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. As always, any errors in continuity, characterization, or common sense are entirely my own fault.
SPOILERS: Takes place just after "Rock, Scissors, Paper"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Scott J Welles

Part One...

"I'd like you to stay..."

The graceful, dignified exit that Kim had envisioned was thrown off completely by those few, quietly spoken words. The loveliness of Kerry's face had struck her many times in passing, but she'd never felt the force of her gaze so powerfully as she did now.

Kerry's eyes lingered on hers, searching, then she leaned forward, almost imperceptibly...

It was Kim's turn to pull back, this time. "I can't," she said. "I can't do this, Kerry." And she turned away with whatever dignity she had left. The cold air outside Doc Magoo's bit her cruelly as she stepped out of its doors, striding away from the warmth behind her.

"Why does it have to be all or nothing with you?!" said the voice behind her. She turned to see that Kerry had followed her outside the diner. "We were so happy together once, Kim. Is it so hard to be close to me now?"

Kim sighed. Apparently, this wasn't going to be as easy as she'd hoped. "How close, Kerry? That's the problem. We've been over this before. What's too close for one of us is not close enough for the other..."


"I know you want to keep me as a friend, Kerry, and I'd like that too, but it's not that simple. I know when my feelings can be ignored and when they can't. It's important that I put some distance between us."

Kerry swallowed and looked away.

The misery on her face was like a jagged sliver of glass in Kim's gut. She retraced her steps to where Kerry was standing. "Kerry...try to imagine what it's like for gay people, even today. Things have improved for us, but much of society still wants us kept out of sight and out of mind. Sometimes it feels like you're in prison for something that's not your fault. Like it's okay for you to exist, as long as you're kept apart from everyone else."

"Kim, have I ever treated you badly because you were gay?"

"Not badly, but differently. You become uncomfortable whenever it's brought up. You have nothing against it as long as you don't have to be reminded of it."

"I'm sorry, I've never meant to make you feel that way."

"It's not your fault, Kerry, I'm used to it from most people."

"But not me?"

Kim paused, making sure she phrased it just right. "By the same analogy, what if the prison gates were opened, but you weren't allowed to walk through them? How would it feel to be so close to the free world, able to look right out and see what you love, but never be able to touch it?" She blinked away a tear. "That's what it's like for me, Kerry, trying to be just friends with you."

Kerry touched her arm. "Kim..."

She stepped back, away from Kerry's touch. "It's not going to work, Kerry. My feelings for you are too strong. I can't keep them within your boundaries or parameters..."

"I'm not asking you to!" Kerry suddenly broke in. "Kim, I've never asked you to restrain or limit how you felt about me."

"Not in words, but in your behavior. You pulled back when I kissed you..."

"You took me by surprise then," Kerry stated softly. "I'm not pulling back now."

Kim looked at her carefully. "What are you saying, Kerry? What do you see happening here?"

"I don't know," Kerry told her. "I don't know what I want, except that I want to be with you."

"Even if that means going to bed with me?"

She paused. "If that's what you want."

Kim felt a moment's desire, but it was quickly replaced by anger. "If that's what I want," she repeated. "No, that doesn't work, Kerry. If it's not something we both want, then you'd just be whoring yourself for my friendship, and I can't have that."

"Dammit, Kim, what do you want from me?!" Kerry exploded. "I'm sorry if I didn't respond the way you'd like at first. Maybe I was confused, maybe I wasn't ready...but I'm trying, Kim. Please, you've got to give me another chance."

Kim hugged herself, rubbing her arms against the chill. "Kerry, does this have to be difficult?"

"Listen to me," Kerry said, urgently. "Nobody's ever made me feel the way you do. Not even the man I married. I don't have any experience with women, romantically; I can't say if I want you as a friend, or a lover, or what. I don't even know how to think in those terms." She shrugged, helplessly. "I tried to keep you as a friend because that's something I understand. Anything beyond that is unknown territory to me, and it scares me. Like everyone else, I'm afraid of what I don't know."

Oh, that's flattering, Kim thought. "Okay, then why...?"

Kerry stepped closer. "Because the thought of not being with you at all does worse than scare me, Kim. It...it hurts." She touched Kim's cheek. "I've been hurt so much in my life...I'd rather be scared."

Something in the desperate, yearning quality of Kerry's voice pierced the last of Kim's defenses. What must it have cost Kerry, normally such a contained, reserved woman, to reach out to her like this? What bravery must it have taken? Could Kim be that brave in return?

Kerry's eyes filled with tears as she slipped her arms around Kim's waist and leaned her head on Kim's shoulder. "I love you, Kim," she said, her voice thick. "Please just don't hurt me."

Kim felt her own eyes filling, and her arms encircling Kerry's shoulders. She held the smaller woman close, filling her nose with the scent of her hair, and knew there was no point to arguing further. She was lost, and had been since Kerry sat down opposite her.

"It's cold out here," she said, as steadily as she could. "You want to go back inside?"

Kerry nodded against her chest. "Yes, but not here. Let's go somewhere else. Somewhere we can talk, okay?"

Kim smiled. "Your place or mine?"

Part Two...

"Make yourself at home," she told Kerry as they entered her small apartment.

