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Being the secretary of Zhongli was… a new experience, that’s for sure. If you had known you’d be doing the most random things for the CEO of Rex Lapis Co., maybe you wouldn’t have applied for the job here. You’ve had to do many, many, different things that no other ordinary secretaries have done before; such as going personally to Zhongli’s apartment to wake him up in time for his next scheduled meeting or even tagging along with him when he had to fly out to the United States for a business trip (although it felt more like a vacation more than anything). You’ve even had to attend the wedding of an acquaintance with Zhongli as his plus one, which was a pretty weird experience in your opinion. Some people approached you then and asked if you were a couple, to which you vehemently denied.

You and your boss? Now, that’s a funny story.

Though… it’s not like you haven’t thought about the possibility of your boss and you being together. He was handsome, both personality wise and physically. He was tall and built, which surprised you considering you’ve never seen or heard of him working out as a hobby. Maybe it was a rich person thing to be built at all times. He was kind, extremely intelligent about a multitude of topics while at the same time being a clueless idiot when it came to social interaction. You found it endearing when he would come to you and asked questions about things that were common sense to you but foreign to him.

He always listened to you when you guys took your breaks together and you talked about your day, what was bothering you, or what you were excited about. Which was… surprising to say the least. You didn’t expect Zhongli to pay attention to your little life when he was literally living the lavish dream that anyone wanted. He always sent your stomach cartwheeling when he laughed at one of the stories you told or when he smiled when you talked about the video game you were currently into.

There was a moment when someone called you to help them during your break with Zhongli. They had knocked on his office door, completely interrupting the amiable atmosphere between the two of you, and politely requested your assistance, to which you agreed and bid your farewell to him. You could’ve sworn you saw him frown when you left him alone but as soon as it was there it was gone.

The thing that truly captivated you, though, were his eyes made of pure, molten gold. Although they’ve always been kind to you, you’ve seen them pierce those who talked against Zhongli or broke their promises to pay his company back. He was a stickler for promises and rules and he never took them lightly. They gleamed with danger and power when he was upset, but with you they were warm pools of honey that you could get lost in.

The multitude of random events that occurred because you were Zhongli’s secretary included the current errand you were running with your boss. The new year was coming by and Zhongli had decided that he wanted to go out and go shopping.

What for? He wouldn’t tell you.

You trailed slightly behind the taller man, making sure to not lose sight of him. You would have walked beside him so it was easier to converse but walking around with your boss was kind of intimidating and the crowd was heavier than usual. Did he really want to go shopping now of all times? You wished you were back in the safety of your own bed and not in the crowd of hundreds of people as they did last minute shopping for the New Year celebration.

“May I hold your hand?” The question almost slipped past you had Zhongli not peered down at you, expecting an answer from you. It was so nonchalant… did he understand the implications of that between two adults? You stared at him, wide eyed and mouth open in shock.

“U-um… Mr. Zhongli, why would we need to hold hands?” you questioned, furrowing your brows in confusion.

“I saw it in a drama I was watching. The main characters were holding hands whilst in a crowd so the two wouldn’t get separated.” Innocence danced behind his eyes. Oh Archons above, you have to stop finding this man endearing. “I thought it would be appropriate for this situation considering the amount of people around us.”

His reasoning was simple enough. It was just about not losing each other in the crowd, right? So, holding his hand shouldn’t be too bad. There was nothing behind his words and actions anyways, at least you hoped so.

Your hand slipped into his with ease, much to your surprise. Despite convincing yourself that this was just so the two of you wouldn’t get separated while on this trip together, you couldn’t help your heart thumping against your chest. His hands were gloved, but the heat still radiated off of him and warmed you up. His grip on your hand tightened when someone bumped into you and your heart nearly leapt through your chest.

The multitude of shops you two passed went by like a blur of flashing lights and the glow of city lamps. Well... that was until you got to a certain pastry shop. You paused in your step and stared into the window displaying the desserts and felt your mouth water at the sight of them.

“Ah, so this is what you’re into,” Zhongli spoke from beside you. Ah, you forgot he was there.

“Yeah, I’m a sucker for sweet treats and this so happens to be my favorite bakery!” Your smile slowly fell. “But it’s pretty expensive so I can’t get any pastries often.”

Zhongli examined your fallen expression and furrowed his brows. He squeezed your hand once more. “Is that so…?”

And with that Zhongli walked into the shop with you in tow. You sputtered in surprise. He wasn’t going to do anything rash like buying you a dessert right? You tried to stop him, telling him that it’s okay and that he shouldn’t spend any money on you. But your attempts were futile against the brick wall that was Zhongli.

A cute, blue box of pastries was placed into your hands as Zhongli’s gentle smile grew on his lips. Archons… he had to stop smiling like that otherwise he could get away with anything if it involved you. You sighed and gave him a concerning look.

“Mr. Zhongli-”

“Zhongli, please. We’re not in the office, [Name],” he corrected you.

“...Zhongli, why did you buy me this? I could have done so in the next paycheck,” you queried. You held your head in your hands. “Actually… why did you pull me out today to do this? It almost feels like we’re…” You paused in your words.

“...It feels like we’re on a date, Zhongli.”

“Oh, I thought I made that clear, [Name].”

Huh? Did you hear that correctly? Is he telling you that this entire day at the shopping center was a scheme to pull you on a date? Your head snapped up to look into his amber eyes, only to be met with his curious and earnest visage.

You narrowed your eyes at him. “Zhongli I thought I was doing this for work.”

A look of surprise ran across his face as his eyes widened at your revelation. He cleared his throat and brought a hand to his mouth. “Apologies. I thought it was clear but I see that it wasn’t.” Zhongli met your eyes. “I will make it up to you. How about we have a proper date next week?”

Your voice got stuck in your throat at his question, but shakily nodded your head. Zhongli smiled and brought your hand to his lips, pressing a light kiss on your knuckles.

“Perfect. Now, shall we enjoy the rest of this evening together?”