DISCLAIMER: All "ER" characters and institutions are the property of Warner Bros., ConstantC Productions and Amblin Television. This is written strictly for entertainment value, no infringement of copyright or ownership is intended, and nobody is making a profit on this piece. I'm just borrowing both the young ladies in question (and, frankly, giving them a little more to do than Warner Bros. and company ever seem to!). As always, any errors in continuity, characterization, or common sense are entirely my own fault.
WARNING: This one isn't all sex and sunshine. There's not only consensual NC-17 sex between two women involving some B & D, but also some more serious subject matter. Specifically, discussion of a past sexual assault.
(Note: uncertain of the statistics mentioned in the story. I've heard several different numbers at various times, so I picked the worst one.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first foray into erotica, spurred by Aeris' fanfic challenge. I admit it doesn't meet many of the conditions; there's no Coke bottle, no Victor/Victoria, and no threat of discovery, but I'm working on others that will meet the conditions more closely! I promise! Just couldn't work them into this one. Okay, I realize this ain't everyone's cup of tea. Here's a hint: if you really find descriptions of female-female sex unpalatable, do what I do with the male-male slash fics - when you see the hot & sweaty stuff beginning, skim over the rest until you see we're back to the dialogue scenes. Even if you're not into f/f sex, I hope you'll read and enjoy anyway, 'cause I like to think that there is an actual character story in here somewhere. (That being said, if you still find the prospect completely unappealing, then obviously PLEASE DON'T READ IT. No hard feelings - I skip the fics I don't like, too.)
SPOILERS: None (takes place loosely mid-Season 5, but no definite time placement)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Handcuffs
By Scott J Welles

Part One...

Maggie knew she was being stalked. She could feel it tingling on the back of her neck. On any other night, her instincts, her reflexes and her training would have demanded that she back away from her apartment door, call the police, and wait for them.

But tonight was Tuesday. Which meant she knew exactly who was stalking her.

She produced her keys, deliberately turning her back on the bend in the hallway where she'd heard the slight rustle, making an easy target of herself. She unlocked the door, but where she would normally step inside, shut it quickly, and lock it again before doing anything else, tonight she dawdled in the open doorway, sorting idly through the mail in her hands. If anyone wanted to force their way inside, she knew, this was the opportunity they'd seize.

This was the good part. The anticipation.

Bill, junk mail, bill, bill, letter from Aunt Edith, junk mail, bill, subscription renewal notice, bill...

The attack came suddenly, taking even her by surprise.

Strong hands seized her arms above the elbows, pulling them back sharply enough to make her gasp. Maggie knew four different ways to react effectively and defensively, but she employed none of them. She didn't cry out, for fear of disturbing the neighbors, but she let her body language project a fašade of fear and submission. The game's no fun if you don't play along.

Maggie's attacker shoved her forward, into the apartment, kicking the door shut behind them. Her arms were twisted back securely, but not painfully. One of the intruder's hands held them by her wrists, while the other arm circled her throat. "Drop the mail," the voice hissed in her ear.

Envelopes scattered over the carpet. "Don't hurt me," Maggie whimpered. "Please."

"That's not up to you," came the reply. "Shut up and get in there."

Maggie put up a feeble token struggle, allowing her opponent to herd her into the small bedroom. A sharp nudge at the backs of her knees prompted them to fold, and she went to her knees in the center of the bedroom, the tight grip on her wrists forcing her to bend forward at the waist. The hand at her throat was roaming over her breasts, pawing them roughly through her tee shirt. "What are you going to do to me?" she whimpered.

There was a short, harsh laugh from behind her. "Whatever I damn well feel like." The intruder's other hand suddenly dangled a pair of handcuffs in front of Maggie's eyes. "Guess what these are for, sweetheart?"

Oh God, Maggie thought with a burst of adrenaline, once those cuffs are on me, it's too late. I'll be helpless. But she still didn't struggle.

Her captor pressed close against Maggie's back, breath hot on the back of Maggie's neck. One hand was finding its way up, under her shirt, while the other brought the cuffs toward Maggie's wrists. Maggie's pulse accelerated.

