DISCLAIMER: Just borrowed the characters to maybe inspire the writers of ER.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Inspired by reruns of S7 episodes on Dutch television, and with some knowledge of what happens in S10, I tried to make the most out of the recent soap story events in Kerry Weaver's life. Don't know if I've succeeded, though.
FEEDBACK: Please, let me have it. If some sentences might not seem exactly English to you, it's because I'm not. So I'm grateful for any grammatical contributions or remarks.
SPOILERS: Takes place after S10 episode 'Drive' and before the start of Season 11.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Ghosts And Thieves
By JayT

There was a knock on the door. Inside, in a darkened living room, a woman lay on the couch with her eyes closed, listening to some soft music from the CD player. The apartment was scattered with toys and pictures. Unread papers were lying on the floor and a half-empty bottle of whiskey stood on the table, accompanied by an empty glass. Unwashed dishes filled the kitchen sink.

Another knock, more urgent now.

She opened her eyes and stared in the direction of the sound, not having a clue as to whom would have any business at this hour - she looked at the clock... morning... it was eleven o'clock in the morning - at her house. She sighed, and got up reluctantly. She slowly walked to the door and unlocked it. Then she opened it.

"Hello Kerry."

Not used to many external stimuli lately, her senses were slow in responding to what they picked up. Her ears were first in registering a familiar voice and her eyes followed a second or two later, having to adjust to the incoming light and seeing someone vaguely familiar, but still she wasn't sure. Before her was a tall woman with straight blonde hair. It was the eyes that gave her away. Kerry Weaver felt a shiver going down her spine.


They sat on the couch opposite each other. Kerry was quiet, didn't know what to say, perplexed by this visit, this woman. Why was she here, of all people, why now? She was wearing her bathrobe and slippers and felt oddly out of place in her own house. She was slightly intimidated by the woman in front of her who was as beautiful as she remembered. Her hair was straight now, which made her look somewhat older and more mature. Her eyes were kind and caring and it hurt Kerry just to look at them, afraid to lose the emotional distance she allowed herself toward people in general nowadays.

Kim told Kerry that she'd heard about the death of her partner and the custody case of her son.

"I wanted to see how you were and if there's anything I can do. I can't imagine the pain you must be going through. I am so sorry, Kerry."

Kerry's eyes filled with tears, but she was trying hard to hold them back. "Thank you," she said, her voice hardly audible.

"How long have you been on medical leave?"

"I… uhh forget. A couple of weeks?"

"Can I do anything, do some shopping?" Kim asked.

"No thanks, I'm not much into cooking these days. Mostly I order take-out."

Kerry didn't look at Kim for more than a second at a time, dropping her eyes every time Kim returned her look. Remembering her duties as a host, she offered Kim some coffee.

"No, thanks Kerry. I just had some." On a more serious level she continued: "Have you seen your son lately? Is that him?" pointing at a picture on the table. It was a picture of Henry and Sandy playing in the sun, both laughing.

"He's beautiful," she said in earnest and added softy: "So is she."

"Yes, they are, aren't they," Kerry replied absentmindedly, taking the picture from Kim and looking at it with a sad, affectionate smile. Remembering Kim's earlier question she said: "I last saw him at the courthouse."

"How are you holding up?"

"O well, you know, I'm still here," she replied with feigned casualness.

A long pause followed. Then she spoke again.

"The judge ruled in favour of Sandy's family, because of them being his legal relatives, his own flesh and blood." As she said it, she put two hands in the air and moved both index and middle fingers simultaneously. "She didn't take into account that I was with Sandy when he was born, that I cut his cord, that I took him out of bed at night, that I changed him, that I cleaned up the mess when he was sick, and now… " Her voice grew louder with every motherly duty she had fulfilled, but broke when she remembered the judge's verdict. Looking exhausted and heartbroken, she continued: "Now I have no legal rights concerning him whatsoever. At best he will grow up thinking I'm some kind of aunt instead of his mother." She looked at Kim with a vulnerability that was painful to watch. "We hadn't put anything on paper yet, you know. We wanted to, but hadn't come round to doing it. We thought we still had plenty of time…." Her voice trailed off.

