"Ivy!" I felt the muscle that was my heart twist in coordination with the top half of my body as I turned to face her. "What happened?"
There was a physical hurt in my chest, a ripping sensation that I had never experienced before, tearing its way through me like a wild animal. "I wasn't going to fuck you when you were drunk, Rachel. It didn't matter how hard you pushed me, it wasn't going to happen. I didn't want to be hurt."

The lack of comprehension she exuded cut through me even more.

"Again." I spat the last, pained attachment of that sentence and it felt like I was stepping on a part of myself as I did.

Her expression softened as that minuscule portion of rationality she possessed began to surface. Nonetheless, she still said nothing. The silence of unspoken promises and opportunities struck at my battered emotions, pounding my despair in a way that made me wonder if this was something I could not escape. Even after everything, I could not have the smallest of my desires. It wasn't fair. She wasn't fair.

"I'm leaving, Rachel." The words left my mouth like acid dripping from my tongue. "Hope isn't even enough anymore…"

My sentence wasn't finished; the words that still needed to be said were clogging up at the hollow of my throat and filling my larynx with the sharp, jagged edges of their hatred. I turned on my heel and coughed once, my subconscious thinking it would help cleanse the uncomfortable feeling. It was like even my mind didn't want me angry with this girl. I couldn't tell her exactly what she had done to me, how she had thrown me around all these years as if I wasn't capable of being hurt. I couldn't. Because, in all that she had put me through, and all the agony that I had undergone to keep her sweet, naïve heart intact, God help me, I still loved her.

I was still in love with Rachel.

"Th-that's not fair!" Her loud stutter made my heart pound even harder. "Ivy! Stop! That's not fair!"

I didn't turn around to face her, but my body did come to a halt. I stood there for a few moments, expecting the witch to finish her sentence, resume it, or at least offer somewhat of an elaboration. I felt those emerald globes pierce my back as I stood there, seconds away from breaking down into either heart wrenching tears, or a very inhumane form of anger. My jaw locked as my fists did the same, a piercing sensation of needles stinging the back of my eyes. Something heavy settled itself at the base of my windpipe, and I began to feel in my temples the vibrations of my teeth grinding against each other.

Ugh. I'm not going to cry now, dammit.

"Don't try to argue against justice, Rachel. Don't you dare."

I heard the witch stand up with a huff of displeasure, and before she could get close enough to lay a hand on my shoulder, I whirled around and crouched, my instincts taking charge. Her eyes went wide, those piercing green irises shimmering with a mixture of hurt emotions. Her red hair was wild, untamed, branching off into a million of separate directions and yet seeming to frame her gorgeous face in ever such a perfect fashion.

"Just…stop for a second, okay?" Her expression shifted to exasperation, worry and depression slinking from her tone. "Don't do that. Stop doing that. You're judging me based off of a single stupid thing I did, and now it's fucked everything up."

I couldn't help but raise my chin higher, pride sinking its nails into my muscles and wringing them tighter together as my brain worked to find something to say.

"I need time, dammit!" Her eloquent trail of thought was set into motion once more, everything I had wanted to say recoiling back into the oblivion of my fear. "You can't say something and expect me to find the right answer in the following three fucking milliseconds. Just…wait. Don't leave, Ivy. Please. C-can I just put you on pause? Or something? Can I pause you for the next little while so I can think to myself without having to stare into those huge and miserable brown eyes of yours?"

I kept my jaw locked, my eyes fixed on hers.

"Okay! Okay, okay, okay…" Rachel let out a prolonged exhale, and tore her gaze from mine before she continued, footsteps quiet upon the hardwood as she paced back and forth. "I was home alone while you were out fighting the very roots of evil, and, and, and, umm, Jenks was taking care of his beautiful family, and, and I couldn't find Rex anywhere, since I think she's gone back to hating me, and, so, and I was just there! Home. As I always am. So, yeah, I took a few drinks, and then I cried softly to myself, and then I took a few more drinks, and, and then the bottles were suddenly empty, and then you came in, and, and then, and…"

Her repetitive and awkward stammers seemed to bubble inside her throat all of a sudden, and before I could tell her she didn't need to go on, Rachel burst into tears. She inhaled through her nose in a rather ungraceful fashion, her sinuses offering the upsetting sounds of her distress if the redness in her cheeks wasn't already apparent enough. My hands remained fisted at my sides, the tension from my locked jaw starting to find its way to my skull. I didn't know whether or not it was appropriate to approach the poor girl.

