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Kim's foot taps anxiously as she watches the numbers on the lift change, her stomach turning more and more with each passing floor. Swallows hard. It's fine, she's got this. It's only a silly little interview, right?

Right.

Not like it's an interview with one of the biggest record producers in the world. One who Kim also happens to have a little more than a crush on.

Wait, halt. That isn't why she wants this job. Simply... an added bonus.

No, it isn't why she wants the job. She doesn't even really want this job, there's no way she's qualified for it, but she needs it. She needs to work under the world renowned Trini Gomez to get her name, her music, out there.

Trini made her name by finding breakout stars, those from the lower class side who very rarely had the kind of opportunities those with money were capable of creating.

And is Kim from the lower class side? Well, no.

Do Kim's parents support her decision to be an artist? Also no.

Did they cut her off when she traded in business for microphones? A big fat yes.

Sure, when she was little and took piano lessons, her parents were behind her one hundred percent. Fencing? Of course. Head cheerleader? Yep. Captain of the debate team? Abso-fucking-lutely. That one was especially needed if she was going to take over the family business one day.

Anything that looks good for Ivy League, they were fine with.

However, when Kim had finally pulled together enough courage to tell them she didn't want the family business, after she got all of her degrees of course, that she wanted to write music and sing her songs to the world, the relationship she had with her parents totally went down the drain.

The expression 'it's who you know' had never been more accurate to Kim than after she finished college, because all of her degrees? Her accomplishments? They meant fuck all in the real world.

Her only saving grace was her roommate, who made more than enough money from his career to keep them both going rent and bill wise, whilst she used the money from her barista job to get in the groceries.

It was a small contribution, but one she was adamant about making. A contribution her roommate assured her wasn't necessary, but understood her need to add.

After all, he was one of the few from the lower class that managed to make it.

He was also the one that gave her the courage to follow her dreams, and she'll forever be in his debt for it.

The doors of the elevator opening bring her out of her thoughts and she takes another deep breath, heading into the chaos that suddenly surrounds her, people running around the halls with stacks of paper and phones glued to their ears, others flipping through charts and design covers for Trini's many artists, fingers furiously tapping on keyboards and flicking through tablets. She barely manages to move out of the way of these people on the war path as she walks slowly down the hall in search of anybody who seems marginally free to ask where she needs to go, and it isn't until she's at the end of the hall in front of PR door that she realises there's nowhere else to go.

So she knocks.

A swift 'come in' greets her and her hand shakes as she opens it, suddenly surrounded in silence except for the woman at a desk who holds up a 'one minute' finger in Kim's direction as she ends her phone call.

Once the phone is down, the woman cocks her head, “you aren't lunch.”

“Ah, no,” Kim stumbles, “I'm uh- I'm here for the PA job.” The blank stare continues and she holds out her hand, “Kimberly Hart.”

Blank stare turns into confused frown as the woman picks up her phone again and begins scrolling through it. “Didn't we cancel you?”

Wow. Rude. “Excuse me?”

“Your résumé,” she waves Kim off in disinterest, “no industry experience, no music background-”

“I play the piano,” Kim defends.

She receives an eye roll, “music, not instrument. Who even called you to come in?”

Before she can answer that she doesn't know, a familiar deep voice answers from behind her. “I did.”

Kim spins on her spot as her mouth gapes in happy shock, “Jason? Oh my god, you work here?”

Jason chuckles low in his throat. It's been years since she's seen him, not since their last day of college. They were never exactly friends, but they took the same business major. “You aren't the only one who had a career change.”

She takes in his wardrobe, a dashing black suit, and sees his ear peace. “You went into security?”

A throat clearing distracts them from their catch up. “Does Trini know about this?”

Jason ignores her and takes Kim by the arm, “come on, I'll take you up.” He leads them to another lift and enters a pass code before they step inside and watch the doors close on a fuming face. “Don't mind Tommi, everyone is a little stressed today. How have you been, Kim?”

And she wants to catch up, she truly does. Wants to know how Jason went from taking over his dad's fish business to security, but there's a bigger matter on her mind right now. “Why did you do this for me?”

He shrugs, “saw your name on the list of applicants when I was doing background checks on them, figured it must be you because what are the chances?”

Kim sags, “that woman Tommi, she's right though, I am not qualified for this job, I don't even know why I bothered.”

“Because you want to be a star,” he smirks and Kim glares. “Look, I'll be real, Trini doesn't give a shit what school you went to, what grades you got, what experience you have. She likes people that can get or do things for her. Favours, you know?”

“Right, so what did you do for her to get me an interview?”

He smirks again, “I got her Billy Cranston.”

Her eyes almost bug out of her head, “the DJ? How?”

They come to a stop and Jason's smirk turns to a smile, “a story for another time. This is you, I'll escort you out when you've finished. Oh, and you'll need to sign a NDA before you go. For obvious reasons.”

Kim nods, “thank you, Jason.”

Jason grins larger, “you'll be fine. Just remember, she likes favours, and if she owes you, she'll make sure she follows through.”

“What could I do for her?” Seriously. She has no connections, no inside knowledge, nada.

“Trust me, Kim, you are currently the only person in the world that can give her what she needs right now.” What the? He pushes her out before she has a chance to question what the fuck he's talking about and waves as the doors close behind her.

Kim frowns. Was it a sex thing? Did she have to have sex with Trini to get this job? Surely not.

Not that she'd be totally against it-

No, no. The Jason she knew would never suggest something like that.

She shakes her head and slowly walks into the empty room, only now taking note of her surroundings. She smiles gently as she looks at walls plastered in platinum albums, and glass cases full of trophies. None of them belong to Trini, though Kim knows she has them. Every single one is from one of her artists, showing off just how proud she is of the success they've made.

The desk and chair, well, throne, at the back of the room screams power and Kim can't help herself as she makes her way towards it, bites her lip as she runs her fingers over the deep mahogany wood and soft leather, glances around to make sure she's completely alone and, for some reason beyond her control, sits in the chair.

There are pictures of Trini with her family, and one solitary, silver ornament that looks like a notebook with a lock on the side.

Kim isn't going to deny the fact that she's curious to see what's inside.

A click causes her to snap her head to the side and she freezes the same time equally frozen eyes catch hers.

Trini Gomez.

Fuck.

Trini's on the phone and she carries on the conversation like somebody isn't sat in her chair while Kim begins to slowly stand, freezes again when Trini halts her with her hand and motions for her to sit back down. “Look, just get him on the phone.” Trini walks over to her coffee machine and looks at Kim again as she points to it. “Want one?”

Kim stumbles over her words, “I, uh-” forces herself not to lick her lips as she looks over Trini's pink suit, nothing under the blazer, and her long hair shiny, running over her shoulders and ending at the deep plunge of neckline that- “wow.” Trini cocks her brow. “I mean, uh, isn't that supposed to be my job?”

“Only if you get it,” Trini smirks and focuses back on the phone. “I'm sure he'll change his plans when he realises just who this music video is for.” Looks back at Kim. “Get him to call me back as soon as he's done.” She puts her phone in her pocket and brings two cups over. “Sorry about that. Also,” she places one of the mugs in front of Kim and sits on the edge of the desk, “you didn't answer so I took a guess.”

“Right. Right, sorry, I just-” she starts to stand again but Trini cuts her off with a sarcastic laugh.

