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Easy as Breathing

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Shiv couldn’t ask for a better outcome. The guillotine is poised above Rhea’s head and she doesn’t even know it. The story will drop, bloody and splashed across the pages in huge accusatory letters. Rhea will take the fall. The company will stay in the family. Just as it should.

Shiv can’t help but twist the knife a little deeper, wants to look Rhea in the eye, knowing she’s about to fuck her. It’s exhilarating. She finds Rhea on her way back from the ladies’ room. Rhea wipes her index finger at the corner of her mouth—fresh lipstick, no doubt—before she spots Shiv. She gives her a tight smile, exuding fake warmth as Shiv crosses to meet her.

“So, you think it’ll be you tonight, huh?” Shiv asks. She has never understood small talk. If there’s a target issue, why talk around it?

Rhea purses her lips, eyes downcast. “That remains to be seen. I mean, I would hate to speculate...”

“Bullshit,” Shiv says, but there’s no anger in her tone.

Rhea shrugs.

“I think I’ll be stuck with you for a while, knowing my dad,” Shiv says, and she wants to gloat about the coup she’s about to pull. She would love to watch Rhea’s face fall as she realizes she’s lost again. You can’t beat a Roy.

“Could be.” Rhea glances over Shiv’s shoulder.

“Who would’ve known that you could just clear the field like that, as an outsider. It was masterful, I’ll give you that. Did you know that even my brothers would rather back you than me?”

“I know you don’t like losing, Siobhan,” Rhea says, reaching out to touch Shiv’s arm. Her fingers are warm. “But it happens to the best of us.”

“Too right,” Shiv says with her best fuck you smile. She wants to keep Rhea here a bit longer, to savor this feeling. “Jesus, you barely come up to my shoulder,” she says. “Look at those guns, though. Wow.” Shiv gestures to Rhea’s arms.

Rhea laughs softly. “Speak for yourself. That dress looks great on you, truly.” Rhea directs her gaze toward Shiv’s feet, continuing up until she has her eye again.

Shiv furrows her brow. Interesting. “Did you—did you see the back?”

“Can’t say I did.”

Shiv turns and gives Rhea a long glance at her exposed back.

“Very appealing,” Rhea says, voice low, as Shiv turns around.

Shiv takes another sip of her drink as she holds Rhea’s gaze before she sets her glass on the ground. “Did you need to get back?” Shiv asks, gesturing behind her with her thumb. “Or did you want to go somewhere and... talk?”

Rhea smiles. “I could use a little stimulating conversation.”

Shiv takes Rhea by the hand and leads her down the hall, trying one door handle then the next, as speakers blare music in the distance. She opens the door to a darkened conference room. The window beside the door throws low light inside, and Shiv can see Rhea’s curious look as she closes the door and backs Rhea against the heavy wood.

“Well you’re full of surprises,” Rhea says.

“I thought you’d know that about me by now,” Shiv says and places her palms against the door on either side of Rhea’s shoulders. “Though your knowledge about my family does have some pretty big gaps.”

“Ah, yes. Kendall tanked my toast rather thoroughly. Was that your idea?”

“Roman’s.” Shiv presses her full body against Rhea. “But I was all for it. You didn’t do your homework.” Shiv kisses her like she’s claiming her. “Will I be the first Roy you bag or did you already screw my father?”

Rhea shakes her head. “You’ll be the first.” She leans in and kisses Shiv hard. Shiv can’t be sure it’s the truth. Manipulation, half-truths—these come to Rhea as easy as breath. Shiv is a convincing liar, but not a flawless one.

Shiv trails her hands down Rhea’s body, feels her quiver, barely perceptible, but Shiv is highly tuned.

“You don’t think this is a bit... twisted?” Rhea asks. She runs her hands along Shiv’s bare arms.

Shiv laughs. “Have you met my family? This is nothing.”

Shiv leans down and reaches for the hem of Rhea’s dress, pulling it up toward her waist. “Hold this,” Shiv says.

Rhea takes the folds of her dress in both hands.

“I wonder,” Shiv says as she presses her fingers against the front of Rhea’s underwear, “if there’s still a deal we can make.”

Shiv traces her fingers over Rhea with slow precision, the heat she finds there very encouraging. She presses three fingers firmly against the fabric. Rhea bites her lower lip before she exhales and speaks. “I think you’re out of the running at this point, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh, I know that. But if you ever, say, jump ship for a less unsavory company, if Nan comes crawling back to you, I expect you to put my name forward as your replacement.”

“Is that so?” Rhea asks, and she’s impressive, holding Shiv’s gaze, unwavering, as she rocks her hips into Shiv’s touch. It’s the physical manifestation of cognitive dissonance and Shiv wants a framed fucking picture of this moment.

“Yeah, it is,” Shiv says. “Because while you have my father’s attention, I’m still his favorite child. He listens to my opinions.”

“You’re offering to back me for CEO? Is that the deal?”

Shiv pushes her hand under the waistband of Rhea’s underwear and slides through slick heat. “Hmm. Guess you were interested,” Shiv says, ignoring her.

Rhea stifles a moan as Shiv applies tight circles with her finger.

“Fucking Christ,” Rhea says and leans her head against Shiv’s collarbone. It’s intimate and vulnerable and Shiv should be enjoying this, reveling in it even, but she almost shakes her off.