"Thanks," Kerry replied. "I like this. It's very homey."

"You're a charming liar," Kim said with a smile. Even now, the apartment seemed sparse and underfurnished. True, she'd only moved in a few months ago, but she knew it would probably look this way in a year's time. Kim could afford something with twice the space, but she preferred to live simply, both in terms of floorspace and possessions. She imagined Kerry's home being much more elaborate, and hoped she'd get to find out sometime soon. "There's some wine in the fridge if you'd like to pour us some. I'm just going to check my messages."


Kim heard glasses clinking behind her as she walked to the living room desk where her phone and answering machine rested. The light blinked four times rapidly, then repeated itself. Pressing the button, she waited for the machine to rewind, then it clicked.

BEEP! "Ms. Legaspi? This is Sarah in Dr. Primmin's office, confirming your appointment on Thursday at 2:00 for a cleaning. Please let us know if..." Dentist. Ooh, she'd forgotten about that; better check her schedule, see if she can make the appointment, or if she needed to reschedule.

BEEP! "Kim? Jen. Call me, lunch, gotta talk. Met someone, great, love 'er, lotsa dish. Call me!" Jen, an old friend. Obviously wanting to brag about her new girlfriend. Kim knew it would be virtually the same conversation as the one they had the last time Jen met someone. And the time before that...

BEEP! No message, just dial tone. Either someone got the wrong number, or they were just too lazy to leave a message. Kim thought, I've got Kerry in my apartment and I'm wasting my time on this...?

BEEP! "It's, um, it's me, Kimmie. Just wanted to say hello, we haven't talked in a while. You know, you can come back and visit anytime. So, uh...anyway, Marsha sends her love, and, um...well, g'bye."

Oh, Christ...

Kerry appeared by her side, holding out a glass of white wine. "Is everything all right?" she asked, concerned.

Kim forced a smile as she took the glass gratefully. "My father," she replied, nodding at the machine. "That's about how comfortable he is talking to me."


They turned to Kim's small sofa and coffee table, sitting. "I hear from him two or three times a year, because he feels it's his paternal duty," Kim went on, "but I don't think he really ever wants to talk to me. It's just as well we didn't talk in person; usually, about the only small talk he can think to make with me is, 'you found a man yet?' There are some things he just can't bring himself to accept." She sipped angrily at her wine.

"I'm sorry," Kerry said. "Is Marsha your sister?"

"Unh-uh. Stepmother. Mom died about fifteen years ago, and Dad met Marsha around '98." She shuddered. "Awful, spiteful woman. She's got Dad wrapped around her little finger, mostly because he's too old and lonely and worn down to stand up to her, and I can tell she hates me."

"Because you're gay, or because you're his daughter?"

"Take your pick. I think she's an equal-opportunity annoyer." Kim finished her wine, then noticed Kerry didn't have a glass. "You didn't want any?"

"Oh, yeah, I was going to pour myself one, but I left the bottle in the kitchen when I brought you yours. It's sometimes awkward with one hand, and I didn't want to spill..."

"Here, let me get it." Kim stood, crossed into the small kitchenette, and poured a second glass. "Sorry, I'm not being the best hostess."

"That's all right..." The voice was directly behind her.

She turned, the glass in her hand, and they were virtually nose-to-nose in the small, tiled space. Their eyes met...and time stopped.

Kim could feel the moment of indecision vibrating in Kerry's body, almost a fight-or-flight instinct. Now that the moment came, how would she react to the physical proximity of another woman?

She leaned forward, well into Kerry's critical distance, as if to kiss her, but didn't make contact. Let her make that choice. Kerry could easily step back if she chose, or she could meet Kim's mouth with her own.

But she did neither. She accepted Kim's presence without acting on it, as though yielding to whatever move Kim made next.

Somehow, this calmed Kim. She settled for kissing the tip of Kerry's nose. "You're trembling," she said. But not retreating. Not putting up walls.

Kerry nodded, smiling. "Just nervous, I guess."

Kim smiled in return and backed off, handing Kerry the wineglass. "You know," she said, "in addition to my many other virtues, I also happen to give great massages. Would you like one?"

Kerry closed her eyes. "That sounds great right about now," she replied.

A small sigh of relief almost escaped from Kim's lips, but she held it in. Part of her was waiting for Kerry's skittish nature to balk at any further closeness. So far, that hadn't happened, but the night was young. "Okay," she said. "If you'd just like a foot massage, I can do that at the couch; otherwise, the bed is about the only comfortable place to lie down." Give her some options, allow her some control over how far things go...

"I think I need the full works tonight, if that's all right," Kerry told her, sipping the wine.

In Kim's view, that was more than all right. Particularly if Kerry's idea of 'the full works' matched her own. Now, now, one step at a time. "Sure. Shall we?" She gestured to the bedroom.

Kerry turned that way, but then stopped as they reached the doorway to the bedroom. "Um...can I say something you probably don't want to hear?" she ventured.

Kim's spirits were immediately dampened. I knew it, she thought. She's going to draw the line. She's going to tell me that it's not going to happen after all. Putting a brave face on things, she said, "As long as you don't tell me you're still married."

