DISCLAIMER: These characters are property of Southern Star Entertainment and Channel 7. No copyright infringement intended. No ownership claimed.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is an alternate Series 8, set from episode 301. It dips a little into the Beth plotline, but otherwise, it generally departs from the Series 8 timeline.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Hidden Geographies
By giantessmess

Part One

There's an expected time-period for this sort of thing.

After two years, 'sad' was ok. But only the sweet kind of sad. Like the kind you find inside the gift cards that come with flowers.

'Don't think about him.'

There were a lot of little tricks Terri played on herself. For one, she tried not to think of useless phrases. Horrible romantic ones, such as 'love of my life'. Pathetic. She'd have to stop herself. Love and death. It seemed perverse. They married last-minute, when his illness worsened. When they knew. Marriage before death. Like a sick little preparation for a bigger event. Also in formal wear.

'Don't think about Mitch.'

She let her mind wander to Charlotte, instead. It's all she seemed to do lately, given the current situation at the hospital. But the thoughts were just so vivid. Charlotte. How her lips had quivered, when she read out the eulogy. The way her eyes had traced Terri's face, the entire time she talked. That was the only moment that Terri had been aware of anything at all.

Why did these things kept happening to her? It would have been funny, if it wasn't so pathetically tragic. Heart surgery, right after her husband died? She was a walking metaphor for the sad and alone. Back from the dead. Just scraps of a person, really.

And Jack. Well. Jack had just been there.

As if that was any excuse.

She resisted the urge to think of words like 'Toyboy'. 'Fuckbuddy.' They were not words Terri Sullivan would ever use. But they described the situation far too well. She'd wanted to feel something for him. But it just wasn't there when she looked for it.

"She's at home."

Nelson had been the acting NUM on Emergency while Terri was away. It had only been a few months, really. But something in the atmosphere stuck in her throat.

"How was your time off?" He looked up at her from the files he'd been consulting.

"I could have stood longer," she said, trying to gage his expression.

Regina sat at admin, nodding sympathetically with Nelson. It was something Terri couldn't quite place. She tilted her head.

"Charlotte's not here?" Her voice was shakier than she'd intended.

Nelson sighed.


"She had a miscarriage, Terri."

Terri instinctively cradled her stomach.

He shrugged, powerlessly. "Doctors did all they could. They couldn't…… It was a hit and run. A few weeks ago. In the parking lot, just out there."

Her insides ached.

"I'm sorry," Nelson looked at her. "I was worried how you'd take it. I thought maybe…I thought she'd have told you."

Terri realised she was clutching her throat. She breathed.

"Now, why would she do that?"

"Terrible," Regina murmured. "Poor Charlotte. I can't imagine what she's feeling."

Regina's voice grated on Terri for some reason. As she was leaving, she brushed past Jack, barely allowing herself to take in his features. She already missed her time off.

She pulled her car up at Charlotte's house. The ED doctor appeared at the wire mesh door. Her face crumpled.


The door opened, and Charlotte just fell into her arms, like her legs had given out from under her. Her eyes were glassy. She buried her face in Terri's neck, her breath hot. Terri was surprised at her own reaction. A swirl of pleasure in her lower stomach.

"She's dead," Charlotte murmured. Her voice was in pieces.

"I know."

Terri led her inside, navigating her towards the couch. Letting her cry, she caressed Charlotte's hair. It was matted from weeks alone in bed, bones mending. Staring at the walls, punishing herself.

"Shhhh, Charlotte. It's ok now. It's ok."

She was having trouble keeping her breaths even. Soon all the soothing phrases came out of her in a single, wordless tone.

It took her a few moments to locate the kettle. Charlotte was in the shower. Possibly changing out of her pyjamas for the first time since the accident. After she'd stopped crying, Charlotte had turned to her, a slight tweaking of her mouth marking the beginnings of a smile.

"Y'know, this is the first day in weeks, where I haven't totally felt like shit."

She leant back on the couch, bringing her face closer to Terri's. Terri smiled. Without knowing why, she stroked Charlotte's nose, then her cheeks, brushing tears away.

She'd grown to really like this woman, and their odd friendship, (some would say it was a miracle they were still friends, after all this). But she'd never spent a great deal of time at Charlotte's house. Just occasional visits. She used to come over for drinks. Vincent would always be there. The eternal ex-husband. Like a dog that would be loyal, long after you removed its collar. It had been a couple of years ago. They'd play cards, drink chardonnay, and not talk about Mitch.

