaw waited for anything to appear on the ancient computer screen, she looked at the window and saw Root and Hanna merrily talking to each other. The two beautiful women just chatting away and smiling. Shaw’s stomach began to hurt. Her stomach probably just hurt from all the chanting she had to do she thought, not because she didn’t like seeing Root and Hanna together.

After about twenty minutes, Shaw gave up the Groves Internet Café and wandered outside to find Root sitting alone on a bench. She sat down next to her. She sat down closer than she had expected, Root didn’t lean away; if anything her fake fiancée scooted even closer discreetly.

“So, it was nice to see Hanna, huh?” Shaw cursed her mouth, she didn’t mean to start a conversation this way.

“Yeah.” Root looked off in the distance with a serious look on her face.

“She looked really pretty today.” Shaw tried her hardest not to let any jealousy seep through in her voice.

“Yeah, she did.” Root continued to stare out to the street and sky, not looking to Shaw.

“Must be nice to see each other again and just catch up.” Ugh, this was so painful for Shaw. Did people really talk like this all the time? It was exhausting. She didn’t really want to know if Root was happy to see Hanna again.

“It's definitely good to see her. It's......definitely, yeah. It's been a long time.” Root now turned her head to look at Shaw who returned her gaze. Their knees bumped together as they kept staring at each other.

Aunt Grace called out to Root and Shaw, breaking their mutual gazing at each other. “Oh, there they are. There you two are. Shaw!”

“We need Shaw,” Gammy motioned to Shaw who looked bewildered. She wondered if she had to go chant more.

Aunt Grace gently tugged Shaw into standing position. “Afraid we're going to have to steal you away.”

“No, no, no, no. I'm just going to keep Root company...” Shaw did NOT want another ladies outing. No way. She looked down to Root, almost pleading.

“No, not to worry. No strippers, no chanting in the woods. Promise.” Gammy smiled at Shaw then winked to Root.

Once again Shaw thought, Root was going to get a full payback once they were in New York again. She glanced down to Root who was still sitting with a pleased look on her face.

“Yeah. Come on. It's girl stuff. Root would hate it.” Gammy put her arm around Shaw’s shoulder to guide her away but then she gently stopped the older woman.

Girl stuff. That meant that Shaw would hate it too.

Shaw then smiled warmly to Aunt Grace and Gammy. “But…I really think Root should come along too if it’s wedding stuff. I want to keep her included.” Shaw squinted her eyes at Root, she was not going another solo outing girls thing without her, especially while Root got to do something cool like throw knives. Root shot her eye daggers as Aunt Grace pulled her up from the bench.

“Sounds like it’s a Three Musketeers thing, so I would just a fourth wheel,” Root figured this would appease the two older women and she would be freed from this boring activity. And if Shaw got stuck doing another thing she didn’t like, it was assistant karma.

Shaw decided to pull out the big guns, and not just her arms. “Babe, you’re my main wheel.” She then reached and tugged on Root’s arm until their shoulders bumped, next came reaching down, grabbing Root’s hand and lacing their fingers together.

Root looked down at their joined hands, warmth spreading through her body. She was stunned Shaw was holding her hand. Then the closer, Shaw started rubbing her thumb over Root’s hand. When the two older woman started walking down the street, Shaw was able to easily pull along Root with her due to the hand holding and thumb rubbing.

“Oh this is so nice, all of us together,” Aunt Grace said with a little quiver in her voice; she glanced over at her mother, her daughter and her daughter-in-law with a huge smile as they strolled down the street together.

As the four women walked down the street, Root and Shaw exchanged a few glares at each other. Root would squeeze Shaw’s hand then Shaw would squint her eyes at Root. Shaw dug her finger nails a little into her assistant’s hand who in return did the same to her. They arrived at a small seamstress store in town without really remembering the walk, since they were so preoccupied with each other and a battle of hand holding.

Inside the family owned shop, Gammy pulled out a vintage wedding dress and showed it to Root and Shaw. “My mother made this dress by hand. In this very shop. In 1929.” Root smiled warmly at her Gammy. “It's funny how things come back in style.” Gammy turned to Shaw holding the dress.

Shaw looked really confused. “Me? Oh, I think it’s more appropriate for Root.” This wasn’t actually a dig at Root, Shaw just couldn’t imagine trying on a Groves family heirloom. She had already thrown around and blatantly discarded one of the Groves family heirlooms, the Baby Maker Blanket, she didn’t want to disrespect another one.

Gammy was a little surprised but turned to Root, “Okay, you go first.”

Shaw wanted to roll her eyes at this statement, it meant she would be taking a turn in the dress. Root reluctantly took the dress and hesitantly headed to the changing room, throwing Shaw a glance; that was a tad menacing.

Aunt Grace, showed Shaw some other dresses and outfits while Root changed. “Yeah, and don't worry about the fit because Annie is the best tailor in southeast Alaska. She can fix anything.”

Just then Root came out of the changing room wearing the vintage wedding dress. Honestly, it didn’t look great on her. She was a little too tall for it and she didn’t fill out certain parts. Root knew this was going to happen and that was the main reason she didn’t want to try on the dress, especially, in front of Shaw.

Aunt Grace of course told a sweet lie. “Wow, so pretty.” She beamed at Root.

“Maybe a tad loose in certain areas, but otherwise...” Gammy came over and started looking closely how well it fit. “I'm a bit chesty to begin with and I happened to be knocked up when I wore this.”

Shaw thought Root looked kind of adorable in the ill fitting dress, almost like a kid playing dress up. She had seen her assistant in some knock out dresses, this was not one of them. She could tell Root was uncomfortable and it didn’t sit well with her.

Gammy came around and started inspecting the front of the dress, very much to Root’s discomfort. “Oh, let's see if we can find your boobs. They're in there somewhere.” Gammy was poking around trying to find Root’s breasts, meanwhile her face turned a beet red.

“Yes. Yes, they are. They are in there.” Root said pointedly, she didn’t even look at Shaw. Nothing like your family embarrassing you in front of your crush. Crush? She just questioned herself. Since when did Shaw become her crush? Maybe when she was kissing her topless? She didn’t know what to call Shaw now, boss seemed too formal, friend? Partner in crime? She definitely did have a crush on the woman and if she was being brutally honest, she had for a long time; probably while she stayed for three years being tortured by her.

Gammy continued to search in the loose fitting wedding dress for Root’s breasts. “This is like an Easter egg hunt.”

Root tried to hide her embarrassment with some self deprecating humor. “Maybe they shrunk up in the cold Alaskan air.” She did a fake laugh.

Shaw almost snorted out loud to this comment. Root turned to her and instead of being snarky to her, Shaw actually gave her a little smile. But Root wasn’t having it, she glared at Shaw.

“There they are!” Gammy was excited she finally found her Easter eggs, aka Root’s elusive boobs.

“That...yes." Root kind of cleared her throat. "That would be...them.” Root stood up straight and tried to look cool and dignified but failed.

Gammy stood back from the dress and took a hard look. Then glanced over at Shaw. “I think Shaw needs to try it on.”

Shaw was not expecting that and she did not want to try on the vintage family heirloom wedding dress, until she saw Root’s deflated look. Fine, she stood up, grabbed her arm and pulled Root into the dressing room with her. She didn’t like seeing Root kind of sad or embarrassed, well embarrassed okay but not unless it was by her doing. She closed the door to the dressing room and started unzipping the wedding dress. Shaw’s hand lingered just a bit on Root’s bare skin. Root turned around and stared into Shaw’s eyes.

“It’s just not a good cut on you, it’s very old fashioned,” Shaw was surprisingly very diplomatic and charming. “You’ve worn some really knock out dresses at work…” she held Root’s gaze, “…yet I think I prefer this Alaskan outdoorsy woman thing you got going on here.”

And Root was completely charmed by her boss/fake fiancée. They were standing so close together in the small dressing room. Root wanted to kiss her senseless, keeping things as a business deal now that she knew what it felt like to have a topless Shaw in her arms was beginning to feel like torture. “Just humor her, please.”

“Sure, whatever.” Shaw turned to leave.

Root reached and grabbed Shaw’s arm. “Just turn around,” she slid the dress down off her shoulders and further down her body, until Shaw could hear it drop on the floor.

Shaw couldn’t see anything, yet she felt like she could feel the heat off Root’s body. Aimed straight at her.

“Okay, you can turn around now,” Root said softly.

“I know you’re still only in your underwear,” Shaw said back to Root who smirked at her fake fiancée’s backside. “Get dressed.”

“Seems awfully prudish for someone who tore off my underwear this morning,” Shaw gritted her teeth with Root’s remark.

“Root…let’s not make this…messy.” Messy was not the word Shaw was looking for, let alone the word she wanted escaping from her mouth attached to that impromptu thought.

“Messy can be fun,” Root stood directly behind Shaw and whispered in her ear, almost pushing her fully partially clothed body up against her.

Shaw closed her eyes, feeling Root’s breath on her ear, sensing the warmth coming off her body. She agreed, messy could be fun and she almost turned around.

“Come on you two, get a hurry. We might have a lotta sewing to do,” Gammy’s voice startled both women in the small dressing room.

Root got fully dressed and then exited the small dressing room, making sure to almost have full body contact with Shaw as she squeezed through the fitting room’s small door. She walked back out to the main room where Gammy and Aunt Grace were waiting, she took a seat where Shaw had been sitting; a nice armchair with comfy cushions.

When Shaw came out in the changing room she was like a vision, the heirloom vintage wedding dress looked fabulous on her. She had the bust for the dress and the plunging neckline really showed off her breasts, which admittedly Root couldn’t stop staring at. Shaw caught Root staring and couldn’t hold down a smirk, sometimes her assistant was shameless.