Then she felt teeth against the ridge of her ear, biting sharply - but, again, not painfully - as the intruder hissed, "We're gonna have some real fun tonight, sister. You're all mine..."

There it was. The code word. 'Sister'. It meant that tonight was her turn to take control, she realized with a new kind of thrill.

Maggie exerted herself for the first time, twisting her arms free and grabbing hard onto the arm feeling up her chest. She bent forward suddenly, pulling on the arm, and her 'attacker' flew over her shoulder, rolling onto the bedroom floor and making a show of being stunned and surprised. Her judo instructor would have been proud, if only this was a real fight.

Maggie knew the familiar intruder wasn't hurt, but she pressed her advantage anyway, turning the tables and placing the other woman in a swift arm-lock. She pulled her up into a sitting position, her actions not as rough or forceful as they seemed. She pulled her 'opponent's' head back by the hair and looked into her face for the first time. "Looks like you fucked with the wrong cop's daughter, huh?" she gloated.

Randi Fronczak stared defiantly back at her, no more honestly defeated than Maggie had been a moment ago, but she made no effort to break free. "Fuck you," she grated.

Maggie grinned. "You read my mind," she drawled, and guided Randi's mouth to hers for the first kiss of the night. Randi returned the kiss eagerly, and Maggie broke it off abruptly, pulling Randi to her feet. Always leave the other person wanting more, she reflected with satisfaction. She marched Randi to the wall and leaned her forward against it. "You carrying any concealed weapons?" she demanded.

"Why don't you frisk me and find out?"

"I think I'd better do more than that," Maggie replied, harshly. "I think you need to be strip-searched." She pulled Randi's hands back and snapped the handcuffs on sharply. Then she began undressing her prisoner.

"You've got the right to remain silent," she began, unzipping Randi's jacket, "but I doubt you'll be able to. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything I've got can and will be used within you."

She removed Randi's shoes, and stripped off her jeans.

"You have the right to a monster orgasm..." Her underwear came next. "If you cannot be satisfied by one, several more will be provided by me."

She took two handfuls of Randi's shirt and ripped it open in front. Randi always wore ratty old disposable shirts to their rendezvous for just that purpose. However, Maggie realized she'd have to unlock the cuffs to get Randi's jacket off.

"Now," Maggie concluded, removing the cuffs, "do you understand each and every one of these rights as I have explained them to you?" She threw the remains of the shirt aside and let the jacket slide off Randi's arms.

Randi, naked at last, spun in place, threw her arms around Maggie's neck and pulled her into an impassioned french kiss. "Yes," she whispered when their lips parted at last.

Her head spinning with desire, Maggie was tempted to forget their role-playing and just make love to Randi then and there. But, determined to make her lover wait, she pulled free of Randi's arms, taking one in a police 'come-along' hold. "Good. Then your ass is mine, babe. Come on."

She maneuvered the ER's clerk onto the bed, cuffing her wrists to the wooden bedframe, then stepped back to admire the sight of the young woman helplessly awaiting her. Randi writhed sensuously on the bed, anticipating Maggie's next actions. "Do your worst, cop," she snarled, "I'm not talking."

Maggie smiled. "Yeah, we'll see." Then she did the one thing that she knew would drive Randi absolutely nuts.

She walked away.

Maggie retrieved the mail from the floor of her short hallway, opened it and sorted it slowly. She put the bills on her desk under a paperweight, where she'd notice them and pay them in the morning. She read the letter from her aunt, debated briefly whether it was worth renewing her subscription, and even read her junk mail carefully before throwing it away. All the while, she was aware of the incredibly sexy woman chained in the next room, waiting frantically for her.

She undressed, brushed and flossed carefully, humming quietly to herself. She heard the occasional moan of impatience from Randi as she made futile, if predictable, efforts to free herself.

Then, when she figured Randi had waited long enough...she let her wait some more.

This was the better part. The frustration.


Their affair had begun unexpectedly, almost...oh, man, was it really two years ago? Wow, time flies when you're having sex. Yeah, she realized, it must be two years, because it began shortly after Maggie first started working at County.

