The Associate

Part 7

Sitting in Kathryn's office, still quite thunderstruck by this turn of events, Ana's mind bounced all over, unable to focus. She was both elated and terrified. Tomorrow was the final day of trial and also Ana's birthday. Although friends and family had contacted her to celebrate, she had not committed to any plans, hoping to share that time with Kathryn. She was determined to woo the stubborn woman into a relationship. She'd patiently abided by the irresistible woman's wishes, but once this trial ended she would do everything in her power to break down the barriers separating them. Knowing how much Kathryn desired her, how hard it was for the compact powerhouse to restrain her unruly emotions, Ana intended to seduce the older woman into submission. Kathryn won't know what hit her. Ana grinned devilishly. Her face turned sober as she turned her limber mind toward creating an incredible closing argument.

Ana walked like a zombie, or a sleepwalker, or a mindless fool—she was sure all of those descriptions were accurate at the moment—down the court hallways, barely recognizing that she was being guided by Kathryn, who unceremoniously pulled her into an empty conference room and embraced the overwhelmed woman. Knowing the press was swarming on the court steps, Ana tried to control her breathing, to get herself under control as she felt Kathryn run her hands tenderly over taut back muscles while whispering endearments into her ear. Once Ana's breathing calmed, Kathryn stepped back.

"I am so proud of you," the attractive dynamo stated as she massaged Ana's shoulders briskly. "Are you ready to face the press?" Ana nodded. "Good. After that we're going out to celebrate—I won't take no for an answer." Ana, pleased at this announcement, heard Kathryn chuckle. After receiving one more shoulder squeeze, Ana followed Kathryn through the exit to deliver their statement.

Two hours later found Ana, yet again, absolutely amazed by Kathryn's behavior. Sitting at the best table in the Top of the Hub restaurant, Ana felt like she had been run over by an amorous, determined lover. She didn't stand a chance—not that she had intended to hold out. As Kathryn held her closely, swaying to the gentle melody the jazz band played, Ana felt like she was in heaven. And she knew the night was young; Kathryn's constant touches promised as much. Returning to their seats to order nightcaps, Ana was startled to see a present placed in front of her.

"Happy birthday, Ana. I hope you like it." Trying not to weep, the emotional lady carefully unwrapped the gift, revealing a Cartier box. Opening it, Ana gasped as tears flooded her eyes. Nestled inside the box sat a gold and diamond designer pendant necklace of a lobster. Ana laughed, utterly delighted. The pendant was designed with ruby-encrusted claws, large diamond eyes, and a sculpted golden exoskeleton shell. Turning it over, the amazed blonde spotted an engraving underneath a ruby heart. Reading the words, Ana surged out of her chair and pulled Kathryn into a heated lip-lock. With difficulty, Ana tempered her rising passion enough to release Kathryn and return to her seat after indulging in the taste of those satisfying lips for a mere few moments. What she wanted to do was rip the white skirt suit off Kathryn's firm body and devour her regardless of where they were. Ana grinned unrepentantly at the image that thought evoked.

Ana's hands trembled, delirious with happiness, prompting Kathryn to take the necklace from her hands and gently fasten it. The words engraved on the pendant were simple but meant the world to Ana: You own my heart. Always. However, Ana quickly learned that Kathryn was not nearly done.

Ana looked deeply into sparkling blue eyes as Kathryn took her hands and said, "Ana, I want to spend time with you. I feel that I cheated us both horribly, and I wish to do this right, to build a lasting relationship." Pausing, the normally unflappable attorney nervously continued. "Will you go away with me this weekend? Everything's planned; you need only say yes." Shocked, Ana gazed into sincere eyes as Kathryn whispered, "Please say yes."

Realizing that any pause on her part must be torturous, seconds seeming for centuries, Ana quickly replied, "Of course I will go away with you! How could you doubt it? I want to be with you every second of every day. Yes!" Ana squeezed Kathryn's hands in emphasis, delighted by the thought of being the sole focus of this dynamic woman for days on end without interruption.

