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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Coming Out, Staying In
By Katherine Quinn

Chapter 1: Alex

It's been awhile now since we became an official couple; since we first got together. It's only been six short months from the time I pulled you outside and confessed how I felt to you. I kissed you that night, outside the restaurant without hesitation and without regret. You took me home with you, and slept in the same bed. You held me close to you and told me you dreamed about this. We didn't make love that night, like my body wanted, like my mind was crying for. You made me feel like a girl with a bad teenage crush. In your gaze, I was shy and conscious of all the things that I can see wrong with me when I look in the mirror. The wounds from both inside and outside seem to be so clear in your gaze. You were so gentle with me, though, and seemed only to embrace me more for my faults. You handed me some NYPD sweats, and even left me alone to put them on, all the while reassuring me that things could go slowly. You never pressured me; instead you laid me in your bed and kissed the back of my head lightly as you drifted into sleep.

I'm used to sleeping alone, and before I met you, I couldn't sleep with another person's body twisted with mine. I'm hyper aware of every move, every breath. Every place skin touches skin feels oppressive and stifling after time, and I'm aware of the heat and it makes me squirm. I usually wait for my bedmate to fall asleep and then push myself as far away from them as possible. With you though, it's different. You're soft in the right places, the way you let my head rest against your breast; the way the curve of my arm fits over the curve of your stomach. Your soft breath whispers across my cheek and I feel entirely at peace. I find myself drifting off to sleep, still with you and wrapped around you.

You're the best thing that's happened to me. It's a trite cliché, I know, but it's the best summation that I can ascertain regarding how I feel about our life together. I want to tattoo it on my chest, for the whole world to see, and read. I don't care who knows that I love you, but that's the very problem, of course.

I care very much who knows it. We live in a biased and incredibly political world full of hatred and misunderstanding. Together, alone, in your small apartment we can sit for quiet ages and stare into each other's eyes, kissing, and feeling, and making love to each other without those prying eyes. We don't need explanations only for the two of us, alone in the dark. While neither of us speaks the words, I feel you grabbing for my hand after you've glanced to make sure that no one's looking and I feel the emptiness as you let it go when you see another couple walking down the street.

Neither of us has dared touch the topic of how to tell anyone who's not us. It's strange to be so in love and keep it a secret. I'm used to dating men. Not out of lust, or love, but out of expectation. It's strange to feel the way I do about you, because for the first time in a lifetime, I care. When I see you, I feel my stomach tighten and my heart beat faster. It's strange that I've shown more affection in public for men I can barely stand, than for you, the woman I hope to spend the rest of my life with.

I find it distinctly foreign to have to sneak around, wondering what people think. We drive separate cars to the same places. I spend lunches with you, and I'm nervous that the knock on my closed office door will be someone who will wonder why we're together. I'm sick of eating with our case files out, not because of our attention to them, surely we have eyes only for each other at this point, but just in case we need a sudden excuse. I wonder who's watching us. I wonder if we look too closely. I wonder if it's me, or if I can feel your withdrawal from me when I walk into the squad room. Your face, which usually lights with love looking anywhere but in my eyes and it's strange to wake up in your bed, and then merely four hours later, pretend I don't know you in a crowded hallway.

But even though we hide, I can still see the love burning in you eyes, and I'm sure you see it deep in mine, even when we're pretending to merely be office acquaintances. I'm unsure of how to deal with the complexity of the feelings that run below the surface of my mind. We don't talk about it, but we know that our solitude can't be forever, and I don't want it to be. I want to be able to live in a society where I can kiss you and hold you and have our friends be happy for us and with us. But we don't live in that world.

It scares me what would happen to you if it we were to become office gossip. Cops are not notoriously open-minded when it comes to the alternative lifestyle section of the handbook. I don't think I could handle it if something happened to you because you loved me.

People say you can't face a reality you're not used to living in. I'm newer to this than you, and from what I've gathered; you're not all that experienced in this either. We've both been content to be alone: until now. All this sneaking around: all this hiding from things that I don't even know if it's reasonable to fear. It was exciting, but now I want to stand in the park and scream that I love you, and I'm afraid of what would happen if I did. We talk about telling people, and how we would, and what we would say. I'm not unsure of my feelings for you, but I am unsure of how it will be to love you in a world filled with hate.