Stopping for a bite after a shift, she'd been upset to discover that Doc Magoo's didn't have vegetarians in mind when they designed their menu. She'd settled for a cup of coffee, figuring she could hit the market on her way home. But in the meantime, the only seat available was in a booth occupied only by that desk clerk. What was her name... Bambi? Brandy? Maggie always felt bad for not remembering someone's name, but they hadn't really been introduced, and they'd only spoken in passing.

The clerk hadn't minded sharing a booth, and didn't seem to take it personally when she had to correct Maggie on her name. It was always tough for a new employee to get to know the staff, she admitted, given the demands of the job and all. Randi chatted easily without seeming too interested in the conversation, and Maggie just assumed it was a necessary blasÚ brought on by hours and days and weeks of clerical work in a fast-paced ER. They'd ended up discussing all kinds of meaningless topics, ranging from TV shows to cheap restaurants to fashion, without going into much depth on any of them, and afterwards, Maggie couldn't remember a single thing either of them had said. It was one of those conversations where people found themselves talking just for the sake of making mouth noises.

Somehow, they ended up arm-wrestling - Maggie thought maybe they'd been talking about how often each got the chance to work out - and Randi beat her four times out of four. Even with the burning ache in her bicep, Maggie felt the need to challenge Randi again. But when her eyes met the clerk's...something happened. Something in the way that the flushed look on the other woman's face mirrored her own, something in the way they were breathing more heavily, or the way the exertion had warmed them, she didn't know exactly what, but it was there, and they both knew it.

Maggie didn't recall any further discussion between the two women, but when she went home to her little apartment shortly afterwards, Randi came with her. They didn't say a word on the drive, or walking up to her door, but it was clear what was going to happen.

Once they were inside, Maggie didn't even have a chance to turn on the light switch before Randi turned to her and kissed the living daylights out of her.

They made love with a kind of burning need - wordlessly, but by no means silently. The unpredictable encounter astonished Maggie, who'd been too busy settling into the new stage of her internship to think much about her ailing love life. To suddenly find herself in bed with a firebrand like Randi was like finding a million dollars in her cereal box.

Lying exhausted in bed later, Maggie had spoken for the first time. "How did you know I was a lesbian?"

"I didn't," Randi replied sleepily. "I just wanted to fuck you."

They fell asleep together without further exchanges, and when Maggie awoke the next morning, Randi was gone.

When Maggie saw her at County, the clerk gave no sign that anything had happened between them. She didn't avoid Maggie, but neither did she react any differently to her than to, say, Peter Benton or Susan Lewis. So Maggie, her own attention occupied by the demands of work, reluctantly wrote it off as a random occurrence, the proverbial one-night stand.

But then, almost exactly a week later, Maggie was on her way out to her car, and Randi was there, with that same look in her eye, and they did it all over again. Good sex, no words, and again Maggie woke up alone.

It had become a routine, mostly by unspoken agreement. At work, it was all business between them. "Dr. Doyle, phone for you, line two." "Randi, are my labs back yet?" That sort of thing. Then, once a week - every Tuesday night, unless one or both had to work - they went to Maggie's apartment and made love without hesitation or conversation.

And always, in the morning, Randi was gone.

Their affair went on for several months before anything had changed. Maggie, beginning to fear their passion was diminishing, had introduced a new element. One that Amy, her former girlfriend, had introduced her to in an effort to save their disastrous relationship. One Tuesday night, when she and Randi had undressed and made it to the bed, she reached under her pillow and pulled out the handcuffs. "Are you game?" she asked Randi.

Randi froze, her attention riveted on the steel bracelets. Was she excited or overwhelmed? Maggie couldn't tell.

"I'll go first," Maggie volunteered, thinking perhaps she'd intimidated her lover with the idea. Let her take control, and maybe she'd feel more secure. Maggie lay back, raising her arms above her head, wrists by the wooden bars that composed her bedframe. I trust you, her body language said, I'm putting myself in your power.

Randi hesitated, but only briefly, before she locked the cuffs around one of Maggie's wrists, threaded it through the frame, and cuffed the other wrist tightly. Then she sat back, looming over her captive, and there was a cold, almost dangerous look in her eyes.

