My favourite fanfictions # 4 (ER – Kim/Kerry)

Speed Bumps
By Harriet

Kim hugged her knees as her eyes lingered on the white expanse before her. Her gaze followed the valleys and curves with affection and desire, warmth coursing so far inside her if felt as though it went as deep as the marrow of her bones. She was hesitant to break the spell with touch, but couldn’t bear to keep her hand still any longer. It had been too long that she’d been denied this pleasure, any pleasure, really. Everything had been so cold, and she had been alone, longing, hurting.

She stretched her palm out gently and let it hover over the center of Kerry’s back, feeling the intense heat the small body generated. She left her hand there, wondering how such a slip of a woman could hold so much energy. A minute passed, and she felt the fatigue in her arm beginning to set in.

“I can feel you,” was the mumbled phrase she heard from the depths of the pillow. Kerry turned her head and peered with sleepy eyes over her shoulder. “Touch me.” She sighed in anticipation. “Please.”

Tears pricked Kim’s eyes and she closed them before Kerry noticed. Her hand descended upon the silk of Kerry’s sensitive skin, and she smiled at the goose bumps she encountered immediately.

A soft purr left Kerry’s throat and she squirmed a little, twisting her feet happily in the sheet that lay at the foot of the bed. This soft sensation was something she’d missed as much as anything during their time apart. The tips of Kim’s gentle fingers skimmed her flesh tenderly, caressing and smoothing across her spine. “That’s so wonderful, sweetheart.”

A soft sob escaped Kim’s throat, and Kerry immediately stiffened. “Honey?”

“God, Ker, I missed you so much,” Kim whimpered. She untangled her limbs and spread herself over Kerry, sliding her arms under the smaller body. She pressed her face between the jutting shoulder blades and clung tightly.

Kerry lay still for a moment, lifting her upper body to slide her arms along Kim’s where they rested under her breasts. It was awkward, so she tried to turn over when she felt tears begin to leak from Kim’s eyes. Kim just clung tighter to her, shaking her head.

“Kim, let me see you, please.” She struggled in Kim’s grasp for another moment before she was able to flip over. Kim just buried her head in Kerry’s belly, holding tightly. “Oh, Kimmy, tell me what I can do to help you. You’re scaring me.”

Kim shook her head again, jerking a little with a sharp intake of breath. “N-nothing,” she stuttered. “I’m, I’m just so happy.” Her head dropped again, burrowing between Kerry’s bare breasts.

Kerry ran her fingers into Kim’s thick hair, hoping to give her some comfort. “Honey, this doesn’t feel like happy. This feels like something else.” She slowly rubbed Kim’s tense shoulders, noting the knots that had popped up since earlier in the evening. “If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay, but I just want to know if there’s anything I can do, or if it’s something I did to upset you. That’s all.”

Kim looked up, her face twisting in grief. “I don’t, I don’t know what happened. Everything was wonderful, I felt great, and you were so lovely lying there. Your back is so smooth, Kerry, so soft and pale, and everything just started to hurt.” She hiccupped a bit, tears still flowing freely down her face. “I missed you so much while we were apart, and I used to lie in bed and remember rubbing your back. I wanted it again so badly, and now you’re here, and I just…. God, I don’t know…” Her voice broke finally, and she laid her head back down and wept again, her body shaking forcefully.

Kerry’s nose twitched as she held back her own remembered pain. “Come closer honey, come up here.” She pulled Kim up a little and pressed her face into the crook of her neck. She welcomed the heavy weight of Kim’s body and slid her foot down her long thigh. Using her heel to massage the back of Kim’s knee, Kerry tried to touch as much of her body as she could. “I’m here,” she murmured quietly into Kim’s ear. “I’m right here and I’m not leaving.”

Sniffling loudly, Kim moaned, “I don’t think I could bear to be away from you again, Kerry.”

Kerry nodded. “I couldn’t bear it either.” She continued to knead Kim’s leg with her foot, and trailed her fingertips along her spine. “I need you, Kim. I love you.” Kim just cried harder at that. She pressed her fingers down Kim’s back, pushing the muscles with strong hands, stretching down as far as she could. The sweet curves of Kim’s bottom called out to her, but she couldn’t quite reach. Instead she fluttered her fingers against the slope of a waist that was more pronounced than she ever remembered. Kerry’s brow furrowed; Kim had lost weight. She moved her hands back up to her rib cage and measured it against a memory of Kim’s body many months ago. She felt different, bonier, more frail. While they had made love during the night all Kerry could feel was heat and wetness and pleasure; she’d hardly been able to see through the haze of desire that hung over her eyes. The fog was gone now, and the true image of Kim’s thin body was clearer.

Kim continued to cry, but after some minutes the flood slowed to a trickle. She felt the calming stroke of Kerry’s palms along her sides and breathed heavily into the caress. She lifted her heavy head from Kerry’s neck and directed a watery gaze at her lover’s face.

Kerry noted the shell-shocked look on Kim’s face with a small grin. “Hi.”

Kim swallowed. “Hi.”

“Feel a little better?”

Kim nodded. “I don’t know what happened.”

The corner of Kerry’s mouth quirked up. “You were sad, you had a good cry. It hasn’t been easy for either of us honey, and sometimes things come out at the most unexpected times. You know that.”

“I haven’t cried that way for a long time.”

“It’s okay, Kim. You can cry on my shoulder anytime you want to.” Kerry slid her hands to Kim’s face, running her thumbs along the damp skin under her unnaturally bright eyes. The redness brought out the color intensely and it appeared that Kim’s eyes were glowing. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Kim leaned over for a second to grab a tissue from the nightstand and blew her nose fiercely as Kerry chuckled. Immediately she retook her place in Kerry’s arms and settled in, wiggling her way comfortably between Kerry’s legs.

There was a hesitation on Kerry’s part, but she took a deep breath. “Have you been eating?”

Kim started in surprise. “Yeah, of course.”

“But not very much.”

Kim’s shook her head. “I don’t know. I haven’t kept very good track…” She trailed off and thought back. “Sometimes I’d forget, I guess. But I feel fine.”

“Kim, you’re thin. How much weight have you lost?”

“I don’t even have a scale, I have no idea.” She snickered. “I’m fine, really.”

“I guess I’ll just have to fatten you up then, won’t I,” Kerry said, filing this conversation away in her head for future reference.

Kim smiled. “I would not say no to that. I’ve had your fried chicken.” At the thought of Kerry’s mouth-watering specialty, Kim took note of the hollow feeling in her stomach and weakness in her limbs. “I think I might be hungry now though.”

A satisfied grin crossed Kerry’s lips. “Well, I can fix that. We didn’t exactly get around to having dinner yet.”

As Kerry moved to get up, Kim wrapped her arms more tightly around Kerry’s middle. “In a minute, okay? I just want to stay here for another minute.” She laid her head on Kerry’s chest and inhaled the scent surrounding her.

“Sure babe, anything you want.” Kerry’s hand crept into Kim’s hair again, and scraped her short nails along her scalp. A rumble of satisfaction came from deep within Kim’s body, and Kerry smiled.

“God, that was unbelievable.” Kim was still licking her fingers, eyes closed in rapture. “Where the hell did you learn to cook like that?”

