Prompt: 08/06- When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." --Author Unknown
Claimed character: Abby Perkins at livejournal's licenseartistic
Timeline: There Goes The Judge
Beta: Thanks to selenay-x and Amy for the betaing.
Summary: If they were to pursue this-whatever this was-who was to say that it wouldn't end in disaster? Who wasn't to say that Eric wouldn't rebel? Or worse, knowing her ex-husband, who wasn't to say that Jim wouldn't use this against her? Saying that her 'new lifestyle' was harming Eric? No doubt, Jim would blame CJ for 'converting' her. And more to the point, would CJ dismiss her again by reiterating that she didn't want to risk jeopardizing their friendship just to satisfy her curiosity?

CJ's words were harsher than Abby would care to admit. But in spite of Cara's harshness, her words certainly hit some home truths. Yes, Abby wanted to sleep with CJ for the sake of curiosity. But it wasn't just about being intrigued by the thought of sleeping with a woman. It was about her wanting a relationship and for Abby only one person came to mind. But it begged the question of whether or not CJ felt the same.

However, perhaps her curiosity had gotten the better of her on Friday night. Or maybe it was much more-more than either one of them would care to admit.

Of course, lying about being overloaded with paperwork didn't help matters. If anything, it made them worse. Not that CJ bought her lie. God no. She was smarter than that. And yet, in spite of this, CJ made no attempt to stop Abby from leaving. Nor did she apologize for…Well, for being so blunt. But then again, bluntness was one of Cara's quirks. And it was one of the things Abby admired about her.

However, it did beg the question: why did CJ allow her to leave? Was it to save them both further embarrassment or was it just to prevent Abby from making another foolish move? Whatever the reason, Abby's only regret was taking the coward's way out. There was only one explanation as to why she did that. Embarrassment aside: she couldn't bear the thought of being hurt, again.

If they were to pursue this-whatever this was-who was to say that it wouldn't end in disaster? Who wasn't to say that Eric wouldn't rebel? Or worse, knowing her ex-husband, who wasn't to say that Jim wouldn't use this against her? Saying that her 'new lifestyle' was harming Eric? No doubt, Jim would blame CJ for 'converting' her. And more to the point, would CJ dismiss her again by reiterating that she didn't want to risk jeopardizing their friendship just to satisfy her curiosity?

It wasn't just curiosity. That much Abby knew. After all, if it was mere curiosity, why did that night continue to haunt her? And what prompted her to kiss CJ back that night? Yes, she may have been intrigued by kissing another woman, but there had to be more to it then that.

Granted that at the time she told CJ that she preferred men. Why couldn't she have just said that she wasn't attracted to her? Why did she struggle to say 'I'm not physically attracted to you?' Why not say 'I'm not attracted to you' or 'I'm not gay.' Instead of saying 'I like men.'

Such simple words, and yet Abby found great difficultly in saying them out loud.

Surely there was cause for this? God, why was everything so confusing? Why did CJ have to kiss her? And more importantly why did she kiss her back?

Three months ago, Abby may have been aware of her sexuality, but now, she was indecisive. Was she straight or not? And if not…did that mean she was she gay? But, who was to say that kissing a person of the same sex automatically made you gay?

If she wasn't attracted to CJ why had jealously reared its ugly head when she saw Cara with Clay two nights ago? Why did her heart miss a beat when she saw her in that breathtaking black dress? Why did she ask her out…twice? And why did this result in her suddenly becoming aware of all the past little details? Details that she never took notice of before?

From how the room lit up whenever Cara entered to her breathtaking smile. From the subtle indications of flirtation whether it was just the two of them or if they were in a briefing and Abby suddenly realizing that there had been times when she subconsciously flirted back. To how each one of CJ's outfits gave way to each perfect curve. Or how perfectly curved CJ's ass looked whenever she wore fitted jeans or pants.

Or like a shy child with a silly schoolgirl crush, she would steal a quick glance in CJ's direction and look away before Cara noticed. Or how she blushed when Douglas commented on how her and CJ 'make quite a team' and suddenly realizing that whenever someone made a friendly remark about her working alongside CJ she could not help but blush.

When she entered CJ's office Thursday night, why did she take mental note of CJ in that black dress? From the way it framed her perfectly slim figure to the way it showed off her cleavage? Why did she have the sudden urge to kiss her there and then?

And in spite of her being jittery, in spite of her nervous laughter and awkwardness throughout dinner two nights ago, why did Abby have the sudden urge to prove CJ wrong? Prove that it wasn't just about the sex or her curiosity. That it was much more?