For the first time, aware of her own helplessness and the position she'd put herself in, Maggie began to feel afraid. Never trust an ex-con, her father had always told her, above all else. And now she'd given one complete power over her. Maybe this hadn't been such a good idea...

"I could do just about anything I wanted to you, couldn't I?" Randi said at last, her low voice like ice. "And you couldn't stop me."

Maggie didn't answer, waiting to see what would happen next.

Randi appeared to consider her opportunity, devising who knew what diabolical schemes for her prisoner. Then, reaching a decision, she leaned closer to Maggie and whispered, "You let me know if this hurts."

"And you'll stop?"

"I didn't say that."

It didn't exactly hurt, but the experience was certainly more intense than anything they'd shared before.

Each time after that, Randi wanted to use the handcuffs, or to bind Maggie in some way. There was always an implied threat in their lovemaking, a hint of danger, and Maggie experienced just enough fear to enhance her orgasms. The threat was never realized, of course. Randi never hurt her, but there was always the sense that that could change at any time.

It was weeks before Randi surprised Maggie by reversing their positions and allowing Maggie to handcuff her.

Even though Maggie was gentle with her at first, Randi had the desperate, terrified look of a caged animal. Maggie began to worry that she'd gone too far, but when she asked if Randi wanted her to stop, Randi only shook her head. She wouldn't let Maggie release her until after she'd climaxed twice.

They continued their trysts, always with some form of restraint or binding. Mostly, Randi bound or cuffed Maggie, but occasionally she would surrender herself to Maggie's mercy. They evolved a kind of role-playing practice, a variety of scenarios based on power and control. Sometimes Maggie was the arresting officer, sometimes the new con in the cell block. In one particularly inventive case, Randi tied Maggie's wrists to the shower head in her tub and recreated the torture scene from "Lethal Weapon," in which Mel Gibson receives an electrified sponge bath. They used the water and the sponge, but generated their own form of electricity. Maggie's screams were of pleasure, rather than pain.

Maggie always let Randi take control, unless Randi gave her the sign that it was her turn to drive. She submitted completely in the former cases, trusting Randi not to abuse her unduly, but when she took charge, she left Randi without a doubt who held the reins.

Speaking of which, Maggie thought, bringing herself back to the present...


Even when she was ready, Maggie deliberately kept Randi waiting an extra ten minutes, just to get her really frantic. Then, naked herself, she strolled into the bedroom.

Randi looked like she was on the verge of disjointing herself in frustration, but when Maggie entered her field of vision, she stopped squirming and became rapt with attention. Her eyes darted to the small bowl in Maggie's hand.

"You'll find out soon enough," Maggie replied to her unspoken question. She set the bowl on top of her dresser, where Randi couldn't see it's contents, then opened the top drawer and removed the blindfold. Randi's field of vision was quickly reduced to the inside of her eyelids.

Then Maggie retrieved the bowl and plucked a dripping ice cube from it. She held it carefully over Randi's stomach, knowing full well that Randi had no idea what to expect. Maggie wasn't in control of their games often, but when she was, she loved to make the most of it.

The first icy drop of water gathered at the bottom of the cube, hung there as it gathered...and fell. Randi jerked and let out a surprised whimper as it dripped onto her skin. Other drops followed, never in a predictable path. Maggie let the water drip in a random pattern, once on her thigh, then on her throat, then on her opposite hip, then once, deliberately on each nipple. That took a bit of precision bombing on Maggie's part, but Randi's squeals were worth it. "Oh, yes..." the blindfolded woman sighed.

Maggie took it a step further, lowering the cube to touch the tip of Randi's nose, eliciting a gasp and leaving another drop. She let the cube brush over Randi's lips, and Randi's tongue flicked out to capture some of its moisture from her fingers. Maggie pulled it back. "Ah, ah..." she taunted. "You ready to talk?"

Randi bared her teeth. "Uh-uh," she hissed in defiance.