“It’s a gift.” Kerry eyed the pans left on the stove for a moment and pushed down the drive to clean them immediately. It was four in the morning, and she figured it wouldn’t be that much more difficult to get the grease out in the morning.

“Well I’m glad one of us can cook.”

Kerry turned to her in surprise. “You cook wonderfully! Don’t sell yourself short.”

Kim grinned. “As long as it’s simple and doesn’t require baking. You’re doing the turkey at Thanksgiving this year, definitely.”

Kerry jerked up and her eyes glazed for a moment. Kim caught the movement, and backtracked, panicking. “I mean, if um, maybe, uh-“

Kerry turned to her, a huge smile spreading across her whole face. “I can’t wait.”

“What?”

“I can’t wait to have another Thanksgiving with you. It will be like an anniversary!”

Kim sighed in relief. “Right.” She took a huge gulp of water, surprised at how dry her mouth had become in a few short seconds.

“Oh my god, Kim, I’m sorry.” Kerry slid off her stool and limped over to touch Kim’s face. “I was just thinking how nice it would be at the holidays this year, we’ll be together, maybe we could have people over, then it will be Christmas, and we could go away somewhere, or just stay in and watch the snow fall.” She nudged Kim away from the kitchen island and hopped up on her lap, welcoming Kim’s arms around her waist. “It will be the first time in a long time I’ll really look forward to the holidays. Hell, I’m already looking forward to it and it’s only September!”

Kim laughed and hugged Kerry tightly. “Me too.” Warmth spread through her, replacing the chill she’d felt at Kerry’s vacant look when she mentioned Thanksgiving. “You had me worried for a second.”

Kerry looked at her sadly. “No need to worry. It took me a long time to win you back, you think I’m not going to hang on to you this time?”

“You think you won me back?”

“Well what do you think happened?”

“I won you back.”

“You did not.”

“I did too!”

“Who kept pestering you even after you said my letter was full of ‘sentiment’ but hadn’t changed anything.” Kim grimaced. “And who asked you to lunch over and over until you agreed we could go ‘just as friends’. You think I just wanted to be your friend? Please. It took me forever, but you’re here now, and you’re stuck with me for as long as you’ll have me.”

Kim snuggled in and breathed deeply. “That might be for a long time.”

“I’m counting on it.”

“I still think I contributed some wooing. I did ask you for coffee after you came out.”

“Well, maybe you did a little.”

“Especially after that ‘sentiment’ thing.”

“True.” Kerry smiled slightly. “That was hard to live with, but we both made some pretty colorful mistakes.”

Kim thought back to the day she spoke to Kerry about the letter that she now kept in a small box on top of her dresser, wrapped in a red silk ribbon along with every other note Kerry had ever given her. “I still don’t know why Romano changed his mind about keeping me on.”

Kerry grinned slyly, glad Kim wasn’t looking at her face. “I guess we’ll never know.”

“I’d still like to, though. I can’t help but feel nervous every time we cross paths, like sometime he’ll change his mind again. It’s not a very comfortable feeling to have.”

Nuzzling Kim’s temple, Kerry responded, “If that happens again, you won’t be alone. I promise.”

“I know, Ker. I’m glad.” Kim pressed her face closer to Kerry, then brought her hand to a breast. “Mm, these are so nice.” She fondled Kerry through her cotton tank top till the nipple hardened predictably under her deft touch.

“You have a one track mind.”

“I’ve been wanting to touch you this way again for months, and I’ve only been able to for the last,” Kim glanced at the clock on the stove, “seven hours. Give me a break.”

Kerry swooped in and captured Kim’s lips with a voracious kiss that made both their hearts pound. “Not a chance,” she whispered.

“I can’t believe you’ve never seen this movie.”

“I never watched a lot of black and white movies, that’s all.”

“But it’s a classic!”

“I’m getting that, Kerry. Shh.”

“You’re going to die when Lauren Bacall makes her entrance.”

“I’ll miss it if you don’t stop squirming.”

“Fine.” Kerry settled herself back against the couch finally and slid her hand beneath Kim’s shirt to rest lightly on her belly. Her legs were entwined with the blonde’s as the pair lay on Kerry’s comfortable couch. Both were feeling languid and lazy after making love again, so Kerry popped in a movie to watch that they could doze to. Though it was nearly sunrise, neither woman felt ready to give up their time together for more sleep. “Here it comes.”

Lauren Bacall came on screen for the first time, lithe and gorgeous, already wearing the bewitching look that would become her trademark. She entered the doorway to Bogie’s room inquiring, “Anybody got a match?” Bogie nonchalantly tossed her a pack, she lit her cigarette, then glanced up with a preternaturally seductive expression. “Thanks,” she said, then slinked out of the room.

“Holy shit,” Kim exclaimed.

“I told you,” Kerry said in satisfaction.

“How have I never seen this movie?”

Kerry was about to tease Kim about that very fact when the phone rang. She felt Kim start to rise to grab it herself, but told her, “Let the machine get it. It might be nothing.”

Smiling in agreement, Kim relaxed back into Kerry’s loose embrace. After a few rings, the machine kicked on, and Kerry heard Randi’s nasal voice yelling over the typical chaos that was the early morning ER. “Dr Weaver, I know you’re off today, but Dr. Kovac wanted me to call you and see if you could do his afternoon-“

“Randi?” Kerry said into the receiver Kim had handed her.

“Hi, Dr. Weaver, I’m sorry to call so early-“

“It’s okay, I was awake.”

“Dr. Kovac-“

“Tell Dr. Kovac that I can’t come in. I’ve got plans, and I won’t be in at all today. Maybe he can switch with Mark. Or tell him to call Susan Lewis, she might be able to.”

“Okay, I will.” There was a pause on the Randi’s end of the line, followed by a tentative, “How are you?”

Kerry furrowed her brow in surprise. “I’m fine, Randi. How are you?”

“I’m good, I’m good. I was just wondering how you are.”

“I’m still fine.”

“Doing anything fun today?”

Understanding dawned on Kerry, and she almost lost her composure. Randi was checking the status between Drs. Weaver and Legaspi, something she’d taken to doing over the past months. Kerry suspected her of deliberately trying to get them together on more than one occasion, and she was quietly grateful. She decided to throw the clerk a bone. With her mouth purposely near the receiver, Kerry said, “Randi wants to know if we’re doing anything fun today.”

Kim grinned hugely and leaned in, saying “Yes, I think we’re going to do lots of fun things today.”

There was a whoop of elation at the other end of the connection, and Kerry could almost see Randi pumping her fist in the air. “That’s great Dr. Weaver, that’s great. I’ll definitely tell Dr. Kovac to find someone else.”

“Randi, I’ll trust that you won’t be discussing the finer points of this conversation with every single person that comes in the ER today, will you?”

“Absolutely not. No way. My lips are sealed.” Kerry heard the smack of gum that punctuated Randi’s statement.

“Then make sure to tell all the nurses standing around you right now to keep the details of whatever money changes hands today quiet, otherwise I’ll make their lives a living hell.” Kim barked out a laugh, and covered her mouth to try and hold it in. Kerry winked at her.

Randi inhaled sharply, and Kerry knew she’d pegged the situation right. “Will do, Chief. I’ll see you later. Tell Dr. Legaspi I said bye too.” At that, Kerry heard a gaggle of voices shouting in the background. Busted.