More recently, she'd visited again with Jack as an accessory. Like an odd kind of double date. Terri with her not-boyfriend. Charlotte with her semi-girlfriend. They had downed a fair amount of wine, when Charlotte admitted she wanted to have a baby. She let it come out sounding half-humorous. Charlotte never liked things when they became too serious. Addy had frowned back at her. Terri noticed that Charlotte's girlfriend always seemed to be pulling some kind of face, like she was waiting for a particularly bitter punchline. Addy. What was her last name again? Terri wasn't sure she ever knew it. Addy didn't seem like the type that deserved to be around permanently. She made Terri's stomach twist. The same way indigestion did.

It was strange. On that night, Jack offered to help Charlotte.

"With a baby, I mean…"

Was he half-joking as well? Terri couldn't remember. But she'd gotten angry at him later, for just saying it, out of the blue.

When Jack admitted it to her, he'd looked like he was about to pass out. That Charlotte would even sleep with a man, after years of being a lesbian, was the first thing that had crossed Terri's mind. They were walking outside, it was a warm night. Jack's skin had gone all clammy. She resisted the urge to offer him a tissue. He stuttered that Charlotte was pregnant, clumsily adding that he was the father.

"It was an accident."

He looked at his hands. Like he was afraid she'd make a scene. Or leave, which she had, later. But only to avoid the sticky congestion of rumour, that Emergency had become. But Terri hadn't been jealous.

She concentrated on stirring the tea, evenly. She heard the water stop running, and the sound of a shower door sliding open.

Instead of imagining Charlotte stepping out of it, she quickly made herself think about Jack again. Jack and Charlotte. Charlotte. It made her stomach flutter unexpectedly. It was strange. Time has a way of playing tricks on you. Both on the same day- she broke it off with Jack. And Addy had left Charlotte. Terri realised with a start that she hated Addy. Which was strange, because she could hardly say she knew the woman. The shower door slid shut. Charlotte would be drying herself now. Tiny beads of water, covering her skin, goosebumps forming. Nipples hardening-


Terri focussed on the tea again. Could tea ever be over-stirred? Her face felt hot. She closed her eyes.

"Is that one mine?"

Charlotte walked up behind her, blond hair wrapped in a towel. She was wearing jeans, and a top that showed how her breasts dipped and curved. Low cut. She often wore them to work, as if she was waiting for someone to tell her not to. Terri swallowed, and nodded.

"The one with milk."

Charlotte smiled, and reached for it, brushing Terri's arm. Terri's skin prickled.

"You don't take milk?"

"No, not usually. And I'm not partial to sugar."

Charlotte sipped her tea. "You're a tough one. I'm far more girly with my tea."

Terri just smiled.

"Having milk and sugar makes you girly?" she asked, wryly.

"And frilly tops," Charlotte nodded. "Pink ones."

She was drying her hair with the towel. The partially-dry strands spiked out over her eyes. Terri brushed them back with her fingers. Then pulled away, wondering at her own behaviour. Charlotte smiled, oblivious.

"I look like a wet dog, or something."

"Oh, you don't." Terri laughed. "What frilly tops? And you hardly ever wear pink"

Charlotte took a sip, and grinned. "How would you know? You an expert on my wardrobe?"

Terri's face burned. She looked into her teacup.

"I have a good memory for details."

Charlotte just nodded.

"You do. You're a fantastic NUM, Terri. You make the job look easy."

Terri sighed. A tired half-smile.

"Oh, well – I don't know about that."

"Trust me. Take a compliment." Charlotte put her hand over Terri's.

Terri's pulse quickened. She realised she was biting her lip. She hoped Charlotte hadn't noticed.

"Terri," Charlotte said, slowly. "Thanks for being here. For being such a good friend."

Charlotte was meeting her gaze directly. Terri's hand instinctively squeezed Charlotte's back. Perhaps a little too persistently. She let her fingers trace slowly over Charlotte's skin. They were still soft from the hot shower. She tried to keep her expression even.

"You're going to be ok, Charlotte."

She took a quiet breath, and pulled her hands away. A sinking feeling replaced the warm one. She knew what she was supposed to say.

"You really need to talk to Jack."

Charlotte looked tireder. "Terri, I-"

"You need to, sweetie. You need to talk about this with him."