Maggie smiled. "Okay..." She ran the cube - no longer very cubical - over her captive's chin, down the length of her neck, and over her breastbone, leaving a thin trail of liquid. She swirled it delicately, feather-light over Randi's breasts, deriving shivers of delight, then trailed down Randi's ribs, toward her groin...then veered off, down one leg, and back up the other.

All the while, she could hear the rising excitement in Randi's breathing. "Please..." the clerk gasped.

"What do you say?" Maggie taunted.

"Please...!" Randi repeated.

"Uh-uh. You know what I want to hear." Of course, Randi didn't know, and Maggie didn't really have anything in mind. This ploy was just another excuse to draw the whole experience out some more.

"If I ever get out of this..." Randi breathed.

The chunk in Maggie's hand was now more water than ice, so she dropped its remains back in the bowl and wiped the excess on Randi's sternum. She let her fingers smear the droplets of water over her lover's skin, as the other woman moaned and writhed.

Unable to resist temptation any longer, Maggie lowered her lips to recreate the trail of condensation, gently lapping up the moisture. She kissed her way from Randi's cheek, down her throat, to her collarbone. Climbing onto the bed, she took an erect nipple in her mouth as Randi let out a joyful sound and strained against the handcuffs. Her legs closed around Maggie's waist. Maggie's fingers tugged gently at both nipples as her mouth glided downward... never... quite... fast... enough... for Randi's satisfaction.

Maggie sat back, took hold of Randi's hips and pulled her down the bed so that her arms were stretched out completely, and the chain of the handcuffs was taut. Randi let out a gutteral moan and cried, "Now, please...!" Maggie obliged her at last, bringing her mouth to the source of Randi's pleasure. Her tongue infiltrated confidently and moved with purpose, bringing further cries from Randi, whose head thrashed between her arms. Maggie abandoned her teasing and torments and made love to the captive woman with wild intensity. The sweet, musky taste of her was intoxicating.

This was the best part. The brain-frying, spine-melting shut-up-and-do-me sex.

Randi's cries of ecstasy escalated, their pitch and intensity increasing as she bucked against Maggie's mouth, until she let out a scream and climaxed in an internal explosion. She collapsed slowly, her form covered in a sheen of moisture, until she lay back in boneless repose.

Maggie slid her body up along Randi's, straddling her rib cage, and lifted her head up from the pillow. She peeled the blindfold off, letting Randi see again. "You ready to talk now?" she said again, facetiously, tilting Randi's chin to face her.

Randi wet her lips, her face flushed and her hair mussed. "Yes," she replied, with quiet intensity. "I love you, Maggie."

Maggie's next remark died in her throat and she froze, astonished. THAT had never happened before.

Part Two...

Randi still lay beneath Maggie, her breathing slowing. Maggie's jaw had dropped. Did she hear right? Did Randi just say 'I love you, Maggie'? They never addressed each other by name in these encounters, let alone in a context like that one. She tried to speak, but couldn't think of what to say. "Uh, I - um..."

Something seemed to stiffen between them, as though a line had just been crossed, or a shameful secret revealed. Randi looked away, stricken. "I just ruined it, didn't I?"

"No!" Maggie assured her, hastily. "No, I just...I mean..."

"You don't have to explain," Randi said, her face sinking into despair. She tried to roll onto her side, but was still restrained by the handcuffs. "Could you take these things off me, please?" she said, almost too low to be heard.

"Uh, yeah, of course," Maggie stammered. She got up quickly and retrieved the key from the top of the dresser, unlocking Randi hurriedly. Randi rolled away from her, as though deeply embarrassed.

Maggie lay on the bed behind her and put her arms around the clerk. "Hey, I'm sorry," she said. "You just took me by surprise, that's all. I didn't mean to--"

"Jesus, I knew I shouldn't have listened to that bitch..." Randi's voice held in a sob.

"What bitch? Listened to who?"

"Pomerantz, up in Psych," Randi replied without looking at her. "She's been encouraging me to tell you how I feel. I should have known it would spoil the mood between us."

"Randi..." It felt strange calling her by name. Two years of intense weekly sex, and Maggie realized they'd never had a single real conversation. She knew every inch of Randi's body, and yet she didn't know Randi herself. How did this happen?

