DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the following characters and no infringement on any copyrighting is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Lost & Found
By Aurora


As soon as the door closed behind her, Esther leant against the wall. Her heart was thundering in her chest so loud she was sure that everyone would be able to hear it. Her cheeks were warm with colour, her skin thrumming with energy and her breath short. She could still feel Maca on the other side of the door, her presence still holding onto her.

She couldn't believe what had just happened. She couldn't believe what she had just allowed herself to do.

Almost as if looking away would help, Esther rolled her head to the side, her eyes flickering shut for a small instant as the weight of her actions settled down on her shoulders. She swallowed, looking out over the ER reception and feeling open and vulnerable, like the whole world could see the turmoil of emotions coiling through her stomach, as well as the obvious lust that coloured her skin.

She needed to get away from here and fast, appearances be damned. Teresa would no doubt have some comment to make about her hasty departure but Esther felt safe in thinking that the other woman would have no clue that she'd just allowed herself to be seduced by Maca's husky voice and liquid touch, no matter how flushed she was looking. Rusti might say something, worried rather than nosy, but she'd be able to brush him aside with a tale of fever and headaches.

So Esther slipped away from the door, leaving behind a thought for how long Maca would hide in the dark room before reappearing. But no matter how long that might be, she knew that she had to get away before it happened. She'd escaped once from Maca's lure but Esther knew she might not have it in her to do it again; too much of her wanted what Maca was offering, and it wasn't the rational part of her.

When she reached the locker rooms, she didn't care that several of her colleagues were looking her way with questioning faces as she literally peeled away her scrubs and stuffed them in her locker. She fumbled her purse and keys, dropping one after the other as she clutched them haphazardly and made a dash for the exit.

Teresa did indeed call after her but Esther didn't look back but to wave her hand and offer a goodbye over her shoulder. Rusti wasn't around and that suited Esther just fine; the less people that noticed her sudden change in demeanour, the better.

Esther decided to walk home, not having the option or inclination to ride home with Maca, as well as not trusting herself to catch a taxi home and not to the nearest airport so she could escape. The journey wasn't long, even by foot, but she was shocked how fast she'd arrived at her door; she must have practically marched all the way home.

Her apartment was dark when she walked through the door and she didn't bother to turn on the lights, instead just dropping all her things and slipping down the nearest wall. She buried her head in her knees, clutching herself for comfort and trying to fight off the panic and confusion that was building in her over-active mind.

She felt so lost.

Whenever her eyes closed, Maca would be there. Her eyes would look down into her own, a small and criminally seductive smile playing at the corner of her lips, and then she'd feel her touch all over her skin. The heat burned all down her neck, penetrating through her muscles to her very core where she could only surrender to the feeling of being so wanted.

She felt so torn apart by her heart and mind, as well as blinded by the bubbling frustrations at having such contact ended before she was ready for it to. No one had ever touched her like that before; Esther couldn't really recall anyone who had truly wanted to touch her like that. But Maca had wanted her so much that it had been palpable, even to her own untrained eye.

Her mind warned her of the danger she was making herself vulnerable to, both emotionally and physically. Not only was there the possibility for heartbreak and loss in any relationship, there was the added risk of dating another woman. She'd be putting herself into a minority group that still faced very real and very dangerous hostility. And what would her friends think, what would her mother think? Would she have the courage to be as open about her sexuality and choices as she now realised Maca had been.

Although subtle and very discreet, Maca had told no lies and made no effort of hiding her orientation. She hadn't been blatant about liking women, but nor had she tried to create some fallacy where she was in the middle of some male-feud for her affections in order to disguise being a lesbian. Only when Esther thought about it, did she realise that Maca had very delicately played the balance between displaying a false-persona and outright declaring she was gay to everyone she met. It was only when Azucena had come into the hospital and Esther had directly questioned her that Maca had mentioned dating her.

"What do I do…?" Esther pleaded to the darkness, losing herself to the tumult of feelings that wrestled for dominance.