“No, no. Please, make yourself at home. After all,” she leans closer, “I'm nothing if not a good host.” Kim sits back down again, not quite sure how this situation is going to play out. Trini picks up a sheet of paper that Kim barely sees is her résumé. She looks it over slowly before she tears it in half and throws the pieces in the air. “Tell me, Kimberly Hart, why did Jason call in his favour to get you an interview as my personal assistant?”

“Honestly?” Trini nods, and Kim sighs. “I haven't got a clue. I haven't seen Jason since college. I guess it might be because I've been wanting to get into the industry for a while. A friend of mine told me about this job so I took the opportunity, didn't actually think I'd have a shot.”

Trini hums, “what do you want to do in the industry?”

“I want to sing,” it's the most confident she's felt all day.

Less confident, when Trini's smile drops. “So you want to be my PA to give me your demo and hope I fast track you into stardom?” Kim's eyes widen. “Sorry to break it to you, but you aren't exactly my,” she gestures over Kim's form, “brand. I'm hip-hop, R'n'B, and Latin. You're more... pop princess. Can you even sing? Although, with your voice I think you can. But that's not the point. And using me for-”

“No, no, no!” God, how did she blow it already? “No, that's not why I'm here.” Okay, a small lie never hurt anyone. “Look, fine, would that be amazing? Of course. But I'm not here to use you to gain fame, okay? I need a step into the industry and you're the best. God, Trini, you busked on the street when you were fifteen until you got noticed at seventeen. You built your production company from nothing because your own producer fucked you over on your percentages. You were in 'Forbes 30 Under 30' last year! I literally cannot think of a single person in the music industry who would be all motivating, inspiring, and exciting to work for.”

She's rambling. She really needs to stop rambling.

Which means she obviously does not stop and only amps it up. “Yes, I can sing. Yes, it would make my life if you listened to my demo. The pop princess thing was super insulting to me personally by the way so thanks for that.” Trini snorts. “But that's not the reason I want this job. You're the reason I want this job. And I'm happy to work my way up and make my own connections, but I need you in order to have that chance.”

Trini sips her coffee slowly as Kim finally, thankfully, finishes. “Little industry secret? People who tend to want fame? People who know they have talent? Everything they do is for an ulterior motive. Those people? They don't usually make good assistants.”

“Oh,” Kim huffs out a laugh, “I'm probably going to be a terrible assistant.” Trini's eyebrows shoot up to her hairline. “But not because of that, just because I'm a little clumsy and forgetful.”

“You aren't giving me very good reasons to hire you.”

“I know, I'm totally blowing this, but I also know you're a person that takes chances, so take one on me.”

Trini's phone rings and the little bubble they've found themselves in bursts. “Yeah?” Trini doesn't break eye contact with Kim until it appears she doesn't get the news she wants. “What the fuck do you mean he said no? Did you tell him who this was for?” She groans. “Fine, you know what? I'll get someone better than him.” Trini growls as she throws the phone on the table, Kim stopping it before it slides off of the other side.

“Everything okay?”

“No. I have a music video set to begin shooting in a week and my fucking stunt coordinator went and broke his leg. Now all of the decent ones are booked up.”

A light bulb turns on so hard in Kim's head it almost shatters, because suddenly Jason's sentence makes sense. “I can get you one.”

Trini scoffs, “no offence, but I need a pro, not some amateur that likes to upload videos of themselves doing stupid shit.”

Kim smirks, “how about Zack Taylor?”

“He's booked already.” Trini freezes, “wait, how can you get me Zack Taylor?”

“Can you hold off the shoot for a couple days?” Trini nods. Kim smirks again and pulls out her phone, scrolls to Zack's number and answers before he has the chance. “You're on loud speaker.”

Zack instantly laughs, “no dirty talk, got it.” Kim groans as Trini's brow quirks. “What's up, Kimmy? Did you get the job?

“I'm still working on it. In fact, I have Trini Gomez sat right in front of me.”

Trini Gomez? As I live and breathe.”

“Zack,” Kim snaps, “listen, you finish your job in a couple of days, right?” Zack answers his confirmation. “Well Trini's stunt coordinator got injured, and she needs a new one for an upcoming music video but they said you were booked?” Zack grumbles something about his own assistant being a moron. “Yeah didn't think so, so can you do it?”

Trini watches her in fascination before Zack's voice booms through. “Work on a Trini Gomez music video? I'd be honoured. It's about time you got me on board.” Trini chuckles. “Work out the deets with Kimmy and I'll be there.

Kim sips her own coffee and moans. “Thanks, Zack. See you later.”

A low whistle leaves Trini's lips and Kim tries not to focus on how they pucker. “Zack Taylor's your boyfriend?”

“Ew,” Kim flinches, “gross, no. I love him but, no. He's my roommate.” Then she remembers the dirty talk comment. “He's also an idiot.”

Trini crosses her legs and leans forward and Kim makes herself keep her gaze on Trini's eyes. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“You start tomorrow.”

Kim bolts from the chair, “seriously?” Trini hums. “Thank you! Thank you, Trini. I promise you won't regret it.”

“I'd better not.” Kim nods aggressively as she back away, feeling that they're done here, as Trini takes her rightful seat. She plays off being anxious as she waits for the elevator and slides in on shaky legs once it opens, before Trini shouts. “Oh, and, Kim?” Kim turns just in time to stop the doors from closing. “Never sit in my chair again.”

-

She's so bad at this job. So, so, so, so bad.

Between forgetting to set up meetings, breaking nearly every mug in Trini's office, and making a complete enemy of one Tommi Oliver, Kim honestly has no idea how Trini hasn't fired her yet.

Three months is far too long for her to still be a total disaster.

But somehow, some way, Trini keeps her around.

Kim wants to thank Jason, but he's told her time and time again that Trini only owed him the interview, everything else is down to whatever miracle she's created for herself.

The first two weeks Kim had put it down to Zack, with Trini not wanting to rock the budding working relationship Kim had set up between them, but that music video is long over and Trini had thanked Kim for finally introducing them.

Obviously, Kim isn't going to try and jinx herself, but still, she has to wonder what the hell she's doing right, because so far even she'd fire her. And she's definitely not subconsciously trying to ruin this for herself, because Trini is an amazing boss to work for, even if Kim hasn't seen her apartment for more than a few hours a day.

Yeah, her schedule is insane.

Her head pops up from her computer as the lift doors open and Trini walks through with her hands full of bags and an ear piece in to talk on the phone. “I'm thinking Vegas nightlife, you know? The darker side of Sin City, really bring out the feel of your new album, and 'Sins of Regret' is definitely the first single we should release to set the pace for your fans.” She pops the bags on the table in front of Kim and mouths 'lunch' with a wink.

Fuck.

Fuck, she forgot to pick up lunch.

But hey, at least she remembered to order it this time.

Seriously, why does Trini keep her around?

She's also made it her mission not to sing while Trini's in the room in fear of Trini's suspicion of using her.

Not that she can string together a coherent sentence half of the time with the suits Trini's wears, let alone sing.

Thankfully, that only happens maybe one or twice a week when she has an important meeting that Kim usually forgets to set up. The rest of the time she's much more casual in skinny jeans and button ups, and the odd occasion in sweats. Not that any of that is less distracting. Especially when she has her hair tied up and her jawline is on full display. Today is one of those days.

“Hey,” Trini whispers as she switches from her ear piece to her phone and holds it against her shoulder to block the speaker, and Kim's head snaps up in question. “Did you call Rosa's?”

