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
Resting on the courthouse steps in a feeble ray of sunlight and sipping her coffee, Kelly watched a tall blonde ascend towards the imposing façade and chastised herself, yet again, for her cowardice. She still hadn't called Serena.
Over a month had passed since that Easter Eve, yet it still had pride of place in her memories even though her fondness for recalling that evening was shaded with guilt. Definitely not regret, though, Kelly had sworn long ago never to regret even the guiltiest pleasures, no matter how foreign. She had seen too many friends, haunted by past mistakes and with an unhealthy relationship to their work ethic, who only enjoyed life in the most cautious of ways, ever-vigilant for the next misstep. While Kelly herself had always been a good girlstraight A's, hard worker, teacher's pet, pampered daughtershe wouldn't, couldn't, accept complacency. That said, not calling Serena was unacceptable and yet Kelly, usually so stalwart and surefooted, had somehow not managed to pick up her phone, scan the list of numbers, and press "call."
As if to punish her for atypical timidity April had been grey and rainythe sun had apparently decided to hibernate through spring this year, only poking its head lazily through the clouds long enough to inspire the faintest glimmer of hope, quickly dashed, in the people New York. And, no matter how many scarves or sweaters she purchased, to supplement the soft, lightly tailored, button-up blouses she loved, Kelly still hadn't found one that could counter the sharp breath of wind on days when it ripped through her spring coats with its razor-edged sting.
Today, walking to the courthouse in a jacket far too warm for the season but a perfect shelter from the wind, she realized that she had been in denial about the weather as she had been in denial about Serena. And this morning, fed up with being cold, she had reluctantly drawn on a coat of soft wool, feeling ridiculously over-dressed in the foyer, but pleasantly cozy once she stepped beyond its glassed-in confines. The weather was atrocious for this time of year, but that was no excuse for rebelliousness. Life would have been easier, and her commutes to work warmer and more comfortable, if she'd just given in sooner.
Serena was another story. Kelly had meant to give them both a little space, a little time to think things through, and then she was going to call and ask Serena out for dinnereither to mend the possible rift in their friendship or to see if there could be something more. Well, that had been her intention. But days had gone by, and then weeks, and she still hadn't managed to pick up the phone. It wasn't like her to act this way, to not state her mindhell, she stood up to Tracey, admittedly the most intimidating presence in her life, everydaybut something about the situation with Serena left Kelly feeling stranded, standing precariously on only rapidly shifting sand.
To put it bluntly, Kelly knew she had deceived her friend. And not in the way she imagined Serena thought. She hadn't meant to take advantage, and her professed attraction for Tracey had been genuine. Now, the intensity of the brunette's enigmatic allure had lessened somewhat owing to their growing friendship, but Kelly still felt a tingle whenever Tracey looked her directly in the eyes, holding her momentarily in place with a smile, or when her voice reached that particularly dangerous register, so low even the walls seemed to cower. But all these feelings were manageable; she had certainly experienced workplace crushes before and, despite her initial mystification, Kelly had quickly realized that that was all this was. Certainly, her feelings were new on the gender front, but the symptoms of infatuation hadn't changed much in the conversion from men to women. And now that all those sensations were slowly and comfortably evening out to an almost poetically fluid work dynamic and easy camaraderie, Kelly was struggling with a far more complicated realization.
What she hadn't told Serena that nightthe night they had spent long, incredible minutes kissing ardently on the dance floor of an overcrowded clubwas that she had begun to feel something far more startling than the coarse, over-determined desire of workplace magnetism. She wasn't sure how to categorize it, but what she had felt that night was not mere attraction or misplaced arousal. In those moments, Serena's lips soft, devouring, yielding, overwhelming, she had forgotten everything: where she was, who she was with, even her own name. Lost in a euphoric haze of exotically familiar perfume all she could think was Serena. Serena. Serena. And for days afterwards, every time Kelly's mind drifted back to that delicious moment of loss and rapture, her lower abdomen would tug almost painfully, an ache high in her chest, and her eyelids involuntarily fluttering with the intensity of the sensations. Once, on her way to work, her memory evoked a desire for Serena so powerful she literally stopped in her tracks.
Worse yet, after that night Kelly had become increasingly distractedat work, at home, in the grocery storeand, this week, her "Serena sightings" had reached an all-time high of three (two on the courthouse steps and one at yoga) and it was only Tuesday. She would see an elegant hand with short, manicured nails, a flash of brilliant blonde, or an impeccable grey suit and her breath would catch for a moment before the realization of her absurd misrecognition settled in.
There's another one. Kelly watched a frazzled legal aid take the courthouse steps two at a time. How many leggy blondes were there in this city, really? She let out an exasperated sigh and pushed herself wearily off the steps, depositing her empty cup in the nearest trashcan. Somehow the coffee hadn't done much to inspire perkiness today. Tracey would probably ask her again why she looked so tired, so despondent. This had to stop. The only problem was that, for once, she had no idea where to begin. After a month of not calling, the complexity of her newfound feelings notwithstanding, Kelly wasn't sure if she really had it in her to bridge that gap and start anew.
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