This is the sequel to 'The Way We Get By." I was so overwhelmed by the response it got and can't thank everyone who reviewed and read it enough. Like before, this just wouldn't get of my head until I wrote it down. I'm posting it separately because I didn't want to change the rating of the other one. Hopefully, anyone who reads this will enjoy it as much as it's predecessor. As always, reviews are more than appreciated.

"You know I've never done this before right?"

Emily's smirk above her was almost unnerving, even as her eyes wandered to Paige's bare stomach. "Never done what?"

For a second, Paige was confused. Did she really not know? But of course she did. She just wanted to hear Paige say it. She was going to act cute and clueless, but really wanted Paige to admit it out loud.

"I've never…"

Paige let her head fall back onto the bed, taking in their state of undress while she stalled. Her shirt was somewhere on the floor next to them, which was more than she could say for Emily's tank top laying in the middle of the hallway outside of her bedroom. Her pants were unbuttoned, pulled down to an almost obscene placement on her hips. Emily's pants hadn't even made it onto the bed.

It had started off innocently enough. Emily had found Paige ecstatic upon walking into her house. The doctor had just cleared her to start swimming again and her parents were away for the weekend, the first time they had left since before Nate happened. So she had kissed Emily, unable to contain her excitement at what both of those things meant.

The past month had been hard on the two of them. Paige's parents would not bend on the Emily situation. They wanted Paige to stay as far away from her as possible. But it was impossible for Paige to listen to them, especially when Emily seemed more and more desperate to see her with each passing day.

They had snuck around a little, meeting early and staying late for school. Even though Paige wasn't allowed in the pool, she still went to every practice, insisting to her father that she just wanted to make sure the team didn't think she was deserting them. In reality, she only went for the intense make out sessions in the locker room when no one else was around.

Emily had been changing since the incident with Nate. Not obviously; Paige would be surprised if anyone besides her had noticed. But god did she notice.

It was the way Emily's eyes lingered on her body, shamelessly drinking in every inch of her. It was the way her hands roamed over Paige's body when they were together, at first hesitant but eventually more sure as Paige wordlessly told her it was okay. It was the noises she made, something Paige had never heard before, that were soft and reassuring and gave Paige an indescribable feeling in knowing she was behind them. But more than anything, it was the new playful attitude Emily had adopted, as though Nate hadn't happened and A wasn't an issue and the only thing standing between the two of them being together was their own limitations.

"You never what?" Emily prompted again, her dark hair spilling over her shoulder and tickling Paige's face. Her teasing made Paige smile nervously at what was really bothering her.

Emily had had sex. Emily had had sex more than once. But it wasn't that she had had sex, but that Paige hadn't. The thought reverberated through Paige's mind, distracting her even as her mouth opened but no words came out.

Taking pity on her, Emily leaned forward and grabbed the paler girl's hand. "Hey. I'm not being serious."

"I know." Paige shrugged. "I've just never…" And then they were back to it again. Paige had never had sex. Not with a boy, not with a girl. She hadn't even come close. She'd never been naked next to someone or felt comfortable enough with them to give their hands free reign over her body. Until Emily.

Because there they were, settled on her comforter, when just seconds before Emily had been on top of her, pressing her into the bed and undressing her in the heat of the moment. Until she had been stupid enough to say what she had said.

"I know," Emily whispered, an instant shift in her attitude apparent on her face. "There's nothing wrong with that. We don't have to do anything you don't want to." She went to sit up, only to be stopped by Paige's hand on her arm.

"I do." She swallowed hard. "Want to. I just don't know…"

As usual, Emily's face was understanding, adopting a much more serious look. "You don't have to know," Emily murmured, brushing her lips over Paige's. "I'll show you."

The thought scared Paige more than the thought of her winging it. If she let Emily show her, she would lose any control she still had left over herself. Emily would consume her completely, and she was positive that she would never be the same. She wouldn't be able to get her mind off of Emily if they did that. Not that she could anyway. But it would only get worse.

