DISCLAIMER: All Law and Order charactersgod help thembelong to Dick Wolf and NBC. I intend no copyright infringement and I'm not making any money from this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: A sequel of sorts to my story What the Easter Bunny Brings but more focused on one pairing in particular. It's not absolutely necessary that you read the other story first, but this might make more sense if you at least read parts 3-5. The title is from an Ani Difranco song of the same name.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FANDOMS: Law & Order / Law & Order: TBJ.
Falling is Like This
Serena awoke Easter morning with a blazing headache and an aching nausea that started at her toes and rapidly worked its way up into the pit of her stomach when she carefully tried to open her eyes. Shutting them again tightly against the light of the sun streaming in long, thin rivulets through her blinds, Serena groaned, nausea swelling towards her chest and fueling the pounding in her head. Good God, Serena thought ruefully, what was in those drinks?
She rolled cautiously and slowly onto her back. Each of her limbscreamy, sensitive skin left exposed by the tangled sheets at the foot of bed and striped by the light-shadow-light staccato of the sunbeamsseemed to move of its own volition so that her usually graceful body was rendered somewhat ungainly by the discordant shifting of its parts. After what seemed to be an unduly laborious process of rolling over, Serena lay still on her back for a moment, willing her stomach to stop roiling.
Carefully, she let her eyes flutter open slightly and peered through her lashes at the ivory ceiling. She had nowhere to be until brunch at her cousin's apartment inshe slid her eyes over to glance at the clock above the doorfour hours, so maybe it would be best just to lie here until the nausea subsided.
Unfortunately for Serena, staring at the ceiling left her with little to do but think, and thinking meant thinking about last night. And last night her close friend ADA Kelly Gaffney had kissed her gently goodbye before stepping out of the cab they had shared from the club and disappearing into her apartment building. Her lips had ghosted over Serena's in a way that made her wonder whether she'd imagined Kelly's earlier passion on the dance floor, her fierce attention to Serena's mouth and hands and body.
The mere memory of that haunting last kissso careful and so shy and so unreadablewas triggering a host of sensations and emotions, not all of which were entirely unpleasant. While Serena's mind was troubled by Kelly's abrupt departure, her body was more intent on remembering her approach, her seduction, and her allure. She wondered whether Kelly had been too drunk to judge her own actions, whether she had been too drunk to realize that this was her friend, not the dark-haired colleague she'd been fantasizing about recently.
They had both been drunkcollege-party-drunk, Serena joked with herself, remembering a few choice weekends with girls she could barely rememberand yet Serena could vividly recall every touch, every scent, every moment filled with heated looks and sensations that went well beyond stimulating. Her nausea held momentarily at bay by her steadily growing arousal, Serena closed her eyes and indulged herself, letting the memories wash over her: Kelly's delicate fingers brushing her knuckles as she took Serena's hand and let her lead the way to the dance floor; the way Kelly had trembled, a shuddered intake of breath, really, when they had kissed; the heat of Kelly's skin under her hands when she gripped her friend's waist. Their first kiss had been spectacular, so much so that Serena had seriously begun to doubt Kelly's earlier coy denialduring a conversation at the bar, before thought had turned to actionthat she had never even so much as thought about kissing another woman before she began to work with Tracey.
Kelly's kisses seemed to anticipate everything Serena had ever wanted in a loverperfect pressure, perfect rhythm, and a perfect whimper when she had gathered the material of Kelly's silky shirt in two tight fists and forcibly pulled her mouth away to look into her partner's eyes.
Kelly's eyes reminded Serena of the Hope Diamond. Blue. Icy. Dangerous. When she pulled them apart, the ADA's eyes fluttered open to reveal a color both shockingly cloudy and glazed; although, in a matter of seconds, Serena watched them return to their normal azure, pupils contracting in response to the increased light and decreased stimuli. Serena had pulled away because she wanted to be sure, not for herself but for Kelly; instead, her companion's gaze left her feeling uneasy and off-balance. Emotions danced behind Kelly's retinasattraction, confusion, desire, nervousness, arousaland the bare skin of her shoulders glistened with a light sheen of sweat. .
