"I don't want it to hurt anymore." Emily sighed.

Hearing those words broke her heart into pieces. She couldn't stand the thought of Emily hurting so much while she was so powerless to protect her. Realizing that it wasn't words that Emily need, she tightened her arms around Emily's shoulders and softly kissed her head. She would do anything for this girl.

Moments passed in silence as they held each other. Paige glanced around the darkness in the room, her eyes falling easily upon the window bench, covered in quilted pillows. A memory tugging fondly at her heart. She had come to Emily, scared and confused. Emily had been there for her then.

~* "want to hear something funny?" Emily asked. Paige fought back her tears. "I would love to hear something funny." *~

The memory made Paige smile, but only briefly. She wanted to see Emily smile again.

"Do you want to go somewhere, Em?" She whispered quietly, part of her hoping Emily wouldn't hear so that she wouldn't have to feel the pain of the answer she feared.

"yea, actually I'd love to." Emily sighed sitting herself up.

Paige exhaled in relief, not realizing she had been holding her breath. She stood and grabbed Emily's hand, gently pulled her off the bed and leading her down the stairs. Stopping only to pick up their jackets that hung near the door, before heading out into the cool night.

They walked in silence down the street for a few moments listening to the sound of the crickets and the leaves rustling in the branches high above.

"where are we going?" Emily asked, genuinely curious.

"you'll see.." Paige answered giving Emily a mischievous smile. But her smile faltered as she looked back to the ground. Emily made her feel uncertain at times. Though not intentionally. Lately Paige couldn't tell if she was giving Emily everything that she needed. If she was helping her move on at all, or if she was just along for the ride. That frustrated her. She hated feeling weak and unsure. She told herself that it didn't matter. Emily mattered. But the feeling of helplessness ached in her bones.

Seeing Paige smile made Emily feel so much better. But something about Paige's face troubled her, she couldn't put her finger on it. Something about the slight wrinkle between her eye brows as she stared down at her feet. Worry, or some similar emotion. Guilt flooded through her. Realizing that she was probably the reason for everything that upset Paige. She hated admitting it to herself but it couldn't be denied. Emily had let her down so many times in the past. Paige had reached out to her in the beginning and Emily had never stopped telling herself that she had failed her. Instinct made Emily pull Paige's arm closer, hugging her tightly as they walked. Willing her not to disappear.

Paige felt Emily hug her arm, snapping her away from her thoughts, and sending a cool wave of calm over her body. She returned the pressure. They reached the end of the street where the sidewalk stopped and a gravel path slithered into the woods. The house lights had begun to fade away. As Paige stepped towards the tree line Emily's heart started to pound. She dug her nails into Paige's jacket, nervous about the darkness looming ahead of them. Paige sensed Emily's hesitation and immediately stopped, turning to face her. Concern spread across her face.

"Em?" she whispered "It's okay you can trust me. I promise I'll never hurt you…".

Emily stared into her deep brown eyes, so full of sincerity. Scolding herself mentally for thinking that Paige could ever be the one doing the hurting. 'That's my job.' she thought sadly. 'I hurt everything I touch.'

"I know." Emily replied. She swallowed hard, wiping the worry from her face as to not alarm Paige any further and allowed Paige to lead her forward, descending into the woods and away from the lights that blanketed the town. The air was warmer here. The thick cover of trees sheltering them from the cool September breeze. The smell of wood and fresh fallen rain from that morning reached Emily's nose, mixing well with scent of the wild honeysuckle that grew nearby.

Emily remembered how much she loved the woods. Marwyn Trail. She used to ride bikes here with her friends all summer. But it had become a sad and scary place after Ali had disappeared. Tainted by the people who combed the trees for any trace of the missing girl. Time had laid that memory to rest. Buried it even. Yet Emily had never come back to this trail. It touched too closely to wounds that she thought would never heal. Somehow being here with Paige calmed her mind. Instead of feeling the fear she thought she would, she felt relief. Closure. Like a new chapter was opening in her life, and Paige by her side felt right. She tighten her grip on Paige's arm again.

Paige smiled lightly and in return pulled her arm away, wrapping it around her waist instead, holding her tightly. She sneaked a glance over at Emily. 'Was she smiling?' There was enough moonlight shining across her face that she swore she saw Emily smile.