"Will you come home with me tonight? I promise to give you plenty of time to pack tomorrow." Kathryn held up her fingers in a Scout's honor sign, grinning rakishly.

Ana's joyous laugh could not be contained. "Like you could keep me away!"

Soon they were in Kathryn's brownstone, where a very nervous and enamored young blonde struggled to keep her desires in check. However, Kathryn would not rush their lovemaking. Ana was touched by the preparations Kathryn had made: rose petals covered the bed, candles were strategically placed just waiting to be lit, champagne sat in a chilled pail, and soft piano played in the background.

Undressed by her amorous lover, Ana was seduced by the auburn-haired beauty's words as she told Ana in no uncertain terms that she would always love her, always need her, always want her. Ana felt cherished as the older woman kissed each and every area of skin revealed to her ravenous eyes. Ana made sure to kiss Kathryn's intoxicating lips every few moments, needing to draw sustenance from them. It was hard for Ana to keep control as Kathryn mapped her ribs with burning fingers, the older woman kissing the spaces in between each one devotedly. When Ana began to sway in place, overcome by the effect Kathryn had on her, the older woman tenderly positioned Ana's body on the bed.

Enthralled by Kathryn's magnificence, she wept as they made love, feeling her lover's reverence, her determination to convey how deeply she cared through every touch. As Ana cried out her soul mate's name into the night, she felt tears of gratitude fall onto her face. Looking up, she cupped the older woman's face, kissing away the tears as she vowed to always love the fiery woman. For the rest of her days, she resolved to make sure Kathryn knew just how much she adored her. Today was just the beginning.

"I hope you aren't planning on getting much sleep," Ana growled seductively just before her luscious lips covered a pebbled breast.

"No," Kathryn's husky voice answered, "not much at all."

Epilogue

Hearing a throat cleared, Kathryn looked up from the file she was reviewing. She smiled as she waved in her visitor, happy to take a break. Reaching out, she accepted the proffered hand and rose to receive a tight hug. Stepping away from the enticing arms of her lover, Kathryn said, "I'm so glad to see you. All done for the day?"

"Finally. I though the deposition would last forever. Do you have much longer?" Ana answered as she settled into a chair across from the desk.

"Not long." After two years they had settled into a routine where they would alternate weekends at each other's houses. Kathryn wanted Ana to move in with her but loathed asking her to give up her Swampscott home. She knew how much time and effort Ana had invested in restoring the old house. More importantly, it symbolized Ana's family heritage. Ana had inherited the home when her parents died, along with a hefty fortune. Most of that money remained in trust while Ana lived off the interest and the salary she made as an attorney.

They had discussed Ana leaving the firm so no backlash would occur once their relationship was discovered. The problem was that, although Ana was a brilliant attorney, she was at the beginning of her career. A shift to another firm would be viewed as a negative. Instead, they had informed the Board of Directors of their relationship and signed love contracts. In addition, Ana did not work on Kathryn's files, much to the senior partner's displeasure. Still, compromise was needed, and Kathryn was content with the knowledge that Ana's career was blossoming.

Ana settled in, passing the time by reading the newspapers while Kathryn finished her tasks. She loved Ana's easy-going manner. She never complained when she had to wait around for Kathryn at the office; many times she would deliver lunch or dinner without any expectation of capturing Kathryn's attention. Kathryn shook her head. Ana always held her attention.

"I thought we might have a late dinner at the Landing. Shall I make reservations?" Ana asked. It was one of their favorite haunts in Marblehead. The seafood was delicious and the view, directly on the Atlantic ocean, unrivaled.

"That sounds perfect, darling," Kathryn said as she marked up the motion before her. Distractedly, she heard Ana murmuring into her phone. The older woman turned to the final page, scanning the rest of the document determinedly. With a sigh of relief, Kathryn finished her notations and set the document aside.

