A/N: Baaack! By popular demand! And better than ever! Thanks so much to all my awesome reviewers! You guys have really kept me going the last few months and I am very excited to present you with this brand new update!
Special thanks must be given to CSIBarbie and everybody who PMed asking for a new chapter. Here at last! I would recommend to everyone who hasn't read recently, that you go back and reread at least the last chapter before this one, if not the last couple- just to get yourself back into the rhythm of things. Worked for me! I was just rereading and suddenly I was inspired to write!
Hope everybody is grrrreat! Now read on!
That morning, Sara woke up alone. Her arm had lazily made its way across the bed to ensnare a certain lovely and naked redhead, but stopped short when there was nothing but sheets and blankets. Sara lifted herself up to look. Nope. No Catherine. In an instant, all of her uncertainties returned full force. God, why had she even stayed the night? Anything was better than this. But…Catherine had asked her to. She had kissed her neck and burrowed into her and whispered for her to stay. Sara checked the clock. Had she really only been asleep for four hours? She shut her eyes against the light. Slowly, lead in her veins, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Opening her eyes, she looked down. And there it was; a note on the other pillow in Catherine's lovely scrawl.
If you wake up, I've gone for a drive to clear my head, should be back by 7:30. Please don't leave. Make yourself comfortable and I'll be back soon.
Yours. She said 'yours.' Is she really mine? Hope surged through her as she checked the clock again. 7:18. In the distance, she could hear the sweet sounds of a coffee grinder. Catherine was back! She jumped up, threw on her slacks and tank top, then moved to the bathroom to brush her teeth. After arranging Cath's toothbrush to look as unborrowed as possible, she left the bedroom and headed for downstairs. Pulling her hair through an elastic, she stepped, barefoot, through to the kitchen. No Catherine. She did, however, spot the coffee pot. Well, she did say 'make yourself comfortable'. Retrieving last night's mug, she rinsed it out and then filled it afresh, adding milk from the fridge and a little sugar from its canister on the counter. Turning out of the kitchen, she stared out the sliding door to the backyard. She had just noticed the old swing set when she heard a giggle from behind her.
Sara spun at the voice, her coffee sloshing slightly.
Familiar blue eyes danced under amused eyebrows. Blonde eyebrows. Lindsey made no effort to hide her smile behind her own cup of coffee. "Have a nice night?" She giggled again.
Sara's eyes bulged. Oh, shit. "Lindsey." It was a statement of fact. "Uh…I…umm, what are you doing here?"
The teenager rolled her eyes. "I live here. I think a much more interesting question would be, 'what are you doing here?'"
"Me? Oh, well… see…" Funny story, see, there was some kissing and nakedness and…your mom, and…
Just then there was the sound of a door closing, soon followed by a voice, "I smell coffee!"
Oh, thank God.
Lindsey grinned. "Ooo, saved by the bell, Sara."
Catherine came into the room and froze. Oh, shit. "Lindsey."
"That is my name."
"What are you doing here?"
The girl sagged her shoulders dramatically. "I live here!"
"But why hasn't Nancy come to pick you up for school?"
Lindsey gave her the 'you've got to be kidding' look. "School? Mom? It's Sunday."
"Yes. Yesterday was Saturday, and tomorrow will be Monday, so that makes the day in between, Sunday."
"Right." Catherine turned to Sara, searching her eyes. "Hey." Her voice was soft. "How are you?"
The brunette came out of her shock, sort of, and cleared her throat. "Oh, you know…fine."
"Good." Catherine swung back to look at her daughter. Well, there was no point in beating around the bush, and she'd always sworn she'd be honest with her daughter. "How much did you hear?"
"Way too much."
"Yeah, well, you weren't exactly quiet. Woke me up with your shouting downstairs. The making out part was sort of sweet, in a way. But everything after that was just sickening. 'Oh, Sara! Oh, Sara!" she mimicked then rolled her eyes. "I mean seriously. Did you miss the memo? Old people are not allowed to have sex. It should be against the law or something."
Catherine and Sara wore matching stunned expressions. "You heard that?"
"Oh, yeah. But it wasn't until the bed started hitting the wall over and over and over," she shuddered, "that I was truly grossed out. When that started, I stuck my fingers in my ears and hid under my pillow until I fell asleep. So disturbing."
"So, uh, are you…mad?" Catherine asked. Lindsey didn't seem mad. For a teenaged girl, she actually seemed to be in a fairly good mood. Still, she could just be pretending.
"Mad? Uh-uh. No. Why would I be mad? I am pretty disgusted though, that's for sure. Definitely scarred for life."
Catherine was incredulous. "You're not…? I mean, what about…?" She gestured vaguely in Sara's direction. "That doesn't bother you?"
"What, Sara? Mom, get over yourself, you're not the first lesbian on the planet."
At this, Sara snorted and Catherine blushed.
That made Lindsey smile. "Mom, look. It's fine. Sara is pretty cool compared to your loser boyfriends. And she actually likes you, which is always a plus. Besides, I've sort of suspected you might be crushing on her for a while. Call it a gut feeling. I just didn't say anything because I didn't want to have the 'understanding Mom's sexuality' talk. I still don't. If you ask me, I'd rather you date Sara than some gross guy who treats you like crap."
