NSFW warning: This story contains very explicit language. Proceed with caution and only if you're an adult!Previous Chapter
A week later
Friday dragged along. It had to be the longest Friday in the history of Fridays. It started shitty, kept being shitty and ended shitty.
Due to a car accident the M25 was clogged this morning - more than usual. Crowley was late and in his hurry, he spilled coffee over his jacket and shirt. For an hour, he sat in his office with naked chest while an amused Bea brought his clothes to the dry cleaner and bought him a new shirt. Later, his computer crashed and Newt was having his day off. The other IT guy was rude and slow. It took 2 hours for Crowley to get his laptop back. But nothing he had done this morning had been saved.
After he had rewritten everything, a paperjam brought the IT guy back. He looked at Crowley as if he was a destroyer of hard- and software. It took an hour before the guy declared the printer beyond help and another hour for Crowley to get a new one.
That Crowley had not gotten his hands on Aziraphale the whole day, did not help, of course.
Gabriel needed Aziraphale the whole morning in different conferences. At noon, he dragged him to a business lunch and the afternoon was filled with job interviews for which Aziraphale’s opinion was important. The sour cherry on top of that pile of shit was that to thank Aziraphale for his hard work, Gabriel took him to dinner and promised to drive him home safely himself.
When Crowley said, “Alright then”, Aziraphale gave him a strange look. Had he hoped Crowley would object? That couldn’t be, right? Crowley could hardly forbid his business partner to invite his PA to a thank you dinner. After all, Crowley had no - official - claim on Aziraphale.
The thought had Crowley clench his fists. But right now, there was nothing he could do but wait. So Crowley had a drink in a pub not far from Aziraphale’s apartment. At 11 pm, he decided that Aziraphale must be home by now and that the little nightowl probably was still awake.
Quickly, Crowley dialed Aziraphale’s number. He had to wait a few rings, but finally Aziraphale picked up.
“Hey, angel,” Crowley all but purred into the phone. “Survived dinner with your less handsome boss? How about I come over and we have some fun?”
“Oh,” Aziraphale said. He sounded… off, but not like that one time that Crowley had insulted him inadvertently. Somehow, his voice was almost toneless. After a few seconds, Aziraphale spoke again, “I think better not. I’m a bit tired.”
“I understand.” Crowley kept the disappointment out of his voice as best as he could. “Was a long day. Maybe we could…”
He trailed off. Could he ask for a date for Saturday? Hell, could he ask for a date at all? Well, no risk, no fun.
“Maybe we could…” he started again, but Aziraphale interrupted him.
“I’d rather… end this,” he said quietly.
“End our, for a lack of a better word, arrangement.” Aziraphale clarified. “It would be best if we kept it professional from now on, I believe.”
“Good night, Mr. Crowley, sir,” Aziraphale said. “Have a nice weekend.”
The line went dead. Crowley was left to stare at his phone, dumbfounded. After a while, he turned to the barkeeper and pointed at his glass. The man understood Crowley’s scowl as the urgent demand that it was, refilled and left the bottle. Crowley emptied two glasses right after each other and was now nipping at the third.
What the Hell just happened? Things had been going great, hadn’t they? They got along, they had fun. Admittedly, in the beginning, Crowley had been a tad demanding and maybe too fast. But since then they had discussed boundaries and found that their needs and desires matched greatly. Perfectly even!
Even if Aziraphale was mad that Crowley did not save him from dining with Gabriel - Aziraphale would not just break up with him, right? Wait. Was this a breakup? They weren’t really dating so… Was that the problem? That Crowley had called late at night, asking to come over? But Aziraphale had suggested just last week that Crowley stayed the night! And it had been a fucking success! Literally! Talk about mixed signals.
“Oh no, angel!” Crowley growled. He emptied his glass, threw money on the counter and marched into the night. “Not like this!”
Aziraphale would not get away so easily. If nothing more, Aziraphale owed Crowley at least an explanation.
He deserved better than this.
Earlier this day
Aziraphale cursed inwardly when he saw the day’s schedule. There would be no time for Crowley. His usual tea break fell victim to Gabriel’s plans and even lunch would be a business affair.
Sighing, Aziraphale went to work. It was silly, really. After all, he had been with Crowley twice each other day of this week. Still, he longed to be in his arms again, to, for only a moment, feel like he belonged to Crowley. Well aware, how pathetic this was, he couldn’t help it. He missed Crowley’s touch badly and in addition was plagued by the irrational fear, Crowley would lose interest when Aziraphale didn’t bring himself to mind regularly.
But all that was hardly something he could tell Gabriel. So Aziraphale put on a professional mien when Gabriel entered and took him to the first meeting. It was the first of many Aziraphale had to endure this morning.
After the last, Aziraphale all but collapsed in his chair. He checked his watch. One hour until Gabriel’s business lunch. Maybe there would be time for a cuppa?
The door to Gabriel’s office opened and destroyed this hope. Gabriel stepped out. In his hand he held two envelopes with elegant letters on them.
“Invitations to the charity ball of Chesterton & Co.,” he sighed. “I still need a plus one.”
Aziraphale perked up. After considering for two seconds, he cleared his throat.
“You know, Bea… I remember her saying that she’d love to partake one day,” he lied. “But the tickets for the general public are expensive…”
Of course, Bea had said no such thing. Plus, she certainly had no interest in a charity ball. But maybe she was really interested in going on a date with Gabriel - God help her - and that was a chance.