"I don't want you to leave, Ivy…" Rachel barely got the words through intakes of breath, her bloodshot eyes coming up to meet mine. "I don't want this to be the thing that fucks it all up. Not this. Not when I—"

She stopped.

I felt the blood rush back into the muscle that gave me life, pumping it in an irregular manner as my pupils dilated and my nostrils flared. There was a thick scent of female arousal lingering in the air around us, mixed in with all the confusion, anger, and vulnerability. Light cramps dug their way down my arms and into the palms of my hands, forcing my fingers to flex in order to dispel the uncomfortable feeling.

The very last thing I needed right now was to scare Rachel off with my primal nature.

I tried to remain as casual as my body would allow, ignoring the racing thoughts that were cascading over me, wave after wave. I didn't dare say anything to cut through the tight silence that had settled in around us, through fear that if I hinted at her mood, she would fall into a defensive state. Rachel didn't know I knew what she was feeling; she never did. But, God, I could smell it:

The raw, very-female tangy scent of arousal coursing through the younger, redheaded woman before me. Fuck. My dilated pupils and heightened senses caught immediate sight of the slight way she nibbled at her lower lip with the top row of her teeth, the subtle cracking of her knuckles, the racing tattoo of her pulse. A new, fresh coat of liquid desire caught the attention of my sense of odour, my nostrils flaring as it intermingled with the wetness already present at the baseline of her undergarments. Fuck. I was almost certain that she was speaking again, likely babbling on apologies and excuses for idiotic behaviour, but the one and only thing my mind would let me focus upon was that glorious, mind-numbing scent that invaded my thoughts and messed with my coordination abilities. I found myself leaning forward, closer, inches at a time.

"—nd I don't want to be the reason that things don't work out with us, and this, and, and…everything." I tuned in once more, my gaze locked on the nervous way her hands fiddled with one another. "I just can't do this if you keep expecting me to be the smart-little-decision-maker that knows exactly what to do and how to act and what to say and I'm sorry that I can't be the person you want me to be and the person you deserve to have and I'll never be that exact person but I hope you can try to find something worth staying for because I don't want you to go and I really like you and—"

"Rachel!" I cut her off, holding back the knowing grin that wanted to burst upon my features. "Stop. I don't think I heard a single punctuation mark in the contents of what you just said. You need to calm yourself, dial it all down, okay?"

"O-okay…"

"What are you trying to say?" I asked her this, even though I already knew.

"I…I don't want you to leave."

I licked my lips, determined to push her as far as I could. "Why?"

The rapidity of my pulse was the only indicator I needed to know that my body was releasing quite the healthy dose of pheromones, and I loved that I could see how much, as reflected in Rachel's red cheeks. Her scar was throbbing just as much as her groin, and she averted my eyes every time our gazes locked for more than a few moments.

"Because you're my best friend."

I took a generous step forward, and she stumbled backwards in surprise. I didn't want to admit that it was my instincts taking over, but the devilish smile that found its way to my lips certainly hadn't arisen from my homosexual tendencies. It was the predator within me that turned my movements fluid and sensual, my hips suddenly placed in prominence to elicit an unintentional peek from her part that only fuelled my hunt further.

"Cut the crap, dear heart…" I spoke to her in the low octave that had since become so familiar to me when I couldn't control the racing heat that sizzled through my chest.

My hands rose to rest against my hips, the tips of my fingers tingling for her flesh in a way they never had before. She was sober. She was coherent. I felt my heart squeeze in the cavity of my ribs as I registered the nervous way she would intertwine her fingers with each other prior to flexing her shoulders back and forth. She was shy. I might as well have been able to hear the thoughts shooting through her mind for all it was worth: I knew exactly what she wanted. This was it. All these years of waiting and this flimsy game of tug-of-war was over. Rachel was metaphorically lying face-first in the dirt before me, and I had managed to pull every last inch of the thick rope into my own hands. All I needed now was a confession.

"Just…just give me a minute."

"No." I stated the word simply. "No more time, Rachel. You've had enough. Time, as it seems, is your greatest enemy. I'm done with all of this."

I wasn't going to make the first move, either. I had decided this as soon as she flinched away from my lover's touch moments ago. If the witch wanted anything from me from here on out, she was going to have to pull up her pants and get it herself. Her gaze caught mine for a split second, giving me the information I needed to know: she had found out what was going on. I assumed she figured it all out when I spoke to her in that harsh and clipped manner as opposed to being broken, frightened, or furious.