Chapter 2: Olivia

We wake up in each other's arms for another morning. I'm never quite sure, when I'm opening my eyes, whether or not to believe the feeling of your body pressed into mine. I wonder if it's my imagination, finally taking over after all the years of fantasizing about this very moment. Your body is warm, and your warmth reminds me again that I'm not alone. I love the way our bodies fit together perfectly, soft curves complimenting soft curves. Your head against my shoulder, your body relaxed in sleep, plush with mine. Warm sun streams in through your windows, creating slats of sunlight against the light white comforter that is thrown over our bodies.

There are so many things that I love about you. It's impossible for me to list them all, because some of them are so slight. The way your eyes shine, the way your skin feels, the way you crunch your nose when you're thinking, the way you look in tight jeans and a baby doll t-shirt. I love your apartment; the way it reflects your subtle class. I love your bed; not only because it's yours, but because it's big enough to be comfortable, but not so big that I wake up thinking I'm alone. I can feel your body starting to stir as I run my fingers lazily over your soft shiny blonde hair. As you wake slowly, I give you a small kiss on your forehead, and you smile at me, with a beautiful sleepy grin.

"Mmm.." you murmur as you turn your head away from the light and snuggle your face against my bare breast which responds to your steaming breath.

I smile. "Good morning," I say pushing away blonde strands of hair, almost giggling as you shove your head tighter against my breast in pure reluctance to face the light.

"You're too damn happy in the morning," you grumble at me. I laugh lightly. I'm only this happy when I'm waking up next to you. I haven't been this happy in a long time. The quiet moments that I get to share with you late at night, cuddling against you, or early in the morning are my favorites. Before we put on our professional facades, and we're two people very much in love instead of an ADA and a sex crimes detective.

You finally push yourself up and kiss me on my cheek and I kiss you back, and within seconds, it's less innocent and needier. The light kisses become deeper and our tongues fight as we kiss. Your hands are roving over my body, your fingers are slowly trailing down my abdomen, and I'm pulling you into me, slipping my thigh between your legs and pressing into your warm throbbing center. Your fingers are teasing me and lightly circling me, and I'm aching for you. My back is arching and you're kissing my neck and it never fails just as it starts to feel this good: the phone is ringing.

I shoved my hand out and pulled for the cord while your tongue is still on my neck and your fingers are inside me. I'm not thinking about anything else but telling whoever is on the line that no one cared about changing along distance carriers at eight am on a Sunday morning and that they can just screw off because I am so close to falling over the edge of a precipice of pleasure. I didn't think that I wasn't in my apartment with my fantasy life and a vibrator, but that instead, I was in yours, and those were your fingers, and that this was all real and happening in some place that wasn't my head and before I remembered that, I was already saying "Hello?"

"Alexandra?" came the voice on the other end.

I stopped as my brain caught on to my behavior. Shit. I was...and this wasn't...and shit.

"Uhh," I mumble, "She's...hang on," and I thrust the phone into your hand that only seconds before had been teasing my taught nipples. I hear only your side of the conversation as my whole body blushes with embarrassment:

"Hello" you say, slightly out of breath. Okay. Slightly isn't the word. You sound like you've been running the Boston Marathon.

"Oh, hi, mom." You say. Like I need the emphasis on the word "mom". Fuck.

"No, you're not interrupting anything important." I sigh, turning over and reaching for the clothes that I threw on the floor the night before. I grab my shirt and pull it over me, and you put your hand up and shake your head, but I can't stop covering myself. Suddenly, I'm too naked and you can see right through me.

"Mom, I'm fine. I just ran up the stairs."

"No, no, that's just a friend from work. I ran down to let her." I hate being your "friend" from work.

"No mom."


"We're working." Work? Is that what they're calling it these days?

"Yes, I know it's early."

"She just got here."

"I was on the other."

"Yes mom."

"Okay, yeah."


"Bye Mom."

You sigh as you hang up the phone and I wonder what's going on in your mind. You smile at me, and kiss me chastely. I see mom has interrupted both of our lusty thoughts. You smile at me, and tell me that it's fine; that everything remains the way it was ten minutes ago. I think your vague reassurances are more for you than for me. You smile at me and slip out of bed, and a few seconds later I hear the shower running. I sigh. It's going to be a long day.

Part 3

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