Esther would be the last to deny that she didn't find Maca attractive; Maca was no short of stunning. And what had happened earlier in the break-room certainly showed a shared attraction, but she didn't know is she could face the truth. Equally terrifying was that she might be denying herself the truth.

At times, she wanted Maca so much, to the point of breaking down if she didn't see the woman. Without meeting Maca at all during the day, Esther found herself to be depressed, without really knowing why until Maca showed up to put a smile on her face.

Things had started out rough for them both. One mistake on their first meeting had put them at odds for days, perhaps weeks afterward where they would harass one another to the point of physical violence. But things settled down eventually, when they started sharing more and more time with one another on friendly, almost sociable, terms.

Esther still remembered the morning she'd walked to work and Maca had scared her half to death when she'd pulled up on her motorcycle. She was even more terrified when the woman suggested she get on the great machine. And without really knowing why, Esther had trusted Maca and taken a place behind her, leaning forward and wrapping her arms about the other woman. It was at that moment she first appreciated the solidness of Maca's body, as well as it obvious feminine curves and tone. Holding on to Maca, Esther had felt truly safe.

And then there was their first touch. Just the memory brought a smile to Esther's face, even now. She could almost feel that hand brushing her forehead lightly, slipping a stray curl behind her ear. The moment hadn't required reading into, knowing the tactile nature Maca expressed, but now it felt like the touch had been more than a mere friendly gesture.

When Esther thought back on her interaction with Maca, she realised with a sudden clarity that their behaviour, on both sides, had become more and more intimate with every encounter. There had been nothing sexual or devious about their relationship but it was certainly building up a tension that neither had noticed until it was too late. With Maca, everything seemed to fall into place. Esther knew that Maca made her happy; made her smile till her cheeks hurt and kept her in such a good mood whenever they met.

But could she face that offer of attraction and take it further? And if so, how was she ever going to explain to Maca why she'd run at the first sign of intimacy?

Esther didn't know how long she'd been sat in her hallway, huddled against the wall, but when she made to get up, her body protested at the movement and suddenly she craved the hands that had worked wonders on her muscles.

Maca's touch had been so soft as to be like a feather trailed along her shoulders and neck, easing aches that were too deep to name. Her lips had been like warm rain, soothing and arousing all at the same time, each one delicate and sensuous. The moment had brought an involuntary moan slipping past Esther's lips and even now, she was so close to letting other sounds of pleasure escape just at the memory.

Even when she was sat, Maca was taller than Esther; a difference highlighted by the way Maca had ducked down low to brush her lips over her skin. Esther had tilted her head to the side before she consciously thought it through, obeying a flush that had suddenly raced through her body. She'd realised further the definition in Maca's body and the warmth of her skin as she'd pressed close, leaning forward for more.

Images and fantasies had flashed forward immediately as Maca's intentions became more amorous; fantasies that Esther wasn't sorry she was seeing. She wondered how it would be to touch that body without clothes to hinder her. How it would feel to be the one pressing soft kisses to skin and drawing out sounds of uncontrollable pleasure? What would it feel like to slip her fingers into luxurious brown hair and wrap it around her fingers? Using it to draw those lips from where they actually were, to where she wanted them.

Esther trailed her fingertips over the side of her neck, glancing over her earlobe slightly and recalling vividly the feel of Maca's mouth against her body. She regretted horribly running out on Maca. Her arousal had quickly been squashed by so many fears, that she could think of nothing but the need to get away from Maca as soon as possible, and as far as possible.

Tomorrow she would have to confront Maca, she knew, and the thought made her stomach do odd somersaults; both of anticipation and trepidation. With a resigned sigh, she stumbled to her bed, discarded her clothes and fell to the sheets.

When she woke, it would come as no surprise that her dreams had been filled with flashes and moments of Maca. One sequence had them on the break room couch once more, lost in a tangle of arms and legs. Her hands had skated over the doctor's body, feeling the curves and hollows as they pressed into her palms, Maca responding to the small open mouthed kisses that she was trailing up her neck. Things after that had dissolved into random images of sweat-soaked skin, hands and endless kisses.