She bit her bottom lip and took in a deep breath, eyes leaving my locked gaze and focusing upon an insignificant portion of the room in quite the conspicuous manner. Her pulse began to rise in speed, thoughts likely racing through her mind in such a way that made me desperate to hear what she was thinking at the moment.

Before I could gather the oxygen in my lungs to ask her, Rachel was all of a sudden on me, her hands at the sides of my face and her lips upon my own once more. Her nails dug into me in an ungraceful fashion, her sweaty palms pressing up against my heated skin over and over again. The witch forced herself onto me, our teeth clanking together every so often because of the coercive way her face pushed onto my own.

It wasn't pleasant.

"Rachel." I pushed her away with my hands on her shoulders. "What the hell are you doing?"

She looked upset, her cheeks bright red. "I thought that was…what you wanted? I thought you wanted me to show you just how much you m-meant to me."

"I wanted you to kiss me. Not claw my face off."

She made a soft sound of disappointed acknowledgement, and I laughed, turning her face towards me with the palms of my hands on her adorable red cheeks. "I'm not turning you down, love. I'm telling you to calm your raging little hormones."

Her mouth seemed to lock open in a surprised expression, and my smile grew.

"You were smoother when you were intoxicated, Rachel." My gaze dropped to her parted lips, and the tip of her tongue visible between them. "I need to know what you expect from me. I need to feel the emotions you've been hiding from me all these years. I don't want you to throw yourself at me like a wild animal because it's what you believe that I want from you. Show me exactly what it is that you want, and then simply lie back and let me handle things, yes?"

Rachel captured her bottom lip between the maws of her teeth, letting her eyes trail down my body. She looked like a lost child in a candy store that never wanted their parents to find them: confused yet ecstatic. Tentatively, she raised a hand to cup one of my cheeks, and my body sighed into her touch without my conscious permission. If the witch had any idea what kind of effects she could have upon me if she played her cards right, I was a dead woman.

I straightened my back, tightening the skin around my eyes to keep them from fluttering shut at the feel of her gentle touch. Our eyes met, and she smiled the first genuine smile I'd seen her lips wear all evening.
"Hey, there." She greeted me with a mocking tone, but I felt like I was being introduced to someone new.

I cleared my throat. "Hey."

"I've seen you 'round here," she began, holding back a throaty laugh. "Was wondering if you'd like to go for coffee some time...?"

I couldn't help myself; I leaned forward, kissed her once, softly, on the lips, pulling back with a smile. She let her eyes roam over me once more, my kiss seeming to give her a new sense of self-confidence. The hand she held at my cheek began to shake gently, drifting lower to brush against the sensitive flesh of my neck. I inhaled a sharp intake of breath, making her eyes snap back up to mine with an alluring and self-assured rapidity. I saw the corner of her mouth twitch upwards. Her cheeks began to blossom once more. She bit her bottom lip again, and my mouth began to water as she continued unwrapping her new present.

Her gentle touch roamed even lower to finally cup my breast, her palm flexing inwards and outwards as Rachel's sexual orientation began to visibly shift. The progression of this alteration, I decided, was marked in the adorable twitching of her facial features as her hand became more and more marking.

She looked away from my chest and back up at me, eyes wild. "I want this."

"Anything else?" My mouth went dry.

Rachel reached out with her free hand and grabbed hold of my own, bringing it towards herself and forcing my open palm to her own small breast. "This too."

I could barely control the desperation pounding in my chest.

"Anything else?"

There was nothing separating my erect nipple from the teasing strokes of her fingers but the thin top I had put back on moments ago. I couldn't care less where I'd flung my bra. Her free hand was suddenly on my waist, pulling me closer until our noses were inches apart.

"This?" I raised an eyebrow at Rachel, all of a sudden expert in the fucking around department, and she laughed softly, kissing my lips with hers. "I want everything, Ivy."

My heart skipped a beat.

"Mmm. That's all I needed to hear, dear heart."

Rachel let out a small squeal when I picked her up off of the ground and into my arms, a sense of what I would almost call "relief" washing over me. She was sober. She wanted me. I could have her, finally, after all this time, the way I wanted to have her. She was sure. My arms tightened around her, and an evil grin found it's way upon my lips as my thoughts shifted to a scene that was much more suited to the bedroom than a hardwood floor.