"No, no," Kerry said with a laugh, "thank God, NO, I'm not."

"Then you can tell me anything you want."

Kerry let the laugh end, then looked soberly at Kim. "I think you should call your father back."

That took Kim by surprise. "Oh."

"I know, it's probably none of my business, but...he's trying to reach out to you. Maybe he's not the kind of father you'd like, but he's the only one you have. You can still make the effort to connect with him. Not everyone has that chance."

Kim said nothing. She couldn't recall Kerry mentioning her own parents. Were they alive?

"That's all. I'll drop the subject now." Kerry limped into the bedroom, then noticed Kim hadn't followed her. "Are you coming?"

"Um...in a minute, okay? I'm just going to put the wine back in the refrigerator."


Kim returned the bottle to its place in the fridge, after pouring herself another glass, but then detoured to the telephone. She picked up the receiver and stared at its glowing digit keys. Her father wasn't often up this late, but still...

No. Too soon. Maybe tomorrow evening, she told herself.

Part Three...

No. Too soon. Maybe tomorrow evening, she told herself.

She cradled the receiver and rubbed at her eyes. This was certainly her night for emotional upheaval. Tomorrow would be better, she decided. When she could contemplate things in the light of day. Not now, when the newness of having Kerry Weaver in her home and her life...

She returned to the bedroom, dimly lit by the bedside lamp at its lowest setting. The bed covers were pushed back where she'd left them that morning. It figured the one day she forgot to make the bed would be the night Kerry saw it.

Kerry was lying on her stomach on the bed, wearing one of Kim's oversized college tee shirts, and apparently nothing else. She looked up as Kim entered. "I hope you don't mind," she said, shyly. "I just wanted to..."

"...slip into something more comfortable," Kim finished with her, and they laughed at the old cliché. "Sure, I don't mind."

With a nod of thanks, Kerry lay her head down on pillowed forearms.

Kim set her wineglass on the table next to Kerry's and knelt on the bed beside her. She started with Kerry's feet, rubbing and kneading them carefully. "You have beautiful legs," she commented.

"Comes as a surprise, doesn't it?" Kerry mumbled.

"No, I meant...well, I guess it does." She had half-expected one of them to be scarred, or malformed somehow. "But then you're full of surprises, aren't you?"

"Mmmm. I know some people who'd say that's not always a good thing."

"Well, they're not here." Kim slid her hands up over Kerry's calves and the backs of her knees. "And I like being surprised once in a while."

They were quiet as Kim slowly worked her way up Kerry's legs, over her thighs. She resisted the urge to slip her hands under the tee shirt, but instead kept them outside it, moving up over Kerry's hips and back to her shoulders. She could feel the outline of panties under the shirt, but no bra. Either Kerry was much more comfortable with Kim than she'd let on...or she was hoping things would go farther.

"Kim," Kerry said at last, "can I ask you something?"

"You can ask me anything, Kerry."

"How old were you when you knew?"

"Knew that I was gay?" It irked Kim slightly that Kerry couldn't just say it, leaving it to Kim to put things into words. "Since I was eighteen."

"Not before then?"

"No. I used to think I was...frigid, perhaps. Then I met a woman. Actually, she hired me, not long after my high school graduation. She needed an assistant, and my guidance counselor referred me to her. I don't think he'd have done that if he knew what happened next."

"What happened?"

"She took me to bed. And the rest is history." She chuckled. "Looking back on it, it seems like a harassment suit waiting to happen, but I didn't care then that she was my boss...or that she was twice my age. All that mattered was that she showed me there was nothing wrong with me. It wasn't my fault I wasn't attracted to the guys I went to school with." Kim recalled, now, that the woman had been a redhead. And about the age Kerry was now...

Kerry moaned softly as Kim found a spot between her shoulder and spine. "Oh, there," she said, and Kim pressed a little harder. "Do...do you think it was easier at that age?"

She was doing it again. "Easier than what, Kerry?"

"Easier than if you'd found out, say, now?"

Kim shrugged and ran her fingers up the back of Kerry's neck, rubbing the back of her skull under her hair. "I don't know, Kerry, I've only got this one perspective on the subject." She rubbed harder, as though scratching a cat's head. "Why do you ask?"

Kerry moaned with pleasure, but otherwise made no reply.

Yielding the question, Kim brought her thumbs to the base of Kerry's neck and worked the nerve clusters there. "I can't tell you if you're gay, Kerry. Only you can do that."

She felt a sudden tightening beneath her, but Kerry didn't argue. Kim hated to risk souring things between them that way, but some things had to be said, sooner or later.

"Your turn to tell me something," she said, trying to ease the tension. "Do you - or did you - love your husband?"

Kerry thought about it, relaxing a bit. "I thought I did. We were such good friends, we thought maybe we were meant to be together. So we got married."

Kim's hands ran down under Kerry's arms, along her ribs. The heat from her skin was evident through the shirt. "And what happened?"

"Nothing," Kerry answered her. "We thought the music would swell, and we'd live happily ever after, and baby makes three, and all that good stuff, and instead what happened was...nothing." She lifted her head a bit, rolling her neck. "Tell you what, can we not talk about him? Nothing personal, I just don't want to dwell on it now, all right?"