"Do you trust me?" Emily said quietly, her eyes trained on Paige's face. Paige was surprised to hear the question come out of Emily's mouth. Of course she trusted her. There wasn't anyone in the world she trusted more. Nodding, she swallowed and let out all the air she had been holding back in one rush.

"Turn over."


"Trust me. Turn over."

Without another question, Paige did as Emily asked, rolling over onto her stomach. The bed shifted and Emily settled herself back on top, knees on either side of Paige's waist. "You're too tense."

And then her hands were kneading the skin and muscles of Paige's back, somehow finding every spot that ached and soothing them. Emily's hands were strong and warm and definitely knew what they were doing.

"You shouldn't let yourself get like this."

Paige made a noise in the back of her throat but didn't answer. It wasn't like she had done it on purpose. She was still behind in her schoolwork from the days she had missed after the kidnapping. She hadn't been able to work her stress out in the pool like she normally would have. And having Emily for her girlfriend had quickly built her sexual tension up to an almost unbearable amount.

"Next time, just tell me and I'll help you."

Without thinking about it, she sighed, closing her eyes and smiling a little as Emily's hands worked their way over Paige's shoulders and down her arms. After what felt like forever, they reached her hands and then their fingers were intertwining, even though Paige hadn't been quite ready for the massage to end.

Emily's hands urged hers upwards, crossing her wrists on her head and pressing them down into the pillow there. For a second, Paige was confused. Why wasn't Emily telling her to flip back over, urging her to pick up where they had left off? Before Paige could say anything, though, Emily's lips pressed against the space between her shoulder blades, and suddenly her mind was blank.

Every nerve in Paige's body was on fire, instantly conscious of every movement that Emily made. The way her breath was soft and warm, the way her tongue lightly flicked across every surface her mouth touched, the way her hands kept Paige's grounded, forcing her to stay still and accept the lavish attention. It all made her feel light headed and free, like whatever had been bothering her meant absolutely nothing.

"Don't move," came the whispered command in Paige's ear. Like she had even been thinking of moving. To impress her point, Emily gripped Paige's wrists tighter for a second, pressing them down in the bed. Then her fingers were gone and drifting back down Paige's back, tracing patterns on her sides once again.

Her hands twitching, Paige struggled to restrain herself from reaching behind her and pulling Emily down onto her level. She felt Emily's fingers slip underneath the elastic of her bra, rubbing circles until Paige began to feel drowsy again.

"Do you remember the day you kissed me?" There had been so many, too many to remember, but Paige knew which one in particular the other girl was talking about. It had been the first time they had seen each other after the attack, the first time she had been able to breath again. Paige nodded her head, letting her eyes continue growing heavy at the movement of Emily's fingers. "The way you made me feel when you kissed me…" Her sentence trailed off and in her mind, Paige could see the look on Emily's face, her lips slightly parted and the astonished expression she always wore when something new happened between them. "I want you to feel that way."

Her last sentence was murmured against the skin in the middle of Paige's back, sending a chill up her neck even as she sighed in contentment. If Emily kept it up, she was going to find herself sitting on a sleeping girlfriend.

And then Emily unhooked her bra.

Paige was instantly wide awake. The past month had been a time for new things, and they had frequently found themselves with hands roaming underneath shirts and just inside pants. But never bras. Emily seemed to sense her hesitance. Paige felt her shift, and then Emily's mouth was brushing over the skin there.

"Em." Paige heard the name slip between her lips, barely even noticing the desire laced through the sound. But Emily did. Her lips pressed harder, the tip of her tongue trailing along lightly. There was a feeling in the pit of Paige's stomach, something she had become accustomed to over the past couple of weeks but finally couldn't take anymore.

It was too much for her to handle. She flipped underneath of Emily, twisting her body until somehow Emily's knees were pressing into her sides, right below her rib cage. The look on Emily's face made Paige smile. Surprised but not shocked, and more than a little turned on.

"I do," Paige whispered, making Emily's face gain a new hint of confusion until she elaborated. "Feel that way." The wrinkle between Emily's eyes began to smooth out, and Paige wanted to kiss her right then, more than she had ever wanted to before. "You make me feel that way every time you kiss me, every time you touch me." Barking out a short, semi-embarrassed laugh, Paige glanced away. "Pretty much every time you even look at me."