Sensing that Kerry needed comforting, Kim said: "You're the wonderful, caring and extraordinary woman his mother loved. He's your son, no verdict can ever change that. He will know that."

Kerry lowered her head and involuntarily some tears fell. Kim hesitated. She wanted to touch Kerry, but wasn't sure whether she would let her. After all, they hadn't seen each other in more than three years, hadn't spoken, hadn't written. But that didn't mean that she hadn't thought about Kerry during this time or had stopped caring. She got up and sat down next to her, putting an arm around her. Kerry remained rigid and put her hands to her face.

"You still have a place in my heart, Kerry. No matter what happened between us. You were very dear to me once and you still are. I wish you well."

Kerry hadn't been touched for so long that the simple physical connection gave her more comfort than the gentle words she received from so many people after Sandy died. She felt safer than she had felt in a long time and for a moment she wanted nothing more but to lose herself in the embrace and just cry. Instead, she stood up and excused herself.

When she came back, she had regained her composure.

Realizing that their brief moment of emotional connection was gone, Kim decided it was time for her to leave.

"You take care of yourself, Kerry," she said, putting on her coat.

As she opened the door, she hesitated. "Listen uhm, today's not a good day, but… would you like to have dinner tomorrow night?"

Kerry hesitantly, but friendly declined. "I don't really feel like going out."

"When was the last time you went outside?" Kim asked, although she thought she had an idea.

Kerry shrugged.

"Come on. It will do you good to get some fresh air."

Kerry still hesitated.

"Okay. I will be at the Two Seasons restaurant, if you change your mind. I'll wait for you until 7.30."

She prepared to go.


Kim turned towards Kerry.

"Thank you." The look on Kerry's face said more than the two simple words could ever convey. Kim felt an urge to take Kerry in her arms, but decided against it. Instead, she just smiled and left.

She was sitting at the bar, drinking whiskey. She had been sitting there for half an hour, contemplating her meeting with Carl DeRaad that afternoon. He had practically laid out the red carpet for her, offering her not only the senior attending position, but the position of substitute head as well. She could fill in her own terms and conditions, and in the end there was nothing more for them to discuss. She left, speechless, promising Carl to give him her decision within a week. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn't notice Kerry until she sat down next to her, carefully positioning her crutch against the counter. They looked at each other and smiled. Kim immediately noticed that Kerry had washed her hair. Now properly dressed, she looked a lot better than she had yesterday.

"Glad you came, Kerry".

"Me too."

She still looked tired, but her eyes had lost the emptiness of the day before. She ordered a whiskey too, and when it arrived she looked at Kim with a serious look on her face. "I came because I've been meaning to tell you something that needed to be said for a long time. I owe you that." When Kim started to demur, she continued: "Please, let me finish." After the blonde woman's nod, she spoke again.

"A long time ago or so it seems, I gave you a letter explaining my state of mind at the time and my feelings for you. That's not something I'm proud of. It was an act of cowardice, because I was too afraid to look you in the eye." She added sarcastically: "Let's just say that Coward used to be my middle name. So please, let me have this moment to crawl in the dust and say what I have to say." She sipped from her whiskey and took a deep breath.

"When I lost you, I was so preoccupied with work and protecting my reputation, that I didn't allow myself to grieve. But you left me with an insight into myself, opening my eyes as to who I really was… am. If I hadn't met you, I would still be in the dark, waiting for something... I don't think I was ever that happy but when we were together. And I let it go, because my whole world was turned upside down and I didn't know where or who I was anymore. That day when you kissed me at work… nothing made sense anymore. A door I didn't know existed opened, and just… wouldn't close. It led to a world in which I felt so incredibly loved and insecure at the same time…. I didn't know whether loving you meant that I was a lesbian or whether it was just … this once. Saying it out loud made it so real and definitive. I was torn between feelings and fears and… I… I let you down so horribly I can't believe you're here talking to me. I denied everything good about us and I let it ruin your career, which was unforgivable. For that I deserved punishment and you were absolutely right in leaving me."