“Yeah,” Kim quickly answers as she shuffles around a pile of notes to find what she's looking for, shows the reservation to Trini with a large grin, one that drops as soon as Trini frowns. “What?” Trini shakes her head and returns to her conversation, leaving Kim to sulk as she brings up a game of Free Cell. There's a few more 'uh-huh's, 'yep's, and 'got it's from Trini before she ends her call and shoots Kim a curious glance. “Did I- did I mess something up?”

Trini shakes her head with a small smile, “other than making me grab our lunch? Not at all.” Kim looks unconvinced and Trini relents. “Usually when my PA's reserve a table they include a seat for themselves.”

“Oh, I thought it was a private meeting. I mean, if you need me there of course I'll come but-”

“You're good. I was just surprised.” Trini stands and walks over to Kim's desk, but Kim doesn't close her game in time for Trini to see and all it gains her is a chuckle. “I would say take a break, but it seems you're already doing that.”

Kim winces and closes it, “sorry.”

Trini rolls her eyes and slides three containers at Kim before she takes her own and heads back to her desk, pops her feet up on the table as she eats before she points her chopsticks in Kim's direction. “I need you to get me a suite at the Bellagio. And then three rooms at the Vdara.”

“Sure, when do you need them for?”

“Next week. Put them all under the label and make sure the Bellagio doesn't leak to the press.” She chomps on a spring roll. “Actually, make sure none of it leaks to the press, they don't need to see us heading into the Vdara either.”

Kim frowns, “us?”

“Oh yeah, we're going to Vegas,” Trini smirks.

A water chestnut gets stuck in Kim's throat and she gulps down her water to stop herself chocking, “we are?”

“Well yeah. I thought I made it clear your first day that if I have to travel you have to come with me? Did I not make that clear?” Trini frowns again, like she genuinely can't remember. “All expenses paid, of course.”

“Seriously?” Kim really tries not to squeak. Pretty sure she fails miserably. “I'm going on a trip to Vegas?”

“A business trip to Vegas. All work, no play.” Trini sips up a noodle. “Maybe a little play.” That... that probably entered Kim's mind in a way Trini didn't intend it to. And then, then Trini does that thing she does when she deems their conversation over. She logs into her laptop and plays music, sings and hums and raps along like her voice doesn't do dangerous things to Kim's lower stomach.

Her lunch forgotten, Kim succumbs to the fact she'll be fucking useless until Trini stops.

Working for somebody she has more than a little crush on sucks.

-

Okay, so, it wasn't her plan to get drunk. Really. But when Trini Gomez offers somebody a glass of her extremely expensive whiskey, said somebody would be a down right idiot to say no.

Plus, they're in Vegas. Vegas. How could she possibly not take the chance to enjoy herself while she can?

And it's all just so pretty. They're high up and Trini has the most amazing view of the fountain, causing Kim to whine. “How did you get this and I get... building tops?”

Trini hums a laugh around her glass, “you're the one that booked the rooms. Besides, I'm sure Jason's is worse.”

“I know,” Kim sighs in mourning, “I'm a terrible assistant, I don't know why you keep me around.”

Another hum leaves Trini as she places her glass down gently. “You didn't read the NDA you signed.”

Huh? “What?”

“You didn't read it. Every single one of my employees thoroughly read through it, took in every single word so they knew what they could and couldn't release to the public. You didn't read a single thing except your name before you signed it.”

“I- I don't understand.”

Trini shakes her head, “you didn't read it, because you never had any intention on spilling details about me, my artists, or my label. People like you are the people I want to keep on my side.”

Kim shakes her head rapidly, feels the dizziness from the whiskey slushing her brain, “I respect you too much for that.”

“Ah, so all the things you knew about me were real,” Trini plays, with a slight scrunch of her nose that is far too adorable for a woman with her reputation, and Kim melts a little. “Part of me kept wondering if you'd done a quick Wiki search on me, but it turns out you're just an every day stalker.”

Kim gasps as she goes along with the joke, her hand covering her chest, jaw hanging, “I can't believe you figured me out.”

Trini chuckles again and walks over to the window to stand next to her, takes in the view herself. “You know, this was the first place I came when I first signed with Pulsa Records. Totally blew through the money.”

“I thought you put it all away to buy your parents a house?”

“That's what I told the press,” Trini admits, “my parents were adamant that I spend my first pay check on myself. After that, getting them a house was exactly what I aimed for.”

“Why here?”

Trini taps her glass with her finger and purses her lips, “because... because if I didn't make it, I knew I'd never get this kind of opportunity again. I just wanted one night where I felt like a star.”

Kim giggles, “you were seventeen.”

“Yeah,” Trini snorts, “place like this with Pulsa Records behind your name? Not really big on legal ages.”

She stares out of the window as Kim watches her, obviously reminiscing about her first big night in Vegas, and it's a hair up kind of day, so her jawline is on full display. “So you were a bit of a rebel when you started out, huh? Not such a good girl after all.”

Trini smirks, “I've never been a 'good girl', Kim.” She puts her now empty glass down and sighs, “but I don't like people being taken advantage of either. You know, sometimes I feel like I have to thank Rita. If it wasn't for her screwing me over, maybe I never would've branched out to run the business I do today. I mean, you get it, right? With your fancy business degree and all that.”

Kim finishes off her final sip and Trini refills the glasses. She really shouldn't have another one, because she can feel her self restraint slipping. “So you did look over my résumé? I thought you didn't care about things like that.”

“I gave it a quick scan,” Trini shrugs, “figured there had to be a reason Jason sang your praises.”

Eyes flick from the view before them into Kim's own, and Trini's wearing that curious little expression she has when she's trying to figure something out. “I uh- I should probably go back to my room.” Before she does something stupid. “It's getting late and we start shooting the music video tomorrow.”

Eyebrows furrow and confusion laces Trini's voice, “oh, yeah, sure. I'll get Jason to escort you.”

“I can make it to my room on my own, Trini.”

Trini shakes her head, “you're not quite grasping this music industry thing, are you?” She then polishes off her whiskey like it's water and takes Kim's hand, leads them back over to the couch and pulls Kim down, looks into her eyes with all the seriousness she can muster. “This place has great security, but even they can't stop the best paparazzi from sneaking through, and trust me, those fuckers can be brutal. This may come as a shock to you, but you aren't exactly sober.”

She's saying words. Kim's sure she's saying words, but literally none of them are registering.

“And if they see you leaving my room stumbling, we're going to be on the front page when we wake up tomorrow.”

Kim sways forward and Trini doesn't move, though her eyes widen a little. “Nobody knows you're here.”

“They always find a way. Plus, even if they didn't, they've seen you with me, so if they see you, they'll know I'm here.”

“So maybe I just don't leave.”

Oh.

Oh god.

Oh... god.

“Sorry, that was- fuck, forget I said that, it was stupid. The whiskey! Yeah, it was the whiskey, I didn't-”

“You're adorable when you ramble.” Kim's mouth snaps shut. Trini seems far too amused at the situation and it only furthers Kim's embarrassment. “And if this was any other situation, I'd be down, but I don't sleep with my employees.”

Kim gapes, “if it... was... any other situation?”

“What? You're hot, you know you're hot, but mixing business with pleasure never ends well.”

“Fine,” Kim downs the rest of her drink and almost slams it on the table, “I quit.”

Trini lets out a full bellied laugh before she realises Kim is being deadly serious and sniffs to calm herself down, “you're not quitting.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because,” Trini leans forward, “you said you wanted to make your own connections, and I'm not the only producer here this weekend.”