One of the things she loved about Emily was the way her eyes got darker when they were together. It was a gradual deepening in the color, the way it shifted from a warm brown, to a deep chocolate and then finally to something bordering on black. And it was all because of Paige.

Leaning down, Emily brushed her lips over Paige's, smiling at the way the paler girl's breath caught in her throat. "You're perfect," she whispered, although Paige knew she couldn't have been farther from that if she tried.

"I'm a mess."

Shaking her head, Emily smiled. "You're perfect." Her tone was serious, yet somehow playful at the same time, still mirroring the lust filled look on her face. Hands sliding up Paige's sides, her fingers lingered on the remnants of her bruise that was just returning to skin normal color before continuing their journey.

At her chest, Emily's hands fingers played with the bottom of Paige's bra, her eyes taking in it's precarious location, the way it was placed in just the right way so that it covered her. It was clear what Emily's intentions were.

"What was it like? The first time you…?" The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them, making Paige freeze at the thought of Emily wanting to stop just because she had brought up Maya.

"I don't know." Surprisingly, she didn't look as affected by the question as Paige would have thought. Almost as if she was trying to find something to compare it to, Emily's eyes wandered the room. "I guess it was like a lot of people's first times. A little awkward…but good." Paige nodded, suddenly curious as to exactly what had gone on between the two of them. Not that she would ever ask that of Emily. "It just sort of happened. I wasn't expecting it to but then we were just there and it felt right so…" Emily's shoulders moved up and down, even as her fingers started to pull away from Paige.

It made sense to Paige. She hadn't planned on doing what they were about to do when she had invited Emily over that morning. She had thought that at most, they would make out a little bit, things heavy but nothing like what was actually happening.

Paige whispered, "If we do this, what will it mean?"

Emily's voice was equally quiet, yet much more sure in her answer. "It'll mean that it happened. It'll mean that I love you and you love me. It will mean that we're fine and we're together and we're going to be okay."

Emily's hands had somehow found their way to Paige's head, cupping her face and running her thumbs across Paige's cheeks. "We don't have to do anything. It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow or next week. It doesn't even have to be next year. It just has to be when you're ready."

Nodding, Paige looked away from Emily's intense gaze, trying to shut out all of her fears and insecurities and do what felt right to her.

"I am. Ready, I mean." And she was. She had been ready since that day when they had stopped because her side was hurting her too bad. She had been ready for the entire month that followed. And she was positive Emily felt the same exact way. But she was still nervous. "I just don't want it to not be good for you."

The look of understanding on Emily's face almost made Paige want to cry with the realization that Emily had once been exactly where she was and felt exactly what she was feeling.

"You have nothing to worry about," Emily reassured. "You are perfect." There was that word again, that phrase, aimed at Paige even though she knew that Emily was blindly missing what Paige saw so prevalently in herself. She was nowhere near perfect. She was awkward and easy to anger and didn't know how to function normally in relationships.

And then there was Emily, who actually was perfect. From her perfect body, to her perfect face to her perfect sense of being. For some reason, she had been graced with the ability to handle things in a way that most normal people never would have even considered. And in return, Paige had been graced with her, despite the fact that she may have not deserved her.

Neither of them said anything for a moment, Emily's eyes boring down onto Paige's face, a smile still lingering on her mouth. Leaning down again, Paige felt her heart begin to pound as Emily's lips pressed against hers, urging her mouth open for more access. At the same time, Emily's fingers had moved underneath Paige's bra, not removing it completely but getting dangerously close to something neither of them would be able to come back from.

It that moment, Paige knew that it was right. She understood what Emily had meant when she said that. And she was positive that there was nothing that could ever happen to make her regret the decision she was about to make.

This time, Paige threw herself into the kiss, knowing it would catch Emily off guard. Her hands caressed Emily's back, sliding down until she could begin pushing the other girl's underwear off. Against her mouth, she felt Emily's grin but didn't know what could have caused it.