"That's okay as long as we can include my father in the same deal."

"No fathers, no ex-husbands. Okay."

"Good." Kim smiled and sat up, removing her shirt. "I'm just hot," she explained to Kerry's glance. "A good massage is real work."

"That was definitely a good one," Kerry said, stretching. "I feel like purring."

"Go right ahead."

"Nahh, maybe later." Kerry ended up on her side.

Kim lay down behind her, one hand still gliding casually over her back. It circled around her waist, where the shirt had ridden up during the stretch, and came into contact with the skin of Kerry's belly. Kim recalled previous lovers, entire relationships, sex and all, that hadn't pleased her as much as this feeling. "So what can we talk about?"

"Ummm...the weather?"

"I'm serious, I've always loved talking with you, Kerry. Even if it's not about anything important."

"I know," Kerry said. "I've missed that, too."

Kim kissed the back of her head. "So talk to me. I don't care about what. I love the sound of your voice."

"Fond of fingernails on a blackboard, are you?"

"Stop that. I mean it. Your voice is beautiful to me."

"All right."

There was a pause.

"Well?" Kim prodded.

"I'm thinking, I'm thinking."

This is ridiculous, Kim thought. Now that we're together at last, we've got nothing to say to each other? Is that what happened with Kerry's marriage? The thought filled her with sadness. "It's okay," she said at last. "We don't have to talk."

They lay together, spooned in silence, Kim's hand still against Kerry's stomach.

"You cured my hiccups," Kerry suddenly said, quietly.

Part Four...

"You cured my hiccups," Kerry suddenly said, quietly.

Kim blinked. That was about the last thing she'd expected to hear. "Uh...come again?"

"You cured my hiccups," Kerry repeated. "I hate hiccupping; it's like the world just grabs you by the insides and gives you a shake, totally jarring and disorienting you. You can't prepare for it, because it happens at random, all at once without warning. Just when you think you're settled, at peace inside yourself, it happens all over again. And you can't make them stop, no matter what you do, they just keep coming and coming, until they decide to stop by themselves."

That was a surprising statement, coming from a medical professional who could probably describe both the cause and mechanism of hiccups in clinical detail. But Kerry was deadly serious in her delivery. Kim wondered where this was leading.

"I feel like I've been hiccupping my whole life," Kerry went on. "The world hiccups and my parents have died in a car accident. Hiccup again, and my friends have been stabbed by a lunatic. Another hiccup, and a valued colleague suddenly has an incurable tumor." There were tears in her voice. "But when you kissed me..."

Kim thought back to the kiss. She recalled Kerry exasperatedly resorting to Randi's lit-match cure, the coiled tension in her demeanor, and then the stillness in her body after she'd pulled away from Kim's kiss.

"I feel good when I'm with you. I don't know why. I have friends, I've had sex, I've been married, but nothing like..." Kerry trailed off into silence.

Kim didn't know what to say.

"Kim," Kerry said suddenly, "could you move your hand?"

"Oh..." Kim took her hand away from Kerry's stomach with some disappointment. Perhaps this was too much, too soon for her. "Sorry."

"That's...not what I meant..."


Kerry reached behind her, took Kim's wrist, and brought the hand back to where it had been. "I didn't say RE-move it."

Well, in that case... Kim moved the hand slowly in circles, sliding over the warm, soft skin. A fluttery pulse in Kerry's abdomen jumped against her palm. "Like that?"

"Mmm. I love your hands..."

Kim placed a kiss, light as a feather, on the back of Kerry's neck. "Wait a while, you'll want to marry them." She let the circles expand, moving up under the shirt to brush the underside of Kerry's breast, then down to graze the waistband of her underwear, then she repeated the cycle. The faint sound of Kerry's breathing deepened as her arousal grew.

Unable to resist any longer, Kim let the next circle bring her hand up over Kerry's breast, thrilling at the contact between her fingers and the sensitive areola. The nipple was firm against her palm, exciting Kim no end. "Do you like this?"

"Yes..." Kerry breathed.

"It gets better." She let the hand slide down, over the surface of Kerry's satin panties, relishing the tremor in Kerry's breath. Kim moved closer, her own breasts pressing against Kerry's back. "Do you remember what Archimedes said?" she whispered.

"Wh-what...?" Kerry's voice held arousal, tinged with confusion.

" 'Give me a long enough lever and a place to stand, and I'll move the world.' You've read that one?"


Kim slipped her hand under the waistband, cupping the wet warmth between her legs, and added, "Well, I can top that. An inch or two is all the leverage my fingers need to rock your world." And then, slowly, she let her fingers enter Kerry.

At first, she was met with a tight resistance, and she didn't press. She just caressed, softly, neither forcing nor retreating. Then, when Kerry relaxed, Kim let her fingers slide in. Kerry responded with a breath that was half exhale, half moan. Her back arched in reaction, and she let her thighs fall apart, inviting more. "God, yes..." she stage-whispered.

