Author: cloogle PM
Mercilessly, she continues to assaults my senses until I think I can no longer bear the frenzy of sensation in my pelvis, abdomen, heart and head. Nothing feels quite like desire. Nothing hurts better than love. She is the best I never had. AU.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Quinn F. & Rachel B. - Chapters: 26 - Words: 139,749 - Reviews: 1,392 - Favs: 1,150 - Follows: 1,658 - Updated: 12-10-12 - Published: 02-23-11 - id: 6770186
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Achelesox, I so wanted to get this written in time for your birthday, but instead I shall just have to dedicate it to you. :)
"My love is like a stone tied round my neck; it's dragging me down to the bottom; but I love my stone. I can't live without it." - Madame Ranevskaya - 'The Cherry Orchard'
Waves of pain radiate south, originating at the nape of my neck and descending toward my shoulder blades. My right leg is on the verge of falling asleep. An incessant tickle at my ear is making me want to pinch shut my eyes, and a slender elbow is jammed hard against my hip making me want to growl. So incredibly uncomfortable, I'm forced to bite my lip to discourage tears. Worst, worst, worst of all: this is still the absolute best I've felt in weeks. Such is this wonderful, ridiculous life.
I need this hard crush, clash of bone and too firm embrace of limbs. In fact, I created it; moved underneath her until her weight struck at particular pressure points. This physical intensity helps blot out the euphoria brought about by her tactility, and I invite the hot, ticklish prickle that has arisen in every location where her body meets mine. Let it burn sharply so that I can keep a semblance of sanity; that I might maintain my super-awake vigilance and achieve that seemingly unobtainable balance between exhilaration and remorse. I will forever be chasing the ends of rainbows, but there are worse ways to occupy my free time, no?
We lie here as if two lovers aboard a ship on stormy seas, taking desperate but familiar comfort in each other's arms as water gushes across a creaking deck and hail-laden, whistling gales whip at shredded sails. Her knee slips and nudges mine. Lightning strikes inside me and my spine stiffens. I try not to touch lower than her back, try not to inhale the scent of her hair, and resist sinking into the murky depths of my delirium. No, the contact she grants me is all I'll take. But, my gosh, my God, I'm aching for more. She's so real against me, and the stiller my repose, the more distinct every single one of her uneven inhalations become. We haven't been this close since -
A finger is raised before my lips as an indicator for me to pay attention and shush. Not that anything more than a soft mewl has escaped my throat in the last few minutes. "It's so quiet!" Lea exclaims with child-like wonder, her voice still scratched with emotion.
Quiet? Is it? The cacophony of thoughts running and rampaging through my mind whenever I'm with her rarely ceases sufficiently long enough for me to notice the silence. I pause for a moment, meditate away the frequent flurry of questions, and listen intently. Concentrate. My other senses calmed, I note the faint cry of an infant; a warm breeze rustling leaves in the trees; birds singing; up-tempo jazz music and, elsewhere, a deftly-plucked Moroccan-esque guitar tune.
It may be calm in my home due to my over-enthusiasm for switching off electricals on this particular anniversary (shut them all down!), but the world's vibrancy never ceases and is even more noticeable through my open window. Nonetheless, she is quite correct: it is very quiet. "Yeah, I -" In the distance a car screeches to a halt and an aggravated honk blares loudly. Lea laughs at the irony; a much more agreeable sound to penetrate the hush. It distracts me, so much so that I begin to chuckle.
Her warm breath tickles my jaw as she uneasily shifts further up my body and the pugilistic tea party currently being hosted in my abdomen reaches a violent pinnacle; the familiar clashing fists of sensation punch at my stomach walls, while cup, spoon and saucer tinkle and crash against one another inharmoniously as cake is thrown violently at the ceiling. Smash. Smash. Clatter. Bang. Spludge. We have spent many an hour together, my discomfort and I; I don't think I'd feel quite right without it. It seems wanton to desire it, but I do. I always do.
Lea wriggles against me, accidentally releasing me of my minor physical traumas and causing a resurgence of all the thoughts previously invading my mind. They make my blood rush. Chemistry. She cares about our chemistry. What on earth is going on in the complex mind behind that pretty furrowed brow? I am spectacularly confused about that. Well, no change there, then.