Besides being shameless, Root was speechless. Shaw was really stunning in the family heirloom wedding dress despite her fidgety efforts and awkward stance.

“Oh…Shaw…” Aunt Grace walked over and admired Shaw in the dress.

“Gorgeous beyond words,” Gammy said as she looked over the dress with a seamstress’s eye. “I’ll need to make some minor adjustments.”

Suddenly, something hit Root right in her chest, it hurt. She realized that while she was marrying Shaw it was a sham and for some reason that wasn’t as much fun anymore. She needed some air.

“I’m going to wait out in the boat,” Root said politely and slipped out of the store while the two older women were occupied with adjustments and one dark haired beauty watched her leave with a blank stare.

Shaw watched Root leave the store and got that weird thing in her stomach again. She couldn’t help it if she fit the family wedding dress better. Was Root upset about that?

Aunt Grace smiled at Shaw and said cautiously, “I was thinking, if you'd like, maybe we could head down your way for the holidays this year.” She watched Shaw’s face closely for any reaction.

Shaw was taken aback; she didn’t know how to respond. She liked Aunt Grace, she kinda would like to see her again; maybe not Uncle Harold so much. “Oh, that would...that would be nice. Or maybe we could come to you, too.” She wouldn’t mind coming to Alaska again, the air was fresher and Root looked pretty damn fetching in all her outdoorsy outfits.

Aunt Grace had tears in her eyes and got choked up. “Well, that would be lovely. I would like that very much.”

Gammy gave her a quick hug, “Oh, Grace, for God's sake. We've got work to do.”

“I know. I'm sorry,” Aunt Grace said as she wiped away a tear from her face.

“Go make yourself a cup of tea.” Gammy shooed her away so she could concentrate on pinning Shaw’s wedding dress. Yes, it was Shaw’s wedding dress now. “I’ll finish this, go now,” she said sweetly to her daughter.

Gammy got some more pins and a measuring tape from a cabinet drawer then turned to Shaw. “Now, let's make this absolute perfection.” Before Shaw knew what was happening, Gammy tore off one of the sleeves of the vintage heirloom wedding dress.

“You tear off the other sleeve, it’s liberating!” Gammy smiled at Shaw who stood very surprised now in a one armed wedding dress.

Shaw was shocked and confused, then hesitantly ripped off the other long sleeve of the dress. “I say if you’ve got the guns, show’em off.” Gammy smiled warmly at Shaw. “Yes, that looks better.” She stood back and admired Shaw in the now sleeveless vintage wedding dress, that didn’t look so vintage anymore with the the modern upgrade; yet completely stunning nonetheless.

Gammy then went to another drawer and brought out a beautiful necklace and put it around Shaw’s neck. “My great-grandfather gave it to my great-grandmother when they got married. They were quite a scandal, you know. He was Russian and she was Tlingit, and back then you had to get approval from every member of the tribe before you got married. Almost broke them up.” She eyed Shaw closely, who stood frozen.

Shaw was getting overwhelmed, where the hell was Root. She needs to be the one getting the family heirlooms. “Well... how did they stay together then?”

“She was a lot like you. Tough. Wouldn't take ‘no’ for an answer. She was good for him.” Gammy stared at Shaw then nodded. “I want you to have it.”

Shaw shook her head no. “I can't. Can't take this.” Seriously, where was Root. She started to feel clammy and her heart did race a little.

“I don't want to hear it.” Gammy gave Shaw a squeeze and rubbed her arm. “Grandmothers love to give their stuff to their grandchildren. It makes us feel like we'll still be part of your lives even after we're gone. Take it.” The older woman watched Shaw who seemed to be completely frozen. “Are... are you all right, dear?”

Shaw didn’t know what to say, she really needed Root here; she was better with talking. “Well, I...I just...I just wanted to......make sure there was enough time to get all the sewing done.” She really needed some space and air.

“Don't you worry about that.” Gammy went about helping Shaw out of the dress, avoiding all the pins. “You're going to be beautiful.”

After Shaw was freed from the pinned wedding dress she excused herself quickly from Aunt Grace and Gammy to get some fresh Alaskan air. She felt really angry all of sudden, most of it was directed at Root for some reason. As Shaw walked down the small town street by herself she could feel something was off. She saw Root off in the distance, she seemed to be arguing with two men on the boat dock. If anybody was going to argue with Root right now, it was going to be her.

As she got closer she could start to hear part of the conversation, “Listen, lady this is none of your business. Back off!” Yelled the bald headed guy at Root, he even pointed his finger at her. The other guy who had a unruly beard watched menacingly.

Shaw saw this altercation and her blood was boiling, she picked up her pace. As she got closer she could tell the two men had another boat docked and it was scary, it was full of cages and in those cages were a lot of scared dogs. One of the cages held four dogs that all looked like Kevin clones, all puffy cloud dogs.

“Bitch, dog and cat meat is still legal in 44 states,” said the unruly beard guy. “Get out of our way.”

Root tilted her head, “That’s one of the evilest things I’ve heard recently. And I ride the subway a lot.”

And with that the bald guy shoved Root, knocking her down allowing the both men to escape on to their boat. Shaw was running at this point as fast as she could to get to Root.

Root stood up and pulled two knives from her boots. She threw both knives at the same time, hitting both guys at the same time. She hit the bald guy in the arm and the unruly beard guy in the leg. Both bad guys groaned out in pain as they stumbled back and landed on the floor of their boat. There was a third guy on the boat who started the motor and pulled the boat away from the dock, speeding off in the distance.

Shaw reached Root looked at her thoroughly impressed, yet still pissed at her too. “Do you usually have knives in your boots?”

“On occasion,” Root threw a seductive look to Shaw as she hurried to untie their boat. “Hop on!”

Shaw jumped in the boat and while Root was securing something, she went over, revved the engine and took off. Root lost her footing and fell down on the flooring of the boat.

“What the hell are you doing Shaw?” Root yelled as she stumbled back up on her feet with the extreme speed Shaw was driving the boat.

Shaw gave her a look, “I know how to drive a boat, I’m just not the greatest swimmer. I never mastered the medley.”

Root held onto the side, the ride was very bumpy due to the speed and choppy waters. She leaned into Shaw, “Go faster or we’re going to lose them.” She could tell something was wrong with Shaw, well something more than the usual. Something even more wrong than trying to catch some nefarious puffy cloud dog killers, which was saying a lot.

“What's wrong?” Root yelled over the motor and wind.

“Nothing! Just stop talking!”

“Turn that way!” Root motioned so they wouldn’t lose the bad guys around a bend. Root looked to Shaw very concerned. “Shaw, what’s going on?”

Shaw continued to steer the boat and wouldn’t glance at Root. She was completely focused on catching up with the other boat.

“Shaw. Shaw!” Root yelled, she then stood behind Shaw, put her arms around her fake fiancée to hold onto the steering wheel. Shaw let go of the steering wheel once Root’s hands took over.

“I forgot, Okay?!” Shaw shouted.

“You forgot what?” Root yelled. They both had to yell pretty loud to be heard over the boat speeding through the wind and ocean.

“I forgot what it was like to have a family!” Shaw looked out over the ocean. She was glad Root was behind her so she didn’t have to see her face. They both watched the distance and saw the other boat as they got closer. Shaw ducked down and got out of Root’s somewhat embrace, she scooted down and watched the other boat like a hawk from the side.

Soon the two boats were speeding right next to each other, dangerously close to crashing. The bald guy pulled out a gun and aimed it at Root. Shaw saw this and yelled at Root, “Bump their boat now!”

As soon as Root rammed their boat into the other boat, Shaw leapt from their boat onto the bad guy’s boat.

“Shaw!” Root looked extremely panicked as Shaw landed on top of the bald guy with a gun. She grabbed his gun and shot him in the knee.

Shaw turned to face Root as the boats were still speeding in the same direction. “I've been on my own since I was 16 and I forgot what it felt like to have people love you and make you breakfast and say, ‘Hey! We'd love to come down for the holidays. And I say, Well, why don't we come up and see you instead?’”

The unruly beard guy swung his arm to punch Shaw, she swiped under his leg knocking him down and then landing a powerful punch to his gut. She continued her point with Root, “And give you freakin necklaces! And you have all that here, and you have Hanna, and I'm just screwing it up!” She kept yelling to be heard over both the boats. When the bald guy shot in the leg lifted up his head, she kicked him in the face.

“You're not screwing it up!” Root glanced over to Shaw on the other speeding boat. “I agreed to this! You were there, remember?” Okay, so Shaw jumping onto another boat, firing a gun and kicking a guy in the face; where just about the hottest things Root had ever seen in her life.

The bald guy decided to take his turn against Shaw. She punched him in the face and then kneed him in the groin before turning back to Root. “Your family loves you.” She then swung around and aimed the gun on the last guy driving the boat. “Do you know that?”

Root looked on in complete amazement as Shaw slayed bad guys while carrying on a heartfelt conversation, probably the only way her boss would want to have a ‘emotions’ talk. “I know that! Yes!” She yelled back and finally started slowing her boat down as she saw Shaw made the bad guy driver slow down their boat.

“You're willing to put them through this?” Shaw still yelled but a little softer as the boats slowed down and it got quieter.

“They're not going to find out!” Root yelled back.

“How do you know?” Shaw had a concerned look in her eyes.

Root looked perplexed. “Because you said so yourself. And I trust you.” She stared intensely and very briefly into Shaw’s eyes before concentrating on steering the boat again.