She sighed, took another sip and then continued.

"I put my own career ahead of yours out of fear, and my ambition did the rest. Somehow I hoped that in time we could manage to leave things behind us and get together again, even though you had found someone else. After all, I would see you at the hospital every day. But then you were fired, and everything seemed to fall apart. And although I came out to Romano in the end, threatening to expose his homophobic policy to anyone who would care to listen…," she chuckled when she saw the surprised look on Kim's face. "Yes, I was the one that caused his sudden change of heart. Or did you think that was an act of kindness on his part?" Kim was still looking at her, amazed. "Yeah, I'm an out and proud lesbian nowadays". Smiling cynically she added: "well, out at least…"

"Yeah, I saw that bust of Romano. That was a terrible thing to do! Thank you for that." Kim said, laughing.

"How did you know…"

Kim, realizing she had said too much, quickly added: "I went by the hospital to look up some old colleagues. That's when I heard about you."

The attention now back to her, Kerry took another breath and continued.

"Anyway, when we broke up I turned to the one thing that made sense to me: my work."

"I thought that if I worked hard enough I wouldn't have time to think. Somehow I managed to move on and then out of the blue I met Sandy. I don't think a part of me had stopped caring for you, but the other part was so completely in love with her…still is…. I see her, you know, … I smell her… hear her… she's everywhere… And it hurts so much… It doesn't seem to get any less. It's there when I go to bed and it's there when I wake up. And somehow I could manage because Henry was there and of course there was my work. But by taking him away from me, they took my heart and my soul and there just seems to be no point in anything anymore. Why get up in the morning? My life used to be all work, but now it revolves around nothing else but that little boy who has just lost both his mothers." Kerry voice became a whisper and she swallowed a couple of times. "Ironic, isn't it?" she remarked. "The woman without a family has a son with no parents."

It felt strange to Kim to be so close to this woman, who at one time was her lover and with whom she shared so many intimate moments. Strange, but not uncomfortable. A connection was still there, of that she was certain. She wondered if Kerry felt it too. She listened carefully while Kerry was talking and didn't say much, recognizing Kerry's need to spill her innermost thoughts and feelings. She couldn't begin to fathom the grief in this woman's heart. They sat and talked and had dinner. And the evening progressed too fast and they found themselves being the last customers yet again. This time, there was no argument as to who was paying: they agreed to split the check.

Outside, they exchanged phone numbers as they waited for Kerry's cab. She looked up at Kim. "I can't remember the last time I talked this much. I feel better than I have in weeks."

"I'm glad."

"Will you have dinner with me some other time? I mean, I would also like to hear about you, you know."

"I'd love to, Kerry."

A cab stopped next to the sidewalk.

"I'll be in town for another week."

"I'll call you," Kerry said, as she hugged Kim. She squeezed Kim's hand as she let go and stepped into the cab. As the car drove off they waved, their eyes locking.

Kim hadn't planned on spending time with Kerry Weaver when she came to Chicago, just wondered how she was doing. Now she contemplated how remarkably this woman had changed in the past four years. In the time they were together she couldn't remember Kerry ever talking about anything so private as her adoption or her feelings about it. And there was a complete lack of self-consciousness about her sexual identity now, which Kim found strangely appealing. Kerry talked about Sandy with a deep sense of love that caused slight pangs of jealousy in Kim. Which surprised her, given the fact that she hadn't seen Kerry for so long and they had both lived their separate lives. This evening, she had enjoyed being with Kerry, although it hadn't been an even conversation. It was Kerry who had talked and Kim who had listened. But she was glad she was able to lift Kerry's spirit, even if it would be just for the night. The vision of Kerry in her apartment yesterday had been a scary one.