Kim moved her other hand, sliding it under Kerry's head, and Kerry rolled onto her back responsively, head cradled in Kim's arm. The first hand, its access improved, made steadier, bolder motions inside Kerry's groin. Her thumb found its way to Kerry's clitoris, and stroked it in time to the motions of the other fingers. Kerry gasped audibly. "Ohhh..."

Placing her lips by Kerry's ear, Kim whispered, "Do you like this?"


"Does it feel good?"


"You want me to keep going?"


"What's the capital of North Dakota?"

"Bismarck. Now shut up..."

"Just checking." Kim smiled as she concentrated on giving Kerry the sweetest, softest pleasure she could.

Kerry didn't say anything, but every breath was tinged with inarticulate vocalization. She was moving and writhing like a belly dancer. Kim carefully moved her legs to capture the nearer of Kerry's, and Kerry's hand clamped onto her thigh, as if for support. Kim could sense that her climax was near.

"Kerry," she whispered into her ear, "I know you're close. I can feel it. It's going to be wonderful, isn't it?"

Kerry might have nodded, but given the way her head was moving, Kim couldn't tell.

"I want you to come for me," she whispered, "on the count of three." She had never tried this with a lover before, but if it worked in hypnosis, perhaps it would work on someone in this sort of receptive state. "One...two..."

Kerry's breathing accelerated, and her moans became louder. "Ohhh....ohhh..."


"AAaahhh...!" Kerry's pelvis convulsed, her hips arching off the bed, and Kim's fingers were momentarily trapped in place, and then released suddenly, drenched in warm honey. Kerry deflated, sinking back against the mattress.

Kim kissed her temple, licking daintily at the saltiness of her flushed skin. "That was beautiful, Kerry."

Kerry lay back, panting like a track athlete.

Bringing her fingertips to her own mouth, Kim carefully licked them clean. Tasting her lover for the first time. It was like sampling a fine wine undiscovered by mankind. "Congratulations," she said to Kerry in her 'Obi-Wan' impression. "You've just taken your first step into a larger world."

Kerry's eyes opened, and she turned her head to look at Kim's face. She looked into Kim's eyes for a time, saying nothing.

"Sorry," Kim said. "I'm still sad about Alec Guiness dying, and..."

"Kim..." Kerry said, "Shhh..."

And then she put her hand behind Kim's head and pulled the blonde woman's face to hers.

Since that first smooch at the hospital had been rather sudden and one-sided, Kim didn't feel it counted as a legitimate First Kiss. But this did.

She covered Kerry's lips with her own, letting them mold gently against each other, activating all the nerve endings equally. The redhead's lips were as warm and soft as she remembered, and yet it had a new quality she hadn't experienced. This time, Kerry was kissing back.

Kim rolled closer, taking Kerry's upper lip between hers and sucking it lightly, letting it slip out slowly. Then she repeated the same thing with Kerry's lower lip. Kerry did the same thing, simultaneously, her hand buried in the blonde curls behind Kim's head, holding her in place. Kim's hand had returned to Kerry's breast, filling with the pliant mass. Her fingers dug in more firmly this time as her excitement grew. She became aware of how wet Kerry was making her...

With a gasp, Kim pulled away, sitting up. "I'm not going anywhere," she was quick to add, seeing Kerry's look of sudden dismay, "just catching my breath."

She turned away and stood up, turning off the bedside lamp as she did so. Then she removed the rest of her clothes, letting Kerry see her in silhouette, illuminated only by the moonlight from the window. When she was naked, she stood, feeling the goose-bumps on her skin - not from cold, but from anticipation - and turned slowly, letting Kerry look at her body for the first time.

To her surprise, she saw that Kerry had also undressed. She lay, nude, awaiting Kim's return.

Okay, Kim thought. Here we go.

Part Five...

Okay, Kim thought. Here we go.

She knelt by Kerry's side again, her hands cupping Kerry's face, and looked into her eyes. "Are you ready?"

Kerry nodded slowly. "I think I am."

Kim moved very slowly and deliberately, never taking her eyes off of Kerry's. She maneuvered herself until her body was above the redhead's, then lowered herself onto her lover. Their bodies meshed, legs, hips, stomachs, and breasts meeting each other. Then, bringing her face nearly down to Kerry's, she let her lips almost, but not quite, meet the other woman's. Kerry sighed, almost whimpering with anticipation.

With her lips just brushing Kerry's, Kim whispered, "Are you still afraid?"


"Do you want to stop?"

Kerry gave a deliberate shake of her head, barely a quarter inch in each direction, but enough to let her lips slide across Kim's. "No," she said, more clearly.

"Good." She kissed Kerry's chin, her lips crabwalking down her jaw to her throat, tasting each inch of skin as though it was a delicacy. Which, in her view, it was. Her lips nipped lightly at Kerry's body, each kiss lighter than a squirrel's steps. Kerry leaned her head forward to kiss Kim's forehead, until she descended too low, then she let her head fall back.

Kim reached a nipple, and reached her tongue out, the tip brushing as lightly as she could over the areola, causing Kerry to shiver with delight. She clutched at Kim's shoulders, wordlessly urging her on, but Kim ignored her, determined to draw this out as much as possible. Making love to Kerry for the first time would not be an experience Kim rushed through.