“But what if Aunt Grace…What if Gammy finds out?” Shaw looked almost despondent to Root, she was so distracted she didn’t see that the unruly beard guy got up off the floor and went to hit her. “If Gammy finds out, she's gonna have a heart attack!”

The unruly beard guy was going to hit Shaw, when Root leaned over with an oar and WHACKED him hard in the face and his stupid unruly beard. “It's going to be fine!” Root looked over and stared at Shaw.

The bad guy driver took this moment’s distraction to throw one of the cages of dogs into the ocean, the cage with four Kevin clone dogs in it.

Shaw immediately shot him in the leg, locked the gun then threw it over to Root who caught it. She then paused for a mere second before she jumped into the chilly ocean water, grabbing the cage and bringing it to the surface.

“Shaw!” Root lunged for the side of the boat where Shaw was in the ocean. Shaw was able to tread water while holding the cage over her head, damn good upper arm strength. Root was able to lean over the boat far enough to pull the cage over, lift it and put it gently on the boat. Then she reached out her hand and pulled Shaw back onto her boat. Shaw and the four Kevin dogs were all shivering from the cold ocean water. Root opened a compartment on the boat, grabbed some towels then went and opened the cage door to start drying off the dogs. Then she focused on Shaw who was shivering sitting on the floor of the boat. Root sat down on the floor too, she pulled Shaw over onto her lap, wrapped a towel around her and rubbed her shoulders and back. The four puppies clambered up on Shaw’s lap, she rolled her eyes yet at least the puffy cloud puppies were warm.

“I’m guessing shooting bad guys in the leg is a way to express your frustration,” Root kept rubbing up and down Shaw’s back to warm her up. Her boss seem content to allow her hands all over her, not to mention the four puppies that were climbing on, jumping up and licking her face. Damn, lucky puppies Root thought.

“Great…more Kevins,” Shaw said a tad wobbly due to her shivering, she buried her face into Root’s chest for warmth and to stop the the Kevin clones for smothering her with kisses. She really only wanted one type of kiss right now from one bigger human like puppy.

“You’re a really great shot,” Root squeezed Shaw harder, rubbed her back and tucked her head under her chin in hopes of warming her up.

“Of course I am.” As if this was common knowledge.

“Are you getting any warmer?” Root kept rubbing up and down Shaw’s arms and backside.

“Yeah…thanks.” Shaw’s voice was shivering like her body. She pulled two of the Kevin clones closer and under the towels to rub their bellies. She did feel warmer from the inside out.

Shaw was extremely aware now that she was actually sitting in Root’s lap. She turned her head and Root’s lips were the first thing she saw, she stared at them unbeknownst to her, quite longingly.

She broke her own daze. “What kind of coffee do you like?”

Root smiled, “Hazelnut non-fat misto latte when I’m not drinking the black hole special.”

Chapter Text

Root and Shaw sat in silence for a few minutes on the boat. Root continued to rub up and down Shaw’s back and arms to warm her up from the icy water and chilly sea breeze. Shaw didn’t want to admit how incredibly good Root’s hands felt all over her body, and it just wasn’t because she was freezing from the frigid ocean water.

“Are you getting any warmer?” Root actually asked as a legitimate question without any innuendo. Then she couldn’t resist adding, “Have to say, seeing you take those guys out…definitely got me warm.” Her arms still tight around Shaw.

“Root…” Shaw knew she should extract herself from Root’s body, yet she didn’t and continued to enjoy the warmth it brought inside and outside. Even her stomach felt kind of warm right now which was a really odd feeling.

“Where did you learn to shoot like that?” Root asked still hugging on tightly to Shaw to warm her up and because it felt so damn good. There were two Kevins in Shaw’s lap now while the other two Kevins wandered and shook their fur about the boat.

“I have many skills,” Shaw deadpanned.

After a few more minutes, Shaw extracted herself from Root; her assistant tried to hide her disappointment and failed. Shaw realized it was way harder pulling away from Root than she ever thought and again not just because she was actually cold. She wasn’t ready to admit yet that she just liked having Root all over her. Root and Shaw loaded all the dogs into their boat and took off for the shore. They tied up all the bad guys to the other boat, took their keys and left them to drift out to sea until the Coast Guard could come and arrest them. Sadly, selling dogs for consumption might not be illegal, but trying to murder some activists was and these guys were going down hopefully for a long time.

When they got back to town, they called the local animal shelter and waited until all the dogs were safely picked up and looked after. Except for the four Kevins. Shaw rolled her eyes when Root volunteered to take all four puffy cloud dogs with her. She said they were Kevin’s siblings, so they all needed to be together. If Root thought for one minute she was going to be bringing any of the Kevins back to New York with them, she was dead wrong. Shaw could only imagine Root saying that every day is bring your dog to work day.

As they started walking down the long boat deck back to the big house, Root asked Shaw. “What do you think we should name them?” Thankfully, the animal shelter had leashes so all the Kevins were walking beside them not wildly running off everywhere.

“That’s easy. Kevin #2, Kevin #3, Kevin #4 and Kevin #5.” Shaw swung her hair around trying to untangle it with her fingers.

Root watched this action in almost complete rapture. “Let me warm you up properly for saving the Kevins,” Shaw turned around on the boat deck and stared at Root, who walked up slowly and invaded her personal space and even reached out and put her hand on Shaw’s ass. “Hand on ass. On ass.” Shaw squinted her eyes at Root as her cheeky assistant squeezed her butt cheek. “What? You said no to messy, but c’mon this is just celebratory. I’m thinking…animal rights organizations would want us to celebrate for them.”

“So me…banging you is in honor of animals rights?” Shaw pursed her lips, squinted her eyes as if she was thinking this proposition over.

“Absolutely,” Root licked her lips as she lowered her eyes and lusted after Shaw’s tasty mouth.

“Get me to our room before I change my mind,” Shaw stared back with a blaze in her eyes for Root, who actually looked a little stunned at the outcome.

The ‘our’ room part made Root smile almost more than the possible hook up that might happen. She never wanted Shaw to know, but one time they took this psychology team building test at work and Root hacked into Human Resources and saw her boss’s results. Shaw’s results were a little surprising, yet in some ways not. Her fake fiancée had scored very high in the leadership category and very poorly in the emotional intelligence part, with a side note from the psychologist that Shaw might be a borderline sociopath. And through her sheer brilliance and fortitude she achieved great success because of her extraordinary work ethic and moral compass. Root felt like she kind of understood her boss more after seeing the results and admired her more. Not that she had a disability, because she didn’t; she just had to operate and succeed in a foreign setting without knowing the language really well.

Root had a huge smile she couldn’t hide from Shaw as they both walked back up to the house, followed by the four Kevin puppies around them.

Suddenly, Uncle Harold appeared from the side of the house and stared very seriously at both of them. Root never disliked her uncle more than at this moment. Root unleashed all the Kevins and watched as they ran off into the yard.

“I want to talk to both of you.” Harold ushered them into a horse stable. “You Aunt Grace is never to hear about any of this.”

A shadow emerged from one of the stalls and INS agent Hersh appeared looking directly at both women as they cautiously walked into the stable.

“Told you I'd check up on you two.” Hersh didn’t say it cocky, just matter-of-factly. As if up checking up on them was as easy like going to the grocery store, despite it being on the other side of the country and a nine plus hour flight.

Root had an extremely alarmed look on her face and she looked back and forth between Hersh and her Uncle Harold. “What did you do?”

Harold straightened his back and looked at Root. “I got a phone call from Mr. Hersh, who told me what he thought was going on between you two.” Harold motioned between her and Shaw. “He told me that if you were lying, and he strongly believes that you are, he would send you to prison. So I flew him up here so we could converse.”

“Uncle Harry…” Root looked momentarily defeated, as if her Uncle did this crap all the time.

“Luckily for you,” Hersh looked to Root as he spoke, “your uncle negotiated a deal on your behalf. Now, this offer's going to last for 20 seconds, so listen closely. You're going to make a statement admitting this marriage is a sham or you're going to prison.” Hersh looked directly at Root. “You tell the truth, you're off the hook…” Hersh then turned to motion to Shaw, “…and she is going to go back to Canada.”

There was dead silence, all four people stood very still in the horse stable. The tension between Root and Harold hung over like a dense, thick fog.

Shaw looked over to Root and could see a multitude of conflicting emotions running through her eyes, some fear thrown in with worry and perhaps more than a dash of confusion. She admitted she was getting a little worried for her assistant now.

“Samantha...take the deal.” Uncle Harold urged to Root.

Root stared hard at her Uncle Harold. “I don't think so.”

“Root…make the wise choice,” Uncle Harold put some softness in his voice this time. He was obviously worried about his niece and her possible horrible decision, so much so he used her chosen name.

Root looked defiantly at Hersh. “Here's your statement. I've worked for Sameen Shaw for three years. Six months ago we started dating, we fell in love. I asked her to marry me, she said ‘Absolutely’,” Root glanced over to Hersh then back to Uncle Harold. “I'll see you at the wedding.” She then held the door open for Shaw, who didn’t make eye contact and followed her fake fiancée out while the door slammed shut behind them.

The two men looked at the slammed door with stern faces. Uncle Harold pursued his lips while looking very worried.

Shaw followed Root into their shared bedroom, they were both very quiet as they slowly walked in and then stood awkwardly stealing glances at each other.

Shaw’s clothes were still a little damp and her hair had some real waves going on from the ocean water. She physically felt as uncomfortable on the outside as she did on the inside.

“You sure about this?” She wasn’t so sure anymore if putting Root at risk was worth her personal gain. That part she thought was making her stomach feel really unsettled like too many peppercinis on a sandwich, which was rare.