Kim frowns, focuses on Trini rather than how close they are, “who else is here?”

“Somebody who can kick off your pop career. He owes me one.”

“I'm not a pop artist, Trini. If you'd listen to my demo, you'd know that,” Kim argues.

Trini hums, “walks like a pop princess, talks like a pop princes,” she takes a strand of Kim's long hair between her fingers, “looks like a pop princess.”

Kim scoffs, “is that it? My style is what's holding you back?” Trini bites her lip through a grin. “Are you messing with me?”

“Maybe a little,” Trini scrunches her nose. Kim pushes at Trini's shoulder and Trini must also be more drunk than she's making out because she falls back easily and can't control the giggles escaping her before Kim joins in. “I think that last drink was one too many. Fuck, the room is spinning.”

“Dick,” Kim grumbles as she leans back against the arm rest and closes her eyes while Trini pulls herself up on her elbows, her giggles slowing to a stop. Her eyes open at the sudden silence to see Trini's gaze running over her and, yeah, she really needs to leave. “Alright, call Jason if you aren't going to let me stay.” Trini blinks out of her daze and stands on wobbly legs, holds her hand out to pull Kim up from the couch, overestimates her strength in her drunken haze and the force of Kim being pulled up causes them to stumble back, Trini landing back awkwardly on the couch as Kim falls over her.

It seems like an eternity as she searches Trini's eyes for something that tells her this pull she feels isn't one-sided, until eventually Trini looks away with a mumble. “We're drunk.”

“Yeah.”

“You work for me.”

“I told you, I quit.”

Trini rolls her eyes, “you're not quitting.”

“Try me.”

Trini laughs under her, “you want to quit just so you can sleep with me? See, stalker.”

Kim huffs and lifts herself up, “well it sounds like I'm crazy when you put it like that.” She takes Trini's phone and sends a text to Jason, knowing that his personal phone will be on silent and only Trini has his other phone number.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Trini runs up to her and stops her from pressing send, rubs her thumbs along the back of Kim's hand and she nearly drops the phone, “I'm sorry. The reason I keep you around, is because I like having you around. You're one of the very few people in my life where nothing has to be an act, you know? I can just... be me.”

Screw it. “Blame it on the alcohol.”

“Blame what-”

Phone thrown to the side, Kim grips the back of Trini's neck and leans down, stops millimetres away to give Trini the chance to tell her to stop, to push her away, and when she doesn't, Kim closes the small gap between them.

Unfortunately, it's barely a whisper of a kiss before there's banging on the door and Trini stumbles back as fast as she can without falling down. “Trini! Trini! Is everything okay in there? Open up! I'll break this door down.”

Trini clears her throat and rushes to the door while Kim stands there touching her lips in awe. “Hey, dude, why the dramatics?”

Jason bursts through and stops dead when he sees Kim stood there before his arms begin to flail. “What do you mean the dramatics? Jesus, I thought something was wrong!”

“And you thought that because?”

“Because? Because you sent me a text saying 'can you come up and' and then just loads of random letters. I thought you were in trouble!”

Kim blinks and finally takes note of his appearance. He's still in his boxers and socks with a shirt hazardously thrown on in his best imitation of Tom Cruise in Risky Business. She somehow manages to control her sniggers. “Uh, yeah, my bad. We've had a few and Trini wouldn't let me walk back to my room on my own.” Speaking of, Trini hasn't looked at her once during the exchanges and Kim lowers her eyes with a pout.

What? I ran up two flights of stairs because of blurry vision?” Then Jason sighs out in relief, “but thank god that's all it was. Okay, it's like three am so I'd very much like to go back to bed.”

Kim nods and walks towards the door, Trini still avoiding eye contact as Kim stops at the door with Jason waiting outside, keeping an eye on the halls. “See you tomorrow?”

Hopefully she hasn't ruined things beyond repair. “Yeah,” Trini whispers, “bright and early. Goodnight, Kim.”

-

After the Vegas fiasco, things thankfully seem to go back to normal. Trini kept her promise and introduced Kim to another producer, who she gave her demo to, but Kim's heart wasn't really in the exchange.

“Kimmy! Kimmy, get in here!”

Kim frowns from the bathroom before she rushes off, toothbrush still in her mouth, and skids to a stop in front of Zack. “What's going on?” Zack points at the screen and Kim's jaw drops open. “Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding me.”

She gets ready in record time and storms out of her apartment, buys every magazine she can find and picks up hers and Trini's coffee on the way.

Not that Trini deserves one right now.

As usual, the office is buzzing, but it's all white noise to Kim as she strolls towards Tommi's office, who barely glances at her as she switches between five different conversations, obviously trying to get this ridiculous PR situation under control.

Kim's frustration only grows once she in the lift, turns to anger when she reaches the top floor and Trini is laughing down the phone like it's just another day. She growls as she strides up to Trini's desk and throws the mags down on them. “Is this a joke?”

“Hey, Gigi, I'ma have to call you back.”

“Wait,” Kim says as soon as Trini hangs up, “was that Gigi Hadid?” Trini smirks. “No, not the point. What the hell, Trini?”

Trini spreads the magazines out on the desk and whistles low, “never takes them long. What's your problem?”

Is she serious? Kim picks up one of the magazines at random and flips to the page, reads aloud, “'after years of rivalry, Pulsa Records and Sabre Records are finally putting aside their differences by bringing us the collaboration we've all been waiting for. But is this going to be the enemies to lovers trope of the century, or are Romeo and Juliet doomed to repeat history?'. You're working with Rita? And you didn't even tell me about it?”

“It's just business,” Trini shrugs, “I didn't tell you because I knew you'd overreact. Like you are now.”

“Damn right I'm overreacting. Working with Rita goes against everything you stand for.”

“Not if I can get her new artist to sign with me instead.”

Kim halts her rant, “he hasn't signed yet?”

Trini sips at her coffee, “not officially. Rita managed to get her claws in him before I got a chance for a meeting with him. A meeting you were supposed to set up by the way, and then we could've avoided all of this.”

“Oh. Shit.”

“Yeah, shit.” Trini sighs, stands, and walks around to face Kim, “I appreciate the worrying, but let me do my job.”

“I just don't want her manipulating anything.”

Trini licks her lips, “I'm a lot smarter now than I was when I was seventeen, Kim. Besides, now I have you.” Trini grins and produces a garment bag. “And you are going to get him for me.”

Kim unzips the bag and awes at the sleek black suit and pink shirt inside. “Oh my god. Is this Armani?”

“He's a rapper, one look at your princess look and he'll think he can get extra that I refuse to offer. Legal are drawing up a contract now, I just need you,” she pokes Kim's chest, “to seal the deal while I distract Rita.” Kim agrees with a dumb nod without really knowing what Trini's saying, because Trini's finger didn't leave her chest after the poke. “Great, your shoes are under your desk. Get changed and I'll go and grab the breakfast you didn't bring in with you.”

Another dumb nod is all she's capable of as Trini makes her way to the lift and she goes into the bathroom to change.

The suit is gorgeous, and Kim runs her fingertips over the soft material before she begins to change into the perfectly tailored outfit. How the hell did Trini get her measurements right?

She folds her other clothes up and leaves them on the side to change back into once the day ends, and pads her way over to her desk to pick up the shoe box, which holds a pair of Valentino Garavani rock stud ankle boots. “Jesus, Trini, how much did you spend on all this?”

