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A Coffee Break
By ralst


"They were visiting a sex therapist?"

"Three times a week for the past couple of months," Sofia elaborated, passing the bank statement to Catherine and indicating the highlighted entries.

"When you say sex therapist...?" Catherine let the question trail off but from the smirk on the detective's face she knew they were both thinking the same thing.

"Not this time." Opening a draw Sofia extracted a slim and elegant looking brochure that she again passed to Catherine. "They're licensed sexual therapists and counsellors, specialising in both marriage guidance and sexual dysfunction."

Catherine couldn't help but smile. "I hope your familiarity with their set-up is strictly work related."

Sofia took a moment to enjoy the easy banter and shared humour, so different from their initial encounters during her stint as a member of the graveyard shift, before gifting Catherine with one of her more sultry looks. "Believe me, Catherine, I have no problems in that department."

Catherine's smile faltered for a second before she allowed herself the luxury of laughter, her joyous response earning a few looks from the other detectives dotted around the PD and a wider smile from Sofia. The younger woman had been doing that a lot more frequently, Catherine thought, her smile a welcome sight after hours spent peering through a magnifying glass or covered in grease and wedged beneath the tires of some banged up vehicle. Not that Sofia had suddenly turned into Little Miss Sunshine but there was a contentment and generosity of spirit that Catherine had never noticed before.

"You have a lovely smile."

It was Sofia's turn to falter, her good mood appearing to vanish at the compliment before reappearing in the shape of a bashful grin.

Catherine leaned forward. "What's your secret?"

"Secret? What do you mean?"

It wasn't the time or the place but suddenly Catherine had to know what it was that had lifted the gloom from Sofia's shoulders. "You're happy."


"So... It's new and it suits you and I want to know your secret."

Sofia retrieved the brochure and quickly locked it away in her draw with the other evidence pertaining to their latest case. She wasn't sure exactly what Catherine wanted to know but she was sure that she didn't want to discuss it in a room full of cops.

"Let's go get a coffee."

The corridors leading away from the coffee machine were surprisingly busy so the two women slowly began to make their way towards the parking lot at the rear of the building. The warm summer night greeting them as they stepped out onto the deserted pathway and began a leisurely stroll around the building.

"Have you ever wanted something so badly," Sofia began, "that you were willing to make yourself miserable just for that one, impossible, chance of making it happen?"

Catherine thought back to her marriage and the hours of lonely desperation she'd endured in the vague hope of building the kind of family she'd never had. "Yes."

Sofia nodded, as if she'd already known the answer. "Do you remember what if felt like when you finally stopped trying?"

All the emotions in the world had seemed to be bottled up inside her, waiting to explode, when she finally told Eddie they were through but there was one that surpassed all the others. "Relieved."

"Exactly." Stopping, Sofia leant her back against the side of the building and looked out into the blackness beyond. "I had spent so long waiting for her to notice me and knowing that she wouldn't, that the simple act of not caring was like having a weight lifted off my chest. The sorrow and disappointment are still there but I've stopped hoping that things will change and it's made all the difference."

"Accept the things we cannot change," Catherine whispered, a long forgotten memory tugging at her mind. "Was it Sara?"

Sofia lowered her head, the image of the brunette superimposed against her closed eyelids, the memory of what never was playing across her mind. "Not any more."

A breeze drifted, lazily through the parking lot and brushed against Catherine's cheek, the gentle caress breaking the moment and urging her to echo its affects with the briefest of kisses to Sofia's cheek. The contact fleeting but the sympathy and understanding transmuted from one to the other.

Slowly, a smile worked its way onto Sofia's lips and straightening up she began to lead the way back into the building. Her hand placed gently at the base of Catherine's back as she leant close to whisper in her ear, "So, Catherine, how do you feel about signing up for a little sex therapy of our own?"

As Catherine's laugh filled the air the two women pushed passed the doors and got back to work.

The End

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