Terri hated the way she always had to sound so practical.

"I don't know if I can." Charlotte's voice became rougher, she looked at Terri indirectly.

Terri persisted.

"It was his baby as well. You don't think he'll be hurting?" They felt like rehearsed lines.

She closed her eyes, suddenly needing to look away.

"You can get each other through this."

Charlotte nodded. Terri put her hand on her shoulder. But the warmth was gone. She quickly withdrew it, wondering what she thought she was doing.

Her house didn't smell right. Terri dropped her keys on the kitchen counter. And now Charlotte was going to talk to Jack. She sighed. She couldn't understand why she was thinking about this woman so much. All through her time off, she obsessed over the situation. Over Charlotte. She'd tried to imagine what Charlotte would look like, pregnant. That 'glow' people talk about. Would Charlotte 'glow'? What the hell did that mean, anyway? Did Terri glow with Mitch's baby? God. All she could remember was losing it. Maybe that was why she felt so connected to this woman. The reason she couldn't stop thinking about her. It was perfectly innocent. It was just Charlotte. Of course, Terri had always noticed her. Her eyes were so eerily blue, that Terri's heart would skip a little, if she hadn't expected on seeing her. She just was beautiful. Beautiful people did that to you.

She made herself wait till the next afternoon, before picking up the phone.


She could hear Charlotte's voice, wavering on the line.

"Just checking that you're ok," Terri said, quickly.

"I'm doing alright," the small voice replied. "Mostly ok, at least."

"You talked to Jack?"

"Yeah, I did. I mean, I started to."

Terri's voice was becoming unreliable.

She stammered.

"Look, why don't you come over here tonight? I mean, well….I know you're still in recovery. But you sound like you need to get out of the house. I'm making lasagne."

God, that sounded stupid.

Her stomach twisted. She tried to imagine Charlotte's expression. Frowning. Smiling, or on the brink of a smirk. Her eyes flashing. Anything. God, she hated phones.

"That sounds wonderful," Charlotte replied. "I guess I could use an excuse to see the outside world."

She let out a breath, when she heard Charlotte's car pull up.

Charlotte was wearing a long red dress. Her cleavage exposed. Her legs bare, revealing themselves as she walked, through the split down the side. What kind of dress was this? Terri's knees were shaky. She looked away from Charlotte's breasts. Her stomach did a flip.


She let out a breath slowly.

This wasn't happening.

She quickly considered her own outfit. Why had she dressed this way? A skirt, a singlet, showing off her back, as if she'd wanted Charlotte's hand to come up against her skin. Her insides felt exposed. Charlotte shrugged. Almost apologetically.

"Sorry, I went a little overboard. I just felt like I needed to dress up. Pretend I was celebrating something."

She looked like she might cry again. Please, not that. Terri took her by the hand, worried that she couldn't trust herself.

"Well, you look beautiful."

She almost couldn't breathe. It was like there was no filter between her mouth and her brain. Charlotte just smiled, as Terri led her inside.


Terri tried unsuccessfully to read her expression. She remembered Charlotte's body close to hers, her face crumpled with tears. She fought the urge to reach out and touch her. Shocked at the way her thoughts were developing, she let Charlotte find her own seat in the lounge room.

This wasn't a date. Don't be ridiculous.

She headed to the kitchen, calling back, "Dinner's almost ready." This was too strange. She felt like a housewife. Checking on the oven didn't take as long as she wanted it too. When she emerged from the task, her stomach dipped again at the sight of her. Charlotte was leaning her face on her hand, a finger resting on her lips. Her eyes taking in her surroundings. God, those eyes. What could she be thinking about? Then she remembered. The baby. How could she forget? Terri smiled at Charlotte as she caught her eye, though she was careful not to call her beautiful again.

"You have a gorgeous house"

Terri sat on the couch, taking hold of Charlotte's hands. Then quickly dropping them.

"I don't think you've been here too many times. You like the house more than me?"

Oh God, was she flirting?

Charlotte laughed, her eyes lighting up a little.

"Well, the added bonus is I get to hang around with you."

"Couldn't keep yourself away," Terri teased. She was. She was definitely flirting.

"No, well it was the house mostly. I admit. Not you."

"You're a house fetishist?"

"Shit, you've caught me out," Charlotte laughed, tilting her head back.

