A mutation of evolution had left Alexis without a heart. At least that’s what she told herself. Brandon had turned his off after one too many instances of abuse, both to and from his wayward organ. It was going to take a miracle to get either of them functioning again.
She didn’t like him. There was just something about him that rubbed her the wrong way. And Brandon was the absolute last thing on her mind when she hung the mistletoe over her office door.
They sparred from the start, each in their own awkward way. Hers was passive-aggressive but his had nothing passive about it. She’d ask him to help her move some furniture and he’d ask her to keep quiet while he did it.
It was the thoughtless joy of the holiday season that put the candy in his hand and his feet in her doorway. It was an office tradition. Alexis had to know it was not Brandon’s but the old man’s idea to hand out sweets to his employees. Still, she felt obliged by the mistletoe to jump up from her seat, scamper to the doorway, and plant a peck on his cheek. The sensation of her lips on his skin did what such things always do: it broke the magic spell. Boxes of candy fell clattering to the floor. He stared directly into the pit of her soul for a long moment before he grabbed her shoulders. She wanted to scream but didn’t get the chance before he kissed her back, fully and forcefully, on the mouth.
After an eternity of milliseconds their physical embrace broke but it was too late to undo the deed. He had tasted her, and like a wild animal that has tasted blood, there was only one thing that could be done: he had to be put down. Or, if she dared to spare his life, he would have to be loved.