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Since Everectronics had decided to go commercial a few years ago, life had changed drastically for Nora, it had gone from the odd meeting here and there with investors and hospital directors to big marketing efforts, mass team expansion and moving into every sector it seemed possible. It was a whirlwind and sometimes Nora worried she'd get left behind by it all but she actually really enjoyed developing commercial products, things people wanted to go the store and buy. Things that excited them and got people waiting up until midnight just so they could buy it and in the past few years they'd managed to become quite reputable in the market for upscale computer devices.
And that had quickly evolved into other things too, seeing the potential of the company, many others had come to them for technology development and bringing their systems into the modern age. While business had always been Nora's specialty, in the past few years she had taken a shine to the technology and the ideas behind it, helping to guide the direction of business. They worked with hospitals, hotels, schools, corporate companies but their biggest partnership to date was airlines. And not just commercial airlines but also military planes were looking to make use of the newest Everectronics technology, capable to monitoring the plane in a way that had never been seen before whilst also providing new entertainment options for passengers.
It was a pipe dream, something in development which would require many test runs, installations, checks, failures and reworks in order to get to a marketable state and knowing that something like a plane isn't the sort of thing you work on without knowledge, her company had partnered with another for the trials. The contract had been agreed and the first round of the tech provided to be installed, she didn't expect much for the first few months but eventually she hoped this tech would save lives while also making travel easier for others. Which is what led them to today, it was the first time she would be visiting the airplane hangar and seeing the tech the company had developed being worked on and only the second time she'd actually been on location in this particular company.
She was excited, mostly because she wouldn't be spending the entire day staring at the back of someone's head but mostly because this had been the first idea that was wholly hers, she had pitched the idea to the company, explained how she saw the tech being adapted to the planes and then she had been the one to lead the contractual negotiations that led them to this exact day. The brunette was dressed smartly, blazer, pretty blouse and a pencil skirt. She always tried to dress up a little for work because it set the right impression with the clients, even if in this case she was sure whoever would be showing her around would probably be covered in head to toe in grease.
Her heels clicked loudly against the floor and she headed into the building, explained who she was at the front desk and was quickly offered coffee, to which she declined as she picked up a cup on the way and then shown through to the back where the only man wearing a suit in the building it seemed was there to greet her. She quickly recognized him as the COO and shook his hand with a friendly smile. He explained how he was here to answer questions but that her tour would better be given by someone who had been working with the tech for the past month or so. He called out to gather the workers in the hangar while she slightly awkwardly tucked her hair behind her ear because she hadn't expected it all to be quite so disruptive.
Everything was fine until she saw the group of engineers making their way over and her eyes fell upon a familiar face, one she hadn't been able to forget but immediately made her brain shout a thousand cuss words at once and she turned her face flustered. She wasn't supposed to see Julian again, he wasn't supposed to ever meet her real self and yet there he was, towering over the group of males and making her stare for just a moment. Well fuck, she was going to need to think long and hard about how she played this if she didn't want him to immediately put two and two together. Lucky for her, she wasn't a stranger to having a work personality and a non-work personality.
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She wasn't wrong, the more he heard her talking regarding the matter, the more he was positive that Nora had experience in the department. More than she would like to show herself. But he won't touch anything on that, why? One, because it was personal. Two, it wasn't his place. "There is only so much trust can go to stretch… " he murmured faintly, he didn't have any trust issues, per say, but Julian is very cautious of who he lets into his life. He had enough tragedy in the past and the whole part about moving on was so he could build a new life somewhere else the people would not be able to ruin it. He likes Evermore, sure it's a bit shady but everywhere is like that, and the eternal city had so much more safer than anywhere he's been at. The people he met here are all friendly. He got along with them pretty well and a part of him wanted to include Nora to the list too. It was a line to be crossed, to make his boss a friend of his. An absurd idea, really. But the Nephilim couldn't help but to think a little more on that. What would it be like to have her as a friend? Would she be fine with it?