She tried again. "Randi, I'm glad you told me. I mean, I'd rather know than not know."

"Does that mean you're in love with me, too?" Randi shot back.

Maggie didn't know how to answer that.

"Uh-huh," Randi grunted. "You see?" Despite the awkward angle, Maggie was certain she could see a tear on Randi's cheek.

"I don't know," she said helplessly. "I mean, we've never talked about... Hell, we've never talked, period." Two years with this woman, fucking each other's brains out, and she knew nothing more about her than the day they'd met. What the hell is wrong with you, Doyle? she demanded of herself. "I mean... well, for example, I didn't know you were seeing Nina Pomerantz. Seeing her professionally, I mean; I'm not jealous," she added, trying to lighten things up a notch.

It didn't work. "Yeah. Hospital employee benefits. Might as well use it as long as I got it, right?"

"Sure," Maggie replied. She was curious to know what the perpetually devil-may-care Randi Fronczak might need to see a psychiatrist about, but she didn't want to risk hurting her lover any further.

"You want to know why I'm seeing a shrink, right?" Randi's voice came harshly over her shoulder.

Maggie winced. The clerk had read her mind. "I don't want to pry," she said carefully, "but if it's something you want to talk about, I'm happy to listen."

Randi was quiet and stiff in her arms, and Maggie half-feared Randi would never want to see her again. Then... "I told Pomerantz I'd been seeing someone I really cared about," she said at last. "I never told her who it was, but she suggested I should tell you about what happened. I thought, yeah right, that'll happen. I'm gonna go see my secret girlfriend, tell her the worst thing in my life, and then expect her to screw me."

"Maybe you should."

"What?" Randi snapped.

"Hey, don't get mad," Maggie said. "I mean, maybe you should tell someone about it, whatever it is, if it's hurting you that much." She held the other woman a little closer. "Look, this is new to both of us, okay? I don't know what's gonna happen between us if you tell me, but I'm here now. I'll be honest, Randi, I don't know you well enough to love you, but I'd like to try to find out, if you'll let me."

Randi was silent and still.

"Come on, you owe it to yourself. Please?"

More silence.

"You know a lot of cops, right?" Randi said at last.

Maggie was mildly surprised by the change of topic. "I meet a lot, yeah. It comes with the family."

"I wouldn't know," came the flat reply. "You ever hear of Dillon Cooper?"

"Uh...yeah, I've heard my dad mention him." It was several years ago, but Maggie recalled her father mentioning Cooper's name at the dinner table. Although, as a rule, Sgt. Doyle would never speak ill of another police officer, Maggie could always tell if her dad thought the officer in question was a good cop or not. She was certain that Cooper was not. When she read about him in the papers months later, she knew she was right. "Did you know him?"

"Not socially. He busted me for pot possession when I was sixteen."

Maggie could tell from Randi's voice that a deeply painful memory was being unearthed, though she wasn't sure what shape it would take. "Uh-huh?"

"Except then he gives me a choice. He books me for possession, or I give him a blowjob and I can walk."

Oh, Christ. Maggie felt a flash of impotent rage toward Dillon Cooper. As much as she respected, admired, and supported police officers in general, there were few things she hated as much as those cops who abused their authority. The cruel manipulation by those in power over those who were not was deeply repellent to her. "You didn't, did you?" she demanded.

It was the wrong thing to say, she realized, feeling Randi pull away inside. "I was young and stupid, and I didn't want to get busted..."

Maggie leaned her forehead against Randi's shoulder blade. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get judgmental."

Randi went on, "A couple of days later, he cornered me on the street and told me he still had the paperwork from the first time, so he could still file it if I didn't blow him again." She sniffled. "He got away with that twice more, and I let him. You believe that?"

"He was lying about that paperwork, you know. He'd get in serious shit if the department found out."

"Yeah, I know that now," Randi shot back. "In fact I looked it up. He tried it again just after my seventeenth birthday, and I told him to go fuck himself."

"Good for you." Maggie smiled.