When she first told me the news about Theo, the strain not to jump and throw my fist skyward was almost impossible to bear, but I didn't wish my subsequent concern to appear disingenuous. I did, and do, genuinely care. I'd never wish a break-up on anyone. As for how I feel about it now, well, it would seem - having successfully surmounted the ladder of envy - I've now fallen directly into a heap of schadenfreude quicksand. The trap crept up on me. So here I am, waist deep and, as the poem goes: not waving but drowning.
To cap it all, somehow, somewhy, it was my fault. All because Theo wasn't even the remotest bit jealous of my interaction with her. Can that be right? Maybe I misheard. How I wish I could replay her words like I have done with so many of our scenes together. How I wish. But, despite my hopeless situation, I have her here with me. Vulnerable and alone, she came to me for succor. I feel so unworthy, I could weep with joy. Yes, she came to me and I must, as ever, keep a firm lid on my less-helpful emotions.
Yet... I can't help consider her words... it was the way she said them. It will forever haunt me. Worked up. Worked... up? I recall the day we filmed our bed scene: the flush in her cheeks and her shocked reactions to my touch; it was if I had burned her. Again and again she had squirmed beneath me. At the time, I had planned on cooling my desires by visualizing other things, but ultimately I had no need for mental images of squidgy-bodied manatees or snow-filled dreamscapes because I was altogether too worried about her. The distress in her eyes had been all too visible, and so the torment in my heart all the more hidden.
But why? Why, when she had long ago assured me that any form of simulated sex scene was the smallest of deals for her. So... why? Why worked up? Take on take she had frowned through our kisses and almost bitten blood from her lips. Two times she had blamed some sort of sickness, but the unidentified fever seemed to induce an altogether different type of glow to her skin. Lea is a trooper in the worst of situations, but that day it was as if I had broken some sort of personal boundary. It made her shy and embarrassed. Perhaps it was the idea of sexual intimacy with me that repulsed her.
I'm resisting touching her too much even now for fear of being too bold. I don't want her to be reminded of that day, and of the events that inspired an argument with her ex (I still can't quite believe it) boyfriend. However, she's the one who seems to now be re-creating our final takes, and by that I mean those where Lea had requested for Rachel to top Quinn. Only then had she melted into her character and relaxed. Was it about control? Did she not trust me? I would never have taken advantage. I'm heavily endowed with self-restraint. After all, I could - if asked - provide a five page résumé detailing a variety of examples of how I've continued to master that particular skill.
That doesn't mean she hasn't, at times, unintentionally driven me to the brink of heaven and back. Much to my shame and, admittedly, not her fault. But I've always successfully scrubbed those feelings away, forgiven myself and moved on. I think I've been a good friend to her. I hope I have. I have given nothing but my level best.
Oh. Oh my.
This faint light gives me no visual warnings, and I've just felt her hand slip up my side. She's now tracing along the fabric of my neckline, fingertips occasionally brushing my skin. Excruciatingly nice. Sometimes I think she does it to tease and test me. Like she's known all along, and wants to see if she can make me break. What would happen if I do break? What happens if she never stops testing me? Would I ever willingly step off this merry-go-round? I'm so familiar with the sound of grinding gears, the repeating melody and bright, lurid colors that seem to leave perpetual patterns on my retinas. Despite the constant, unyielding dizziness, I know I'd miss this surreal ride.
I would love to proclaim that I have matured in recent months, however there is the distinct possibility that I have regressed. Only yesterday I was comparing my personal social structure to a certain child's constructible plastic toy. Of course, it was a very in-depth analogy about the various peg-on appendages and the major facial features being family members and friends: parents to look out for you; a brother to sniff out trouble; friends to listen. And should, for example, the eyes become broken, they can be replaced, if temporarily, with an ear or even an arm and so on. I tend to compensate for a lack of lips by slapping on a variety of shapely hats, but it's never quite the same. I feel very lucky, though, that I have a potato at all... and with so, so many accessories. Lucky, lucky girl.