Slipping the boots on, Kim groans in appreciation as they hug her feet before she goes over to the full length mirror on the wall to check herself out.

However, before she can spend too much time ogling herself, the lift doors open again. “That was quick- you're not Trini.”

Jason frowns at her, next to him, a fierce looking Rita and who Kim can only assume is the artist she wants to steal. “No, I'm not,” Jason says firmly, “where is she?”

“She went to get breakfast. Didn't she tell you?”

His frown deepens, because Trini isn't supposed to run errands without him with her. “She didn't tell anyone it seems. Anyway,” he turns to Rita, “my apologies, I'm sure she won't be too long.”

“Oh, nonsense,” Rita waves him off, “we can make ourselves comfortable.” She addresses Kim next, gives her a good look over and Kim feels slightly uncomfortable under the predatory gaze, “that's a nice suit for somebody on your salary.”

Kim raises her chin, “Trini got it for me. She treats her employees right.”

Rita snarls through a tight lipped smile. “Well, isn't that sweet. Why don't you go and make myself and CJ a drink?”

The man next to Rita puts his hands in his pockets, shifts from side to side as he looks around the room at all of Trini's achievements.

“She won't be making anything for you,” Trini's voice joins them from behind and Kim holds back her laugh as Jason's eyes scold her for going out alone. “Rita, never a pleasure.” Rita snarls. “CJ, it's nice to finally meet you, but I'm afraid Emily isn't here yet, with you being two hours early,” she glares at Rita.

“Shit, are we? My bad, girl.” He glances questioningly at Rita, who simply ignores him. “This place is sick, yo.”

“Thank you,” Trini smiles, “I'm pretty proud of it myself. Actually,” she drags out, “I'm glad you're here early, Rita. Billy is in the studio now and we wanted to go over some of the tempo changes for CJ's second verse.” Trini looks pointedly at Kim, and Kim fires off a quick email to get an update on the contract. “CJ, please feel free to make yourself a drink and wait in here with Kim while we go and sort this out.”

Rita smiles what she must perceive to be sweetly, “don't bother yourself with such pedestrian chores, CJ. After all, my new rising star deserves only the best treatment. I will have your favourite sent up to you.”

CJ shrugs, and Kim can see the smug smirk grace Trini's lips at his next words. “I know how to work a coffee maker.”

With Rita turning red at the snark and Trini biting her lip, Trini gestures towards the elevator, “shall we?” She leads Rita away, leaving Kim, Jason, and CJ in the room.

“So, CJ,” she wastes no time, “why haven't you signed with Rita yet?”

He scratches the back of his neck as he heads towards the coffee machine, “mama said she's no good, that she can't represent my music 'cause she don't know what it's like in the hood. All those rich boy rappers she's got are sending the wrong message and mama don't want me to be a sell out.”

“But,” she watches him look at the machine in pure confusion as he tries to figure out what button does what, “you're here with her today?”

“Yeah. Gotta take my shot when I can, ya know? Might not get another one. Yo, this fancy ass coffee maker ain't like the one mama uses in the diner.”

Kim smiles as she heads over to help him. It looks like he won't need much convincing at all. “What do you want?”

“Hot chocolate.” Kim's lips stretch and he looks embarrassed. “Mama says caffeine is bad for the soul.”

“You really love your mom, huh?” She inserts a hot chocolate disc and presses the button to begin his drink.

A fond smile spreads as he nods rapidly, “dad bailed before I was born. It's just me, her, and my brother. She works two jobs and I help out as a barber so Kyle can get the good shit for school.”

She leads them back over to her desk and offers him a seat. “How would she feel if you signed with Trini?”

“Nah, I know I ain't good enough for this label yet.” Humble. Trini will like that. “But mama would be super happy if I was. Hell, she has all of her albums. She likes people that make a name for themselves when they came from nothin'.”

Kim leans forward in her seat, rests her elbows on the table just in time for an email from Legal to come through, contract attached. “What if I told you, you are good enough for Sabre? For Trini?”

“I'd ask where the hidden cameras are.” He laughs and sips his drink, all while Kim looks at him in dead silence and something clicks before his eyes widen and he chokes. “Shit, you for real?” She prints out the contract and slides it over to him. “This is serious?”

“One hundred percent. Trini wants this collaboration between you and Emily, but she doesn't want it with Pulsa Records. She wants you under her label. We can discuss the terms of your contract with Legal if you want-”

She stops short as CJ glares at the contract, and he speaks before she can ask what's wrong. “Fifteen percent?” Kim's confused. “Rita was only offering me seven.”

Of course she was. Because she a money grabbing- it doesn't matter now. “The bare minimum she should've offered is ten, but you're better than that.” Okay, so she hasn't actually listened to his stuff, but if Trini thinks he's good enough, he must be. “You'll get quite a bit of input regarding your records, where there's a chance Rita would have you rap what she wanted. You get to be you here. So, do we have a deal?”

“Mama can quit her jobs,” he mumbles to himself as he reads over the rest of the contract, “I can get her a new car. Yo, my brother can have those sneakers mama's been saving up for.

“So you're in?”

He ponders for a second, places the contract down slowly, and Kim's stomach turns because it looks like his worth has clicked, and she has a feeling he's going to be asking for more than Trini might be willing to give. “I'll sign it on one condition.”

“And that would be?”

CJ smirks at her and runs his hand in a circle in front of Kim's face, “I get to give you whatever hair cut I want.”

Is he... She bursts out laughing, “really?”

“Dead serious. Nothing says trust like letting a stranger do what they want with your hair.”

She squints her eyes at him, “alright, I'll bite... as long as you don't make me bald.”

“Ah, ah, I can't promise that, 'cause then the trust is gone.”

Fuck, what is she letting herself in for? She sticks a hand out for him to shake and catches Jason's bewildered look off to the side. “Deal.”

He doesn't let her sit in front of the mirror as he works, but Kim can feel her long locks disappear and she feels sick. Her hair is one of her most prized possessions, and it's... gone. “Is this torture nearly over?”

“Yeah, girl, chill. You look good.” She catches Jason's eye again and he gives her a toothy grin and thumbs up. “One,” cut, “more,” cut, “snip... and done!” He comes around the front to face her, checks that it's even and she winces when his fingers barely make it past her jaw.

Oh god, what has she done?

“Alright, you can go look now.”

Kim bolts from her seat to the full length mirror and... stops. The sick feeling dissipates and it's replaced with something she can't quite put her finger on. She looks... really hot. “Damn, CJ. This looks amazing.”

“Yeah it does!” He pumps his fist against his chest in pride. “Best damn barber on the East side.”

Bringing herself to look away, she laughs at herself for the amount of worry she had, and taps the contract, “okay, your turn.”

As CJ takes a pen, Jason's voice cuts through. “Emily's here. Will you be okay for a minute while I get her?” Kim waves him off.

CJ drops the pen with a sigh of relief. “This is real,” he breathes. “I gotta phone mom.”

“Go for it. Emily will be here shortly, I'll introduce you both, and then Jason will take you to one of the studios to wait for Billy and Trini.”

“Shit, Rita's gonna be pissed.” There's a little panic in his voice, and Kim can tell he things she might do something to jeopardize his career.

“Don't worry about Rita, just enjoy this experience.” He takes a breath and pulls out his phone while Kim sends a quick text to Trini to tell her the news, and it's not thirty seconds later that Jason reappears with Emily, who runs towards Kim as soon as she sees her and squeezes her. She forgets that Emily is a hugger. “Hey, Emily,” she chuckles.