'God I hope so.' Paige thought. Emily's smiles had been so scarce lately. She always felt like they were standing on a precipice together, just biding her time until Emily came to her senses and pushed her off. Saying goodbye to her forever. The thought pained her, but she knew she had done nothing to deserve Emily in the first place. She was simply biding her time.

The trees thinned out after a few minutes, giving way to a small clearing. The sound of the creek running nearby caught Emily's attention, tightening her chest. She recognized it instantly. She had been here before, with Maya. They had dived into the water together and whispered quietly under the water fall. Her eyes stung. Emily knew the significance that this place held for her, but how did Paige? She let the word roll around in her head. Significance. After a moment another memory flashed through her mind.

"We've been here before" she said turning to face Paige. A smile slowly spreading across her lips.

"The day I thought I had lost you" Paige started. "I won't make that mistake twice Emily. I was asking too much of you. I was ashamed of myself and I hurt you." Emily watched helplessly as Paige's emotions changed from simple frustration to disgust. She recoiled at the thought that Paige was disgusted by her.

"I didn't blame you, Paige. I don't blame you." she mumbled weakly.

"I know, Em. I blame myself..how could I have ever wanted to hide you?" Realization crossed Emily's face. Paige wasn't disgusted with her, she was disgusted with herself. Emily felt her own anger growing. She hated that Paige fought with herself so much, and even worse that it was usually always her fault.

Paige was growing visibly angry with herself. Struggling with some internal battle that Emily desperately wanted to save her from. Frantically, Emily reached for the sides of Paige's jacket, pulling her close.

"Look at me, Paige" She pleaded. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. The way that you've been here for me when I've been completely falling apart…I..I just." Emily saw Paige's eyes darken as she stared off into the night. Emily sighed, dropping her eyes to the ground. 'I'm sorry" Emily whimpered. Paige's nerves jolted her, snapping her eyes back to Emily's face, realizing what the girl had been thinking

'sorry'? she thought. Know now that it wasn't Emily pushing her off the ledge. She was pushing herself. It was Emily that beckoned her back to safety. Why did she hurt everything she touched?

"oh, Em no!" she begged. " that's not what I…." Paige sighed heavily. Dropping her gaze to the ground "You deserve to be happy again. I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to make you happy again." Anger coursed through Emily's veins, pushing her forward.

"You make me happy!" Emily shouted. Grabbing Paige's face and forcing her eyes back. Emily slid her hands down wrapping them around Paige's waist pulling her close. Resting her head against Paige's chest. Begging for Paige to hold her too. But Paige was tense under her arms. Emily felt her eyes burn, her head spin, dizzying at the thought that she had allowed Paige to slip away from her. But she wasn't letting go. After a few beats in Paige's chest, she felt Paige's arms slid up, wrapping around her. Paige moved a hand up to Emily's hair, gently twisting her fingers into the silky strands. Holding her close.

"Do I?" Paige whispered, pressing her lips to the top of Emily's head. Breathing her in deeply. Lavender filled her nose. Emily tightened her grip on Paige in response

"Yes." she whispered into her chest. Emily looked to her feet. Something lying on the ground caught her eye. A small speck of pink, oddly placed against the green moss that covered ground. As her eyes focused she spotted another oddity, and another. Emily lifted her eyes past Paige looking over her shoulder. Surprised by what she saw. There, nestled under the large oak tree was a blanket covered in petals. Emily looked to Paige, wide eyed and questioning.

"our picnic." Paige said, smiling softly. "I wanted to surprise you." Emily was still frozen staring at it..

'oh no!' Paige thought, as she saw a small tear slide from the corner of Emily's eye. Paige grabbed her shoulders. Panicked. "I'm sorry, Em. I…I didn't mean to upset you." Paige could feel her own tears welling up and threatening to pour over. "Emily?" Paige cupped her face in her palms, wiping the tear and tucking a piece of stray hair behind her ear. Paige could feel her own tears betray her, sliding down her cheeks, burning into her. This startled Emily, snapping her back to Paige. Confusing her. she reached up tentatively and wiped the moisture that streaked Paige's skin. So soft.

"I love you" Emily whispered.