And why did her stomach churn when Cara said, 'you can consider yourself two things: dumped and relieved.' Why did she feel as if her whole world had fallen apart? If it was mere curiosity, surely, she would not be reacting this way?

Something had to be done. The weekend was almost over and they hadn't really spoken about that night and the last thing Abby wanted to deal with tomorrow was the awkwardness.

It was like that after they shared that brief, but passionate kiss in the parking-lot in February. They had only spoken about it the once and that in itself was awkward, which was why, Abby did not want to go through that again.

That was why she found herself pacing back-and-forth on CJ's porch. What would be the right words? Were there any for that matter? Would there be the repetition of that February night? Would there be any tension between them tomorrow? What would happen tomorrow? Were they both supposed to pretend that none of this-from that kiss in February to that celebratory date last week to Friday night's disastrous date-happened?

Abby wondered whether or not CJ was still awake. It was approaching midnight, after all. She wasn't sure how long she'd been pacing back-and-forth on CJ's porch, or if she was doing the right thing. However, before a decision could be made, the front door swung open.

And a sudden awkward silence filled the air.

CJ stood opposite her: hair unruly and wearing nothing but a large Dodgers t-shirt, which barely reached her thighs.

Abby tried not to notice how long and slender her legs were. She found her throat drying up, but it wasn't due to CJ's appearance. It was more to do with the awkwardness.

Was it always going to be like this?

Abby wondered whether there was a right way to approach the matter. "It's not just curiosity," she blurted out.

CJ arched a questioningly eyebrow. "Excuse me?"

Abby wanted to kick herself. What the hell was she thinking? What was the logic in blurting that out? She felt herself blush as an awkward laugh escaped. "T-that came out wrong." She took a small step back. "Maybe I should-"

"You're here, now," CJ said, gently stepping aside. "Maybe we should continue this inside."

Abby found herself losing her nerve. "I-I…It's late. Maybe I should come back, later," she stuttered.

CJ half smiled, replying, "It isn't that late."

Abby briefly hesitated, flinching in surprise as CJ placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "No. We should talk about this," CJ continued, reassuringly. "I was planning on speaking to you about this tomorrow, but seeing as how you're here…" Cara paused briefly. "Not to mention that you'll save me a journey to your office," she joked.

Abby smiled faintly at CJ's genuineness as she made her way into the hallway. As soon as the door closed, quietly, Abby took it as her cue to continue, "Regardless of what you think…I am attracted to you."

CJ rewarded her with a cynical look.

"I am not like you, CJ," Abby stammered, pacing back-and-forth. "I-I'm not even sure how this," she pointed to the two of them, "…works." Abby paused in her tracks, meeting CJ's gaze. "I can't explain my actions two nights ago. The more I think about it the more I realize how…ridiculous I behaved." She laughed, embarrassed. "Yes, I wanted to sleep with you out of curiosity." She walked toward CJ. "But, it isn't just about the sex. I would like to pursue this."

"Abby, it isn't that simple. This isn't like shopping in the mall. There is more at stake then you realize," CJ stated, softly.

"I'm aware of that and I've thought of nothing but the repercussions." Abby found her throat drying once more as she took a closer step toward CJ.

"Jim could use this against you, you know that."

Abby smiled, wryly. "He will." That was a fact. "There is no doubt in my mind that he won't stoop to the lowest level to take Eric away."

CJ smiled, sympathetically, fully aware that, that was exactly what he did five years ago. "I'm not the committing type, Abby. I have trouble committing to next week, let alone the future. So, if you're hoping for something long-term, I'm certainly the wrong person. Can you honestly say that you're prepared to risk everything for…something that might not even last longer than a few months?"

Without hesitation Abby replied, "Yes."

Again CJ rewarded her with a cynical look.

Ignoring her rapid heartbeats, Abby nervously licked her lower lip. "Ask me what I want right now." She surprised herself at her sudden confidence.

CJ smiled faintly. "Abby, this isn't-"

"Ask me," she said, somewhat daringly.

CJ laughed. "Abby."

Abby cupped CJ's face, pulling her in for a brief kiss. She broke out into a wide grin, as she gazed calmly at CJ. "Maybe it is curiosity. Maybe it isn't," she said, reiterating CJ's words. "But one thing's for certain, I'd like to find out where this takes us."

Cara gazed, questioningly at her, before allowing Abby to deepen the kiss.