“You’ll pay for that, Randi.” Kerry heard Randi laughing as she hung up the phone.

“Well, I guess we won’t be sneaking around much then, will we.”

“Nope. Too bad. I thought it might be fun to do some clandestine making out in the janitorial closets.”

“We still can, you know.” Kim raised her eyebrow suggestively.

“One track mind. Let’s watch the movie.”

Kim was asleep only an hour into the film, and Kerry was pleased. She suspected Kim hadn’t slept at all that night, and after her crying jag, she was more than a little concerned. As the black and white images flickered on the screen in a scene she’d watched dozens of times, she watched the muted shadows play over the precious woman in her arms. Inevitably her mind was drawn back to the moment that things changed between them.

The day before had been like any other, filled with typical cases and a larger than average number of traumas. Kerry’s morale had plummeted over losing a number of patients brought in from a multi-vehicle highway crash. When Kim popped into the lounge to confirm their standing Wednesday lunch, Kerry was sitting, staring into a mug of lukewarm coffee dregs.

“Hi Kerry, are we still on… Hey, what happened? You look terrible.”

Kerry sniffed, trying to clear the images from her mind. “Lost a few this morning, that’s all.”

Kim’s eyebrow rose, and she pulled out a chair. “That’s enough. Wanna tell me about it?”

Shaking her head, she swallowed. She wasn’t about to tell Kim that the blonde cap of hair on one of the victims had made her instantly flash to an image of the psychiatrist.

As much as she wanted to reach out to Kim, Kerry didn’t know if she had the guts to step over the line back into romance and risk another rejection. Their friendship was stronger than ever, and Kerry was sure the damage would be irreparable if she moved too quickly.

“Do you still want to have lunch?”

Kerry had seen the anticipation in Kim’s eyes and pushed down the desire to crawl into her arms. Could she possibly be misinterpreting the concern, the eagerness she saw? Kim wasn’t exactly an expert at hiding her emotions; her gaze spoke of deeper ties than simple friendship, but there was fear there too.

She shook her head. “I don’t think I’d be very good company.”

Kim leaned over and stroked her arm, and Kerry had fought to control her reaction. A tear spilled over, and she brushed it quickly off her cheek, hoping Kim hadn’t seen it.

“Oh, Kerry, we don’t even have to talk. Let’s just go.”

Kerry had pulled her arm away from the soft touch, hating to lose contact. “Not today. I’m sorry.”

Kim had flinched. Visibly. “Okay. Maybe I’ll see you later then.”

“Okay.” Kim walked out of the lounge, her shoulders slouching even more than usual.

Two hours later Kerry’s mood had improved, and she regretted turning down the lunch. After quickly devouring an apple and some trail mix, she went upstairs to make amends.

Deirdre buzzed her into psych without hesitation.”She’s in her office. Do you know if anything is bothering her today?”

“I’m not sure. Why?”

“She seems down. I asked ‘Why the long face?’ and she brushed me off.”

“Thanks, Deirdre. I’ll see what I can do.”

“I know you will, Kerry.”

She’d knocked on the office door and been greeted with the sight of Kim slumped on her couch, staring vacantly out the window. “Hey.”

Surprise was evident in the blonde’s expression. “Hi. What’s up?”

“I’m sorry about earlier, I wasn’t very gracious, was I.”

“Don’t be silly, Kerry. It’s no problem.”

“Will you take a walk with me? I could use a soda, some fresh air.”

The grin had returned in full force, and Kim’s eyes twinkled. “Absolutely. I don’t have any patients for another 45 minutes or so.” Kerry felt the change in mood immediately, a lifting of spirit that had her nearly giddy.

Kim grabbed some quarters from the small mountain she kept in her top drawer and shoved them in her pocket. “Let’s go.”

As they made their way down the hall, Kim asked, “Are you feeling any better?”

“Yeah, much, thanks. Something just hit me wrong I guess. Are *you* feeling better?”

She laughed a little in response, her hand coming up to scratch her neck. “Who said I was feeling badly?”

Kerry answered cryptically, “Oh, I have my spies.”

“I don’t doubt that. I’m fine now. Bye Deirdre, I’ll be back in a few minutes. I have my pager if you need me.”

“Sure thing, Doc. See you later, Kerry.”

Kerry gave a little wave to the receptionist, who returned a smile and nod as a silent thank you.

As they made their way downstairs, Kerry battled the impulse to take Kim’s hand in hers. Upon reaching the desk, Kerry told Frank, “I’m leaving for a few minutes. Page me if a trauma comes in, okay?”

“Sure, Dr. Weaver. Watch out, though, it’s pretty hot outside. Hey Dr. Legaspi.”

“Thanks for the warning. Try and keep Malucci from breaking anything else today.”

From the across the room, a voice shouted, “It wasn’t my fault!”

“Yeah, it’s never your fault, Dave,” she countered.

As they turned to head out of the bay doors, Kerry had turned to Kim and remarked, “You know, this time it really wasn’t his fault. I just like to keep him on his toes.”

“You’re so cruel to him, Kerry,” Kim said in a teasing voice.

“Come on, he loves it. He’d be devastated if I didn’t give him hell at least once a day.”

They strolled slowly, Kerry limping a little more heavily than usual. The humidity didn’t do much good for her hip, and Kim slowed her stride. They walked closely, and bought their Diet Cokes from Louise, who winked at Kerry after Kim turned her back. Her eyes widened a bit; apparently her forehead was stamped with a sign that read “Love-struck Doctor on the Make”. She shook her head a little and scuffled after Kim. She held the sweating can to her cheek, welcoming the icy sensation.

“Want to walk to the river?”

“Are you sure you want to go that far?”

“Yeah, I could use the exercise, and there might be a breeze.”

As they crossed under the El, Kim had noticed Kerry still held her unopened can in her left hand. “Give me that.”

“Huh?”

Kim reached over and took the can from Kerry, holding both drinks in her palm. “You need two hands, I have two hands.” Effortlessly she popped the top and gave it back. “Drink it before it gets warm. That won’t take long today.” She continued on a few steps before she realized she’d left someone behind.

When Kim turned back, the oblivious expression on her face had nearly broken Kerry’s heart. She had no idea what she’d just done. Stomach clenching, Kerry said, “I can’t do this anymore.”

“What?” Kim breathed, her ever-present smile disappearing.

“I can’t lie to you anymore.”

The resulting expression reflected confusion mixed with devastation. It was a painfully familiar image. “Lie to me?”

The sound of Kim’s shaky voice gave Kerry courage, and she nodded furiously. She took a huge gulp of air and stepped closer. “I love you.”

Kim flushed and jerked back unsteadily, mouth dropping open. Her head swiveled back and forth, and it looked as though she was trying to deny what had just been said.

Kerry reached out for Kim’s arm, her crutch knocking against her knee. “I said I love you. I never stopped, not for a minute. I know we’re just friends, Kim, and I’m sure you’re not ready for this, but I can’t pretend anymore.” A sheen of tears coated her eyes as she watched a dozen emotions streak across Kim’s face. She finally whispered, “You’re everything to me.”