I digress. The point is that I have de-aged or something, and everyone is welcome to come play Indians and Dragons in my treehouse daily at noon. Wear sturdy shoes because the ladder's rungs have many imaginary splinters in them.
Lea raises her chin and looks at me. With a serious expression, she simply utters: "Hey."
"Hey." My sinuses have begun to sting sharply, and a shudder is rippling its way across my abdomen. I wonder if she can feel it.
"Dianna, I..." Her brow knits and an internal struggle glimmers in her eyes. I feel her stomach muscles contract as she taps rhythmically at my collar bone.
Perhaps our physical proximity has suddenly shocked her. We've spent so many hours locked in each other's arms for the sake of the camera, that it's come as a strange surprise that tonight there's no pre-planned performance to give. She's probably trying to remind herself of how we used to be. I'm happy for her to pick any time, any place, any us. So long as there is definitely an us. "Sorry," I mutter for no particular reason. She doesn't move off me like thought she would, but merely locks my gaze with hers and looks at me searchingly.
Her hand has returned to my side, this time squeezing my ribs. She dips her head and looks down towards my waist. My self-restraint wavers and my fingers drift lightly through her bangs. I need to stop now. Stop before I make a fool of myself with this emotionally-exposed woman and damage us both. And also stop before she notices that, despite my body being hot to the touch, my breasts have reacted as if cold and very evident are two points, which a bra - had I been wearing one - would have conventionally concealed beneath my shirt.
"Allez hop," I say faux-cheerfully. Abruptly sitting up, she is forced off me. I try to be as nice about it as possible as I don't want her thinking that she's made me feel trapped. I smile, cross my arms and let her adjust my hair, which she says is beautifully mussed. This is no good. I'm being of no use. I'm supposed to be providing inspiration for her bright future in the land of singledom, not sitting here in a cloud of Lea-induced tingles.
All I've brought is silence and cuddles. Other people would come prepared with some sort of food and chatter on how Theo is a rat bastard (the latter I may be able to provide). I should be good at this! With anyone else I would be fine, super, supreme! But it's Lea, and everything, absolutely everything is different when I'm around her. It's not easy, but it is oh so beautiful. I promised myself that I wouldn't feel sorry for myself. No exceptions. I am not the priority here. What Lea wants, Lea gets.
I clear my throat. "Golly, I'm just the worst host! Do you want some Zico?" I ask. "I have Zico." I always have Zico. Oh! And carob chips and agave nectar, yes, and most other things too. "I'll make you your favorite," I announce, wide-eyed. She doesn't make a sound. I watch as she leans forward, stares at a candle and waves her finger through the tip of the flickering flame. "Would you like that?" I try. The profile of her pouting lips is a sublime sideways-on heart shape. Framed by this amber incandescent glow, she makes my breath stop short. "Would you, love?" I whisper.
Turning towards me, her dark eyes blink lazily, still wet with tears. "Huh?"
I want to kiss the bridge of her nose. "Ice cream." It seems to come out in a heave of breath and has a touch of a grunt about it. Tonight I, Dianna, am no longer simply woman, but now Neanderthal too. Hear me roar. I can't help it: a loud belly laugh comes out and then immediately stops. "Sorry." Someone fetch a muzzle. "Chocolate Coconut...? I still have that maker... thing, you know, you know I do."
Lea sucks her bottom lip into her mouth and tilts her head to one side, frowning and looking at me like I'd just suggested a little night-time tightrope walk. Shaking her head, she replies. "That's super sweet of you, but I'm not having you stumbling around the kitchen in the dark, trying to make me comfort food, Dianna. You'd accidentally get your arm stuck in the mechanism or something."
I object! I think. "The hour will be over soon," I offer, bargaining for my chance to compensate for my failure at best friend duties.
She pats around behind her, eventually retrieving the blanket, this time to swathe around her middle. "I like the dark tonight. Can it stay dark?" she asks.
I'd take an ax to the power lines if I thought it would make her happy. "Sure. Why not." Or, less dramatically, I could just leave the lights out.
Her tongue wets the corner of her mouth as she scratches at her temple. "Dianna, do you ever think about the kiss we never had?"