Other dreams didn't feed upon the desire that Esther was harbouring even in her sleep, but instead entertained her heart with visions of the two of them walking together through parks, going out to dinner and sharing a beautiful life. She saw herself at the hospital with Maca, openly sharing a kiss and feeling no fear. Rusti teased them both good-naturedly and even Teresa had a grin on her face, overjoyed for them both.

Morning had come too soon for Esther when she realised she had only been dreaming about the life she could have and not actually living it. She'd dejectedly crawled from her bed, showered and left for work without even eating. Her heart felt heavy with uncertainty and confusion. And the only woman that could truly help to alleviate some of the apprehension was Maca.

Teresa instantly cornered Esther when she'd arrived at the ER, pushing the nurse into a quiet corner of the reception area and blocking her escape.

"What happened with you yesterday? I didn't even get a proper goodbye! You just ran out of here like you'd seen a ghost."

Esther ducked away under the pressure, dodging past Teresa. "I felt a little funny." She offered over her shoulder, expertly avoiding the other woman's arm as she made to grab her again. "… Have you seen Maca?"

Teresa made an irritated clucking noise with her tongue. "It's always about Maca these days. If I didn't know any better I'd think there was something funny going on." If she noticed Esther's face suddenly go white she didn't comment. "Maca Wilson is in the break room, no doubt preening herself."

The older woman offered no more attention, for which Esther was secretly grateful, and went back to her position behind the desk, pointedly ignoring any further conversation.

Esther swallowed, knowing that she needed to speak to Maca before shift started. They invariably ended up working together and the last thing she needed was to stumble with nerves all day.

Maca was getting into her scrubs and coat when Esther walked in and suddenly she felt like a school-girl with a crush. Even with her back to her, Maca was beyond attractive. Her figure was partially hidden under loose scrubs but the curves still showed through, leaving the rest to imagination, which Esther's mind unhelpfully supplied. The doctor's brown hair was loose again, tumbling down her shoulders and upper back in honey-kissed waves that further accentuated her beauty.

It was when Maca turned to face her that Esther realised that she had to take a chance on this and face her fears. Maca's smile was so disarming and genuine that she felt her fear melt away into a mild doubt. There were a hundred reasons why she knew she shouldn't get involved in this but none of them seemed to matter anymore. The fears she had been agonising over last night were insignificant compared to the safety and tenderness that Maca openly projected.

Just like she had done on the motorcycle, Esther knew that Maca would take care of her.

Esther stumbled a little when she tried to talk, caught off guard not only by Maca but how deeply the woman affected her. "Hello…"

"Hello." Maca smiled again.

The ease with which the conversation continued only seemed to make Esther feel more and more nervous, so by the time that Maca had left, she felt like a complete idiot. Had she behaved anymore like a dork she would have had to put a paper bag over her head. For a moment she stood in the empty room, cursing her nerves; she was not a teenager, for goodness sake. But aside from the awkwardness of her emotions, things had not blown up in her face. It had been like before, just a little forced. There was a tension between them now that hadn't been there before, and it wasn't a good kind of tension.

Mustering up her courage, Esther left the break room and grabbed her clipboard from the reception desk to begin her rounds. She felt a little more confident now that Maca hadn't tried to force talking about the previous day, as well as a little worried over why they weren't talking about it. But at least, if things were to go forward then it would be on her terms, and that made her feel worlds better, so much so that she smiled.

But as the morning hours ticked away and there was no further sign of Maca, she began to worry again. Maybe Maca wasn't trying to leave things up to her. Maybe she just didn't want to talk about it, but forget it. The more and more that Esther theorised and debated in her head, the more she began to question everything that had happened.

When she snapped at a patient in her distress, her demons showing, she knew she had to do something about it, whether Maca wanted to or not. So she took her break early and went to the canteen, somewhat relieved that Maca was sitting at a table and pouring herself over report histories. Now was as good a time as any, Esther reasoned, so she made a quick detour and made a coffee for Maca, hoping it would ease the mood.

When she sat down at the table, Maca looked up from her paperwork. Her expression was unreadable and again Esther worried over the wisdom of her decision. The following conversation over the coffee didn't alleviate her any but Maca took up the drink in the end, offering her thanks.