Paige's breath caught in her lungs. She couldn't move, couldn't think. She felt the ground start to shake and her knees buckle. Emily wrapped her arms tighter around Paige's waist and pulled her close, steadying her. Paige willed herself to speak, to move, to do..well anything. No combination of words could ever make her feel happier. Nothing compared to the feelings that raced through her body, tasting Emily's words on her tongue. Wanting to taste Emily.

It took everything in her to reach her hands around Emily's neck and pull their lips together. Softly driving them closer. Emily parted her lips slightly, brushing her tongue against Paige's lower lip. Begging for entrance. Paige returned the gesture, pushing her tongue eagerly to meet Emily's and holding her tighter against her body. Their tongues both searching and finding. Attempting to memorize every inch. Emily moaned lightly as the taste of Paige flooded across her tongue, sweet. Why had it been so long since she had kissed Paige like this. They had only shared careful chaste kisses lately. Emily knew that was her fault, but even the kiss by Paige's pool had failed in comparison to the passion they shared now.

Paige's heart thundered loudly in her ears as Emily's hot breath brushed across her mouth. She had wanted this, for so long. Emily loved her. She moved her lips softly to Emily's cheek and traced down her neck. Nipping and gently swirling her tongue as she went. Relishing the scent that waited for her there.

Emily ran her fingers through Paige's hair gathering it in her hands and holding her tightly. Shivering slightly as Paige ran her fingers slowly down, resting them on Emily's hip. Just barely making contact with her skin. The heat from her finger tips burning into her. Emily gasped loudly, slipping out of Paige's arms. Catching her breath. Paige staggered back, confused, and struggling to breath.

"Em are you okay? did I do…" hurt edged her voices, her eyes.

Emily gave her a reassuring smile, grabbing her hand and gently tugging her backwards towards the plaid blanket that lay sprawled out below the trees. Panic cut through Paige like a knife, making her heart skip as she took tiny steps towards Emily and towards a future she had never known. Seeing Paige tense up, Emily leaned in and whispered in her ear softly.

"remember..I love you." she smiled

Paige exhaled. Unaware that she had been holding her breath. Like she could have ever forgotten Emily's words? The reminder had the effect that Emily desired though, jump-starting her heart.

"I love you too." Paige whispered.

A small tear slid down Emily's cheek as she knelt on the blanket, pulling Paige down with her..kneeling before each other now. The nearby water danced casting rippling shadows on their skin. Paige reached for Emily, gently wiping the moisture from her skin, replacing it with a kiss. Slowly she used her free hand to slide Emily's jacket off of her shoulders. Letting it fall to the ground behind her. Paige brushed her fingers through Emily's hair, exposing her neck, before leaning in to kiss the tender flesh below her ear. Breathing her in once again. Emily moaned quietly, sending shocks through Paige. Jolting every nerve in her body. How could she ever live without Emily? She couldn't..not now, not ever.

Emily reached to slip Paige's jacket off, grabbing her tightly around her sides and holding her close. Paige released Emily's neck and moved back to her lips. Sucking gently on her lower lip. Biting softly, moving deeper. Massaging her tongue against Emily's. Her fingers trembled, lightly running them across the buttons on the front of Emily's shirt. Willing Emily to know what she wanted but refusing to push too hard. Emily's breathing became ragged. she gasped lightly. Paige pulled away, just enough to study her face, searching for any sign that she was taking it too far. Emily's eyes were dark, focused. Paige lifted her trembling fingers, brushed them again across the buttons that evaded her.

"Damnit." Paige thought. "take a deep breath".

But she couldn't. Emily was melted into her thoughts, her scent, her taste. She wanted to taste her again. Paige moved back to Emily's lips, fumbling against the tiny buttons. But Emily gasped and broke their kiss, grabbing Paige's hands to stop her and holding them down at her sides. She stared firmly into Paige's eyes. Paige squeezed her eyes shut, accepting defeat, scolding herself for jeopardizing any moment she spent with Emily. When Paige's breathing slowed Emily released her hands. Sliding her fingers under the seam and lifting her own shirt over her head, sending her dark waves cascading down around her shoulders.