"Oh, is that a challenge you're issuing, milady?" he shot playfully, quirking his eyebrows in questioning, "I am definitely taking that as a yes, then. What if you're just sailing right into my trap? So quick to agree on it, tsk tsk" he shook his head and clicked his tongue in feigned chastise, wagging his forefinger in front of her teasingly. "A chess match coming soon, worry not, we'll see who's the worst player out of the two of us. I doubt you can defeat me on that title though, when I say I'm horrible at it, it was not sugar coated." His eyes softened when she said she hoped that there will be a time where trust will come easily back to her for her to utilize, "That day will come. A day will come when you have someone to trust. To lean, to share. Whatever they will be to you, they'll be special." You'll also have a shoulder to lean on and dry your tears, he was going to say that but decided to cut his sentence short. It was too personal. Was he waiting for someone to come and save him? "I think so… I don't know. I don't know what I'm waiting for. The wait is there, the urge to seek is also there but I feel like there's nothing in front of me. Not yet. But when the time comes for me to fill that gap, then I will."
He glanced back at her and grinned sheepishly, "Maybe I am waiting for someone to come and save me. To give me something to care for… to fight for. I missed feeling like that… " He wanted to care again, the same way he cares for his loved ones in the past. The wink was unexpected and made the male clear his throat awkwardly because he was flustered, his cheeks were pretty much lighting up, oh god. "I'm often told to be reckless on that part. You'll most likely hear me tripping on a wire the next day. Maybe God decided the height was given but lacked severely in tact." But the thought of being able to see her in action did make him wonder if he'll ever be able to see her in that setting. The expression on her when Julian affirmed it wasn't impossible for them to take it to a test drive was too cute, it made his eyes softened and his heart was probably jittery from it. What the hell? "Then, you should be proud to bring something so brilliant to life. Take some credit" he nudged with a smile, Nora can be incredibly humble at times and it warms his heart. The girl has no idea how admirable it makes her look.
When they got to the computer room, he was a bit preoccupied by the monitors displaying their result, so he didn't even realize that Nora was trying to peek from behind since his tall stature was blocking her peripheral vision. It was to be expected, of course. What he didn't expect, however, was what happened next. Julian had turned around to offer her a spot to sit while he stands because it wouldn't be able to accommodate both of them but when her chin almost his chest and the sudden imbalance caused her to stumble over, his instincts and reflexes took over. He did what he would've done when met with such a situation; he wrapped his arms around her to steady herself. One hand securely around her waist and the other holding her arm while staring into her bright hues. With the way her pupils were dilated, she was surprised. Once he was sure she was steady enough, he let go of his hands and rubbed the back of his head while staring elsewhere. He didn't expect her to swear but then again, he didn't expect a lot of things.
"Uh… no… no problem. Are you okay? You hit your head…" His eyes caught the bruise and frowned, "You're bleeding… " he pointed to the small cut and scrambled to get the first aid kit underneath the table which made him hit the table due to his height. A wince escaped him and he beckoned for her to sit down.
What he said about trust resonated with her, there was a time when she used to be pretty naive and saw the best in people, she trusted people just because they never gave her a reason not to trust them. Now things felt like the opposite, it was almost like she created these walls that people had to fight their way through to earn her trust and frankly, most people didn’t have the patience nor the nature to actually make it through. Maybe that was why she had been single for so long, maybe her standards were so high now that no matter how hard someone tried it wouldn’t be enough. “And it only takes one person to break it and it’s hard to ever imagine yourself doing so again” she spoke thoughtfully under her breath, when someone so close to her had broken her trust so badly she had to wonder if she would ever feel like she could let someone in without second-guessing them again. Thankfully there was one person in her life who had never let her down which left her with a slither of hope that there could be others out there.
“A challenge to be the worst at something?” she asked it with a slight snort because it seemed like such a ridiculous thing to be agreeing to but she was kinda competitive which meant she didn’t like backing down from any challenge, regardless of the topic “Well I guess we will let game speak for itself huh? But you can’t purposely throw the match” she grinned playfully as though she was daring to suggest he might cheat and purposely make the worst moves. The way he seemed so sure about the fact that she would find someone to trust made her breathe out a long breath, there was something about the way he spoke that felt kinda assuring to her, like if he said it then, of course, it was true, so if he believed that maybe she should too “There was a time where I would have rolled my eyes at that statement” she spoke softly because she was implying that now she didn’t think that “So I guess that means I’ve come some distance already” she gave him an appreciative smile, what was it about him that made her want to tell her life story? He just had this really calm and understanding demeanor to him that it felt easy to talk.