"Slow down," Emily murmured, making Paige freeze. "It's been awhile for me too." Paige laughed awkwardly, still toying with the hem of Emily's underwear. "Just…let's take our time, okay?"

Nodding, she blew out a deep breath, hoping it would help calm her down. Instead, of staying calm though, she felt her nerves increase as Emily's fingers began to creep downwards, ghosting over her flat stomach and quickly reaching the top of Paige's pants. So much for taking it slow.

Pushing the pants further down Paige's legs, Emily kept her eyes on the other girl's face, obviously trying to make sure she didn't cross any lines Paige wasn't ready for. To make her move a little faster, Paige lifted her hips, pushing them down herself until Emily could completely remove them.

Expecting a questioning stare, Paige was slightly surprised when she looked down and only saw the top of Emily's head. And then she felt lips against her stomach, claiming the skin there and worshipping it at the same time. Fingers grazed over her knee, moving up the inside of her thigh until they brushed over the only material still covering her. In that moment, Paige felt her entire body freeze.

"Em," she murmured, even though she had no idea what she wanted to tell the other girl. And it seemed like Emily understood that, only increasing the pressure of her fingers and rubbing her hand in a way that threatened to make Paige's head explode.

It was already too much for Paige, too much for her to feel or comprehend or even think about. But it wasn't enough. She didn't just want a part a Emily, slowly moving over her body, making sure that she didn't go further than Paige wanted. Paige wanted all of Emily, above her and around her and inside of her. Nothing less.

Once again, Emily seemed to read her mind, finding the top of Paige's underwear and pulling them down. Before she even had a chance to think about being embarrassed, Emily's hand was back in place, doing the same as before but with completely different results.

Paige's hips lifted off the bed, involuntarily pushing up into Emily's touch and searching for more, something else. "Emily." This time, the name was moaned and Emily's face broke into a grin.

Her hand was on Paige's knee, firm as she urged the paler girl to open her legs, her thumb expertly moving and making Paige's body twitch.

"Breathe." Suddenly Emily's voice was in her ear, sending shivers across her neck and down her back. How could one word have such an effect on her, making her feel hopeful and apprehensive and completely sure of what was happening between them? "Just breathe."

Paige felt her head nodding, even before she was comprehending what Emily was saying. Emily, whose hand was somewhere Paige had only imagined it before, working between her legs and working her up into a state she knew she wouldn't be able to back away from.

"Is this…?" For the first time, Paige heard the hint of mirroring anxiety in Emily's voice, whispered lowly into her ear although she didn't know how the tanner girl could ask a question like that.

"Yes. Yes. Just don't…" Emily's pressure increase, making Paige lose her concentration. "Don't…" Shaking her head, her moaned quietly, knowing Emily would find her difficulty with words amusing. "Don't stop," she finally whispered.

There were lips on her collarbone, following the sharp line across her neck, down her sternum and quietly nudging the skewed bra on her chest away. Paige had forgotten she was even wearing it. She had also forgotten why she had been so unsure about taking it off. She needed Emily to see all of her, everything, inside and out, from her naked body to her naked thoughts. That was the only way that Paige would ever be able to keep herself grounded.

Fingers wandered, probing in places that even Paige hadn't really had the chance to explore. And then Emily was inside of her, a feeling that made Paige arch off of the bed, gasping at the sudden fullness that overtook her. Blearily, she glanced at Emily, whose mouth was now paying lavish attention on her chest, pulling the hardened skin there into her mouth and using her tongue to keep working Paige up.

"Em." For someone whose voice was at the lower end of the spectrum, Paige was surprised by the high pitched whine that came from her mouth, desperation and lust evident in the cadence of the other girl's name. "I'm…" Why was it so hard for her to form complete sentences anymore?

"I know," murmured Emily into her ear, the close proximity catching Paige off guard again. When had she moved? "Relax." Paige was trying, she really was. But her chest was heaving and Emily was rhythmically pushing in and out of her, making her realize she had somehow missed the addition of a second finger.