Paige was in awe. Her eyes gliding easily across Emily's flesh. Across the pale blue lace that covered her breasts. It seemed to glow against Emily's tanned skin. Paige reached and touched the flat contours of her stomach. Her skin was so soft, and warm. Paige's fingers slid across her sides burning into her as they moved.

Emily shivered. The burning sensation moved with Paige's fingers, followed by the chill of the cool air in their absence. Paige dropped her hands from Emily and looked down. Taking a deep breath she wrapped her hands around the hem of her tee shirt she lifted it over her head.

Emily couldn't believe how the moon cast such a shiny glow on her creamy skin and the thin black satin that clung to her. She reached for Paige. Tangling her fingers into her hair and crashing their lips together again. She pressed her free hand to Paige's hip, gently pushing her back onto the blanket and falling lightly on top of her. Paige felt dizzy, intoxicated by the girl that held her tightly. By her breath against her lips. Tugging heavily on her heart. After a few moments Emily pulled back staring down into Paige's eyes.

"are you okay Paige?" Emily whispered

"Yes." Paige replied, giving her a nervous smile. Trying to hide her fear from her girlfriend. Realizing that she saw the same fear in Emily's eyes. Her lip quivered.

"Paige you can trust me. I'll never hurt you." Emily whispered softly. Brushing Paige's hair from her neck, but never leaving her eyes.

Paige loved the way "sweet Emily" would use her own words against her. And she knew better than to be scared, but this was knew territory for her. Emily had been with Maya. That truth sent pain through her heart, even though there was nothing she could do about it. That didn't mean it hurt any less. But it didn't matter. Emily mattered.

Emily watched as the emotions played across Paige's face. She leaned in, suckling lightly on Her quivering lip. Reassuring her. "Emily matters." Paige repeated in her mind. Nothing else.

Paige pulled her tighter slipping her tongue across the heat of Emily's mouth. Paige's breathing grew heavier. Emily softly traced the outline of Paige's bra. Front clasp. She smiled between Paige's lips as she slid her fingers underneath, unhooking the front and allowing it to fall open. Running her fingers lightly down her chest, resting them just between Paige's breasts. Emily pulled away, just enough to look into her eyes, searching for any hint of hesitation. She found none.

"you're so beautiful, Paige". She whispered, pressing their lips together softly.

Paige trembled under her body, reaching around to unhook the back of the pale blue lace. Letting it fall to the ground. Emily smiled through their kiss. Clearly a little caught off guard by Paige's bravery. Emily ran her hand across the top of Paige's head and into her hair, tilting her head back further and exposing the soft skin on her neck that Emily wanted so desperately to taste. Pulling her lips away, she nuzzled her Paige's neck. The scent she found was amazing. Wondering if her lips would feel as amazing to Paige, as it had felt to Emily when Paige had kissed her there. Emily lowered her mouth to the skin below her jaw line, nipping her softly. She could feel Paige tighten her jaw beneath her lips, but she continued anyways, licking slowly down her neck. Paige sighed heavily, the sound shocking Emily's system. She moved her lips, licking below Paige's ear and swirled her tongue working her way down her throat. Stopping only to listen to the thud of her pulse. She moved her free hand up to Paige's breast, gently squeezing and tugging at her nipple, twisting it firmly between her fingers. Paige moaned louder, covering Emily's body in chills. Emily felt empowered as she tried to memorize Paige's body, every sound she made, every quiver. Emily worked her tongue down to Paige's breast, nipping and sucking the tender skin before taking her hardened nipple into her mouth, biting her softly.

Paige could feel tiny sparks shoot through her body. Her vision blurred, forcing her to shut her eyes, burying her face in Emily's hair, breathing her in. Lavender. She wrapped her fingers in her hair holding Emily close, closer as Emily trailed her finger lightly down to the button on her jeans. Paige tensed, fear making itself known once again. Emily quickly leaned up and planted a kiss on Paige's lips, cutting off any protest that may have been forming in her mind. Paige was scared. She was too.

"I need you, Paige." Emily stared into her eyes.

Paige could see that need in Emily's eyes, and the same nervousness that plagued her. She bit down hard on her lower lip . Emily's eyes furrowed as she leaned down and kissed the swollen lip softly, then pulled back slowly to study Paige's face. Any hint of fear she had caught before was now gone. Paige's eyes were dark, burning into her. Wanting her. Emily slid her fingers down and unbuttoned her jeans, not breaking eye contact. Watching her breathe and willing Paige to know she was here, she was safe.

