.x.

Maureen's favorite thing about dating Joanne was not what one would expect.

It wasn't the sex, though that was...beyond satisfactory, to say the least.

It wasn't the expensive dates Joanne took her out on every so often, as a surprise.

It wasn't even the deep conversations they'd have, the ones that lasted for hours and hours and left Joanne tired the next morning, though she didn't care much.

If asked publicly, Maureen would not reveal this favorite thing-- she wouldn't even dare mention it to her lover; it would completely ruin her image.

Late at night-- after a customary round of lovemaking-- Maureen would lie awake, basking in the lovely after-sex glow; her cheeks flushed, her heart still pounding.

Joanne would be fast asleep; she was always out cold after the fourth round or so.

Maureen, however, would watch her lover, softly (so not to wake her) stroking her arm in a loving manner. She loved to watch Joanne sleep-- it was fascinating.

It was almost like observing an animal in the wild. She loved how Joanne had no idea what Maureen was up to, it could be her own little secret.

The mocha beauty seemed to let down her walls when she slept. There was no fear, no insecurity written on her face.

Instead, Maureen saw a little girl.

This, alone, made everything-- the fights, the controlling, the annoying habits-- completely worth it.

Maureen felt privileged, at times, just thinking about it: Joanne Jefferson, high-powered attorney- practically a legend in the courtroom,

allowed Maureen a glimpse into her soul, a place she kept locked (with the key hidden far, far away)

from anyone else.

And when Maureen would finally fall asleep, her breathing coinciding with the steady heartbeat of her sleeping lover,

she always slept peacefully-- almost as if (even in her sleep) she knew she had Joanne, her fierce protector, who wrapped her arms around Maureen's waist and just held her all night long.

And in the morning, when Joanne was gone, Maureen would wake up (Jo's Harvard sweatshirt hanging off her lithe frame, and a pair of her lover's comfy boxer-shorts on),

her hair a tousled, curly mess; obvious pillow-imprints on her cheek, there would be a note in the kitchen,

or taped to the bathroom mirror-- from Joanne, of course. They would say things like:

"Have a great day, Honeybear. I love you,"

and

"Good morning, beautiful." (That one was Maureen's favorite.)

And though she was off being her no-nonsense Lawyer self for the day,

Maureen knew that soon enough, Joanne would be back in their bed,

sleeping peacefully beside her.

.x.

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Also, check out my other recently updated story, if you haven't already, "In Laughter, In Strife," and review that, too! (Gee, I'm demanding, huh?)