Gabriel’s expression changed.
“Really?” he asked.”Would… would that be inappropriate?”
“I don’t think so,” Aziraphale said, mentally adding, It would make me a hypocrite if I did.
“I wouldn’t want her to feel pressured,” Gabriel said. “I’d hate for her to do something she wouldn’t want and…”
At that, Aziraphale raised a brow and gave Gabriel a pointed look. “Bea?” he asked.
Gabriel laughed. “Point taken,” he said. “She can stand her ground.”
“Okay,” Gabriel said. “I’ll ask her. Can’t do more than say no, right?”
He grinned, but underneath Aziraphale saw that he really hated the thought of Bea saying no. So Aziraphale nodded.
“True, but I don’t think she will.”
“Okay, good, yes,” Gabriel cleared his throat.
He handed Aziraphale the envelopes.
“Please confirm our attendance,” he said. “Crowley’s plus on is Ms. Michael.”
Aziraphale’s heart shattered. But despite the burning pain in his chest, he schooled his face into an expression of indifference and simply said, “Oh?”
“Yes, please make sure they spell her name correctly,” Gabriel sighed and mimicked a female voice, “‘It’s ‘Angelika’ with a ‘k’ before the second ‘a’.”
“Of course, sir.”
The rest of the day Aziraphale functioned like in a trance. His faint hope was gone. Crowley did not in the slightest entertain the idea of actually dating him. Because even if he thought Aziraphale wasn’t interested in charity balls - which was true - he could have discussed taking someone else there with him. But he hadn’t. So he didn’t care for Aziraphale’s opinion on him dating other people.
After the long day, Gabriel wanted to thank him. Aziraphale was grateful for the dinner invitation as a way of avoiding a confrontation with Crowley. While Crowley did arrive, he also left without much ado after Gabriel shared his plans. He looked a bit disappointed, but - as Aziraphale thought bitterly - who wouldn’t if they had expected an uncomplicated shag in the car and end up without?
As expected, Gabriel was oblivious to Aziraphale’s mood. But that was good. The last thing Aziraphale needed now was Gabriel’s Concerned Boss (™) side to come out and make things worse by trying to help.
The restaurant was nice. Gabriel carried the conversation by talking about work - what else?. The other patrons weren’t overwhelmingly loud but also not so quiet that one was anxious to even clear one’s throat. The staff was attentive and the food good.
So of course, Aziraphale felt worse afterwards. Gabriel took him there to thank him. There was nobody to take Aziraphale to a restaurant like this, or to any restaurant at all, as their romantic plus one.
Nevertheless, he pretended to be happy. Politely, he thanked Gabriel for dinner and for the drive home. Back in his apartment, he went straight to the kitchen and opened a bottle of wine. Against his usual habit, he did not bother with a glass.
Around eleven, his phone rang. His stomach sank when he saw the name on the display. For a moment, he argued with himself to let it go to voicemail to postpone the necessary confrontation. But he could not go on like this. So why not do what had to be done while filled with liquid courage? Aziraphale accepted the call.
“Hey, angel,” sounded Crowley’s unfairly alluring voice. “Survived dinner with your less handsome boss? How about I come over and we have some fun?”
“Oh.” Aziraphale cursed himself. The idea of being in Crowley’s arms again, was so enticing that he almost forgot his heartbreak again. He couldn’t bring himself to be direct. “I think better not. I’m a bit tired,” he said.
“I understand. Was a long day. Maybe we could…” Suddenly, Crowley fell silent and Aziraphale started to think they’d been cut off. But then Crowley spoke again, “Maybe we could…”
“I’d rather… end this,” Aziraphale heard himself say.
“Pardon me?” Crowley said
Aziraphale bit his lip. He could still take it back and pretend to have meant something else.
“End our, for a lack of a better word, arrangement.” Decision made, Aziraphale added, “It would be best if we kept it professional from now on, I believe.”
“Good night, Mr. Crowley, sir! Have a nice weekend.”
Before he could start fearing his own courage, Aziraphale ended the call. His body dropped onto the couch. The phone slipped from his fingers, but he felt too numb to care. Surely, he would regret this in the morning, but right now he was just empty. Just like his wine bottle. He got on his wobbly legs to fetch a new one.
After a while, he heard a car outside. Frowning, Aziraphale looked at the time. It took a moment until his eyes could focus on the hands of his grandfather's clock. When he saw that it was almost midnight, he became curious who arrived at this time of night as his elderly neighbours usually were home early.
After stepping to the window, he scowled. A taxi was parked near the house and a familiar man was just paying the driver. Crowley had some nerve to show up here to get his roll in the hay after Aziraphale said no. Typical for some rich arsehole used to getting whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
Aziraphale took another swig of wine. Let him come and try to fool Aziraphale again with his stupid charming smile, stupid seductive voice and extremely stupid handsome face. Aziraphale was drunk and wore nothing but an old bathrobe. Then again, he was drunk and wore nothing but an old bathrobe so what was there to care about?
When the bell rang, Aziraphale put down the bottle (after another tiny swig). He marched to the door, determined to stand up for himself this time. He may not be as handsome as Crowley, or as confident, or as charming. He may only be a PA, but that did not matter.
He deserved better than this.