She caught the nipple between her teeth, tugging on it gently, then releasing it and veering to the hollow of Kerry's right shoulder. She continued the same pattern of kisses over Kerry's bicep, noting that the muscles were firmer than they looked. Using that crutch constantly must keep them in use, she realized. Taking Kerry's wrist in her hand, Kim raised her forearm at a 45-degree angle, kissing and licking at the fold of the elbow. Preview of coming attractions, she thought. Then, moving on, she kissed her way across the wrist, up over the callused palm - from the crutch's grip, no doubt - tracing the life and love lines with the tip of her tongue, and took Kerry's index finger into her mouth, sucking it suggestively. Kerry's legs were wrapped around her, the heels nuzzling at the backs of Kim's knees and calves.

Holding Kerry's palm against her cheek, Kim said, "I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for you, Kerry Weaver. Even before I knew who you were."

Kerry said nothing, but moved the hand down over Kim's neck, exploring the surface of her body like a blind person gaining a tactile image of someone else's face. She let Kim guide her hand to her heart.

"You feel that?" Kim asked her. "It's beating for you." The heat from Kerry's hand was like a radiator against her chest.

After a moment, Kerry took control again, moving her hand to Kim's breast, exploring its curves, its contours, its weight and heft, the sharp peak of her nipple...then moved on down over her sternum, her waist and hips...down between her thighs.

Kim sighed with approval, happy that Kerry was taking an active role in their lovemaking, and let out a groan as those fingers found their way into her vagina. For someone who had never been with a woman before, Kerry seemed to locate her most sensitive spots very quickly. "MMMmmm...yes, Kerry, right there..." she gasped.

Kerry seemed to take this as encouragement, and found a rhythm with her fingers. She cupped her hand, one finger curving upward in JUST the right manner, while the heel of her hand brushed Kim's clit. Kim closed her eyes, and tilted her hips forward and back in counterpoint to Kerry's caress. "Oh, Christ, Kerry, I thought you...oh my g..."

She came suddenly, with unexpected intensity, the orgasm feeling like an hour's sunbathing on the beach compressed and concentrated into one moment. Kim let out a squeak of astonishment that would have been comical if it hadn't felt so delicious. The wet, rubbery feeling in her muscles left her shaking with delight.

Kerry left her hand where it was, the other hand playing lightly with the ends of the blonde hair dangling in her face.

Kim opened her eyes with surprise. "Kerry...where did you learn how to do that?"

Kerry looked almost embarrassed. "I've been alone a long time," she replied quietly.

Allowing herself to collapse more fully onto Kerry, Kim hissed, "God as my witness, you'll never be alone again," and kissed Kerry passionately.

There was nothing delicate or coy about this kiss; it was pure lust and desire. Kim's arms crushed Kerry's body firmly against her own while her tongue drove into Kerry's mouth, sweeping it thoroughly. Kerry returned the kiss with equal fervor, sucking her tongue eagerly and clutching at her new lover. Her fingers dug into Kim's back, the nails too short to make any scratches.

Kim had lost whatever self-control she had started with, no longer content to guide Kerry through this experience, but driven to immerse herself in it completely. Almost no one had inspired this kind of hunger in her. Jeanne, and maybe Carla, but that was all. And Kerry, like those women, had a flavor that was unique, entirely her own.

She drew her tongue back along Kerry's palate, into her own mouth, and Kerry's followed after it, asking permission to enter Kim's mouth. She welcomed it, caressing it with her own, inviting it inside like an honored guest. Their arms and legs were similarly entwined, determined to mingle their bodies together into a single organism. Or a single orgasm, as the case may have been. Kerry moaned into Kim's mouth, and Kim nearly came spontaneously.

Pulling her mouth free, she gasped, "God, Kerry, what you're doing to me..."

Kerry was less articulate, perhaps due to inexperience. The best she could manage was, "Kim...oh, Kim..."

Responding to her name, Kim lowered her mouth to Kerry's throat, biting almost vampirically at the faint scar, letting her teeth just graze the skin without hurting. She wondered idly how Kerry would cover the hickey she was leaving tomorrow.

The friction of their skin, moistened by perspiration, was electric as Kim slid downward again, her mouth finding Kerry's other breast, sucking harder while her fingers found its twin. She lavished her attention on them, treating them almost as objects of worship, while Kerry moaned aloud and tightened her thighs about Kim's hips. Then, growing impatient, Kim moved down further. Her tolerance for foreplay was almost gone; she knew what they both wanted.

Settling between Kerry's legs, she slid her hands under Kerry's buttocks, anchoring herself. Kerry hooked her legs over Kim's shoulders, the soles of her feet massaging Kim's lower back as Kim brought her hands up around Kerry's hips. She felt Kerry's fingers twined through her hair, clutching her scalp. Her eyes met Kerry's once, making a silent promise, then she focused on the task at hand.

Looking into Kerry's sex, she kissed the lips the way she had first kissed Kerry's mouth. Lovingly, tenderly, adoringly. She was determined not merely to fuck Kerry tonight, but to make love to her completely. To show her the kind of loving she deserved, even if she didn't know it. Her tongue ran delicately around the outline of her lips, then traced its way between them, without venturing inside. Her teeth nibbled them lightly, never biting down. Kerry's voice was constantly working, producing atonal, unformed syllables.