She was so beautiful when she smiled. Terri brought her face closer. Before she could think, she was leaning in, her lips meeting Charlotte's. She felt her body react as Charlotte kissed her back. Terri let her hands trace down Charlotte's back. She brushed her fingers lightly over Charlotte's breasts. Charlotte shivered, before pulling away. They were silent, looking at each other. Charlotte's eyes were wide.

"What…" she hesitated. Taking a breath, she swallowed. "What… just happened?"

Panic rushed through Terri. She stared at Charlotte, her heart racing. There was no logical way to respond.


Terri wasn't sure if she was really breathing.

"God, Charlotte…."

Charlotte wasn't looking at her, her mouth gaped. Charlotte closed her eyes, and then opened them again.

"Where?…" An unsure smile. "I'm just….that was unexpected."

"But you…and the dress..." She was definitely babbling now.

Charlotte looked baffled.

"The dress? No, But I didn't mean….This is just a dress."

She was biting her lip. Her eyes were glassy. Terri suddenly remembered how short a time it had been, since Charlotte was discharged from hospital. She had to stand up. She closed her eyes, and wished to god she knew what she was doing. She didn't.

Charlotte was shaking her head.

"I don't understand… Terri, I…God. I mean I…"

"Don't. You don't have to," Terri's voice was small. Her face was turning unforgivingly red. She couldn't believe she was even having this conversation.

"Just stop."

"No. But I never imagined. I mean….not from you. I'm not…." She let out a shaky breath, like she was fighting the urge to cry. "God."

"Let's leave God out of this," Terri muttered, her sympathy thinning.

She realised she could smell something burning.

Charlotte met her eyes. "Shit. The lasagne?"

Terri's eyes grew wider. "What? No, oh God."

She ran into the kitchen. Smoke blew out, when she opened the oven. When she re-entered the livingroom, Charlotte was trying to repress a smile.

"It's scorched." Terri muttered. "You think it's funny?"

They ate a replacement dinner of toast, both sticking to safe topics. The weather. Work. They were careful not to touch on anything too controversial. Careful to sit further apart. Though, Charlotte had a certain expression, when she let her eyes rest on Terri. Terri tried hard not to analyse it. She tried not to focus on that little spot in her abdomen, that tugged with arousal at the thought of Charlotte's mouth exploring hers.

Stop this.

She brought up Jack. Safe Jack. Suddenly, she was so glad he existed.

"What did you say to him?"

Charlotte shrugged, letting her eyes wander uncomfortably.

"We just… talked. It's good, he understands. He's a sweet guy, really. It's just….it hurts a lot still. I don't…" She forced a pathetic smile. "I don't know how well I'm coping."

Terri realised she was staring too intently.

"I'm sorry either of you had to go through this."

Charlotte nodded. "Yeah, well. Me too."

Terri slid her plate to the floor, and sat back close to Charlotte. Their faces were almost touching. Before she could stop herself, she was kissing her, softly. Her hands gently holding Charlotte's face. She closed her eyes, quickly pulling away.

Charlotte was blinking back tears.


She was shivering. Terri started babbling again.

"No, god. I'm sorry, Charlotte." Her hands lingered on Charlottes face. Their eyes met briefly, and her stomach fluttered even more. Charlotte sat up.

"I can't." She was shaking. "Not now. I can't do this. I can't even go outside without… having some kind of…. freak out."

This wasn't supposed to be happening.

"I didn't mean to. Shit…. I didn't…" She breathed, bewilderedly. "I don't know what I'm doing."

Charlotte smiled, despite herself.

"Yeah? You definitely seem to." She turned up her lip, in that half-smile that made Terri crazy. Terri felt a little braver. She tried to laugh.

"I think it was your dress. I'm sure it hypnotised me, or something."

Maybe she could pretend it was a joke? Was it too late for that? Charlotte laughed, her breaths becoming less laboured.

"My fault, of course. Corrupting you into lesbianism, without even trying."

Terri's face fell. Charlotte hurriedly backtracked. "God, Terri- not that you're a lesbian. I was joking."

"No, I…" Terri shrugged it off. "I just didn't think. I mean, I'm not…." She hesitated, stumbling over her own voice.

"I'm not attracted…to women."

Charlotte was looking at her in an infuriatingly flirtatious way.

"Shit, well you could have fooled me."

"I'm serious…I don't know what this is…."