Kim still hadn’t spoken after a few seconds, so Kerry removed her hand and stepped back. With that, Kim flew at her, knocking the full soda can out of her hand. It sprayed liquid and sailed into the street as the shuddering body enveloped her. Kerry managed to reach around and hug her back, hoping this was the right thing at the right time. Her fears were put to rest immediately as Kim found her voice and cried out into her ear, “I love you too.” In the back of her mind she heard the clunk of another can falling onto the sidewalk as Kim’s hands came to grip her tightly. Tears fell freely down Kerry’s face and she buried herself in Kim’s embrace, almost unable to believe what had just happened. Kim was peppering her temple and forehead with butterfly kisses, her lips murmuring “love you” over and over. Kerry followed suit, pressing an open mouth beneath Kim’s chin, reveling in the salty sweetness of the skin she found.

Suddenly she felt her head yanked back in a strong grip and was faced with an image of desire she wasn’t sure she’d ever see again. Kim’s eyes burned into hers, and she growled, “I want to kiss you.”

Kerry let out a soft breath, eyes rolling back in her head as the lids fell shut. She swayed and lost her footing as heat shot down her thighs and back up again. She groaned, regaining her balance in Kim’s arms. She muttered, “You’d better not.”

Another yank on her hair as Kim came closer. “Why not?” she demanded.

There was a pause as Kerry carefully considered her answer. “Because I don’t want to end up having sex on the sidewalk.”

The starkness of the reply had stopped Kim in her tracks. The desire was wiped away, replaced with the soothing vision of a slow, wide grin creeping across her lips. Kerry pulled close again, and slid her arms back around the narrow hips. “Kiss me later. Come home with me tonight.”

Kim was nodding, her hand tracing down the side of Kerry’s face, fingers caressing silky lips. “Yes.”

They’d somehow managed to wait, and Kerry silently chuckled as she recalled how hard it was to keep her hands off Kim’s body for the rest of the shift. It was torture; Chen called for two consults during the remains of the afternoon. Every look between them was laced with hunger, the tension growing with each passing moment. Poor Jing-Mei got caught in the crossfire at one point and blushed hotly when she recognized what was happening. The chief resident stammered and excused herself from their presence, and Kerry nearly lost her poise when she caught a glimpse of the young woman fanning her face a little as she walked off. The boss in her regretted it, but the woman resigned herself to the knowledge that she simply couldn’t stop it. At least not that day.

The drive home had been fast and furious, and Kerry hadn’t even shut the door before Kim pulled her blouse over her head. The evening was still cloudy in Kerry’s mind; she didn’t recall ever being so out of control before. She and Kim had always had an extremely intense sexual connection, but that night was different. There were no barriers, no fears holding Kerry back. Warmth grew between Kerry’s legs as she thought of Kim’s tongue, her hands, her mouth covering every inch of her. The honey taste still lingered on her lips, and Kerry brought her fingers to her nose to inhale the scent.

The soft body that still snuggled in her arms was a temptation, but Kerry recognized the depth of physical and mental exhaustion in Kim’s sleeping face. She glanced back up at the TV screen and sighed. Bogie and Bacall were still shooting fiery glances at each other, so Kerry shifted her focus to them. She could wait a few more hours. As the minutes passed, her eyes drifted shut, only barely registering the conversations going on between two people falling in love.

Kim sat on Kerry’s bed, having left her lover sleeping soundly on the couch. She’d done some dishes and prowled around, hoping her quiet movements would awaken the typically light sleeper. But Kerry slumbered on, and Kim didn’t have the heart to wake her just because she was restless.

She ended up in Kerry’s bedroom after scrubbing the kitchen counters, something she hadn’t done at her own house for far too long. She crept upstairs and investigated the mysteries of Kerry’s haven, wondering at the complexities of the personality that inhabited it. Although they had made love the night before in Kerry’s bed, Kim had never spent any significant amount of time in her room. Most of their nights together were spent at Kim’s.

She read the titles of the dozens of books lining the walls. She filed away even more information on Kerry’s vastly eclectic CD collection. To her surprise there were two more CD towers in addition to the huge selection in the living room. She laughed when she came upon a photograph of Kerry on the shoulders of a tall black man, waving a beer in one hand and a hat in the other, the two of them surrounded by a dozen other shirtless black men. ‘I’ll have to ask her about that one,’ Kim thought. She studied an original print of a desert landscape, and ran her fingers along the most unnerving of the African masks hanging on the wall.

Kim noticed a blank spot between two of the masks, and realized where her Valentine’s Day present came from. When Kerry had first presented the gift to her, she hadn’t grasped its significance. An African mask wasn’t the most romantic present she’d ever received, but weeks later when Kerry told her the origins of her mask collection, she felt differently. Now the mask hung solemnly in her office. Even after they broke up, Kim had left it in place. She couldn’t bring herself to take it down, and assumed Kerry wouldn’t be visiting her office. She’d been right. But that would change now, Kim thought.

Gazing at her surroundings, Kim laid down and curled herself around a pillow lightly perfumed with the scent of Kerry’s hair. They’d torn the bedclothes apart; the comforter was on the floor, the top sheet mostly off the bed, the bottom sheet pulled up at the left corners. She nestled in the mess they made and closed her eyes.

Instead of drifting to images of making love to Kerry, her mind drew back to the feeling that struck her so forcefully just before Kerry told her she loved her. The expression on the redhead’s face had been pure desperation, something she recognized from months before. From a moment shared before two elevator doors closed upon Kerry and ended their relationship.

When she’d heard Kerry utter, “I can’t do this anymore,” Kim’s heart had skipped a beat.

She froze, a chill sweeping through her body at lightning speed. Though hardly able to speak, she’d managed a weak, “What?”

“I can’t lie to you anymore.”

Pain stabbed at her, and Kim felt herself start to shake. How the hell had she let Kerry get back under her skin? How could she have fallen in love again and not noticed? She felt like kicking herself, jumping in front of a train, throwing herself into the river. “Lie to me?”

Then Kerry had said the words that swept the anxiety away in a split second, allowing her to breathe again. It was the most pure sensation of joy she could recall in ages, and Kim longed to recapture that feeling. But somehow, lying in Kerry’s bed, alone, all she could remember was that sensation of utter terror at being abandoned by Kerry a second time. She drew her body up into an even tighter ball around Kerry’s pillow and held her breath, trying to push the ache away.

Kerry woke to absolute stillness, alone on the couch. The television was off, but sunshine poured through the curtains. What time was it, and where was Kim?

Glancing at the VCR clock, she was shocked to see it was almost noon. She limped into the kitchen to see if there were any tall blondes scarfing down leftovers. The room was empty, but Kerry noticed the pots and pans drying next to the sink. Damn, she must have been pretty exhausted to sleep through Kim washing dishes.

Kerry cocked her head at the introduction of a new sound. The water pipes groaned momentarily. Ah, the shower. With that, she headed back to the couch to grab her crutch, then started for the stairs.

When she came to the open bathroom door, Kerry faltered. Maybe Kim wanted some time alone. But the door was open, so she took it as a sign. Peeking inside, she saw the long, slender form leaning up against the wall, both arms braced above her. Kim’s head hung down between her shoulders as the water cascaded down her back. It was not the pose of someone in a pleasant mood.