Emily squeezes harder before she pulls back and her jaw drops as she brings a hand up to play with Kim's hair, “damn, Kim. Me gusta.”

“Thanks, our new artist just did it for me.”

Emily's head shakes while she giggles, “I knew Trini was up to something sneaky with this collaboration. Should've guessed.” Emily is another artist that Rita was looking at before Trini got to her first. CJ finishes his call with his biggest grin yet, and Emily smiles back. “Hi, you must be CJ. Big fan of your demo. I'm Emily-”

“Garcia, I know.” He flushes when Emily chuckles. “Uh, sorry, that sounded weird, but 'Noches Solitarias' is my jam.”

“Well,” Kim claps her hands together, “seems like the two of you are going to get along just fine. Jason, can you take them to studio two and I'll,” she points to all of her now dead hair on the floor, “clean up.”

Once the office is silent and clean, Kim makes a copy of the contract to send back to Legal, and she takes a moment to herself before Rita and Trini come back up and shit hits the fan.

She gets an entire ten minutes of that peacefulness.

“Sorry, Rita, I just don't think this collaboration is going to work with you.” Trini freezes as she looks at Kim, her eyes almost black. Kim maybe preens at the sight. Just a little. Thank you, CJ.

“That's just fine with me. I was only doing this because I felt sorry for you. Having to dig through the streets because the real talent always comes knocking on my door- where is my talent? What the fuck did you do, Gomez?”

Trini smirks and leans against her desk with the contract behind her. “You must've misheard me. I said the collaboration isn't going to work with you. It is, however, going to be amazing with both of my artists.” She picks the contract up and shows it to Rita. “Seems like the talent realised you were going to fuck him over, just like you did me.”

“I made you!”

“You manipulated me. Look, Rita, I don't give a flying fuck if you want to exploit spoilt rich kids, but stay away my people.”

Rita snarls, “I'll make you pay for this.”

Trini doesn't say anything in return, just keeps her smirk firmly in place until Rita practically screams in her face and storms away.

Kim taps a pen against her desk, “what do you think she'll do?”

“Probably leak some made up story about me to the press,” Trini shrugs, unbothered. She stalks up to Kim and jumps to sit on the desk in front of her, her hand ruffling through Kim's hair, “what's going on here?”

“Apparently the only way CJ would trust us is if he got to do whatever he wanted to my hair. Barber code or something.”

“It looks good.” Fingers make their way to the lapels of Kim's suit jacket and tug her forward until her own palms rest on Trini's knees to stop herself from falling off of her chair. “Thank you for getting him to sign.”

She plays it off like Trini in this position in front of her isn't causing extremely unprofessional thoughts to circulate. “Didn't take much convincing.”

“Still, thank you.” Trini tugs on the lapels again. “Remind me to buy you more suits. Totally takes away the pop princess look.” Kim rolls her eyes. “Right, better get down to those two and make some magic in the studio.”

-

CJ is currently recording his third song after the overwhelming success of his and Emily's collaboration, but Trini keeps grumbling that something isn't right. “Kim?”

“Yeah?”

“Get in there.”

In... what? “Get in where?”

“The sound booth,” Trini mumbles, focus still on the equipment in front of her, “the backup singers for the chorus are too deep, I need someone with a higher pitch.”

Kim folds her arms and gives Trini an incredulous huff. “You've refused to listen to my demo this entire time, but now you want me to go and sing?”

“Consider it a thank you for everything you've done for me so far.”

“A thank you for doing my job?”

Trini spins in her chair and glares, “hey, if you don't want to I can easily get somebody else to-”

“No, no, no. I'll go. Thank you, Trini.”

Trini smiles, “you deserve it. Show me what you got.”

Okay. Cool. It's fine. It's all fine. Better even. It's great. This is finally her chance to prove to Trini what she's known herself all along.

She should be signed to this label.

Sure, when she first set out, she would've gone with any label that would have her. Her demo is already out there with a few producers that have shown an interest, but she hasn't felt that it would be a good fit. The more time she spends in Trini's presence however, the more she wants to be a part of Sabre Records.

She's going to leave the other singers in the dust.

Setting her headphones over her ears after a quick chat with CJ, she quickly looks over the sheet music and clears her throat before Trini's voice booms over the speakers. “Alright, CJ, take it from the top. Kim, I want you to sing the pre-chorus alone, then the others join in on the chorus, then just Kim and James for the post-chorus, okay?”

Those in the booth nod and Trini plays the music. Kim can hear the small tweak of pitch Trini has added in by including a subtle string in the background to accommodate Kim's vocals, and it already adds an extra layer of depth.

CJ raps his last line, and this is Kim's moment to shine. She takes a deep breath and sings the two lines like her life depends on it. CJ's head snaps to hers in awe, but her full attention is fixated on Trini's reaction, a reaction that she could only ever dream of receiving from a producer like Trini. She sees her mouth 'holy shit' from her chair, and it only causes her to sing harder, more passionate, and when it's over and CJ begins his second verse, Kim doesn't divert her gaze, and neither does Trini.

They go through the song three times before Trini calls it, thanks everyone for a job well done, and tells them they'll make the final touches tomorrow, grabs Kim's hand and drags her up to the office without a word.

That is, until they're in front of Kim's desk. “Give it to me.”

“Give what to you?”

Trini rolls her eyes, “your demo.” Kim puckers her lips. “Don't act like you haven't had it in your desk since you started working here. Give me the demo, Kim.”

Kim scrambles through the drawer until she finds it and cautiously hands it over. “Uh, so...”

“There's a party next week,” Trini says instead of waiting for Kim to say whatever it is she was going to say, taps at the case, “Billy's hosting, if this is as good as your voice, I'll get him to play it.”

“Why are you suddenly changing your mind? I thought I wasn't 'your brand'.”

Trini tilts her head, and her fingers move to trace Kim's throat, stop at the place where her voice box sits, “this is something special. Why have you never sung in front of me?”

“Because I didn't want you to think I was using you.”

The room turns quiet as Trini takes in the words. “Most people wouldn't care about that. Their hunger for fame clouds their judgement.”

“I'm not most people,” Kim whispers, “I don't care about the fame, I just want to share my music.”

Trini gulps, the fingers that rest on Kim's throat slide down to her chest and Kim's body shivers at the welcome contact. “How about we go out for dinner tonight instead of staying in here?”

“Sure, but why?”

“I do my best negotiations in a public atmosphere. There's no pressure that way.”

The fingers still on Kim's chest are distracting her so she has to grip Trini's wrist to pull them away so she can function. “You want to negotiate? With me?”

“If this,” Trini shows off the demo again, “is even half as good as what I just heard, I need to get in before you get an offer you won't turn down.” It's Kim's turn to roll her eyes because really? Like she'd go with anyone other than Trini at this point. “Besides, maybe it's time to broaden my horizons. Branch out.”

Kim shakes her head, “you don't have to do that for me.”

“The first day we met, you asked me to take a chance on you. That's what I'm doing. I'm not letting anyone else have you.” Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Trini is looking at her the same way she did in Vegas, with that curious little expression. “Your talent, I mean,” she backtracks, moves away from Kim. “So what are you in the mood for? Italian, Thai?”

Her body feels cold after Trini moves away, but at least it gives her the chance to clear the haze from the proximity. “You know what I haven't had in ages? Just... a good old-fashioned burger.”

Trini smirks, “I know just the place.”