Spreading the lips with her thumbs, Kim blew warm air into Kerry, like a visitor at the door letting in a breeze. Then, moving slowly again, she extended her tongue and slipped it inside.

Thighs contracted on each side of her face as Kerry gasped. "Ohh, yes, Kihhmmm..."

Kim raised her chin a bit, her tongue flicking out to greet Kerry's clitoris, to wash lightly over it, then dove inside again, becoming bolder with each motion. She brought the thumb and forefinger of her left hand to Kerry's clit, stroking and coaxing it. She felt her senses filling with Kerry; the sight of her, the sound of her, the scent and feel and taste of her...

Kerry's head was rolling, side to side, as if seeking either escape from her stimulation, or a way to embrace it fully. Her fingers dug into Kim's skull, pulling her in tighter. That began to verge on the painful, so Kim took hold of Kerry's wrists and pinned her hands down by her sides against the bed. Thus restrained, Kerry's desire only seemed to escalate, her voice rising with each exclamation.

Kim discarded all thought of restraint as she threw herself into the act of making love to Kerry. No one else had tasted quite the way she did, and she eagerly devoured every moment of the experience, one she thought she'd never have. She thanked all gods, whether she believed in them or not, for this, the chance to be with Kerry, sweet Kerry, lovely Kerry, lonely Kerry, darling Kerry, beautiful Kerry, sad Kerry, radiant Kerry, angry Kerry, laughing Kerry, delicious Kerry, funny Kerry, always Kerry, forever Kerry...

The world exploded around her as Kerry came, like a new planet bursting into existence. She screamed, making a sound Kim would never have thought her voice could manage, and convulsed, her hips rising off the mattress. The scream, and her orgasm, seemed to sustain themselves, as though the moment was frozen in time, and then Kim felt the hot, liquid burst against her face like nectar. It was like a valve opening, allowing Kerry's climax to escape, and she very gradually relaxed, melting bonelessly in place. Kerry lay, breathing hard, staring into nothingness.

Kim slowly raised herself, crawling up beside Kerry again. She watched Kerry's face anxiously, observing her reaction. Kim had had sex with other lesbians, of course, and occasionally with bisexual women, some of whom were experimenting for the first time, but she'd never seen a woman react this way.

No, that wasn't true. She'd seen this once before. More accurately, she'd felt it once before, herself. After her very first time with a woman. Kerry's body was here with Kim, but her mind and soul were light-years away, floating on a calm sea under the stars.

She cradled Kerry's head, caressing her face. "It's all right, Kerry, I'm here with you," she whispered. "Just let yourself float. You can come back to me if you want, or just drift off to sleep."

Kerry's glazed eyes slowly closed as her breathing slowed.

Kim brushed red hair off her forehead, planting a kiss on her cheek. "I love you, Kerry," she breathed.

The shorter woman made no reply, already dancing on the fringes of a dream.

Kim toed the bed covers up to where she could reach them, then pulled them over both women, settling in for the night. She made sure Kerry was covered, then lay against her side, half-draped over her lover's body. She let her head come to rest against Kerry's chest, listening to the other woman's heart beating steadily. They remained that way for a long time.


The blonde woman opened her eyes without moving. "I'm here, sweetheart."

Kerry's voice seemed to come from a place very far away, or from deep within her. "I'll try to push you away," she whispered. "Please...don't let me."

Kim felt the tears come to her eyes as she hugged herself against her lover's body.

"Never," she vowed.

Part Six...

Kim dumped her handbag on the desk and sat down behind the chair. She was barely able to ease into it before her knees gave out. She wanted to slip off her heels and rub her feet, but that would take too much energy. "God, I feel like shit," she whispered to herself, eyes closed.

Closing them was a mistake; instead of the familiar, blank panorama that was the inside of her eyelids, she saw that poor boy's face again. Right there at the edge of the roof, utter confusion surrendering to total despair, convinced that the world didn't understand him and never would. All the same things that every sixteen-year-old who's ever walked the face of the earth has felt at one time or another, even the ones who deal with it better. And then there was her, trying to reach out with stupid, clumsy words and convince him not to jump...

A knock at the door of her tiny office snapped her eyes open. Carl DeRaad stood there, tie at half-mast, shirtsleeves rolled up, and looking every bit as tired as she was. "What's up, Carl?" Kim asked, forcing herself to sit up straighter.

"Nothing new," he answered casually. "How are you feeling?"

"Oh, y'know, the usual," she replied. "The adrenaline dump's always a bitch, afterwards."

"You're talking to the choir," he said with a smile. Then he waited, letting her get to it herself, without any unnecessary prompting.

"I was the wrong person to try to talk him down," she said angrily, as it came out in a rush. She waved a hand at the boy's file on her desk. "He's never had a positive female figure in his life, he only looks at women as objects of either lust, contempt, or utter mystery. I had no idea what to say to him!" She blew out her breath in frustration and failure. "We might as well have asked a bug-eyed monster to talk sense to him."

DeRaad let her get it out without interrupting, then just said, "Yeah, but there weren't any BEMs available, just you."