Kerry shook her head. What the hell was going on? She backed up a few steps and called “Sweetheart?”

“Come on in, Kerry,” called a cheerful voice.

Kerry stepped into the bathroom and saw Kim’s head poking out from behind the shower door, a smile gracing her lips. Traces of whatever was troubling her were gone. Or hidden.

“Good morning. Or I guess good afternoon is more like it.” She ran a hand absently through her tousled locks.

“Yeah. Want to come in and let me wash your hair?”

“Are you sure you want company?”

Kim frowned at Kerry’s hesitation. “Yeah. Come on.”

Kerry undressed, a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. There were demons still lurking; Kim’s breakdown the night before wasn’t a resolution, but a symptom. Shit. She opened the shower door and stepped in, immediately enveloped by Kim’s warm embrace.

“Mm, that’s better,” Kim rumbled.

Kerry wrapped her arms around Kim’s back, pressing her cheek against her heart. She held tightly, breathing deeply. “Why don’t you let me do your hair first?”

Kim looked down at Kerry’s face, troubled by the plea in her tone. “Okay.” She sat down sideways on one of the seats that were built into the, shower wall. When she felt Kerry’s strong fingers lathering shampoo into her hair, she couldn’t hold back the moan. “That feels great.”

After a minute of working the soap into Kim’s hair, her worry overpowered everything else. “Honey, can I tell you something?”

Kim stiffened, then tried to relax. “Of course. You can tell me anything.”

Kerry sighed. She paused in her ministrations and turned Kim’s head to face her. “I love you. Totally and completely. Things aren’t going to be how they were before. We’ve been apart for a long time, and I know that it might be tough at the beginning for you to believe me, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that I want more than to be with you always.”

Kim’s eyelids fluttered, shock clearly etched in her features.

Kerry continued, smoothing back the soap that threatened to creep down into Kim’s eyes. “You told me once that it’s rare for lesbians to stay with their first lovers. I don’t know if you forgot this, sweetie, but you’re not my first lover. You may be my first woman, but I’m not a child, Kim.” She looked intently into Kim’s eyes, willing her to understand. “I was alone for a long time. By circumstance, by choice, probably a combination of both. But I know what love is. And I know that when I look at you, think of you, dream of you, I feel it. I never told you how I really felt before… before I gave you that letter. I let fear rule my life. I won’t make that mistake again. I promise.”

Kim sat woodenly on the seat, trying to figure out how to respond. Kerry wasn’t finished. “But I want something from you in return.”

“Anything,” she murmured.

“Don’t hide what you feel. If you are scared, or worried, or concerned, tell me. Otherwise this isn’t going to work.”

Frozen in place, Kim stared at Kerry as the corners of her mouth drooped. Her chin dropped to her chest, and she leaned forward to press her head against Kerry’s sternum. She mumbled something incoherent, so Kerry gently lifted her chin. “Talk to me, Kim.”

“I keep thinking about how hard it was to lose you.” Kim’s eyes brimmed with tears that mingled with the water dripping down her face. “I don’t want to hurt that way again.”

Kerry was struck by the stark simplicity of Kim’s words. Her eyes filled, and she sat heavily next to Kim on the shower seat. Lifting Kim’s hand, she brought it to her lips. She leaned her head against Kim’s solid shoulder and thought about her response. The tightrope wavered beneath her feet.

“Kim, I love you. Like no one else.” She breathed in, steeling herself. “And as much as I want to promise I’ll never hurt you, I don’t think I can. We don’t know what the future holds for us. But I’ll tell you this much,” she tilted Kim’s face to look at her own, “I won’t leave you.”

“You won’t?” Kim sounded about fourteen years old.

Kerry shook her head. “No.”

A small smile tipped Kim’s lips. “I won’t leave you either.” She pressed her forehead to Kerry’s. “I love you.”

“That’s good,” Kerry said. “I’m afraid too, sweetie.”

Kim nodded in response and whispered, “I know.”

“We’re going to be okay,” Kerry added. “It will just take a little time.”

Kim slid her arm around Kerry’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “I believe you.” She looked deliberately into Kerry’s eyes. “I trust you.”

The weight of the statement fell heavily in the steamy air. Kerry swallowed, and inched forward to press her lips carefully to Kim’s. Her tongue flicked out at the softness, and she peppered Kim’s face with kisses. Slowly she rose, and drew Kim up to stand with her. She turned the taller woman under the showerhead and reached up to rinse the remaining soap from her hair.

Water sluiced down their bodies, and Kerry leaned in to nuzzle between Kim’s breasts. She tipped her chin up and tucked it in the curve of the taller woman’s shoulder. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“For what, worrying about nothing?” Kim tried to laugh.

“For trusting me.”

For a moment Kim’s eyes fell shut, and she wrapped her arms around her petite lover. They stood under the waterfall, holding tightly to one another. Kim finally turned away and grabbed the shampoo from the holder. “Your turn,” she said quietly. She ran her soapy hands through Kerry’s hair, lathering generously. Digging her fingers into Kerry’s scalp firmly, she was rewarded with a sensual groan from Kerry that stole the breath from her lungs. Jolts of arousal spiraled through her suddenly, hardening her nipples.

Kerry was oblivious to Kim’s reaction, lost in the haze of Kim’s hands massaging the base of her skull. Chills raced behind her ears and down her back, sending shivers of delight through her entire body.

Kim’s mouth hung open as the small form quivered in front of her. Eyes nearly black with desire, Kim swayed closer to brush the tips of her breasts against Kerry’s slick skin.

At the contact Kerry’s eyes popped open to see Kim’s flesh up close, warmed a soft pink tone by the heat of the water. Unable to resist, she ran her small hands from shapely hips to narrow waist, lingered on ribs, then cupped the breasts only inches from her mouth. The answering moan of appreciation was all the encouragement she needed. Kerry lowered her head to a nipple, slipping nimble fingers of one hand along the lush curve of Kim’s rear.

Although she reveled in the feel of her lover’s mouth on her body, Kim pulled back and moved Kerry’s head under the cascade of water. Her blood thundered in her ears, and she rinsed Kerry’s hair as quickly as she could. By the time she was finished, she was nearly hopping in anticipation. At last she latched onto the redhead’s mouth, pushing her tongue inside at the slightest opening of lips. Her hands skimmed velvety skin, then pressed the sensitive spot just below Kerry’s tailbone.

Kerry gasped at the sensation, jaw opening wide. Kim took advantage and delved deeper into the cavern of her mouth. Her lips tore from Kerry’s with a groan and traveled down her throat, biting at the faint scars there. Kerry whined when Kim took a breast in her mouth and sucked enthusiastically. The redhead’s balance wavered when a hand crept around and slid between her thighs, fingers searching. “Oh,” Kerry cried, and she jumped as her voice echoed strangely inside the shower walls.

Kim immediately switched her mouth to the other breast, and Kerry’s knees gave way completely. Kim caught her effortlessly, an arm already anchored around her waist. To make access easier, she moved the smaller woman away from the water to the corner of the stall. Gingerly she lifted Kerry’s left knee and placed her foot on a seat, opening her. Kim’s hand instantly reclaimed its place between her legs, and she slowly pressed two skilled fingers deep inside. A blossom of heat exploded in her belly at the ecstatic expression on Kerry’s face. Again she moved down to suckle a breast, working her hand back and forth in the same cadence that her mouth moved. Arms fastened around her head, holding her tightly in place.