Root gave Shaw a weak smile. “Yeah…of course.” She thought how her Uncle Harold was a real mood killer.

“I mean, I am very appreciative of what you've done, but I think that...” Shaw didn’t know how to talk about this predicament they were in. She didn’t want to hurt Root in any way, yet she really didn’t want to leave her home, job and her responsibility for helping her young mentee Gen. And she didn’t want to leave Root. How could she ever find another assistant like Root, how could she find any one like Root at all.

“You'd do the same for me. Right?” Root asked staring at Shaw, who held her gaze intensely but didn’t answer.

Suddenly, Gammy knocked on the door then waltzed into the room. The older woman really was a master at interrupting Root thought, must run in her family despite lack of shared DNA.

“Hope everyone is decent,” Gammy walked further into the room and over to where Root was standing, she gently took hold of her arm. “You need to come with me. Now, tomorrow is your wedding day.”

Root looked at her grandmother confused and shrugged, she turned to Shaw who was just as clueless.

Gammy let go of Root and took the Baby Maker blanket from the bed and carried it in her arms. “You two need to give the Baby Maker a rest tonight.”

“Oh, we weren’t using the Baby Maker at the moment,” Shaw said awkwardly, she really liked Gammy.

“It's tradition to sleep away from each other the night before the wedding. Give your bride a kiss good night and leave her be for the evening.” Gammy motioned to Root then to Shaw. “You've got your whole lives to be together. Go on Root, kiss Shaw goodnight and let’s go.” Gammy nudged Root in Shaw’s direction.

Root shrugged, who was she to disobey her grandmother making her kiss the woman she wanted to kiss. She walked over to Shaw who didn’t move away or even flinch. They stared into each’s other eyes, then surprisingly it was Shaw’s eyes that lingered down and focused on Root’s lips. Root took this as a good sign so she leaned in further and kissed Shaw firmly and her fake fiancée responded immediately by cupping her face, deepening the kiss. Root had to hold down a shuddering moan that wanted to escape, she didn’t think that was a good idea with her Gammy standing right there. And the moan might come out slightly pornographic since Shaw’s tongue had somehow ended up in her mouth, she gripped Shaw’s hips for support. She thought okay, so her boss really liked putting her tongue in her mouth, where else would she like putting that tongue. Root had to shake that thought or she would never get any sleep, ever.

Shaw was so mad at her tongue, was it possible to be completely pissed off at an appendage she wondered. All Root had to do was barely kiss her and Shaw found herself losing all rational thought and tongue control. And she had to stop making out with Root in front of her grandmother.

Gammy cleared her throat quite loudly. “Now, come on. Come on.”

Root and Shaw pulled away from each other reluctantly licking their lips and staring at each other slightly breathless. Gammy tilted her head for Root to follow her out of the room.

Root hesitated and stared at Shaw longingly. “Gammy, I’m going to stay…” she didn’t even care how hoarse her voice sounded or that her pupils were probably completely blown out because all she wanted to do was do Shaw.

“Root Groves we must honor tradition, c’mon on let’s go,” Gammy said more sternly and motioned for Root to exit the room.

Root stepped slowly away from Shaw, knowing if she didn’t she wouldn’t leave the room at all, “If I don't go with her, she's just going to...” Shaw was staring at her and if Root didn’t know her boss so well, she would say that she didn’t want her to leave. At all.

Shaw shook her head, “…to come right back and push harder. Yeah.”

“Yeah,” Root shoved her hands in her pockets. “See you in the morning?”

“Yeah.” Shaw watched Root leave and felt completely torn.

Shaw tossed and turned in the big bed, she couldn’t fall asleep. She did not want to think that the reason she couldn't get to sleep was because Root wasn't there beside her. Nope. She could begrudgingly admit that it might be Root related in that her body was humming with sexual frustration for her fake fiancée/annoying assistant. After three years of working together with whispered corny innuendoes (always tossed out when Root thought she wasn’t listening), too much staring, too many short dresses showing off those ridiculously long legs, flowing brown wavy hair that was tossed around like she was in some shampoo commercial and always standing way to close together; something had to give she thought. Then to add this weekend with sliding down each other’s wet bodies completely naked, three long deep kisses involving tongues, sleeping in the same bed…again, something definitely had to give.

She needed some water. Or something to drink, preferably some good whiskey. She didn’t think it was a good idea to know which room Root was sleeping in, she wouldn’t be able to find her in this big house. She walked to the kitchen, got a glass of water and then heard the faintest of growls. She peeked her head around the corner into one of the smaller living rooms and there was Root on the couch with three Kevins all tucked in around her and two Kevins on the floor next to them. Root looked over to Shaw, with her big, brown sparkling eyes. Great, so they both weren’t asleep she thought. Shaw sighed and slowly shuffled over to the couch. All five Kevins perked up and watched her. One Kevin, probably Kevin #3 yawned then stood up and stretched his paws on Shaw’s leg.

“They all love you now,” Root said while petting Kevin #2 on her stomach.

“I’m getting kind of fond of them…maybe a little,” Shaw reached down and picked up Kevin #3 from the floor and cradled him in her arms.

“Did you want to take a Kevin back to the room with you?” asked Root, with a completely sub-textual meaning to the question.

“Well…” Shaw didn’t know how to say she only wanted one thing to go back to the room with her. She bent down and deposited Kevin #3 on the couch, then all three Kevins clambered over to lick and paw at her face. Shaw petted the pups, then locked eyes with Root who was staring pretty brazenly at her. Especially, brazenly considering she was sleeping on the equivalent of her parent’s couch and she was sending out a ‘take me now’ vibe when anyone from her family could walk by. “…you should probably come to…in case one of the Kevins needs you…” Shaw said a little shakier voice than she would have liked, while adding a little blaze to her eyes.

“If you want me to come…with you…” Root said so suggestively that Shaw was surprised that a Barry White song didn’t start playing over the elaborate house sound system.

Shaw rolled her eyes. “One more comment like that and no…I don’t want you coming at all near me.”

Root gave her a fake pout as she slowly maneuvered to get out from under three Kevins on the couch.

Suddenly, there was a noise of someone walking down a hallway close by.

“I bet that’s Gammy, go hide!” Root sounded completely different in a quick voice turn around, as she shooed Shaw away.

Shaw looked at Root like she was crazy. “I’m a grown ass woman, I’m not going to go hide from your grandmother.”

“Do you wanna get lucky tonight or not?” Root’s eyebrows raised playfully at Shaw.

“You were the one hoping to get lucky,” Shaw shot back to Root.

“I’m not the one roaming the halls am I?” Root volleyed back to Shaw.

Shaw stood up stared at Root with a slight look in her eyes that said ‘fair point’, so she quietly crouched down and moved towards the kitchen.

“Go hide in the pantry, she’s probably just getting milk,” Root whispered to Shaw, she had to hold down a giggle because Kevin #3 and Kevin #5 followed behind her as she crawled into the kitchen.

Shaw then pushed Kevin #3 and Kevin #5 into the food pantry with her when they wouldn’t walk in on their own accord and stood in front of the door preventing its closure. She shushed them several times, then picked them up and rubbed their bellies to get them to quiet down.

Root then pretended to be asleep as she watched her Gammy from one squinted eyelid that indeed her grandmother was just getting a glass of milk in the kitchen. Kevin #1, formerly known as Original Kevin, ran into the kitchen and barked at her. Then he went and barked at the pantry door. Shaw on the other side of the door was having a hard enough time keeping Kevin #3 and Kevin #5 quiet with Kevin #1 barking and scratching at the food pantry door. Shaw shouted in her head, ‘Dog, don’t out me’. Both Kevins wiggled to get out of her arms.

“Oh no, no treats in the middle of the night,” Gammy said as she grabbed her glass of milk and headed to leave the kitchen. “C’mon on Kevin, let’s go back to bed.” Gammy snapped her fingers for Kevin #1 to follow her which he obediently did. Shaw let out a breath of relief as she heard the older woman leave the kitchen area finally.

After a few seconds everything seemed completely quiet, then slowly the pantry door opened. Root stood on the other side with a sly smirk.

“Wanna come out…of the pantry closet?” Root teased Shaw, who grabbed a box of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal before pushing against Root to exit the pantry closet. She almost tripped thanks to Kevin #3 and Kevin #5 scrambling to get out so they could run around and chase each other.

Then the puppies started barking which Root and Shaw were both not having that, both shushing them at the same time; since it meant Gammy might come back. Root motioned quickly for Shaw to head towards the back door. Root grabbed the Baby Maker blanket off the couch and thankfully Shaw had on the flannel robe over her black tank top and boy shorts as they dashed out of the house. Much to both of their annoyance, Kevin #2 through Kevin #5 followed them outside.

“C’mon let’s go to the barn, Gammy won’t venture outside at night…unless it’s for a chanting ceremony…but it’s not a full moon so we should be in the clear,” Root said thoughtfully while looking around to make sure. Shaw herded the puppies as best as she could while shoveling cereal into her mouth.

As they walked the short distance from the house to the barn, Root looked over to Shaw and was just about to say something before she was cut off, “Do not say something corny like, do you want a roll in the hay?” Shaw gave Root a fierce stare.

“How about a grind in the grain?” Root whispered as they walked and bumped her arm into Shaw’s shoulder.

“Nope,” Shaw bumped Root back with her shoulder.

“Wanna top in the crops?” Root leaned in again, almost bumping her whole body into Shaw’s.

“Not in your lifetime,” Shaw bumped into Root, at least her assistant was warm out in this chilly Alaskan night.