Terri felt her face go redder still. Her pulse raced as Charlotte took hold of her hand.

"Jesus, it's just a word, Terri," she said.

Terri took a breath. She couldn't meet Charlotte's eyes. She was afraid of what she might do. "It's late. We should probably call it a night."

She felt her skin go cold. Charlotte gave her a small look. Unsmiling, she shrugged.


She stood up.


"I'm fine," Charlotte retrieved her bag, her coat. Her expression was unreadable.

Terri didn't look out the window, but listened to Charlotte walking up the path. She shuddered, as the car started.

Terri drove over in the afternoon. Thankfully, Charlotte answered the door in jeans and a T-shirt. Not that the sight of Charlotte in a dress had any real affect on her. She tried not to study the contours of Charlotte's breasts, through the fabric. Pushing her way inside, she looked around quickly. Good. Vincent wasn't there.

She took a breath, crossing her arms.

"I'm not a lesbian."

Charlotte blinked. "What?"

"Well, you seem to be feeling a lot better today?" Terri snapped.

Charlotte didn't offer her a seat. She narrowed her eyes.

"What are you so angry at me for? I'm not the one who made sexual advances on a co-worker last night."

She glared at Terri's look of shock. "Not that you'll bloody admit to them. Did I even invite you over?"

"I'm sorry." It came out sounding angrier than she'd intended. Terri calmed herself.

"I didn't mean to…take advantage of you."

"You kissed me." Charlotte was smiling slightly, even though she looked bewildered.

Terri glanced up. Unable to control her breathing. Was it hyperventilation? Maybe she was coming down with something.

"Terri?" Charlotte brought herself in closer, which only made things worse. She met Terri's gaze.

"I thought you were straight."

Terri felt panic rise inside her, as she realised the kind of conversation this was becoming. This wasn't how she imagined she'd spend her last days off, before her shifts started.

Her voice wavered.

"That's what I came here to tell you." She was losing her nerve.

"That you're straight?"

Terri closed her eyes. "No…" she bit her lip. "Yes…. I don't know.."

Charlotte began stroking Terri's face. The immediacy of her touch stunned her. Then Charlotte was kissing her. Softly to begin with, exploring Terri's mouth with her tongue. Harder, as the kiss deepened. Too aroused to feel shocked, Terri pulled her body closer. She fiercely kissed back, feeling herself grow increasingly hot. Charlotte was kissing her neck. Charlotte's hands on her breasts. She fought to keep up, afraid of losing this connection. They fell onto the couch. Roughly exploring each other. It felt like they were trying to tear each other to pieces. Not talking. Hands, lips, here, there. Terri felt the weight of Charlotte, her breasts, pressing against her. She let out an involuntary moan.

Charlotte was the one to pull away. Both of them were breathing heavily.


Terri's heart was racing. They stared at each other, in a rather uncomfortable silence. Unable to awkwardly apologise, or even remember which of them needed the 'sorry's to make everything ok.

Terri quickly pulled herself together, and left Charlotte. She was unable to process the shakiness in her breathing, the tremor in her body.

Both of them were back at work.

Throughout the week that passed, Terri stole looks at Charlotte. And her face coloured at the thought. She'd naively believed that whatever she'd been feeling would fade away, once she got back into routine. Like sunburn from a holiday. What was she, fifteen? Charlotte's fingers had left bruises on her breasts and shoulders. Charlotte's lips… Whatever it was, the way they'd blindly groped one another… well, there didn't seem to be much that was innocent about it. It was embarrassing to think about. But that's all Terri could do. Play the moment over and over in her head. She tried not ache for the woman working next to her. It was almost like Charlotte was trying to avoid her. Terri couldn't believe how much this hurt her. It made her feel increasingly odd about herself.

She pulled Charlotte aside, one morning. When there was a lull between emergency dramas.

"What's going on here?"

She watched Frank turn down the corridor. But Charlotte hadn't been listening, or was pretending not to notice the way she was biting her lip.

"For God's sake, why won't you even look at me?" Terri hissed. She paused. A patient was pushed past by an orderly. She didn't wait till they were out of sight.

"Charlotte," She said it more persistently, now. "Why can't you have a conversation like a normal human being?"

Charlotte twisted her lip downwards, her eyes revealing nothing.

"Not here."

Terri exhaled.

"Then in my office," she hissed sharply. "Now."