She still cared. That admission had been true. Despite all that had passed between them. Her thoughts on Kerry's lack of action then, had changed as time had passed. As a psychiatrist she understood what had motivated Kerry to act the way she did, but as her lover, she'd felt so completely and utterly abandoned and put aside that her defenses prevented her from looking at the situation from any other perspective than her own. She wanted nothing more but to move on, to another lover, another job, another life.

There had been some good times in San Francisco. She loved the climate and the way of life down there. Obviously, it was gay heaven compared to Chicago, but being gay did not define her. She was just a woman with a demanding job who happened to fall in love with women instead of men.

Anyway, she was a better doctor now; had developed a sound professional judgment and was confident in the decisions she made accordingly. She was actually thinking of starting a private practice. But then Carl DeRaad had called her, again. They saw each other occasionally at the odd psychiatric convention and he never ceased to offer her her job back. And she never ceased to decline it friendly, but resolutely. Now, she wasn't so sure. Her break-up with Helen obviously had something to do with it. After two years she realized there had to be more to a relationship than just sex. She couldn't remember the last time they'd had a conversation that really mattered. Lately she had felt more alone when they were together than when they were apart. She missed the intimacy of their early days. Somehow they had grown apart, had developed different interests. Or perhaps it was just the realization that their initial butterflies had gone without having been replaced by something deeper and more significant.

So she promised Carl she would give his request some serious thought. Which meant that she needed information. First of all about the organization of County's psych department. During her years in Frisco, she had developed insight and an opinion on how a psychiatric department should be run. She thought it only fair to warn Carl. And of course there was the topic of Robert Racist Romano. Not that she was afraid of him. No, she would handle the situation very differently this time. She would fight him all the way to the Supreme Court, before she would ever leave of her own accord again. But Carl told her that he was dead, crushed by a helicopter. His exit was almost as grand as his ego; she had to give him that.

"How about Kerry Weaver," she had asked.

"What about her?" Carl had replied.

She explained to him that the psych department works closely together with the ER, and that Kerry, as head of the ER, would have to agree with any changes that might have impact on the collaboration between the two departments.

That's when she learned that Kerry Weaver was no longer Chief of Emergency Medicine. She had moved on to being Chief of Staff. Kim couldn't help being impressed. She asked Carl whether Kerry would have to approve her application, should she decide to accept his offer.

That's when she learned that Kerry Weaver was no longer working.

Carl didn't elaborate on Kerry's situation, discreet as he was. So she had to find other sources without the same reservations. She remembered helping Abby Lockhart with her mother. She could ask her for information about the current situation at County. Perhaps she also knew what happened to Kerry.

She had booked a flight for Monday and would meet Carl on Wednesday. That would give her the opportunity to meet with Abby on Tuesday. She called her from San Francisco, explaining that she was considering coming back to Chicago and that she would like to have some inside information on how the hospital was being run these days. Abby agreed, but since she worked the nightshift, it would have to be early in the morning. That was fine by Kim. It would give her a chance to make the most of the rest of her day. They agreed to meet at Doc Magoo's. She asked Abby to keep it low profile, since she hadn't made up her mind yet.

Doc Magoo's was the same as it had ever been. Some things never change. Abby, on the other hand, had changed a great deal. This was not the distant and angry daughter of a bipolar mother she had seen four years ago. Before her stood a strong and confident woman.

"Dr. Legaspi, how nice to see you." They shook hands.

"Abby. Hi! How are you?"

"Actually… it's Dr. Lockhart now."

"Really? That's great. Since when?"

"Not so long ago. I graduated last May." Abby smiled.

"So we're colleagues now. That means we can gossip all we want and at the same time pretend this is a professional get-together between two MD's," Kim jested. "How's your mother doing?"

"O, she's fine. Better than she's been in years. Not in the least thanks to you, as I recall. When my brother was diagnosed with the same disease, I guess she finally decided it was time to start acting like a real mother. She's actually changed."

Sitting at a table next to one of the windows, Abby gave Kim an update on the past and present of County and its ER-staff. During those four years a lot had happened, Kim agreed, contemplating the deaths of Mark Greene and Robert Romano.