She had to admit she was expecting him to shut down the question about wanting to be saved with some blanket statement or shrugged it off so when he actually answer she went quiet and listened to what he had to say. She nodded slightly pressing her lips together because she was still surprised he would be so open with her, especially because his words could be taken to suggest he had lost someone he really cared for “You seem like the kind of person who would give their everything, someone is going to be lucky enough to find that, I’m sure” maybe not right now if he wasn’t ready, but she saw someone who wanted to be open from the way he acted today. She did note that they had veered so far from the professional path somehow but she didn’t mind all that much because the conversation felt meaningful and real which was something she rarely found nowadays. When he spoke about his clumsiness she laughed “Don’t worry, short people aren’t immune to it either, I’ve had my fair sure of battles with heels” though in her defense they always shined the floors and made them incredibly slippy at the office.
When he nudged her and told her to take credit she laughed softly “That’s hard for me” she admitted softly, she would always praise the team that worked on it but she rarely took any moments to take in compliments for herself. Maybe that was just because of the way she was raised or because she saw other people around her doing absolutely incredible things and she felt like her part was smaller in comparison. It seemed both of them held true to their statements about being clumsy with the way they collided into one another, thankfully he put out his arms to stop her falling backward or a whack to the head could have turned to something much worse. She was a little dazed for a moment after she stepped away and when he mentioned that she was bleeding she naturally lifted her hand to where she had hit her head “Ah...ouch” she spoke softly as she pulled her hand away and saw blood on her fingertips.
Much like the first night they met he went straight into fix-it mode and grabbed the first aid kit out but almost ironically he managed to hurt himself while doing it, she looked around for a moment before she headed to the seat he pointed out and sat himself down “I feel like maybe we should just put our names forward for the worst at everything title” she spoke softly as she tried to make light of the situation “Is your head okay? You whacked it pretty hard on the table” she spoke softly but she couldn’t see any cuts on him. As he was working on cleaning the cut her phone buzzed and she pulled it out reading a message from the lab saying they had detected some strange information from the device’s logs and that no further testing should be done until it was checked which made her sigh in a disappointed manner, guess that meant today’s visit would be cut short “Looks like the lab need some time to check through the logs so we’ll have to reschedule that engine test” it was evident she was disappointed but she reminded herself of all the good things today, one of which was currently playing doctor with her for the second time.
When Julian looks at Nora, he felt like there was this big wall in front of her. He was sure it was her exterior, a defensive wall created to shove everyone else off her. Smart move, but still, the Nephilim felt so tempted to move near and push his hand into that bubble-like shield wrapped around that wall. He wondered what she's like behind the exterior she put up. It wasn't like he didn't like the self she is now, Julian likes her company, but there was something else deep down inside her that makes him want to find out more. This was way beyond his boundaries, he was crossing this line between them. But hasn't he done that about their professionalism? They were talking about their opinions and life instead of just keeping it stiff and awkward as any professional relationship should go on to be. "You're right, it only takes one person to break it… and I think it can take one person to heal it too" Perhaps, he was just being optimistic about this, "But that's my piece on it. It's just… something. Nothing big" he was quick to dismiss it though. Remember, this is your boss, Julian, he reminded himself.
There are certain things he shouldn't be crossing. Like, her personal life. It's not as if they were going to meet again outside of work, right? "Yes, a challenge to be worst at something. I know that sounds stupid and it's probably something you never even heard of, I know... But it'll be fun" Besides, he was devastatingly bad at chess. "Don't worry even if the chess board dares me to throw it for a million dollars, I wouldn't do it. Don't you trust me?" He quipped humorously, he didn't even realize he had asked those specific words he had told himself not to talk about since it was a sensitive topic. A smile graced his lips when she said there was a time she would've believed what he had said, he was so tempted to continue with his own, m"Maybe now's the time for you to rekindle that trust inside you again" his voice was soft, he didn't want to make it seem like he was expecting her to do anything. In truth, Julian would never expect anyone to act a certain way.
"I don't do half measures" he nodded, Julian always pulled 200% when the effort comes, "But then again, there's not much for me to go full 200% lately so I think I'm slowly getting rusty over it. Before Everectronics came for a collaboration, we do the same thing over and over again." He loves the job, but it gets tiring when it's boring. "I'm sure others would find the specialty in you too. Maybe not today but some other day, and even if there aren't people around to do so, you should just be loving to yourself. Because nobody can control you on that". For someone who didn't look the part like the girl he's talking to right now, she kept on surprising him at every chance given. And surprisingly? Julian didn't mind. He enjoyed taking every piece. "I admire people who wear high heels… how do you even begin to balance yourself on such gravity... Admirable" He even glanced to take a look at the shoes she was wearing, women and heels are lethal, crazily beautiful and confident.