Control. Control was the only thing Paige had ever striven for in her life. And here she was, laid out on her own bed, completely out of control of her very own body, all because of one girl. One girl who knew how manipulate her in all of the best ways.

At some point, Emily's free hand connected with Paige's, their fingers intertwining and clutching at one another. Paige's lips parted, although she wasn't quite sure what was going to come out of her mouth, and Emily took the opportunity, kissing her fiercely on the mouth. Paige moaned again, her body twisting on the bed as Emily's unoccupied hand squeezed hers again.

It was sex. It was sex and love and frenzied lust, all rolled up into the pulse of Emily's fingers, her mouth on Paige and the way their hands fit so perfectly together. It was also over too soon. Much too soon.

Just like that, Paige felt the tightening in her lower stomach, the ache between her legs intensifying, the ringing in her ears making it almost impossible to think about anything but that moment. And even though she tried to stall it, tried to prolong the way she felt so utterly connected to Emily, she couldn't.

Her head fell back, even as her body writhed on the bed. Noises she had never expected fell from her mouth, usually incoherent but occasionally resembling some form of Emily's name.

Eventually, her body settled against the bed, pressed against Emily's, whose fingers still moved lazily inside of Paige. Her breathing was harsh as she cracked open her eyes to look at the other girl above her. "That was…"

Emily cut her off. "I love you." Her lips crashed against Paige's, almost taking her by surprise. Almost. Paige kissed her back, quickly figuring out that Emily was just as desperate for her as she had been for Emily. From the way Emily's teeth were nipping at her mouth, the almost rough feeling to her grasp, Paige knew she didn't want things to slow down between them.

Pushing Emily, Paige managed to roll them over that she was the one on top, Emily's fingers leaving her in the process. Paige instantly missed the feeling. Instead of letting Emily make any comments, she grabbed her wrist and tugged her up into a sitting position, her hands sliding across Emily's ribs and unhooking her bra.

Pausing for a brief second, she let her forehead rest against Emily's, still trying to catch her breath even as she was sliding the garment down her arms, refusing to be the first to break eye contact. In front of her, Emily's eyes were wide and intense, impatiently waiting to see what Paige's next move was going to be. What was her next move going to be?

How Emily always seemed to know what she was thinking blew her mind. But sure enough, the darker girl's face softened right before she kissed Paige gently. "Stop worrying about it."

Nodding, Paige licked her lips, still feeling slightly unsure. "We don't have to do anything else," Emily added. "We could just lay in bed for the rest of the day. Watch a movie…"

But Paige didn't want that. She wouldn't mind staying in bed all day but there was no way she would waste that time on something as trivial as a movie. She wanted Emily naked. She wanted to make Emily feel the same way she had. She wanted to spend every second of their time together getting to know one another's bodies.

She leaned forward, watching as Emily's eyes narrowed on her face. "I don't want to watch a movie," she whispered. Her lips parted and she saw Emily moving forward, eyes now trained on her mouth. "But I can think of some other stuff I'd like to do."

Her eyebrows shooting up, Emily let Paige push her back onto the bed as they kissed lazily. It wasn't that Paige was stalling, but she did need a couple minutes to actually convince herself that everything happening was in fact reality. How many times had she imagined her and Emily doing more, blushing at the very thought of seeing the other girl naked. And here they were, the only article of clothing between them Emily's underwear.

As her lips moved to Emily's neck, Paige tried to gather her thoughts. She would be the first person to admit that she was nervous. But that wasn't something she would clue Emily in to. Instead, she would do what she had always done. Fake it until she figured it out for herself.

"Paige?" The question in Emily's voice made her hesitate. Was she doing something wrong. "I need…." Her voice was breathy and suddenly Paige knew what she was implying, what she was asking for. The though that Emily was even the slightest bit bossy in bed made her grin. In the back of her mind, a part of her had always expected something like that from the tanner girl.

"Paige?" This time, Emily's half question, half demand was followed by a nudge with her knee.

Using her left hand, Paige pushed Emily's leg open, knowing the other leg would do the same. Her fingers grazed over the skin of Emily's inner thighs, teasing and rubbing, until the desperation on Emily's face was apparent. And then Paige stopped. "What…?