"How's Kerry Weaver doing," she asked, finally.

"Uhmm, currently she's on medical leave."

"Oh?" Kim said, pretending not to know, "What's the matter with her?"

"Well, she lost custody of her son, not long ago. She called in sick soon after that," Abby replied.

"Gosh," Kim said, amazed. "Kerry had a baby?"

"Actually, it was her partner who had the baby."

Kim pondered this information, which was anything but what she had expected, not actually knowing what it was that she had expected. "Kerry came out as a lesbian?"

"Well, not exactly. She was outed by Sandy a couple of years ago, who kissed her in front of the entire ER."

Kim looked surprised and a little impressed, while her mind was trying hard to fit images to the information just given to her.

"Anyway," Abby continued, "Sandy was a fire fighter and died as a result of a fire a couple of months ago. Her family then filed for custody of Henry, which was granted to them."

"My God," Kim whispered. "How's she taking it?"

"Not good. We haven't seen her in quite some time."

Kerry called two days after their dinner, her voice different than before. She sounded almost cheerful by comparison. They agreed to meet the next day. She hadn't told Kerry about her job offer, nor had she told her that that was the reason she was in Chicago. She wanted to make as objective a decision as possible, not influenced by people or opinions. So she had told Kerry she was visiting friends, which wasn't a lie. As she would be out of town the whole day, Kim suggested having drinks instead of dinner. Kerry mentioned a bar she didn't know, and they agreed to meet at nine.

When she arrived, Kerry was already there, sitting at a corner table, waving hello. It wasn't until she sat down and ordered a drink that she took a good look at the place, and realized it was an all-female establishment. The woman had come a long way indeed.

Kerry's eyes looked different. And she wore make-up now. Even though it was just some lipstick and eyeliner, it completely transformed not only her face, but her entire appearance. Three days ago, she had seen a woman on the edge, with enough experiences to match the lines in her face. Now, that same woman showed some of her former strength that had appealed to Kim in the past and, she had to admit, still did. She admired Kerry Weaver for being the strongest and toughest woman she had ever met.

Kim told Kerry about her life in San Francisco, carefully avoiding the topic of romance. She didn't particularly want to discuss her love life, especially with an ex-lover. Although she wouldn't have these reservations if this ex-lover were Christy or Kate, she realized, not exactly knowing why it was different in this case. So she told Kerry all about her work, her house - with pool - and her friends in the past three and a half years.

"Is there someone special in your life?," Kerry finally asked.

It was a genuine question. One that she had feared, without exactly knowing why. She decided to just tell it how it was.

"Helen and I broke up some time ago. We both agreed that our relationship was lacking in… uhmm… just lacking something, I guess." She looked at Kerry with a shy smile. "So at the moment I'm happily single," she concluded, a little too cheerful. But she was glad it was out in the open and it somehow gapped whatever distance there still was between them - or was it the alcohol, she wasn't sure. With every glass they grew more open and less inhibited. At one time they even touched hands. And although it was in jest and didn't mean anything, it actually did.

It was two o'clock before they knew it. The crowd had thinned and those who remained were obviously lovers or soon-to-be lovers. It was time to head home.

They decided to share a cab as Kim's hotel was on route to Kerry's house. Inside the taxi, they both grew quiet. Their openness toward each other and the consumed alcohol had had an effect on Kim. The ease with which they had talked and the glances they had shared sent back memories of a time when they still knew each other intimately. Somehow this woman next to her was so familiar and yet so different and unknown. She couldn't stop imagining Kerry naked under her neatly ironed clothes. Every time they turned a corner their knees slightly touched, sending warm sensations through the rest of her body. She wanted to take Kerry's hand, but wasn't sure how she would react, given the fact that she'd just lost her wife. She decided to let it pass.

Nearing the hotel, the driver slowed down and stopped the car. They both turned their heads and looked at each other. It was Kerry who spoke first.

"Thanks for a lovely evening Kim, … again."

"Thank you," she replied. "I enjoyed it as much as you did." She turned to open the door.