She tugged at Charlotte's sleave, quickly pulling her into the room. She shut the door. Charlotte raised her eyebrows.

"Will you please not do this, Terri?"

Terri shook her head, incredulous.

"Do what?" she let a bitter humour enter her voice. "Continue being attracted to you?"

She bit her lip, as Charlotte looked away. Her insides hurt.

"What is this? Do you think I'm doing this on purpose?"

Charlotte raised her eyebrows.

"Why aren't you freaked out?"

"Oh, you think I'm not freaking out?"

"You just don't look freaked out." Charlotte looked suspicious.

Terri glared at her.

"Well, what's freaked-out supposed to look like?" She laughed, despite herself. "Do you expect every woman you make-out with to run in the opposite direction?"

Charlotte let out an empty laugh.

"Seems the trend."

Terri wasn't even sure why she was pursuing this. She searched Charlotte's face, trying not to feel the buzz in her lower abdomen.

"I don't…" Charlotte searched for a word. "I don't want this. I can't. I'm not….I've given up."

"Do you know how you sound?" Terri hissed. "Given up on what? On life? Or just relationships?"

"What? Relationships?" Charlotte laughed, incredulous. "Aren't you getting ahead of yourself here? God, I'm not messing around with another bloody straight girl."

She grabbed hold of Charlotte's hands, and pulled her close.

"You think this is easy for me?"

She held Charlotte's face. God, she was beautiful. It seemed inconceivable that she was only noticing this now. She let her lips part Charlotte's, exploring her mouth fiercely with her tongue. Kissing down her neck. Lingering on her shoulder blade. Charlotte just pulled away, flustered. Clearly affected. This gave Terri an unexpected boost of confidence.

"God, Charlotte. Don't look as though you're surprised. Remember, you're the one avoiding me."

Charlotte eluded her gaze. "I don't want to talk about this."

"Well, what is this?"

"We have to get back to work."

She looked at Terri pleadingly.

"Let go."

Terri ran her hands through Charlotte's hair, and down her back. Beneath her shirt. Lightly, she caressed her skin. Charlotte shivered.


"Please, can I see you tonight? I can't bear this. I…"

Charlotte narrowed her eyes, and disentangled herself from Terri's arms.

"Shit, Terri. What are you trying to do here? Look, I don't want to be your little sexuality experiment."

"My what?"

"Or whatever the hell it is you think you're doing. What do you expect me to say? There's nothing to talk about." Charlotte closed her eyes.

Terri suddenly wished she'd had a better think about what she wanted to say to this woman.

"You're unbelievable. Why are you doing this?" She couldn't stop her voice from wavering. She couldn't get Charlotte to look at her. She swallowed. She was not going to cry over this.

"You don't even know what you want, do you?"

"Well, I don't think you do."

"Oh, please. Give me some credit."

"I have to get back on the ward."

Terri let her go, glaring.

"Fine." Her tone was cold. "You know what- don't let me complicate your day." She shoved the door open with her foot. Charlotte didn't even pause as she pushed past.

Terri couldn't believe she'd allowed herself to get into this situation. It was ridiculous, lusting after her female colleague. They didn't even attempt to be civil to each other for the rest of the day. The few patients they worked together left them in fierce disagreement. The worst was Tracy Williams. Car accident. Not a terrible injury. But her behaviour was another matter entirely. Charlotte ignored all of Terri's recommendations. They closed the curtains, and Terri followed her. She pushed in front of her, stopping her from continuing her rounds.

"God, you're stubborn." she snapped.

"I'm stubborn? Shit, look at yourself, Terri. You build your bloody career on it."

"You're compromising this patient."

"Do you have a complaint about me, Nurse Sullivan? File it with Frank. I don't answer to you."

"Don't you now?" Her insides were boiling. Both of their voices were raised now.

"What the hell do you want me to say to you, Terri?"

"Get the psyche consult. God, you're bloody incompetent."

"That's nice and professional."

"Oh, because you're being so rational?"

Charlotte stormed off. Before Terri could catch her breath, she realised Frank was glaring at her.

Terri suddenly resented the fact that 'her' office was really Frank Campion's office. He marched in, and she followed. Resigned to a scene.

"You need to do a better job of separating your romantic life from your work life."

He sat at the desk, leaving her nothing to do but stand. His smug expression was all she could take.