Another set of traits he found while conversing with Nora was that she was incredibly humble, perhaps the humility doesn't show as much but the amount of enthusiasm she had while working on this was more than enough for the Nephilim to know that she was fully invested in it. She was a part of it yet she took no credit to it. Impressive. When she whacked her head, despite him trying to minimize the impact, it still happened and Julian grimaced at it, especially when she started bleeding. When she went to touch her wound, Julian clicked his tongue and dragged her hand away, shaking his head at her, "No, don't touch. It'll scar" Or it won't because she's supernatural but still. He had no idea which one she is. "Don't jinx it" he chastised playfully when she said they could put their names on worst everything and opened the first aid kit, "I'm okay. My head is not as bad as yours" he realized it sounded wrong so he tried to make it right again, "Uh I mean my head wasn't hurt as bad as yours? Oh okay that sounded way wrong… you get what I mean." Apparently Julian gets a little bit more nervous than usual around Eleanora Nordstroem.
The disappointed manner didn't escape his notice and while he was cleaning her wound, he chuckled and placed everything else back inside the first aid kit, "Don't sound so disappointed. You'll see me again" he teased and wondered if he should do what he's thinking about and told Nora to wait for a moment as he excused himself to the other room and made a clean cut on his right palm and allowed his blood to drip down into the glass. It wasn't much, just a minimal amount that could be downed in one shot. Julian cleaned himself up with a tissue and came back with the glass and gave it to her, "Do you trust me? If you do, drink. I promise it's not poison." Fine, maybe he wanted to help heal that small cut on her head.
They were definitely walking the line between what should be talked about in a professional environment but she had to admit she found it so easy to talk to him, he was just a very rational person, it had been made clear to her in the time the two of them had known one another than he was very moraled and followed a certain code with everything he did. It was why he had gone to investigate down that alley when your average person would have walked on by, it was why he wanted to do something to help others even when he was putting himself at risk. It occurred to her, it was a lot like her. She looked up at him for a moment when he said the right person could heal trust “Maybe, though I can’t say I’m fortunate enough to know for sure on that” she nodded slightly and pressed her lips together, was it really that simple?
She had to chuckle as they talked about this chess match they were planning in their heads and the way he seemed offended by the fact she would even suggest he might purposely throw the match “Even for a million dollars?” he raised her brows with a playful expression “You’re saying you wouldn’t betray someone you just met for a million dollars?” damn he really was moraled, she wasn’t sure whether to be in awe of him or think he was an idiot. “I mean how can I not trust someone who picked their integrity over being a millionaire” she teased shaking her head slightly, truthfully she wasn’t sure she had trusted anyone in a long time. She looked up into his hazel eyes for a moment as she heard him talk trusting and her voice was soft and a little apprehensive “Yeah, maybe” she agreed, maybe it was time she started breaking down those walls and seeing what happened, though it was so difficult for her because then the fear set in about what might happen if they break it.
She believed him when he said he didn’t do half measures, he definitely struck her as the type who would put their everything into something that was important to them. It was the little things he had shown her, like the passion he had for his work, or how he had insisted on staying until he was sure she was okay that night after the alley “Well then it sounds like you need to find your own something” she spoke with a firm nod of her head “Sometimes you have to stop waiting for the world to give you an opportunity and go find one yourself” she was sure he must have hobbies or some kind of passion project he could sink his time and effort into. She found some sort of comfort in the words he spoke about someone finding the special parts of her and it made a small but genuine smile cross her lips, she didn’t say anything though because she wasn’t really sure how to respond, the topic of loving one’s self wasn’t a simple one after all. Thankfully the topic shifted to heels which made her chuckle “It’s pure determination to look good” she grinned slightly “And actually have any hope of seeing anything in a crowd” she liked wearing heels, they made her feel confident and attractive.
Nora parted her lips when he warned her not to touch the cut on her head because she hadn’t even thought about scarring, she supposed she was so used to getting cuts and bruises by now that she was just kinda used to it, though getting stabbed in the side a few weeks ago certainly hadn’t been fun. “True there might be hope for us yet” she teased lightheartedly, they couldn’t be awful at everything right? When he insisted he was okay she nodded slightly only to realize it made him brush against her wound a little harder than expected which made her wince, she had to laugh when he tripped over his words and the slightly dirty meaning there could be behind them “Cute” she spoke with a soft chuckle, dropping her gaze and attempting to stay still while he treated the wound.