They were awkward and forced with another without wanting to, making both women feel uncomfortable. It became obvious very quickly that Maca wasn't going to be forthcoming about discussing what happened, so Esther bit the bullet.

"I wanted to talk to you about the kiss…" She said quietly, looking down briefly before looking back at Maca.

"I'm sorry." Mace offered, knowing that eventually they were going to have to talk about this but not looking forward to it. After the way Esther had run out on her yesterday, she was sure that she had no interest in her whatsoever and had in the process, destroyed the relationship they'd been building.

"Don't be." Esther responded, knowing that the sentiment was more than true. Maca still tried to clear her name however, continuing with her apology even though Esther had brushed it aside. When Maca stopped talking, Esther had to take a deep breath for what she was about to say next.

"Could… Could we- I mean, could it happen again?" A flush of embarrassment raced up her back.

But for the first time since yesterday, Maca broke out into a genuine grin.

"Again…?" She asked, just to clarify, feeling wonderfully relieved when Esther nodded. This had been the last thing she had expected the nurse to ask her and it made her heart feel like it was swelling slightly. But feeling more confident now that things were looking up, Maca's flirtatious attitude crept back in. "It'll happen… Just relax."

With that, Maca packed up her things and left the table. Esther had to bite her lip to stop from grinning too much.

Esther had thought that with the question of 'if things were going to happen' being decided as a definite yes, she'd feel more relieved. She was quite put out to find that it was only the beginning of her troubles. Now her mind was plagued with thoughts of when. Maca hadn't said when she would be willing to give her another kiss; another chance not to shy away. Esther was more than ready and waiting was pure torture.

Her rounds took her to patient after patient but nothing would push Maca from her mind. Butterflies were going wild in her stomach and sitting down didn't help at all; nor did trying to concentrate on her work. Esther placed a hand to her abdomen to quiet them, feeling like she might explode any moment with the energy that was screaming to get out. She felt like she was on a rollercoaster ride, going through loop after loop with no end in sight; it was a bizarrely enjoyable feeling, but horribly nauseous at the same time.

She was so on-edge that when Maca came into a patient's room, without making herself known till she was directly behind her, she nearly fell all to pieces right there and then. She put a hand to her chest as excitement catapulted through her body, swallowing convulsively and trying to keep herself in check. She could curse Maca for the power she had over her, but she enjoyed the feeling in a way, so much so that she was afraid it would end should they share another kiss.

Dizzy with excitement and overwhelming desire, the rest of the consultation had disappeared right before her eyes. All should could remember was Maca's dark eyes occasionally catching her own, a smile playing at her features. Her looks were discreet and neither patient nor guardian noticed the exchange, but Esther felt like their flirting was so obvious it made her cheeks go scarlet.

Maca barely hid a laugh, knowing exactly that she was toying with Esther's attraction and causing the woman to flush with embarrassment. But Maca hadn't been able to help herself. All morning she'd been aimlessly wandering the hospital, hoping to catch a glimpse of Esther, just so she could look again at the woman she was desperately attracted to.

Esther had told her that she wanted to try again, and Maca would hardly have said 'no', but she didn't know how to proceed. She'd never had trouble in picking up women, or men for that matter, but there were very few occasions where she'd cared enough to try and get to know them before seducing them. Esther meant so much more to her than just a casual fling; she wanted to do this right.

Azucena had left her heart in shattered pieces, leaving her confidence and self-esteem in similar conditions. When she'd arrived at Hospital Central, it was an opportunity to start over and perhaps put the past behind her. And Esther, without realising, had slowly regrouped the ashes of her heart and given them knew life. Maca was hopelessly attracted to Esther, she knew, and she cared a great deal for her. Somewhere she hid the hope that maybe one day it would be something more.

When she looked across at Esther again, the nurse was still fluttering about the room with nervous energy. Her cheeks were flushed a heady red and her lower lip was trapped between her teeth to stop the grin pulling at the corners of her eyes. She had no doubt in her mind that Esther wanted her but she still questioned if she knew what she was getting herself in for. Maca knew she was not the easiest woman to live with.