Kim moaned when she felt Kerry rocking with her, breathing faster, grunting softly with each drive of her hand. She brought her thumb into play and sucked harder when she felt Kerry jerk in her arms. “Don’t stop,” a ragged voice implored above her. Kim’s thighs ached from the awkward position, her hair was painfully tangled in Kerry’s fingers, but nothing could have pried her away from the body in her arms. She circled her thumb deliberately, and felt the change in Kerry’s breathing. “Oh,” she yelped again, and Kim braced herself for the impact. A few seconds later, she felt the beginnings of it. The convulsions surrounded her fingers, and a sharp cry left Kerry’s throat as she threw her head back. Kim didn’t let up her motions and was rewarded with long, drawn out shudders as the orgasm continued. Gradually she slowed her hand, groaning softly to herself while aftershocks worked her fingertips.

“Oh,” Kerry said once more, and Kim swallowed thickly. She slid the hand out from between Kerry’s legs and slicked it up her belly. She was blind with lust, hardly able to focus on the glowing face in front of her.

Kerry was still catching her breath when she yanked Kim’s hips closer and angled a pelvic bone between her thighs. Though well satisfied, she saw the unfettered hunger streaming from the blue eyes. She licked the wet skin of Kim’s collarbone and rumbled, “Are you close?”

Kim whimpered and pushed into Kerry.

“Put your arms against the wall,” the smaller woman demanded. Kim complied, bracing hands on either side of Kerry’s head. “Come closer,” Kerry hissed, and again Kim did as she was told. She folded her arms to press her elbows into the wall, her body blocking Kerry into the corner of the shower stall completely.

When she felt agile hands tweak her overly sensitized nipples, Kim’s knees buckled. A greedy mouth sucked on the hollows of her throat, and panting, Kim rubbed her body against Kerry’s. She begged, “Please.”

“Please what?”

“Oh please…”

“Tell me what you want.”

“Kerry, fuck me, please.”

“With my mouth or with my hands?”

“Anything, god, your hands, Kerry, kiss me.” Then Kerry’s lips were on hers, a hand shoving between shaking thighs. Two, three, four strokes, then Kim exploded, crying out into Kerry’s open mouth. Shudders racked her body as she rode the wave, licking aimlessly, met by Kerry’s tongue at every caress.

Kerry’s hand remained between her legs, massaging as Kim came back to herself. “Ohhh,” she moaned, pressing her head against her forearm.

A minute passed. “Are you okay?”

“Huh?” Kim replied.

Kerry grinned. “I said, are you okay?”

“Oh. Uh-huh.”

Kerry preened. She’d reduced her lover to one-syllable responses. “Maybe we should get out of the shower now, okay? I think the water is running cold.”

“Mm-hmm,” came the answer.

After shutting off the faucets, they stumbled to the sink and toweled off. Kim’s body felt like liquid, and she draped herself over Kerry’s shoulders as they looked at one another in the mirror’s reflection.
“Jesus, Kerry.”

“That good, huh?”

“I can’t even talk.”

When they were dry, they made their way into Kerry’s bedroom. Kim flopped onto the bed. Kerry sat next to her and brushed Kim’s hair away from her face. They stared at one another for a moment and made a tacit agreement to try and lighten the mood. Kim threw her arm over her face and sighed blissfully. “It’s lucky we were both off today.”

Kerry stood to find some clothes in her closet. “Luck had nothing to do with it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I set the ER schedule myself, and I had a little chat with Deirdre last week. She told me you were off today.”

Kim’s jaw dropped. “Did you plan this?”

“No, no,” Kerry laughed. “I just thought I could talk you into going to the movies or having lunch.”

Kim looked thoughtful. “Well, I could still be talked into one or both of those things. I definitely think we could both use some sustenance right now. We have to keep our strength up, you know.” She waggled her eyebrows.

“Want to go to Capri?”

“Mm, pizza. Yeah, that sounds great. I could eat a whole pie.”

“I’d like to see that,” Kerry teased.

“Don’t tempt me.”

“So I had ten kids jumping up and down, yelling, ‘Do the Robot! Do the Robot!'” Kerry was laughing so hard her body was shaking, but no sound came out. “By the end of the day I was on the floor doing the worm. I think I bruised my ribs.”

“Oh god, oh god. My stomach hurts.” Kerry was gasping, hugging herself around the middle. “I can’t believe you can break dance. You do realize what you’ll be demonstrating as soon as we get home.”

Kim cackled. “No way! Not unless you want me to throw up all over your floor.” Kim rubbed her belly. “After all this food I don’t think it’s a good idea.” She dipped her spoon into the concoction she was sharing with Kerry.

“This dessert is amazing. I’m full but I can’t seem to stop eating.”

“Don’t hog the Oreos.”

“You already had two!”

“Well, just, you know!” Kim sputtered.

“Hey. Cut it out.” Their spoons were dueling for the last cookie when a shadow crossed the sunlight illuminating their sidewalk table.

“Kerry?”

“Susan, hi.” Kerry smiled at the visitor, and Kim forgot about the Oreo as she watched a veil drop over Kerry’s eyes. She still looked friendly, was still smiling, but the spark dulled.

“Hi,” Kim added.

“Sorry, um, Susan Lewis, this is Kim Legaspi. I think you may have met last week on Susan’s first day back. Kim is a psych attending at County.”

“Right. How are you Dr. Legaspi?”

“Oh, call me Kim, please. It’s nice to see you again, Susan.” She stuck her hand out graciously, and Susan shook it. “How has your first week been?”

“It’s pretty strange, I have to admit.” Susan pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “So many things have changed, but it is like coming home. It’s a good place for me to be right now, I think.”

Kerry reached across the table and rested her fingers atop Kim’s wrist. She asked, “Would you like to sit down and have a drink? We’re just finishing dessert, but–“

“No, thank you. I was just killing some time before my shift. Thought I’d take a walk around some of my old haunts.”

Kerry questioned, “Did you take Luka’s shift?”

A little huff of surprise left Susan’s mouth. “Yeah, how did you know?”

Chuckling, Kim informed her, “Oh, Kerry has spies everywhere. It’s only taken me a year to figure that out.”

Kerry snickered. “She’s pulling your leg. Luka tried to get me to take it, but we already had plans.” The redhead shifted her feet around one of Kim’s ankles under the table, running her heel along a sinuous calf.

Susan watched with interest as an affectionate look passed between Kim and Kerry. “That’s great.”

Kim jumped into the slightly awkward pause. “Do you live nearby?”

“Yeah, luckily I found a spot in my old neighborhood. Mark helped me out…” She trailed off blankly.

Well that’s an interesting look on her face, Kim thought. Mark, hmm, wonder what’s up with that.

“Well, I should be going, and leave you two to your dessert. Plus I have a few more things to do before I head in. It was good to see you.”

“You too, Susan,” the pair responded in unison. They laughed, then Kerry waved and added, “Bye.” Susan turned and made her way down the block, not looking back.

“She seems nice,” Kim said, “at least nicer than when we first met.”