Randi seemed to grow even smaller. "Yeah, good for me..."

Something in her voice made Maggie feel cold, in spite of the warmth of Randi's body pressed against hers. "What happened then?" she asked carefully.

A long moment passed.

"He cuffed me, dragged me into his squad car, and raped me in the back seat."

Oh, God...

Maggie was overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness and horror that always struck her when treating rape victims. She was aware of the appalling statistics - one in every four women you see walking around has been harassed, assaulted, or beaten by men - but it had never occurred to her that Randi, the wisecracking desk clerk who took no shit from anyone, and who had shared Maggie's bed and her body for years, was one of them. "Randi...I'm so sorry," she whispered, aware as always how pointless the words were.

Randi shuddered once, in her arms, then was still. Maggie just held her, unable to do anything else.

Then a horrible thought struck her as her eye fell on the cuffs, lying on the bedside table. What must it have felt like when she first suggested their use, given what had happened to Randi? What memories did it evoke when she locked them around Randi's wrists and used her body however she felt like? "Randi..." she ventured, riding the wave of guilt, "have we been re-enacting that with the handcuffs?"

"No!" Randi answered her, too quickly. She clutched Maggie's arm across her chest like a blanket. "No, Maggie, don't ever think that. It's okay when you cuff me. Really. I trust you."

"How is that possible? How could you have sex with me that way after that bastard..." Maggie was unable to complete the sentence.

"Pomerantz says it's therapeutic, doing it that way with someone I know won't ever hurt me. Something about reclaiming that part of myself, or some shrink bullshit like that." She held tighter to Maggie's arm. "You're nothing like Cooper to me. I never think about him when I'm with you."

Maggie was unconvinced by her assurances, to say the least. She had some respect for Nina Pomerantz' opinions, and was willing to accept her judgment on that point. Especially since it seemed like she was really helping Randi. But she made a silent vow she'd never use the goddamned things on Randi again.

"An old man called an ambulance for me," Randi continued, at last, "and later he testified that he saw Cooper pull me into the car, then dump me out and drive away. That was really brave of him."

"Thank God for him, then."

"Yeah. Last I heard, Cooper didn't get convicted, but he was thrown off the police force."

Maggie hesitated, then said, "My dad told me Cooper ended up eating his gun." Police slang for suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Randi considered that, then simply replied, "Good."

The thought of any cop killing himself was anathema to Maggie, but she decided she couldn't blame Randi for feeling the way she did.

After a little while, Randi said, "The people who took care of me at the hospital...they were so good to me." Her voice was thickening as she cried softly. "I mean, they were impersonal and professional, you know, but they treated me like I really mattered, no matter who I was. First time anybody did that, and it took a rape to make it happen."

Maggie stroked her hair.

"I decided that's the kind of place I wanted to work someday. After I did my time, years later, I asked my parole officer if I could work in a hospital. I said I'll get coffee, or sweep the floors, or whatever it took."

"And he got you the clerk job at County, huh?"

"I'll let you in on a secret, Maggie. I love where I work. I love the people I work with. No matter how much I bitch." She rolled over enough to look Maggie in the eyes. "I love you. You're everything I want to be. You're tough and smart and successful. You don't take shit from anyone, but at the same time, you're not afraid to be nice to people."

The doctor gazed, fascinated, into the eyes of her bedmate, seeing her for possibly the first time. "I never knew you felt that way," she sighed. "I never even suspected..."

"Why would you?" Randi asked, rhetorically. "You're so great, and I'm just some dumb slut off the street..."

"Hey, don't talk that way about yourself," Maggie snapped. "You're not dumb, and everyone knows it."

"Fine. I'm not dumb. I'm just some slut off the str-"

"Stop it!" Maggie lifted Randi's chin sharply. "I don't let anyone talk that way about the people I love. So knock it off or I'll kick your ass."

"I thought you said you didn't love me."

"I said I didn't know you well enough to love you," Maggie corrected her. "I love sleeping with you. I never intended to simply use you for sex; I always thought you didn't want there to be anything more between us, or I'd have tried to get to know you better, long ago."