Shiv thrusts inside her and Rhea gasps against her shoulder. She catches Shiv with one hand behind her neck and pulls her down to kiss her. She devours Shiv’s mouth and fuck, she’s good at this. Shiv crooks her fingers and doubles her pace. She really wants to see her fall apart. Rhea sucks on her tongue, cups Shiv’s breasts roughly in her hands, and Shiv is the one moaning into Rhea’s mouth—she can spare a few moans when it’s her hand in Rhea’s underwear.

Shiv pulls her mouth away and they’re both panting. “Did Nan ever do this to you?” Shiv asks.

Rhea gives her a hard look.

“Come on,” Shiv says. “I saw the way you looked at her.”

“Fuck off,” Rhea says.

“Ooh, feisty. You’re saying you never went down on her after a few too many sips of wine?” Shiv asks. She works her thumb against Rhea, rubbing hard, and Rhea’s head tips back, gasping and shuddering as she clenches around Shiv’s fingers.

Shiv kisses her, and Rhea allows it a moment before she pushes her away. She fixes her dress, smoothing her hands down the front.

“I suppose you’re one of those people who gets off on power, who likes to fuck but not be fucked,” Rhea says, and Shiv can crack the code on that statement. She hears the challenge, sees it in Rhea’s eyes.

Shiv should agree and walk away, but sometimes she doesn’t know what’s good for her. Rhea wants to touch her, and Shiv can’t deny she wants to see what Rhea can do, this tiny powerhouse that almost bested her.

“No, not me,” Shiv says. “I’ll sit on your face right fucking here if you’re offering.”

That catches Rhea off-guard. Shiv watches Rhea’s eyes widen and it’s beyond satisfying. Rhea pauses for a moment then kicks off her heels and slides to her knees. Now Shiv’s eyebrows are high on her forehead because she was half-bluffing and Rhea is apparently not fucking around. Shiv feels light headed as Rhea looks up at her with a heated gaze.

“I’m actually starting to like you,” Shiv says as she lifts her dress. “This side of you, anyway.” Rhea’s hands help push the dress up quickly, tugging Shiv’s underwear down. Her underwear are damp enough for Rhea to notice.

“I’m flattered,” Rhea says.

Rhea is no tease and all headline, and her mouth is so sure and hot that Shiv almost loses her balance, has to catch herself with one hand pressed to the door and her dress clutched in the other.

Rhea laughs and grips Shiv’s thighs. “Have you never had a woman on her knees for you before?”

She teases Shiv with the tip of her tongue, swirling in just the right pattern, following with a hint of her teeth. Fire sparks along Shiv’s spine. She had expected a passable performance, maybe a moderately satisfying orgasm, but this is something else. Her nerves buzz like stage lights.

Shiv has her face mashed against the door, trying to keep herself from shaking, and then Rhea’s tongue is inside her.

It’s so wrong and Shiv loves that it’s wrong. She is the first Roy notch on Rhea’s belt, and Rhea is on her knees in her most expensive dress with her tongue buried inside her, and Shiv is so turned on she could sob. Shiv moans against the door.

Rhea pulls back. “Think they’ll hear you out there?” she asks, taking Shiv’s ass in both hands. “Do you think they’d be scandalized to see you like this with your dress around your hips and my mouth on your cunt?”

Rhea never spoke like this at Pierce, Shiv is sure of it. She was practically saying oh, gosh darn it to heck around Nan, and now she seems to have a well of filthy words rushing out of her. Shiv wonders which persona is real and hopes it’s this one. Rhea doesn’t wait for a response, just pushes her tongue back inside and pulls Shiv against her mouth, creating a shallow rhythm and it makes Shiv’s breath catch in desperate, stuttering exhales. She feels Rhea’s fingers dig into her skin in response.

“I wasn’t lying when I told you we had a connection,” Rhea says.

“Save your speech and fuck me,” Shiv says. Her voice shakes; she pretends it doesn’t.

Rhea slips her fingers inside Shiv. “Look at me,” she says between feather-light licks. “I want to see you when I make you come. Would you do that for me?”

At this moment, Shiv will spill family secrets, promise things she’ll definitely regret later. She’s glad all Rhea wants is her gaze. She backs her face away from the door and makes enough space to see Rhea looking up at her, and she’s the picture of cat-ate-the-canary. Shiv doesn’t have time to ponder that, though, because Rhea holds eye contact and leans forward, her tongue flat against Shiv in long stripes. Shiv struggles to watch her, struggles to keep her eyes open. She feels full of liquid heat.

Rhea’s fingers are deeper now, faster, and she sucks Shiv between her lips. Shiv’s hips jerk forward and her moan sounds like a sob, and the crinkles that form around Rhea’s eyes as she smirks are the last thing Shiv sees before she comes so hard she nearly collapses.

Rhea guides Shiv backward so she can stand. Shiv leans against the wall and catches her breath, feels herself twitch once more as Rhea wipes her mouth. Shiv wants to kiss her.

Rhea slides her heels back on and makes sure her dress is situated correctly, then leans down to help Shiv step out of her underwear and pulls down the hem of Shiv’s dress until her legs are covered.

“I look forward to your support,” she says, her professional smile back in place. She opens her clutch purse and stuffs Shiv’s underwear inside, closing her purse with a click. “See you after the announcement.”

Shiv furrows her brow. She’s still slumped against the wall, but she holds her head with perfect poise. “See you then.”

Rhea turns the door handle and disappears outside.