Deciding that she had tortured Esther quite enough and that if she stayed much longer, she'd be forced to act on her own impulses, patients be damned, Maca left the consultation room with one last glance.

Esther didn't know whether she wanted to laugh or cry; she felt that if her emotions were toyed with anymore then she'd drop dead. She thought going off to work with Hector might keep her relatively far away from Maca, just so she didn't have to endure the exquisite torture being inflicted on her poor body. And while working in the main ER and away from paediatrics had kept her away from her enticing paramour, it hadn't been able to stop the two of them crossing paths in the elevator, with Hector between them.

"You wanted four, right?" Esther asked, motioning to the elevator controls she was hovering over, trying to not look at Maca.

"Yeah." Hector replied. Maca caught his attention before he'd completely turned in the elevator, leaving Esther to stand uncomfortably, watching the doors close and seal her in with Maca.

The words they spoke to each other seemed to be no more than a distant hum. Esther was feeling the heat slowly rise up her neck at being in close proximity with Maca, with no way of escape. Not that she wanted to escape, but she knew that being stuck with Maca for too long did things to her she couldn't control. If Hector wasn't there, she imagined that she'd be falling apart with how much she wanted to reach out for her.

Esther cast a sideways glance at Maca, quickly averting her eyes when she discovered that the other woman was already looking at her, a seductive smile playing at her lips. Her dark brown eyes were intensely focused on her, making another rash of heat spring up from her stomach. She could feel that gaze on her skin, the unbridled desire made her feel almost naked.

Esther's tongue involuntarily wet her lips, her teeth catching on her own skin to keep herself restrained. Maca's gaze was no longer on her but the memory still made flames burn her insides. Esther couldn't help herself looking again, cursing herself for her own weakness and inability to keep her eyes off the other woman who was literally driving her wild.

Maca caught Esther's gaze again, and just like before, she looked away before they truly connected, making Maca grin with amusement. She smiled even more thinking that Hector would actually appreciate a display such as this, especially since he was so animated in their discussion of the new lesbian patients that had come through the ER. And he was completely missing the open tension that was sparking right behind him!

"Your floor!" Esther suddenly announced, much too quickly to be at all innocent and to Maca it sounded like she was actually trying to get rid of Hector. The thought made her smile inwardly, flattering herself with how much she affected the other woman. She only hoped it wasn't blatantly obvious the way Esther was making her legs weak with her gaze, how a blush was stealing across her cheekbones and her hands shaking ever so slightly.

"Oh." Hector looked up at the meter above the door and sure enough, they'd reached his floor. "See you later." He called over his shoulder, leaving both Maca and Esther stood alone in the elevator as the doors began closing.

As soon as the other doctor was out of sight, the last vestiges of Esther's self-control snapped and she turned on Maca without the woman realising, grabbing her face in her palms and bringing their lips together.

The kiss was incredibly soft, despite the fervour with which Esther had reacted to them being alone. Maca's eyes closed instantly, silently thanking Esther's boldness because she herself didn't think she could have taken anymore of the tension; as much fun as it was.

It was release and exhilaration all at the same time. A kiss that was only lasting mere seconds felt like it was going on forever, and in the instant her lips met Maca's, Esther knew she'd made the right choice. She let her hand reach up into Maca's hair, slipping through its softness and drawing the other woman closer to her. She wanted to carry on kissing Maca till she couldn't breathe.

When they regrettably pulled apart, Maca looked down at Esther, her brown eyes dark and fathomless. She sighed, deeply, feeling released from her fears at being rejected and falling into Esther's embrace. She lowered her head into the young nurse's neck, nuzzling the soft skin beneath her lips and placing gentle kisses there as Esther leaned into her further.

Esther wrapped her arms around Maca's shoulders, touching and feeling everything she came across, keeping the other woman as close to her as possible. Their first kiss, even though regretfully short, had been everything that Esther had thought it would be. She similarly buried her face in Maca's long hair, breathing her in as they continued to hold on to one another.

She had felt so lost, and now she was found again.

The End

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