She looked up at him in surprise when he made a sly comment about seeing each other again “Well I’d hope so, it seems like you’re going to make this whole project development a lot more fun” she grinned slightly though her brow furrowed when he got up and went to the other room. She could smell the blood the moment that he cut his hand in the next room which made her press her lips together, it had this sweet aroma that kinda drew you in, much like when you walked past one of the stalls at a carnival and were tempted by the food which was cooking. She was confused for a moment until she saw him coming back with a glass and then he offered it out to her. She stared at it a little nervously before she looked up at him wondering if this was some kind of test to know her species. She bit her lip, it smelled so tempting, especially now the glass was in her grasp and she was visibly affected by it. It took her a while to remember that Nephilim had healing blood and that was why he was offering it to her. Eventually, she decided to lift it to her lips, downing it in one shot and then placing the glass neatly on the side, avoiding the temptation to finish up every drop. Her face flushed as she looked back at him, her eyes meeting his “Thank you” which would confirm to him that she knew why he had given her that.
Perhaps, a part of him just wanted to know how it is to have someone he could talk to freely and comfortably without thinking much of the lines and boundaries he may cross. In general, the Nephilim I'd a considerate guy, he knows which lines not to cross hence why he always want to be sure that his words were well thought of. And he's never had a problem with that before. None. Never. Until today. God, why is it so hard to talk to Nora without stuttering halfway? What was he so nervous about? The fact that she is his boss? Or the fact that Eleanora Nordstroem is indeed, a beautiful lady who knows her own motivations and philosophy of life, with an attractive personality to boot. Yeah, that's definitely it. A mix of both, for all he knows. Somehow, Julian knew that Nora had a thought that he would say the same again, which was one day you'll know. It may sound annoying but it's how he always trusted himself to go about his day and hope for the best. "No, not even for a million dollars" Perhaps it sounded stupid of him to deny such an offer if it was even presented to him, in the first place, because what kind of guy rejects a million dollars to do something?
No idea, but it's definitely not him to do something he doesn't want to. "I know it's highly unlikely to find someone who wouldn't do anything for a million dollars but I don't think everyone would lay down their worth for a few bills" Admittedly, it's not only a few bills, but his point was still delivered. Nora was enigmatic, he was so sure of that, Julian was under the impression that there was someone behind those closed up walls and he wants to find it. The Nora he knows right now is pretty good, but he would love the idea of seeing a whole her. Too fast? Sure. But he stands on what he still believes. Stop waiting for the world and go out there to do your own thing because nobody is waiting for nobody. It was such a hit. Sometimes, he wondered if all her words stemmed from her personal experience because it always sounded raw. There is so much to understand about her and he knew he was just beginning, but one thing was for sure, Julian wasn't about to give up now.
"I'd argue and say you don't need heels to look good but then I'd be lying it doesn't look good on you" Was he flirting? God knows. But he's giving a compliment, he knows that. It's hard not to admit that Nora is very attractive. He did laugh when she said it was also her way of actually seeing anything in the crowd, most of the time he was grateful for his height because that means he didn't need to worry about seeing anything but there were times when he wondered how hard it would be for his significant other to kiss him. Guess she'll need heels like Nora too. She was being more and more open since there was this humor line between them, which made Julian beamed in delight because there was no more awkwardness. Not right now, at least. He heard her, oh he did. Cute, that one word was more than enough to cause his heart to move at an uneven pace the entire time he cleaned her wound because it was hard not to make any eye contact while doing so. "I look forward to working with you closely, Miss Nordstroem" he cooed playfully and chuckled wryly.
The whole blood thing was slightly impulsive, he knew that. But Julian told himself to be useful, and his healing blood could help people, so the Nephilim found it hard to turn his head away from someone who could benefit from it. Besides, as stinging as the blade is as soon as it comes in contact with his skin, the thought of healing someone else convinced him it was a good move. He saw the way she was reluctant to drink it and thought it was because nobody in their sane mind would drink someone else's blood but when she eventually downed the liquid in one try, Julian had nothing else to worry about. His phone rung as the icon of his alarm was displayed on the screen, indicating his slight break was over and how he had another appointment with the aircrafts. "You're welcome. I hope you feel better. Please be careful on your way out" he murmured and apology as he needed to excuse himself but not before sparing one last glance, "I'll see you later, Nora."