Kerry’s brow furrowed. “How so?”

“I was called down for a consult and Luka introduced us, but she looked so distracted I don’t think she’d have remembered me later if she fell on me. I’m glad you reintroduced us.”

“Well Susan doesn’t make the best first impression.” Immediately Kerry wanted to take the words back.

“Really?” Kim’s eyes lit up. “What do you remember about meeting her?” The blonde was excited by the prospect of a good story from Kerry’s early days at the ER. She’d heard some doozies.

“It wasn’t our first meeting, but we just had some disagreements early on.”

An alarm went off in Kim’s head. Kerry looked away and was tying her straw wrapper in knots. “Disagreements?”

“Yeah.”

Kim waited.

“It was really nothing.”

“Okay,” Kim said slowly.

“It’s silly now, looking back,” Kerry said. “It was just, uh,” she took a breath, “someone was imitating the way I walk, and my– my crutch. I saw Susan laughing.” She looked at Kim earnestly. “It was six years ago. But I never forgot it.”

Kim’s hand rested on Kerry’s, unmoving. Her mouth was a crooked line, teeth gritted in trying to hold back angry words. She was ready to get up out of her seat, run down the street and pull Susan Lewis’s hair out by the roots. Curses echoed through her head furiously, and after a moment she deliberately loosened her tightening grip on Kerry’s fingers.

Kerry was disturbed at the expressions racing across Kim’s face. “Honey, don’t go crazy. I didn’t tell you so you’d get upset.”

“But I am upset!” Kim exclaimed. “God, I could fucking kill her!”

“Kim, calm down. It’s old news. I’ve been dealing with that stuff my whole life. It’s certainly not the worst thing that’s happened. She apologized afterwards, I moved on.”

“But you never forgot, Ker.”

Kerry sighed. “Please don’t make me regret telling you, sweetheart. I want you two to be able to work together. Susan has grown up a lot since she left. Otherwise it would have been a much more difficult decision to take her back.” Kerry rubbed a cool hand between her own. “I think we might be able to be friends this time around. So much has happened in the past six years, to both of us.” She caught Kim’s eye seriously. “I don’t want you this to change your perception of her.”

“Too late.” Kim looked sadly at her lover. “I heard all you’ve said, but she hurt you Kerry. And that hurts me.” Kerry’s jaw slackened, her eyes dazed at Kim’s words. “Even if it was six years ago, or sixteen, or whenever. I wish I could take your hurt away.”

Unshed tears glistened in Kerry’s sea gray eyes. Gathering her wits about her, she managed, “You do, Kim.”

The sun came back when a smile consumed Kim’s face. Hands clung together as Kerry wiped an errant tear from her cheek. “God, when did I become such a sap?”

“I prefer to call it romantic, Ker. And you’ve always been one. It just took the right woman to bring it out in you.”

“You sure are the right woman.”

“Damn straight. So to speak.”

Kerry howled, and the mood brightened even more. “You are so bad, Kim Legaspi.”

“And you wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Damn straight.”

Kerry tapped her fingers on the steering wheel, keeping her eye on the nutcase in the green Jimmy in the other lane. Waning light painted the filmy clouds in the evening sky purple, and she smiled a little at the sight. The radio played softly, and unconsciously she sang along under her breath.

Kim watched out of the corner of her eye, squirming. “Kerry?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you want me to stay tonight?”

A small puff of breath left Kerry’s mouth. Sitting up straighter in her seat, she replied, “Do you want to?”

“Yeah,” Kim answered, “if you want me to.”

Kerry nodded. “I do.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, Kim fell back into the passenger seat. “Then can we stop by my place? As much as I’d love to borrow your clothes, I don’t know how practical it would be for me to show up at work tomorrow in a shirt two sizes too small.”

Making a u-turn at a stoplight, Kerry leered at Kim. “I don’t think that would be so bad.”

Ten minutes later they stepped into Kim’s kitchen from the back door. “I’ll just grab some things — back in a flash. Could you water the ficus tree in the living room?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks.” And she was gone.

Alone in the kitchen, Kerry glanced around the open space. It looked much the same as it had last time she was there, only a little more dim. Curiously, the refrigerator door was stripped bare of pictures, and it looked terribly forlorn without its photos of friends, family, children. And Kerry. Lots of photos of Kerry.

A wave of regret passed over her, and made itself known physically through a pang of nausea. She hadn’t been in this room, this house, since that morning the police showed up. She sat down in the chair Kim had sat in while being questioned by the detectives. Shutting her eyes, she was bombarded by images from that morning.

Upstairs, Kim was frantically rifling though her closet for some pants and a few shirts. ‘Massage oil’ popped into her brain, along with that bra and panties set Kerry had fixated on early in their relationship. Underwear, socks, comfy lounging clothes all ended up in her backpack. She spotted the camera on her dresser and tossed it in as well, hoping to snap some new candids of Kerry.

She bounded down the stairs, already planning ways to capture pictures of a typically camera-shy Kerry. Swinging the backpack higher on her shoulder and rearranging the hangers in her hand, she headed for the kitchen. When she spotted Kerry sitting glumly at the table, she stopped.

“Kerry?”

The redhead jerked out of her reverie, a guilty look on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

Kerry took a breath and tried to speak, but no sound came. She grimaced and looked down at her hands.

Placing her things on the dining table, Kim sat down and took Kerry’s hands in her own. “Please, Ker.”

“I haven’t been here since that morning.” She gazed up at Kim, who seemed to deflate before her eyes. “I am so sorry I abandoned you.”

Kim stroked Kerry’s hair. “I know, honey. I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago.” Leaning in, she kissed Kerry’s cheek.

Kerry nodded once, some of the steel coming back into the set of her jaw. She gripped Kim’s hand tightly.

“Want to take a walk around the house? See if everything is the same?”

Kerry’s brow creased. “I guess.” Though confused, she went along with Kim’s suggestion. When they stepped into the living room, she said suddenly, “I forgot to water Ralph.”

Kim grinned. “It’s okay. I’ll go get the can.”

When Kim left, Kerry approached the entertainment center and ran her hands along the mahogany shelving. A few additions had been made to the DVD collection — the first Alien had joined its sequel, along with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Moonstruck.

A slim forearm stole around her middle, and Kerry swayed back against the warm body. “Where’s Thelma & Louise?”

“I loaned it to Kate. She wanted to hear the commentary. She didn’t believe me when I told her it was bland.”

“Has she watched the alternate ending yet?”

“Yeah. She agreed the original is far superior.”

“Well, that’s one good thing about her.”

“Hey!” Kim nudged her.

Kerry inhaled, then paused a moment. “Um, do you think she and Juliet would want to have dinner one night?”

Kim squeezed Kerry tighter. “Definitely. If you’re sure.”

“Yeah.”

“Maybe we can call them in a week or two.” She took Kerry’s hand and led her to the ficus tree, then watered the plant generously. “He looks pretty good, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah. The summer sun has been good for him.” Kim left the can by the planter, and brushed the tree’s leaves affectionately.

She continued to lead Kerry through the house, stopping occasionally to comment on a new coffee table book or another addition to her kitschy snow globe collection.

By the time they made it to the bedroom, Kerry had relaxed somewhat. Flooded with good memories, she crawled on to Kim’s bed and stretched out. “Mm, I like it here.”