“Bone in the barn?” This time Root leaned in to whisper in Shaw’s ear while they reached the barn door.

“I’m leaving,” Shaw was about to turn around and leave when Root opened the barn door then found the light switch and flicked it on. The whole barn was flooded with a warm, inviting almost magical glow. The Kevins ran in the barn ahead of them, pushy little creatures definitely intrigued by all the outdoor smells.

Instead of the usual lights coming on, the barn was illuminated with hundreds and hundreds of twinkling lights hung, strewn and wrapped around pillars throughout the entire old wooden structure. All the twinkling lights really did put an enchanting spin over the old barn. Root looked around with a slight wonder in her eyes and Shaw watched her trying not to roll her eyes. Okay, she might admit it was okay looking for an old, musty barn. She gritted her teeth though, because it was also extremely romantic looking. Not to mention all the freakin wedding decorations were already hung up from balloons to streamers to ribbons and banners. The whole barn looked ready to have a very chic, rustic full on Pinterest dream of country, homey weddings. Everything was set up from all the chairs and there was even an altar already constructed for the ceremony, mounted on top a raised platform.

Both Root and Shaw stood for a moment staring a little awkwardly around the barn at the scene of their upcoming wedding. They were broken out of their slightly uncomfortable gawking with the Kevins running around and playing with each other, little growls echoing throughout the barn.

Root sauntered over to a wooden ladder leading up to the hay loft, she motioned to Shaw to follow her.

“I don’t think this is a good idea…” Shaw looked almost nervous as she clutched onto her cereal box and stuffed some more cereal into her mouth.

“Just giving you a tour of the barn,” Root gave Shaw a little smile as she climbed up the ladder with the Baby Maker blanket wrapped around her shoulders.

Root pulled herself up in the hay loft and admired the view down below, especially the view down Shaw’s tank top while she climbed up the ladder behind her. While Shaw pulled herself up, Root went over and stretched out on the Baby Maker blanket that she spread out over a few bales of hay, making a cozy makeshift bed.

Shaw rolled her eyes at Root and the damn blanket, “I’m not having sex on that freaky blanket.”

“Are you worried I might knock you up?” Root raised her eyebrows and smirked at Shaw. “Relax, I just want to show you something.” She walked over and lay down on the Baby Maker blanket and patted the spot next to her for Shaw to join.

“Root…I know what you want to show me,” Shaw retorted and crossed her arms against her chest standing firm, Root leaned on her elbows on the hay in her pajamas and hoodie as she stared longingly at fake fiancée to join her.

“Sameen Shaw…do you want to wait to consummate until we’re legally married?” Root’s eyes lit up with mischief and desire at the same time. “Who knew you were so…traditional.” Root really emphasized the word ‘traditional’ as if it was part of some sexy seduction vocabulary roster.

“I’m not traditional, I’m pragmatic,” Shaw looked over to Root then over the ledge to the Kevin puppies playing below.

Shaw let out a heavy sigh then slowly walked over and very gruffly lay down next to Root; sitting down her cereal box next to her.

“This isn’t that comfortable.” Root then nudged Shaw’s head with her arm for her to lean it up, she then slid her arm underneath for Shaw to use as a pillow. “Marginally, a little better.”

When they both got better situated and comfortable, Root pointed to the ceiling. Shaw hadn’t noticed that nearly the whole ceiling was a mural, a massive painting that was just in spectacular in scope as it was in art. The mural consisted of every aspect of nature with different seasons, lots of animals and a portion that was dedicated to the stars and constellations above.

“Your barn roof has a mural?” Shaw asked surprised.

“Gammy did it as a thank you to the forces of the universe,” Root turned her head slightly to Shaw and smiled. “I used to come out at night and watch these stars without having to worry if a bear or moose was going to wander over.”

They both lay on the Baby Maker blanket on the bays of hay, staring up at the bedazzling mural.

“You know, people usually paint these on the outside of a barn,” Shaw kept staring at the impressive mural, she thought she even spotted a Kevin in it.

“Gammy did it just for us, we could come out and watch her add stuff over the years.” Root leaned over to Shaw, her hair falling over into Shaw’s face filling her nostrils with Root’s delicious apple scented shampoo. “She added Kevin.” Root pointed to the left corner of the mural, her face hovering over Shaw’s face by just a few centimeters.

Shaw breathed in Root’s hair and everything about her. Her skin started tingling all over just being this close to Root. She knew coming into the barn wasn’t a smart idea, this whole thing wasn’t a smart idea.

Root turned her head to stare in Shaw’s eyes, this was a rare time she could just keep staring and not have to worry about how long she had been staring. She decided to take a chance, since Shaw did come out with her to the barn; she leaned over and nuzzled Shaw’s neck. She placed a few chaste kisses up and down. Then ran teeth over Shaw’s pulse point before latching on and sucking, almost as hard as she could.

Shaw had to hold down a whimper, but then Root bit down fiercely and she did let out a hiss. Okay, that was it Shaw thought, games were over. At this point she didn’t care they were on the freaky reproductive blanket or in some kind of art installation barn or what the consequences might be later. All she knew was that at this moment they were both here in a barn decorated for their upcoming wedding and she still wanted to jump Root and not run off into the Alaskan wilderness. She pulled open her flannel robe and pushed Root over to straddle her hips. This resulted in Root arching up her body for full on maximum contact. Shaw put both her elbows on each side of Root’s head trapping her while she leaned down and scraped her teeth along her neck; nipping and biting. Root let out a shuddering moan that in return made Shaw quiver. Both sets of hands now went into frantic roaming mode which also included a lot of tracing, kneading and pinching. They rolled over a few times, each time the Baby Maker blanket getting more crumpled beneath them. Shaw had no idea how long they had been heavily making out until Root actually moved her mouth off Shaw’s mouth for a moment.

“Ouch…ohhhhh…ouch…wait Shaw…help me here,” Root said slightly breathless as she tried to roll over, she pointed to her backside. Shaw then pulled on Root’s side to roll her over, there was hay all stuck to her back and bottom. The damn Baby Maker blanket had moved and Root had some hay in the exact location that Shaw hoped her hands and mouth were headed; the lower back and then some sticking out of her underwear. Shaw picked off all the hay much to Root’s relief, then she pulled the blanket back up to cover the hay.

“For someone who likes a little pain with your pleasure…that was pretty lame,” Shaw said in a teasing tone.

“Hey…it’s really itchy and pointy,” Root made a fake pout. “I like things bitey and suckey. Let’s put some hay down your pants.” She then reached and grabbed the front of Shaw’s boy shorts and massaged the front, stopping front and center to really give it a good kneading in the most sensitive spot over the fabric. Shaw leaned forward and pushed her forehead against Root’s and started breathing heavily. Root could smell the artificial berry flavoring of the cereal Shaw had been eating and it somehow made her even more delectable.

Shaw grabbed Root’s hand, they locked eyes. Then Shaw moved Root’s hand further up her torso, paused for a moment and then slide it down inside her underwear.

“Someone is eager…” Root moved her fingers slowly over the highly slick area, “…and has a very warm, wet welcome for me.” Shaw covered Root’s mouth with a fierce, deep kiss; obviously to stop the chatter. This time Root was waiting and immediately sucked on Shaw’s tongue which caused her to buck her hips into Root’s hand.

Then she felt a jab of uncomfortable, annoying pain on her butt. Her eyes shot open as she realized Root just stuffed some hay down the backside of her underwear with her other hand.

“Seriously?” Shaw tried to wiggle out of Root’s hold and get the offending hay out of her pants, while Root’s other hand still worked it’s magic up front.

“See it’s itchy right?” Root had a smirk while Shaw scowled at her.

Shaw sat up a little, in one swift move she managed to grab both of Root’s hands.

“Take your hand out of my pants,” Shaw growled at Root, as she gripped tightly to both hands.

“Which one?” Root teased. “This one?” Root then put more pressure right on Shaw’s sweet spot, then slowly pushed a finger inside; which caused Shaw’s eyes to roll back in her head and lessen her grip on that hand. “Or this one?” Root slid her hand further down the backside of Shaw’s boy shorts along with some hay, the difference in texture wasn’t all that unpleasant. However, it was pretty damn itchy. Root asked both questions a little breathless, she leaned in and started sucking on Shaw’s neck. She was definitely leaving a mark there, she had taken a class one time on branding and she wanted to Root Brand® all over Shaw.

Root pulled her head away from Shaw’s neck regrettably and her hands even more regrettably. “Here…” Root climbed over Shaw, then pulled down her boy shorts completely and removed all the hay. “Better?” She also took this opportunity to place open mouth wet kisses all along Shaw’s firm ass and stomach once she flipped her over. “Sameen…” Root said even more breathless.

Shaw had to admit, every time Root used her first name, she came a little undone and especially if Root said it all breathy like she just did. And she was afraid she might have just shown that card a little to Root, who got a cocky look on her face. And that cocky Root face got even stronger and smugger when in a very embarrassing short amount Root had Shaw moaning her name over and over again. Shaw cursed her body for responding so fast and unabashedly to Root’s talented mouth and fingers.

When Shaw caught her breath, she pulled Root back up her body and to her mouth. Root was about to bring her hand up to wipe her lips and Shaw stopped her. She pulled her in for a kiss, swirling her tongue over and around Root’s lips tasting herself all around and in Root’s mouth. Root positioned herself on Shaw’s thigh, getting as much friction as possible while Shaw squeezed her ass this time.