"Kim... wait," she heard Kerry say, and felt a hand on her arm.

She turned and looked into beautiful eyes that were staring intently at her. They looked at each other for - it seemed - an eternity.

"I'd like to kiss you," Kerry said at last, as if waiting for Kim's permission.

Her heart, already beating faster than usual, doubled its pace and beat with a force she was sure was audible. Her throat dry, she managed to whisper: "I'd like that too."

They hadn't taken their eyes off each other. The pounding of her heart was beginning to affect other parts of her body. Her mind was racing. She was aware of the taxi driver. No, she thought, not here. Not in the presence of this stranger, looking at them in his rear view mirror. Driving to Kerry's house was not an option. She couldn't imagine herself in Kerry's house, surrounded by pictures and memories of another woman. It had to be her hotel room.

"Come with me," she whispered, almost a plea.

Kerry gave her one more look and then opened her bag. She took out some money and paid the driver: "Keep the change." Then she got out of the car. By the time she reached the sidewalk, Kim was already out, slamming the door.

Although it was late, there were some people in the hotel lobby. A man and a woman were waiting by the elevator. When the doors opened, they all went in. She saw the woman push button twenty-seven and, disappointed, she pushed number twenty-four. They would have to wait a little longer. They grew silent as, one after the other, floor numbers lit up and darkened. Their breaths were fast and shallow and, as the numbers increased, so did the tension in the confined space. Without looking at each other both women were very much aware of the other's presence. Kim now boldly leaned against Kerry, who returned the touch with a similar boldness. A hot rush swept through Kim's body. Her heart now pounding in her ears, she just barely heard the other couple say goodnight, as they stepped out of the elevator.

She walked through the hallway up to her room, a silent Kerry following her. She struggled with her key card while her mind focused on nothing else but Kerry's body so close behind her, and what she would do with it in just a few seconds. The soft touch of a hand on her back distracted her even further. When she finally managed to open the door, they moved quickly. As she shut the door and turned around, she felt Kerry's mouth hard on hers. They moved in frantic hurry, touching, kissing, hands through hair. There was pulling at buttons and zippers, and clothes were dropped, leaving a trail that lead to the freshly made bed.

There was an urgency to their lovemaking that was unfamiliar to Kim. Kerry touched and kissed with a fervour, unlike the Kerry she remembered. Skipping foreplay altogether and taking control, she moved down Kim's body fast, touching her breasts, kissing her skin. Kim held her breath as she felt Kerry's lips on the most sensitive part of her body. She spread her legs in reflex, inviting Kerry's touch, encouraging her. Fingers entered smoothly and moved rhythmically within her, eliciting feelings of sheer ecstasy. Her climax came so fast and was so deep it overwhelmed her. She exhaled with a sigh of pleasure and fulfilment and wondered what the hell just happened. But before she could say or do anything, she felt Kerry's tongue touching her again. She wanted to stop her and reverse roles, but her body responded to Kerry so perfectly that all she could do was focus solely and completely on that touch. Her second time was even more intense. She let out a cry that came from deeply within her. "…O…my…Kerry…what…you do to me…," she stammered, quickly taking Kerry's head in her hands before the other woman could take her by surprise again. "Please…I want to hold you," she whispered, breathless.

"Hey, baby, what 'd you do to me just now," she murmured. Kerry lay beside her, her head on Kim's chest. Kim was softly stroking her hair, still catching her breath.

"Kim… I… don't know what came over me. You were so excited… I was so excited… And I wanted to touch you so badly… I wanted you to come… I wanted to hear you…I…" Kerry's voice became apologetic. "I'm sorry if I… overpowered you."

"Well, not that I'm complaining… God… I was ready for you when we were in that taxi and if we had been alone in the elevator I don't think we would have made it to this room at all. I just didn't think you were in that kind of a hurry, otherwise I would have stopped you earlier to do a bit of overpowering myself." She looked at Kerry affectionately and planted a soft kiss on the once red hair. Apparently, they had both felt the need to make an – albeit small - physical change. "I kind of suspected you felt the same way, you know, I just didn't expect you to act upon it the way you did. This is not how I remember you!" She smiled at Kerry. She felt Kerry stiffen in her arms and strengthened her grip.