"Excuse me?" she said, evenly. "My romantic life has no place in this conversation. Don't you dare insinuate-"

"Oh, don't give me that shit, Terri," Frank growled. "You're sleeping with her."

Terri felt momentarily stunned.

"Don't be obscene, Frank." Her face was getting hot. "You're making baseless assumptions, purely driven on the fact that Charlotte and I have some professional disagreements-"

"You're biting each other's heads off. I don't want my emergency department falling to pieces."

Terri wrung her fingers. She glared at him, evenly. A slight smile on her lips.

"What is your issue, Frank? Is it because she's a colleague? Or because she also happens to be a woman?"

Frank snorted.

"Oh no- Don't even try to suggest that I have any problem with same-sex relationships." He gave her an irritated look.

"My issue, Sullivan, is my Emergency staff bringing their personal lives onto the ward. You and Charlotte can get a bloody room. It's unprofessional, and I won't stand for it."

Then he smirked. "And you seem to have a particular habit of doing this."

Terri seethed.

"Are you done?"

He smiled snidely, and gestured to the door.

"Oh, be my guest," he said smoothly. "Send Beaumont in."

She stormed out of the office, glaring at Charlotte on the way. Charlotte's face crinkled with concern. For some reason, this irritated her further.

"Frank wants to see you," Terri muttered.

Charlotte took her hand.

"What? Why?"

"Nothing gets past him."

Charlotte was waiting outside, after her shift ended. She gave Terri a tired smile.

"God, Frank's a condescending bastard."

Terri shrugged. "He gave you the talk?"

Charlotte imitated, "Unprofessional behaviour, unbefitting a member of Emergency staff. Who the hell does he think he is?"

Terri hugged herself.

"Surprising, he didn't seem at all shocked. At least he wasn't trying to be horribly offensive."

"He's a pain in the arse," Charlotte shook her head. She let her eyes trace Terri's face.

"Look, I'm sorry I got all heated up about Mrs Williams. You were right."

Terri shrugged, feeling herself grow hot under Charlotte's gaze.

"No, I'm…I don't know what got into me. I guess I saw red or something. You would have picked it up, anyway."

Charlotte sighed. There was a hint of expectation lingering in the air. Terri felt herself melt at Charlotte's teasing smile.

"Do you wanna get out of here?"

They ended up at Charlotte's house. Before either of them could come up with a decent excuse for it, they were already kissing. On the telltale couch. The cushions collapsed, and the springs bit into Terri's back.

"I can't believe we're doing this again," she breathed. Her hands cupped Charlotte's face, as she kissed her again. She let her teeth graze Charlotte's lip. When did she become one of those people who had no self control? Was it somewhere between Mitch and Jack? Or was it always lurking there, waiting for something to loosen and break off?

"Do you want to stop?"

Terri let out a laugh, trying to disguise her nervousness. She tried not to think. She didn't feel sure about anything.

"Do you?"

Charlotte ran her tongue down Terri's shoulder blade, enjoying the sudden appearance of goosebumps. She slipped Terri's singlet over her head, revealing a black lace bra.


"The bra, or what's inside it?" Terri teased, uncertainly.


"I've never really contemplated…." Terri felt a little stupid. "Well, breasts. It never really crossed my mind."

"Never?" Charlotte sounded disbelieving. Like she contemplated Terri's breast every day.

Terri couldn't help smiling, as Charlotte unhooked it without much effort. Her skin tingled as it touched the air. Suddenly, she only felt petrified. Charlotte's eyes fell on the bruises.

"My god. I'm so sorry." Her breathing was ragged. "I did that."

Terri was feeling incredibly strange. She forced a smile.

"We weren't exactly gentle…the last time we..." She couldn't find the words.

"Did I…hurt you?"

Having Charlotte gaze at her breasts was causing something to tug between her legs.


Her voice was thick with arousal. She brushed some of Charlotte's hair away, revealing a fading bruise on her neck. A larger one on her shoulder. This was too much.

"God." She looked at Charlotte, shaking her head. "I'm not usually… like this."

"You don't usually ravage your co-workers?'

Terri gave her a look.

"You know that's not what I meant."

"We don't have to do this," Charlotte said, softly. But as she did, she leant in, lightly kissing the bruises she'd caused. Terri's heart seemed to fly into her throat and back again.

"Kissing them better?" she gasped.

"Did it work?"

Terri softly kissed Charlotte's neck. The sore shoulder, lightly tracing the damage she'd caused.