Insecurely, I pull back into the shadowy side of the couch and bring my knees to my chest. Chemistry. Worked up. The kiss we never had. How can this not be a test? She must know. Someone has finally told her. That, or she's seen it in anything and everything from my lustful silences on hearing the smallest of her sighs, to the hugs when I had to remind myself not to squeeze the life out of her. Is that why she freaked at our sex scene?
I've not been very effective at concealing it. The love, I mean. I wish I was full of bravado and could just lay it all out straight. As it is, I'll just have to continue to suffer the mini-interventions my friends often stage over dinner. Those-that-know (my collective name for a particular circle of friends from whom I hide nothing) think I'm crazy. And I love those-that-know for reminding me of this. They are such sweethearts. I need that thrice weekly choral declaration of 'just tell her'; it makes me feel fortunate that I have someone by whom to be lovestruck. It's just unfortunate that I feel the need to keep Lea from those friends for fear that they would make short work of forcing an announcement out of me. Oh well, one day.
Lea turns away from me, shifting to the edge of the couch and over towards the largest candle. She's now pressing at its softened edges and allowing a stream of molten wax to slide onto the gold dish underneath, where it immediately cools and hardens. She doesn't have to be an amazing singer or brilliant actress for me to be in awe of her; I just am. Even now I find myself smiling at her playfulness as she pokes faces in the wax. Sometimes, quite simply, her presence alone fills me up with a glorious, magical wonderment. If I went to a blood drive right this minute, I'm a' bettin' mine'd come out sparkling and effervescent.
With curiosity, I narrow my gaze. Lea is blowing out her cheeks and... 'puff' 'puff' 'puff'. Aha. Everything is now tinged gray and our only light source comes from the very little that slips between the blinds. A pleasant sulphurous smoke has filled the air and makes me twitch my nose like Samantha Stephens casting a spell. It was difficult enough to see before; now it's almost impossible. No sounds. No sights. Just thoughts. Thoughts and the awareness of her every movement. And... hang on. What exactly does she mean 'the kiss we never had'?
"I'm going to give you an opportunity: get out of this. Now. Before it gets so fucked up nobody could ever recover." - Charlie Barret - 'Suicide Kings'
Let's play for time while I think. If she wants a battle of questions, I'll start with an easy one: "Why, when so many people call me Di, do you call me Dianna?" The clock is ticking. Distract. Distract.
The outline of her shoulders quickly rises into a shrug. "Same reason Amber calls me Munchkin even though I'm taller. So do you? Do you think about it?"
That's some persistence. Giving in, I flick through our many kisses in my mind as quickly as if they were stacked up on a Rolodex of memories. It gives me butterflies, large ones, dragon-like ones, strangely enough. Fire and teeth join the broad wings currently unfurling in my belly. It hurts in the best way imaginable. So... a kiss we never had. A riddle? I like riddles. Does she mean on the show? Does she mean in real life? I can think of hundreds of occasions when I almost stepped beyond my limits and took a chance, but I doubt it's as simple as that.
More importantly, why has it crossed her mind at all? I'll sandwich my reply in with something else. "Are you okay? Of course you're not okay. Silly. Sorry. Uh, would you like some wine? I'm pretty sure I can uncork in the dark without getting my arm stuck in the bottle." A poor attempt at sarcasm. Okay. Quick. Casual. "Exactly how do you never have a kiss?" Attempt two at sarcasm and I've made it sound like I've misunderstood her meaning entirely. "Munchkin," I add with an air of jollity. What a mess. Stop. Stop.
I feel a light slap to my shin and so let my legs slump back down as I grab a cushion to hug. Armed and ready. Hardly Kevlar, but it will do. Lea comes steadily closer. I think she's now kneeling beside me. My eyesight is gradually compensating: shapes are re-appearing. Yes, she's sitting back on her heels, perpendicular to me with her knees pressing at the side of my thigh. Her attention is centered on me. "Y'know... the first kiss," she says calmly.