“Sameen…I really need you…” Root croaked out in a raspy, lust filled voice. “Please…Sameen…”

Shaw couldn’t help but smirk, she could tease Root at least she didn’t beg. She pushed Root over, pulled off her pajama pants in one fall swoop and ran her hands up those long legs she had been staring at for three years. She then ran her tongue up Root’s inner thigh, quicker than she would have liked, feeling the urgency from Root. When her mouth finally landed where Root needed it the most she heard her let a moan so loud it startled the Kevins down below. And when Shaw slipped two fingers inside Root she was rewarded with a medley of her name whispered over and over, with the pitch getting higher and higher and more feverish.

Everything kept escalating far more quickly than either of them wanted, but after three years they both had a very short fuse for each other. Going slow was just not an option tonight, there did seem to be a ticking clock. Exhaustion from the past few days settled in after the massive release that just happened between them, several times. They both caught their breaths with heavy eye lids and extremely sated faces. Root draped her arm over Shaw’s stomach and a leg over her leg. She was surprised her boss didn’t move away. Within minutes they were both asleep and thankfully all the Kevins down below got tuckered out and fell asleep too.

When Root woke up in the morning, she had been alone in the barn, even the Kevins were gone. She had been a little worried until she went into the house and was greeted by Gammy and Aunt Grace. She wandered into the house with the Baby Maker blanket wrapped around her shoulders, her hair a wild mess and feeling disoriented. She actually didn’t want coffee, like she always did every morning, she wanted to see Shaw. She looked around but her fake fiancée was nowhere in sight.

“Root, why did you sleep in the barn?” Aunt Grace asked Root as she put the finishing touches on an arrangement of wedding flowers. “You better get started getting ready, Shaw is already up and getting dressed. Use my room, so you don’t see each other yet.” Aunt Grace and Gammy both smiled warmly at Root.

Root felt like she was in a daze, whatever happened in the barn last night almost felt like a dream; well except the part about hay getting stuck in her butt, she felt like there was still some hay stuck in sensitive areas. She smiled to herself then went on to get dressed for the wedding. She felt disappointed when she woke up alone, but then again maybe Shaw did that so she could sneak back into the house before anyone saw them in the barn together.

Shaw was in the bathroom, after having just took a shower and this time getting a towel before stepping in. She admitted that hay was itchy. She woke up with a little rash this morning and hay in places where she didn’t want hay. It was hard pulling away from a sleeping Root, yet she felt almost claustrophobic laying there all entangled together. Everything in her life seemed to be on warp speed since a few days ago.

Later, on when everything was assembled and everyone was situated where they were supposed to be, it was wedding time. Root was instructed to stand by the altar and Shaw would walk down the aisle. Root wished she could have seen Shaw’s face when that was explained to her, once again she was amused that her boss was the bride in this fake scenario.

When it was finally time for the wedding march to start playing, Root realized she was extremely nervous. It didn’t help that Uncle Harold was sitting in the front row giving her a serious look with raised eyebrows. Thankfully, Aunt Grace was next to him and she was throwing nothing but love towards Root. She was left completely stunned when Shaw appeared at the front of the barn in the family heirloom dress. Root’s breath actually did hitch when she saw Shaw. Somehow her boss had managed to get Gammy to take off the sleeves? The dress looked absolutely stunning on Shaw, she really was a thing of beauty. Gammy appeared off from the side and lifted her arm for Shaw to take, which she did and they started walking down the aisle together.

As they got closer and closer, Root felt the fluttering in her stomach get stronger and stronger. She smiled at Shaw, who looked a little confused or constipated, she couldn’t really tell right now.

Shaw felt so discombobulated. She really couldn’t believe she was walking down the aisle with Gammy in a wedding dress heading towards Root. Root of all people. The woman she hired because she thought it would be fun to fire her four hours later. Root looked truly breathtaking in a cream colored dress and her hair swept up in an elegant bun showing off her gorgeous neck. That gorgeous neck that now included, after last night, a few traces of marks that the make-up concealer wasn’t entirely concealing. The dress was slit up the side, showing off one of Root’s best assets, her legs. Shaw knew she was kidding herself, everything about Root was a best asset. Where in the hell had Root been hiding this dress? She had to admit if Root had been wearing a tux, she might have throttled her on the altar. If either of them was going to wear a more comfortable tux, it was going to be her. She was fond of this heirloom dress that Gammy tailor fitted for her, her stomach felt even stranger thinking of that thought. She didn’t want to deceive this family any more, as soon as that thought popped in her head, she couldn’t stop it.

When Shaw and Gammy finally reached the altar, Root leaned over and kissed her grandmother on the cheek then took Shaw’s hand; who looked more confused and torn than ever.

“Thanks, Gammy,” Shaw whispered before turning her attention to the priest, who turned out to be Fusco, did this man do everything in town?

Suddenly, Fusco said very loudly, startling everyone especially Shaw. “Hey everybody! Please be seated!”

Fusco started a speech, “We are gathered here today to give thanks and to celebrate one of life's greatest moments. To give recognition to the beauty, honesty, and unselfish ways of Root and Shaw's true love in front of family and friends. For it is their family and friends who taught Root and Shaw to love. So it is only right that family and friends are all...” He paused when he noticed that Shaw reluctantly raised her arm.

Fusco looked at Shaw confused, “Do you have a question? Or are you objecting to your own wedding?” He lightly chuckled.

“No...and I guess.” Shaw looked serious and confused.

“Your hand is up.” Fusco motioned to Shaw’s raised hand.

“Oh, it, it's not a question, but I do have something I need to say.” Shaw looked to Root who looked panicked then out to Root’s family.

“Shaw…Can it wait till after?” Root asked cautiously and hopefully.

“No. No…” Shaw shook her head.

Root reached out to touch Shaw’s arm. “Sameen….” Shaw patted her hand and then turned to Root’s family sitting front and center only a few feet away from the altar.

Shaw politely smiled at them. “Hi there.”

Someone from a few rows over offered a ‘Hi’ in response and on behalf of the whole crowd.

Shaw then did look out over the small gathered crowd, no doubt seeing lifelong friends, extended family and Hanna amongst everybody. Damn it, Hanna. The blonde woman looked beautiful as usual and smiled warmly at her.

“Thank you all so much for coming out. I...have a bit of an announcement to make about the wedding. A confession, actually.”

Root looked even more concerned, “What are you doing?”

Shaw couldn’t look into those mesmerizing brown eyes right now or she would just marry them, and her gut said that wasn’t right. So she continued on. “I'm a Canadian. Yes, Canadian. With an expired visa who was about to be deported. And because I didn't want to leave this wonderful country of yours, I forced Root here to marry me.”

There were a few gasps among the crowd gathered for the fake wedding. Aunt Grace and Gammy both looked hurt and confused. Uncle Harold sat there with raised eyebrows, he looked over to his wife and mother-in-law.

“Shaw, stop it.” Root realized she would probably have married Shaw anyway without being forced to. Okay, maybe not like this or maybe just like this after they had actually dated for awhile. Well, if she had finally gotten the nerve to ask Shaw out, which her boss probably would have refused. Her brain was going into overload, she didn’t know what has happening and she started getting really anxious.

“See, Root has always had this extraordinary sense of integrity. Something I think she learned from you.” Shaw looked over to Gammy and smiled. “And for three years I watched her work harder than anyone else at our company. And I knew that if I threatened to destroy her career…” Shaw looked at the floor for this, not necessarily proud of herself for this action. “…she would…she would do just about anything. So I blackmailed her to come up here and to lie to you. All of you. And I thought it would be easy to watch her do it. But it wasn't. Turns out it's not easy to ruin someone's life once you find out how wonderful they are.” Shaw looked at Root, whose eyes were slightly teary, she then turned to Aunt Grace, “You have a beautiful family. Don't let this come between you. This was my fault.”

“Shaw...” Root reached out for Shaw, but she pulled away.

“Root, this was a business deal, and you held up your end, but now the deal is off. I'm sorry.” Shaw stepped down from the altar and started walking down the aisle alone. As she passed by Hersh in the crowd, “And you, meet me at the dock. You're giving me a ride to the airport.”

The small gathering was stunned, murmurs started humming around the barn as Shaw exited. Root stood up at the altar by herself frozen. Aunt Grace and Gammy rushed up to see if she was okay, even though they were angry too.

“What were you thinking?” Aunt Grace questioned Root with Gammy looking on concerned.

“I don't, I don't know,” Root shook her head and looked after where Shaw had left.

“Root, you lied to us.” Gammy looked very disappointed.

Root reached out and put her hand on Gammy’s shoulder. “Let me get my head on straight, Okay?” She then rubbed her hand on the back of her neck. “I'll explain everything later. I'm sorry.” She held onto her bouquet of flowers as she walked out of the barn.

Uncle Harold watched everything from his chair, he looked relieved and confused at that same time.

Root went into their shared bedroom looking for Shaw; she saw the family heirloom wedding dress, Shaw’s flower bouquet on the bed with a letter. Root opened the letter and started reading it.

“You were right. Your idea is special. I lied because I knew developing it meant I'd lose you as an assistant but...” Root kept staring at the letter, her eyes got teary. “…you’re extremely talented…you’re very gifted. I'll make sure we put this into development before I leave. Have an amazing life, Root. You deserve it. Shaw.”

Hanna walked into the bedroom and saw Root standing there with a letter in her hand, fuming, “Well, that was...crazy. You know, people are going to be talking about this forever.” She tried to ease the fury she saw boiling up on Root’s face.

“Yeah. Yeah.” Root stared at the letter in her hand, with misty eyes and anger rising in her voice.