"Please, don't be shy! If there's anyone who must be embarrassed, it's me! If I were a man, this would be a serious case of Ejaculatio Praecox and you would have just rendered me useless. On the other hand, if I were a man, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. Hell, you wouldn't even be here right now!" She chuckled and felt Kerry relax a little. When she spoke, it was with a softness and seriousness that moved Kim deeply.

"Ever since Sandy died… I… can't remember a time that I wasn't numb. I wouldn't let myself feel anything… just shut off my emotions. I couldn't lose control, you know, not while they were trying to take Henry away. I had to be sharp and strong and be there for him. I tried to go through the motions by getting up every morning and go to work and have some structure to hang on to, for his sake as well as mine. But when that judge ruled that I didn't have any rights as his mother, she took away the reason for my existence. She not only denied the nature of my relationship with Sandy, but also denied my relationship with him. It was my and Sandy's decision to have a baby. Without me he wouldn't even be here. And although he has none of my genes I don't think I could love him more if he had…"

Kerry fell silent for a moment, but then continued.

"With that verdict something in me died, and my life just… stopped..."

"Tonight… I had such a great time… and you were looking so lovely and… and… I wanted so much to touch you…to feel alive… to feel… "

"shhhh, It's okay, baby," Kim replied softly. "I understand."

The light through the window woke her. It was still early. She realized she hadn't closed the curtains last night. She looked at the ceiling and was haunted by memories. She gazed at the chaos in her room. Pieces of clothing – all hers – lay scattered on the floor, their earlier perfect pairing gone. Her room, which had sufficed until last night, now depressed her. She hated waking up alone. And although she couldn't bring herself to label last night's sexual encounter as a one-night fling, here she was, alone, in a king-size bed, in an anonymous hotel, somewhere in Chicago. Two hours later she still lay there, thinking, unable to shake off the lethargy that engulfed her. Thoughts and images passed through her mind simultaneously. She pondered the impossibility of her situation and smiled bitterly at her predicament. Here she was, trying to get her former job back and ending up fucking her future boss. Nice work, Legaspi. What the hell were you thinking?

My God, what had happened last night? What had come over her? She stared at the wall, where beautiful brown eyes were staring back at her. Was that a mocking smile she saw, a reproachful look? Then why aren't you here with me? Why did you leave me? She wanted to apologize, be forgiven. It's not like I've forgotten you, you know. But you left me… you left me… Warm, salty tears welled from her eyes and rolled down her nose and mouth. She wiped her face with her hand. Visions of bare skin on skin flashed through her mind. She heard sighs and moans and her belly tightened when she remembered Kim's fingers deep within her, stroking, thrusting. Her soft lips on her mouth, her sweet and tender caresses, always watching her, reading her, holding back whenever she saw that her emotions got the better of her. Kim had taken her time, never hurrying, until – finally – she came, with a power and intensity that drained her of every emotional reserve she had left. Her defenses now completely down, she cried and cried and cried...

She finally rose, trying to shake off her lethargy. Showering took forever, while she revisited last night's events in her mind over and over again. She dressed, put on some make-up, and started packing. An hour later she was downstairs at the reception desk, checking out. "Are there any messages for me?" she asked with a flicker of hope. The reply negative, she accepted the small blow with a perceptive nod of her head and asked the receptionist to call for a taxi to drive her to the airport. She paid her bill and waited in the lobby. When her taxi arrived, she got in and prayed for ignorance.

She woke when it was still dark. The light of the moon was enough to make out objects in the room. She looked at the peaceful figure lying next to her, an image of beauty and tranquillity. She softly kissed that sweet face, not wanting to wake her. She carefully got out of bed and picked up her clothes off the piles that lay on the floor and dressed soundlessly. One last look. Then she left.

The End

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