Blood pounds in my ears. The kiss in the auditorium? But we had that one. "I don't -" Reaching out, she places her right hand over mine and begins rubbing circles over the pronounced joint at the base of my thumb. The problem with quicksand is that you have to be very still, and there's always the possibility that no one will come to your aid. If I move, I'll sink faster.
"The one that began it all; the one we never got to shoot."
Life moves by so fast. She's asking me to think back to October time and remember something that never happened. A faint bell rings at the back of my mind.
"Well, it's not so much that we didn't get to shoot it as it was scripted to have already taken place during a blackout," she explains.
Oh! "Oh!" Yes! The bell becomes that large gong you see during the idents of old British movies. Bong. It reverberates in my head and makes me feel stupid. How could I have forgotten? I remember the script now and... oh my God, why did Lea blow out the candles? What's going on? Surely she's playing a trick on me. First she plunges us into darkness and then asks if I've ever thought about Rachel and Quinn's first ever kiss, which, as she just reminded me, also took place in the dark. Also? Take out the also. There'll be no kissing in this particular light-less room.
No. No. It's fine. It must be a ruse to make me feel on edge. Yes, that must be it. Did everyone get together to surprise me early for my birthday? I'm definitely good with that. "It hadn't crossed my mind," I say. Okay, I'm placing all my chips on birthday surprise. A month early, but that's reasonable. Yes. Thank you. Can I hear someone moving around? That's got to be it. Yes. Yes. Yes. Come on, Lea. 1, 2, 3... surprise! We can do it together and I promise to look scared. 1, 2...
"I don't want to be alone tonight," she sighs somberly.
Sur... prise. Ah. I imagine I do look scared after all. Why did this game of roulette have to turn Russian? My heart feels like it's been sucked out and is now sitting outside my chest, bobbling around like a chrome_find class="find_in_page"throbbing pendant on a chain. Keep it together. She's just a little lost and doesn't want to return to her empty house. "I understand," I say unhelpfully. More importantly, I don't feel like I can refuse.
Removing all contact, she leans to her left and uses the back of the couch as a pillow. "Ask me, Dianna," she breathes. "Ask me the question you wouldn't earlier."
Not wouldn't: couldn't. It wasn't appropriate then and isn't now. And I still don't understand how saying my full given name is some sort of a term of affection, but I really like it. "I'm here for you tonight; tell me what I can do for you," I demand. Thinking about it, Lea could call me any name and I'd like it. Fuck, she really could.
"You can ask me; that's what you can do for me." She makes it sound so easy. "You know you want to. The darkness can make you brave."
I have a feeling the darkness could bring a little too much bravery. The more I try to avoid this, the more suspicious she'll become. But the chase is one I crave. Her interest excites me and it's so damn hard not to bait her. "I am brave," I goad. "As are you." Reaching blindly, I decide to tickle her. She laughs mirthlessly, catching my hands and holding them still at her sides.
"Why do you do that, Di?" Somehow she has taken the diminutive and given it dark, chilly undertones. Like I said, everything is different with her.
"Do?" I ask innocently.
"It's hard enough getting a straight answer out of you at the best of times, but now I can't even get a question? Come on, give me just a little something to cling to." I feel my arms pushed back towards me, elbows tight to my sides as her hands move to hold me firmly around my upturned wrists; such a physical representation of how shackled to her I am: Lea's ever-willing prisoner.
"Cling to me," I say without forethought, then immediately add: "Sorry, dumb thing to say. Argh. Sorry." I need to stop talking now.
She pauses for a moment then exhales exasperatedly. I expect she's going to tell me off for apologizing so much. "Y'know what? I suck enough tonight. I was a bitch to Theo, and now I'm being an ungrateful bitch to you and you're the last person -"
"No!" Try as I might, no matter how much I try to refocus, I can't see her as well as I would like.
"Oh yes I fucking well have. Christ, I'm awful. I mean look at me." She lets go of me and I can just make out her teeth chewing fiercely on her lower lip. For a second, a bright reflection flashes in her eyes. "I picked the first fault I could find and threw it back in his face. He didn't deserve that. I totally fucking suck. I'm the asshole. He was never the bad part of our relationship." Sniffing, she rubs at her nose and cheeks. I don't like all this self-deprecation. "I wanted to be his friend and I've even fucked that up. I feel completely crappy about why -"
"Lea, Lea, Lea. Stop. Stop. It's okay. You said you weren't happy. And what's done is done. So you have to live by your decision and feel no regret." Why is advice so easy to give, and yet so hard to live by? "Give yourself time to heal."