Kim smirked and slid atop her. “I like you here too.” They kissed, and Kim snuggled against Kerry’s side. “How are you feeling?” She ran a finger down the smooth line of the older woman’s nose, then traced her lips and chin.

“Okay now. It’s just a little strange to be back here.”

Kim hesitated. “Maybe that will fade with time,” she added hopefully.

Kerry turned to her. “I think it will.” She raised her arm and folded it under her head. “I remember waking up here that first morning, god, now *that* was strange. I had my hand tangled in your hair, and my leg was thrown across your hips.” She breathed in and caught Kim’s scent on the comforter, strengthening the memory. “I couldn’t get over how soft your skin was… Inside your arm, under your breast. It was like nothing I’d ever felt. I woke up and was staring at you for so long, and then your nose twitched. I panicked. All I could think was, ‘If she touches me again I’ll never make it out of this bed.'”

Kim laughed. “I was awake the whole time.”

“What?”

“I was trying not to sneeze and scare you off. I knew you were probably feeling incredibly awkward, and I was scared too. I thought that you had–” she stammered a little, “en-enjoyed yourself–“

“Oh, like there was any doubt in your mind. I can’t believe I didn’t break the headboard.”

Chuckling, Kim replied, “Yeah, but I was still nervous. With good reason. I just didn’t want you to regret what had happened.”

“I didn’t regret being with you, Kim.” Kerry leaned over and ran her lips across Kim’s forehead. Traveling downward, she nibbled on her upper lip, then turned her torso and entwined her legs with the blonde’s.

Kim tucked Kerry’s head beneath her chin and sighed contentedly. When she felt soft lips whisper along her throat, she purred.

Minutes later, a small voice came from below. “This is nice. Do you just want to stay here instead?”

“Nah. I want to sleep in your bed tonight, love.” There was a pause. “Plus I don’t have any food in the house.”

“Food?” The head emerged from its burrow, red hair sticking in all directions. “We just ate!”

“Four hours ago! It’s almost dinnertime.”

Kerry plopped her head back down. “You have the metabolism of a twelve year old. Thank god I love to cook.”

“I was just thinking the very same thing.”

Awareness rolled over Kerry gradually as the music played from the clock radio. She opened her eyes in the dim morning light and was greeted with the sight of Kim’s lovely face directly in front of her own. A leg was slung over Kim’s hips, and one hand lay tangled in her blonde hair. She rubbed her knee down a long flank and winced slightly at the twinge between her thighs.

At the movement, Kim opened her eyes. “Morning,” she mumbled, smiling slowly.

Kerry’s sleepy voice answered, “Morning.” She groaned, grimacing as she rolled onto her back.

Concerned, Kim asked in a gravelly voice, “Is your hip hurting this morning?”

Chuckling under her breath, Kerry answered, “It’s not my hip this time. Oh god, I’m not gonna be able to walk right today.”

A laugh rumbled out of Kim. “I’m sorry, Ker,” she whispered as she maneuvered herself above Kerry’s prone body. “Want me to kiss it and make it better?” she leered.

“No, no! That’s what got me into trouble in the first place.”

Kim’s hand crept south. “How about just a little–” and she rubbed gently.

“Oh,” Kerry breathed. She glanced at the clock. “Kim, we have to leave in an hour.”

Kim’s lip curled. “Don’t worry, love, this won’t take long.”

An hour and a half later they screeched into the parking structure at the hospital. “I knew this was going to happen,” Kerry grumbled.

Kim couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin from her face. “I don’t know about you, but I thought it was worth it.” She took a quick peek at her lover’s rapidly pinking throat.

Kerry took a deep breath and pushed back the memory. “I didn’t say it wasn’t… Why are all the spaces filled this early?” The car whipped around another corner. “I didn’t say it wasn’t worth it, I just knew we were going to be late. Shit. It’s quarter after nine.”

“Kerry, you’re the boss. I doubt anyone is going to say anything.”

“Yeah, but they’ll,” she hesitated. “They’ll all know.”

Kim smiled in understanding. “They already know, Ker. You practically spelled it out for them the other morning on the phone.”

“I know, but this just seems different.”

“You mean because you have to go in and face them.”

Kerry nodded.

“You’ve been out for months, Kerry. This isn’t going to make a difference. They’re going to be happy, for both of us. Hell, I think Randi’s been working on this for ages.”

Kerry inhaled, and let the air out slowly. Her chin jutted out slightly, and she straightened her shoulders. “Okay, then. Let’s go.”

When they were nearly to the bay doors, Kim felt Kerry’s arm brush her wrist, and small fingers laced with her own. Kim smiled and squeezed briefly, then their hands parted.

The doors slid open, and the two strolled in. Kerry took in the scene at the desk in a moment’s time, and no one even noticed their arrival. Nurses bustled, Carter was marking a chart, and Randi was arguing with yet another insurance company. The clerk glanced up and waved absently as she harangued the person on the other end of the line. Abby barreled by on her way to chairs with a quick “Hey,” not even giving them a second glance.

Kerry peeked at Kim, who in turn was measuring her lover’s reaction out of the corner of her eye. Kerry shrugged. “Okay, you were right.”

They stopped in the lounge to get Kerry’s lab coat. As she slid her wrist back into the cuff of her crutch, Kim leaned in and straightened her collar. “Will I see you later?”

Kerry looked surprised. “Of course. If you get any pages, come find me, ‘kay? Maybe if it’s slow later we could, um, take a walk.” A lazy grin curled her lips.

Kim moved in closer. “Will you buy me a soda?”

“Mm-hmm.”

Kim lifted a strangely heavy arm and ran her thumb along Kerry’s lightly swollen mouth. She swallowed and tried to calm her racing heart. “Okay,” she whispered.

Rising on her toes, Kerry arched her neck and kissed Kim. It was an eloquent touch, and Kim was lightheaded when it was over. “I’ll walk you to the elevator,” Kerry said quietly.

When she tapped the up button, Kim slouched like a petulant teenager. “I won’t know what to do without you all day,” she whined

Smirking, Kerry replied, “Oh, I’ll be around. I promise.” A ding sounded, and the doors opened to empty out a stream of people. The redhead trailed her arm down Kim’s and said, “See you.”

Kim smiled. “See you.” She stepped into the empty car, and the doors closed on her beaming face.

Taking a deep breath, Kerry tried to shift into work mode. She ambled down to the desk to check the board as she usually did, albeit twenty-five minutes late. “Looks quiet,” she remarked to no one in particular.

“Yes, it is a little unnerving,” Luka said as he came up behind her. “How are you, Kerry?”

“I’m fine.”

“You were late today.”

Kerry cringed, but tried to cover it up quickly. “I know, I’m sorry, I just–“

He held up a defensive hand to calm her. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I just wanted to know if it was for a bad reason or a good reason. I was worried about you.”

“You were?”

“Yes. You aren’t late very often.”

Relieved by the simple concern, she answered, “It was a good reason, Luka.”

He dipped his head in acknowledgement, peering intently into Kerry’s features. “So everything is going well? You’ve… moved forward?”

Kerry couldn’t seem to prevent the enormous smile from spreading across her face. “Yes, I think so. Forward.”

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