First, Do No Harm

They lay side-by-side, Lexy spooned against Sam's bare back. She smiled lazily as she realized how well they fit. Both were about the same height. In bed, her long legs easily followed Sam's lower limbs. Were it not for her reluctance to awaken her sleeping partner, she would have let her toes sweep gently up and down Sam's calves and ankles. She wanted so badly to immerse herself once again in the feel and touch of the person sleeping beside her.

The risk she took by showing up on Sam's doorstep, unannounced, led to an unexpected night of catharsis and consummation. She would have been content to just listen as Sam began to process and verbalize her deepest fears and realizations. It almost hurt her physically to hear the pain in Sam's voice, to witness the brokenness of someone whom she had long admired for her strength and unflappability.

In many ways, Sam was a mirror image of her own resolute character. They both knew what it was like to be under fire, to make quick decisions in the line of duty. Steady as it goes. Yes, Lexy could relate to that. Both women were used to being in charge, in control. And both countered the pressures of being a cop and an A&E doctor with humor - Lexy's much more caustic and dark, Sam's often dry and unexpected.

There had not been much to laugh about these past couple months. Cat's sudden death had sent a shock wave through their social network. No one was left reeling more than Sam. Lexy did not know Cat well enough to be as affected, but even before this tragedy, she always felt drawn to Cat's partner, Sam. When the news came out about Cat's clandestine affair with her former lover, Lexy was torn between sympathy for Sam and anger at the woman whose infidelity had wounded the police detective so badly.

Unfortunately, Sam's need for control and feelings of betrayal led to her erecting walls of silence between herself and Lexy. Their growing friendship had come to an abrupt halt. Lexy, ever the loyal friend, respected Sam's need to work out her issues alone. Lately, however, she had a nagging feeling in her gut that Sam was not handling things all that well. Call it intuition or sixth sense. All she could do was verbalize her support yesterday morning when Sam so rudely dismissed her. And, then later, hearing the desperation in Sam's voice when she left that voice mail ….

Who would have thought that, in only a day's time, Sam's defenses would start to crumble?

When she knocked on Sam's door, she did not know quite what to expect. Frankly, she did not care any more. She had been torturing herself far too long over her own need to help and had now made up her mind to stay the course. Bloody hell! She could be just as stubborn as her distressed friend. She would not let herself be dismissed any longer. It was like offering triage in hospital. Sam was in pain. Someone had to stop the bleeding, to offer enough stability so that the woman could start to recover from the trauma of her betrayal.

Just gaining access to her apartment was a small victory. Sam, although shaky and somewhat surprised at the visit, wore her stoic mask well. Lexy, to counteract the awkwardness, asked for a drink and busied herself at the kitchen sink. She furtively scanned the apartment, noticing the empty liquor bottles and clothes strewn about. Yes, this was a woman who was fighting her demons. She would continue to give Sam space but she would not leave her alone. Sam was in a free fall and Lexy hoped, desperately, that she would finally accept the lifeline now being offered.

Sam sat on the sofa, watching the calm actions of her friend, which began to still her own troubled emotions. Soon, she found herself saying out loud what she had worked so hard to contain - truths about her own inadequacies, her foolish pride and denial. The more she spoke, the more Lexy listened, now sitting beside her nodding in concern and compassion. The shame of revealing herself was balanced by Lexy's non-judgmental attitude. Yes, she advised that Sam move on, beyond the hurt, but she also seemed to feel Sam's pain and self-doubt – to understand the depths to which she had sunk.

"I can't trust myself anymore. I can't trust anyone."

"You can trust me." The words were a fervent whisper.

Lexy was kneeling in front of Sam, gripping her knees, looking at her with such intensity, such … yearning? Their eyes locked. Words were no longer needed.

Sam reached out tentatively, the gentleness of her touch and soft kiss kindling the flame of Lexy's desire. Bolder now, impassioned by what she saw in Lexy's eyes, Sam pressed her lips more firmly.

For Lexy, it was a moment she had long wished for. Sam wanted her. This was not an act done in confusion or anger. What she saw in Sam's eyes propelled her to return the passion.

They became lost in each other's arms, a new and wondrous choreography of exploration and discovery. Sam, as wounded as she was, seemed to welcome the physical touch … reaching out to Lexy, tenderly stroking and holding her.

Lexy, in turn, found herself taken to new heights while she focused on bringing Sam to release. They made love through most of the night.

As the soft glow of the morning light started to color the quiet bedroom, Lexy lay in the bed that Cat had shared with Sam. Oddly enough, she did not feel like a stranger. She felt at peace. Sam had fallen into a deep slumber, probably the first good night's rest she'd had in many days. Lexy knew that it was she who provided the soothing panacea.

She allowed herself to think beyond their first night together. Sam was not ready to love again. But, with Lexy's help, she would be ready to heal. As a doctor, Lexy knew how to promote healing.

The road ahead would not be easy. There would be danger and the need for honest, genuine communication. In some ways, Lexy would have to become as vulnerable as Sam. Yet, in their first night together, they had already stripped aside much of the distance that separated them. Their bodies spoke the truth.

Sam stirred and Lexy wrapped her arm around the woman's waist, pressing a gentle kiss to her lover's shoulder.

Waiting for Sam to fully awaken, she whispered softly to herself: "I've got your back."

Then she closed her eyes and contentedly traced Sam's legs with her toes.