Randi's eyes were strikingly vulnerable. "Does that mean you still want me?" she said, her voice very small.

Maggie turned her by the shoulders until they were fully facing each other. "It means I want you even more," she said.

She didn't know which of them made the first move, but a moment later, they were embracing again, their kiss deep and loving. Randi's fingers dug into her back and scalp as her tongue pressed into her mouth. Everywhere her skin met Randi's, Maggie's nervous system received one consistent message: I love you so much.

Randi rolled Maggie onto her back, her own weight pressing deliciously upon the resident. Her mouth tore itself away from Maggie's, only to glide warmly and wetly across her cheek and down the side of her neck. Maggie felt her carotid artery pulsing against Randi's lips, and the eager desire within her grew rapidly.

Her back arched involuntarily as Randi's mouth captured the aereola of her right breast. Teeth raked against the sharp peak of her nipple, bringing her passion into equally sharp focus. "Ohhh, Jesus, Randi..."

This was so different from any other lovemaking they'd shared before. The lack of physical restraint was a change, with nothing preventing them from touching each other, but there was more to it than that. I'm in the arms of a woman who loves me, Maggie thought with delirious joy. I'm not just a good fuck to her. She loves me...

Randi's lips, teeth and tongue marked a trail across the plains of her stomach, then down between her legs, and into her deepest reserve of bliss. "God, yes!" Maggie cried out, "Oh, God, there, yes...Oh my God, you know just how to...ahh..." She clutched at Randi's head, trying to pull her deeper inside herself.

Then, after what seemed like a year, her rapture reached critical mass, and the shattering power of her orgasm washed over her like a flash flood. She bucked and threw her head back and screamed. When it had passed, Maggie's throat felt like a wind tunnel. She had no strength - or desire - to move, or do anything more than lay back and let her sweat cool.

Randi crawled back up to her chest, and lay against her, head pillowed on Maggie's breasts. One arm and leg draped across the doctor's body, and she seemed content to just remain there forever.

As her senses returned in the aftermath, Maggie put her arms around Randi's shoulders and regarded her intently. She knew the clerk would almost certainly be back to her cynical, disaffected self when they saw each other at County the next day, but at this moment she was as beautiful as anyone Maggie had ever seen.

What a disservice she'd done this woman, Maggie reflected. All this time, she'd been content to treat her as some sort of sexual automaton, rather than a human being. Granted, Randi had never given any indication that she wanted anything more than casual sex, but the fact that Maggie had accepted such an arrangement without question bothered her.

Maggie ruefully reflected that she had never taken Randi out to the movies, or to ball games, or concerts, or museums, or whatever she it was she liked to do. They'd never gone jogging together, or swimming, or dancing, never eaten at restaurants, or enjoyed conversation over a meal they'd cooked together, or ordered in pizza and laughed at really cheesy movies on TV together. They'd never even strolled along the lake, or sat together and watched the sun go down. All this time, Randi Fronczak had been in love with her, and she'd never known. It was horrible to think of all the time they'd wasted, all the lost opportunities.

Well, dammit, no more. It was time to change. If Randi had the courage to share a part of her life with Maggie, then it was the least she could do to share part of hers.

"Randi?"

"Mmm...?" came the sleepy reply.

"Would you come to dinner at my parents' house with me this Sunday?"

The clerk's head came up. "What?"

"I want my family to meet you."

Randi hesitated. "Oh, Maggie, I don't know... Do you think they'd accept me?"

That was a good question. Part of Maggie cringed at the thought of explaining to her third-generation police family that she was involved with a former convicted criminal. "They'll learn to love you," she replied with a cocky grin. Even if she had to wrestle them all down and pound it into them one by one, she decided.

Randi smiled in return. "Can I think about it?" she asked. "Maybe ask me again in the morning?"

"Sure," Maggie told her. Then, doing a double-take, "You'll still be here in the morning?"

"Yeah, I will."

Maggie felt her smile deepening. "You promise?"

For a reply, Randi reached over to the bedside table, picked up the handcuffs, then snapped one end on her own wrist and the other on Maggie's. "I promise," she said.

The End

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