"You taste salty," she said, smiling a little at her own comment. Charlotte shook her head, as if the sight of Terri, sprawled half-naked beside her was a little too hard to process.

"Terri, you don't want-"

"You don't know what I want."

Charlotte got a beautiful little line in her forehead, when she was surprised. Terri brought their bodies closer, kissing her passionately. She gasped as Charlotte began caressing her breasts. Slowly, Charlotte ran her tongue over the outside of her nipple. Then her other breast. Lolling her tongue over and over, in a circular motion.

"Shit, Charlotte.."

"Oh, you like this?" Charlotte teased.

She began kissing down Terri's stomach. Grazing her teeth lightly, and nipping along her waist. Setting off nerve endings that shot straight to the pit of Terri's stomach. Her hands began caressing the insides of Terri's thighs. Terri couldn't stand the tension.

"Oh, fuck."

Charlotte laughed, breathing out warm air on Terri's skin.

"I love that I can make you swear, Terri."

Terri gaped at her, smiling in slight disbelief at the way her body was reacting to this.

"God…you can do more than…that…Oh…" She gasped. "…Shit".

Charlotte had slipped off her underwear. She felt herself grow wetter, as Charlotte brushed her fingers over her, finding all the right places to tease her, with light touches. She stroked, in a circling motion, over and over. Her touch becoming gradually more intense. Terri arched her back, thrusting herself into Charlotte. Then Charlotte slid two fingers inside her. Then three. Terri realised she was moaning.

"Are you ok?" Charlotte sounded a little anxious, "Just tell me if you…"

"I'll tell you…" Terri managed to gasp. She felt herself buckle against the movement of Charlotte's hand.

Charlotte's body tensed, as the phone rang. They both paused, breathing heavily. As if someone was suddenly in the room with them. Charlotte looked up at her.

"Let it ring," Terri breathed. The noise was adding tension to the air.

"No," Charlotte pulled away. "It's probably Vincent."


"I'm sorry."

Terri knew he'd been watching over Charlotte, since she'd lost the baby. She began to pull her clothes back on, awkwardly. Feeling a little embarrassed. She became suddenly aware of the reality of the situation. This was Charlotte. God, where were the rest of her clothes? How had this woman managed to reduce her to nakedness without her noticing or caring? She was shaking still, with arousal. Charlotte picked up the shuddering receiver. Terri strained her ears.

"Yeah…." Charlotte's breathing hadn't steadied. "Vin. What? I guess we're still on for dinner…."

Vincent. God. Terri was still trying gather her wits together. Charlotte was always slightly flirtatious with her ex-husband.

"Well, I don't care if you think I sound tired."

She paused as she listened, her gaze resting on Terri, who had still not managed to locate her bra.

"Yes." She grinned. "No, she's here actually."

Terri felt her face go red.

Maybe it was the irritation if being interrupted. Maybe she really didn't know herself at all. She pulled Charlotte's body against hers, feeling her breasts against the warmth of Charlotte's back. She kissed her shoulder. Charlotte shivered as Terri's lips brushed over her neck, roughly, letting her tongue explore her skin. She brought her lips to Charlotte's ear, and whispered.

"Tell him I say hi."

Charlotte let out a laugh that was more like a gasp. Terri idly wondered what other noises she could coax out of this woman. She heard a sound from the receiver.

"No Vin, I'm fine." Charlotte's voice came out husky. She gave Terri a mock glare, before letting the phone drop.

She returned Terri's kiss, her lips parted for Terri's tongue. Terri had already unhooked Charlotte's bra, after a little bit of fumbling. For a second, she felt a like the breath had been knocked out of her. Charlotte's breasts. She brought her hands tentatively up against them. The reality of them. The fact that touching them was causing all sorts of things to happen to her own body. She let her mouth tentatively close over one of Charlotte's nipples, feeling it grow hard, beneath the strokes of her tongue. Charlotte tried to steady her breathing. She fumbled for the receiver.


Terri pulled back, feeling amused at herself. She handed Charlotte the phone, with a crooked smile. Unable to locate her own, she pulled Charlotte's shirt over her head, content to find the rest of her clothing later.

"No…yeah. I'm, um, still here, Vincent." Charlotte was slurring her words.

Terri headed for the door, laughing at Charlotte's expression.

"Go to dinner, ok?" She shook her head. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Part 2

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