Feeling strong fingers knead her tight neck muscles, Kathryn groaned her appreciation. "Kathryn, I want to throw an idea onto the table, but I don't want you to feel you have to make a decision or even discuss it right now," Ana said softly.

Struggling not to tighten up as fear surged through her, Kathryn nodded mutely. She didn't know why she was expecting the worst. Their romance had been fiery, passionate, and extremely volatile. Yet, they had weathered all disagreements with the understanding that they were building a strong foundation meant to last. Kathryn knew she wanted this woman in her life indefinitely.

"I hate not holding you in my arms every night. With our schedules limiting our time together to the weekends, I find myself missing you terribly. I'd like to discuss moving in together." Ana paused, shifting to rub Kathryn's shoulders. "I know we'll need to work out where to live and what to do with the other home, but I want to share my life completely with you—home, finances, lives—everything. If you don't want that, too, if you aren't ready or don't think you'll ever want that type of relationship, I'll drop the subject."

Not able to bear the uncertainty so apparent in her lover's voice, Kathryn swiveled her chair around so she faced Ana and grasped her hands. "Don't you dare drop this subject. I want to live with you. I want to share my life with you." Kathryn shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry I haven't made that clear to you. We'll work out the details. For this moment, though, just know that I am ready, and I do want this type of relationship."

Kathryn felt a devious grin curl her lips as she added, "Is this your generation's way of proposing? Because it's awfully casual. Or does your age group only believe in living together instead of publicly declaring one's love through a legally binding ceremony?"

Kathryn fought to keep from laughing at the flabbergasted look on her love's face. She had a feeling that Ana had not seriously considered marriage. That was okay. Now the young woman would.

"I…you…what—" Ana sputtered.

Kathryn's throaty laughed filled the office. Her expression softened as she tilted her head to one side, gazing into eyes she knew so well. "I'm just teasing you." Rising, Kathryn affectionately squeezed the hands still in hers before letting go. Gathering her belongings, Kathryn walked to the office door and turned off the lights. She felt strong arms wind around her waist stopping her progress.

"You will marry me, Kathryn. You are my soulmate, my other half. We belong together. I knew it the first day I laid eyes on you." Ana kissed the back of Kathryn's neck before letting go.

Turning to face her beloved, Kathryn stared at Ana solemnly. "I knew, too." The older woman smiled suddenly as a thought crossed her mind. "I think lobster is appropriate for tonight's meal, don't you, darling?" At Ana's chuckle, Kathryn led them from the room. "Perhaps we can recreate our first night together afterwards…you have a porch overlooking the ocean, don't you?" Kathryn mused, already knowing the answer. "That will work nicely."

"I'm game. However, I propose two important changes," Ana said as they walked to the car garage.

"Which are?" Kathryn asked curiously.

"One: there will be kissing, lots of kissing. And two: I will be screaming your name into the night even as you shout out mine."

Kathryn stopped short and walked into Ana's space, stopping so closely that their breath mingled. "That sounds manageable, counselor, if not downright necessary." As Ana's eyes dropped toward Kathryn's lips, the senior partner leaned in, stealing a kiss. "I look forward to implementing these changes of yours." Kathryn stole another kiss before stepping away.

"Why do I get the feeling that not only will I forget your name but also my own?" Kathryn heard Ana mutter.

Kathryn just laughed. She had plans to render this woman insensate by the end of the night. Smiling broadly, Kathryn shrugged innocently as Ana's eyebrow hiked up. "Oh, love, not only tonight but whenever I can hold you in my arms I will love you so completely you will be unable to formulate any thoughts other than how wonderful you feel," Kathryn promised, already eager to begin demonstrating her love through touch.

Kathryn watched with satisfaction as Ana shivered in response. Yes, tonight would be a memorable night, as they always were when shared with her lover. They were together and always would be. Kathryn would make it so.

The End.