And then Paige was sliding down her body, pressing hot open mouthed kisses along every inch of skin she passed. "What are you doing?" Glancing up at Emily, Paige smiled. Like she needed to explain her actions.

Reaching Emily's hips, she pressed her lips against the bones protruding there, remembering how similar their positions had been once before. Her fingers pushed down Emily's underwear, her body still inching lower with the garment. "Paige."

Smirking, Paige sat back on her heels as she left Emily completely naked. "Now who needs to calm down?"

Emily at least had the decency to look like she felt bad. "Sorry," she murmured. "I just... I don't want you to feel like you have to do anything."

Shaking her head, Paige smiled. "I don't." She shifted, laying her body over Emily's. And it was true. She didn't felt like she had to do anything. She wanted to, more than she had ever wanted to do anything before. So she did.

It took time to make Emily relax, nipping gently at the skin on the inside of her thighs. All the while, her hands ran over Emily's hips, rubbing and applying pressure, meanwhile making their way to meet her mouth at their common goal.

When she got there, it was both everything she had imagined and nothing like she had pictured in her mind. Emily was loud and breathy on the bed above her, the lilt of her moans filling Paige with a warm feeling and making the ache between her legs return. At first, she was hesitant, the taste unfamiliar and strong, and the way she couldn't see Emily's face flashing in the back of her mind.

And then she remembered that it was Emily. There was nothing about Emily that should be foreign or unknown to her. Everything about her was perfect, from the way she tasted to the way she sounded to the way she was holding onto Paige's hair so tightly.

Paige gripped Emily's hips, pulling her down and as close to her as they could physically get. There was no need for any space between them. "Paige." Emily's voice reached her ears, desperate and wanton. "Can you…?" Her body pressed down further, making Paige smirk at the unvoiced command. Of course she was still giving orders.

"Paige!" Emily's hips jerked, making Paige smile again. She was so impatient. To hold her down, she pressed her palm flat against Emily's stomach again, feeling the way it rose and fell rapidly with her breath. Her other hand continued down, sinking into Emily and solidifying the way everything just felt right. Everything about Emily was tight and hot and exhilarating, even down to her commands as Paige did everything in her power to work the other girl up.

There was nothing in her history that had really told what she needed to do, but somehow she just knew. She knew when to use her teeth and when to use her tongue. She knew just when to curl her fingers inside of Emily, making her cry out. Most importantly, she knew how to read Emily's body language, rocking against her and moving with her body.

Like before, it was over much too soon for Paige. She wanted to make it last, wanted to make her feel like she had felt not long before. But it was no use. Emily's body was already mimicking her earlier actions, trembling and tense beneath Paige.

"Paige. God." If she had been able to, Paige would have made some sort of smart remark about Emily using her name in that way, but she couldn't. All she could do was make a botched attempt at a laugh before increasing the speed of her movements. At least if Emily was going to be so fast, Paige would be able to make it worth it.

Emily's volume rose, her nails tugging harder on Paige's hair. "Oh, god. Paige!" And then she was gone, tight around Paige's fingers and clenched thighs around her head.

After she had settled down, her chest still rising and falling rapidly, Emily turned her attention back to Paige, grabbing her and pulling her back up the bed. Before Paige had a chance to say anything, Emily was whispering, "You are perfect," before their lips crashed together. Paige still didn't agree with her on that, but could agree with the fact that they were perfect together.

Because she could feel it in the pounding of her heart, the pumping of her blood, the breaths that were just beginning to slow back down. It was right and safe and it was completely them.

Hours later, they laid in bed, their limbs tangled underneath the sheet and their fingers loosely laced together.

"We don't have much time." Paige's mind was on their practice that evening, something they needed to start getting ready for if they were going to be on time.

"We have all the time in the world," came Emily's answer, quiet and sure and convincing enough to make Paige believe her. She was right. The first time may have been rushed and unplanned and imperfect, but they all the time in the world to keep going and practicing and getting to know one another inside and out. And just like they had always been when they were together, they would be perfect.