Hanna watched her ex closely. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. No...” Root stared at the letter again. “I just feel...You know what the problem is? You see, the problem is that this woman is a gigantic pain in my ass. First there's the whole leaving thing. I kind of understand that. It's a sham wedding. It's kind of stressful even for a sham wedding. But then she goes ahead and she leaves this note. Because she doesn't have the decency, the humanity to do it to my face.” Root glared at Hanna who returned a sympathetic look on her face. “Three years. Three years I worked with this infuriatingly hot woman. Never once has she had a nice thing to say, and then she goes ahead and she writes this crap!” Root then took both hands and crumpled the letter somewhat violently and threw it across the room as hard as you can throw paper, which is never far despite dramatic efforts. Root aggressively wrung her hands together and looked wildly around the room.

Hanna had such compassion in her eyes for her friend and beloved ex. “Root,” she said softly.

Root paced back and forth across the room, crazy eyes and anger radiating off her body. “None of that matters. We had a deal!”

“Root…” Hanna said softly with a sympathetic tone. She tried again to try and center her friend and ex-love, she hated seeing Root so upset. She knew she caused Root a lot of pain in the past, now she wanted to help her friend in whatever Root wanted. And in this case, it seemed to her what Root wanted was also best for her; which had not been their outcome so many years ago.

“Sorry. I'm sorry. I just...She just makes me a little crazy.” Root glanced over to Hanna as she continued to pace back and forth.

“Yeah. I can see that.” Hanna went over and put her hand on Root’s arm, she looked into her eyes. “So you're just going to let her go?”

Root looked at Hanna through misty eyes, slightly confused.

“Go after her Root.”

Root stared at her confused briefly then morphed into a slight smile at her ex-love.

“Take it from someone who didn’t go after someone they loved.” Hanna stared in Root’s eyes. “Have you seen the way she looks at you? Trust me, go after her.”

Shaw sat on a boat, watching the big house get further and further away. She was glad to be wearing sunglasses, she didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone let alone this Hersh guy. “So, what now?”

“Well...now that you're leaving voluntarily, it all becomes very civilized. Once we land in New York, you have 24 hours to head back to Canada.” Hersh said with a blank look on his face. He didn’t seem to care he was changing someone’s life forever. Making them leave some place they loved and leaving people behind. He was just doing his job for his country.

Root walked outside where the reception was to have been held. People were milling around, eating food and drinking since everything was set up.

As soon as Gammy saw Root she reached out to her, “Root, what's happening?”

“I got to talk to her.” Root was looking around frantically trying to spot Shaw somewhere in the crowd.

Uncle Harold walked up and barged into their conversation, “Why would you do that?”

“You two stop fighting!” Gammy yelled, so tired of seeing them fight over the years.

“It has nothing to do with you,” Root lashed out at Uncle Harold.

“You two, stop it!” Gammy yelled then got a horrified look on her face as she clutched at her chest.

“I'm not going to let you ruin your life,” Uncle Harold said loudly and sternly.

“I'm not asking your permission,” Root said back harshly.

Aunt Grace noticed that Gammy was having trouble. “Root! Harold! Harold!” She rushed over to Gammy who started to crumble to the ground. “Root! Harold!”

Gammy clutched at her chest. “I think I'm having a heart attack,” she struggled to say.

Root ran over to Gammy and cradled her in her arms. “Somebody get a doctor!”

“Annie, Annie hold on.” Uncle Harold said softly while holding onto her arm, he had a pained look on his face.

Thankfully, since most of the town was at the wedding there was already a small medical plane there to whisk Gammy over to the bigger hospital in Juneau. Gammy was on a gurney in the small airplane, while Root, Aunt Grace and Uncle Harold surrounded her. They were all holding on to some part of the older woman, watching her closely with worried faces.

Gammy removed her oxygen mask and said weakly, “You two need to stop fighting. You'll never see eye to eye. But you are family.” She faced Uncle Harold, who held onto her hand and stared into her eyes. “Promise me you'll stand by Root. Even if... if you don't agree with her.”

“I promise,” Uncle Harold nodded and gripped the older woman’s hand tighter.

“Root.” Gammy then turned her attention to her granddaughter. “Promise me you'll work harder to be a part of this family.” Gammy’s voice sounded very weak and frail. Root held onto her hand too with tears in her eyes.

“I will. I will, Gammy.” Root started crying a little as she held onto her grandmother’s hand and watched the older woman’s eyes close.

“Well, then, the spirits can take me.” Gammy said very softly.

“Oh, Mom,” Aunt Grace held back big sobs of crying at her mother’s last sentence.

Root looked back and forth between her Gammy and Aunt Grace. “Gammy?”

All three people watched the older woman lay still on the gurney with her eyes closed. Aunt Grace reached out and held onto Root and Harold’s hands, they held on tight to her.

Gammy all of sudden, opened her eyes and said with a burst of energy. “I guess they're not ready for me. I'm feeling much better. No need to take us to the hospital. Take us to the airport, please Larry.” She ordered the pilot of the small plane with a playful jolt to her voice.

“Mom, what? Are you faking the heart attack?” Aunt Grace yelled through a snotty nose and teary eyes.

“Gammy…seriously??” Root said angrily.

“That wasn’t fair Annie,” Uncle Harold said as he let out a huge sigh.

“Well, it was the only way I could get you two to shut up and get us to the airport!” Gammy said back in her defense.

The pilot yelled back at her. “We're not authorized to take you to the airport.”

“Larry, don't make me call your mother.” Gammy yelled back at Larry the pilot.

“Larry, stay calm and take us to the airport or we’ll revolt your pilot privileges,” Root yelled at Larry the pilot. Of course she had no authority to do that, she just wanted to scare him and get to the airport before Shaw’s plane took off.

“You got it,” Larry the pilot yelled back to Root.

Shaw sat on the small plane as it taxied down the runway getting ready to take off. She sat with a blank look on her face.

“You should've given up back in New York.” Hersh said sitting next to Shaw. “See…I'm like Eliot Ness. I always get my person. I'm that good.”

As soon as the medical plane stopped on the tarmac, Root jumped out and ran toward the control tower. It wasn’t a sight they saw every day, a woman in a wedding dress running down a flight path runaway. Root stopped, only a few strands of hair had fallen out of her elegant hair bun. She pulled out her phone and dialed a number, she scanned the runway for Shaw’s plane as she waited for the recipient to pick up the phone.

“Leon! It's Root!” Root waved at the control tower in hopes her old friend Leon could see her down below. “Hey... I have a little favor I need from you, buddy...” She kept waving to get his attention but he seemed distracted by eating something. “Shaw's on that plane. I gotta talk to her. Can you stop it?”

“Oh, yeah! I heard about your lady bailin'. Drag-ola.” Leon said on the other end of the line up above in the control tower.

“Leon! I need you to stop the plane. Please.” Root pleaded to Leon.

“What? Oh, sorry man it’s already taking off,” Leon said standing next to the window now seeing Root waving from down below on the runway.

Root looked out and saw Shaw’s plane take off on another runway. “No, no, no, no! Come on!”

“Oh, no.” Gammy had a sad look on her face.

“What's wrong?” Uncle Harold asked completely confused.

“Shaw's on that plane,” Aunt Grace pointed to the plane going higher and higher into the bright sky.

“And she didn't get to tell her,” Gammy said very glumly.

“Tell her what?” Uncle Harold had an even more confused look on his face.

“That she loves her,” Gammy said in a very wise voice.

“So she could tell her that she loves her too,” Aunt Grace added with a sad look on her face.

“But how does she...” Uncle Harold looked back and forth between Gammy and Aunt Grace.

“If she didn't love her, she wouldn't have left,” Gammy pointed to the sky, she blew a kiss.

“Of course not,” Aunt Grace agreed and nodded.

“Am I the only one not getting this?” Uncle Harold asked.

“Oh, Harold!” Aunt Grace said in extreme frustration as they continued to walk further down the runway to catch up to Root.

Root stood frozen on the runaway looking off into the distance, the plane a small speck in the sky now; the few fallen strands of hair blowing in her face.

“I'm sorry…Root. I didn't know how you felt about her,” Uncle Harold said as they reached Root.

“Honey, it's going to be okay,” Gammy said while she and Aunt Grace hugged Root.

After, two planes, a train and a cab ride Root finally arrived back at the New York office of Thornhill Digital Arts, much later than she wanted due to delayed flights. She ran fast through the building, she was panting and continued to sprint towards Shaw’s office. When she got there she froze, everything was gone. Well, everything Shaw related was gone.

“Claire? Claire!” Root shouted to her friend and co-worker who sat in a cubicle nearby. “Have you seen Shaw?”

Claire looked a little scared, then with a sad smile she said, “Yeah…she’s gone. She called me to have her office packed up and shipped out to Vancouver.”

Root scanned the area, she looked pissed off and sad at the same time.

“Well…well, look at what we have here,” came a smarmy voice that made Root’s skin crawl.

Root turned around to see Jeremy Lambert walking the halls of Thornhill Digital Arts once again with a pompous stride and cocky grin.

“Ding, dong the ice queen is gone,” he continued to walk closer to Root. “You should be happy now. You don’t have to marry that emotionless poisonous woman…” before he could finish the rest of his vapid, stupid sentence Root landed a massive punch on his face. SMACK!

The whole office gasped, then there were some cheers. “You go Root!” was heard shouted out by a few different people. Jeremy cried out in pain and held his nose as blood oozed out.

“Root, I still got the address where I shipped her boxes to,” Claire gave Root a smile, who in return looked a little better with this news.