"Sure. I love you, Mom." She leaned over, hugged her mother, and kissed her cheek. "Look, since everybody's awake, I'm going upstairs to try and erase the horrific sounds of your hanky-panky from my brain with some loud music. After that, I'm walking to Ally's to hang out and maybe study for our history test tomorrow. I suggest you use the time to talk amongst yourselves and get some actual sleep. If I have to come home to a repeat performance of 'Oh, Sara, Oh, Catherine,' I will actually puke- and I will bang on your door until you stop. Sound like a plan?"
Slightly stunned, both women nodded.
"Great. Catch you later." As soon as she had disappeared up the stairs, silence prevailed.
Sara took a seat at the breakfast table and hid behind her coffee cup, watching as Catherine carefully avoided looking in her direction, dropping her purse onto a chair and going to pour herself a cup. Sara tried to gather her thoughts. Catherine was bound to be feeling vulnerable. Even without the encounter with Lindsey, she had a lot on her plate. Yes, she was the one who had initiated the events of the night before, but she was also the one who had lay herself bare, emotionally speaking. She was the one who had thrown heterosexuality to the wind and outed herself (albeit misguidedly) to all those people and, despite knowing it would be really awkward, she was the one who had begged Sara to stay until morning. Obviously, she wanted to talk about it. Wanted to have her say. But where did Sara stand? Well, she knew where she stood. She was head over heels for the woman pulling out the chair beside her. Setting her coffee down on the table. Unzipping her sweatshirt only to zip it up halfway again. Did Sara want to let Catherine lead the conversation? Give her the chance to excuse it all away or express feelings of doubt and confusion? Without honestly expressing how she felt? Not really. Maybe it was more gallant to let Catherine call the shots, but as the redhead opened her mouth to speak, Sara made a decision.
"Sara, last night was-"
The brunette's insistent tone and word choice caught Catherine by surprise and she looked up, eyes wide.
Sara met her stare for stare. "No, listen. I know you need to have your say, Cath. And you can. Just let me say this first." With a quiet nod of ascent from the older woman, Sara took a deep breath. "As far as I'm concerned, last night was perfect. And I want you to know that I'm not expecting anything from you that you don't want to give. But last night was…perfect. And truthfully, I'd wanted it for a long time."
That confession drew an intake of breath from across the table, but Sara plowed on.
"You are…an amazing person. Amazing. And just as beautiful to me this morning as you were yesterday and the day before and every day for the last seven years. And…I will be here in whatever capacity you need me to be. As a lover, if you'll let me, and as a friend, if that's what you want. I know you have a lot to think about. But I don't regret anything. And I'll be here. Whatever you decide." She gave a soft smile and finally looked away.
So did Catherine, inspecting her coffee mug for a long moment. "Gee," she said, smiling crookedly. "That's got to be the best post one-night-stand speech a girl ever heard."
Sara went tight-lipped and Catherine realized how that must have sounded. She instantly held up a hand.
"No, Sara. That's not what I meant. Shit. Sorry. Can I start again?"
Warily, the brunette nodded.
"I just meant…thank you. And…you're right. I do have a lot to think about. I'm a little freaked out, to be honest. But not about last night. Last night was…" She trailed off and then braced herself, and told the truth, "probably the best night of my life. The you and me part, I mean. And I could never regret it."
"But?" Sara prompted after a pause.
"But…" Catherine continued. "I don't know what that means in daylight. Waking up next to you really was perfect. It felt more natural than anything. I'd almost hoped it wouldn't. But I think, deep down, I've known it would be for a long time." Her eyes were almost sad when she glanced at the other woman. It was an intense moment.
"What do you need from me?"
"Besides telling me what I've been doing with my life and what I should do with the rest of it?" Catherine gave a nervous smile.
Sara returned it. "Besides that." Her eyes were kind.
"Time." Came the reply.
Sara nodded. "I can do that."
They quietly finished their coffees, each lost in their own silent contemplation. All too soon, the mugs were empty and Sara knew it was time to go. To prolong the inevitable, she stood and walked her own mug to the sink and washed it. When she turned, Catherine was standing in the doorway, watching her thoughtfully.
"I guess I'll leave you to it. To your…time."
Catherine nodded wordlessly and spun to see the brunette out. They both moved slowly, drawing out the seconds it took to cross the house. Sara picked her keys up from the hall table as Catherine opened the door and leaned against it. Sara faced her.
"I'll…see you at work."
Catherine nodded again.
"It's my night off, so…Monday?"
"Okay." Sara squeezed the other woman's arm gently. "B-" The word was lost as her lips were seized in a swift, firm kiss.
Pulling back, Catherine licked her own lips, staring up into the brunette's eyes. "Bye, Sara."
It was Sara's turn to nod before she spun, and strode down the walk.
Well there you have it! Where will we go from here? And WHEN? That greatly depends on you and your spectacular reviews! By the way, everyone should get an account because while I love all reviewers, I can only respond to the ones with accounts! If you want a reply to any questions, you need to sign up! Ready? Set? Review!