After spending hours at a local burger joint, not a single thing about Kim's demo comes up, too busy talking about the most random things, from their childhoods, to Kim going to college and her parents abandoning her, Trini's brothers making their own name in the footwear industry and her parents opening their own small sauce business. They move closer each passing hour, when the bar starts to build up so they can hear each other over the buzz of customers, laughing and joking without a care in the world, until Trini calls Jason to take them home.

It's this where Rita gets her revenge.

The next morning, Kim wakes up to Zack shouting her again, and she grumbles in a half sleep state as his voice raises a few octaves. “You're finally dating Trini?”

“Huh? What? No. And what do you mean 'finally'?”

He points to the screen, where pictures of them from last night pop up and the reporter has a shit eating grin on her face as she talks to the camera. “It seems as though Pulsa Record artists aren't the only thing Trini Gomez can steal, as it appears she's also stolen the heart of her personal assistant. The two were caught getting cosy in-”

Rita. Kim growls. “Turn it off.” Zack opens his mouth but she shuts him down. “Turn it off.” She runs her palms over her eyes and sighs, “shit.”

“Come on, Kimmy, it's not that bad.”

“You don't understand, Zack,” she slumps next to him and he flings an arms around her shoulders. “Trini was finally going to listen to my demo.” He perks up. “Yeah, should be great news, right? Now all people are going to think is that she did it just because of this.”

He huffs, “so what?”

“It's her reputation, Zack! She's either going to be accused of making me do... things... in order for me to get ahead, or I'm going to be accused of using her to get to the top.”

Zack calms her down, “Kimmy, that isn't going to happen. Look, Tommi is fucking scary, okay? She'll handle the PR like it's nothing. And it doesn't seem like they're accusing either of you of anything-”

“Because they don't know Trini might be signing me yet.”

“Just talk to her. To be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.” Kim's brows furrow. “You're so fucking oblivious sometimes. Dude, Trini is totally into you. Everyone knows it. Just because your bi disaster ass can't see it.”

She shakes her head, “it's not like that. She's just comfortable around me. And she's already said she doesn't date her employees.”

He groans, “I thought you were supposed to be smart. Go on, get into work, I'm sure it'll have all blown over by the time you get there and you and Trini can go back to dancing around each other like nothing ever happened.”

“Nothing did happen. But you're right. Trini will get it sorted.”

Walking into the office is a completely different experience for Kim. Instead of the rushing around she's become accustomed to, people are staring at her. Some in envy, some in knowing, some in disgust.

Honestly, Kim isn't sure which one is worse.

She never thought going into Tommi's office would bring her a sense of relief, but Tommi looks at her in pity and understanding. “Don't worry, there'll be a bigger scandal tomorrow.”

Kim can barely manage a smile.

Trini shoots up as soon as Kim leaves the lift and runs to her. “Kim, I'm so, so, sorry about all of this. Tommi's sorting it out now and I'll make a statement about-”

“It's fine.” Trini frowns, and Kim isn't entirely sure where this sudden calmness comes from, but she realised on her way here that it doesn't matter what people think. If she's going to branch out in this industry, this is exactly the kind of gossip she's going to have to both expect and endure. “I don't care if I'm on the front page of every gossip magazine, Trini. But I do care that it could cause damage to your image.”

“Having a pretty girl on my arm is definitely not going to damage my image.” Kim flushes bright red. “But Rita was way out of line involving you in her petty little games. I don't even know what she was trying to achieve because whatever it was backfired. I'm just so sorry that she dragged you into something you didn't sign up for.”

“Maybe that's why she did it.” Trini cocks her head to the side. “Maybe she knew that going after you wouldn't bother you, but making shit up about somebody close to you would. Maybe she didn't want the media to tear you down, maybe she wanted you to feel guilty. And if that's the case, she succeeded.” Trini purses her lips. “But you don't need to feel guilty, okay? This isn't your fault, I know that. And yeah, it was a bit of a shock to the system this morning, but it doesn't bother me if people think we're dating. The total opposite, actually.”

Trini's phone ringing brings them out of the moment, and she groans when she sees the screen. “Oh god, it's my mom. She's probably going to have a go at me because she had to find out through the news that I 'have a girlfriend',” she air quotes, and Kim forces a laugh. “Sorry, let me just calm her down and I'll go back to making all of this go away.”

Leaving Trini to deal with her mom, Kim makes them both a coffee and goes to her desk, sings along with the song coming from Trini's laptop now that she isn't worried about Trini hearing her, and Trini watches her the whole time. “What?”

“Nothing,” Trini whispers over her mom's ranting, “you really do have a beautiful voice.”

“If you weren't so stubborn about listening to my demo, you'd have known that months ago,” she sticks her tongue out and Trini throws a bunched up piece of paper at her.

Once she finished her call, Trini shocks Kim into spurting her coffee out. “My mom wants to meet you.”

“Excuse me?”

“She doesn't believe that the press blew things out of proportion, so she think I'm lying to her about us not seeing each other.”

Kim nods, “okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yep. It's about time I met the creator anyway.”

“Come here.” Kim's lips quirk as she comes to a stop in front of Trini. “Are you sure you're okay with all of this? The invasion of privacy? The paparazzi in your face? Reporters telling stories? It can be quite the adjustment in the beginning.”

Kim ponders the situation. “I think the two of us can handle anything.”

Trini smiles at the answer before she goes back to business. “Good. I've ordered your outfit for Billy's party next week. We'll stay off of the radar for a few days while things calm down.

The light catches the silver book ornament Kim had seen on Trini's desk all of those months ago. “What's inside that?”

Teeth greet Kim as Trini beams and reaches over to grab it. “My very first lyrics.” She opens it up and carefully brings out the old piece of paper with childish writing on it. “My parents got it for me when I first put a down payment on this building. I didn't even know they'd kept everything I'd written as a kid.”

Kim's gentle with it as Trini passes it to her, and she laughs as she reads it. “Trini, this is about chicken nuggets.”

“Hey, I was five! Give me a break.”

“It's cute.” She marvels at the scribbles before she gives it back and Trini locks it away again, turns to face Kim and pulls her closer by the loops in her jeans. Kim's breath gets caught in her throat. Her eyes flick to Trini's lips, plump and pouty and inviting, but she doesn't move, frozen in place as Trini's thumbs start a pattern on Kim's hips. The music in the background switches to a slow beat. A beat Kim recognizes instantly and shock overtakes any other emotion she's feeling. “Is this-”

Trini smirks, “it needs a few tweaks before we put it out there. Some overlapping possibly. I was thinking of uploading a preview on my website. No name, no title, let the anticipation get to your future fans. It's good, Kim. It's really good.” The lifts doors open and Trini's head flops onto Kim's chest with an unhappy moan. “I need to get a warning bell on that thing.”

Kim attempts to pull away, but Trini's grip on her tightens, and Jason glances between them smugly. “Sorry to interrupt.” Liar. “But your fitting-”

“Yeah, I know. Stupid award ceremonies. I don't know why I can't just skip them.”

“Because you have three artists up for nominations and you're performing?” Kim chuckles at Jason's sarcasm and manages to pry herself away from Trini's hold.

Trini tells him she's going to the toilet first and Kim takes the opportunity to ask him something she's wanted to know for a while. “Jase? Why did you put me forward for this job? The real reason.”