Kim ran her fingers through her hair, trying to ease the tightness in her scalp. "God, I was so fucking scared for him..."

"Sure," he said. "That's all completely true. But you know what else is true?"

She looked up at him.

"He didn't jump," DeRaad reminded her. "You got him down."

The simple, fatherly tone made her smile. Why couldn't her own father ever talk to her this way? "Yeah, I got him down," she agreed. "Even if it was by sheer dumb luck."

"Hey, never underestimate the power of sheer dumb luck," he chided. "Empires have fallen over less." They shared a minute's easy silence, then he said, "In the movies, this would be the part where I tell you to take the rest of the day off, go home, have a drink or something, but..."

"Yeah, I know. Gotta get back on the horse."

"To hell with the horse. We still need you for all the other patients who could show up today. They don't stop coming just because you've had one dramatic case this morning." He checked his watch. "I'll try and throw 'em to everyone else for a bit, okay? Get yourself together, wind down a bit, and jump in when you're ready."

"I'm okay, Carl, really," Kim assured him.

"I know you are, I just want to make sure you know it, too." He held out his hand and she shook it gratefully. "Good work, Kim."

"Thanks." She watched DeRaad leave, then poured herself a cup of ice water. Caffeine didn't sound like the best thing right now.


Another voice, equally familiar, made her jump in mid-sip, and she spilled a little water on herself. "Ahh! That's twice my drink's been spilled on me because of you!"

"Sorry," Kerry said, entering.

"S'okay, have a seat." Kim dabbed at her blouse with a paper towel. "You heard, huh?"

"Yeah. Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Kerry. I just had this conversation with Carl DeRaad. But I'm still happy to see you."

Kerry smiled, dropping the subject.

Kim sat across the small desk and regarded her visitor. "How about you? How are you feeling?"

"You mean about last night?"

"About anything."

Kerry thought about it. "You know what I feel like right now?"


"Like myself. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't feel any different now than I did yesterday." She glanced at the unimpressive view through the slitted blinds. "I thought maybe the world would look different to me, now that..."

Kim was silent, not volunteering to fill in the terms for her this time.

"Now that I'm in love with a woman," Kerry finished. "I don't feel like a different person, just the same one as always."

"That's good," Kim said. "I liked that person."

"Okay, there's the difference," Kerry said. "Now, I do too."

Kim smiled at her. "What were you expecting it to be like?"

"I don't know. When I woke up this morning...thanks for letting me sleep in, by the way."

"You're welcome." Kim had had to leave for work, but she'd paused in the bedroom doorway to admire the sight of Kerry Weaver curled up in her bed, sleeping contentedly.

"When I woke up, I looked at myself in the mirror and tried saying, 'I am a lesbian. I am gay.' Just to see how it felt, you know?"

"I know."

Kerry shook her head. "It didn't feel like anything at all. They were just words." There was a trace of disappointment on her face.

"Why does that bother you?" Kim asked, picking up on it.

"I'm not sure. I think...I think I feel like I'm letting you down, by not becoming... whatever it is I need to be, that..." She ran out of words. "I'm not making sense, am I?"

"Yes you are." Kim leaned forward, elbows on the desk. "Kerry," she said, "I would never ask you to change who you are, or to be something you're not. You don't have to declare yourself a lesbian, or to swear some kind of allegiance to anything."

Kerry listened without comment.

"All I ask, all I've ever asked of you," Kim went on, "is that you let yourself follow your heart, wherever it leads. I hope it will lead you to me, but that's up to you."

They looked at each other with contented longing for a while, and then Kerry's pager went off. "I have to go," she said, checking it as she stood.

"Can we have dinner tonight?" Kim asked, suddenly anxious.

Kerry shook her head. "I've got the late shift," she replied.

Kim's heart tensed.

"But...will you wait up for me?"

She nodded with relief. "Absolutely."

She watched as Kerry opened the door and almost left, but then she closed it again, turning back to Kim. "Why me?" she asked, suddenly.


"Kim...you're so beautiful, you could have anyone you wanted..." Kerry began, obviously meaning every word in her heart.

"Kerry," Kim interrupted softly, "I already have the one I want."

Kerry let the compliment fill her, then turned with a final smile and went to work.

Kim sat again, feeling the glow of inner sunlight she always seemed to feel around Kerry. She realized she'd been holding her breath, almost waiting for something, and she took a few minutes to try to identify it.

She'd been waiting for Kerry to refuse her, that's what it was. The same thing she'd felt last night, ever since they arrived in her apartment. At each step, Kim was expecting Kerry to stop, to balk, to say no more, to draw the line and state, it's not going to happen. And today, the day after, she'd been waiting for the same thing to occur. It was the real reason she'd fled without waking Kerry, for fear that Kerry would sit up, blink, and ask, oh god, what have I done? Or to say, last night was a mistake. I can't do this. I don't want you.

But none of that had happened. And Kerry wasn't shying away from her. She wanted more. She wanted them to continue.

The moment Kim had dreaded, almost like...well, like the next hiccup...wasn't coming. At least, not today.

Kim sat back and smiled to herself.

Maybe Kerry had cured her hiccups, too.

The End

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