"I don't want fucking time! I want to feel better now!" She holds her breath suddenly, as if surprised by her own admission. I hear her swallow with difficulty. "I just want to move on and... and feel someone up close, if only for a night."
Oh no. "Oh God, Lea." I feel physically ill at the prospect of a stranger pushing his uneducated fingers over her bare, nervous shoulders. "Don't even think about going out and finding someone random. Just don't." It's an order. I have to save her from herself. "It would be the worst thing you could ever do. Everyone always says that rebound sex never makes you feel like you imagine it would." Just don't. Never. Never. No. The worst.
"Sex? It... it doesn't have to be sex. It could be a kiss. Just a kiss to make the world feel like a brighter place tonight. And it doesn't have to be somebody random." She breathes out shakily and I feel the couch joggle as she shifts a little. "It would make me feel better if it was someone I trust."
My my. There she is, appearing even more the trickster, teaser and tester. Is she saying what I think she's saying? A warm hand lands on my thigh and presses down confidently. I'm guessing that's a yes. I'm in complete shock. My muscles tense with unadulterated anticipation as her fingertips trace a few rumpled creases in my maxi skirt. Left to right. Right to left. Higher. Higher. This is more than just plain affection. Higher. God, all this quicksand... I'm not even submerged and I already feel like I'm dying. She moves in closer and I realize that, finally, I have the answer to the question I couldn't ask. It will haunt me no more.
"Please say something," she begs and causes my pulse to jump. "Or help me out here. Make me feel even the tiniest bit better. Please, Dianna."
I lick my lips. A kiss. So wrong. She might feel different come morning. She might hate me. Worse still, she might not even mention it. Or Theo might find out. Other people might find out. The press might call her a cheater. They might call me a home-wrecker. I don't believe I've ever hurt her. If I do this, I run a huge risk of doing just that. It changes everything. Do I take advantage of her offer and chance losing her forever? She can't know how much she means to me, or she'd never ask me to make this decision. What twisting routes and paths have led us to this very point in life? What lies beyond? "I'd do anything to make you feel better, you know I would." I mean it. What Lea wants...
Her left arm slips between me and the couch. She pulls me forward and I think I might die. I'm so overwhelmingly overjoyed. My whole world has, yet again, turned another notch on its axis. The view is pretty from this angle. I'm seeing stars. We draw close and I feel her nose brush my cheek. I tip my head down a little and she kisses the outer edge of my raised eyebrow. My shoulders instantly hunch and I shiver. Lightning strikes again, this time lower down, and angers the dormant dragons therein. The scorching heat feels like it will last a lifetime. Tears start to form in my eyes as she sits back a little and waits. I don't even know if she can see what a mess I've become.
We're both overwrought and she's behaving irrationally, but on some level Lea wants me. Wants me. So I sit here in silence, figuratively waving and drowning. I can't stop smiling even despite the tears that keep falling. I've waited so long for a kiss of my very own, and now I've been offered one moment of bliss with the woman of my dreams. Do I dare? I half lurch forward. My forehead almost nudges hers, but then I stop. My lips part and I can almost do it. Almost. "Lea," I choke out softly. She blinks rapidly. We're so close. So... almost lovers. Almost. "Just trust me." I pull her into an awkward, almost painful hug and grip her tight. "I never want you to regret anything. Just heal, my beautiful girl, just heal. Take your time."
"Okay," Lea mutters, shuddering against me and causing me to wonder if I've made an even worse decision.
She may hate me tomorrow and I'm prepared for that. One day she'll understand that a single night with her would have destroyed me, and I know for certain that this evening wouldn't have ended with just a kiss; it would have simply started with one. She was so worked up... and even if she does despise me for rejecting her advances, I'll still be smiling inside because tonight she wanted me. Maybe this will all fade away but, for now, that was truly the best kiss I never had.