Paige's thoughts eased though her body was still slightly tense. Emily smiled softly, sliding Paige's jeans down and off of her legs. Paige reached and grabbed Emily's hand tightly, clinging to her. The memory rushed back to Emily in a flash.

~*The two of them sitting together on the window bench. The first time they had really kissed each other, deeply. Paige had grabbed her hand then. Needing Emily to be there. Needing to be touched.*~

She squeezed her hand tightly, reassuringly, not letting go. Emily leaned down and kissed her stomach licking slowly down to the crease of her hip, planting a soft kiss. Slowly she began grazing her lips lightly over the black satin that clung to Paige's flesh. Paige gasped feeling Emily's breath through the thin fabric. Emily hooked her fingers underneath gently tugging them down and off, dragging her fingers across her skin as she went. Paige could feel her skin burning under Emily's touch. The way she ran her fingers lightly up her legs. Her pulse hammered in her ears, her throat tightening. She again lowered her lips to the crease of Paige's hip. Paige's hand still clinging to her own. She loved that. She could feel the trembling radiating through Paige's entire body. Emily squeezed her hand tightly. She used her free hand to spread Paige's legs apart gently.

"open up to me, Paige." She whispered

Paige trembled, but did as she asked. Her breath hitching in her throat as Emily lowered her mouth onto the moisture that waited between her thighs, tasting her fully. Paige gasped at the heat of Emily's tongue on her, spreading shivers through her entire body. She licked slowly, sliding her tongue slowly between Paige's folds. Flicking as she went. Her taste intoxicated her heavily. She should have known. With how sweet Paige's mouth had tasted, her neck, it was only fitting that her entire body would too.

Paige moaned sending jolts from Emily's mouth down to her feet. She slid her fingers to Paige's opening rubbing softly, rhythmically. Rotating her fingers over her wet flesh. Glancing up at Paige.

"mmmm." Paige threw her head back. She arched her back pulling away from Emily's touch slightly but Emily caught her quickly grabbing her hips and forcing her back down. Paige moaned loudly digging her nails into Emily's hand and the other hand into the ground beside her.

"oooooh, fuck!" she cried. using the her grip on the blanket to hold herself down.

She pushed her fingers into Paige, rubbing faster and lowering her lips to suck on her clit, softly then harder, humming. Paige moaned louder, feeling a pressure start in the pit of her stomach, tension spreading across her hips. The pressure grew unbearable until finally exploding.

"oh …oh Emily!" Pure pleasure shot through her veins, exploding into sparks, making her whole body tremble and jerk. "Ooooooh." Emily tasted the sweet wetness flowing slowly from Paige. watching her movements slow as she came down from her orgasm. Emily kissed her softly, knowing she would be sensitive to her touch now. Her breathing was heavy, with tiny beads of sweat trailed her stomach, her breasts. Paige tugged heavily on Emily's hand, pulling her back up and wrapping her arms around Emily's neck. Kissing her. Tasting herself on Emily's tongue snapped a passion inside of her as if she just now believed that Emily was hers.

Paige still lay flat on her back, with Emily straddling her hips. Towering over her, like a goddess. She pushed her head off of the ground, pulling Emily's breast into her mouth sucking on hot skin, biting her nipple lightly and making Emily gasp. She moved her hands slowly down Emily's stomach, unbuttoning her jeans with one quick tug and shoving them down. Emily took the hint and kicked them off of her feet. Still straddling Paige. She placed her hands above Paige's shoulders to brace herself. Emily bit down on her lower lip. Following her lead, Paige lifted her head to kiss her lip softly.

"I love you" Paige whispered. Grabbing Emily's face and pressing her lips to Emily's once more. sucking her lip harder. Her hand slid down Emily's stomach, finding the pale blue lace, and dragging her fingers across. Never breaking their kiss. Emily moaned louder at this Paige. Brave Paige. Passionate Paige. She wrapped her arms tightly around Paige's neck attempting to bury her face into her hair. Paige's hand froze on the spot above her pubic bone.