Jason's gaze is unmoving when he answers without hesitation. “I don't know why, but I had this gut feeling that you'd be able to bring her walls down. Obviously you don't see it, but she's a different person when you aren't there. The only time I see her having fun is when she's with her family, or you. I didn't want her to end up with only her achievements, she deserves to enjoy her life outside of the industry. She was ready to tear Rita limb from limb this morning. Now look at her. It's like... Rita who?”

“You care about her a lot more than what you let people see, don't you?”

“Of course, she's like my sister. It's not just my job to protect her. It's more like an instinct. Seeing her around you, I know she's in good hands when I'm not here.”

Trini comes out seconds later and punches Jason's shoulder playfully, “alright, big man, let's get this shit over with.”

-

They don't get to spend too much time together in private the week leading up to Billy's party. Between prepping for the upcoming award ceremony and rehearsals since Trini is also going to be performing, the only time they get to see each other properly are the quite times in the early morning hours.

The gossip about them hasn't slowed any. Anytime Kim so much as steps out of the building she's swarmed with questions of where Trini is and who is going to get the exclusive on their relationship.

Their non-existent relationship.

By the time the day of Billy's party arrives, Kim is thoroughly exhausted. She's been running around most of the week sorting things out for Trini.

Forgot at least half of them.

Part of her just wants to sit the party out, but she knows it'll look bad if she doesn't show.

And her demo? She should've been working on it with Trini, but again, they've hardly seen each other so that's been put on hold too. Although Trini did keep her promise and uploaded a snippet onto her website and the hits on it are going crazy.

She and Zack get ready. Trini had gotten her a strappy, shiny top that pairs nicely with a simple pair of black jeans and her -now favourite- rock stud boots. She pins her hair back at the sides and goes light on her make up. Zack decides to go in an all white outfit because he 'wants to glow in the UV lighting'.

Idiot.

Music is causing the ground to thump beneath their feet and cars are covering every inch of space outside Billy's house, people entering in waves. She knows everyone from Sabre were invited, and she recognizes a lot of them when she enters herself, but in reality, she's only trying to pick out Trini in the crowd.

It doesn't take her long. She sees Trini in one of the quieter rooms talking to a group of people, zones in on the way Trini's lips fit around a straw, and Trini must feel her, because she looks up and grins, says something to the group and comes over.

Black, knee length boots, shorts, and a silk shirt are what Trini has picked out for herself, and Kim almost drools at the sight. “Hey,” she shouts instead.

“You don't have a drink,” Trini shouts back, and the slight slur already in her tone tells Kim she's been here a while. “Come on, we need to rectify that.”

She pulls Kim along to the bar, orders for her, and the atmosphere must be making Kim brave, because she runs her eyes over Trini unabashedly. “You look... wow.”

Trini giggles, “you look pretty 'wow' yourself.”

“This old thing?” Kim jokes. “I just threw it on.”

Trini spends the next hour introducing Kim to other people. Some of the other producers there sing her praise, no pun intended, and Trini gloats each time and says, “you're too late, I already snatched her up.”

She hasn't. Technically. Although Trini's mentioned it, she hasn't actually given Kim a contract to sign.

Yet.

And then it happens.

Billy brings the music to a stop, waits to gain everyone's attention, and speaks into the microphone. “Alright, we're going to slow things down a bit. This next song I'm going to play is from a new artist. If anybody has been on Sabre Records website recently, you might have heard a little section of it, but this is the first time this song is being played to the public, and I'm telling y'all, she's one to watch out for. So let's give it up for Sabre's brand new artist, Kimberly Hart.”

Kim's eyes snap to Trini. “Told you I'd get Billy to play it.” She holds her hand out for Kim to take, disposes of their drinks, and leads her to the dance floor as the first bars of the song play.

It begins innocently enough. Trini wraps her arms around Kim's neck, and Kim's automatically land on Trini's waist as they sway to the music.

She can see flashes aimed in their direction, and she knows they're going to be on the front page again tomorrow.

Doesn't give a single fuck.

Trini spins in her arms, presses her back against Kim's front and Kim's dizzy from both the effects of the alcohol, and the effects from Trini's body pressed tightly against her own.

It's a little weird dancing like this to her own song, but it also gives her a buzz because it's her song.

Trini's hips move against her, and her nails dig into Trini's waist as she holds back a moan, her head tilting forward until her lips touch Trini's shoulder, the silk from her shirt soft against them as Trini's hand snakes up to the back of Kim's neck.

They stay in that position for the remainder of the song, cheers go ignored in favour of Trini spinning around and looking deeply into Kim's eyes. “Trini?”

“Come home with me.”

Kim does not need to be asked twice.

Jason looks fucking ecstatic when they get into the car and Trini tells him to take them both to her apartment. Like he planned this all along, but really he's just happy to see Trini happy.

And Trini?

Well, she won't stop touching Kim and it's distracting. Always so distracting.

Trini tells Jason to go back and enjoy the party on her behalf, that he should be able to have a life outside of the industry too, and he waits until they're safely inside before he drives away.

Kim takes a moment to look around, never having been here before. Instead of the awards and platinum albums Trini has in her office by her artists, her walls are littered with her own.

Soft music filters through and Kim, stupidly, has to ask, “I thought you didn't sleep with your employees.”

Why?

Jesus Christ.

But Trini snorts and looks up at Kim though her eyelashes. “Feelings scare me.”

“O...kay?”

“I know I don't really show it, but they scare me. You... you scare me.” Trini shrugs, “I don't want to be scared any more. When you didn't care about the press speculating, I knew. I knew it'd be okay.” She takes a small step forward. “This might be strange timing, and the press are going to have a field day when they find out,” she pulls a folder off of the table near her and hands it to Kim, “your contract.”

Kim stares at the envelope, pulls the contract out, doesn't even look it over for a number of reasons. One, she trusts Trini. Two, she wants to get to the more fun section of the evening. Three... she forgets what three is but she's sure there is one. She snatches the pen from Trini's table, scribbles her signature, throws everything to one side, and catches Trini's surprised gasp in her mouth.

The first minute of the kiss isn't slow. It's a rush of months of suspense and longing, the pull between them too strong to be anything other than a mess of wondering hands and searching lips and Trini lets out the most adorable needy moans as she walks backwards, leading them to her bed.

Trini falls back, pants as she glances up at an equally out of breath Kim, and the next time Kim leans down, the kiss changes to something slow and soft. Hard grips turn to gentle holds, tugging at clothing turns to tender undoing of buttons.

There's absolutely nothing that could distract Kim from this moment, sure to spend the entire night worshipping every inch of Trini's body.

-

Sunlight glaring through windows brings Kim out of her peaceful slumber. She stretches with a satisfied moan as her back pops, opens her eyes slowly to be sure last night wasn't a cruel dream.

Trini scrunches her nose at Kim moving about and eventually peeks one eye open to give Kim as much of a glare as she can muster, but Kim only traces Trini's bottom lip with her finger and husks out a quiet, “hey.” Trini closes her eyes again, shuffles forward to tuck her head into Kim's neck. “So, uh, no regrets?” Trini shakes her head and sighs into Kim's skin. “Cool. That's good. Great even. None here either by the way, just so you know.”

“Kim,” Trini grumbles, “you're fired.” Kim laughs loud and carefree and Trini pops her head up to tower over her. “Seriously, you are the worst PA I've ever had. Hopefully your replacement will at least remember to change the coffee filters.”

Trini squeals as Kim flips them over, lets her hair cage them from the outside world, “sorry, but you can't fire me.” Trini raises her brow in a challenge before Kim leans down to kiss it away. “I already quit.”