Don't regret this, please, don't regret this, Serena thought fervently, slowly releasing Kelly's shirt and letting her hands drift to rest on the blonde's hips. She couldn't bear to stop touching her. Not quite yet.
"Should I apologize?" Serena whispered. She could taste the alcohol on her breath and hoped the scent wouldn't travel.
"What did you do?" Kelly's voice started off serious and gentle, and yet ended with lilt and a playfully cocked eyebrow, her nervousness manifesting itself as unintentional glibness.
She's learning that expression from Tracey, Serena thought, recalling the casual and, she hated to admit, charming sarcasm of the brunette attorney she had only met once or twice at DA functions. Instead of acknowledging the bitter taste in her mouth, she laughed ruefully.
"Well, if you have to ask, then I'm obviously way off-track."
"Wait," Kelly grabbed Serena's hand as she began to pull away. "I'm sorry. I was teasing. And you don't need to apologize. I'm the one who dragged you out tonight and whined and complained to the point that you felt the need to get us both completely smashed. What was in those drinks, anyway?" Kelly paused, laughing to herself, and then shook her head and sighed, "I'm sorry, Serena, I took advantage. It wasn't right for me to drag you into this until I knew if I was sure."
Fear and confusion were beginning to etch themselves more and more prominently across Kelly's smooth features and Serena found herself wishing ardently that she had never stopped that kissed, never hesitated to find out if Kelly knew just exactly what she was doing or whom she was doing it with.
"Should I take you home?" Serena interrupted, afraid that if she heard anymore she wouldn't be able to pick up all the pieces of her already bruised ego.
"I guess," Kelly looked unsure for a moment, as if she had something else to say, and then nodded. Serena wrapped her fingers gently around her friends' smaller hand and led them from the club, guiltily allowing herself in one last, lingering touch.
Ugg. Serena's eyes fluttered open; it seemed unnaturally cruel that, despite the alcohol, she remembered everything from last night so vividly. For the second time in twenty-four hours, she wished she had been able to freeze time the moment before she had pulled away.
"If you're always chivalrous and accommodating," a friend had once told her, "you'll only end up with a broken heart." Although, Serena had never agreed with her friend, she was starting to see his point. In any case, it would have at least been nice to only relive the pleasant memories and not have to recall how everything had so quickly unraveled.
Serena understood what had happened. Kelly had been upset and confused by unfamiliar feelings, and she had turned to her friend for comfort. Kelly wasn't easily deterred when she set her mind to something, and while Serena was sure their make-out session was not what Kelly had had in mind, she still felt slightly used. Damn it, she's not even interested in you, an irate part of Serena's mind protested, you were just a convenient replacement for an unattainable workplace attraction.
No, it wasn't fair to blame Kelly. She had been there, too, an active and willing participant and Kelly could never be that cruel. Besides, Serena couldn't shake the feeling that the arousal gracing the ADA's features hadn't been entirely circumstantial. And Kelly's goodbye kiss in the cab also went a long way towards fueling Serena's suspicions. Nevertheless, Serena wanted to clarify things, to make it very clear that she wasn't around to satisfy the experimental whims of her straight friends. If Kelly was really attracted to herin whatever minor waythey would deal with that accordingly, but right now she needed to figure out how they were going to get past this misstep in their friendship. She would call Kelly, now that the alcohol was working its way out of her system, and they would figure this out together. Serena picked up the phone quickly before she could change her mind.
Kelly's line was busy. At 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning? Serena wondered, before hanging up reluctantly and drawing herself into a sitting position. The more practical side of Serena's mind kicked into high gearokay, maybe she wasn't ready after all. Maybe she needed some time to figure things outto figure out if she could accept not ever again feeling Kelly's pulse race beneath her fingertips, to figure out if she could be "just friends" now that she had begun to fall in love with the taste of Kelly's skin and the light smell of honeysuckle that lingered in her hair. Serena knew herself well enough to knownow that she had gotten herself into this mess that she couldn't go any further, in either direction, without thinking things through.
And, anyway, Serena decided, maybe Kelly would call her first.
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