"Emily? Look at me." choosing her words carefully she added. "Don't look away."

Emily did as she asked. Paige kissed her lips softly before saying

"I want to see you…while I…."

Paige cut off her own words and moved her fingers under the blue lace between Emily's thighs, making her gasp. Paige smiled slightly.

"Are you okay?" Paige ran her fingers over the wetness she found waiting for her. Emily's eyes slammed shut, whimpering. "Emily?" Paige whispered.

Emily opened her eyes staring down at the girl she loved, and held her gaze. Paige continued then, running her fingers up and down Emily's slippery hot flesh. Feeling the hardened pearl Paige pinched it softly. Emily cried out, but never lost her eyes. Paige smiled as Emily bit down on her lip, trying to silence herself from screaming. She swirled her fingers faster over Emily's clit. Making smooth circular motions, squeezing her clit firmly between her fingertips.

"damnit, Paige." Emily's hair slid down over her face, so Paige used her free hand to gather it, gently pulling Emily's head back. Paige moved her fingers faster, causing Emily cry out again. She could feel the peak forming between her thighs. Sensing Emily was close Paige pulled back, slowing her movements. Delaying the pulse between her legs. Emily pressed her lips down against Paige's mouth. Her breathing ragged. But Paige wasn't easily distracted. Catching her off guard. Paige pushed her fingers inside of Emily's hot center, gently thrusting them upwards. So wet. Emily cried out again, breaking away from Paige's lips. Moving her thumb in circular motions over Emily's clit she rubbed faster. Paige was lost in Emily's eyes, watching every emotion on her face in wonder, stunned by how gorgeous she was.

"Yea" Emily screamed out. Paige felt Emily contract around her fingers all at once as the gentle flow of moisture flowed down her wrist. Emily clung to Paige's body and trembling. Warmth enveloping her entire body. Emily shook with pleasure. Paige raised her hand slowly to her lips, licking from her wrist to her finger tips in one soft stroke. Tasting the sweetness that covered her skin. Emily stared down at her, before crashing their lips together. After a few beats Paige broke from Emily's lips and smiled at her. Emily ran her fingers through Paige's hair, still panting heavily, biting her lower lip.

"I love you Paige." she whispered

"Always." Paige whispered back

Paige pulled her down onto her shoulder holding her tight, never wanting to let go. She reached for the edges of the blanket that lay beneath them and pulled it over Emily's back, still holding her close. Emily buried her nose into Paige's hair, inhaling deeply, memorizing the sweet scent. Orange with maybe a hint of Vanilla.

"beep" Emily's phone chimed in the dark pile where her clothes had fallen. Every muscle in her body tightened. Paige noticed. She tried to push up from under Emily's shoulders to study her face in the darkness.

"Em, what's wrong? Do you need me to grab that for you." she asked softly. Emily stared down at Paige, relaxing because of the worry she saw reflecting in her eyes.

"no..I'm sorry." she smiled pushing Paige back down and kissing her softly. It would have to wait. She was happy now, finally

Kelly Clarkson, *ANYTIME* (I do not own the rights to these lyrics)

Anytime you feel like you just can't hold on
Just hold on to my love and I'll help you be strong
But you're so afraid to lose, and baby I can't reach your heart
I can't face this world that's keeping us apart
When I can be the one to show you
Everything you missed before
Just hold on now, cause I could be the one to give you more
Let you know

Anytime you need love baby I'm on your side
Just let me be the one I can make it alright
Anytime you need love baby you're in my heart
I can make it alright

I look into your eyes, and I feel it coming through
And I can't help but want you more than I want to
So baby take all of your fears, and cast them all on me
'Cause all I ever wanted was just to make you see
That I could be the one to give you
All that you've been searching for
Just hold on to my love, and baby let me give you more
You know, anytime

Anytime you need love baby I'm on your side
Just let me be the one I can make it alright
Anytime you need love baby you're in my heart
I can make it alright

And now there's no way out
And I can't help the way I feel
'Cause baby you're the fire and I'll be waiting right here
You know my love is real, baby
Yeah yeah yeah

Anytime you need love baby I'm on your side, you know
Just let me be the one I can make it alright
Anytime you need love baby you're in my heart
I can make it alright