So now after, another very long plane ride back in the same general direction where she just came from and two and half hour car trip; Root was finally reaching the destination where Shaw might be. Her former boss wasn’t actually where the boxes were shipped to, however, an overly friendly neighbor told Root after some immense charming on her part where she might be. Shaw was going to hate having a nosy neighbor like that, it almost made Root giggle. She was grateful for the nosy neighbor, sometimes people were just as informative as a computer, sometimes.

As soon as Root parked the car, she sprinted towards to the massive ski lodge. She had driven up to Whistler, because apparently Shaw was letting off frustration by skiing. Root was a little surprised by this intel, but hey she was in Canada now and the scenery was stunning. She managed to charm a ski lodge concierge into finding out that Shaw was taking a beginner’s ski class, again seemed odd for Shaw but then again maybe there were a few things about her former boss she didn’t know. Root walked out where several ski classes were talking place, she scanned the area looking for her breathtaking grumpy former boss. Then she finally saw her and she felt her body flush.

Shaw wasn’t happy about being around a ton of people right now, yet she thought it might be helpful after everything that happened in the past week. Hiding away in a cabin for a month sounded the most appealing, then she thought maybe trying something completely terrifying might help the loss of her former life. She was so lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice at first someone was staring at her, hard. Then she actually felt the staring, then she heard a fake cough coming from Gen next to her. She looked down at Gen, yes she brought Gen with her to Canada; she couldn’t leave the kid in New York. She shook her head, not quite sure how she wound up getting a kid instead of a fake American wife. She would work out the Gen paper work later, for now they were on spring break and the kid was trying to learn how to ski. Suddenly, Gen swatted her arm and motioned for her to look up.

Shaw stood frozen for a moment and not from the weather, but because her former assistant aka her almost wife was standing in front of her. “Root…Why are…” Shaw couldn’t believe Root was standing in front of her. She was momentarily speechless. “…why are you panting?” Is all she could come up with, yet she was curious why Root looked like she just ran a marathon.

“Because I've been running.” Root stared as hard as she could into Shaw’s eyes, boring into them.

“Really. From Alaska?” Shaw asked.

“I need to talk to you.”

“Yeah? Well, I don't know what about…I’m not your boss anymore.”

It wasn’t until now that Root noticed there was a youngish girl standing near Shaw with ski gear on.

Root looked back to Shaw confused. “Wait…is that Gen? Did you kidnap her?”

“No, it’s her spring break. Root what do you want? She’s trying to learn to ski here.” Shaw bent down to check all of Gen’s ski gear properly and to avoid talking to Root.

“Shaw…” Root tried to get Shaw’s attention, it was obvious she was ignoring her on purpose.

Shaw started talking to Gen, “If you get going too fast, just fall over to stop.” Gen wasn’t paying attention, she kept looking to Root staring at them. “Bend your knees…are the boots okay...” She didn’t even want to look in Root’s direction.

“Sameen! Stop talking!” Root yelled in the most demanding voice Shaw had ever heard from the woman yet. Gen almost giggled because Shaw looked so startled. For Shaw that demanding voice hit her hard, she didn’t want to use a stupid cliché like weak in the knees, yet damn it. Damn it, Root. Shaw stood up staring at Root.

Root then said in a slightly normal voice, “Gotta say something.”

“Okay,” Shaw replied back, she turned to face Root now with her arms crossed against her chest.

“This will just take a second…or are you listening?” Root stared intensely into Shaw’s eyes.

“Fine. What?” Shaw squinted her eyes and looked out, they had gathered a small crowd around them.

“Last week, I kind of loathed you…despite the way too frequent sexual fantasies involving burning you with an iron. Zip tying you to office chairs. Inappropriate use of office staplers on you. Or tasing you while you answered all your own phone calls.”

“Oh, that's nice.” Shaw looked blankly at her former assistant, although kind of disappointed none of those things happened.

“I told you to stop talking.” Root kept staring intensely at Shaw.

“Then we had our little adventure up in Alaska and things started to change. Things changed when we kissed…and you slipped me the tongue…several times,” Root tilted her head to Shaw.

Gen couldn’t resist, she had to tease Shaw a bit by doing an obnoxious ‘Ooohhhh’ sound. Shaw looked so un-Shaw like; she almost looked embarrassed. Root shot Gen a playful glance while she got a stern glance from Shaw aimed at her.

“Things changed when you told me about your tattoo. When you checked me out when we were naked. Or when we kissed again, turning into a heavy make out session in front of my Gammy,” Root continued on despite her speech maybe not being family friendly.

Quite a few people repeated a key word. “Naked?” Murmured many times throughout the small crowd gathering. Gen once again looked like she going to erupt into a giggle fit, she had a huge smile plastered across her face.

Shaw scoffed, “Well, I didn't see anything...”

“Or when we kissed again…because Gammy told us to. And then when we banguhtered…bantered in the barn…” Root realized maybe that part was too much for Gen. “…talking about…astronomy and hay.”

Gen and the small crowd was totally invested in this story now, and knew bantering was code for having sex. There were confused faces over the hay and astronomy references though.

Damn it Root, the entire world and especially Gen didn’t need to hear about our kissing activities and bantering Shaw thought.

“I didn't realize any of this until I was standing alone. In a barn...Shaw-less.” Root looked deep into Shaw’s eyes intensely. “Now, you can imagine my disappointment when it suddenly dawned on me that the woman I love is about to be kicked out of the country. Or more accurately flee the country.” Root stared seriously at Shaw.

Shaw was motionless and stared blankly at Root. To someone who didn’t know her that might think she was just completely blank, to Root she could tell there was a lot going on in those expressive gorgeous brown eyes. Lot of thinking, weighing the pros and cons of everything.

“Sameen…” Root stared intensely into Shaw’s eyes. “Marry me.” Root moved closer to Shaw and did her signature move of invading her personal space. Then she said dead seriously while staring into her eyes, “Because I'd like to date you.”

“Root, that doesn’t apply anymore,” Shaw said staring back into Root’s eyes.

“Yeah, it does. You’re going to make me a Canadian,” Root’s eyes sparkled as she tried to wink to Shaw. “Eh.”

Shaw couldn’t look away from those mesmerizing brown eyes despite the terrible Canadian reference. Then she shook her head no. “Trust me. You don't really want to be with me.”

“Yes, I do.” Root reached and grabbed Shaw’s hand.

Shaw stared back with big eyes, she looked down and then back into Root’s eyes. “See, the thing is, there is a reason why I've been alone all this time. I'm comfortable that way. I don’t disappoint people that way. And I think it would just be a lot easier if we forgot everything that happened.”

“You're right. That would be easier,” Root nodded to Shaw.

“I’m not like other people…I don’t feel stuff like other people…”

“Sameen…you’re beautiful and perfect the way you are. I get it, I really do.”

Shaw said softly looking up into Root’s eyes. “You getting hurt…is not an option…” Root had watched her boss negotiate enough tough contracts to know Shaw meant business on this option.

“That’s not going to happen.” Root smiled, she knew this was Shaw’s way of maybe saying she was slightly scared. The woman didn’t really do scared and she sure as hell would never use that word, she did uncomfortable and this hit that mark high.

“It’s a terrible idea…” Shaw wanted nothing more than to kiss Root senseless, preferably without an audience.

“Those are the best…” Root replied back in a very warm tone.

Shaw smirked, “It’s your turn to get down on one knee.”

Root smirked right back at Shaw, “I'm going to take that as a ‘Yes’.”

“Sure, whatever Root.”

“Kiss her! Kiss her!” Shouted a familiar voice.

Shaw knew the voice but didn’t think it could be who she thought it was. She turned her head and got quite the surprise when she saw Gammy, Aunt Grace and even Uncle Harold along the snow banks waving at her.

“Root?”

“Yeah, Sweetie?”

“What in the hell is your whole family doing here?” Shaw waved while also being shocked to see Root’s family at this particular ski resort in Whistler.

Gammy walked over and hugged both Root and Shaw. “We’re so happy Shaw. Vancouver is a lot closer than New York.” She smiled and looked cute in her snow gear.

Shaw looked to Root slightly concerned, “What about your career at Thornhill?”

“Well, one of the most respected developers in the industry said I was extremely gifted,” Root bit her lower lip and stared at Shaw’s lips, “I’m guessing I can work from anywhere I want as a freelancer…or perhaps a new boss?”

Root then leaned and kissed Shaw, who surprised her and kissed her back ferociously despite having an audience of her family and Gen.

There were some shouts heard from the small crowd gathered around them as they continued to kiss, then Gen yelled. “Yeah! Show her who's boss, Root!”

When they pulled away from each other a little breathless, Root dug something out of her leather coat pocket and deposited it in Shaw’s hand. It was several knobs and screws in a little plastic zip lock bag.

“What are those?” Shaw burrowed her eyebrows.

“Parting gift from Jeremy’s English Regency Egyptian Revival breakfront, should be falling to pieces the moment he touches it.” Root smiled at Shaw who actually returned the smile. “Also, I broke his nose for you. I didn’t want to bring that though.”

Shaw couldn’t help a smile that spread across her face. Oh, she would have loved to see that. “Was there blood?” Root nodded with a wicked smile. “Did he cry?” Root nodded again with an added cocky smirk. “That’s hot.”

“You can show just how hot later,” Root whispered in Shaw’s ears, causing shivers to actually go up and down both their bodies.

Gen was surrounded by Gammy and Aunt Grace now, they were all smiling and talking. Shaw felt her stomach tighten a little, not necessarily in a bad way just in a way that she might be getting into some deep unchartered waters. And she was bringing Gen with her, however judging by the look on the kid’s face, Gen was extremely happy to be setting sail.

“I told you the Baby Maker blanket had special powers,” Gammy shouted over to Root and Shaw with a twinkle in her eyes.